Thursday, September 06, 2012

Awesomely Ambitious! 1001 Video Tips

There’s a wealth if information at our disposal with hundreds of professional, experienced Independent Professional Video Services Providers from around the world sharing and offering tips and suggestions for improving our video production skills or making our jobs easier. Tips and tricks of the trade. Insider knowledge that, if we didn’t have to look all over the place for it, or spend a few hours searching for the right term on Google to find it, we could be using this information today! Right now!

Well, here it comes!

“1001 Video Tips” will feature secret, not-so-secret, unique, unusual, remarkably simple or somewhat complex ideas and actions that professionals and amateurs in the video industry use EVERY DAY to make their jobs easier, or their productions better. This book will organize a treasure trove of information into logical collections, under specific groupings and headings to help facilitate finding just the right bit of information needed to make your current project one degree, or a hundred degrees, easier, smarter, better.

And, you ask, what is so “awesomely ambitious” about this? It’s getting the interest, involvement, enthusiasm and participation of the hundreds of video enthusiasts OUT THERE to make “1001 Video Tips” possible. I’m willing to do the work, organize the content, compile the information, categorize the contributions, create the mechanicals and publish the eBook, PDF and printed versions of the results. As you can see by the working title, we’re aiming for “1001 Video Tips” and this could prove to be a massive undertaking.

Sure, it would be equally awesome if everybody from Steve Moses of Southern California, to Bill Mecca of New Jersey with his Video QuickTips, popular blogger and video J. Michael Long of Mississippi, Luis O. Maymi of Puerto Rico with his ongoing e-mail video marketing campaign strategies and simple blue screen tutorials, all the folks from the popular Facebook groups such as Wedding Cinema, The Frugal Filmmaker, Final Cut Pro X for Event Cinematographers, the Video Editing Cubicle and the myriad video-based forums on the Internet, got onboard with this, each contributing one or more “tips” for inclusion in “1001 Video Tips” ... we could easily hit that number, easily representing 1,001 or more members of the unique world of independent video production.

With the help of J. Michael, offering to present this article as a guest blog on “In the Viewfinder” and the individuals and groups mentioned above, their friends and associates in professional videographers associations (PVA’s) around the world, “1001 Video Tips” could reflect the influence of the many, many video enthusiasts who enjoy making video for personal pleasure or profit ... those just starting out or even many of us who have been “in the trenches” since Day One. Not a day passes that I don’t learn something from Rick Smith, Nishi Dias, Steve “Doc” Yankee, Pamela Sprys Dahlgren, Natalie Forbes Neal, Tony Bondi, Wes Moore, Ed Wardyga (remember Gadget Man?), Artis White, David Lai, Dan O’Hara, Bruce Paul, Ron Priest, Tom Alan Mitchell ... the list is infinite!

Enough name dropping. The “strategy” is to get at least one serious tip from each of these individuals and as many as a thousand more, compile them into a solid reference and resource publication and offer it at a ridiculously low price to EVERY video enthusiast on the planet.

The popularity and success of this production is guaranteed, insured by the anticipated huge number of contributions, the good will of a WORLD of video professionals and enthusiasts who are more than happy to offer something unique to “1001 Video Tips” and in turn receive a downloadable PDF of the results, plus recognition for their unique contributions, a headshot photo and brief bio so readers know who they are in the industry, and their website if desired. This will be a massive viral experience! How?

I have the personal experience of organizing, writing, designing, publishing and marketing a number of video-related publications in print as well as ePub formats. I have succeeded in having publications listed not only at Lulu Dot Com, but iTunes’ iBookstore and Barnes and Noble’s Nook bookstore on the Internet. I will soon have a presence on Amazon as well. In addition “1001 Video Tips” will have its own website presence. All of you who contribute and participate will have a photo/bio listing there as well.

In addition to all this, if each and every contributor also uses his/her social sites, blogs and PVN connections to mention “1001 Video Tips” even only once, the exposure will be astronomical and overwhelmingly viral!

A video book trailer will be created as well.

Your participation in the creation of “1001 Video Tips” will gain you recognition, establish branding for your business, products and services, and probably open doors that you didn’t even know exist.

Recognition. A PDF copy of the finished publication. Unique discount pricing on the print publication ONLY for participants/contributors. And, depending on the overall success of the viral marketing strategies, special recognition on the “1001 Video Tips” blog site from voters and participants who give the nod to The Most Unique Tip, The Most Unusual Tip, The Least Expensive Tip and a host of other titles that you all will suggest over time as you participate in the blog content, and interact.

The blog will feature expansion on certain tips, offer readers an opportunity to enhance, add to or even share new approaches to the “1001 Video Tips” in the publication. This interactive environment will be beneficial to all of us who participate in the publication of “1001 Video Tips” especially with interlinking and back linking!

A portion of revenues will be applied to acquiring software, hardware or even the components for implementing various tips in the book, with random award drawings held.

Categories can be expanded, based on what comes in, but essentially topics will include: Lighting, Audio, Do-It-Yourself, Gadgets, Safety, Production, Editing Tips, Backup Tricks, Archiving, Creating Your Own Music. I am open to suggestions and input regarding any possible category.

