As some of you may know, the Women's World Cup starts in less than a month, and as US Soccer did for the men's team last year, they released the "One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories." series for the women's team recently.
If you didn't know already, I am a huge soccer fan, especially when it comes to cheering on my country. So obviously, I watched all 23 stories the minute they were released, and I can't believe I'm going to say this [because it's basically blasphemy for me to talk bad about US Soccer] but I was kind of dissappointed. Not that they were bad... they just weren't all that exciting. It felt like most of the players talked about having older brothers [or siblings in general] who made them really competitive growing up. That's cool and all, but after watching a dozen or so people talk about that, it was kind of boring and repetitive and they started running together in my brain. A few that stood out, though, were Sydney Leroux getting a terrible flaming soccerball tattoo when she was 14 after a bet with her mom, finding out Tobin Heath is basically a vagabond, Heather O'Reilly and teammates recreating her epic game face and Meghan Klingenberg doing a nunchuck routine to NSYNC in her elementary school talent show. Then yesterday, Deb sent me the outtakes and behind the scenes video.
This one I really enjoyed, and if you read the comments on Youtube, I'm not the only one. The consensus seems to be that this one shows way more of the players' personalities and was a lot more fun. I got to see that Christen Press has two awesome dogs and one of them is named Khaleesi [can we be best friends now?]. So yeah, I know that the series is called "One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories." but when most of those stories are similar, I lose a little interest. So let's get more of the terrible tattoo and elementary school talent show-type stories. Way more fun.
And guess what! We at Old Hat, make these sorts of fun "Get to Know" videos that showcase student athletes. While these videos can be some of the more tedious projects I work on, going through and picking out the best bits to trim down to a quickly consumable video, they're also a lot of fun for me to do. I frequently find myself giggling when going through the footage of student athletes showing off their hidden talents, favorite karaoke songs or doing an impression of a coach or teammate. These questions allow your fans to see a lot more of their favorite player's personality than just asking about what their life was like growing up. I actually find myself cheering for these student althetes of rival universities when it comes to March Madness or whatever competition they're in because I feel like I've gotten to know them. So you know your fans will definitely want to come out and support a team they feel they know and not just because they wear your logo while balling out.
It seems like a very simple question: What's one thing you've been wanting to try? For normal people that's a pretty simple question. You can apply it and rephrase it however you like: What's one place you've always wanted to vacation? What's one room you'd like renovated in your house? Name one entertainer you'd love to see live. Name your favorite dinosaur. For the record: Band of Brothers tour in Europe, kitchen reno, Dolly Parton, and Velociraptor. Did we just become best friends?
For designers and other people in the creative sphere oftentimes the hardest question to answer is: What's one thing you've been wanting to try?
I get it. You want something original and cutting edge. You want to be the FIRST to do something big. You want to go VIRAL. Plus you think you want to give us the freedom to create whatever we want.
I can't fault you there. It's an innocent question, but it's also the worst question or direction we can receive when there's no other direction. It's probably my least favorite sentence to see in job notes. Don't get me wrong, I have ideas and Pinterest boards of cool things and new trends, but there are so many factors that come into play when you're creating. From a video perspective they can include: budget, deadline, school, sport, type of project (video: intro, commercial, historical, etc), length of video, time of year, number of cooks in your kitchen with differing opinions, featuring all athletes or just seniors or just top performers, featuring tradition, featuring brand new team, featuring new coach, coming off a great season, coming off a bad season, coming off a violation season, old fan base, young fan base, hitting or avoiding hot button topics on campus or the nation, celebrating an anniversary, celebrating an upcoming milestone...the list goes on and on.
So you can see the challenge of having the perfect cutting edge idea for the various combinations of factors. Not every cool new trend works with every factor of a project.
"What's something you've always been wanting to try for a 1:00 basketball intro?" Eek. And that's all of the information I'm getting. I mean if it was MY video and I was playing it for MY friends, and I'M the one paying for it well then I'd have the best ideas!
I'd love to flip the traditional intro on its head. Maybe 30 seconds of something more artsy and dramatic (that does not include prepping for a game) that you don't see in an sports Intro and the last 15-30 seconds could have the traditional pump up sports things. Maybe they're just two different videos. Who knows? My video.
I'd love to go old school with some Aretha or James Brown era music.
I would love to film in a really unique location.
