Hey Speak and Spillers!
I just had to include a picture of my boy Xander! haha any chance I can I will :D
I've been thinking a long time about what I could do to add value to this wonderful group and I finally had an idea. I wanted to create you all a page where I could share with you everything I know about speaker video trailers. I am definitely not the best speaker out there and my content isn't the best but I've managed to build a pretty cool career in speaking and I know a big part of it is because I've gone chips all in with video.
I do run a video production company and I am in no way pressuring you to use me and my production company. I am going to share with you the formula that we use and if it's more cost effective for you to use a local crew - all good! No hard feelings at all. I am doing this because I want to help! I am also happy to jump on a call to help if you need. I have nothing but gratitude for this group.
I'd love to share with you my journey as a speaker and more specifically my journey with my speaker trailer over the years.
I want you to think about your speaker trailer as a dish. Like the legendary "Miso Cod" from Nobu (seriously an amazing dish!!!!). To start with no one ever has the right ingredients to ever be able to cook an incredible dish, you just have to work with what you've got. Here's my first dish that I was able to cook in 2014... (it makes me want to vomit and die).
A little context, the person filming was my little brother who was about 14 at the time. The shaky cam was epic aye? lol believe it or not this video got me booked in schools, and thus the beginning of my speaking career. FYI, this was filmed at a free event I did for a community church in my neighbourhood. Taking massive imperfect action has always been one of my strengths haha!
Then as I started to speak more I collected more ingredients and thus the next video was born... I finally got my big break and I got a STAGE!!! Still not a paid engagement and I still wasn't clear on my message as a speaker but what the hell lol I always believed in jumping and learning how to fly on the way down... Oh and trust me I fell on my face hardcore multiple times loll
I kept on collecting... and kept going through the process of trial and error.
Now it's crazy but this video started to bring me some association work and some decent conferences! It was crazy that this video even worked, I hope this will inspire some of you to just use what you have to create a trailer. We should just work with what we've got and when we can do better, then do better but in the mean time something is better than nothing.
One thing to note here, this is when I started to realise the power of video. I started to realise that no matter how good my keynote got, no one knew about this awesome keynote of mine. And word of mouth just wasn't working fast enough for me to advance in my career. I knew from this point I needed to go all in with my videos, so I started to invest in them more and evolve them more frequently. This was when I decided to just get videographers to work for me full time (side note: I also ran an online e learning business and it made sense for me to hire them full time. It wasn't just to make a speaker video for me).
This video got me some attention from the bureaus in Australia. Since I had their attention this got me meetings with them and my career really started to gain some traction at this point. It was a wonderful feeling and I knew that without a great video (I was aware at the time this video isn't that great but it was the best I had), I wouldn't of been able to break through the noise. There was definitely a correlation between my videos getting better and my career getting better.
So I kept collecting and kept experimenting....
As I was experimenting, I was going backwards with some of the videos that I made. Some videos lost me gigs, but hey this is the price you have to pay when you don't have any paths to follow. I didn't think to look beyond Australia at this point for mentors or examples of what other speakers were doing. In Australia most speakers just had IMAG footage and that was it.
Again the common thread on my journey - as my videos started to get better so did my career. And as demand was starting to grow I was slowly (very slowly) able to grow my fee. There are also other factors as well, because I was speaking quite often I started to zero in on my message, the stage time I was getting helped me apply the lessons I was learning from my mentors from theatre and my singing classes... I knew at this point that my videos always had to keep up with who I am as a keynote speaker in the present. I am only as good as what my video shows.
I went all out at this point now and hired a full crew out for this next promo and this is when the game changed for me.
Once I put this together I had bureaus in Australia tell me this was the best promo they've seen and they started telling me I was making their job easy! This was music to my ears!! Gosh the bookings really started to roll in at this point, my career picked up a tonne of traction and my fee was able to again grow - slowly but surely. I spent a tonne on this video flying videographers with me to capture as much as we could and it was so scary at the time because my wife was like WTH are you doing!! But it paid off in the end! I learnt now that we NEED to make it easier for the bureaus to sell us, it's our responsibility not theirs.. Because after all it's our career.
But now I had my eye on the US market place, I really wanted to see how far I could push my speaking career and myself.
This video almost takes us up to present day. This was the video that helped me crack the US market all the way from Adelaide Australia. I was just some Asian magician with no history here in the US but this video really helped me nail it. It was the tip of spear that needed to pierce the market and it did just that. I flew my own production crew to the US for this, I had a crew of 4 and spent a tonne of money to capture this event right. I went overboard with the crew to cover my keynotes which in the end proved unnecessary lol in my family I am known as the "King of Unnecessary" - I love this title haha
And this year I've decided not to take my foot off the pedal and I've continued my journey collecting ingredients, I have yet to release this one. I will be releasing it in about 2 weeks but this will be my 2017 promo leading into 2018...
I do get the occasional "oh congrats, you literally shot up over night mate!" and I know some of you get this as well and they are blind to the 100000s of miles that we had to of walked and sometimes crawled to get to where we are... There's one thing I've learnt and it's that my promo video will be evolving and improving on a yearly basis, I will not stop this process and I will keep working on it and I will keep collecting ingredients every chance I can.
After all these years of experimenting with my own promo videos and now making them for others here's the list of MUST HAVE ingredients in your promo:
**These are not in any order of importance...
- Shots of the audience laughing
- Shots of the audience leaning forward in their seats
- Shots of the audience writing things down
- Shots of you backstage/ offstage interacting with attendees
- Early on in the trailer make sure there's a clip of you speaking on stage
- Make sure you spend ample time on the script writing process, don't just wing it. Get someone to help with this, we tend to be way too close to our content. Fresh eyes really help here.
- Listen through your keynote and find the best sound bites possible
- Capture you speaking at a minimum of 2 events where possible
- Have some A -Roll interview styled footage so people are able to connect with you as an individual not just you as a speaker
- Have relevant B-Roll to what you are saying
- Use metaphors or use quotes in the video - these help because they will allow you to say a lot with fewer words
- Clips of you on stage with strong presence - don't pick flat delivery
- Talk to why you are different as a speaker
- Rule: What you can show don't tell, this allows you to fit even more into the video!
- Subtly share your credibility
- If you can afford it go for cinema grade quality - this will seperate how your video looks immediately from the rest of the speakers in the market place.
- Improve your delivery, I know this sounds obvious but the moment you get better with your craft on stage, your promo gets better as well.
- Rehearse the A-Roll script as much as you can
- Running time should go from 3 mins - 7 mins. The more engaging you are the more time you are allowed. But we find 4 minutes to be the sweet spot but again it's trial an error and for each speaker it will be different.
- Experiment, Experiment and Experiment some more. Take some risks with your promo, don't be boring with it - STAND OUT!
With my most recent promo, I took a plunge and tried to speak directly to the decision maker. I wanted to make them SUPER curious about me and I've got a second video I want them to watch and that's a straight cut of me on stage for 15 minutes. But in order to get them to invest 15 minutes into me, I know I need to hook them hard.
I thought this would be helpful for you all to see my journey with video, I hope it inspires some of you to take some risks and create something cool!! I am always available just hit me up on facebook chat or send me a text on 213 910 6759. And at the risk of repeating myself, please don't feel like you have to use my company or anything like that - our main market is the corporates and conferences. Happy to help and add value anywhere I can.