When a Competitor Lies

We recently lost a bid on a project- it happens, but when it does I always ask why. After all, I’m always trying to improve our business. In this case, I was told it wasn’t our quality of work, nor was it our budget. It was because we are a smaller company than the other guy, who boasts of a 30,000 square foot facility, staff of 20, etc. He felt comfortable going with them (at least partly) because he felt “bigger is better”.

In the interests of learning something to help us win against these guys in the future, I went to their website and did some digging. Well, they do not have a 30,000 square foot studio. Nor do they have a staff of 20. Their business is two guys in a tiny office above a shop. The only thing big about them is the lies they tell people on their website and in their proposals. Oh, and their work is pretty bad: very cliche 1990s-looking.

What did I do? Did I blow the whistle on them to the client, and suggest they rethink their choice?

No. I let it be. Mainly because I feel that the client’s getting what they deserve- if it only took me 10 minutes of digging to get the truth, anyone who did any due diligence at all could get to the truth, too. And if that particular client is so scared about making a purchase decision that they base it on the line of B.S. those guys fed him, well, it means he doesn’t care about quality (or even budget), and isn’t the kind of client we’d like to have, anyway.

In the end, life’s too short. Next!

“Unlaced” Official Selection, West Chester International Film Festival


We’re pleased to announce that “Unlaced” is an official selection of the West Chester International Film Festival. More on “Unlaced“.

Posted by in Filmmaking



“Unlaced” Movie Trailer

Here’s the promotional trailer for my film “Unlaced”. It’s about a man whose life has come undone, and it’s based on a true story. This is the theatrical trailer (so as Grandpa Simpson would say, “Turn it up! Turn it up!”), and it will play in front of movies at AMC theaters in Boston as part of the promotional campaign for the Boston International Film Festival.

More at “unlacedthemovie.com“.

Posted by in Filmmaking



“Unlaced” Official Selection of the Boston International Film Festival


We are thrilled to announce that my film “Unlaced” is an official selection of the Boston International Film Festival, this April in Boston, MA. Thank you, Boston! And congratulations to everyone in the “Unlaced” family.

Posted by in Filmmaking



A Little Perspective

I was driving down the 405 last week on my way to my office in Santa Monica, and got stuck in an obscene traffic jam. I shouldn’t have been surprised, LA traffic is insane. I figured it was just the ongoing/never-ending giant construction project on the 405 and Sepulveda that was causing it. Then I saw the flashing lights, and heard the sirens.

A few moments later, my little hybrid SUV crawled past the true reason for our slowdown: a car and a semi truck had a run-in. The truck, of course, won.

I’m not sure how the accident happened. Probably somebody was speeding, or maybe somebody wasn’t looking where they were going. Man, the car was trashed. It was upside-down, and the roof of the car was crushed down to about 8 inches tall. I watched the firemen go at the car with the jaws of life. Crossed my fingers the occupants survived.

I like to think that everyone who passed was hoping/praying the same thing. And of course, we all probably also thought to ourselves “I bet one of them was speeding”. Or, “one of them wasn’t looking where they were going”.

I never found out if those people were OK. I didn’t see anything on the news about it, but then, in a huge metropolis like Los Angeles, it wouldn’t necessarily be reported. By the time I thought to check the usual blotter websites, it was days later. I couldn’t find anything. I choose to believe that the people in the car survived.

And I know it’s a little weird, but I had a bit of an “aha” moment, hours after witnessing this horrific and tragic event.  I began to wonder, how many of us are speeding through life, or not looking where we’re going? I mean, it’s easy to do. We’re creatures of habit, and once you’re on the hamster wheel, it seems to make sense to keep spinning in it. It feels like you’re getting places. ‘Cause you are booking it! But in the larger scheme of things, you’re not. You’re just careening through life, without any regard for who or what’s around you, or with any thought as to where you’d really like to go.


