Thursday, September 29, 2011

Web Video

Statistics claim that web video, when executed properly, can triple your opt-in rate at that critical moment when viewers decide to explore or leave your site, and that viewers are far more likely to pass the word to others via viral marketing.

This is essential information for higher education clients.

Recently a prominent University ask us to create a series of web videos—and I was reminded of a recent web video campaign we produced for Washington University School of Law.

The School of Law had a beautifully designed website full of essential information for prospective students. However the University is located in the Midwest, and applicants from the East and West coast believe buffalo still roam the streets. Our charge was not to recreate information on the website, but to showcase St. Louis--the city, parks, and neighborhoods.

We shot the videos on a Vericam with Dave Rutherford as the DP. In the example you’ll see below, we focused on neighborhoods. I love the opening students quote, she's walking by her favorite Chocolate shop--Bissingers.

In the end the client was pleased. Mary Ann Clifford, Assistant Dean of Admissions, said “When I‘ve been traveling around the country visiting with prospective students who have not been to St. Louis, I just tell them to take a look at the videos to get an idea of what it is like here. They really highlight so much of what is wonderful about Washington U, our students, and St. Louis.”

Let’s hope the next series produces the same reaction!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Last Interview

This summer I produced and directed a program for Clayco, a major design-build firm headquartered in St. Louis. Clayco has worked with Washington University in St. Louis for years; the program celebrated several of the outstanding buildings they have created together.

As part of the project, we interviewed Dean James McLeod, a man I’ve known for nearly twenty years.  

Dean McLeod hired me that long ago to direct a video for the John B. Ervin Scholars Program. This nationally eminent program began as an effort to foster a diverse educational environment on the WU campus. Over the years the scholars were consistently challenged to lead and to commit to an ethic of service. I produced many programs for the Ervin Scholars. More than once I heard Jim quote Dr. Ervin to the incoming scholars: “To whom much is given, much is required.”

Like Dr. Ervin, Jim always gave of himself with intelligence and compassion. He touched the lives of thousands of students—including my own two sons.

The university recognized his contributions by creating the McLeod Scholars Program, an undergraduate scholarship endowment. In May of this year three students were named as inaugural McLeod Scholars.

I am so sad to report that Chancellor Wrighton has just informed the Washington University community that James Earl McLeod passed away this afternoon.

The news is devastating.

Yet I know that his legacy will live on.

After our interview in June, Jim laughed and wrapped things up by saying, “It’s time for me to go.” And then this charming, gracious man picked up his black umbrella and headed out into the rain. Off he walked in the direction of Brookings Hall. An essential image of Jim McLeod.