A Sexier Way to Produce Your Own Videos with Den Lennie

A Sexier Way to Produce Your Own Videos with Den Lennie (Episode 89)

video marketing podcast Dec 31, 2021

Den Lennie: You've cracked a chord on providing a really valuable system for your clients. It solves a real problem. People always want crews to come into their office and disrupt everything, but you're solving a real problem. And you're making recurring revenue to support them with, you know, coaching, post production, and making sure that they're getting value from their investment. And I predict that what you'll see is years and years of people going, why would we stop this?

We’ve talked a lot how videos give business an edge like no other marketing content. And it’s even more apparent for industries like video marketing. But as video marketer, how far would you go for your prospects?

Welcome to 'Video Made Simple' video podcast featuring marketers, entrepreneurs & clients who help take the mystery out of video and break through the monotony of day-to-day communication.

In this episode, Chris Schwager (Video Marketer from Ridge Films) is interviewed by Den Lennie (Coach and Mentor from Video Business Accelerator). Enjoy a lively banter between two friends, from building the smallest all-in-one Desktop Studio brought by a pain point in business to Chris going on camera to show prospects how video marketing is done now that they've solved the tech problems.

Our DIY Video Program has everything you need to bring your videos to life quickly and easily. With access to top-of-the-line video hardware, resources and practical training programs, you'll have all the tools and knowledge needed to create amazing content on a budget. Our program is perfect whether you're looking to kickstart your video production career or create great videos.


Links and Resources:

Here are more DIY Video articles you may find helpful:

DIY Video Success: Insider Tips and Strategies with Brendan Southall

DIY vs. DFY: The Battle for Creative Control and Convenience

You Don't Need To Be a Video Pro to Make Professional DIY Videos

Professional Video Studio for Young Leaders with Chris Gardiner

Professionally Assisted Do-It-Yourself Videos with Christine Blosdale

Why Your DIY Home Video Studio is Holding Your Business Back


Video Transcription:

Den Lennie 0:01

You've cracked a chord on providing a really valuable system for your clients. It solves a real problem. People always want crews to come into their office and disrupt everything, but you're solving a real problem. And you're making recurring revenue to support them with, you know, coaching, post production, and making sure that they're getting value from their investment. And I predict that what you'll see is years and years of people going, why would we stop this?

Mr. Schwager, it's been a while since you've been on the show. And it's great to have you back. And for anyone watching this. I mean, Chris is a pretty good looking dude. But I don't know this. This lockdown is just kind of, it's just are you using new shampoo? Are you using a new trimmer? Because you're looking pretty sharp dude.

Chris Schwager 0:51

No, it's more time out in the sun. More time with my feet on the ground. There was a period through the first two weeks of this recent lockdown where I was really frustrated. I was listening to all the news media, I was listening. I was watching Tiktoks. And Tiktok's became like fun little videos turn propaganda and like everything was COVID COVID COVID and I was like, Oh my God, I've really got to change this, this attitude like, look, it seemed like the whole world was against me and everybody, you know, go on a little fitness, run and feel like everybody was talking about either COVID or something negative. And I was like, you know what? This is not healthy. So just change it up.

Den Lennie 1:31

It's true. You've got to you've got to be careful what algorithm you're allowing yourself to tune into? Yeah, yeah, I said to all my clients right at the beginning of COVID. First thing you got to do is not watch the news. Get off social media, because it's very easy to believe that this COVID thing that's happened to us all, is the reason why business has been tough. Actual fact, it hasn't been tough for a lot of people because they've they've found ways to embrace the humanity of a client relationship. And you're one of those guys that I know in your business. Never sit still. So I'd love to hear a bit about I'm sure the audience love to hear, you know, how did you guys at Ridge, respond to the last 18 months of chaos? And for context, for anyone who doesn't know Chris, he was based in Sydney, they've had two significant lockdowns and talked me through the process you went through as a company, and how you've come out of that the other end?

