Being in the early stage of our startup, we’re confronted on a weekly basis with make-or-buy decisions. While working on our new website, it became clear that we needed an explainer video in order to fill in all domainers around the globe about the great functionalities Efty has to offer.
Maybe you’ve seen great videos like the Crazy Egg Explainer or the Introduction to Wufoo. Since we’re already investing all our hard-earned dollars in building the most brilliant domainer tool to have ever seen the light of day, we were on a tight video budget. Following my personal credo ‘if someone else can do it, I can do it too’ (or at least give it a try and have loads of fun while failing miserably), I decided to give the video thing a go myself.
I studied some explainer videos I like to try and find out the model they tend to use. The vids I find to be successful are pretty much scripted in an order like:
- You know it’s REALLY IMPORTANT to do this and that
- Doesn’t it suck that this and that is costing you LOADS OF TIME
- Have no fear, our awesome product is here
- It does a, b, c and also a bit of 1,2,3
- Signup NOW (it’s really easy) and you’ll be on your way doing this and that successfully and have plenty of time left to do stuff you enjoy!
Conveniently I’m a huge fan of street art, so I know a little thing about combining colors, typography and so on. I went out and bought myself a Wacom drawing tablet and started doing some artwork (you can leave out the ‘art’ here, to be frank :P).
I drew up a little script, which was roughly 3 minutes long at the start. Doron revised the script and we brought it down to about 90 seconds. Afterwards, I started out drawing a bunch of small cartoon-like animations on paper. Later I found out this was actually our early storyboard.
Okay, time to start with the tablet. I’m pretty familiar with Photoshop, but I hadn’t used anything other than Windows Movie Maker. After a quick search on the web I found out Adobe After Effects was the way to go. I tried out some simple stuff in AE for a few hours and oh my: mind blown. This stuff is ab-so-lu-te-ly awesome. Possibilities are endless.
Making video is definitely something else than drawing up some cartoons on paper or editing photos using Photoshop. I think I’ve spend about half a day just drawing up things and getting accustomed to my new drawing tablet and using AE.
But there definitely was some light to be found at the end of the tunnel. After a week of fiddling with my new tools, I had produced about 25 seconds of video, which was actually pretty cool. Every professional art designer will definitely have a laugh at my work, but at this stage I was pretty sure our video would get the job done: getting our awesome message across.
I was so excited to send my first footage over to Efty co-founder Doron. He texted me that he snuck out of a business meeting and watched it for about 25 times on the toilet and would probably be dreaming about it that night, so I knew I was on the right path.
There was a shot in there at first, having a text balloon saying ‘Steaming pile of domains’, pointing to a bunch of browser windows, to point out a big unmanageable bunch of domains. We thought the ‘Steaming pile’ reference was really funny. But a quick Google search learned this phrase probably would have generated more negative then positive references 🙂
I continued and wrapped up the video in another week. We used http://www.fromtexttospeech.com/ to get some speech in there at first. For our final version, we turned to the guys over at Voicebunny. Wow, brilliant service and they managed to get us an excellent voice-over in just two days. Our guy, ‘Voice actor 40BPNS4’, really hit a home run.
After getting our fresh voice in the video, I was super excited. It was like getting the keys to your new long awaited apartment.
Again, I’m confident that you video pro’s out there would have done a way better job then little old me. But boy do I get one hell of a kick out of speed-learning such a craftsmanship and delivering results in just a few weeks.
I love my job!
Most people will tell you that as CEO, founder or whatever you need to make sure you stick to the stuff you’re good at, and to get a good team and great partners for the rest of your business. But I can assure you that if you, every once in a while, stick way too much time in something that you really enjoy and manage to get results in the process, you’ll be one happy entrepreneur.
Check out our homepage to see our home-made video in all its glory 🙂
Co-Founder of Efty