Posted by in Rant


Studio City Film Festival Day and Time for “Unlaced”


Hey, everybody- “Unlaced” is playing in Block 18, on Friday, February 8th. We’re the second film in the block, and we’re playing immediately after “Elegy for a Revolutionary”, a really well-produced, big budget short film that’s won about 20 awards according to its website. Fantastic!

Tickets are $15 at the door, $12 if you reserve online. Check out www.studiocityfilmfestival.com for details.

Don’t know what “Unlaced” is about? Visit our page, or check us out on Facebook.


Posted by in Filmmaking



Studio City Film Festival & More


My film “Unlaced” is set to be shown at the 2013 Studio City Film Festival, and we’re very excited to see it up on the big screen. The festival runs February 6-10, and we’ll have our exact date and time to share, soon.

Also, we’re currently working on a documentary for our UK client, and I just finished directing 3 episodes of a private TV show for a corporate client.

Should you work with a video agency or a video production company?

A bunch of people wonder why I call our company a video agency, as opposed to a video production company. It’s an excellent question.

I’ve found that there’s not a whole lot of video production companies that can really guide a client from the very beginnings of a project through completion and distribution strategies.   Straight-up video production companies are really good at execution, if your idea is pretty well-developed. But that doesn’t happen very often. That’s where we come in. We’re a full-service video storytelling firm, and we’re as interested in working with our clients’  stories as we are about flawlessly executing them.

It comes down to a willingness to work with a client to help develop their story. Then execution. And after that, helping clients find ways to promote and expose their stories to their audiences. What we provide is a 360 degree service, much like how a traditional advertising agency will often work with a client. Thus, our moniker “video agency”.


2012 in Review


Happy 2013! We hope this year brings you peace, happiness, and success. And yes, you guessed it- this is another “Year in Review” post.  Here’s some of our 2012 highlights:

  • We were pleased to add a Fortune 50 client (PepsiCo) to our already stellar Fortune 500 client list, with our well-received short film about PepsiCo’s amazing CEO Indra Nooyi.
  • Our client UCLA worked with us to create the first college promotional film shot entirely on an iPad. It turned out surprisingly well.
  • UCLA also partnered with us to create another well-received short film about legendary basketball coach and leader John Wooden.
  • Oxford University Press continued to work with us, and we shot video interviews and other material for a documentary on Los Angeles food truck culture.
  • We got to interview and video a number of other interesting and often high-profile people in 2012, including Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed (he’s an excellent interview, by the way). And we’re proud of the web promos, TV commercials, and corporate video production work we created for our technology, legal, and other clients this past year. Thank you all for your patronage.
  • On a more personal note, we finished production and post production on Patrick’s short drama “Unlaced”. It’s about a man whose life has come undone, and was shot in glorious widescreen on RED digital cinema cameras. It looks amazing, and begins showing at film festivals this fall.

2012 was a year of growth and tons of great video production projects for cool clients. Cheers to an even better 2013!

On Camera Technology & Filmmaking


This is how we got beautiful, cinema-quality 720p HD, 35mm-sized sensor imagery only a few years ago. This was state-of-the-art, a Panasonic HVX-200 with a 35mm lens adapter and external monitor. Unless you were shooting a project in the very-high-end, you had to deal with Frankenstein-like contraptions like this to get a beautiful, filmic look to your HD footage.

Our new Canon EOS C-100 gets a massively better image and can almost fit in the palm of your hand. Our RED MX is bigger, but gives an arguably even better image than the c-100 (I say arguably, because the RED gets its butt kicked in low-light and skin tones by the Canon C-Series).

The thing is, these days we all have an embarrassment of great camera choices. If you’re making a movie, a high-end corporate film, a tv commercial: the tools are there. Now it’s up to you to make your tools sing.

That’s why I don’t hang out on camera message boards so much, anymore. It doesn’t matter to me if we’re shooting RED, Arri Alexa, Canon… whatever. They’re all good, they all have their uses. And I think that’s a healthy attitude. In the end, when I make a film it’s not about worshipping camera specs. It’s about telling a story.

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.