Facebook Community Boost videos: At least, make them look good

Facebook brought an event called the Community Boost to Denver

Facebook is putting on a full court press to get the gig economy to become an integral part of the macro-economy. How do we turn our hobbies and cottage businesses into real money using facebook groups, ads, photos and video?

I attended the free grassroots road show, Community Boost, that recently rolled into Denver. It was a classy event at the Cable Center near the University of Denver.

The Cable Center is a non-profit organization that educates the public about, I suppose, the great things that cable TV has done for the good of society.

My background is public access TV, which was a provision of the original Cable Communications Act of 1984 that set up community access channels as a ploy to avoid regulation as a public utility and dodge FCC oversight.

I had to check out the CATV museum with the history of cable and honors all the pioneers who made billions of dollars.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I digress.

The event’s goal was to provide basic information and some hands-on experience about how to use facebook to increase website traffic, get more buyers / customers and ultimately how to buy more facebook ads through micro-market targeting and subsequently make more money for your fledgling business and for facebook.

facebook booster creative

The facebook Community Boost exhibit area include the Mobile Studio that provides in-phone apps to edit pix and video.

I’m a filmmaker and facebook is trying to turn everyone into rough-around-the-edges filmmakers, which devalues the work that I and all of my colleagues do.

Nonetheless, if you’re going to make video, you might as well post stuff that at least looks halfway decent.

Here are a few tips to improve your videos:

  • Have a story in mind. Even on the spot, you can mentally compose a beginning, middle and end to your movie, even if it’s only 15 seconds long. If you use an in-phone app like Splice or iMovie, you can shoot clips, trim and reassemble them. If you don’t edit, lots of creativity can come about from the continuous shot – going from scene to scene while keeping the phone camera steady. The climax to your story is some sort of call to action – “Click here”, “Call us”, “Donate now.”
  • Hold your camera steady. Move smoothly hand-held. My preference is to shoot with the phone camera horizontally. TV screens and monitors are not vertical and horizontal video displays and looks better. If you’re webcasting facebook live, turn the camera horizontally until the image flips then start the recording.
  • Movies are 80% sound. Viewers can take video that’s a little shaky or out of focus but if the sound is bad, your potential customers will skip to the next video. The microphone is at the bottom of the phone. Get as close as you can to your action or subjects. Normal voices from across the room won’t be picked up. If you decide you want your voice in the recording, try to let your subject complete their statement and avoid “walking over” their audio with your excited utterances or laughing.
  • Fill out the meta-data fields. Facebook has figured out the meta-data thing and prompts you through the video upload with titles and key word fields. Fill them out and write the post narrative. Pick out a few key hashtags that are common-sensical. I see posts with six or more hashtags – many of which are nonsense which detract from the content.

If you’re interested in turning your volunteers or staff into better social media movie makers, I offer workshops about how to tell your organization or business story in a 140 character elevator speech. I also teach practical ways to light a scene, get good sound using inexpensive, everyday items.

facebook creative sources

The Community Boost mobile studio pushed 10 apps to edit images and movies.

What I learned from the Community Boost is that real filmmakers need to differentiate themselves from short-form shooters who know may how to point the camera and record, but make bad video look better with the bells and whistles graphic overlay apps.

At the same time, filmmakers can better promote their work using the short and rough cut formats.

Since attending the Community Boost, I’ve pushed out short videos a couple times for Boulder Community Media production projects that generated some pretty good organic engagement – a couple thousand views of one and nearing 1,000 views of another.

How that translates into more business is anyone’s guess but the phone keeps ringing and my friends keep making referrals.

The Community Boost was set up for lots of face-to-face networking, but during the breaks most everyone was sitting in the corners staring at their phones, computers and other screens.

The lunch was good, but nearly missed out since I ran into a filmmaker in the hallway after the facebook ads workshop.

