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Chatting with Jason Jurewicz About Video & Creativity

Jason Jurewicz is the Principal at Brand Landers, a Buffalo-based company that specializes in video production and creative strategy. Having spent time as a musician, in door-to-door sales and in various production roles on large, high-budget movie sets, Jason's diverse background brings a fresh perspective on all things marketing and video strategy. We end up having a lot of fun discussing how we're handling working from home with small children, speculating about the future of content production and offering ideas for how people (and businesses) can get started creating video with limited money and resources.

 

CJ & Jason Discuss Video & Marketing

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Conversation Highlights

Our conversation included a wide range of topics and friendly banter, but here are the main points that were covered:

  • How we're adjusting to working from home with young children.
  • How the current COVID-19 pandemic is impacting marketing strategies.
  • Why this is the perfect time to incorporate video into your marketing strategy.
  • How it's never been easier for a person or business to start sharing videos.
  • Why production quality is (often) overrated, and why the message is always most important.
  • How a person or business can start a video podcast right now, easily and on a budget.
  • Practical ideas for people and businesses to start incorporating video as a marketing strategy.

Full Transcript

CJ Maurer: (00:01)
Hey, what's up, everybody. CJ Maurer here with The Gist. And in case anybody hasn't noticed, we're all confined to our homes and we're left in a situation where even though we can't share a lot of the same public spaces, our desire to connect with people on a business level, on a friend level, and especially just to promote our businesses, certainly has not waned. So I've used this as the final kick in the pants to finally start the podcast that I've always wanted to do and I don't have a name for it yet, and I don't have a very sophisticated strategy. I just know that good things happen when you connect with other smart like-minded people and produce content that can help people.

CJ Maurer: (00:47)
So that's why I have Jason Jurewicz from Brand Landers here with me today. Or not really with me. I mean, we're in the same space-time continuum, but you're in your office, I'm in mine. So I guess "with" will suffice for now. Jason, how's it going?

Jason Jurewicz: (01:05)
It's going great. Thanks for being with me today.

CJ Maurer: (01:09)
So I knew you were a musician. I don't know if I've ever noticed your guitar collection before. How many guitars do you have?

Jason Jurewicz: (01:20)
Hanging up here, I have three guitars and one bass. The bass is over here. But I'm not really that good of a guitarist. I don't think I've really gotten any better since I was like 20. All those years of practicing we're kind of front-loaded and now I just kind of diddle.

CJ Maurer: (01:37)
I played guitar for about six months when I was 17 and then I brought it with me to college and it sat in my dorm room and I almost never played again. I could still play a couple of chords but my fingers are really slow and if I'm ever at my brother's house and I'm trying to screw around, the tips of my fingers get beat up really, really fast. And I remember as when you were playing guitar that started to happen at first, but then it's almost like they morphed and they got stronger and they became much more resistant to the abrasion from the guitar strings. So I certainly [crosstalk 00:02:11].

Jason Jurewicz: (02:12)
And now your hands are wimps.

CJ Maurer: (02:14)
Now, my hands are wimps. I'm wearing comfortable clothes all day trying to work, trying to take care of my kids. I don't know when my next haircut is coming. Do you have a strategy for your hair during this pandemic?

Jason Jurewicz: (02:29)
Funny you should mention it especially since you just talked about your time at college. I'll tell you about mine. Yeah, I'm going to cut my own and I already have a couple times. So I started cutting hair when I was probably like 16. This is back in the '90s when it was cool to have your hair shaved from ear down and the top parted in the middle, which I've watched some music videos by bands and apparently that's cool for some bands again. My mom refused to pay for my haircut if I was going to get that haircut. And my buddy's mom was like, "I'm not giving you that haircut if you want that haircut." So we decided we would give each other haircuts when we were like 16. And then as the trends changed and stuff, we kept cutting hair. So that's how I made a lot of my spending money during college is cutting hair.

CJ Maurer: (03:15)
That's cool. I think I'm going to cut my own hair as well except I'm probably just buzz it. I think I'm going to give myself a quarantine cut because I don't think I have skills that you do. And I don't trust to be in the same room as you. Not that I would trust it anyways, but now at least I have an excuse to not be in the same room with you.

Jason Jurewicz: (03:34)
Right. Because now my air can make make you dead.

CJ Maurer: (03:37)
Right. Exactly. This is wonderful. It's got to be a wonderful time for introverts too, I would think. You know what I mean?

Jason Jurewicz: (03:44)
Yeah.

CJ Maurer: (03:44)
People who prefer less time in large groups or being around people for extended periods of time.

Jason Jurewicz: (03:54)
I hear different things about what makes them an introvert or an extrovert. I've heard a lot of it talk about like how you're recharged. If you're recharged being around people or whatever. I have two little kids, you have little kids so I have an 18 month old and a two and a half year old. I feel like if I'm recharged by being alone and if that's my definition for being an introvert, I think for a lot of introverts now might be tough because there's not really any alone time. I'm constantly surrounded by my family, which is in a lot of ways is wonderful and in a lot of ways, if you have little kids you know is like super exhausting.

