Join Petrula Vrontikis for an in-depth discussion in this video Chris Do, BL:ND, part of Real-World Design: Live Presentations from Creative Leaders.
Speaker 1: Our third presenter actually has, is an Emmy award winning designer. He's founder of Blind, which is one of the top motion design firms in the world. Let's just say that. Let's say in the world. He oversees the creative and strategic direction of the company. And, he also currently serves on the board and is an advisor to the local AIGA, the Emmy's and Motion Title Design Peer Group, the Otis Board of Governors, Saleshood, Santa Monica College and Woodbury University.
So, he's involved very much in the community. Please welcome Chris Do. Chris Do: All right, guys. It takes me about seven minutes to warm up. I'm not a natural public speaker so please bear with me here. because I only have 15 minutes so about maybe seven, eight minutes in I'll get good What you guys will notice is with Dave and Yo, their, their doing motion design. And, you know, you didn't talk about it but you are building websites too. And, so, with me I just feel like within motion especially the future is a work in progress.
Because these are really turbulent times anybody here planning to get into the motion industry? Some yeah, okay. Well, this will be a, kind of a cautionary tale, then. Chris Do: Okay. So, I'll present all the problems. First, talk about maybe some of the solutions if we have time. I don't want to end it on a downer, okay. Chris Do: So, for me right now I, I've, I've found this image it's a tsunami wave. This is kind of how it feels. Lots of things going on, right? So, what I want to do is I want to take a look back where things are now so that we can have understanding of where things might be leading to.
Okay? So, right now, we have a lot of options out there. There's a lot of things vying for our, our attention. And so, is, is my business has been built up in servicing the advertising world, making TV commercials, lots of things have, are going on, right? So, this has created downward pressure. In the downward pressure, means that the, the budgets, they usually spend on making TV commercials. Is being diluted towards lots of different things, branded content online videos ambient media campaigns.
And so, that, that's what's happening there. And then, the other thing too is that clients are getting really sophisticated. They're bringing in internal brand managers. And, the brand managers then hire out in different agencies and studios. And so, the money that used to go to agencies that then would then flow to a company like ours, all that's changing. Their also buying their own media and if, you know, something about how advertising works much of the money is made in media buy, you get a percentage of the media buy. American Express last time I was told spent something in the ballpark of 500 million dollars in the media buy for a single year.
So, if you made 10% of that, that's pretty good. So, what, what's happening is, is it's created fierce competition. There's not a lot of work, it's highly speculative. Budgets are shrinking and they're asking us to do kind of, really impossible things. What's it mean for a company that's in the motion field? So, there are many challenges, but with those challenges, there are a lot of opportunities. And ,what that means is now we have to learn how to tell better stories. We have to get audiences to engage in the work that we create.
And, we usually do that through, through humor or eliciting some kind of emotional response. Make them fear something or to be really happy about something. And, we have to move away from this 30 second thing where you're selling and you're yelling all the time. Somebody from Google wrote about the death of advertising. How, in the future, and the future I think is now, we, we either make a video to teach somebody something or to document something. We also know from a motion point of view, we have to start to learn and behave like Faro and Hello. Understand branding, brand positioning, the brand voice.
And, we have to be thinking about the web. And, that's, that's a scary thing if that's not what you've been doing. but, you know, if is scares you or excites you, you can ignore this at your own peril. So, one, one thing that I've been studying is authorship, and developing your own story. Now, what we do as motion design people is we get a script or brief and then we start working on it. We make it for other people. I think it's time for us to own our own content. And, and, and possibly be the star of our own content to put yourself in there.
Because there is tremendous value in commanding an audience. Okay? And so, start developing our own story. So, these two guys have done it. Anthony Bourdain with his show what is it Parts Unknown for CNN. It's the number one show on CNN. And then, there's Morgan Spurlock who's like the king of documentary films right. And, I know what you're thinking I don't have CNN to back me, what am I supposed to do. Okay. So, do you guys know who Casey Neistat is? Some of you guys do? Okay, good. It seems like he knows.
I'm going to show you Casey's video and he takes you through this whole process about how Nike hired him to make a video. It's called Make it Count. It's about four minutes, so that's going to eat into my time. Casey Neistat: Look, definitely make this flight. But, we're cutting it close. So, far the trip is off to a fairly irresponsible start. Casey Neistat: And so, it begins! Casey Neistat: We got to Paris. It's 17 degrees outside the airport, s'il vous plait. Casey Neistat: Look at this. Speaker 4: Yeah, welcome to Cairo. Casey Neistat: All-in-all, very successful.
We visited Tahrir Square. We rode horse. This. Or, Max almost fell off of his. Casey Neistat: We're in Johannesburg, South Africa right now. Just got to Zambia. Casey Neistat: We're stuck in in Nairobi. We're at the Vatican right now. We're leaving Rome. We're renting a car. The trouble is all of the street signs are written in squiggly lines. Casey Neistat: Back on Doha. The flight boards two minutes ago. We're in Bangkok. We have a terrible taxi driver.