Community Boost “Aha” Moment – Campaign 2016

facebook parscale stahl

The Trump presidential campaign successfully employed the same techniques as taught at the Community Boost. The Hillary campaign didn’t and the rest is history.

I had a big “Aha” moment during the facebook ads workshop.

It was about how to target the ads to particular markets and how different messages and their words, images, colors and other variables can be tweaked to maximize viewership and interaction.

Earlier, I watched a 60 Minute TV news magazine segment by Leslie Stahl. She interviewed the Donald Trump campaign 2016 social media guy Brad Parscale. Apparently, facebook offered to embed staff members into campaign organizations who advised about how to maximize use of facebook ads.

Parscale explained how they decided to focus on 3,000 voters in Wisconsin which ended up turning the course of the election. The Trump campaign tried out the facebook offer. The Hillary campaign didn’t and the rest is history.

Those of us in the Community Boost ad workshop learned in 30 minutes what was taught during the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook ads, with practice, can be a very effective way to micro-target market and maximize advertising budgets.

I get chided by friends about why I spend so much time on my facebook account and pages that I manage. I’d say three quarters of my business leads come as a result of my presence on facebook. “If I didn’t make money from facebook, I wouldn’t waste my time there,” I tell them.

I still don’t understand the psychology behind facebook and why people respond, but then again, it really doesn’t matter.

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2015 Wyoming road trip for the arts – trek 1

Anyone who has spent any time in Wyoming knows that road trip organization is key. I have been known to travel two hours for a 10 minute meeting. This week, I plotted out a six day trip that started on Monday May 4. Two years ago, my health took a hit when I made a series of road trips to the East Coast at the end of May to a long Wyoming trek in early June.

The Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund Board met in Pinedale and approved the digital Art of the Hunt project.

The Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund Board met in Pinedale and approved the digital Art of the Hunt project.

I was a little concerned that two years later, I didn’t want to push my luck, but decided to anyway. This trip, acording to my new mileage app called Mileage IQ, I logged 1, 554 miles.

I’m working on a couple projects and now that the weather has finally broken – more on this – it was a good time to take off. I found out at the last minute late last week that the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund would be meeting in Pinedale in western Wyoming on May 6-7. My production company, Boulder Community Media, has a project the WCTR board would be considering a proposal called the “Digital Art of the Hunt”.

Being a veteran grant writer I know that a project’s chances are better, if applicants show up in person. I made a bunch of phone calls and set up an excursion. Sitting through meetings like this is very informative and when I have other proposals considered, I will show up. The board approved the project. It was the 19th ranked application out of 45 and received the second highest grant award.

The weather was mostly bad. This is snow south of Lander.

The weather was mostly bad. This is snow south of Lander overlooking Red Canyon.

Boulder to Laramie 109 miles: I was funded by the Wyoming Humanities Council and the Wyoming Arts Council to produce a documentary about Wyoming Progress Administration cultural projects that include large murals in Riverton, Kemmerer, Greybull and Powell. I learned that one of my former University of Wyoming college professors Herb Dieterich was the last guy who did any research about this topic back in 1980.

My call to him was a blast from the past. He agreed to meet me on Monday afternoon. He turned 90 May 3rd. He spent a summer in the National Archives in DC researching it and gave me a copy of his paper, which is helpful. He was mostly checking out the project funding sources than about the artists.

We had a nice visit. I’ll be back to talk to Joe Russin, the son of Robert Russin who was a UW art professor and WPA muralist in Illinois.

I filled up and headed to Riverton.

Some barracks from the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp were moved to the Cottonwood Court in Riverton.

Some barracks from the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp were moved to the Cottonwood Court in Riverton. This is the former sheep ranch that inspired the WPA mural in the Riverton Post Office.

Laramie to Riverton 236 miles: I support the Northern Arapaho Tribe and stay at the Wind River Casino Hotel. They don’t serve alcohol, but allow smoking. Of course all casinos allow smoking, it must be a habit of gamblers. When the casino originally opened, there was a smoke free room of slots, but that didn’t last long.

Food prices in the Red Willow Restaurant have gone up. In my opinion, If I spend $25 on a steak, I’ll go down the road to Svilar’s in nearby Hudson. On Cinco de Mayo, I ate Indian huevos rancheros, which substitutes fry bread for the tortilla.

I interviewed Karline from the Riverton Museum who was knowledgeable about George Vander Sluice. He painted the mural in the Riverton Post Office. The mural is of sheep shearing that happened at a ranch on the road to Shoshoni which is now the Cottonwood Court, which is now abandoned. Turns out that the bungalows there were formerly housing barracks at the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp near Powell.

I headed out to Pinedale, but wanted to nail down a couple key components of the Art of the Hunt project which includes an Eastern Shoshone deer hunt and Northern Arapaho bison hunt. I stopped by the Shoshone Cultural Center and Glenda Trosper was still open to setting up the hunt in October. I went over to Ethete and talked to JT Trosper about the bison hunt and that will be set up in July.

The Log Cabin Motel in Pinedale is very cozy.

The Log Cabin Motel in Pinedale is very cozy.

Riverton to Pinedale 186 miles: I stayed at the Log Cabin Motel. There are a bunch of small fishing cabins. It was raining the two days I was there. The WCTF meeting started Wednesday at the BOCES building. Wyoming government meetings are long, drawn out, but very folksy. There’s decorum, but very informal. This funding cycle, there were a million dollars in requests and $200,000 in available funds. After two days of project evaluation, Art of the Hunt was ranked 19th out of 45 projects and awarded funding that will guarantee it’s completion. Had I not attended, to answer questions and defend the idea, there’s no telling how much or if the project would be approved.

Meanwhile, I had a plan to drive to Kemmerer to see the murals in the post office there or go to Powell. In February, I provided production assistance for an interview session with Mark and Ardith Junge. The producer, Samantha Cheng. She mentioned that a colleague of hers, Sharon Yamato, may need a videographer in Powell. I contacted Sharon and decided to head north to record her interviews and check out the murals in Powell and Greybull.

Evaline George, 97, is one of the subjects of a documentary by Sharon Yamoto.

Evaline George, 97, is one of the subjects of a documentary by Sharon Yamato.

Pinedale to Powell 318 miles: The WCTF meeting finished at 1:30pm and I headed out to points north. There was snow on South Pass and sputtering rain the rest of the way through Lander, Riverton, Shoshoni, Thermopolis, Meeteetse, Cody then Powell. I stayed at the Super 8 in Powell. Mostly fracking workers staying there. Sharon is working on a documentary about the post World War II veteran homesteaders who came to Powell and repurposed some of the Hearth Mountain Relocation Camp housing barracks – some of those were repositioned to the Cottonwood Court in Riverton.

During a break in the action, I went over to the Powell Post Office and checked out the mural there by Manuel Bromberg. Nobody seemed to know much about it. I was referred to the local museum and will likely make another trip back through there. Bromberg is still alive and lives in Woodstock, New York. I may make a trip out there if he’s able to talk to me – he’s 98.

We interviewed three 97-year olds who still live in their remodeled barracks. These three nonagenarians still had their wits about them and had some good stories to tell. It was a long day. I stayed over and headed back home via Greybull.

Smoking is still allowed in most places in Wyoming. Cough, Cough.

Smoking is still allowed in most places in Wyoming. Cough, Cough. Including at this short order place in Greybull.

Powell to Greybull 48 miles: The last time I was through Greybull two years ago, I was stopped in one of those 45 mph to 30 mph speed traps. The cop let me off. The post office was about the only place open on Saturday. The postal clerks didn’t know much about the painting. The postmaster was to return later. I killed an hour at the Uptown Cafe for some breakfast. Smoking is still allowed here, which was a little strange. I went back to the PO and the postmaster hadn’t returned yet.  The clerk called her boss and he pointed her toward an old typewritten narrative on the wall.  Manuel Bromberg is in the book and I’ll see if he’s up for an interview.