CJ Maurer: (04:35)
Yeah. We're certainly not bored here for sure. And you hit the nail on the head. I used to always think that an introvert was somebody that's shy. It's not the case. Introversion and extroversion has nothing to do with being shy. It is just that introverts their energy gets drained if they spend long amounts of time around people. So they recharge by being alone. Extroverts gain energy by being around other people. I've heard somebody say once it's where's your battery? Introverts, their battery is internal. Extroverts their battery is external.

Jason Jurewicz: (05:07)
I like that.

CJ Maurer: (05:10)
Yeah, it always pays to listen to people smarter than you and remember it.

Jason Jurewicz: (05:16)
Yeah.

CJ Maurer: (05:17)
So here's the deal. Aside from the fact that we could shoot the shit for a while about whatever we do. We wanted to bring you on or we wanted to connect because Jason is a very experienced and talented creative strategist and director who's also got a lot of experience in video production. And Jason, why don't you tell a little bit more... I want to ask you some questions about how you think this current pandemic is going to impact video production and content creation and maybe some advice that you might have for people who are trying to create content with limited resources at home. Before you do that, why don't you talk a little bit about you and Brand Landers and what you guys do to get people a frame of reference.

Jason Jurewicz: (06:06)
Yeah. So Brand Landers started out, I was doing graphic design and web development and I'd work with small businesses who really just wanted to tell their story, and right around that time, the technology was changing so that you could get really nice cameras and do some really nice video stuff for not a lot of money compared to what it used to be. So because so much of our emphasis was trying to tell the story of a business, it was just kind of natural that we just started doing more and more video production and I didn't really know much about the production side of things so I started working on as many big projects as I could with other local production companies, but also different movies.

Jason Jurewicz: (06:43)
So I've worked in a bunch of big-budget feature films like millions and millions of dollars. I've worked on a lot of indie films to kind of see how you can do things on a budget and now, we do have a lot of our own productions. But we're working with small to midsize businesses helping them create content where budget is usually somewhat of a concern. For different businesses, that's a different thing. For some places on a budget is under three or $4,000. For our other businesses on a budget is 30 or $40,000.

Jason Jurewicz: (07:13)
So it kind of depends but we try to figure out how can we tell the story, how can we get the content that somebody needs at the production level that they need to represent their brand well, but also be really mindful that you want to put as much of that production value on screen and into the content rather than just kind of pissing it away on things that don't matter that you don't really need. Does that make sense?

CJ Maurer: (07:36)
Yeah. How do you prioritize budget and production value? What elements of making video content are most important to you? Where would you dedicate the most time and resources?

Jason Jurewicz: (07:48)
The most time that I think businesses should plan on, you may have heard like an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is really going into any video production but really any endeavor knowing where you kind of want things to end. I think a lot of times it's really easy for folks to say, "Oh, I need a video." Everybody's doing video right now. Let's make more video content. And while I agree with the sentiment, if you are just starting to do crap out content because you just want to crap out content, you're just going to be one of the 300 hours of YouTube content that's put out every day.

Jason Jurewicz: (08:20)
Nobody is really going to resonate with what you're putting out there. So I think the biggest thing is really think about what you want that piece of content to do for you as a brand, but also for your audience. Does that make sense?

CJ Maurer: (08:35)
Yeah. It absolutely does.

Jason Jurewicz: (08:35)
If you spend time on that, I think you can reverse-engineer then the development of the content because it's really easy in my industry. And this goes for myself as well to get really caught up on getting the lighting perfect and selecting the right camera, and all these technical aspects that people just really don't care about. I mean, I think for certain productions they matter, but you're in your home office right now, I'm in mine. Jimmy Fallon's shooting The Tonight Show from his house. People really care more about content. So I think if you're a business owner trying to get content created and really think about your audience, your brand and what you want to say more than getting wrapped up into having this huge production, that's going to cost you a ton of money and special effects or really fancy post-production. Does that make sense?

CJ Maurer: (09:29)
Yeah. It makes sense. Recently I was actually... A local business reached out to me and asked to meet because they wanted help developing a new website, so I said okay. So I went there and I had the meeting and I started asking some questions really just kind of like multitudes of why. So why is this. Okay, interesting. Why that, right? And what was uncovered and actually became apparent to everybody in the meeting was that while they absolutely may need or want a new website, what they really, really needed is they have a very specific target demographic, very, very specific and they wanted a better method for developing and maintaining relationships with this demographic that prefers them a lot of business.

CJ Maurer: (10:18)
So it's a very defined referral source. So they needed a way to develop and maintain relationships with them as well as a way to unload some of the responsibilities from the plate of the operations manager who's also handling all of the marketing. So it's kind of a similar situation like a website could be a part of it, but what they really need is a much bigger picture and I think when you can identify that and put your finger on that, you can be a lot more effective in the diagnosis and then the prescription of the solution.

