Purpose and Values: 2014 Edition (Part One)

The power of purpose

Cool image by net_efekt

I’ve always been about purpose and values. I act in an ethical way, and I expect the same from our team and our clients. When I started my first company, it was with an almost intuitive sense of purpose and values. It was never just about the money, it was about creating cool stuff that delighted people, and that made a difference, too. This ad-hoc approach mostly worked throughout my 20s, but time goes on, and things change. For instance, my shop has grown in size and geographically, and continues to grow as we add strong teammates. And we are constantly approached by potential clients of all kinds, asking us to be involved in their businesses. The old ad-hoc approach from my 20s wasn’t cutting it, anymore. It became time to codify what we do, and why we do it. I wrote a post about that, and it really helped my team focus on what’s important to us, and it helped drive our decisions for the company.

It was fantastic, and quite helpful.

Well, it’s been a few years since my original post about purpose and values. It’s time for a redo, it’s time for an update. Founding father Thomas Jefferson suggested the need for a revolution every 20 years. I tend to agree, although this isn’t quite a revolution, but more of an evolution.

I’ve been thinking about this post since our work with PepsiCo, as their ‘Performance With Purpose’ is such a driving force for their business. It feels like companies who have strong, codified values tend to do better at the things that matter. As we’ve grown, it’s become incredibly important to me that everyone here knows what we’re about. It’s important that potential clients do, too.

I’ve recently been involved in another company’s efforts to create their own purpose and values program, as the director of their company video. Unfortunately, as the project progressed it became clear that this company didn’t ‘walk the walk’ with their values (and they really weren’t 100% sure what those values were, either). It was all just words to them, calculated to extract incredible loyalty and instill fear among employees. The company practices management by intimidation.

It made me really think. ‘We can’t be blamed for what happened’, I thought ‘How could we have known?’. Well, in fact, there were a few red flags in preproduction that I ignored: 1) they tried to lowball us, and only grudgingly accepted a fair project price, 2) they insisted on splitting the project into two videos instead of one great one, and 3) my initial dealings with the CEO and his minion made me feel a little icky inside, from his sportscar parked across 3 parking spaces, to the minion being insanely late to our kickoff meeting, at a purposefully-snooty locale.

At the time, we were just opening one of our studios, and we didn’t have much local work, yet. I ignored the red flags, and we went in full speed ahead- even when they started making adjustments to our working relationship, ignoring their part of the contract while insisting that we follow every word on our end.

Thus began my re-education about the importance of a strong, well-thought-out purpose and values manifesto. We needed- I needed- a roadmap, updated to our current business realities, that could guide us in our day-to-day dealings with clients, as well as in our more long-term decision making. We needed to revisit the core of our business, and figure out what we’re really all about. And we needed to refocus ourselves so that we can identify both good and bad opportunities, before it was too late. It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of day-to-day life in a creative agency, and miss out on the chance to not just do cool stuff, but to do the right cool stuff. To create work that delights, and work that makes a difference. And furthermore, to build a company that radiates these values so brightly that it attracts the good, and discourages the bad.

Every company, nay, every individual should take the time to occasionally think about- and write down- their own purpose and values statement.  Next time, I’ll share our company’s shiny new purpose and values manifesto with you.

 

Our 2013 in Review

It’s hard to believe it’s 2014, already. Last year was a really interesting year for me as a director, and my company as a corporate video production company and film production company. Thank you to everyone who played a (positive) part in our journey in 2013, and here’s to a fantastic 2014!

Last year my film “Unlaced” won BEST DIRECTOR at FirstGlance Film Festival in Los Angeles. It also won a PLATINUM REEL award at the Nevada Film Festival, and played at about half a dozen other festivals, big and small, around the USA. We’ll be continuing to promote “Unlaced” in 2014, as I work on a new film.

On the TV commercial front, I directed a number of TV commercials in 2013. My favorite, though, was for Southern California realtor Kevin Paffrath, because Kevin’s one of those guys who’s extremely picky about quality, and yet creatively open. I loved producing and directing his “Meet Kevin” TVC, and it’s currently airing.

I got to be creative for several other clients in 2013, too. One of which is MPAC, who gave us almost total creative freedom to come up with an original way to show the impact MPAC has had in the community over the past 25 years. I suggested that, instead of looking back, let’s look forward. They trusted me, and we worked together to create something special- a vision of MPAC 25 years from now. On that project, much of the budget went to special effects makeup, and we worked with Academy-Award-Winning B2FX in North Hollywood to realize our vision.

I have a feeling both of these projects will win some awards.