Casey Neistat: Hey, 20. What's up? We forgot to eat today and I got the shakes real bad. Casey Neistat: This is the gnarliest airplane food I've ever seen. Look at this wiener. Casey Neistat: Want me to take your picture. Speaker 5: Very nice. Chris Do: All right. So, that was a video by Casey Neistat. You should definitely look up his work. I find his work to be very personal. He puts himself in everything and he has a very kind of honest sincere way of telling stories. Now, there's no, no fancy 3D graphics or anything like that. Just a camera or a couple of cameras and the production values not even very good but as video's routinely get millions of views.
And, he's been written up in Wired Magazine. So, from, from that I think the lesson that we can learn is if we start to ,to turn the camera around or step out from behind the camera. We have a point of view, share our stories with people and I know we could make films that look better than that, but to, to be the author of the content I, I think is, is the future. so, for some of you guys that are in here. If you're not com, comfortable making videos, use what you have. If you're a visual story teller, use Instagram. Build your audience that way.
Tell stories that way. If you're a funny person and you, and you can write like little quick little tweets use Twitter. And, and if you like to like write longer form content use LinkedIn to build your audience. I recently met a woman who a, a job that I did for LinkedIn. And ,she writes. And she's a, she's a millionaire so she doesn't really need to work anymore. But, she writes on LinkedIn. And, I asked her about this. And, I said what is, is your goal now, since you don't have to work anymore. Her response was as, as, corny as it sounds. I'd, I'd to gi, to do something to impact people's lives so that I get a thank you note every single day.
And, I thought wow. What a wonderful mission. And, as I'm interviewing her and she's talking about publishing and writing on LinkedIn and building up her audience. She's up to 20,000 followers now. And she was telling, and I asked her is this a business model can you make money from doing this? And, she said, absolutely, yes. Emphatically, yes. And, I think it's going to be a bigger business than the one I previously sold. And, why is that? For her, for LinkedIn because she likes to write and she's an author she's building up an audience so when she goes and speaks she mobilizes her audience.
And, they show up, and they show up in the thousands. Right. And then so, I said do you get paid to do this? Sh, and she said yes. They pay me a percentage of every ticket sold and she uses the, the, the audience that she's built to develop content for writing more books. And, she sells the books to the audience that shows up. See how she creates a whole little ecosystem for her. So, use whatever you've got, okay? You've heard this for years that it's, it's talked about here. Continents came but for me what we got to do is stop obsessing over the small stuff.
Just like with Casey. The production value doesn't really matter and it's why I've you know being a visual person I'm starting to write more even though words fail me. It's why I designed in key note and, and not in design or illustrator because it's, it's more important about the message. Right. So, I know right now some of you guys are freaking out. Because there's a widow right there. Right? I know your skin's crawling, I'm just going to leave it up there for al little bit longer, because I know it bugs you.
And then, I added an extra space in there just for those other people. But anyways, I know that at a design school where we, we focused a lot on. The design and aesthetics and things like that. That what I'm saying probably sounds like blasphemy. But, the details at what level I'm talking about, it doesn't really matter. So, that widow, just ignore it. Okay? What's happening right now is it's easy to get seduced buy all, all, all the kind of visual stuff, the technical wizardry. The impeccable production design and the, these kind of sexy visuals right? But, if you focus on telling better more engaging stories you'll be successful.
Instead of being visual stylists because we know what happens. There's this, there's this money, this movie that makes a ton of money, but my kids wanted to see it and I was thinking 17%. I don' t know guys, I don't really want to see that Chris Do: All right. And, we've seen this too. So, I looked up like the biggest movie flops and here they are, there all like about dissection visuals and there's no storey there, so focus on a story. so, if you guys know who Robert McKee is he teaches on story he's a very well known screen writer and teaches screen writers.
And, he said story since we're talking about it, at its core is the conflict between subjective expectation and cruel reality. Just think about that for a little bit. Speaker 6: I like that. Chris Do: Subjective, so now we know, okay. Subjective expectation and it meets cruel reality, okay? so, if you're in the motion business, what I know. Is that the advertising world is changing so we have to kind of evolve. We have to learn how to work with clients. And, there's this concept called Blues, Blue Ocean Strategy. I just learned about this a week and a half ago, at least this term.
What it means is, if you look in the, the pool or the pond that you're playing in, it's, it's very competitive. If you kind of just change that field that you play in, you can have a lot more success and, and basically nobody's going to challenge you. So, in other words go where they ain't. Okay? In if you read Tony Shay's book on delivering happiness he calls it changing the table. When you're at playing at a poker table if you're losing it's because all those players are better than you. Or, just having bad, bad chemistry there. Just change the table and you have more luck. Okay? So, one thing that what I've realized and what we've begun I, I think about it for a year and a half ago, is that the advertising world's changing.