CJ Maurer: (10:52)
It sounds like you're kind of advocating for a similar thing with video. Begin with the end in mind. Don't make a video because you want a video. First figure out, we want people to take this certain action or we want to reduce friction in this part of our customer service process or whatever it is. I actually had a similar thought years ago when I got my first tattoo. When I got my first tattoo, I waited to get it right away because I didn't want to get a tattoo for the sake of getting a tattoo. I waited long enough until I believed that I wanted to symbolize what the tattoo would symbolize and then get the... I mean, that's a stupid story from when I was 19, but you get the point.

Jason Jurewicz: (11:39)
Yeah. That's even in my process dealing with clients has really changed because a lot of times a conversation does start with, "Hey, we really loved your work with this client. Can you make us a video?" And for a long time, I did things really backwards and we'd start trying to make that video that they wanted and in the process of trying to make that video, we started trying to figure out what we were actually trying to solve for the business. It was kind of a lot of wasted time doing things backwards.

Jason Jurewicz: (12:11)
I mean, I still get those calls and if that's really what a client wants to do, I'm not going to strong arm them into doing something they don't, but I strongly recommend saying let's start with strategy and how this video is going to fit into the bigger picture of all of your marketing. And even if it's internal marketing or external marketing, it doesn't really matter. I think having a game plan going into it is a way stronger way of approaching things rather than just trying to guess your way through a project and to what it might do for you.

CJ Maurer: (12:44)
How is this current situation impacting not just video production because I'm aware that video production companies are not considered essential and therefore they're not allowed to go to somebody else's business or have people come to their studio. So we can gather that somebody in your situation, businesses in your situation do not have it easy right now. So beyond just how it might impact your industry, what are your thoughts about how this current pandemic and the work from home mandates are impacting content creation in general?

Jason Jurewicz: (13:26)
Yeah, that's a good question. I kind of touched on it a little bit ago that production quality I don't think matters as much now as it used to. Or I shouldn't say it doesn't matter as much, it's just easier to get a high production value from a lot less expensive gear and a lot fewer crew members than you would have needed a long time ago. And I've had conversations with folks in my industry about that for a long time. Now, you have little one-handed gimbals that you can buy for your cellphone and get shots that used to cost thousands of dollars because you had to rent a dolly and you had to have an operator on the dolly and some of me to push the dolly and leave the tracks of the dolly and do all these things.

Jason Jurewicz: (14:07)
Now, you can do this with... and you get the shot you want. So already there's been kind of that shift in technology and a lot of young people have already been adapting to that and adopting it. Some of the biggest stars right now aren't movie stars, they're Tik-Tok stars and YouTube stars who are shooting things on cellphones and webcams and making things look really good.

Jason Jurewicz: (14:26)
And I think what this kind of quarantine is really doing is it's making older folks, folks my age and up, start seeing what that content looks like and kind of recalibrating their brains to what production ought to look like. Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel are shooting their stuff just like this. If you search the web and go on and look for the Tonight Show, the way that you look right now is almost identical to what Jimmy Fallon is looking like and this is a huge-

CJ Maurer: (14:59)
I'll take that as a compliment.

Jason Jurewicz: (15:01)
Yeah. You are a good-looking man, CJ. So I think it's kind of been this kind of leveling of the playing field in a lot of ways. For a lot of business owners and a lot of entertainers, a lot of people have something to say whether that leveling of the playing field is good or bad or not for my industry. I don't really know but I think it's definitely going to allow a lot of people to put out content and not feel like they need to have a $50,000 budget to make things look amazing because people are getting used to watching someone on a cellphone or a webcam say what they need to say and if what they have to say is worth hearing, I think we're okay with listening even if it doesn't look and sound the best, right?

CJ Maurer: (15:46)
Yeah. I think that's a great point. I mean, even some of us who are in the older generation like I'm not in the Tik-Tok or Snapchat generation but a lot of people would consider me in the social media generation because I'm still in Facebook and Twitter, and if you want to lump LinkedIn with that although I think that's kind of in a category of its own. I bet you if we all racked our brains, we can all probably think of a bunch of people that we follow that we've never met in real life.

CJ Maurer: (16:14)
We don't really have a legitimate reason for following them other than the fact that we like them and we find whatever they talk about or share interesting. And the vast majority of the content that they're pushing out is they're either thumbing it out at the breakfast table or on the couch while watching Netflix or recording something on a cellphone or with a webcam. And nobody thinks like, "Man, you should go follow this person."

CJ Maurer: (16:41)
The production quality isn't that great, but the stuff that they talk about is awesome or interesting or hilarious. It's absolutely an afterthought. If I'm understanding your point correctly, it's that as a society in terms of how we consume media, there's already been a shift away from from higher production value for more content, right?

And it's been maybe being spurred mostly by the younger generation and perhaps this current situation when we're all stuck at home and left to our own personal technologies just might accelerate that a little bit.