Chris Schwager 2:28

Well, we didn't have as much of a leap. I don't think as a lot of people did. I mean, we knew at the first lockdown that we needed to do something different and still reach out. And a lot of what you had talked about through that period was really resonated with me. And I had to to find new ways to talk to the market, I think was the main thing. And I always kind of found that whole front end of the lockdown quite interesting, because there was a lot of businesses going on, what are we calling? Like, if we're gonna reach out to our clients? What are we calling them about? Like, what are we saying? Is it just an empathy play? Because soon enough, that will wear thin and people be like, What do you want? So there's had to be some reason, there had to be an offer, an idea, a new product, a new way of helping our clients, then just calling them up and going, Oh, do you guys want a video? Like, that's not enough.

And you know, there's nothing really sexy about selling video, I've always thought it's a tough thing. You know, when production companies are found through that period, now, us included kind of went played the whole, we'll give you a discount on your studio hire play, it was like, I found it just so boring. It's like, it may have been, you know, financially beneficial, but it really just wasn't, you know, anything there, there was no real hook or incentive why people would jump up and start doing things. And so to go through this pre pre cool, I guess, to this period, we had this concept of the desktop studio that was born out of something that we saw from Wistia. And we played with it, and we've done like a beta version of this. And effectively, it was like an all-in-one studio if you like. But the beta version wasn't 100%. We built two kits, and then we kind of, you know, got rid of it. And that was the end. And we forgot about it for a while. And then it was like January of 2019. We went to our business coach and went, we are so burnout with this travel and going to the clients for 15 minute call meetings, and just the whole preamble and post amble of those meetings and just the downtime was insane. And we're exhausted. And literally overnight, we decided that we were gonna be selling from zoom.

That's that's like the next day that was it. No more traveling. And that's the best part by the way about having a business coach and like yourself, Den, I mean, I'm sure there's people in your program that will just do exactly the same decisions made that can get on with their business and move forward. We started doing the Zoom calls, and that presented its own form of challenges, right? Because back then it was like having to convince people to go on to zoom, then they've got tech hassles with webcams and sound and how does this work, and then we don't have our systems in place to be able to make sure that they're set up correctly. There was things that we needed to build. But when it came down to it, when what the camera saw, what our prospective new opportunities saw, was made under a shitty little Logitech webcam with a crappy printer and a door in the background and crappy lighting and that was the first impression we were giving.

And we think that for creative business, you've got to look and sound the part, you know. And so we had rebirth the concept of DIY desktop and built the new and upgraded version, which is what we're selling now, which is the DIY desktop studio in amongst the DIY program. And we had two kits built at the end of 2019. And we were actively using them into 2020. And then when lockdown hit, we were like right-o! This is... This is it, this is the way we're moving forward yet we'll make our calls and all that. But primarily, we've got to be leading with something, this seems like the most logical thing to push forward on. And the first kit we ever sold was Brendan's, we packed it up, we got it out of the studio, and we gave it to the client.

I have had this conversation with startups. And they're like, Oh, we think we're going to launch in June. And I was like, you know, when you launch, it's when the fir - when the paycheck comes, when they're willing to pay, you take the money, and you figure out how to build it later. And that's what we did, we had six orders, we had payment for six kits, and we didn't have any components. We were bringing them in from all over the world. And the biggest thing that we had struggled with the little Logitech adapted that you needed to stream your camera to your computer. But nonetheless, we got through that really quickly. And we got up and running. And we started implementing and installing these kits. And we realized very quickly that if it's just equipment sitting on the desk, it will just be equipment sitting on the desk.

Not all people are intuitive and fast learners to be able to go Oh, I'm just going to go like I've got this beautiful looking and sounding set up now automatically become video marketers overnight. It still required ongoing assistance and support to help people through that, on camera training, script templates, ideas about implementing, editing, and how and what videos to use, how to use it in sales, you know, these gaps were the real things that people struggled with. It wasn't the tech because we'd solve that problem for them. One button, switch, and on it goes and you're lit up just like I am now, within seconds, I had it install yesterday I did for a client. And I showed him that and he was like, Oh my God, you know, he could record within within minutes. And you know, there was nothing more to do.

