With over 60,000 artists worldwide, the Pond5 marketplace truly represents the most diverse and unique media offering in the industry. Our content team works around the clock to support our global network of artists, targeting needs from a variety of cultures in different time zones around the world. While most people were celebrating the year-end holidays in the US, I was actively involved with quite a few Pond5 artists strategizing and planning fresh work that couldn’t wait for the ball to drop on the New Year. Below, I’ve assembled a few highlights from those conversations that could be helpful as you map out your own content strategies in 2018.
Work-Life Balance: A Day in the Life
I was contacted by an artist in South Africa who was planning on covering quite a few shoots in Thailand on a variety of themes. The subjects included Business, Lifestyles, and Travel. We spent quite a few hours over a number of days breaking down the concepts, gear, casting, and all of those other important details that turn a vision into sales.
With so many options at the filmmaker’s disposal, it was time to organize the shoot days into a feasible timetable. I suggested that we break down each shoot day by focusing on a “day in the life” of one or two members of the cast, from the time they wake up to the time they turn off the lights.
In this way, the filmmaker could hit most of the themes, conserving time without having to switch out the cast. Applying this concept immediately cleared up any confusion and stress that the filmmaker was experiencing prior to lifting this heavy production load. In addition, this approach is ideal for clients who want to tell a story using the same talent from the same shoot. Porsche takes the concept a step further by illustrating a lifetime around the life of a vehicle in the commercial below:
Last summer, I created an exclusive custom shoot brief for Pond5 artist Rodin Hamidi. I utilized the same day in the life technique when building out the day’s shooting scenarios. We casted on a real couple who engaged in activities surrounding a weekend on New York’s Lower East Side. It’s proven to be quite a successful formula that you can plan for your next shoot.
What’s in a Title
An artist in the UK was a little discouraged by the lack of views he was receiving for his video collection, which he felt was on point to the needs of our marketplace. I reviewed the artist’s collection and it became clear that his images were indeed highly sellable — but his titles were missing the right keywords.
The titles that you create for your work in the Pond5 marketplace carry a heavier weight and rank higher in our search engine than the images’ descriptions or keywords. The following day, I contacted the artist and instructed him to revisit his work and add the most relevant keywords to his titles, which he did. It’s early at this stage to gauge the increase in his customer views and sales, but in time, I’m confident that he’ll see a positive change.
Your Own Studio Backlot
An artist located in Botswana contacted me about revisiting a few subjects in his collection as well as expanding the breadth of his portfolio with new themes. This artist started his career as a photographer, but in time had transitioned into a suburb filmmaker and drone camera operator. The direction I suggested was to film African wildlife from above. His results were outstanding, and went far beyond my what I had envisioned in our conversations.
Over time, it’s natural to be accustomed or blind to the shooting opportunities in your own city or town. When I’m chatting with an artist, I’ll attempt to discover as much as I can about where the artist lives and the shooting opportunities that present themselves. Afterward, the artist has a fresh awareness of the production opportunities within his or her own community. Often, these discussions take an artist out of their comfort zone. I’m always impressed by artists who have found a comfortable niche in the marketplace, yet express the desire to introduce new and unfamiliar subjects into their work.
Have a Client in Mind
Brainstorming a subject, along with visual references in print and commercial advertising is a powerful tool and a necessary component in developing an aesthetic that resonates with a commercial buyer. For example, the artist traveling to Thailand shared a series of Airbnb spots that illustrated a specific style and technique, as well as the type of client he had in mind to license his work.
Most, if not all, of the commercial spots we shared incorporated handheld techniques with wider lenses and natural light, which happens to be my favorite approach and a favorite among a large segment of commercial producers:
In addition, a handheld technique will save you the laborious task of switching out lenses, setting up your lighting, blocking your talent, and framing your shots beforehand. And as things would have it, the artist possessed an Easyrig, which I had been using since 2004 — in my opinion, it’s the best camera rig ever produced. The artist decided to leave his slider and gib in South Africa in favor of traveling with less gear for much needed mobility.
Knowing what you want to shoot, how you want to shoot it, and who it’s for will have you way ahead of the game when you start rolling.
Stay tuned as we continue to offer up more insights, along with other creative anecdotes, informative articles, and shoot briefs to ensure that you’re fully prepared to tackle any subject or theme . In the meantime, if you have any questions, let us know in the comments!