Jason Jurewicz: (17:21)
Yeah. I mean I could be really wrong. I'm just a guy. I don't know what's going to happen. I'm just guessing. I like it a lot of times and I've been saying this analogy for a while, but the printing press. When the printing press first came out, there were folks who had dedicated their lives to having the perfect calligraphy and using only the finest lambskin pages for their books and they would spend a whole year creating one perfect book that they would then sell, and that was their life, that was their livelihood is transcribing manuscripts. And people cared about the paper quality and the calligraphy and all of that stuff.

Jason Jurewicz: (18:01)
If I went and bought a book now for $10,000 and I was like, "Yeah, man. It was totally worth it. I mean look at this penmanship." People would think I was crazy. Not that we don't care how our books look. Not that we don't care about the printed word anymore, but the emphasis on having everything perfect has been changed a little bit. We have types that we use now instead of writing everything by hand. I think a lot of that stuff is happening already.

Jason Jurewicz: (18:27)
More and more video creators are using kind of post-production in packs where you can put a lower third for somebody's name and it flashes up, and you don't have to have someone know the ins and outs of after effects or fusion in order to make that happen. They can just buy a template and it'll do it for them. And a lot of these things are already included on apps for their phone that they can buy for 10 bucks, 20 bucks. And now stuff that used to cost a ton of money and a ton of time are just kind of templatized and able to be inserted where they need it to be.

Jason Jurewicz: (19:00)
So the emphasis isn't on trying to figure out how to creatively create this stuff in terms of this stuff being all of the fancy production things, the creativity and the time can be put into thinking how to say and do the interesting thing that is going to resonate with the audience.

CJ Maurer: (19:20)
Yeah. I mean, I know you said like I'm just a guy, but I think that's true. It sounds very plausible that that's what's happening and you have a lot of good examples as to why. Go ahead.

Jason Jurewicz: (19:34)
Sorry. I mean I think the shift is just happening too just when you think about kind of how much media is out there for us to consume. Our parents' generation, when I was a kid, I grew up with channels 2, 4, & 7 right and then sometimes if I got the antenna just right, we could get Fox 29 or PBS. So it made a lot of sense for a business to create this perfect piece of flagship content that was going to go out to everyone watching TV. I read this or watch this thing that Danny DeVito was talking about when he had been doing acting and then finally was on Taxi and he's like, "Overnight, when he showed up on the show Taxi, he went from a guy to a superstar."

Jason Jurewicz: (20:17)
Because if you were on a TV show in the '80s, there was like how many options. Everyone was watching this and if everyone was watching the programming, that means everybody was also watching the advertising messages that were associated with that program. So everyone was watching it. Now, there's so many shows on TV, I mean cable. I can't even wrap my head around how many programs there must be where people are trying to buy and sell advertised thing during those programs.

Jason Jurewicz: (20:47)
And then you start adding in things like Netflix and Amazon and YouTube, and it's just like this whole craziness of the amount of content that's out there to be consumed and then the advertising that's going to be placed within it. And then content that is advertising and it's all kind of this big pool now that's been swirled around of what people are watching. And so to really stand out and invest tons of time and money into one piece of content, to me doesn't make as much sense. I'm seeing that with my clients already. Clients that used yo spend a lot of money to create one perfect piece are now taking that budget coming in with kind of a longer term strategy and saying, "Well, how can we create lots of content?" And how can we take that content and make cut downs or edit some of that content to live on social and the different platforms that exist within social.

CJ Maurer: (21:39)
Yeah. Like repurposing.

Jason Jurewicz: (21:40)
Yeah.

CJ Maurer: (21:42)
I love it. I mean Seth Godin really I feel like was a foot soldier for leading this movement or at least raising awareness for this significant cultural and economic shift that's happening. He described it as the the age of mass customization or mass segmentation or something like that. What he talked about is I remember reading one of his books a while ago, probably eight-ish years ago. He talked about the bell curve. With what we grew up with when we were really young and our parents, and certainly generations before that is 80% of society lived in the middle, lived with the mass-produced commodities. There were only a couple of television channels.

CJ Maurer: (22:28)
There were only a couple of brands in almost any category. But what the Internet has done is its broken down the barriers to entry. We've seen this be paired with cost to produce things, shrink. And so whether it be the means to produce goods and/or the ability to connect on a peer-to-peer level, it has really enabled this age of mass customization. And when he advocated for is this traditional bell curve where 80% of the people are in the middle and then you have 10% on each end as the outliers.

CJ Maurer: (23:01)
That curve is just flattening. And what you're having now is... That was actually the name of the book, now that I remember it. We Are All Weird where the idea is like if you are into Halloween themed polka music, 20 years ago you would never be able to go to a record store to remember those, record store and find that on the shelf because so few people would buy it, it wouldn't be profitable for the business to stock it. But now anyone can record it, put it on iTunes and build an audience around it.

CJ Maurer: (23:31)
And that same thing applies for everyone else. So as much as like if you want to consider the downside is that the channels for publishing and promoting content don't have as wider audiences because everyone is now hypersegmented. There's not just people who can consume their news through one newspaper or one or two television stations, there's all these social media, there's a million websites, there's everything.