Den Lennie 8:13

You make a great point just to cut in there. But a lot of video businesses worry overly about, you know, the younger people come into the market doing stuff cheaper, our clients doing it themselves. But it's you said it's one thing to have the gear and then make it look good. But you can make it look good. But if you don't know what to say how to say it and how to structure it, you're good. And what I love about this offer you've created is that you've solved the problem for the client, which was a period they couldn't physically have people come to them, number one, number two, you can have a filmmaker come to your premises and film with you. But if you're not getting coached or produced and how to say what you need to say correctly, it doesn't work. So you've actually created you've solved the problem, and created an ongoing opportunity to support a business ongoing with subscription revenue, and I think is just genius. And what I just wanted to say is this didn't happen right off the bat with you wasn't like the very first time you had this idea. You got it right. And I just admire you for the fact that you and Brendan just kept going trying to figure out the best way to do this and it sounds now like it's starting to really flow.

Chris Schwager 9:24

We'll be back in a short moment. Video is everything again because the world is now demanding that you appear on camera in some fashion. It's time to get the skills of a professional presenter. Go to ridgefilm.com.au/diy Because Do It Yourself videos should be easy and they should work. You should have a teleprompter like Danielle said. The DIY video program helps you personalize sales, produce video emails and record videos regularly without the tech hassles. Look and sound amazing in every video meeting go to ridgefilms.com.au/diy.

Yeah, I mean, let's put things into perspective. We're a 20 year old business, who has some process and some system in place to be able to sell market manage finances and cuffs, cash flow, we have that in our armor. If you like, when it came to getting the kit organized, it wasn't like, we immediately just assumed that the problem was X Y, Zed, therefore, let's build the kit. I mean, we listen to the market, we had a whole bunch of LinkedIn, inmail marketing coming, going out at that first lockdown. And people were telling us straight that most people who presented on camera sucked big time, and that they weren't happy, and it wasn't satisfactory. So we knew that the gap was weak there. We knew and I'm still a big believer, this will this won't go away. It's not like people are automatically going to just overnight, go back and start working. They'll never have a use for webcams again. And you know, I mean, like it's going to be people have fallen in love in a way. And not all people but most like a lot of people have fallen in love with the concept of home, work, life balance and being able to be more efficient at home. And the thing that has always stifled them has been, well, how do I do that professionally, you know, and I think that's a big key here with what we've putting together as you can look and sound, you're the best and professional. And you don't need to overhaul a studio in your home or office to do it, we did install -

Den Lennie 11:31

or spend an enormous amount of money. I mean, like you're in your home office, I'm in my home office, I am 400 meters from the beach, I used to have this setup at WeWork in Piermont in Sydney, it's cost me $5,000 a month.

Chris Schwager 11:45

It's just at that is insane. We've got a video just about to launch on the DIY programs webpage, it's ridgefilms.com.au/diy. If you want to go and have a look at it, there's a nice little catalog of videos starting to brew up there. And there's a behind the scenes happening of me actually installing one of these kits. And this particular client was like, Oh, we don't really need it for streaming, we really just want to be producing, training videos at any moment in time, we want to be able to stop and just do the training videos. And I was like, Cool! Where do you want this thing? Because that is beautiful office, it was really you know, sorry, hills, decked out. And like, Well, you see that white, you know, partition over there with the big long white doors, behind that! We don't want anybody to see it. Like when we close those partitions, we're closing off the shitty kitchen that stacked up chairs, the junk that they just would have it, they'd stick behind that. We want your thing to be behind that. And I like it. Okay, so they gave me this slot, there's about a foot and a half between an old fridge. And these white partitions. You'll see it when you when you watch the video. But uh, basically, we were able to design this whole thing. So the background was the petitions, they had a kind of a envelopes style background that kind of comes out and lighting sound everything, as you see it now. It's looking good. And when they're done, they just fold it all up and away it goes. So my point is, it's not requiring a massive fit out to be able to produce these videos,

