Los Angeles Station Fire Picture


All I can say is, wow. The fire has leapt over and appears now to be threatening the valley.

Taken @ 11pm, PST from Mulholland Drive with a Nikon D90: ISO 3200, 105mm prime lens @ f1.4. Exposure 1/50th sec. Photo credit: Patrick Ortman.

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The Importance Of Being Backed Up


We got a panicked call from a video production client of ours last week. They desperately needed a clip from a video we produced for them three years ago.

Now, of course, we deliver masters to our clients. Lately we’ve delivered video files as WMV, four flavors of QuickTime, and FLV for the web, along with DigiBeta and HDCAM tapes for those old-fashioned types who Continue reading

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Survive This Economy: Be Bold

be different

Small and large businesses alike have two choices right now: be bold or go home. In our industry, I’ve watched competitor web design and video production companies, interactive agencies, and social media shops here in Los Angeles teeter and fall. In fact, right now one shop that bills itself as the premier web design company in LA is pretty much over, and word is it will close its doors in September (editor’s note: they did).

Just about every company that’s in trouble has slashed marketing budgets and headcount. They’ve given up, and they’re going home. Or, hoping and praying that they’ll somehow survive this downturn in an amputated state and be able to come back in the future.

This sad reality is playing out in pretty much every industry in almost all parts of the country. And to me, it’s exactly the wrong strategy. Others see a nightmare. I see opportunity. And not just for digital agencies like us.

I’m not saying to be Continue reading

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New Website Design Project- Bad Badges


We’d been searching for a lawyer-based/attorney website design project we could use as a test case for the excellent WordPress theme/framework called Thesis, and here’s our test case: my brother’s civil rights law firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

Most of our clients need a larger-scale, robust content management system (CMS). For those types of clients, we recommend the awesome MODx and Drupal products on the market. But we also sometimes work with attorneys, law firms, and other smaller, services-oriented companies that don’t need all the bells and whistles. Enter WordPress and Thesis.

WordPress is the blog platform of choice for PatrickOrtman, Inc. We’ve been Continue reading

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Passion: Superhero Client Relations


A secret weapon of successful digital agencies is passion. If you want to be a superhero, you need to have passion. Passion for your craft, passion for your client, and a passionate belief that what you’re doing for your client will positively affect their business.

Passion for your craft means you wake up (more often than not) excited about learning new skills and mastering techniques. When you’re passionate about what you do, you’re constantly improving and expanding your knowledge and trying new things. You’ll start to look at client projects differently- no longer will you do the bare minimum to get the job done, while leaving huge future problems to be dealt with later on by some other company. It’ll become very important for you to get the job done right, and you’ll be able to help your clients make use of the latest-and-greatest advancements in the field.

A passion for your client means you truly believe in what they’re trying to accomplish. Even the best ad agency guys can’t do great (aka effective) work for clients they don’t believe in, according to David Ogilvy in his classic book “Ogilvy on Advertising”. So jump in! For instance, when Ogilvy landed Rolls Royce Continue reading

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Blake Snyder, 1957-2009

Last night I (Patrick) found out that one of the guys who helped influence me has died. Blake Snyder wrote an amazing, accessible book on screenwriting and storytelling called Save The Cat, and it influenced countless writers and Hollywood story people. I’ve heard that

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Superhero Client Relations


If you want to become a superhero digital agency, you need to make sure your clients succeed. Notice I didn’t say you need to “ensure your clients’ happiness”.

Of course, it’s always best to not only help a client succeed but also to make them happy. I’m a big fan of happy clients.

As long as “happy” doesn’t get in the way of “success”.

When a client hires your agency to work with their brand, whether the project at hand is a website redesign or a television spot, they’re hiring a professional team to advise them. They expect real advice. They’re not hiring a toady or a company weasel. They’re hiring your expertise.

You need to give it to them.

It isn’t easy. Some clients insist on doing things their way, no matter what. Those are the tough ones. Too many agencies mentally check out when a client acts bullheaded. Nobody likes conflict, and nobody likes to be the one to tell the emperor he’s buck Continue reading

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Production Pipeline Software Updates

Just when we started to get used to Adobe CS4’s master collection on our production Macs, it’s time to upgrade to Apple’s Final Cut Studio HD 3. That’s cool, we like learning new stuff.

So far, we’re really digging the RED-specific parts of the Final Cut upgrade, and Motion’s new shadows, etc., are pretty cool. We’re also very excited about ProRes 4444, I think that may be good enough to use as archival format for our web video project masters.

We’re also in the middle of setting up the new Modo 4 upgrade from Luxology. We’ll have our first 3D rundown of the new Modo features with a 3D product demo we’re creating for a sports/energy drink client.

And finally, we’re ripping through Autodesk’s panorama tools. Version 9 is great! Our virtual reality work looks even better, and we get the job done faster now.

So, that’s what we’ve been up to lately. Well, that plus working on a new web design project for a Los Angeles company and another web project for a new company based in New York.

In this industry, you have to constantly learn new things and new ways of doing things. If you don’t, you die. We’re happy to be alive and well.

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Twitter for Business Development


Believe it or not, there are still companies out there who don’t understand that social network marketing is important, whether you’re a hair salon or a multinational manufacturing company.

Here’s a handy guide for those businesses who understand that social network marketing can be a great thing for businesses of all sizes, but who don’t understand how to get started with Continue reading

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Connect. Share. Inspire. Explore. Excite.

This new video highlights our mission- empowering clients to take advantage of digital opportunities. But that sounds a little highbrow and stuffy. So, more simply and directly, this is what we do:

30 second PatrickOrtman, Inc. Promo from Patrick Ortman.

This is a promo video for our Los Angeles digital agency. We create websites, video, and interactive projects.

Christina Owen
Yoji Cole
Susan Song
Tansy Alexander
Ian Pfister

Directed by Patrick Ortman, and produced by Patrick Ortman and Kathi Funston

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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.