It took me two years to make this video!

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in Brand identity | 5 Comments

You may think I’m slow. I prefer thoughtful. If you’ve never met me, you haven’t yet learned that I like being well-informed about all available options. At a certain point during this video-making endeavor, discouragement set in. I became overwhelmed by the wide array of opinions and advice I received from well-meaning friends and peers from both ends of the spectrum:

Making a video is easy! Just use your iPhone and upload it to YouTube. It’ll go viral.

The folks who shared this with me are the same people who wouldn’t consider paying designers for our expertise. They would forgo professional help in favor of creating something “good enough” on their own. While I do agree that this can work swimmingly for some, particularly in the meme-driven, fast-paced world of social media, I rejected this option because I’ve seen it create more pain than results. I used to think I could, and should, do everything myself—not anymore! Plus, my video was never intended to go viral.

Making a video is hard and requires a seasoned professional with film equipment and lots of it, as well as expert editing skills.

I respect this advice from the other end of the spectrum. There are many talented cinematographers in the film world trying to pursue their passion while supplementing their income with corporate work. Their videos sparkle with beauty, technical precision and substance. They are remarkably seductive, and I wanted one. But I couldn’t overspend my meager marketing budget. It wasn’t a matter of being cheap—I knew I needed to spend to get the value I was looking for—but how much was the right amount?

How did I find the middle ground?

I spoke to a few videographers about my project, but I was having a tough time explaining exactly what I was looking for. I needed to find a shorthand example to discuss with a professional. I discovered One Minute Wonder, produced by Present Plus, an “innovations-studio” operating in Amsterdam and London. In this series of 60-second portraits of artists—asking us “to reach further”—I not only found an example, but the inspiration to learn and adapt from.

The right videographer showed up

I’ve always known that timing is important, and that the world we live in is very small. I met Annette Frahm about 20 years ago when she was a communications planner at the King County Hazardous Waste Management Program. At the time, it was my client, and now I would become Annette’s. When we reconnected over coffee, I learned that she was now a second career graduate of the UW’s Master of Communication in Digital Media program, and active in environmental causes, a shared value. At FrahmComm, she was now helping people tell their story, just like I do in my business.

Together we were able to create a plan and agree on a price that was fair for both of us. I was responsible for writing the project brief and script. After we ironed out the details, we shot the video in just a few hours using her digital SLR. The natural light gives the video an unpolished, real feeling. I supplemented what she shot that day with some stills to flesh out the B-roll. Editing is where it all came together. Annette did a wonderful job of pacing the images and story with the music for an uplifting result that reflects my personality. The video is exactly what I wanted: beautiful, simple and authentic (without breaking the bank).

Are you considering a video to help you tell your story? Let’s talk. I know some good people who can help.


  1. Cassandra Allen
    September 1, 2015

    I love your new video! 🙂 Nice work. Inspiring and thought-provoking. I hope it gets you some shiny new clients.

    Cheers and take care,

    • Barb Rowan
      September 1, 2015

      Hey, thanks for the feedback Cassandra! I appreciate your perspective very much. It was agonizing to see myself—worse than hearing my own voice—but worth the exercise to see how it can be done. New insight is super fun.

  2. Pete Frickland
    September 1, 2015

    Barb –
    Nice, clean, simple, clear. Completely consistent with how you approach your work and your branding. Excellent piece!

  3. Julie Hale
    September 3, 2015

    Beautifully produced! Thank you for sharing your story about the people and the process involved in creating this.


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