I thought it would be interesting to talk with Joe about what’s new in film and video.
Everyone always wants to know, how does one become a film maker?:
I grew up in Agawam, MA and was called a gear head. I was interested in cars and how things worked.
At the age of 5, I got a camera. I started watching my uncles make home movies and wondered if I could do it better. In those days, they used an 8 millimeter camera, and the movies weren’t very good. I started taking the cameras apart to see how they worked.
When I was 14 and decided movies were where it was at. I started skipping school with my friends to watch the remakes of the old King Kong movies. I did a series of zombie movies and an animated film of my aunt’s smelly shoes. I filmed everything and turned them into movies.
My life changed when an innovative video production class came to my high school. It was the first in the country and after one day in class, I was sure I wanted to make movies. For the first time teaches believed in my talent and I was on my way.
I started making movies and won several film festivals while still in high school. I was good enough to be accepted in the School of Visual Arts in New York City for cinematography and film technology. I studied fine arts and film production and went on to work in the film industry.
I spent many years working in New York City film.
Everyone has a video camera today, but the films don’t look like what you do. What’s the difference?
A true film maker looks through the camera and sees the soul of the other person on the end of the lens. You have to think about how you’re going to capture the photo and the essence of the person or object. Film school teaches you about technology and more important, how to think. You also think about how the product will be used and what is this person or object really trying to say. If you’re going to be successful you’ve to deliver customer service and understand your customer.
It takes a minute to take the shot but sometimes hours to decide the outcome.
Speaking of ‘everyone has a camera’ how has technology changed your world?
There have been two communication revolutions that have affected our industry. The digital revolution radically changed how movies were made. Of course, the change occurred when film moved to computer-based technology. Now 90% is done on the computer. Many of the ‘purists couldn’t handle the transition and dropped out. Technology was changing and the craft as we knew it was becoming obsolete.
The other change was social media. It changed how you distribute and display your finished product. For instance, if you specialize in film, you may not know how to market the product and where to place it to get the best exposure. That was handled by the marketing industry which had nothing to do with us. Now you have to be able to edit, know lighting and computer graphics.
In many ways, it’s very sophisticated, and you have to be well rounded. The client needs you to help them market the finished product, and it has to be edited in a way that is useful on several platforms. Because I had a technical and artistic background, the switch was easy for me and also made it more interesting.
It sounds like suddenly you weren’t a filmmaker, you were ‘chief cook and bottle washer’ as they say.
I guess I was always an entrepreneur and wanted to produce media on my own. Remember technology was very expensive and then came the media revolution. It started on the lower end to the consumer and made its way to the Hollywood scene. Suddenly, I didn’t need hundreds of thousands of dollars of cameras and hardware to compete with the big boys. I needed a great computer with the right editing software, and now I could compete. It means I have to be always looking for the better way to produce a film and continue to be up on technology. However, I love the use of social media and film and find myself in a new emerging industry. My background allows me to look at the technology in a different way. There are still technical issues to solve and I luckily have that background.
What about the smart phone technology?
Businesses have to realize that their customers are all different and are not’ getting their media from the same place. Few are watching DVDs. Many are ordering Net flicks or on Youtube. YouTube has become successful because everyone with a camera can find a place for their film. As a film maker you must help your customer understand where to distribute their film as well as their market. They say email marketing is becoming obsolete; you have to understand the demographics and desires of your customer if your film or commercial is going to cause a change. This is why it’s important for me to spend time with the client to determine the outcome—what are they trying to achieve. ,
Let’s say you’re filming a TV commercial with the local station. You need one that will fit several markets and viewing screens. What works on a television screen is not the same as an app for your smart phone.
Mobile content is shorter and unlike what’s formatted for TV. The web encourages you to connect with or ‘pull the customer in’ unlike television which we call ‘push marketing.’ These are opposing media and so the television commercial doesn’t work with social media. The television commercial needs to be redesigned and edited if it’s going to be effective in these different markets. A good film person asks these questions, so they can design the shoot and film it the right way in the beginning. This not only saves time but saves money and makes the commercial more effective.
I think that clients appreciate the ‘holistic ‘approach to film and marketing. As a film producer my job is to make it work for the client.
What next for you?
To stay on top of technology and the social media revolution, so I can design what works for my clients. I love the process, building and putting things together. The world of film is magical, and I love being able to grow with the industry and try new things. Working with clients and developing their marketing strategies is very interesting and satisfying.
It also may be time to revisit my aunt’s slippers and my zombie days!
Joe can be reached at http://www.facebook.com/joe.piazzo.
Lisbeth Calandrino helps businesses build loyal relationships with their customers through customer service and communication training. to check out her book, Red Hot Customer Service, just click on this link.