Keep in mind that the focus of “1001 Video Tips” is primarily on simple, unique or easy-to-implement “tips” that make the everyday production work in a videographer’s life just a wee bit easier, smarter, more efficient or less stressful.

Tips probably should mostly range in the 500-to-900 word range, but there’s nothing that says a good, solid tip needing extra information and a parts list couldn’t be longer or more involved. The provision of legal or copyright free or self-generated images/graphics representing your “tips” contributions, and a release to use not only your tip and graphics, but your image and bio information is suggested. I can and will provide a form if you want/need one, or a simple statement given along with your submission would suffice.

Once the interest is evident and the tips begin coming in, I can start organizing and categorizing, eventually formatting the layout. When the initial goal of 1,001 tips is reached I will provide all contributors with a working outline of the content and ask for input regarding that. Dropbox could be utilized to facilitate materials and progress reports.

We’re going to keep this project loose and by that I mean while I would like a deadline of, say, 90 days, taking this to December, with the plan to have a finished publication ready to offer first quarter 2013, for now I’m not implementing a HARD deadline.

The more complete your contributions are, the faster this will come to fruition and result in a publication that we all can be proud of. So, have your tip, support graphic(s) or image(s), brief personal/business bio and headshot all ready to submit at the same time.

Initially, anyone interested may e-mail me at This may very quickly evolve into a Dropbox project file folder where your e-mail queries will result in getting access to upload your materials for inclusion in “1001 Video Tips”.

Thanks, J. Michael, for offering space on your popular blog for this “guest” blog post.

Remember: If You Market, You Will Make It! © 2012 Earl Chessher

Sunday, August 05, 2012

For All Those Who Hate Doing Photo Montages

Send ’em my way!
Over the years my experience with fellow video producers has established that the vast majority consider montage work demeaning, frustrating, a waste of time, not lucrative, PIAs, something to be avoided or at best something to discourage by racking up charges and fees while limiting the number of images a potential client can use.
They DO NOT want to do them!

There are, however, ways to market and produce photo montage productions that can prove highly profitable and easy to produce. By using techniques and programs that help generate quality montage productions without time-consuming customization and by providing an affordable, reasonably-priced production that isn't so limiting, say up to 150 images instead of 20 or 30, and turning them around in a day or three ANY video producer from beginner/amateur to seasoned professional can increase cash flow and pump up the profits.

With very little effort any independent professional video services provider can successfully market photo montage production, convincing the do-it-yourselfers as well as the hopelessly technology challenged to pay a reasonable sum for creation of a montage that outshines their best amateur creations. A little attention given pacing, timing, effects and audio finish will set apart any production by a pro from that of someone who has no experience in the field. YOU can be that professional!

By establishing your marketing focus on photo montage production, utilizing a solid direct-marketing strategy that drives potential clients to your montage website, you can quickly develop a montage only or weekday montage production program that will, at worst, average one-per-day, or at best develop such a flow of montage business you’ll have to outsource some of the production work. By keeping turnaround times tight (five working days or less from time of receipt of materials) and fees reasonable, the word-of-mouth referrals will keep you hopping.

A dedicated independent video producer focusing on nothing but photo montage work can easily create three, up to five, productions a day. But, focus on the one-per-day average for a minute.

* One montage a day at $125
* Times 5 days a week = $625
* Times 50 weeks a year = $31,250

What’s so bad about that? But wait, there’s more. You’ll average a minimum of two additional copies per project, at $25 each.

* Two copies @ $25 = $50
* Times 5 projects a week = $250
* Times 50 weeks a year = $12,500 PLUS your base of $31,250 for a total annual income of $43,750


There’s an easy way to develop this kind of independent video production business. Get my book, “Make Money Marketing & Producing Photo Montages: The Complete Guide" available at Lulu Dot Com for $79.95 plus S&H.

By ordering direct from me you can save $20 AND S&H. Send your check to Earl Chessher, e-mail me at echessher at hotmail dot com for information on where to send your order. So, order today and spend only $59.95, including shipping and handling.

Send ’em MY WAY!
Those of you already in the business, who accept a montage project from time-to-time but still HATE doing them, send ’em my way. You can send me UP TO 150 images (digital via my Dropbox preferred), suggest UP TO three songs and an opening title and I will deliver back to you within five days a finished photo montage of UP TO 15 minutes (or less) duration for $125.

Charge your customer what you want and what the market will bear. Special pricing per DVD hard copies also offered for video producers outsourcing their montage work to me.

Remember: If you Market, You Will Make It! © Earl Chessher

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Diversification STILL Critical to Video Business Survival

There are logical exceptions to most any claim, rule or philosophy but independent professional video services providers who fail to diversify are making their business life much more difficult than necessary. Sure, you can specialize, establish yourself, a solid brand and even succeed in the video business, working ONLY weekends and producing ONLY weddings. This is certainly the most acceptable form of video business for those holding down regular weekday employment and seeking to slowly extend their reach, develop their business and brand.