CJ Maurer: (23:59)
So the other side to that is though that now everybody has the means and production. Everybody can have their own media company. That's one of the things that I've always suggested businesses adopt in terms of a mindset is from now on, you are your business and you are a media company. Because the resources to do that are significantly more available and the cost are significantly lower. And the impact in terms of the business is great.

CJ Maurer: (24:33)
Content can be used in a variety of ways. Content can be used to put out there and let people know that you exist. If you're a business like a B2B business that has a sales team or not even B2B, you have a sales team that content can be given to the sales team and say, "Hey, when you go meeting with people, show this to them. Send this email to them," whatever. You can also build a little tribe of email subscribers or customers and add more value. And do more of the things and share more of the content around why somebody works with you in the first place.

CJ Maurer: (25:04)
So the ability to repurpose it is absolutely... I mean, just this... I know I'm rambling now, but that's me. That's what I do. I'm just this thing that we're recording right now. This is a long video. I don't know how long it's going to be. We didn't script this but it's a really long video. Once I stopped recording and kept this MP4 file, I could publish this on YouTube. I can embed it on my website. I can pull out the audio and push it out to iTunes or Stitcher or Spotify or Google podcast or whatever.

CJ Maurer: (25:39)
Then I could transcribe this conversation, turn it into a blog post for more SEO. I could cut little clips of this and sprinkle this across social media. I can email it to maybe anybody who's ever talked to me about video, if I have that tracked on my CRM, which I don't. But I mean it's just the malleability of content especially video content is extraordinary, and I think it's also coming at a time where people are quite frankly, their schedules are a little bit more freed up most people in most instances.

CJ Maurer: (26:17)
And they're trying to reach people whose schedules are a little bit more freed up or spending more time in front of screens. I just think there's a wonderful opportunity for people to assert themselves to be a voice to add value and establish themselves as a thought leader in an otherwise kind of a silent time in the sense where the normal channels for exposing or promoting your business to prospects in the community at large are temporarily shut off.

CJ Maurer: (26:54)
Otherwise, the news is dominated by COVID-19 and things related to that. I think there's a significant space for people in businesses to kind of be a leader and be like hey and do what we're doing. Not to pat ourselves on the back. Certainly we're no pros at this. I'm sure we're going to watch this and be like, "We got to fix this lighting. We got to fix this audio." But the idea of just starting and iterating and improving and not feeling like every piece of content needs to be the most perfect thing, if you can just show up and add value that in and of itself each one time is enough.

Jason Jurewicz: (27:36)
Yeah. And just to build on that. So I'm going to destroy this story and it's probably-

CJ Maurer: (27:42)
Do it.

Jason Jurewicz: (27:42)
... taking all the truth out of it. But I'm doing my best to tell it accurately. So apparently, this is a real study. People watching this, look it up because I'm getting it all wrong, but there was a class, a ceramics class where students were divided into two different groups. Each group was given an amount of clay, let's say a hundred pounds of clay. Again, I'm making this up because I don't remember the specifics. So each group was given a hundred pounds of clay.

Jason Jurewicz: (28:09)
The one group was told they had all semester to create the perfect piece, whatever that was that they wanted to hand in. They could create as many pieces as they wanted to but they had to hand in just one piece of clay. And that perfect piece was going to be what was judged for their grade. The other group was given, again, this 100 pounds of clay and just told your grade is based on how much clay you use. So if you use 80 pounds of clay, you get an 80. If you use 60 pounds of clay, you get 60. If you use 100 pounds of clay, you get 100.

Jason Jurewicz: (28:41)
So as much clay as you can use to create as much content, pieces of ceramics because you want to create, go for it. What they found is at the end of it, the group that improved the most was the group that was even trying to create anything perfect. It was just from constantly reiterating what they had just created and trying things and experimenting, they found something that worked for them and they developed the style and they had a lot of fun doing it.

Jason Jurewicz: (29:07)
I'm a huge perfectionist. I always want things to be perfect. Before we set this interview up, I was like carrying the phone around trying to figure out where I was going to set it. I want things to be great but I think you got to remind yourself that you're not going to do something great the first time you do it. You have a little girl and she's learning how to do things. It's like the first time she tries to ride her bike, if she falls, as a dad you're not going to be like, "Well, you're done. If you can't ride your bike the first time, why try again, right?"

Jason Jurewicz: (29:37)
Instead that the message is always, "Well, get up. Try again. Let's do it." and we tell kids that all the time. I have a little girl who's 18 months old just learning to... When she was just learning to walk, she fell constantly, but she kept getting up over and over and over and over again. And somewhere as we grow up, we tell ourselves that we don't need to be that resilient and that we don't need to keep getting up again and keep trying new things and we tell ourselves that if we can't do something right the first time, something about us is just innately broken and there's no way we're ever going to learn.

