Okay, I’m a little late to the party on this gem of a short film by Filmmaker Jamie Stuart. He’s receiving national attention for this short film he made about the recent East Coast blizzard. Stuart shot “Idiot with a Tripod” on December 26th in New York. In this three minute film, Stuart is able to wonderfully capture the post-Christmas snowstorm.

Made as an homage, directly inspired by Dziga Vertov’s 1929 silent classic “Man With a Movie Camera,” it was shot and edited in a little over a 24 hour period. And, by later that following day, December 27th, links to the film were being passed around on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Strategically sent to film critic Roger Ebert making him one of the first to see “Idiot with a Tripod.” Ebert thinks the film should win an Academy Award for best live-action short subject. Enjoy …

It’s certainly impressive the way Stuart is able to tell a story without any words and pulls it together with an excellent choice of music. There are no spoken words, no graphics, not even any natural sound, yet the viewer sees a story through the images on the screen. We are able to follow the progression as the storm impacts life in New York. Nice work!

Here is a link to Vertov’s original 1929 silent classic “Man With a Movie Camera,” should you wish to watch.


This post is a guest post by Roger Dooley, a writer, speaker and researcher in marketing, and in particular the use of neuroscience and behavioral research. This post was first published on PRSAY, the executive blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

By Roger Dooley
I tend to be more of a consumer of public relations than a creator. I’ve done my share of press releases and media interviews, but I’m bombarded with many times that quantity of public relations messages — news releases, book review requests, story suggestions and so on. Sadly, most of what I see is ineffective.

Want to craft a public relations message that engages the recipient? Use our understanding of the human brain to create that message. While there are many ways to play to brains of those readers, likely the most effective single technique is to tell a story.

Stories have a special appeal to human brains. The ability to process information from fellow humans was an important evolutionary advantage to our early ancestors. While they learned from direct experience like other creatures, they could also learn from the experiences of others. Whether this involved avoiding the lair of a dangerous animal, or locating a source of food, being able to readily absorb this second-hand information made these early communicators far more efficient than other species.

This preference for stories affects the way we process information, even in today’s high-tech environment. You can read statistics about the reliability of Toyota cars in reliable publications like Consumer Reports, but if your neighbor recounts a detailed horror story about a transmission problem and how he made three trips to the dealer to get it fixed, that one story will outweigh all the numeric data.

Our brains learn far better from specific examples than abstract information.

Brain scans show the potency of stories, even when they are merely text on a page. In a post about the efficacy of stories in advertising, I describe research showing that stories actually activate the parts of our brain related to the content. If we read about pedaling a bicycle up a hill, our brain will mimic that activity even if our legs remain still.

Never underestimate the power of text when it tells a story. One of the top-rated ads of this year’s Super Bowl was Google’s “Parisian Love” commercial. As I described in my post, “Power of Text,” there are no actors or CGI animation, no cute animals, no zooming cars, nothing but a series of words typed into a search boxes and their search results. A “neuro-engagement” study using EEG brain scans placed the Google ad in the top-five, ahead of almost all of the big-budget productions. This ad’s secret of success was that it told a compelling story.

One remarkable characteristic of spoken stories is that they actually synchronize the brains of the speaker and listener. If the listener is following the speaker’s story, his brain activity will become almost synchronous with that of the speaker.

In short, whether your goal is to inform or persuade, you first have to connect with your audience by engaging their brains. Statistics and dry facts won’t do that. There’s simply no better way to initiate and maintain that engagement than to present your message in the form of a story.

by Anupam Gupta

Successful online advertising isn’t just about the channel — from search to display to video — it’s about storytelling. When ads incorporate narrative elements, they increase interaction rates and the audience’s willingness to consider the product, react, or even move towards a purchase. Savvy advertisers know that nothing tells a story better than video. I would propose that the power of storytelling through sight, sound and motion is the reason why video is the fastest growing form of online advertising. eMarketer estimates that online video ad spending will grow 48% to $1.5 billion this year and hit $5.5 billion by 2014.

It’s now easier than ever for advertisers to choose online video, whether they’re national retailers or political candidates at the local level just beginning these efforts. The issue isn’t why use online video to tell your story, but how online video should tell your story. Even more important, how do you use online video to further your marketing strategy, tell a great story and generate concrete results? Let’s start by agreeing that not all online video advertising is created equal — or equal to every task — and start to build a holistic online video advertising strategy. Storytelling should move your audience emotionally and logically through the purchase funnel. Understanding how video works across that funnel and where to apply your resources at each stage is the key to unlocking that value.

Introduction – Create Awareness. The beginning of a story should grab viewers’ attention and introduce them to new places, characters, and concepts. At this stage, your video advertising must be disruptive and impactful. In-stream video is most effective in this case because it takes a short time to introduce and create awareness of your product or service. Much like television, the ad is presented in the course of viewing. So, if you are introducing a new product, then focus on driving awareness via broad in-stream buys. The goal is to disrupt, be brief, and be broad-based. And how do you know if you were successful? Research can clearly show when audiences exposed to your advertising have a higher awareness of your product than those who saw nothing.

For the rest of this article, click HERE.

Great tips from an article by Seth Kahan for not only surviving tough economic times, but thriving during them. Seth Kahan is the author of the Washington Post bestseller, Getting Change Right: How Leaders Transform Organizations from the Inside Out.

