Tag: comedy director

Why Your Company Needs A Video Series

A video series can accomplish much more than a one-off video where a viewer may never return to your company after watching it. A web series that’s relevant to your audience will help you build a relationship with them. And that’s the number one reason why your company needs a video series.

Related: using natural light for your documentary video production.

The 3 main types of video series you should consider:

  • Documentary, also called docu-style or docuseries
  • Narrative, a scripted drama or comedic series or a combination of the two
  • Talk show

What’s the best format for a video series?

The best type of episodic video series that might be best for your company depends on your product or service and what exactly you want to accomplish.

A video series can have a limited number of episodes like 5 or 6 or be on-going. How many episodes would be best for a docuseries or talk show completely depends upon your situation.

Scripted narrative series with actors cost much more to produce and more time to organize, so the number of episodes are usually limited.

cutting hemp paper in an episode of a video series on hemp
Erica Halverson cuts hemp paper in an episode of the docuseries Hemp Already directed & produced by Greg McDonald

Documentary or Docu-style series

A docu-style series is a very popular format and probably the best format for a lot of businesses. Docuseries are huge right now and have been for awhile. They’re all over networks, cable and streaming services.

A docuseries follows a person around or a group of people like the shows Duck Dynasty or Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Or a docuseries can center around a business like Pawn Stars. The idea is to document the lives of the people involved and to give the viewing public an inside look into their unique world.

Related: Hemp Already video series.

How does the Kardashians apply to my business?

You might be thinking, ‘well that’s great but how can I apply a show like the Kardashians to my company?’ Easy. Docuseries are simply a day-in-the-life.

First decide who’s point-of-view would it be best to tell the story from. Would it be best to feature an employee or a partner? Or would it be best to feature a customer and show how they use your product or service in their daily life to make it better.

Related: aliens and selfie addiction on Amazon Prime Video.

Docuseries example

For example, maybe you’re a fitness equipment manufacturer and you want to document a customer’s 6 week journey to better health by using your product. So you film them throughout the 6 weeks, releasing 1 video a week. The show’s story arc would feature your customer’s progress from week to week with the finale showing the dramatic change by week 6.

woman at the beach in an episode of a business video series on hemp

Or you’re in the customizing car business and your chief car technician is a rock star in that world. You have a never ending stream of unique cars that come in the shop along with the interesting characters that own them that you want to feature throughout the year.

So you film on an on-going basis and release 2 videos a month. Each episode featuring a different car and owner and aspect of customization.

As a great example, the credit card processing company Square produced a fantastic docuseries a couple years ago.

Each episode featured a different customer success story about how their business improved and helped their local community. I highly recommend you watch an episode or two.

Narrative video series

A narrative video series will be the most costly to produce but can also potentially pack the most punch. I believe BMW was the first company back in 2001-2002 to do a dramatic episodic web series called The Hire.

Although it was branded content, it was produced like a high-end TV show and directed by well-known directors. Clive Owen starred as “The Driver” and each episode highlighted the performance aspects of various BMW cars.

It really was a brilliant idea and it got a lot of attention. Although generally, it will cost more than a docuseries or talk show, you don’t need to spend that kind of money to have a successful narrative web series.

husband and wife in scene from a training video
A scene from a scripted narrative video series about wireless networks I directed and produced

The secret is to doing a narrative drama or comedy video series, is to think of a premise that would grab your viewers’ attention and gives the opportunity to incorporate your product or service in each episode.

Talk show

A talk show is something just about everyone should be familiar with. Who hasn’t seen a daytime or late night talk show? A talk show usually features a host that interviews different guests each episode.

One of the most important success factors for a talk show is choosing the right host. You may need someone who is an expert in your line of work or perhaps not. In either case, the host needs to be likable and charismatic.

a talk show with two business people
Talk show for a video series on finance I directed & produced by my production company Gate5

What guests you bring on your talk show is crucial too. They have to be reputable enough in your industry to entice viewers to tune in for each episode.

Another consideration is location. When you think of a talk show most people envision a studio. Most companies don’t have a studio nor do you need one. Find an interesting location within your facilities or another place that you have access to. Better yet, mix up the locations if you can to keep the visuals of the show interesting.

Grow your audience organically

Every time your audience watches an episode in your series, they interact with and become more familiar with your brand. In addition, by putting out a series of videos, you automatically establish yourself as the expert in your field. That’s how you build trust and credibility which will then lead to more customers. That’s why your company needs a video series.