In April, we tried something new- creating lawyer videos for members of NARAS at their San Diego convention. I had a lot of fun, and met some interesting characters there. It’s not the kind of work we’d usually go after, but it’s nice to stretch, and we got lots of compliments on the work. I like working with small businesses, and attorneys qualify as that, as part of our client mix.

We did a lot of corporate video production work in 2013, too- including work for Seattle’s Real Networks, a large university and nonprofit company that had us in NYC, Boston, DC, and Minneapolis, a large pharmaceutical company, a company in the United Kingdom, a startup in Toronto, Canada, and a real estate company in Austin, Texas. Among others- we did a LOT of corporate films in 2013. Some of those projects will end up on our reel, and I thank everyone who’s trusted us to tell their story in video in 2013.

Some video agencies look down their noses at corporate work. We don’t. I have always believed an important thing is to treat every client with respect, and to raise the quality of the storytelling and production whenever possible. Because good work begets good work.

And in 2013, we did a helluva lot of good work, for clients big and small, all over the United States.

Last year we also expanded. Bigtime. We kept our Los Angeles location, and added a local New York City presence, and a full-on Austin, Texas post-production studio.

Why’d we do that?

Well, simply put, as a video and film director, I want to work on interesting projects for interesting clients. And there were so many potential clients who’d call us up, asking if we would work with them. But they did not want to travel to Los Angeles. This was especially true for NYC clients. And rightfully so. Of course, that meant I spent a LOT of time in the air in 2011 and 2012, flying to clients and working with ad-hoc crews. I quickly realized that having a small permanent network of reliable resources across the country would better suit the nature of the work we were getting. I knew this was something only the largest video agencies out there had, but I saw the opportunity to grow in a way that would keep us responsive (which our clients love), yet give us the ability to cater to these clients and their interesting projects located throughout the USA and Canada. So, I did it. I put it all on the line.

And it paid off. Our LA office is still super-busy. But our NYC presence is getting serious action now, too- and our Austin Post Studio is coming online in an exciting way.

So that’s it, in a nutshell. That’s 2013. A lot of fun creative work, a lot of bread-and-butter, but still good work, and a massive expansion of our capabilities that required us to put it all on the line- and which is paying off, fast.

There’s always challenges in business. But I’m grateful that our little company is growing, and growing in a way that stays true to our mission of providing world-class video production services to clients at a reasonable price

Los Angeles Video Production Company PatrickOrtman, Inc. Completes High-Profile 25th Anniversary Web Video For The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)

(This press release was posted to the world, but never made our blog. Oops!)

PRESS RELEASE: Los Angeles, California- Los Angeles based video & film director Patrick Ortman announces the completion of the 25th anniversary promotional video for Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. based nonprofit Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

The video’s unique concept, traveling 20 years into a possible future where Muslims are more accepted in positions of impact and leadership in American politics, the entertainment industry, and in media, was realized visually through PatrickOrtman, Inc.’s partnership with Oscar-winning Barney Burman’s B2FX special effects company. “Working with B2FX was critical in realizing our vision. We had to age them realistically 20 years into the future, and the client absolutely did not want it to look cheesy” says Ortman “MPAC trusted us with a concept that was perhaps a bit creatively risky, so we went to the best- and we’re thrilled with how it turned out.”

Hasnain Syed, Creative Director at MPAC, added “Having had previous experience working with Patrick, I turned to him to help us create a unique video about our organization. Patrick loves to think outside the box. We needed someone who was not going to follow convention, but throw ideas out of left field – which is exactly what we got. What makes Patrick stand out is that he values ideas before execution. If the idea is great and catchy, he’ll figure out a way to make it happen within your time and budget. That there is an awesome partner to create awesome projects.”

MPAC is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of American Muslims.

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is a leading Los Angeles-based video production company with offices in New York, NY and Austin, TX.

Wrapping a Bi-Coastal Project

Los Angeles Wrap Shots- 2013

Here we are in Los Angeles this week, at the wrap of our recent bi-coastal video production project (we can’t say who it’s for, yet). We shot in Boston, Washington D.C., New York City, Minneapolis, and in Los Angeles and San Francisco for this one, and the best thing of all about this project (besides the people) is it’s a project that can make a difference in the world, for children.

That’s a fitting project with which to close out the year.

Except we’re not done with 2013, yet. We still have three other projects in process at our various locations, and two of those are at our new Austin, Texas location.

Oh, and this next photo is how we all felt inside to wrap this amazing project:

Joyful Wrap

 

New York City Office For Video Production Company PatrickOrtman, Inc.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York, NY- October 24, 2013- TV commercial and corporate video production company PatrickOrtman, Inc. announces the opening of its new office in New York City.

“In 2012, we did a video production project for PepsiCo in New York. We’ve found that having a presence here is more and more a necessity as our business grows, and we’re proud to now officially be a part of New York’s TVC and corporate video production scene” says CEO Patrick Ortman.

