March 2nd, 2023
By Chandler Kilgore-Parshall / TinDragon Media
Welcome to TinDragon’s Storyteller Blog! This series is all about how the creative minds at TinDragon Media bring their approach to storytelling and cinematography to make your videos stand out!
You will be hearing from many perspectives, like co-founders Chandler Kilgore-Parshall, Walker Sayen and the artists TinDragon works with!
From learning how the Hero’s Journey can be translated into a 30-second ad to developing an eye for B-Roll, we’re excited to share the “secrets of the trade.”
Let’s start at Chapter One: How to Create Authentic Videos for Your Brand.
So you are thinking of producing a video? Chantastic! From binging shows on Netflix and Hulu to swiping on TikTok for hours, video can an infinite source of entertainment. Even celebrities spend a lot of time on their screens!
For your business or organization, there is no better time to create video content than now! Video content is a highly effective form of marketing as it can engage, entertain and educate your target audience. From increased conversions, better retention to improving your website’s SEO, there are an abundance of reasons why video content is king!
By incorporating video into your marketing strategy, you can enhance your brand's image and differentiate yourself from the competition! However, producing content to “just to do it” (and not in the Nike way) or merely to achieve a ROI is never a good approach. In the age of social media, people don’t gel well with content that’s overly-promotional, manipulative and with spin. They smell insincerity right away and swipe left!
You have seconds to hook a viewer’s attention, interest and investment. Not only does your video need to look and sound professional, it needs a truthful element to who you are as a business, brand or service. Authenticity and story has to be at the heart of the work!
Through out all of humankind, storytelling has always been a powerful force of nature. People can experience new perspectives, explore different worlds and cultures, create communities and develop empathy and understanding for others. From an artistic point of view, stories can leave everlasting impressions and memories that can affect people for the rest of their lives. Think about your favorite book, film or latest binge-watch. What was it that stayed with you?
Back in my industry days, I was responsible for reading submitted screenplays, books and stories that Film and TV execs were given. Then I wrote coverage (a simplified book report) on what works and what doesn’t in the script. What were the components that made me recommend a script to the executive that would green light a story?
Unique voice: You don’t have create a super original story that has never been done before. Just bring a voice and a perspective that reflects your imagination, your experiences. Although I have read some concepts that were fresh and novel!
Characters: Heroes, villains, anti-heroes, love interests, make them interesting to follow. Take the time to give each character in the script feel different from each other: their beliefs, their dialogue, their actions. If I can’t remember one character and their key motivation, then the script needs a serious rewrite!
Structure: Feature films and TV shows follow a traditional 3-5 Act structure that marks where and when key story beats should happen: think about the cliffhangers or the resolutions that keep you on the edge of your seat. Writers use beats to structure their narratives, propel the story and control emotional arcs of their characters. Scripts without the fundamentals become muddled with plot holes, lackluster moments and little to no payoffs for your audience's investment.
These elements can be translated into promotional and marketing videos too! Businesses don’t need to create a Hollywood-level blockbuster to captivate and inspire its customers to be invested in their products or growth.
Let’s pull together all three elements that make a story great: Unique Voice, Structure and Characters, and apply them in producing a branded video.
First off, define what your business is, what it offers and the people it services.
How is your business different from the competitors? Make sure you tell how your business stands out, loud and proud!
What are the services or products that make you most excited to share now and in the future?
Define how your video identifies the following steps: the Opening Hook, the Problem for your Customer, the Solution, the Selling Points, Introducing your Company and a Call to Action.
Ensure your video captures the interest of your viewer with a problem they need solved, then a solution that ties with the values and services of your business. Lastly, tell the viewer how they should connect with you!
A client testimonial or personal account can speak volumes of how a company gives back to its community, customer base and more.
Who are the best voices to promote your business? Is it the CEO? The Sales Rep? Can a client explain the effectiveness of your business for you? Does your company have a collaboration with a thought leader, influencer or public figure that can promote you?
Remember your onscreen talent / representatives should be able to speak to the brand in an authentic and well-informed manner.
For reference, let's look at several videos TinDragon Media produced and see how Unique Voice, Structure and Characters come into play.
1. AAPIs for Biden 2020 Commercial
In an extremely contentious 2020 Presidential Election, the Biden campaign focused its Get Out the Vote advertising to the Asian American Pacific Islander community. Asian Americans are the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, according to Pew Research Center. The campaign's focus on representation and community was crucial as this video was in development.
The video starts with "While we may have our feet in two different cultures but America is our home," we are immediately establishing the importance of remembering your roots but being united as Americans.