About Gate5, a Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company in Los Angeles producing high quality video content for the web, your social media outlets, kiosks and broadcast television.

We conceptualize, write scripts, secure locations and permits, cast actors, direct, film and edit commercial videos, narrative films, branded content, product and promotional videos, TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Click here for Gate5 video samples.

If you have a commercial or a narrative project where you need a director and/or a video production company, feel free to contact me to discuss it to see how if we can work together on it.

Check out my photography here.

The Shortest Horror Movie In The World

I give you – The Shortest Horror Movie In The World.

It’s got everything; an identifiable character, a universal theme, tension, mystery and a surprise ending that doesn’t spoon feed you the answer, leaving the interpretation up to you. All in 25 seconds. Only a slacker would need 2 hours to tell a story.

A silly spur-of-the-moment video I made while I was out location scouting although I’ve been told it’s better than the Blair Witch Project.

After my encounter in the desert, I’m happy to say I’m doing fine. It was a close call but I came out the other side. A little roughed up but okay.

A lot of hard work went into making this film and I’m very proud of the result. I think this is the one they’ll remember me for. It’s a pinnacle, a zenith, a high bar and a tough act to follow but I’m up for the challenge.

Related: using natural light for your documentary video production.

You never know what you’ll find location scouting

I was location scouting in the high desert for my short, Nowhere In The Universe when I shot this. It won Best Comedy Film and the Audience Choice Award at the LA Film Forum.

Scouting locations in the desert is always a good time for me. Strange, cool and/or creepy things always seem to to pop up.

Related post: watch my after party interview at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festiva.

On this trip, I not only found the locations where we later shot the film at (where I made this video was one of them) but I also found several other locations that might be good for something some day.

Several broken down abandoned buildings and an interesting dry river bed stood out as places to make note of for future shoots. I also found a military zone as seen in the photo below.

Military zone with unexploded devices in the area

The sign says there are unexploded devices and dangerous weapons in the area and not to touch anything. No prob, you had my attention at ‘unexploded devices.

They don’t make motels like they used to

It was somewhat of a surprise to come across Roy’s Motel and Cafe on this trip. I had seen photographs of Roy’s before but wasn’t sure where it was. It’s located in Amboy, California on old Route 66.

The motel has long been out of operation and only a small gift shop is open inside the old gas station. However, I didn’t venture in. It looked like it was filled with the typical tourist crap you can find anywhere.

There’s a vacancy at Roy’s Motel & Cafe.

Although not in operation, the old motel rooms are open for people to walk in and check out. Helpful tip for when asking a tourist to take a photo of you: make sure they speak the language you do.

I asked this woman who got off a bus full of tourists if she could take a photo of me in front of the Roy’s sign. I said, “make sure you get the whole sign”. She nodded and trained my cell phone at me.

After snapping a couple of pics she handed my phone back to me and off she went to join back up with her tour group. I looked at the photos and this is what she took.

I asked her to make sure to get the whole sign. She smiled and nodded.

Well there’s my origin story on how the shortest horror movie in the world came to be.

Related: alien makeup timelapse.

Related: why your company needs a video series.

About Gate5, my Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company in Los Angeles producing high quality video content for the web, your social media outlets, kiosks and broadcast television.

We conceptualize, write scripts, secure locations and permits, cast actors, direct, film and edit commercial videos, narrative films, branded content, product and promotional videos, TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Click here for Gate5 video samples.

If you have a commercial or a narrative project where you need a director and/or a video production company, feel free to contact me to discuss it to see how if we can work together on it.

Check out my photography here.

Aliens and Selfie Addiction on Amazon Prime Video

Two short film written and directed by Greg McDonald of video production company Gate5 in Los Angeles are now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.  If you’re into aliens and selfie addiction, you’ll want to fire up the popcorn maker, plop down on the sofa ( oh wait, you’re already on the couch because of the lock down aren’t you?) and watch them.

You need a break from Facebook anyway

During the stay at home quarantine, it’s good to mix up the ways you pass the time. You can’t spend it all on Facebook. I mean, how many distorted close ups of peoples’ faces on webcam videos can one person stand? So hang up on that Zoom meeting and mosey on over to Amazon Prime Video and check out these short films.

