Let’s get real – have you avoided or simply dabbled in video for your business because it either feels like too much work or way too uncomfortable to use on an ongoing basis? This interview with Holly Gillen of Holly G Studios is here to help with everything from her 7P process of video production (total gamechanger) to evaporating the video nerves so you can get on camera and feel confident.
Holly empowers modern online entrepreneurs to go from confused to confident and
from fearful to fearless on both sides of the camera.
She teaches them the skills they need to create not just videos, but Business Cinema™️
which is the way that she likes to describe the next level video.
Video with a plan, a purpose, a strategy and a system. Not just creating video for the sake of creating video, but creating videos that actually move your business forward.
Holly started her career in video production in 2008 as a Camera Operator, Producer, and Editor working with big industry names including the Sundance Channel, Sony Music, Nick.com, HBO, Bono, Big Time Rush, Forest Whitaker and many others.
Her skills and experience run the full gamut from Producing and Directing to Shooting and Editing, and she has translated those skills into a range of educational courses and services to support entrepreneurs in their quest for video stardom.
Key Takeaways from this Episode
What has your business journey looked like from when you first hung out that digital “come in, we’re open sign” to where you are today?
- I love this question. I actually started my online business way back in 2013 and I actually originally started as Videos by Holly and then I rebranded to Holly G Studios in 2015 after I got married and I changed my name. I thought I needed a bit of a refresh and I was already changing my name. It was just something that kind of naturally happened and I actually loved that I rebranded to Holly G Studios. I got an opportunity to work with the genius Sarah Ancalmo Ashman from Public Persona and she helped me completely revamp my entire brand and it was amazing.
- The business was started as a way for me to share my professional experience as a camera operator, producer and editor as I worked professionally in the industry since 2008 and in… actually in 2010 I started to get this kind of like bug like… all of my colleagues are clamoring to work with big corporations and shoot music videos and commercials because they have lots of money to spend. I was like, but who's helping all of these other people who want to create videos for their businesses, for their websites, for YouTube, these smaller people who aren't really… don't have the budget to create these like blockbuster videos, and I was like, I want to help them.
- Actually in 2010 I started my own production company and I realized very quickly that everybody had the same questions and concerns when it came to creating video for their business. Like, I want video but I'm not ready to be on camera. I want video but don't know how to make video or what that entails or all of the different things. I don't know how much it costs and all… everything, so then I started a different company called Media Prep Group where I was preparing business owners to present themselves on camera and in the media because people were not comfortable, so it didn't matter how many professional cameras or lights I pointed at you when you got the video you were like, I hate it because you weren't comfortable with the way that you appeared and how you sounded. You didn't actually overcome those things.
- It didn't matter how much professional polish I put on it because you weren't ready. I was like, I need to teach you how to get ready. I did that and the business model was completely wrong and I was like got to go back to the drawing board and that's how I originally started videos by Holly in 2013.
In terms of legacy – what is the big mission you’re here to accomplish with your business?
- Eight months after I started my business I hosted my first 30 day video challenge. It was to help online business owners get more comfortable in front of the camera and that really was the catalyst. That was the game changer for me. I had just over a hundred people join and about 30 people who actually made it all the way through the end participating every single day.
- It was so… like I'm getting the chills right now even talking about it. It still was… It was such a major aha moment for me in my business that what I was doing with so much bigger than teaching people how to get comfortable in front of the camera because there was so much feedback that I got during that first challenge that people were like this has changed my life, this has changed not only need the way that I feel about how I present myself on camera and not only the way that I look at my business but I'm actually able to go to networking events and feel super confident and comfortable talking and you know that for me was like yes, everything.
What's the #1 burning question you get from your community and what do you tell them?
- I think there isn't a number one. I mean there probably is a number one, but there's three questions I get all the time, over and over again in some form or fashion. They're not all worded the same way, but they all mean the same thing. There's three things. How do I get started? What do I do? Where do I start? How do I begin? All sorts of different iterations of how to get started. The next one is how to look natural on camera, which is basically how do you get comfortable on camera or the fear of being in front of the camera, all of those things and not feeling like yourself because you haven't gone through that process of kind of breaking down those nerves and transitioning them into your power, and the third one is like, how do I make it look professional? How do I make it pro? What do I need? That can boil down to everything from equipment to editing. How do I make it look like Marie Forleo's videos?
- This is going to sound… you could just get to be like, huh, really? How do you get started? You literally just get started. You just start taking action. Whether that means you lock yourself in your room and you go through like the 30 day video challenge by yourself where you just continue talking to the camera until it's something that that feels comfortable for you.