Then we go into how a Biden Presidency will tackle the issues that bond the AAPI community together: health care, education, inequality and the environment.
The video sends a Call to Action: "Things change when we vote" and "When you vote, we win" it wraps up with a chorus of "Vote for Joe" as the link to iwillvote.com fades on screen.
While there are no characters or scripted roles, it was important to have recognizable and influential AAPI voices speak their case of why they plan to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Inviting celebrities like Mindy Kaling, Connie Chung, Kumail Nanjiani and The Rock allows for a new voter perspective to chime into the conversation about why Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would be great champions for AAPI communities in America.
2. SCI-Arc 50+50 Anniversary Docuseries
SCI-Arc is a world-renowned center of innovation and one of the nation's few independent architecture schools that focuses on a tradition of architectural experimentation. SCI-Arc is devoted to finding radically new responses to the real needs and aspirations of today's world.
As part of our continuous work with SCI-Arc's Media Channel, our approach to shooting and editing their videos comes from an experimental lens: futuristic visual aesthetic, in-depth interviews and deliberate pacing that allows the viewer to absorb the artist's words and work.
The 50th Anniversary series was less about solving a particular issue and a more in-depth investigation of how the architecture institution has evolved with the cultural and design shifts of the past 50 years. The question was "Where was SCI-Arc 50 years ago and where is it going?" So in Post-Production, we were able to mix accounts from faculty, alumni and students of different generations to show a sense of contrast between then and now. The stories and experiences are told in a non-chronological and freeform manner.
SCI-Arc graduates, current students, faculty, and leadership were the essential voices needed to make the short-form documentary series as authentic and contemplative as possible. Who knows SCI-Arc better than SCI-Arc's student, faculty and alumni communities?
3. CALSOAP League of Los Angeles
Cal-SOAP LA is an educational enrichment program that assists students and families with overall financial aid literacy to help them make the best possible decisions in financing their postsecondary education. What makes CAL-SOAP LA such a unique program is their personalized one-on-one approach in helping high schoolers complete their FAFSA and CADAA applications and direct them to resources that help with the high school to college transition.
When TinDragon Media had the opportunity to work with CAL-SOAP LA on a Promotional / Recruitment Video, we had the upmost respect and high regard for the program's mission. They were like superheroes, which inspired us to create one of our first animated videos in 2020. Throughout the development process, we asked the instructors and coordinators to think about their favorite superheroes and what powers they imagine having, which led straight into the design process. We wanted the CAL-SOAP LA team to become the new Justice League.
In their first video, we wanted the CAL-SOAP heroes to do something heroic! So having a Student Character feel overwhelmed at where to go to school and how to pay for it (The Problem), was the easiest obstacle for the team of heroes to tackle. Then we showed off what each member at CAL-SOAP does with a showcase of their college resource powers and technology (The Solution). Finally we ended the video with a Call to Action to connect with the program.
The narrator/lead superhero Captain Camella was inspired by Camella who guided us through CAL-SOAP's mission and achievements. The rest of the characters were based on the other coaches and coordinators. When the students and parents watched the video, the big takeaway was to paint the team as your go-to heroes for all things college.
Making a video is a great opportunity to try your hand at being a storyteller!
At TinDragon Media, we can help you discover the voice, structure and the character of your video in our Creative Development Process. It is a deep dive into how your business operates, its goals, marketing strategies, branding materials and more. Then we develop an amazing idea that speaks to your goals and identity. Schedule a call with us and we can provide our direction and expertise that can take your video marketing to the next level.
For those looking to produce a branded video or commercial in the Los Angeles and Pasadena area, I'm always happy to grab a coffee in person with you.
Chandler Kilgore-Parshall is the Co-Founder and CEO of TinDragon Media.
Living in beautiful Los Angeles, Chandler has worked at The Jim Henson Company, Kinetic Content and Warner Horizon Alternative. Having experienced this demanding work culture has made him more efficient and resourceful in both problem solving and production. Important assets for a writer and producer!
Wanting to shape a healthy culture of creative collaboration in the entertainment industry, Chandler started TinDragon Media, a Millennial-ran production company. TinDragon specializes in creating personalized content for all their clients with a production mindset. Chandler has been blessed to work with businesses and nonprofits like NBC Sports, The Los Angeles LGBT Center, AAPIs for Joe Biden 2020, SCI-ARC, Gear Up and many more.
Email him (email@example.com) about your projects, favorite movies and best coffee shops in the Greater Los Angeles Area!