Related: the shortest horror movie in the world.

The Selfie That Changed The World

a selfie addict gazes at her image in a mirror wearing sunglasses in a fashion comedy by Greg McDonald
Christine Wood in The Selfie That Changed The World on Amazon Prime Video

Take a peek inside the mind of a selfie addict in the comedy fashion film, The Selfie That Changed The World. Based on a true story. 

A woman I follow on Instagram who posts thousands and thousands of selfies where she looks exactly the same in every single one of them was the inspiration for it. If you feel I’m talking about you and that I stole your life’s story without your permission or compensation, I want you to know it’s based on the other selfie addict.

The film stars Christine Wood as the selfie taker and Brandon Bernath as the coffee shop screenwriter. The film was shot by cinematographer Roberto Correa.

Watch my after party interview at the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival.

‘Selfie’ was nominated for Best Creative Concept and Best Narration in the La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival and  Brandon Bernath was nominated for Best Actor in the CinéFashion Film Awards broadcast on the Cinémoi cable channel.

Watch the interview with Greg McDonald and Roberto Correa at the after party at the La Jolla Int’l Fashion Film Festival on Gate5’s site.

Nowhere In The Universe

a man and alien meet in the desert in the sci-fi fashion comedy, Nowhere In The Universe
Nowhere In The Universe, streaming on Amazon Prime Video

An alien becomes lost in a desolate area of the desert and discovers that no matter how desperate you are, even if you’re going to die from starvation and dehydration, some lines can never be crossed.

The sci-fi fashion comedy, Nowhere In The Universe stars stars Kaitlyn Clare as the alien and Brandon Bernath as the man. Thirati K created the alien special effects makeup and produced it. 

‘Nowhere’ won Best Comedy Film and the Audience Choice Award in the LA Underground Film Forum. Although technically not based on a true story, it’s based on a true story and most women will probably relate to its universal theme.

Read more about the shoot and watch a short timelapse video of part of the alien makeup being applied by Thirati K.

Now you have no excuse to stay on Facebook the rest of the day. Get on over to Amazon Prime Video for your aliens and selfie addiction fix.

Need a break? Of course you do! Take 1.5 minutes and watch No Words, a video poem. A short film about nature and our neglect of it.

About Gate5, my Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company in Los Angeles producing high quality video content for the web, your social media outlets, kiosks and broadcast television.

We conceptualize, write scripts, secure locations and permits, cast actors, direct, film and edit commercial videos, narrative films, branded content, product and promotional videos, TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Click here for Gate5 video samples.

If you have a commercial or a narrative project where you need a director and/or a video production company, feel free to contact me to discuss it to see how if we can work together on it.

Check out my photography here.

Keeping Busy During the Coronavirus Lockdown

With virtually all production – whether it’s film, television or commercials being canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus lockdown, what can you do to stay productive?

a man rows a canoe in a city street
It’s important to exercise during the coronavirus lockdown.

Write that screenplay

For me it’s easy, write! I’m currently finishing a feature screenplay I started in the fall of 2019. If you’re a writer, take advantage of this slow down, or shut down to be more accurate, and write as much as you can.

When I’m busy with client works, I sometimes find if very difficult to make the time for scriptwriting. Now there’s no excuse.

I find it helpful to write in time blocks. I set aside sometimes as little as thirty minutes on up to two hours and write during that time. Maxing it at two hours helps me to not overwhelm myself. Sometimes I think I have to write a feature screenplay in one eighteen hour day or stay up all night drinking trying to finish it. Set a block of time per day, sit down and do it. And when you’ve hit the end of the time block, stop. If you stick to it, you’ll be done in no time.

feature screenplay Killing Happy

The Graham Greene approach to writing

One of the most inspiring and practical things I’ve ever heard about writing comes from Graham Greene, who wrote a ton of stuff; novels, short stories, plays and is considered one of the great writers of the 20th century. Many of his novels were adapted into screenplays like, The Quiet American, The Third Man, The End of the Affair, A Gun for Sale which was titled, This Gun for Hire in the movie version and others.

Apparently, his secret was that he only wrote 500 words a day and that was it! That translates into about 2.5 pages of a screenplay. He’d reach that number and would stop for the day. When I heard this on TMC’s Noir Alley it was a revelation and a relief. With his lifelong output, you would think all he ever did was write! But no, 500 words a day. And when he got older, he cut it down to 300 words a day.