How crazy would it be to include Sia's dancer Maddie Ziegler in this video? Yeah. Pretty crazy, but it's MY video! (I haven't made my mind up in regards to Shia LeBeouf's dancing)
The point is, MY tastes are pretty eclectic and eccentric. I have all sorts of out-of-the-box ideas that I've been wanting to try, but they're not necessarily appropriate for YOUR specific fans, YOURspecific coach, YOURspecific team, this :45 video that's supposed to pump people up, etc. Giving designers direction doesn't inhibit creative work. Our job is all about collaboration. You give us some of the nuts and bolts of your team, your community. You tell us some of what makes your team unique and we figure out the creative awesome big way to make that obvious to the masses.
This past week has been pretty exciting! Last Monday, our client, Duke, won the Men's Basketball National Championship. On Saturday, our client, Providence College, won the Men's Hockey National Championship and our client, OU, won the Men's Gymnastics National Championship! Not a bad few days! I was fortunate to work with Duke on a lot of their regular and post season Men's Basketball print and video pieces. Additionally, I worked with Providence on their Men's Hockey intro video this year. Dustin went over to OU and did a photo shoot for the Men's Gymnastics team this fall for them to use in their marketing efforts throughout the season. Seems like if you want to win a National Championship, maybe you should consider letting Old Hat help with some of your marketing pieces ;)
You can check out some of the work for these champion clients here:
Providence Men's Hockey Intro Video:
Duke Men's Basketball Season Ticket Book (click thru to video the entire publication):
Men's Basketball Poster, Schedule Card and Magnet:
Great staff photo, huh? Only, that's not us. And that will never be us. We don't wear power suits or ties. We wear jeans, t-shirts, ballcaps, athletic shorts... pretty much whatever we want.
I was looking at our "About Us" page the other day and I couldn't believe how corporate looking I had allowed it to become. All our staff photos looked like we belonged in a photo like the one above. But that's not us. So I decided to spend my morning getting US back into our about us page. There are no major changes here but it's a much better representation of who we are than it was before. This page doesn't include our entire staff, by the way. Just the people you're likely to come into contact with when you deal with us. Though after spending some time working on this page, I think we probably need to get our entire staff on here.
I know. Technically football season just ended a few weeks ago with the Super Bowl, but now that baseball season is in full swing (haha. "full swing." baseball. get it?!) it's time to start looking for football concepts for the upcoming season of video shoots and subsequent football intros. Lately, I've been really impressed by the stuff Tennessee has been putting together. I mean, yeah. They're a historically great football team. They're in arguably the best football conference. Lots of tradition. Huge stadium. Extremely loyal fanbase. But they also went 6-6 during the regular season. However, you wouldn't know that if you watch this video.
I don't know about you but I really want to head to Knoxville for a game right about now. Sadly, it isn't exactly football season. But I can't wait to start working with our clients to create a video just as special, that induces even more chills, for their programs.
It's not every day that a coach reaches the 1,000 career victories milestone. That's why it was exciting to get to work with Duke on some projects to commemorate Coach K's 1000th career win.
Commemorative Ticket: This was given away to fans at the first home game after Coach K's 1000th win. A larger version was also framed and signed by the Duke Athletic department and presented to Coach K as a gift.
Photo Gift: This sentimental piece highlighted Coach K's early years and was framed and presented to Coach K as a gift.
Newspaper Ads: These ran in multiple newspapers in North Carolina as well as in a digital magazine.
Billboard: A billboard to congratulate Coach K
We've been fortunate to work on some other Coach K projects in the past.
Coach K's 900th Win Newspaper Ad
America's Best Coach Video
Coach K Team USA Video
We're looking forward to helping celebrate Coach K's milestones in the years to come!
Yesterday at our mid-year Staff Infection, Zac asked us to pick a project from 2014 we worked on or worked with that we really liked. This list could really go on and on as there are hundreds to pick from. A few projects mentioned yesterday are still being finalized and are almost ready for release - stay tuned as more great stuff is always coming out of this place! And like a parent with their children, it's hard to pick a favorite. But here are some of the highlights…
Perhaps you're thinking this blog has been done before and you'd be correct. Tricia showed us her desk a few weeks back. FASCINATING STUFF! Now we (Dustin) know where she keeps all of her snacks (out in plain sight)! So seeing how I gave her this blog idea and have no better idea for myself this week, here you go. My desk/shelf/area:
Well, this is my desk. It's typically a clutter-free zone. That's the Type-A/OCD or what I like to call "organized" part of me. I hate clutter and it's one of the few things I can control whilst at the office. You'll notice I have several post-it notes out right now. I'm trying to come up with some new creative ideas for next season's videos. I'll probably write a blog about those things later when I have it figured out a little better. For now, the post-it notes on the wall are typical things we see in most basketball intro videos...a basketball video bingo if you will. And on my desk are notes with things that could make a video more unique and less cookie-cutter.