Jason Jurewicz: (30:07)
And I think whether it's creating content or it's learning to ride a bike or its making ceramic pots, really the way that you get better is by just doing it, being okay with failing and getting up and going again. Every time I talk to business owners the biggest reason they give when they're not creating content is they don't know what they're going to say and they're afraid it's not going to be good and nobody's going to watch it and it's going to suck. And those are all the things that everybody feels.

Jason Jurewicz: (30:38)
Whether you're a professional in the industry or you're a layperson who just is doing this as part of creating content, it can be nerve-racking because you don't want to fail in it, but I think just being okay with saying, "Well, this might suck." What we're doing today, CJ, it might suck and we might watch it back and think, "Wow, Jason and CJ ramble a lot. They need to get to the point. This is useless." Or we might say it's pretty good or like you said, we might say, "Well, this is how we can make it better." But just the act of doing, the act of producing will lead ultimately to improvement. An improvement that can only become, that can only take place through practice and trial and error.

CJ Maurer: (31:18)
There is nothing that you're good at or great at that you didn't once suck at. [crosstalk 00:31:24] Yes, I totally agree. I think about that-

Jason Jurewicz: (31:26)
I talk all the time now. I just ramble and talk and talk and talk. When I was a kid, they sent me to special ed classes because they thought there was something wrong with me because I was six years old and no one can understand me because couldn't speak. So even those fundamental things talking, walking, sleeping, speaking, these are all things that at some point we sucked at. Again, like our kids, when you're a baby, you have to have somebody help you fall asleep because you're like, "I don't know how to calm my own brain down. I'm a baby." And like you said, you get better through trying. It's a scary thing to overcome but just being okay with failing is a huge indicator of success.

CJ Maurer: (32:07)
Yeah. I love the analogy with the kids. My daughter, her name is Riley and she's just learning her letters and writing and stuff, and she can write her name and we were practicing our last name and so I'm spelling it out, and there's two lowercase R's in our last name and she's so used to writing the uppercase R, she was trying to do a lowercase R. I think she was kind of thrown off. She didn't do it as well as I first wrote it and she got all frustrated.

CJ Maurer: (32:37)
I felt all of those same things where in some instances she's just so resilient and isn't flooded with self-doubt when she fails at something, but even as early as four, that already starts to creep in. I was actually just thinking something very similar about that just the other day. Especially when I was a kid, I'm not the most patient person and I get frustrated easily with tasks to myself. I don't usually get frustrated with people, but I get frustrated when I'm trying to fix something and I'm like I'm just not that. You know what I mean? It's not going the way I want, stuff like that.

CJ Maurer: (33:22)
So she definitely, unfortunately gets that from me. So here's the point. If we can accept the premise that the creative strategy, the messaging, the end goal of content, all content, not just video content is not as important as the production quality or sophistication and that's probably being accelerated by recent times and that the only way to get better at it is to do it and refine and iterate.

CJ Maurer: (33:53)
That leaves somebody squarely in the position of, "Well, so start doing it." And one of the reasons why we decided to set this up is because we were talking. We work together and we're also friends, so we were talking on the phone as people do. And you were talking about some of the things that you have planned or some ideas that you have planned for sharing resources with people who want to start bootstrapping content production on their own for people or for businesses. Without giving that away, do you want to start talking about... Maybe share some ideas or just maybe some basic advice that you might want to give somebody who may be watching this? God bless them that they're still watching this. And maybe is interested in starting to do what we're doing. By the way, full disclosure, I have a... This is my iPhone on a tripod that remember when you recommended me to buy it on Amazon, I bought it.

Jason Jurewicz: (34:50)
Have you used it?

CJ Maurer: (34:53)
No. I didn't use it yet, but I'm going to. That's the point. I'm going to. Just like I'm going to use that that food processor we got as a reference five years ago that's collecting that. I'm totally going to use it at some point. No, this I really would. But what do you think? Aside from maybe they should get a tripod for their iPhone, general advice, what would you suggest to people who want to start making content specifically video content?

Jason Jurewicz: (35:20)
Yeah. That's a great question and there's a lot of things that I should probably have prepared to say and I don't. I think the biggest one is first just do it. See what you're making and what looks good or bad. What platform you're going to put it on is another big thing. Think with the end goal in mind. If you're going to be putting something on to a platform like Facebook for example, holding your phone sideways, that's what I would do if I wanted something that looks cinematic.

Jason Jurewicz: (35:47)
Maybe I'm making a promo video for a business. I want it to look like a movie. I can hold my phone sideways. But if you're trying to put something on YouTube or I should say on Facebook and you want as much real estate as possible while someone's scrolling through their newsfeed. Well then, hold your phone vertical which I know sounds crazy because everybody is like, "Don't hold your phone vertically." And normally I would recommend it. But if you know that's the platform you're going on, you're going to be creating an Instagram story, hold it vertically so you can be creating content for the platform.