Den Lennie 13:18

But also what's interesting, then, you know, you don't need to reveal reveal numbers and stuff. But unless you're happy to. But it's the fact that this is something where you've applied your 20 years of knowledge into how can we solve a problem that we know is going to get worse? How do we stop and I love your point about we just don't want to stop to be traveling across Sydney to have meetings anymore. Like, I think the most important thing about running a business is that very few businesses reach and attain the point where they get to have freedom. They might make a lot of money, but they're having to really work for it. I'm really trying to demonstrate to my community that success isn't just financial, how much freedom do you have? How much freedom do you have to go? I'm not going to work today? Can you just go I'm not going to work today and the money's still going to roll in? And if the answer to that is no, then you have a problem in your business.

And what I love about this is that you've cracked a chord on providing a really valuable system for your clients and solves a real problem. People always want crews to come into their office and disrupt everything, but you're solving a real problem. And you're making recurring revenue to support them with, you know, coaching, post production, and making sure that they're getting value from their investment. And I predict that what you'll see is years and years of people going, why would we stop this you have a great case study with a client of yours the other day who runs an events company saying, Hey, we're spending two and a half grand a month. We were spending about the same on a videographer. He just sees it as this kind of such an important part of his business though, but I can't imagine he never stopped paying you. And that is a beautiful business relationship because you're solving a very real problem. You're generating great revenue from it and it's scalable. If you want to take tomorrow off. You're pretty much good. I mean, is that what's happening in your world?

Chris Schwager 15:04

Yeah, I mean, look, when you think back to the origin of the threat of, you know, because I'm keeping in mind here, we're talking to predominantly video companies and videographers and stuff. I mean, the iPhone was a threat. The DSLR camera was a threat, the low cost of technology was the threat. And you can repel against that and say, Oh, my word or the professional thing, or you can just wait for your revenue to dwindle as more and more competition starts to soak up opportunities that you may be ordinarily getting. So you can either fight it or join it. And we realized we had to be harmonious about our approach to this. Be real about the fact that clients, again, you know, what was it the buyer controls the sales process, you know, like, and it is 100% true, if they don't have budget, or they want to spend their money elsewhere, or they think they can leverage it in other ways, then we're trying to foster in both professional video marketing as well as our DIY this ideal of reuse, repurpose, recycle, refashion. You know, if they're just constantly smashing up video after video and not looking at their marketing in that way. It's time consuming, it's costly, it's resource swallowing, you know.

And so they got to be looking at ways that they can leverage and listen to your podcast this morning. Daniel's like, Oh, we don't edit. We like it authentic. And I was like, shit, you know, that's something that I really could take away with me right now with the way that we're producing our show is overly engineering. And I'm getting a little bit too carried away on the, on the directorial side and just trying to polish so much that it's taking a lot of time. But, you know, there's so many efficiencies in business to be had. And, you know, we need to be treating them really seriously. Because when I think it all comes down to what we do in business, it is ultimately time that is going to be the decider of whether things move forward or they don't and for us, you know, you know, and I'm just sort of on a bit of a ramble here. I think at the moment, Den, so pull me up at any point,

Den Lennie 17:09

I think in to that point about why we don't edit. And it's, it's very deliberate. We put two episodes out a week, we're up to something like 235-240 episodes in two years. That is an enormous amount of work to just produce that much content. We took a month off one one August to test having a break. And it really impacted the listeners, people were commenting they want to hear in the show. And so my commitment to the show is, I did two episodes a week, no matter what. And to do that, I can't be you know, editing, I just don't have the time and capacity. This is a free show, which I packed full of value, which is a lead generator for my business. And so we we bank on enough people coming through us asking for help, and then we can work with them in another capacity. But it's a small fraction of the number of people who listen to the show, and I'm okay with that. That's completely fine. I love making the show. I love getting to talk to you and other great guests.

We then take this content, we repurpose it. We've got a team who look after that. I purposely don't edit the show for one very good reason. And that's just to demonstrate by doing that done beats perfect. And a lot of filmmakers get very caught up in feel like everything they do has to be perfect. And the fact is, I mean I know people who take a podcast like this and cut out the arms and the hours and the editor all it doesn't add any more value to the message I'm trying to share. I want video businesses to take this stuff, get out, implement it, make some money. And if I focus too much on the production value, and made it too perfect like it's just not who I am.

And so it's more authentic for me to have a cough and gore so I just coughed or like I'm a human being you know. I have good days, I have bad days. I don't want to present this polished. Look I'm not a polished person. But what I do do is get great results, my clients because we get shit done and so I it's really more about the get stuff done, get shit done, put it out don't have to be perfect. But the sheer volume of content we put out reaches more people and the people that do resonate with us end up joining our programs and steam for years.

And that's ultimately what I'm looking to do is to to attract the right people in who don't who don't care about that shit.

Chris Schwager 19:39

Yeah, that's right.

Den Lennie 19:40

I used to have a lot of people who would comment on email that says there's a spelling mistake. I'm like you should read my bootless there's dozens. It's not important when we're talking about is you getting off your ass and calling a client and making a sale because that's what's gonna make the biggest thing to move the needle. Now for you, I get it you know you're a different personality to me. And you are producing a more polished product for your clients. But I do think it's you've got to be clear on the fact that he is going to all this trouble to edit all this stuff.

Chris Schwager 20:09


Den Lennie 20:10

Actually that important?

Chris Schwager 20:11

That's right. Yes. Yes. And?

Den Lennie 20:13

Or is it slowing us down from putting out more content and hitting more people?

Chris Schwager 20:16

I think I think, you know, like, I have no regrets. And I think going through it is understanding what our capacity to deliver content is, you know, is directly related to the how obsessed we get about everything being perfect. And so, you know, going through that, and going to the polarizing end of the spectrum in terms of hey, just a straight live stream, ad hoc type interview versus, you know, something that's polished and all of that, I mean, understanding what those two areas feel like, I think, is part of the process of knowing how to streamline and make things more efficient in the long term. And I think that's what the DIY program is all about, as well. So our clients are sick of poorly producing iPhone quality content, like hacks, and they're, you know, asking for multi million dollars from their clients, and they've got these shithouse. You know, iPhones,

Den Lennie 21:06

That's a really great point, like, you know, what, what kind of problems is a business solving? And at what price point? And therefore, does the way you communicate marry up with the price point of the problem you're solving? I think that's a really interesting point, because that is what is most important. If you're solving $100,000 problem, then an iPhone video is probably not going to cut it. But it depends, it depends on what it is, you know, and that's where you come in as a producer, as a production company to help clients understand what is the right balance for them, and I guess that's where you produce them, or point them in the direction of producing them in a certain way to suit the market.

Chris Schwager 21:48

Yeah, and we're sitting in in the middle of iPhone and high end production, you know, so they're not willing to go and get do the types of stuff they want to be doing, by getting a crew out every single time, you know what I mean? And so they want flexibility to record when they want to look better in zoom meetings and present better doing that, and also find new and innovative ways to sell to their market like do you know what a game changer, the video reply inquiry has been for our business? Oh, my God, it is just like killing our sales prices in a good way that is, and then our our proposal walkthrough video, those two videos at that pre sale area, personalised, show that we love them, show that we care that they're not a number, that is a huge deciding factor when somebody is looking at you and to other quotes in, you know, trying to figure out who they should go with, you know, personalization will win, you know.

Den Lennie 22:51

Plus,you're demonstrating your technical ability to portray great looking videos, in a zoom call.

Chris Schwager 22:57

Yeah. And when somebody is inquiring about DIY programming, I'll reply straightaway with a video, personalized video for them. From the DIY video studio. They're like, right, this is what I can be doing.

Den Lennie 23:08

And this is the thing that that I think is, you know, we know, a little one, I'll always love hanging out with you. Because I love the way you run your business you like, you understand that it's not just about being different for different's sake. It's about genuinely caring about the outcome, and being sharp enough to come up with unique ways to stand out. And I think that's partly because a lot of video business owners are very introverted, and therefore, they want to hide behind the camera. But I really believe if you want to succeed and have a very, very healthy income and living from fear video production, stepping out of your comfort zone to get on camera, and talk to people will blow your business up.

Chris Schwager 23:53

Yeah, that's an interesting point. Because do you know how many people out of all the inquiries we get for people wanting to work with us or they're coming from the UK and then want to start doing camera work here or whatever it might be? Right? All those people that want to work with us in some capacity, you know, how many lead with video?

Den Lennie 24:12

I'd say zero.

Chris Schwager 24:13

Fuckin zero.

Den Lennie 24:15

And like this, I was talking to Kim Barrett, who's on the show a while ago and he's he runs a big marketing agency in Perth, and he said, You know what? It baffles me that video production companies do not use video to sell their own service. That's like saying, I'm a steak restaurant but I'm a vegetarian. I don't like cruelty to animals. It's like be congruent. You know? Show us how great you are. Don't tell us how much is 20 grand.

Chris Schwager 24:44

Yeah and how much like opinion sways when you're at Harvey Norman and you're looking at vacuum cleaners and someone goes, the sales guy goes, "I've got this very vacuum cleaner and it is the best thing. I'm so glad that I bought it" and you're like shut up and take my money, it's done.

Den Lennie 25:00

I know. I know.

Chris Schwager 25:02

You know what I mean? So it's kind of that same concept, you know, it's we're right from the start of business or very early on in their business we committed to leading by was it "eating our own dog food." Leading by example, showing them how we do it, and how they can do it too.

Den Lennie 25:21

Back to why I don't edit the show, my phone's been buzzing away during the show, you know, drilling us, it's not perfect. But you know what, I guarantee someone will take away two or three really amazing lessons from this. And if they apply in the business, they will make money. That is my objective. I want to demonstrate to people it doesn't have to be perfect. But thinking about an idea doesn't execute. And I think no more than ever, you have to just try stuff like this. You didn't get this this whole kit thing, right first time? It's taken two or three years. And anything worthwhile, I think takes time to to come together.

Chris Schwager 26:02

And you know, like, it's 100%, nothing will ever be perfect. We've still got to go back to our existing clients and resell on the opportunities now DIY program has like yeah, because when we started it was, yeah, some equipment. We realized that that was nothing unless people had the training, the resources, the knowledge to be it know how to implement and do things properly. Right. So you know, like, there's so much still to learn from our perspective. But we we've got a very confident where we know where this is positioned. We know people are loving it, you know, marketing's working better now. Things advertising is starting to work. So there is more and more people looking at it as a feasible option. And I think that's only going to get the selling there'd be more demand. As people realize that, you know, the iPhone is an acceptable device for professional video marketing and doesn't solve all the challenges. You know, it's not an iPhone, still just that device in your pocket that makes everyone a video producer, but doesn't make them overly good at it.

Den Lennie 27:12

Yeah, yeah. No, I'm conscious. You've got to go and pick up your kids. So wrap this up. No. Okay. Chris, it's been great catching up. And let's let's get you back on the show very soon. Because I think the listeners will always get value from someone of your pedigree, sharing that the real challenges you have today and 2021 you know, readjusting continually to what is your landscape look like? And then and we'll link to that that URL over on the website as well. So yeah, go have a look great to have you back on again sometime mate.

Chris Schwager 27:43

Yeah, look, it's my pleasure, Den, and I just love listening to show man what you're doing for the video community, I think is outstanding. I think you know, you should give yourself a big pat on the back the VBA man go the VBA

Den Lennie 27:55

I'll catch you soon!

Chris Schwager 27:56

Take care.

That's all for this episode of the video made simple podcast. If you want to start on the path to become a video marketing professional, go to ridgefilms.com.au/learn and for only $47 you get instant access to our online course plus live coaching sessions with me every month. Let us help you take the mystery out of producing video. So go to ridgefilms.com.au/learn And see you next week.


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