Other things on my desk include my Beats earbuds (the most essential thing at my desk), an owl-themed water bottle, a tiny Captain America and a tiny Tardis (it's bigger on the inside, guys). You'll also notice my multi-colored keyboard which has a bunch of shortcuts for Final Cut Pro. That's the software we used in school and it helps get me by for the minimal amount of editing that I do. Our hyper-talented professional editors use much more sophisticated software from the Adobe Suite in addition to stupidly-complex 3D programs. However, nobody has a prettier keyboard than me! So yeah...there's that.
Finally, I have a fortune that has been at my desk since Year One at OH: "Endurance and persistence will be rewarded." Oh and my lucky numbers are 5, 8,16, 24, 32, 46. If you use them to win the lottery please kindly consider giving me just 1% (only if you win like over a million though, okay?).
Next up is my bookshelf. It has a wide assortment of bobbleheads and figurines. My favorite bobbleheads are probably Einstein (from the Air & Space Museum), the Vikings player (he typically has a tiny paper bag over his head depending on how horrible they are playing), South Carolina Women's Basketball Coach Dawn Staley (one of my all-time fav wbb players and holy crap how about those Gamecocks this season) and my buddy Maury Wills (last bobblehead on the right...I'll write about Mr. Wills in another blog someday).
There's also a framed pic of my fur babies Lola and Leo back there- and let me just say for the record I don't think I've ever written a blog about my bulldogs...BUT GUYS I TOTALLY COULD BECAUSE THEY ARE AMAZING. There is also a license plate from Kansas State when they won three Big 12 Championships in 2003 (Football, Volleyball and Women's Basketball).
My middle shelf has a little bit of this and a little bit of that. A few free towels from games I've attended, a stuffed Dory from Geoff who reminds me to "Just Keep Swimming," my Five Years of Awesomeness football from Old Hat, some ticket stubs from my undergrad at K-State, a few DVDs that my better half told me to get out of the house because they were duplicates (so I brought them to work, HA take that, #winning) and a couple of DVDs that were used in video projects (it was odd watching The Big Chill at work where people could see my computer). My favorite thing on this shelf is probably my Minnesota Twins Homer Hanky.
And finally, if anybody needs to borrow some Kansas State or Big 12 WBB media guides from like 2000-2006 I'm your lady. These were more items I was instructed to get out of the house. I've found that the office is the perfect place for all of my old media credentials. I also have a rocking Wilson Phillips CD and Taylor Dane cassette tape. I just need to find a cassette player...
"Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King and recognize that there are ties between us, all men and women living on the Earth. Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood, that we are bound together in our desire to see the world become a place in which our children can grow free and strong. We are bound together by the task that stands before us and the road that lies ahead. We are bound and we are bound."
Those are the opening lyrics to James Taylor's "Shed a Little Light." It is a really powerful song and one that I've been listening to a lot over the last several months. As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr today chances are you'll hear one of the most recognized refrains in history, "I have a dream." The NBA has a new video called "Barrier Breakers" that utilizes Dr. King's most famous speech coupled with imagery of various barrier breakers in NBA history.
I think it's a great video, but there's something about it that makes me want something more. Something more than a historical speech with historical pictures. My critique and expectations for certain videos has changed as I get older. There's a constant creative confict I have in my head between "keeping it simple, stupid" and "the need to go outside of the box." I think this video is pretty powerful and pretty simple, but I think it's something we've all seen before. So I pose two questions to you: Do we get to a point where this style of video loses its effectiveness? Or are some visuals, some words simply impervious to becoming a cliche? I don't know the answer.
I also think there are more ways to produce a video than old photos with the "Ken Burns fx" (aka slow zooms and pans of photographs) and black and white video. I really like both of these videos that utilize motion graphics and kinetic type: