Startup Videos Interview: Veracity Colab
This is the 6th interview in a series called the Startup Videos Interview Series. In this series, we will be interviewing top motion designers and agencies in the community to give you the inside scoop on the persons behind the explanation videos we showcase here. Today we're bringing you an interview VeracityColab a creative studio located in California.
About you and your agency
Let’s start with an introduction. What is your background and what do you do?
My name is Charlie Matz and I am the CEO and Founder of VeracityColab. My background is pretty “all over the place”. I started out in Psychology, wanting to be an agent for the federal government, but then found my love for filmmaking after college. Most of my experience has been in Producing, Directing and Editing. Now I mostly wear a leadership hat and let the real creatives take over.
How did it all started with your studio/agency?
VeracityColab started in 2006 with the three founders, Bub Kuns, Ian Nelson and myself. We all come from different backgrounds. Bub from theater, acting, writing and film. Ian from design, identity and branding.
What did you use to do before making videos / creating your agency?
We all started working in the Church, creating over 400 projects in two years. That really helped us get good at producing quality work fast (we also made a ton of mistakes constantly). My advice to anyone would be to find a place where you can make lots of mistakes like we could in the Church. The faster you can.
What about now? How many people in your team? (In-house, remote, freelancers?)
Now we have about 10 people on our team and we use many different freelancers. At any given time we may have 20 people.
About your production / creative process
Can you tell us about your typical creative/production process? (Brainstorm > script > storyboard > animation > etc ?)
We start with a Discovery Meeting and really dig into what makes our client “tick”. We’re also interested in goals. We have something called a “Key Persuasion” where we make the client finish this sentence: “When people watch this film we want them to...”. That way everyone can identify if we’ve succeeded after the film is complete. After our Discovery Meeting, we then go into scripting. After the script is signed-off, we do a storyboard presentation that is somewhat unique. We storyboard the project very “rough” on a whiteboard. Then we have the Director walk through the whole story on video. We send that video presentation to our clients on ProofHQ (www.proofhq.com) where they can give notes and eventually sign-off on the creative direction. One of the reasons we don’t currently use elaborate storyboards is to keep the story on the forefront. A lot of clients get caught up in the details before getting their arms around the bigger vision. We say that “we take facts and information and relate them emotionally to the audience.” The only way to do that is to tell a well crafted story as a first priority.
After the Storyboard is signed-off we provide a “Look & Feel Board” that shows our direction graphically. Once that is signed off we go into animation. We give two rounds of revisions on a Rough Cut and then produce a Final Cut. Our process usually dictates very few changes at the end. We like having a lot of communication up-front to reduce headache throughout the process.
What are you favorite sources of inspiration?
We all like watching films, vimeo videos, television, documentaries, etc. But we also love going to a book store and grabbing design magazines to leaf through. By far the biggest inspiration is each other. We all dig for new ideas and share them with each other. This truly is an environment where big ideas are encouraged.
Tell us about your team organisation, do you produce everything inhouse, do you collaborate with others creative people/agencies (copy writers, illustrators, animators, sound designer, etc... )
The best way to say it is this: We collaborate with anyone necessary to complete the best possible outcome. All of our creative direction is always produced from in-house however. We will work with other agencies as well. Many times we’ll be hired through an agency to create client work.
What are your favorite projects you’ve worked on so far?
We all loved working with Payoff.com, Pear Sports, and LegalZoom. Working with LegalZoom was a blast because they are so big. Sitting in the room with there VP of Marketing and Chairman was amazing because we were collaborating with the decision makers for a large National Brand.
If you had to share one ultimate bit of wisdom that you’ve learnt through out the years what would it be?
Hire and work with the best people you can find and don’t let them go. Our success is dictated by the amazing team that has been assembled here.
Video Explainer / product demo market
Most startups realize that explaining their product/services through video is now a must have in their communication/brand strategy. What would be your advices for startups looking to get such a video, what are the “must have” and pitfalls to avoid?
You have to find a company or person who understands writing, branding and pacing. The best companies doing this kind of work have been able to integrate into each company’s brand and create videos that last years rather than months. Try not to miss the essentials. At the end of the day, this is still advertising and if your video doesn’t create real results then it’s not going to give you an ROI even if you go with the lowest bidder to produce your video. Cheaper isn’t always cheaper. If you spend $20k on a video and it helps you raise a round of capital then I’d say your investment is paying off. If you spend $5k on a video and your family likes it but it doesn’t move the needle then you’ve just wasted $5k.
According to you, what are the trends for 2012 and what can we expect for this year design-wise, budget-wise, message-wise?
I see the gap between the lowest bidders and the top-end producers of online content getting bigger. Everyone is jumping into this right now. The great thing is that it forces everyone to be creative and differentiate. You’re going to see a lot of super creative stuff coming out of agencies, freelancers, etc.
What is missing, or what would you like see in the industry right now?
We are working on something right now that will hopefully be the answer to this question. It’s going to take us some time but if done well it will pay off. More to come next Spring. Sorry to be so elusive:)
What’s your favourite startups at the moment?
It’s really hard to say because we’ve worked with so many that we love and we don’t want to leave anyone out. But we are certainly closest to Scott Saunders and the team over at Payoff.com.
If you had the choice what company or client would you like to make a video for?
We’d really like to make videos for Nike. They have always been the best at leading people to an action while inspiring. Either them or Facebook because who doesn’t want to work with Facebook?
What's the one web video that you didn't make but you wish you did?
All of us here really like the video for dollarshaveclub.com
The questions you’d like us to ask you?
What do you like to do in your free time? Since we are out in Southern California some of us take advantage of the waves and surf.
Others like to golf, bike, ride scooters and also Envy are recommended as the best scooters and just get outside. We all like to hang out with our families together as well. A major bonus about working for this company is that it’s also a family. All of the husbands and wives can hang out and have a good time, growing together and helping each
other through each stage of life.
Any other news? Projects you're working on? Plans for the next few months?
One of the projects we are working on is completely out of the box and different than our other projects that you might see on Startup-Videos.com. We are producing our own feature length film. We have a screenplay and some actors attached and now it’s just a matter of putting it in front of the right people. It may take a while to get it completed, but it’s been a dream of the founders for a long time. We are also planning on launching our first product next Spring. We believe that a service company alone is not sustainable. Products creating recurring revenue is what will give or company the CashFlow to dream big “in and out of season"