Before I start, you should know that I’m not complaining. It’s not something I do, but I did want to dispel some myths and perceptions that I see. [Read more...]
Spicy food, dirty looks, and show tunes – Monarch’s unforgettable lesson about a common denomintor of success.
Approximately 100,000 people die in America every year from Healthcare Aquirred infections. You read that right…. 100,000 hospital and nursing home patients look to American healthcare facilities for help and end up dying from an infection that usually has nothing to do with the reason they were in the hospital in the first place. Monarch had the honor of working with Clorox, and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC), to inspire healthcare workers to drastically reduce those numbers. In the process of developing three case-studies of hospitals that have taken drastic and creative measures to reduce those infections, the Monarch crew visited three very different health care faciliites in three very different cities. [Read more...]
No I’m not talking about another one of Sonny and Sher’s kids….I’m talking about the question that every creative organization or individual will hear at some point during their career….the pro bono question. Will you do what other people pay you to do, for nothing? It doesn’t matter whether it’s a major non-profit group or your aunt Jean’s sister’s daughter’s father-in-laws third wedding, at some point you are going to be ask to spend your time, energy, talent, and other resources to provide the same quality of art you normally provide for no money. It sounds really bad when I say it that way doesn’t it?
My first reaction to that sentence is explosive. I feel a need to protect the value of the talent and resources that Monarch has worked so hard to aqquire. It also makes me feel defensive about the value of art in our culture in general. The truth is, it sometimes seems like an uphill battle to get our clients to understand the worth of our services anyway. Doing it for free may only give more fuel to their fire. My attitude changes drastically when the cause it right.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington was one of those causes for Monarch. Not only is the club operated by selfless people who have become my good friends, it has impacted the culture in Bloomington in profound ways. As I walked into the club to talk with it’s leadership about the possibility of creating a video piece to be used as a fundraising tool, I was immediately hit by the impact the club has had on me personally. I could get sappy and emotional talking about the way that the Boys and Girls club (then just the Boys Club) helped to shape my understanding of sports, teamwork, and friendships, but this blog isn’t about the Boys and Girls Club. The project that Monarch created for the Boys and Girls club of Bloomington is an anomoly among many attempts to use Monarch’s resources to contribute to the effort of a not-for-profit organization. I believe there are some take aways from this experience that I will use to assess future opportunites to donate our services and I thought I would share them with anyone else who may be contemplating helping an orgainization in this way.
1. Get buy-in from your entire crew:
In the past i’ve found myself annoucing to my crew that we aren’t getting paid for a project while on site, or on the way to the shoot. Before this project, I sat down with the guys and we made the decision together. From the beginning it felt like something we could all “buy in to” and it really made a difference.
2. Do the project on your terms as much as possible:
We dictated the equipment to be used and the timeline for the project. This allowed me to fit the project in to a schedule that was booked with paying clients. If the leadership of the non-profit pushes back about you doing the project on your terms, it may be time to find another project.
3. Don’t take a small percentage of what you would normally charge:
Either donate or don’t donate! This was huge for us on this project project. The recognition and free publicity that Monarch got for donating to the Boy’s and Girls club was worth a lot more than the $500 that we may have charged them just to recoup some of the costs.
4. Don’t forget the tax deduction:
It’s easy to blow this off, but it’s important for everyone involved to see the financials involved in the project. Send the client a proposal for the project and an invoice….then mark it paid by donation from your company. It feels good for everyone and it validates the work that you’ve done. You haven’t simply done a free project….you’ve donated an expensive project.
These are just a few of the take aways that I got from this project. Please feel free to add your own thoughts to this list and keep giving!
Here’s the video that came from this project:
Boys & Girls Club “It Just Takes One” Campaign
Zach Majors Studio Session (or, how to shoot a few high quality music videos in less than a few hours)
We’ve been traveling quite a bit lately, so when we got a call between trips to LA and Oregon to put together a few acoustic studio sessions for Zach we had to find a way to squeeze it in. He was looking to record some live takes of a few songs from his new album. We knew we wanted to shoot in a style that would help contribute to the one-take feel which would also help with our time constraints. So we threw a couple of cameras into the room with some simple lighting and managed to capture each song in just two takes.
For lighting we just used a 500 watt mogul lamp in a medium pancake lantern right above Zach’s head. This gave us a nice soft light that would cover all three musicians, and then we threw a 100 watt frosted bulb in an 8″ reflector clamp light above and behind Zach for a rim light, and also placed one above and to the left of the violinist to give her a little fill. We didn’t have a dimmer, so we had to waste quite a bit of it up at the ceiling.
we had 2 cameras for this shoot. One camera was our conservative wide shot which covered all three musicians. We knew we didn’t want this to feel locked down. We were looking for a more organic feel that would go more with the feel of the music and the rest of the video, but I also knew I didn’t want to go handheld for this shot either. I didn’t want to make the viewer sick. This was our anchor shot and we were going to be using it a lot, so I decided to put it on a monopod. This gave us some fluidity with the shot, but it was also stable enough that we could stay with it for longer periods of time. Our other shots were with a 70 – 200 on a shoulder mount which would let us get in nice and close and still stay out of the way of the wide shot.
Fact Music Group did all of the audio and it sounds great. As you can see there are a handful of mics in the room which help give it the feel of a live acoustic recording. It was also necessary, because it was, actually, a live acoustic recording.
Feel free to post questions in the comments. Look forward to doing more with the guys over at FMG.
I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, you guys haven’t posted anything since, like, February.” Well you’re wrong it’s been since, like, November. Part of the problem is that we’ve been working and traveling a lot, and part of the problem is that several of our projects are longer term projects that aren’t completed yet. We’re very excited about some of the stuff we’ve been working on recently and can’t wait to let you all see some of it. Hopefully over the course of the next few weeks we’ll be able to start rolling out some of those projects as they get finished. We’ve been all over the country over the past few months, from New York to California, shooting several interesting stories. If you can stick with us a little longer we’ll get them up so you can have a look!
In the meantime, if you have any questions about what we do or how we do it, feel free to hit us in the comments, we love talking about what we do, and even more importantly, finding other people like us who love the art of making videos!
In the midst of our busiest time of the year, we’re going to try to keep the posts coming. This update comes as our most recent commercial is set to begin airing on a few different Comcast Channels. So, you may see this one around if you live in the Bloomington area. It’s a spot that we just finished for [Read more...]
I’m in Denver this week with the American Society for Health Care Engineers (ASHE). To be honest, I’m tired this week. I’ve been to Denver many times to ski or play in the mountains in some way, but this time I was trading in my ski poles and fishing rods for a projector, an audience response system, and around 1000 PowerPoint slides that outline Health Care Construction. I reluctantly got on the plane in Indianapolis and pouted my way back to seat 7A. My role in Denver would be to support 4 speakers as they train construction [Read more...]
One of the great things about working in a creative environment is the creative energy you can soak up and share with others that you’re around. One of the things that we try to do occasionally is spend some time working on fun side-projects – Short films, documentaries, etc. A huge frustration with this process, for all of us, is what to shoot. Because the opportunity to shoot our own projects is more rare than we’d like, we aim to create something that is [Read more...]
This question is one of the most telling, personal questions you can ask a person about their work. It causes you to think deeply about what you’ve committed many, many hours to. For some, it’s a simple answer, for others they must dig deeper to figure it out. I think I can speak for us all at Monarch when I say that for us this answer is simple. [Read more...]