It often works well for those who have established a solid referral system, maintained a reasonable price/perceived value position in the industry and have engaged in an ongoing marketing program that keeps them in the bridal community loop. If you, however, are one of myriad independent videographers fighting over that 20 percent or so of the bridal market that actually WANTS a video of their ceremony and related events, you’re finding it a tough go trying to build your business and stay busy in an overwhelmingly saturated market, much less be or stay profitable.

Many variables come into play here. You’re a young family man or woman with a family to support and kids to raise. You HAVE to hold down your day job because it’s the cushion you rely upon to help until your video business gets established. You’re wife may, or not, also be employed and that brings about other responsibilities such as who is cooking tonight, who picks up the kids at school, takes them to dance or piano lessons, soccer or baseball games, swimming lessons. And how about when you want some quiet quality time with the spouse, or family time with the whole bunch?

Wedding production may very well be all you can, or want to handle. Weekend work that you can control by accepting bookings (if you’re getting the calls or inquiries and referrals) only on dates you want to work, occasionally working a bridal fair or other event that gets you exposure to the wedding community.  You’re in control, and sometimes your spouse is right there beside you, helping, working and even enjoying it.

Or, you could overbook, overwork yourself and/or your wife or husband, wind up with an overwhelming editing backlog, over-extend yourself financially trying to keep up with the latest technology and soon to become equipment standard, painted yourself into a corner that takes up all your former family or free time in order to try and stay afloat with all the productions sitting there, on the shelf, making you feel guilty in any number of ways. Usually, unfortunately, you’ve been competing on price and have not been bringing in enough to warrant the 40 or so hours you require to edit a wedding video masterpiece. Editing becomes a chore, no longer fun, and being especially creative with your work eats into the time you used to spend with family, friends, kids and yourself. You even start outsourcing your editing but that eats into the already small markup you have on your time and work, and one day you come to the realization you’re very close to burnout, personal/professional failure or going out of business.

If you DO have it all under control and are happy with how things are going for you in your wedding video production business, read no further. If you are REALLY happy doing weddings, enjoy the creative rush and have NO problem staying up all hours, missing the Little League playoffs or dance recitals (and your spouse has no problem with you having no problems) then by all means, Spielberg stay the path.

Diversification, however, can be the path to fewer ulcers, divorces, litigation, long and late nights eating junk food and editing. Diversification can offer you the change-up that variety provides, easing the pressure and workload while adding to the bottom line, usually quicker and in fewer hours.

AND, if you’ve been into video production on a full-time basis for a year or longer because you need the weekdays to edit, market, make and receive calls, book appointments with prospective brides and grooms (who usually want to meet with you in the evening, at a coffee shop or restaurant), maintain equipment, attend rehearsals and all the other stuff that goes with being a potentially successful wedding video production professional or specialist ... did I say “edit”? Then, diversification will be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Diversification offers both part- and full-time videographers an opportunity to further control their workload, commitment to family and get back the personal life they once enjoyed but had to give up for the sake of the business, or their sanity.

Anyone who MUST continue doing weddings because they’re addicted to them, love them, WANT to do them, PREFER to do them, can balance the load by doing fewer weddings and doing them at a more profitable price point. HOW? By having the option to turn down the low-ballers and tire kickers, those people who have NO real, educated perceived value for what you do, and accept ONLY the higher paying gigs because throughout any given week you’ve got a couple of montages, a funeral video gig, or if you are one of those ‘euuu, dead people’ people, there are dance recitals often held on thursdays, community and school drama performances often held on Wednesdays or Thursdays, daytime events ranging from school and community sports programs and nighttime events ranging from soccer and baseball to swimming competitions and more.

The concept of work once, sell many, often provides the same, or more, income as an average wedding but usually with an investment of one-quarter the time from shoot to delivery.

Consider expanding your services and production range and committing to the marketing and advertising needed to expand your business and its bottom line while reclaiming some of your personal life, family time and sanity. Be in a position to take gig that occur during the week, or even weekend gigs that require less investment of time for shooting as well as editing.

Check out my series of How-To books: “They Shoot Funerals, Don’t They: Complete Guide to Funeral Video Production & Marketing,” “Seven Ways to Make Money with Video,” (Book I, of a planned multi-book series, also in ePub and PDF), “Make Money Marketing & Producing Photo Montages: The Complete Guide” and the business marketing, branding and promotional program-in-a-book “Video StoryTellers!™ Productions.”

Remember: If you market, you will make it! © Earl Chessher

Sunday, July 22, 2012

No Chance for Wedding Video COOP

I've been sharing a one-on-one dialogue on another forum with fellow frustrated independent professional wedding video services provider, Ed Rogers (website link here), who, like me, thinks the wedding video industry is missing the ball when it comes to where the most benefit could be derived from a marketing strategy. We both believe a wedding videographer cooperative (CO-OP) would help put into motion a branding and awareness campaign that could convince otherwise the estimated 80 percent of the bridal market that thinks they DO NOT want a professionally produced video of their wedding day and events.
This is something I’ve pounded on since my early video career days, when I thought wedding video production was all that and a bag of chips, before I realized that in order to survive in the world of independent professional video services providers (IPVSPs) I needed to diversify — see VideoStoryTellers!™ and CorElAnn Video Productions. Not to say that, if they pay my price, I would hesitate even today to produce another wedding video for a discerning bride and groom. Nowadays, however, I don’t go after them, they find me, either by way of my long-standing wedding services website or through referrals.

I write this blog article believing, as I told Ed in my last forum response, that this topic hasn’t much appeal, or maybe my lengthy articles are too long for the average “non-reader” to digest, much less read, comprehend and comment about. I believe that the average wedding videographer is an independent sort, a person who doesn’t WANT to CO-OP with others in the wedding videographer community and certainly doesn’t want to help generate business opportunities for "The Competition” much less give anything BACK to the industry-at-large.
In all fairness many members of the wedding video services industry DO “give back” but usually, myself included, by sharing what they know in paid seminars and speaking engagements, via commercial publications, DVDs and other resources. Some will, as I often do, share free information, experiences and opinions on various video related forums. I was a past member of WEVA (Wedding and Event Videographers Association) and recently became reacquainted with this association via an associate of my own. I was less than delighted to find that this once venerable organization’s website is a wasteland, unvisited and inactive with rare posts and rarer replies. Postings and responses now there are often months, if not years, apart. Sad, but true.
Why? I believe, like myself, Ed and many, many others who’ve enjoyed, appreciated and even supported WEVA at one time or another in our professional lives, it is no longer gratifying to pay membership dues to ANY organization that only seems focused on getting more of our dollars without investing in an ongoing branding and awareness campaign that would put dollars in our individual pockets. Thus, early on, I’ve expounded time and again on the necessity of an organization focused in whole on a campaign that can convince the estimated 80-percent of the bridal market NOT wanting video, to WANT VIDEO! Can this be done? Well, when I originally brought it up, many years ago, I was told that WEVA wasn’t in the business to get its members business, but to teach, instruct and educate.
All this, and more, I’ve mentioned, covered, brought up or expanded upon in the Videomaker forums (see the link, first paragraph) with only Ed Rogers and one other, venerable professional video producer Jack Wolcott, as my (presumed) sole readers, and certainly ONLY responder. The rest of the series RINGS of dead silence. As our discussion continued, it begat the question “Why?”. Why it is impossible, unfathomable or otherwise unlikely a CO-OP focused on bridal awareness of their NEED for a professionally-produced wedding video, an ongoing branding approach that enhances the image of the independent professional wedding video services provider in the eyes of those who’ve read or heard one too many horror stories about bad videographers?

Wedding videographers who NEED to be members of a cooperative that focuses on developing public awareness and branding (such as ‘Where’s the Beef?’ or ‘Got Milk’ for example) probably cannot afford to participate. Heck, most of us are barely hanging on after over-investing in expensive equipment (needed or not) and up to our eyeballs in debt we cannot generate enough business to reduce. A LOT of us are thinking of EXIT STRATEGIES not ways to shore up our seriously leaning (into the red ink) independent video businesses.
Those other guys, the top 5- or 10-percent, already have independent (and well-deserved) brand recognition, already get all the business they want or can handle and have NO need or desire to invest in such a branding and public awareness, centralized resource program.
And NEITHER SIDE really wants to do something that’s going to help “The Competition” regardless of how much good an ongoing COOP effort at market saturation could do the industry.
We independents are essentially a selfish lot regarding sharing of our so-called trade secrets, client lists, or successful marketing strategies, other than, of course, getting paid for our seminar presentations, books and DVDs or Internet subscription programs.
And this is not to indict such behavior. We all should be able to profit on our knowledge, wisdom and skills. I’ve been known to publish and sell a book or three on how to make money in the video industry but I also have been contributing to this FREE blog since 2004, as have other friends in the video industry.
I’m just saying there also is a real need for a COOP that helps promote the professional wedding video community at large, possibly encouraging that HUGE CHUNK of the bridal industry pie who DOES NOT want video — an estimated 80-percent of brides — to change their minds.

It would take anywhere from 300-to-500 members (an easy number considering the vast community of people with cameras videotaping weddings) paying maybe $15 a month, to generate the funds needed to maintain a national awareness campaign and marketing/branding strategy; set up and establish an effective resources website; and organize a board or committee or whatever oversight structure is needed to ensure the organization focuses ONLY on what it should — promotion of the fact that ALL BRIDES, not just the current 20 percent or so who actually WANT a wedding video, should have a professionally produced wedding video of their event.
It would take dedication, commitment, resources, faith in the program and a consistent promotion mentality.
Can this happen? Could it be done? Would it work? Sooner or later the independent wedding video services provider community is going to have to come to the realization that unless this happens, they're going to be relegated to fighting and competing amongst themselves for the tiny, wee portion of the 20 percent of brides already sold on the idea of a wedding video. Not much profit in that, as all of us well know.

Remember, If You Market, You Will Make It! © Earl Chessher

Sunday, July 01, 2012

An Investment that will Pay for Itself with First Job

by Alan Naumann

Mark Twain’s famous quote, “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” can also be applied to photo montages. It is common wisdom that the photo montage is “dead;” yet, from my experience, and the experience of Earl Chessher, I would have to say nothing can be further from the truth!
“Make Money Marketing & Producing Photo Montages: The Complete Guide” is NOT an obituary; rather, it is a reminder that one of the services we as videographers should be offering is professionally produced photo montages.
This book is a valuable resource for the beginning videographer who has a myriad of questions, to the seasoned videographer who needs to be reminded about the basics of the video business that perhaps have been prematurely abandoned. The book is written in a folksy, storytelling way, giving many examples and stories to back up the points presented.
Earl begins by dispelling the myth that consumers will not pay you to do their montages. He points out that the keys to having a successful “photo-video montage production business are QUALITY, FAST DELIVERY and AFFORDABLE PRODUCTS — and ... great personal service.” Earl then makes a strong case as to why clients, such as funeral homes and churches, really need to use our services. The information given can easily be shared with those who need to become our clients.
Earl covers all aspects of photo montage production, from marketing, to the business aspects. Perhaps the most practical part of the book is where he takes the reader through the steps necessary to produce a high quality, professional photo montage in a relatively short amount of time. He covers everything from the equipment needed to where to buy supplies — and talks about the different levels of commitment the videographer can make to this aspect of the business.
He also reminds us of the importance of not using labels — but rather, printing directly on the disc; the use of the Internet in promoting your business; making decisions as to location and personnel for your business; and many other practical considerations in order to be efficient and profitable. Included in the book are many forms that will help clients communicate their vision; and forms that will keep you organized in fulfilling their wishes.
He also includes several appendixes at the end that give practical advice on everything from where to find supplies to getting the best deals on equipment.
I believe this book has value for every videographer — even if s/he doesn’t plan on making photo montages a central part of their service. The tips and tricks shared in the book can be transferred to many areas of video production and therefore should prove invaluable.
The book sells for $79.95 and can be ordered from Lulu Press. And, $79.95 might seem high for a book of (about 300 pages) but let me remind you that this is really an investment that will pay for itself on the very first job.

Alan Naumann,

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why You Should Start Your Video Business with Photo Montages

by Luis O. Maymi

You’re looking to start a video production business and like all business owners you want to succeed. You start researching about what you need to know about the videography business and in all your research you end up at this blog, maybe even meet Earl in the process. Earl published a post titled “Three Steps to Making more Money with Video” and the first thing you discover there is montage production is profitable. In this article, I’m confirming that this is 100 percent true and why you should start producing photo montages before anything else when first starting out in a video business.

You should know that producing photo montages is easier than just about any other video production and can make you money without breaking the bank, purchasing video equipment. Don’t believe me? Let us compare photo montages to wedding video production. For wedding video production you need a lot of equipment, starting with a good camera, external mic systems including shotguns, handhelds and lavalieres, good headphones, external camera light (just in case) and a computer with good video editing software. When you record a wedding you need to travel to the event venue and you’ll spend several long hours videotaping. More than that, you’ll spend a ridiculous number of hours editing the video footage — up to 30 hours or more. Also, videotaping weddings requires some degree of experience.

With photo montages you don’t even need a camera. All you need are a scanner, decent computer, software and a DVD burner. That’s it! Do you need to travel to a venue and spend many hours there? No. Do you need to spend over 30 hours editing? No. Do you need a huge startup investment to begin producing photo montages. No!

Now you know that you don’t need a huge initial investment but what should you do next? According to chapter 4 of Earl’s photo montage book you should consider having the following:

In the article “Wordpress for Videographers” guest author Heidi Mueller explains how videographers with limited web design skills and limited budgets can create an Internet presence using Wordpress. I also work with Wordpress on a daily basis and will be happy to help you out.

To confirm the truth about this, let me share my story with you. One day I was at a shopping center, you know, looking at electronics, when a friend of my father’s (a lawyer) started talking to him. The conversation moved toward a computer problem the lawyer was having and he asked me for a business card. Sadly, I was all out of cards and hadn’t printed any for months. So, I asked him for his business card, wrote my information on his card and gave it back to him. He did end up with my contact information but that looked so unprofessional. Never leave home without your business cards.

I’m going to borrow Earl’s quote: “If you market, you will make it!” © 2004-2012 Earl Chessher. Having a direct mail strategy will help you get montage gigs. For more information about direct mail marketing read “Direct Mail Works” and “Focused Direct Mail Gets Gigs”.

This is the marketing category that has worked for me very well and has gotten me most of my photo montage gigs. To take advantage of word-of-mouth you need to be outgoing, befriending all the people you can and work to establish good, trusting relationships with them.

This is really important. You should consider what your competition is doing and what market you’re going to focus on. In my case, I focus on montage production business with churches.

Although photo montages are generally easier than other video production work, you still need to consider a lot of things before starting out. Luckily, Earl has written a complete guide on how to make money marketing and producing photo montages. Compared to other books that claim to be complete guides, this one really is a complete guide! The book is divided into four sections: Marketing, Production, Delivery and Everything Else!

Whether you’re just starting out or are already an established video producer, it’s a good idea to have Earl’s book with you. The great thing about photo montages is that you can make money faster, which can later be invested in new equipment or business expansion. If you want to start a video production business, photo montages will help you grow. And, with a resource like Earl’s photo montage book, you will increase your chances for success.

Remember: “If you market, you will make it!” © 2004-2012 Earl Chessher

About the author:
Luis O. Maymi enjoys social media, mostly Twitter, and he has written an eBook about e-mail marketing strategies. He is currently working to expand his video production business to social video marketing and photo montage production.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Seven Ways to Make Money with Video!

The first of three planned volumes, each with a minimum of 7 ideas on how to make money with video, is available at Lulu for download in either ePub, PDF or print. The new publication is part of an ongoing series on marketing and producing video and opportunities in video business for all enthusiasts, from hobbyist to amateur, part-time to full-time professional.

“Seven Ways to Make Money with Video” Book I, offers a closer look into and plenty of information about things the Independent Professional Video Services Provider can do to make money, add to the business bottom line or support a hobby or pastime with funds for new equipment and expenses.

Available in print, “Seven Ways to Make Money with Video” is the fourth in a series of publications focused on opportunities in the video production world that aren’t totally saturated with competition. The publication is also instantly available in downloadable PDF as well as ePUB versions, offering full-color production. Graphics and photos in the print version are in black and white to keep the price low.

Also available in print is the recently released, “Make Money Marketing & Producing Photo Montages: The Complete Guide” an extensive video production resource book with more than 300 pages jammed with everything a video producer needs to know to take advantage of a seriously overlooked service. Many in the professional video services community WILL accept and produce photo montages but reluctantly and usually with fewer options and higher prices, plus restrictions on the number of photos allowed and production length.

Michigan professional video producer Artis White gives “Make Money Marketing & Producing Photo Montages” a 5-star rating. He said this about the book: “This is a GREAT book! Well written and easy to follow.” The book, he says, “ HUGE, by the way! I have worked WAY too hard on photo montages in the past. I got my hands on the best reference manual I can find ... ‘Make Money Marketing & Producing Photo Montages: The Complete Guide’”

“They Shoot Funerals, Don’t They” the complete guide to marketing and producing funeral videos and memorials has received numerous 5-star ratings and top reviews from professionals in the video industry. This extensive look into an area of the video production industry that RARELY EVER gets the attention of video producers, professional or amateur, is available in PRINT and upon request and confirmation of purchase, buyers also receive a DVD/CD resource set directly from the author.

Those interested in the publication only can save money by purchasing the downloadable ePUB file. DVD/CD resource set not included but the disks can be ordered separately, however.

“They Shoot Funerals, Don’t They” A Complete Guide to Funeral Video Marketing & Production has received FIVE 5-star ratings by reviewers who had nice things to say about a BOOK THEY PURCHASED!

“As someone who reads a wealth of technical and how-to manuals, I must say this has to be the most complete and comprehensive guide I’ve every come across. Such an easy read ... If you are already doing video productions, this book is overflowing with absolutely everything you need (to know) to add funeral and memorial video.”
— Michael Wright

“If you want to start working in the field of funeral services it (“They Shoot Funerals, Don’t They”) has all the information that you need to get started. This book is well worth your investment.”
— Charles Shultz

“This book ... is chock full of tips, real life stories from the author’s experiences, suggestions on marketing, pricing, professional conduct and more. It’s a well-done and thorough book written to mentor the video professional looking to learn more about this area of production. I highly recommend this book!”
— Pamela Dahlgren

Yet ANOTHER business opportunity offered at Lulu is “Video StoryTellers!™ Productions” a complete branding, marketing and business plan/program offering the established professional videographer or someone looking for a unique business opportunity with POWERFUL POTENTIAL for new and exciting business opportunities.

This is particularly appealing to video enthusiasts who LOVE PEOPLE and enjoy helping them tell, preserve and share their unique and often poignant, or funny, or sad or happy stories. These stories, all too often, get lost as the older generations pass on without their powerful human interest stories, experiences and memories being preserved for posterity.

For a very reasonable investment, the Independent Professional Video Services Provider can become an associate for this globally focused business program. See the website at Video StoryTellers!

TWO THINGS to remember: “If you market, you will make it!” © Earl Chessher, and GREAT ideas won’t work unless YOU DO!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Make Money Marketing & Producing Photo Montages: The Complete Guide

Advance publishing sales orders direct to the author are now being accepted for “Make Money Marketing & Producing Photo Montages: The Complete Guide” soon to be available for direct order from Lulu Dot Com.

This new book, companion to previously published, “They Shoot Funerals, Don’t They: Complete Guide to Funeral Video Production & Marketing” has been uploaded to Lulu and is currently being processed.