We can accept it or we can start to kind of look for our deep ocean strategy. And, what we realized is agencies are few, relatively speaking, and brands are many. So, if we learn how to work with brands directly and then we can have a lot more success because there's almost an infinite number of brands that I can call on. And, a finite number of agencies that'll take my call. So, I, I, I've struggled with figuring out how to work like an agency and think like an agency because that's not my background, not my training.
So, luckily I partnered up with somebody and we were working on something together, and I have been able to apply it in our practice. And, I have had amazing success. So, what we are doing now is a motion design firm is we are incorporating strategy into our practice. We are trying to solve real business problems verses being visual stylist. So, I am going to share one case study with you guys. It's for this company I'm working with, their called Ole's and their up in British Columbia it's a remote fly in fishing lodge. And, this is there website today, kind of looks like that, and it's not that uncommon for people in this industry for their website to look like that.
And, just in case you weren't sure the, it's consitsent. Chris Do: Okay. So, what I've done is I've borrowed what web design firms like David know how to do in terms of building user profiles and, and letting that kind of defined. What, what the, what the brand's voice and all that stuff is. And then, we start to identify the brand attributes and we do this with our clients. And so, it starts to tell us a lot of things about who they are and how they should sound right. So, the customers and how they sound to others, okay? how, how they make people feel.
And, if you just remember some of these words I'm going to show you the creative that links up to this so that you'll see how this now helps me as a creative person speak and develop messages. So, the you know the benefits of going to a place like this you feel recharged, rejuvenated, it strengthens bonds, you feel accomplished, you feel at ease. Because it's a warm atmosphere and you feel really relaxed. It's very exclusive because nobody else can get in there.There's only three other fishing lodges that are in that area. And, they have a permit to do that and that's it, so they don't have a lot of competition.
And so, I'm borrowing this from Marty Newmeyer, if you guys read Marty, Marty Newmeyers book on the brand gap. He writes about the onliness statement. You're the only company that does such. And so, we use those brand attributes to drive this thing, and that's how we write this. And, and now we know how to position the brand. So, we write this very simply. Ole's provides a worry free fishing experience for adventure seekers in a charming family atmosphere with exclusive access to pristine fishing grounds, leaving guests rejuvenated. And then now, I am getting in to the design of their business where we can make suggestions.
So, we know that the season is fairly short, so what we want to do is expand the season. So, what we want to do is who else can come out there so one idea and suggestions that I am making that they are following up on right now is to invite photographers who already have a following. Who want to go on nature excursions and just shoot photos. So, it has nothing, even, to do with fishing. And, kind of looking at the business model that way. Another area that they were tapping into, because they're going after small groups, is to work with team building even planners.
And, if they work with those people, they can book 24 trips at a time, versus going after one or two. we, we looked at where their not too, where people doing a lot of planning as Trip Advisor. So, getting into their business and making sure that the, where people are looking they can find them. so, this is how we define the brand here. I won't go all, all in to that and this is the site that we're working on for them. Right now, it looks a little different then the one you saw. So, I find it kind of funny, both Dave and Yo come come in with motion pieces.
I'm going to go the other way. I'm going to talk about branding, and digital things. Right? So, this is the story that we're developing for them. That is easy to use and it tells a story not unlike a motion piece, but you just kind of, what is it scroll down and it tells you one, one piece of the information at a time. It's narrative, but it's done in a different way. So, those brand attributes drive the creative and then it helps to me write copy. And so, I want to show you guys that. I'm not a writer so I started to write lines based on what I learned from building their brand attributes.
So, for the first one it's build lifelong friendships with complete strangers. And, a guy named Ernie. He's the guy whose the person who meets you on the dock. He runs the business. And evolution it's just a theory unchanged since 1982. And then, I like like to do these things where I take an image and I try build a line that plays against that so for them these are deadlines. Like, when you eat the continental breakfast the mid day meal. And, and another line I wrote at the bottom is to reprioritized. And, out here, this is highrise. Being on the water I've never felt so grounded.
And, lost in thought only to find yourself. Now, I'm also getting to the advertisement part of this where we run Facebook ad campaigns. And, we test different headlines against images and we see which ones perform well. And then, we change out all the images against the best headline. It's very analytical trying to develop what, what works for their audience. So I, I don't want to leave you sitting there thinking I'm just all talk. I am, as uncomfortable as it is for me to be in front of the camera, I do a show with Jose who's also an Art Center grad. And, you can find us on YouTube, where we talk about the business of design and the design of business.
Thanks very much, guys.
The second round of the series, recorded in late 2014, features Erich Joiner from the design firm Tool, Dave Bullock from the crowdfunding site CrowdRise, and Peter Lunenfield from UCLA talking about the power of media in design. The first panel features the 3x3 group: YO | LAI | DO event, featuring Yo Santosa (Ferroconcrete), David Lai (Hello Design), and Chris Do (BL:ND). This transmedia trio presents projects from the fields of branding, web, and motion design, touching on the challenges of running their own firms and the importance of story, inspiration, and constant evolution.
Art Center professor and lecture series leader Petrula Vrontikis guides both panels in round-table discussions about managing client expectations, overcoming professional uncertainty, and much more.