I’ve been hearing about the storm in southern Wyoming and headed out again. I got gas in Thermopolis.

Manuel Bromberg painted the mural in the Greybull Post Office

Manuel Bromberg painted the mural in the Greybull Post Office.

Greybull to Boulder 478 miles: My gut reaction was to avoid I-80 and took the second worst route through Casper. There was sputtering rain and snow from Shoshoni to Casper. Casper to Douglas wasn’t too bad, but from there to Chugwater was slow going. The most snow was between Wheatland and Chugwater. Snow and slush started to build up on the highway. I know why there are crazy crashes – four wheel drive pickups that think they are invincible. I’ve driven in worse conditions by Elk Mountain.

I have to turn around on Monday for a meeting and job in Cheyenne Monday and Tuesday. It’s a labor of love having several projects in various stages of development. I’ll be heading to Kemmerer, Powell and Greybull, later in June enroute to my Devil’s Tower climbing trip over the 4th of July.

Lassoed fish – an ‘Art of the Hunt’ tale

I produced a series of videos for the upcoming Art of the Hunt display that opens at the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne on July 18th.

The exhibit, spearheaded by the Wyoming Arts Council, the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming State Museum, features folkloric stories told through the unique art forms of hunting and fishing, including leather working, bow making, fly tying and taxidermy.

You don’t have to be a rugged outdoors man or woman to have stories.

I’m a city kid who grew up in the suburbs of Cheyenne. One Christmas Santa brought these short fishing rods and rudimentary reels. We could hardly wait until spring to get our lines wet.

My Uncle Rich gave me this fly box for Christmas one year. He was an avid fisherman around Wyoming.

My Uncle Rich gave me this fly box for Christmas one year. He was an avid fisherman around Wyoming.

As a family activity in the 1960s my parents would take my sister and I to Country Club Lake. On the way we stopped by the tackle store and picked up a box of worms for bait. My dad showed us how to bait the hooks and explained the purpose of bobbers.

My mom’s job was to untangle the fish line snags. I remember hooking my first fish, it was a six-inch perch. We caught several small ones that day.

I wasn’t allowed to clean the fish, because I wasn’t yet able to use sharp knives. That evening, my mom breaded the fish and we had them for dinner that night.

When I was a bit older, I don’t remember the exact birthday, but my grandfather gave me one of his manual spinning reels – the kind with a bail.

This was a big step up from the push bottom job I had been using. He also explained to me about using artificial lures. He said it was more challenging because it became a battle of wits catching a fish with lures.

He gave me a box of various flat fish and spoons. I didn’t use the flat fish since I learned they were mostly for fish that didn’t live in Southeast Wyoming, but always have kept those hand-me-downs in my tackle box.

When I was living in Lander, one spring, my fishing pal Perry and I went out up to the Big Wind River just outside of Thermopolis. The water was running high and muddy. We wore hip waders. Perry had a few strikes, I was using a muddler minnow thinking that the brown trout would hit, but became a bit discouraged. Perry suggested that I try something that no fish would like. I opened my fly box and there was the green flatfish.

I clipped it on the end of the leader and cast, then reeled in the line. Tugged and reeled, tugged and reeled. Hopelessly snagged on some plants.  I waded out to untangle the line. Much to my surprise, in addition to the wad of greenery, was a 10 inch trout entangled in the weeds and being strangled by my fish line.

“You lassoed a fish!” Perry hollered.

It wasn’t good, the line was stuck under the fish’s gills and cut him up. I ended up taking the fish out of mercy, but I didn’t think I had taken him fairly.

I still have my grandfather’s flat fish, but I haven’t had it out since. I have an antelope hunting story I’ll jot down when the Art of the Hunt exhibit gets into full swing. Join the facebook page and share your hunting and fishing stories and photos: https://www.facebook.com/artofthehuntwyoming