The new location’s first project is a series of PSAs for a large university in November and December 2013, to be shot in Boston, New York, and Washington D.C.

PatrickOrtman, Inc. provides award-winning video production and TV commercial services to clients ranging from the Fortune 500 to smaller businesses and organizations across the country.

Contact:
Crystal Cartwright
production@patrickortman.com
228 Park Ave S #55187
New York, NY 10003-1502
Phone: +1 (646) 435-7945
http://patrickortman.com

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New Blackmagic Toy, New Work

Blackmagic Camera

Here’s our latest video production tool. OK, toy. But a very, very nice toy. I mean, tool. We’ve been testing one of the world’s first Blackmagic Pocket Cinema cameras, as we prepare to do a big project on both coasts of the USA. The camera takes some getting used to, but I love the picture it gives, and being used to the RED world, I’m not scared to shoot in full-manual mode with our lenses. To me, that’s normal. And I’m used to the idea of making the color happen in post. What the Blackmagic gives us is an incredibly small, incredibly flexible tool to capture all sorts of gorgeous images.

If you’re looking for an automatic camera that fixes your mistakes- don’t get this cam. But if you’re looking for a tool that’ll let you dial in exactly the look you want, and you’re doing higher-end pro projects, get one. Or two. They’re tiny.

Keeping Busy

We’ve been busy over here. This morning at 1am we delivered the first cuts of 5 new web videos for a major technology company based in Seattle.We shot on Canon C-series (we’re starting to really love the look those cameras give us), through Zeiss primes, and recorded to an external Atomos Ninja2 to give us a thick, massively gradable image to push around in DaVinci Resolve. Other post tools included the usual Adobe suite of products.

Behind-the-scenes photos and the videos themselves to come later, once the new product is launched.

A Fantastic Yelp Review

“Onto the review:

–Patrick is an absolute pro that has won my business forever.

–He knows what he’s doing. While I plan on producing more commercials with Patrick, I will never again need to worry about what camera we’re using, what shots will look like, how the camera should move, or what should be in a set. Patrick’s on it.

–He is involved in every step of the way. Some competitors pass projects through the production process like an assembly line. I don’t like assembly lines for creative processes. They work for repetitive tasks, but not dynamic, creative projects. In an assembly line, every person on the line puts their part in and, if there’s a problem with the finished product, everyone points the finger at someone else. Here, the buck stops with Patrick. There is no assembly line — he is involved in every step of the way to ensure that the final product is perfect.

–Collaborating with Patrick is fun. He has superb ideas himself, but throughout my project, we bounced hundreds of ideas off of each other. Patrick really has the vision to help determine whether an idea or suggestion has potential or not.

–Actors and production staff love working with Patrick. I tend to ask a lot of questions and I ask the crew how they like working for Patrick. Not a single person had anything negative to say; in fact, they raved about Patrick, especially when comparing him to other producers they had worked for.

I am looking forward to my next production with Patrick. Definitely 5 stars.

To see the commercial Patrick produced, check it out on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/w…

(Patrick’s Note: I love what I do, and I love working with clients who “get it”. Working together with Kevin was a dream)

Original link for the full review.

Non-Profit Video Production with Oscar-Winning SFX Makeup Artists

We recently created a video for a Los Angeles-based nonprofit called MPAC. MPAC is an organization that’s dedicated to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of American Muslims. They needed a low-budget, yet interesting video- and didn’t want the same old rah-rah corporate video thing.

So they came to me.

We worked through some meetings, and I came up with an idea: what if instead of trumpeting historical events, we took a look into a possible future? A future in which American Muslims participated more in politics, media, and Hollywood (areas in which the American Muslim community has lagged behind other groups).

The problem became, how do you do this and not look cheesy? From the start, I wanted a Hollywood special effects makeup company on the job. I knew I’d do some digital makeup work, but I needed a great base to start with. I made a few calls, and found the gang at Barney Burman’s B2FX (Barney recently won an Oscar for his work on Star Trek) was willing to work with our tiny budgeted, yet interesting storyline.

The video turned out very well, and is currently part of the client’s marketing as they raise funds to support their ongoing programs in Media, Hollywood, and Politics for 20somethings who want to get involved.

Check out the video on our homepage.

Here’s some pictures we took at B2FX during prep:

 

Local TV Commercial Directed by Patrick Ortman

Here’s a fun local TV commercial I directed and produced through my video production company, check out more at patrickortman.com:

 

About PatrickOrtman, Inc.

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is one of the top-rated video production companies in Los Angeles and New York City. We make high-end corporate videos, and commercials for TV and digital for clients that include 11 Fortune 500s.