- Getting started is literally just getting started and this kind of fades into looking natural. Looking natural on camera comes from letting your fears kind of evaporate and this idea or concept that it needs to be perfect because I feel like a lot of people still get stuck. It's a huge stumbling block for people because they want to produce content at such a high level and have it look like somebody else's content who's been at it for years who has a team of professional people working with them. You need to take the time to step into your zone where you are comfortable with going through the motions and looking into the camera and again gaining that experience and “looking natural” just comes through experience.
That probably feeds into the last question to, how do I make my videos look more pro?
- Totally there's definitely things that you can do to make your videos look more pro and I like to teach people about something I call the professional triangle, which is lighting, audio and graphics, right. If you get your lighting looking good, right. You're not positioned yourself in front of a window where you look like you're in the witness protection program because the camera's compensating for the light that's coming in from behind your head and you don't have any additional lighting in the room, so you look super dark or weird lighting where it's like too high, so you look like you're in a horror movie or too low, you know.
- Really kind of getting the lighting right and this could be as easy as literally just facing the window and using natural light. If you don't have the budget to invest in additional lighting of Ring Light, LEDs, things like that. Really just getting the lighting right is going to completely make a huge difference in the production value. Then audio, audio is extremely important. Never ever, ever rely on your internal audio for your camera. You always want to make some sort of investment. You don't need to buy the latest and greatest most expensive piece of audio equipment out there, but you do need to make an investment in being able to buy something that will produce a higher quality audio because people are a lot less forgiving of a bad visual, but they will not listen to your video, watch your video if the audio is bad.
Shifting gears to your own marketing and I'm excited to talk with you because we haven't talked… I haven't had any video marketers on the podcast, so I'm so fascinated by what your answers to these questions are going to be, but shifting gears to marketing, how do you stay motivated and inspired when it comes to content creation, video content creation probably for you, especially after all this time. I mean you started in 2013 so that's a lot of videos I'm sure that you've created.
- I am definitely hundreds of videos deep at this point for sure not including my live broadcasts which probably push me over a thousand. I am endlessly inspired. I literally like everything is inspiring to me. I read a lot, I listen to a lot of podcasts, like everyday things in my life just inspire me to, what's the lesson in here? What's the business part of whatever's happening. Here's a perfect example. In April of 2016 I wanted to participate in SSS VEDA, which was an event that Amy Schmittauer now Landino had put together, which is all about creating… vlogging every day in the month of April something that people do on YouTube. It's called VEDA and they also do it in August, so it's vlog every day in April or August which was a great way for me to continue building my video muscles and continue practicing what I preach and creating content every day, but I thought to myself like, how can I make this easy and fun because this can get out of control real quick.
- If I'm trying to create highly produced slick videos, the type of content I would typically produce but I was producing it once a week, not every day. Doing that I just didn't have the time budget for editing all the videos and recording and I was like, okay, well how am I really going to make this work? I came up with the idea of the #OneMinuteOneTake, and this is basically where I created a super snappy 62nd video sharing a tip, a tactic or a short training or story without doing any editing.
- I would record the whole thing in one take, hence the one minute one take. I loved this so much, so I created videos every day in the month of April or almost every day in the month of April for the VEDA event and I loved it so much that the next month I turned it into a fun video challenge for my audience where I challenge people to create as many videos as they can, as many hashtag one minute one take videos because I feel like a lot of times also people… once you get over the fear of the camera, then you're like, oh, now I have to edit it and like all of the production stuff, and it's like you don't know what you don't know and you feel like you're standing in quicksand, right.
- I gave people the permission to create really short, snappy videos and then not have to edit them. People have so much knowledge and depth of their specific area of expertise that you can talk for 60 seconds. You could probably talk endlessly about all of the things that you know that you want to share with your audience. Being able to create these short snappy videos where you don't have to edit them was like so much fun. I had I think over the course of five days… I provided the prizes for the participants based on the number of hashtag one minute one take videos that they were able to produce. Now I hosted this challenge about half a dozen times and since then the participants have created thousands of videos, literally thousands of videos. During one challenge I had a participant create 216 videos in five days.
Are you back to kind of the weekly videos, like how does content work in your business now when you're not in that one minute one take kind of sprint? Fill us in!
- Well, you know I'm all about the plan. You know what I describe, what I do is creating business cinema which is all about the plan, purpose, system and strategy. I have like a seven step process that I use when I'm creating content for my weekly videos, and it's all about the batching, batch, batch, so I batch together all of my different tasks and the way that I break it down is first step is primary principles and really this is about like for me, getting clear on what my video goals are before I start recording any videos, right, because there's no sense in creating content for the sake of content or creating videos all willy-nilly as I like to describe it. They really need to have a purpose in my business. There needs to be a strategy involved. That's extremely important for me.