What makes tough times a good time to surge forward in business? Here are six reasons:

1. When times are tough, your clients are looking for those who can make a real difference in their lives. Value is at a premium. People are desperate for real solutions and will pay accordingly.

2. While everyone is retreating, you can move forward just by holding your ground.

3. You have the most to gain, and can often count on a multiplier when the market comes back.

4. When everyone else is surging forward, your progress is minimized by the successes of the surrounding market. Similarly, your successes are much more noticeable in a difficult time.

5. When people are hunkering down, you can leverage your activity.

6. You are forced to focus, be selective in your investments. Your efforts tend to count more, to be more valuable to you.

So, how do you move forward decisively in tough times? Every surge has five components:

1. Timespan. Start with a launch and end with a deadline. Creating a solid beginning and end makes it possible to push hard, giving you the time boundaries you need to create leverage.

2. The anchor. Strong surges are connected to a real event such as a holiday, a news event, or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

3. Bundles of value. Provide multiple ways for your clients to get in on the action and get the results they yearn for (e.g., a symposium, a webinar, a book, an engagement, a retail sale and a wholesale event).

4. Multiple media. Reach out to people through several channels: screen-to-screen, voice-to-voice and face-to-face.

5. Progressive calls to action. Make it clear what your clients can do to get access to the value they want, and if they like what they get provide them with a path that generates greater and greater reward.

Follow-through is particularly important. After your surge is launched, be ready to jump in when your clients respond. They expect immediate response and when you deliver it, they are in your hands.

The economy is coming back, but it’s not back yet. Use this opportunity to initiate new value. Surge forward aggressively, make your mark, and build your business.

Seth Kahan is the author of the Washington Post bestseller, Getting Change Right: How Leaders Transform Organizations from the Inside Out. He provides strategy consulting to business owners and mentoring to independent consultants. More information can be found on his website, VisionaryLeadership.com.

Here at StoryFirst we share every day our belief that telling your story via web video makes a big difference in your business. It makes your website more human, more accessible, and more appealing. And, when engaged in your other communications channels your videos will improve the effectiveness of those as well.

However telling stories via video is what we do at StoryFirst, and you’d probably expect us to say that. So, to support our story of “the power of web video” – here are ten top statistics from research findings of recent industry studies. We think you’ll agree that these statistics make quite a compelling case for web video to tell your stories!

1. “Brands using online video have seen lifts of 20% to 40% in terms of incremental buying, with conversions that are twice the rate of other media.” (1)
2. 21% of retail web video viewers make a purchase online. (1)
3. 26% of retail web video viewers visit a store. (2)
4. 21% of retail web video viewers request more information. (1)
5. Video landing pages generate four to seven times higher engagement and response rates than static image and text landing pages. (3)
6. Well-optimized video is fifty-three times more likely than text to appear on the front page of Google. (4)
7. 68% of the top 50 Internet retailers use web video. (5)
8. 71% of Internet users watch video. (1)
9. 65% of all videos are viewed between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. (1)
10. 33% of middle managers under 50 view work-related videos every day. (1)

(1) Chris Crafton, CMO, eCorpTV.com, reported by Target Marketing at a Philadelphia
Direct Marketing Association networking and breakfast meeting.
(2) BIA/Kelsey User View study data, February 2010, reported by Turnhere.com.
(3) SearchEngineWatch, February 2010.
(4) Forrester Research, January 2010.
(5) Internet Retailer, July 2010.

What are your experiences with using video on your website and to tell your stories? Please share with us!
And, if you’d like to talk further about how web video can help you or your organization in Madison, give us a call – In Madison, WI 608-576-0174 or Austin, TX 512-782-9992.

Love this column by Grant Crowell over at REELSEO. If you enjoy Mad Men as much as we do at StoryFirst, you’ll love this read as well!

By Grant Crowell at REELSEO
I was the first reporter to gleam this information from Matt Weiner, creator of the critically acclaimed TV show Mad Men at the 2010 NAB Show in Las Vegas, as part of the 2nd day opening session titled “In Conversation With: Matthew Weiner.” Read about what Matt says are the parallels, and differences, with the 1960’s Madison Avenue age depicted in the popular show, to 2010’s “online video age.”

Yes, I admit it… MAD MEN is a show I’ve watched on a near-religious basis, since being introduced to it during the beginning of its 2nd season on television (and rented all the back episodes on Netflix since). I’ve even watched all of the video parodies of the show online. You probably already know about the SNL clips, and the Sesame Street and Simpsons parodies, but I actually find the Mad Women parody to be my fav.

For the rest of this great read, click here.

$1.34 billion in revenues predicted by 2014

The population of mobile video viewers in the US will grow nearly 30% in 2010 to reach 23.9 million, according to eMarketer’s forecasts. The still represents a reach of only 7.7% of the total population and less than 10% of mobile phone users, but those numbers are set to double by 2013 and increase still further in 2014.

The number of mobile video viewers, which includes people of any age who watch video content on mobile phones through mobile browser, subscriptions, downloads or applications at least once per month, will continue growing in the double digits for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.8% from 2009 through 2014.

“Video is in many ways the most fragmented of the three primary mobile content categories,” said Noah Elkin, eMarketer senior analyst. “Video consumption on mobile phones can take place through various channels, including paid and free applications, mobile websites, pay-per-view downloads and subscriptions through mobile carriers.”

To read the rest please click here.