Orders direct to Lulu can expect fulfillment within the next three weeks. Meanwhile, anyone wanting to save a few bucks and willing to give sales an early push may do so by contacting me directly at echessher at hotmail dot com. You’ll save $30 off the $79.95 retail price, plus shipping, of course. This is a LIMITED TIME OFFER!

Advance orders should ship within 3 weeks, followed by the support resource DVD & CD (currently in production) within two-to-three weeks after your book order ships.

This new book has more than 300 pages chock full of information—everything you need to know! It truly is THE COMPLETE GUIDE to starting, or adding to your current video business operation, a photo-video montage production business—from what equipment you need, to how to market, produce and deliver photo montage videos. It is crammed solid with everything a new videographer, established professional or hobbyist or video enthusiast needs to know to make money in photo montage video production.

Don’t put off a way to save yourself money on a book that should be valued at twice the retail price! E-mail me today at echessher at hotmail dot com and order your advance publication edition for only $49.95 plus $6 S&H. When they’re ready to ship, the resource CD and DVD will go out to all advance, direct-sale, orders on my dime!

Put the information in this book to work for you and your first montage production will more than double the pre-publication sale price!

Also, anyone who purchases this book at the special pre-publication advance sale price can add “They Shoot Funerals, Don’t They” for the low price of $79.95. These items at these prices are NOT available through Lulu. You MUST order directly from Earl Chessher. Keep in mind that, aside from some additional S&H costs, you’re getting BOTH books for a nickel less than the LULU price of “They Shoot Funerals, Don’t They” and even if you DON’T want or need the excellent (GREAT reviews and 5-star ratings from buyers/readers) funeral marketing and production book it will make a GREAT GIFT to give to any friend who is a video enthusiast!

Order today and save! ANY person who takes advantage of this special offer can SWEETEN the deal even further! How? Let ALL your video friends—in the business, hobbyists, enthusiasts or simply the curious—know about this book. For every order received where your referral vouches your name, you will receive “The Complete Guide to Website & Website Video Marketing & Production” or “The Guide to Basic Wedding Video Marketing & Production” or “The Book of Blogs” at HALF the pre-publication sales price! The final series of three in this 5-part series are expected to be available before the end of 2012!


Remember: If you market, you will make it! © Earl Chessher

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Continuous Ink Supply Systems Worth a Look

Continuous Ink Supply Systems: Print More, Save a Lot

A significant number of popular printers in use today have available CISS (Continuous Ink Supply Systems) that can save as much as 90 percent over the cost of replacing 10 or more sets of branded ink cartridges. For any video producer who has a need to print more than one DVD or CD per project the quality can be great and the cost savings beyond belief.

I have installed and used a CISS in my business for several years and while the range of brands and models served “back when” were severely limited, my original system has outlasted the service life of several Epson printers. Fortunately for me the model series was popular enough that I’ve been able to find and purchase used discontinued model printers compatible with my original CISS. Today, however, there’s a much broader selection of printer brands and models with affordable available compatible CISS units.


On average I will hand-feed a single disk into my current model printer for five-out-of-ten clients, but the rest usually order a half-dozen or more. I often get orders for as many as 50 and my grad night, graduation and performance videos can run into the hundreds. One of the selling points for my smaller orders though is the quality of the case inserts and the on-disk custom graphics. So I wind up printing literally hundreds, if not thousands of CDs or DVDs annually. Notwithstanding the time element for one-off printing, the ink supplies for extended printing projects can run costs into the stratosphere.

Other factors got in the way of production as well before I set up a computer system that could easily multitask, running the graphics files to my printer while I continue with other production work — designing graphics, working in audio or other programs, downloading resources, communicating with clients, answering e-mails, blog comments or forum questions, even editing and digitizing.

I can now do more than one thing at a time and if nothing else, getting up every few minutes to feed in another DVD to my ongoing print job keeps me from being tethered to my single-feed, manual tray print system. It also gets me on my feet enough that circulation problems from long hours at the editing system don’t crop up.


What used to cause problems in addition to having a production computer that didn’t easily multitask was waiting until late at night to start a print run then running out of one or more inks in the process. I would be stuck with having to keep additional cartridges and sets on hand then still running out of one color or another depending on the demand for a specific color due to the graphics. This would start a domino effect as each and every other cartridge then ran out. At one time I would have to install another cartridge after one or two more DVDs until all the inks were once again replaced, then the cycle would start all over again as the black cartridge ran dry. Not very productive.

All that, then running out of backup cartridges in the middle of the night. Where are you going to go to find replacement cartridges at that time of the night. Well, depending on where you live there might be a 24-hour Walgreens or other store that carries a limited number of brands and cartridges but you’ll pay full retail for them, upping your costs and eating into your production time, literally wearing you out before you can complete anything more than a run of two or three DVDs.

Thus is the argument for finding a printer brand and model that has an available CISS that works. Make sure the model is popular enough that the CISS provider will also be a dependable go to source for refill ink supplies. Rest assured, however, that your average CISS will outlive the model printer you purchased regardless of brand and that your CISS will likely not work in any other brand or model. What do you do then? You shop for and purchase not only a new printer brand and model but also a new compatible CISS. Or as in my case, I went to eBay where I found a good quality replacement printer in the same brand and model that cost me less in the long run than paying out for a new printer and new CISS.