Jason Jurewicz: (36:18)
So think about where it's going to end up. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram. Where's it going to go and adjust your orientation of your phone accordingly. The next thing I'd say is don't get hung up on having gear. Even though I have literally tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment over here, I'm using my cellphone. I know you bought a tripod for your cellphone. I did and I have no idea where it is, but right now I took a stool and behind my phone, I have a slipper holding my phone up and I use duct tape to hold it there.

Jason Jurewicz: (36:58)
So I'm not using anything fancy. There's a fluorescent overhead light over my head. I don't have any fancy production gear that I'm using for this conversation to prove a point to myself that well, if I'm telling people just to do it maybe I should just do it too. I guess [crosstalk 00:37:17].

CJ Maurer: (37:17)
That's really interesting by the way. I always found it was interesting for me to learn about you, how quickly you are to embrace bootstrapped content production really because you know the first time we got to know each other was around a project that I was leaning at my former employer, and obviously we hired you to produce this really awesome promotional video that has performance, still performance really, really well. On the set, we had audio, we had a sound guy. You were directing. You had a camera operator, a production assistant and I think there was a makeup artist there too, right?

Jason Jurewicz: (38:01)
Hair and makeup. We had an art director. We had multiple PAs. I mean one of the shots to keep it quiet because if you remember, we actually had four people pushing the big wagon because the tractor was too loud. Yeah. It was a big production. Lots of folks running around.

CJ Maurer: (38:18)
So I just always found it interesting that you are so used to living in this world and doing this for small and medium-sized businesses, also having worked on very high budget movie sets, but yet at the same time I've always respected how you're in tune with the practicality that a lot of small businesses have and prioritize the value of the message and the value of the content over all things because I think that's super important.

Jason Jurewicz: (38:45)
Yeah. I think part of that for me is that I didn't get into this as a filmmaker. A lot of the directors and cinematographers that I know, super talented people, I'm not trying to take anything away from them, but they got into this business as filmmakers. So part of what the film experience is creating a world that just encapsulates the viewer so that they totally feel a part of this realm.

Jason Jurewicz: (39:09)
If you're watching Joker, you want to feel like you're living in that period and you're part of that world. If you're watching Lord of the Rings, same anything. But if you're listening to Joe Rogan talk, it doesn't really matter where he's talking. You just want to hear what he has to say. And I came more from a marketing background with a little bit of punk rock thrown in. Like you were talking about the guitars. I started in bands when I was like 15 and 16 where... So I kind of have this thing already in me where I like this down and dirty guerilla marketing, handing out show flyers on the side of a corner and hawking CDs out of your trunk. I already came from that.

Jason Jurewicz: (39:49)
So I think when I talk to business owners, I like to think like, okay, this is our budget. We could do things where we get a crew of 20 people and do all this craziness but I think we could do something just as cool if not cooler. If we think about what resources we have available to us and we think about how to tell this story, leaning into what our end goal is rather than trying to say, "Well, how do we make this look as perfect as possible."

Jason Jurewicz: (40:16)
Not that I don't want things to look good, but I do. It's just if people who are watching this on their cellphone while they're taking a dump or laying in bed right before they go to sleep, their biggest concern is thinking whether or not the person speaking has the perfect ring light behind them or if the key light is positioned just right so they get that beautiful Rembrandt lighting on the opposing cheek.

Jason Jurewicz: (40:38)
They're not going to be paying attention. They're not going to care. It's not that thing they're worried about. What they're interested in is does this make me feel something? Does this inspire me to change something about me? Is this something I want to share with somebody. And that stuff doesn't really come from whether or not you're using a hundred thousand dollar camera and $60,000 lenses or if you're using a cellphone.

CJ Maurer: (41:05)
I bet if you audited the most shared content across social media over the last, however many years, I bet you most of it is not highly produced just because the likelihood of any content being shot on a cellphone or thumbed out on a personal laptop or whatever it is, it's just being so much more of that created.

Jason Jurewicz: (41:29)
Well, I there's a level of authenticity that comes from something that's not like a high level of production quality. I was actually just talking to a friend of mine, he's a director of photography, a DP and we were talking about this... I'm in a bunch of Facebook groups probably like everybody is that are kind of related to their industry and I used to do a lot of weddings. And this wedding photographer awhile ago, and I was sharing this story with Chris DP, was upset because he had posed this group and after they were done posing they all like, the bride and her bridal party were all holding hands and praying.

Jason Jurewicz: (42:09)
And so she took like a really beautiful professional photo of this. Somebody who was there and was part of the party but not in the photos snapped something with their cellphone and posted it to social media and the image that was done on the cellphone blew up. So this photographer was really upset because she had staged this and had this really perfect photo taken and that never really saw the light of day. The photo that went viral of this bride holding hands and praying with her bridesmaids is what blew up the internet. And I can't say this is 100% true. I'm just again speculating, but I feel like what made that content blow up is that it wasn't this professional piece of photography.

CJ Maurer: (42:57)
Yeah, they looked candid.