I start with that then I go into pre-production, which is the part that I think a lot of people kind of glaze over and this actually is… coming from professional production background, I always joke around and say, you know like I've never ever, ever, ever, ever gone to a professional set where they're like, yeah, let's just see what happens. We're just going to wing it today, is everybody all right with that? Okay, wardrobe, who needs wardrobe? Who cares? Set, who cares? That doesn't happen. Pre-production is 60 to 65% of the process and I think this is a huge mistake that a lot of people make where they just glaze right over this part and then they end up getting super frustrated when it comes time to edit the video because there was no plan to begin with, right.
- For me with the pre-production, it's the part where I'm reverse engineering my content. It is where I am writing my scripts, where I am researching my content, video ideas, seeing whether or not they're viable and if they're going to do well on YouTube based on SEO information and stuff like that and really kind of plotting them out so that they're being released when it makes the most sense and that, again, starting at the end and working my way backwards, like what is the purpose of this video, how does it fit into the bigger picture of what I'm doing in all of those things. Then I go on to production which is the actual recording of the videos and this part's super easy for me. I can literally record six to 10 videos in one day because I already did all of the work.
- The work comes in the pre-production, so usually I batch these things together, so I'll do primary principles in pre-production usually together. I'll flesh out a bunch of different video ideas that I want to work on, write scripts for them or outlines or create bullet points and then do the research that I need to do for them, then I go into my next batching, which is the recording during the production. Record them all then and I have systems and checklists so that I can avoid making newbie mistakes like, oh, I forgot to charge my batteries, or oh my card ran out of memory, things that really kind of frustrate you when you're in the creation process, so I make sure I can avoid as many of those as possible.
- Then once all of my videos are recorded, I do my post production which is the editing part and this is another part I usually batch. I do this in two different ways. I either batch edit or I will edit as needed, so either I'll edit all videos at the same time and during the production process I have my planner that I use, that I created. I write down all my notes in there. I know what video files I'm going to be using and I know if there's any other special notes, if things that I want to take note of during the production process so I don't forget because it's not like I'm recording and then editing that same day.
- It could be like a week or two weeks, maybe down the road that I'm editing the video, so I want to make sure I don't forget anything like there was a funny out-take that I wanted to use as a gift for like a part of the promotion for the video when that comes out, I want to make sure I have notes about that. When I edit in this way it's literally like putting together a puzzle because again, I front loaded the work in the pre-production phase so that I already know what the video is going to look like. I know what the purpose of the video is, I know what it's going to look like, I know how I want it edited. All of those things are already laid out for me, so it's literally just putting the work together.
- Like I said, either batch that or I do them one at a time when they're needed. Then the next part of my process is polish. This is where I do the other components that are needed for creating a YouTube video like creating my custom thumbnail and getting my transcription ready and then making sure my title and description are optimized for the metadata on YouTube so that people are actually finding my videos through the search. The next part which is step six of my process is the promotion part. This is when I actually promote the content so that people actually see it because I didn't just do all this work for nothing. I want people to actually see my content. Sometimes I'll create supplementary or complimentary as I like to call it not competing, but complimentary content pieces that go along with my videos that are maybe like either Instagram story clips or interest posts or things that I share on Facebook to direct people back to that main piece of content. Then the last part is the pollination part and this goes back to never running out of ideas or finding inspiration everywhere. The pollination is… There's no sense in recreating the wheel because every time you create a new piece of content, there are tons of ways that you can repurpose that content into many different forms and again, I go back to creating that complimentary content and not competing contents. I always talk about… like people ask me all the time like should I put my Facebook Live on to YouTube and my answer is no. I equate that to literally like going to the gas station in a ballgown, they're are two different… like you wouldn't do that right?
How would you define a content empire as it relates to your own business and what you’ve built?
- You know that's funny, every time I hear you say content empire, I think of me in a castle made of my content and I'm up top with a flag like why not? I think I would define a content empire as a… my content empire as it relates to my business. It's a collection of really valuable content that can empower my audience and continues to provide me with endless opportunities for me to pollinate that content. It's like a very cyclical thing, is my empire. It's not a one and done kind of thing and I think that that's a hamster wheel that people get stuck on is they think they need to constantly be recreating or… producing brand new content. You have to take into account that not everybody hears you every time you say something or not everybody's ready to hear that when you said it the first time. You do need to repeat things and you do need to repurpose things.
Latest content or marketing tool discovery? Alexa Flash Briefings
Most profound business book you’ve read? B-School by Marie Forleo
What is one marketing trend that you're passing on for now? 360-degree
2018 or 2019 planner of choice? Basic paper planner and the Business Cinema Production Planner
Where would you invest $5,000 in your business today? I would hire an OBM