Monday, December 08, 2008

Make Money Videotaping AND Entertaining!

Take a walk on the wild side and get into the act while making money with what my company calls "Paparazzi Parties!"

See A Sample...
Click on the title to this article and go to our web site page where you will find a link to a QuickTime “Paparazzi Parties!” clip that gives you an idea of what I am talking about. Yeah, that's me in the ball cap, striped shirt and (unlighted) cigar. You will have to wait a few for the clip to play, but it could be worth your time. Also, if you like some of what you read here you can click on "follow this blog" by scrolling to the bottom and be an ec reader.

Pumping You Up!
Like the requirements of some of my previous articles, this is not for the faint of heart, shy or bashful Independent Professional Video Services Providers who prefer to hide and shoot. You will need to have a personality that compels you to perform. But I have to say if you are an outgoing, gregarious, former school/family clown, or just love to have some fun, you are going to enjoy doing your own version of Paparazzi Parties!

Develop your character (or characters) and costume(s) and get into it! Video can and often should be entertaining. While there are certainly serious/educational focus requirements for video productions, entertainment is the key word for our Paparazzi Parties! With this service listed in your marketing materials, and development of a couple of short skits or concepts you do not have to remain always behind the camera, or hidden away in your cave while editing to make entertaining video.

Don’t always be like the frog in that cartoon where he sits and croaks, only talking, singing and even dancing when nobody is watching. Or, in your case, in the shower where (hopefully) nobody is watching or listening.

Those of you who yearn for a chance to be in front of the lens and have a go at letting your entertainment talents take front stage can not only release your alter egos, but make money doing it. And, you don’t even need to be a SAG member.

Make Some Money!
Get paid for 15-to-20 minutes of work (not counting your travel time, or the time you spend “getting into character” and dressing for the part). Put in an hour, or so, of work doing some clean-up editing, putting about 20 digital images on a disk, mail the package and get ready for a stream of referrals throughout the year!

The 2008 holiday season, and current bookings of my Paparazzi Parties! for a few parties in November and December, brought to mind that I should write this article now. I have to say, however, that when we kicked off Paparazzi Parties! several years ago, I used the holiday season to promote it, but we now get bookings spread out over the year. The first few were daunting, even for me/us, but after that? Piece of cake.

What I now hear when answering an inquiry is: "Do you guys still do that paparazzi thing? I hope so! We were at one you did for our friends and loved it! My husband’s birthday is April...” They don’t ask "how much does it cost?” They say, “I want to book you!” Yeah, OK, then they ask how much it costs.

How much does it cost? Our prices “start” at $350 for about 15 minutes of entertainment. The client gets on site entertainment that usually works very well (They want their guests, and the celebrant to have fun, right?), a 10-to-15 minute DVD video, and about two-dozen digital “snaps” of the interaction on a photo jpeg CD.

Depending on the event, the length of time they want you to spend on site and in character, your travel time, preparation, you can adjust that “starts at” to whatever you want, and whatever your market area will bear. We try to hit surprising, shocking, hard - fast in and out. "Gone in Sixty Seconds" comes to mind, but this take a bit longer.

And, the great thing about our Paparazzi Parties! is that they are not always on the weekend. While a good number of inquiries are for Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays, we also get plenty of events happening during the week. It just depends. Like my marketing mantra: “Somebody somewhere celebrates something every day!”

Our Technique/Approach
I have a number of ideas for characters and approaches to "paparazzi-ing" the client, victim, celebrant. But being in the "old fart" category, I mostly opt for a character who wears a ball cap, chews on an unlighted cigar, wears a black-and-green Grinch Who Stole Christmas necktie, a brown checkered vest, blue striped shirt and baggy blue pants with a pair of roughed up, work out tennis shoes.

My character is acerbic, sarcastic, caustic, stares openly at the "babes" and occasionally (very occasionally) gives the guy celebrants a smack on the cheek (face) when he least expects it. I "tone it" up or down, depending on the occasion, but not much. People like raunchy and it can, believe me or not, be done tastefully. Maybe.

NOTE: When I book with the client I ask about the celebrant's personality, his or her likes/dislikes, phobias, and assorted idiosyncrasies or personal "quirks." This gives me things to focus on that often cause the guests to break out in riotous laughter.

One of my favorite skits is I have a bag full of rolls of film that are absolutely no good. After the initial shock and fun, or irritation, of our entry dissipates I then circle around, handing rolls of film to various guests, breaking into conversations, interrupting them between bites of food or drinks (hey, paparazzi are supposed to be irritating and obnoxious, right) and asking loudly and rudely for them to roll the film back up so I can "re-use" it. I do not sound educated, nor do I enunciate clearly or carefully when I am in character.

"I have this new recycling program going so's I can save money on film." I say. "Roll this up for me so's I can use it when I come back. You do know how, don'tcha?" Depending on the response/reactions (many of the guests really get into it with the interaction) I may or may not linger. I often show the "dimwit" how by grasping the nipple of the roll and cranking a few turns. Sometimes I will pull out the film from the canister, shocking the group. Whatever it takes. I may also ask for help in loading the film into my camera. Duh.

My associate is also in character. She videotapes the interaction, guests and celebrant's reactions, and occasionally yells out that someone looks just like (name the star, or beautiful people member, or politician, etc. here) making sure everybody hears it, and we both scramble to get in that person's face. She videotapes while I snap pictures, the flash going off in their faces, interact, then we move on. It's fast-paced and often a total shock. We try to leave before things get bogged down.

However, we have developed a bit of a "rep" around here, and some of our gigs call for us to be THE PROGRAM or THE ENTERTAINMENT and we remain for a couple of hours. Yeah, we make more for those. Our highest paying gig under Paparazzi Parties! has been $3K, and we were the greeters, attacking people as they arrived, interacted with guests during the social time, disrupted dancing, roasted the roasters during the main toasts, and took off after desperately departing guests, getting that last shot on my camera and/or the camcorder. The final production was under an hour and required no sophisticated editing techniques, simple cuts from one "moment" to another, opening/closing titles, and about a hundred jpeg images - all candids.

Marketing This Fun Service! is a great place to list with this. There are other web sites that focus on things other than weddings, offering DJs and more under entertainment. This is a whole new listing for you if all you have done previously is focus on being a wedding video producer.

I have a direct mail letter that pretty much regurgitates what is on the web site page, and I usually include a full version of the sample clip on DVD. I mail these periodically to every good address I have on file. (you've read my direct mail article, right) I distribute these at other events we book, and make sure to have plenty of cards for the parties we "disrupt."

Go ahead and "paparazzi" somebody. Act up! Have fun! Make money!

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