Jason Jurewicz: (42:58)
It was taken on somebody's phone. Yeah, it's like that voyeuristic. It's looking into somebody's life and saying like, "Hey, that person is just like me. I'm just like them." Seth Godin. They're part of my tribe. And so I think sometimes production quality... Sometimes I get nervous. I'm like I hope nobody in my industry hears me and like, "He's out of the network of directors and cinematographers in this world," because I'm talking against production value.

CJ Maurer: (43:27)
It's funny because the two of us are in the marketing industry and we get paid to help tell businesses stories in a variety of different ways and big believers in making stuff look good. I invest in production quality for my clients and my own business. So it is kind of funny that we're talking about this. But what we're trying to do is offer a different perspective to people to encourage them to start making content. Especially right now where the access to the higher production value isn't as good.

CJ Maurer: (43:56)
And I think using examples of situations where candid content creation or low production quality wherever you want to call it is advantageous, I think is nothing but... Not just legitimate proof, but if anything motivation to inspire people to maybe do some of this on your own. We work together spending more time on money on higher production value and it works and it adds credibility, and it's got the wow factor. It absolutely has its place and I think always will.

Jason Jurewicz: (44:33)
Yes.

CJ Maurer: (44:34)
Now, what we're doing is we're basically advocating for this other method of content production to have a seat at the table and for it not to necessarily just be amateur, that it could also be strategic and valuable.

Jason Jurewicz: (44:50)
Yeah. I mean like I said Jimmy Fallon is making the Tonight Show from his house. There was a time when that was just not possible and now it is. And I do think to your point, yes, I think production quality is super important. Even though I didn't use any really professional equipment in my home, I'm like, "Oh, I'll put some different colored lights back here and I'll have daylight coming in, so that's a little bit more interesting. And so I'm still thinking of things to make things look good," but there's just such an emphasis sometimes within the world of marketing and advertising on spending a lot of money in order to get things perfect.

Jason Jurewicz: (45:26)
And that just in a sense goes against my sensibilities from the punk rock mentality that I have, all the way to the idea that doing your raps and creating is how you improve to the segmentations of audiences and tribes just kind of being so small now that to create something for everybody doesn't make sense to create something for somebody. And if you're trying to spend $100,000 doing that a million different times that's exhausting and you're going to go broke.

Jason Jurewicz: (45:55)
I'm not against things looking awesome and spending time on projects and thinking about what you're doing, I just don't think that that should be an excuse for why you can't do something because that excuse, I just don't think is relevant anymore for most businesses. I mean, not all businesses. It probably makes sense for some really big brands to still invest in national campaigns with high production value and not have somebody to do it with their cellphone.

Jason Jurewicz: (46:20)
But for the everyday business, I don't think all their content needs to be perfect. It just doesn't make sense. You don't need to have that perfectly bound book with the perfect calligraphy and lamb skin in order to learn something from Seth Godin. You can download a PDF or listen to an Audible.

CJ Maurer: (46:38)
That's a technique called closing the loop. That was very well done. I like to reference back to the manuscript. It was really planned.

Jason Jurewicz: (46:45)
Thanks.

CJ Maurer: (46:46)
Hey, I'm running up against it because I got a jump on another call, but I thought this was super fun.

Jason Jurewicz: (46:54)
Yeah.

CJ Maurer: (46:55)
Did you?

Jason Jurewicz: (46:56)
I did.

CJ Maurer: (46:57)
Good.

Jason Jurewicz: (46:57)
I liked it.

CJ Maurer: (46:58)
Okay. It wasn't just me. I'm glad.

Jason Jurewicz: (47:00)
No, I like talking to you and I like you and I like talking and I like saying things I think. So the combination is the perfect storm for a guy like me.

CJ Maurer: (47:09)
What a cocktail.

Jason Jurewicz: (47:11)
I know, right?

CJ Maurer: (47:12)
Hey, so I'm going to be doing this some more. Actually, I have another friend and somebody I work with named Ally and we also get along. We also have a lot in common and we're actually planning on do something like this again. And maybe who knows. Maybe one day I'll have a name for this in a logo and maybe I'll get a better microphone and a more nuanced production strategy. But for the meantime, I'm just starting to make the content because at the end of the day, that's what's most important. So I thank you for being my collaborator in crime on this maiden voyage if you will. Before we break, if anybody's interested in getting in touch with you, how would they do that?

Jason Jurewicz: (48:01)
Great question. I am on the world wide web at www.brandlanders.com. You can email me at jason@brandlanders.com or hey, I'll put my phone number out there. You can call me on my cellphone at 716-982-9974. I've had people get freaked out. They're like, "Really? Aren't you afraid people are going to call you on your phone?" I'm like, "No. If people are calling me to give me business, I'm not freaked out by that. That would make me happy." So that's the information that I have, man.

CJ Maurer: (48:33)
Well, Jason, thanks so much. I have no doubt that we'll do it again. I appreciate your time and talk soon.

Jason Jurewicz: (48:40)
Have a good one. Bye-bye.

 

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Email: jason@brandlanders.com

Phone: 716-982-9974

 

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