A quick search on Google for “continuous ink supply systems” or “bulk ink supply systems” will get you started, identifying resources not only for specific brand and model printers but specialty systems as well. You will also find numerous suppliers for refill inks for most brands. To get you started, however, here are some of what you’ll find during your search. has systems for the HP Officejet Pro 8000/8500 series printer using the HP 940 cartridge, regularly priced as high as $300 but currently on sale for a little more than $70. I have to say here, however, that on average most CISS will range from around $80 to about $125. Current available models listed at this site include CISS for HP Officejet Pro K550/K8600 through L7780, using the HP 88 cartridge. Systems are also available for Epson Stylus printer models in the NX series, the Artisan 50, as well as the Artisan 600 through 835 series. In addition you can acquire systems for the Epson R1900, Epson Stylus Photo R280, RX595 and RX680 series and others.

In Canon, while no CISS is listed, the company does sell “refillable” cartridges that make the job of ink replacement easier, cheaper and sometimes cleaner for the iP3600 through MP980 series and Canon Pro 9000.

Inkcontinuous has refill inks for Epson, Canon, HP and Brother. Sale prices start at $8.95 with some regular prices starting as low as about $20. Again, on average, I spend about $60 for a full set of inks for my system.

Shop around to save money and to find a dependable CISS provider and a company that will be able to fulfill your bulk ink resupply needs when you’re ready for more. In many cases, investing in a CISS and a backup set of bulk ink will last you a year or more. It is likely your CISS will even outlast your printer. As I said earlier, mine has. Installation is usually simple and if you don’t hurry the process of installation or refilling ink reservoirs, clean as well.

Another provider of CISS and bulk ink supplies is where a complete kit and inks for the (in some cases discontinued) printers such as Epson R260, 280, 360, 380 — even the current and popular Artisan 50 series (usually about $100) is currently on sale for about the price of a new printer, but gives you an ink supply closer to 10 full cartridge replacements. The regular price for this CISS runs about $120. A CISS for the Epson R2880 (without the ink) currently sells for less than $70. features how to and demonstration videos as well, ensuring that you get your installation right. A lot of other information is provided as well, making this a good site to visit while in the shopping and decision-making process before you buy.

I acquired my original CISS from Denver Disc, formerly Reliant Digital, for about $125 and continue to order my ink refills from them for about $60 plus S&H. My system has outlived an Epson R360 and one Epson Stylus Photo R380 (discontinued) and was recently pressed into continued service with my second R380 found on ebay. A full set of CISS ink refills for my system is equivalent to about 11 full sets of branded cartridges from most retail stores, yet costs less on average than one set of cartridges that can go for as much as $80. That’s a lot of savings. Significant for any operation and especially so for someone who prints hundreds or thousands of disks a year.

Denver Disc apparently no longer sells the once-popular Ink Caddy II system but continues to offer refill inks to serve the needs of customers who originally purchased their CISS product — primarily the Ink Caddy and Ink Caddy II.

During my research it appeared that a select group of models in the Canon, Epson, HP, Brother and Lexmark brands have some kind of available CISS, as well as a few others where “refillable” cartridges are a possible alternative, still providing significant savings over purchasing disposable or more difficult to refill boxed cartridges. is another company offering CISS and refillable cartridge options. This company also offers good information regarding its CISS products and what goes into making what they call The Cartridge Eliminator or Continuous Flow System unique or better or maybe they just mention this while others don’t — it’s the chip. There’s something called an Auto Reset Chip that they place in their systems that reset themselves when the printer power is turned off for 10 seconds or longer. “If you turn your printer off daily, you’ll never have to worry about forcing the printer to reset the chips,” they say. Whether unique to units or not, there’s good information to be found on the website regarding use of their “CFS” units as they apply to various printer brands and even computers and operating systems. This is another good place to conduct your research for the printer and CISS that might be right for your needs, demands, pocketbook and expectations.

A substantial listing for CISS and ink supplies can also be found at by searching for “continuous ink supply systems” at the site. I found systems listed for as low as $50 (new) for the Artisan 50, and even less for various HP and Brother models. Don’t forget eBay, where great prices, though sometimes possible more risky purchases (check seller ratings or reviews before buying this way) can be found daily for various models and supplies for their CISS units.

There’s a boatload of sources including,,,, and Take a look at the site under “continuous ink system with ink. Do your research, then make your choice and save time and money using a CISS that fits your needs.

A continuous ink supply system for some might be serious over-kill and if you’re looking for such systems for your bulk burning/production systems you might be out of luck. In my research efforts I couldn’t determine that any were available for systems like the Bravo series, Primera or even the popular single disk spin printer Dymo DiscPainter (recently discontinued).

For any video producer who prints and delivers his/her own products for others using a CISS will result in substantial savings of time and money over the lifetime of the printer and most continuous ink supply systems.

Remember: If you market, you will make it! © 2012 Earl Chessher