Since taking his approach I’ve alleviated my anxiety and thinking that unless I write a screenplay in one sitting and suffer horribly for it, then I’m not a real writer. It’s eliminated getting overwhelmed by the thought of writing and consequently blowing it off.

I use the 500 word a day technique until the first draft is completed. Then I set blocks of time rather than a word count since rewriting is about improving, filling holes and fixing things and not necessarily about writing a lot of words.

With the script I’m working on, I’ve been fairly disciplined with this approach and am in the fix up stage now. I’m guessing in about a week it’ll be ready for others to read. It’s a dark comedy about a competitive mother’s life long campaign to keep her talented son from becoming a success and showing her up. That’s all I’ll say now. I don’t like to talk about projects I’m currently working on so more to come later.

Work on your website

The coronavirus lockdown is another great time to work on your website and improve its SEO. I admit, I haven’t spent too much time working on this site, my writing-directing site but I have been working on my production company’s site for Gate5.

I can’t stress how important SEO is for any company, especially for video production companies and photographers and this is the perfect time to work on it. To see the results of your SEO work it usually takes several months. So do the work today, while no one is searching for video and film production during the shut down and when things get back to normal in a couple months, you’ll reap the rewards of the SEO work you do today.

I wrote a post on what types of video production you can still do during the “stay at home” order that doesn’t require new filming in my post on Gate5’s site here.

Stay in touch

Don’t let the physical isolation keep you isolated from others. Get on social media, call friends and associates, use facetime, zoom, skype or whatever app you prefer to talk to people and see their faces.

Use this time you’ve been given to keep and build your personal and business relationships. With so many people staying at home, working or not, it’s a great time to stay in touch. If you’ve been thinking, like me, that you need to make more of an effort to stay in touch with people, think of it as you’ve now got a captive audience. So make that call.

Exercise

And of course, you need to stay healthy so make sure to get your workouts in. Gyms may be closed but there are plenty of body weight exercises you can do that don’t require any equipment that you can do at home.

Get on YouTube and search for ‘body weight exercises’ or a related term and a whole bunch of videos will pop up that will train you exactly how to do them.

As you can see from the photo, my favorite coronavirus lockdown workout is urban canoeing. It naturally creates social distancing, it’s great cardio and it’s cheaper than a Lyft!

Need a break? Of course you do! Take 1.5 minutes and watch No Words, a video poem. A short film about nature and our neglect of it.

About Gate5, my Los Angeles video production company

Gate5 is a creative video agency and full service video production company in Los Angeles producing high quality video content for the web, your social media outlets, kiosks and broadcast television.

We conceptualize, write scripts, secure locations and permits, cast actors, direct, film and edit commercial videos, narrative films, branded content, product and promotional videos, TV commercials, episodic content and live video streaming production.

Click here for Gate5 video samples.

If you have a commercial or a narrative project where you need a director and/or a video production company, feel free to contact me to discuss it to see how if we can work together on it.

Check out my photography here.

Unplug Coffee Maker When Not Using

Unplug coffee maker when not using it. It’ll not only save you some money on your electricity bill, it’s good fire safety too! I’ve always found it entertaining when control freaks lose it and think they’re going to scare everyone with their temper. This is a wish fulfillment for all those who’ve suffered an overbearing boss in the office. This clip is from an old film of mine and as many times as I’ve seen it, this actor makes me laugh every time.

By the way, unplugging other appliances is a good idea too.

Got a narrative or commercial project? Contact me to discuss. I’d love to hear about it.

Check out Narrative stuff. Or Photography and Commercial and Fashion films.

Psycho Therapy

Psycho Therapy, an episode of the comedy web series, The Man Van. The series features behind the scenes videos of my efforts in trying to get a series called The Man Van off the ground. In this episode, I’m trying to get rid of my on-camera mugging that was exposed in my embarrassing appearance in the previous episode. I visit a Russian psychologist who has her own form of treatment for his ailment.

Got a project? Contact me.

Check out Narrative stuff. Or Photography. Commercial and Fashion films.

La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival

director greg mcdonald on red carpet
Director Greg McDonald and cinematographer Roberto Correa at the red carpet at La Jolla Int’l Fashion Film Festival.

La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival was a blast! Fashion film director and photographer Greg McDonald along with cinematographer Roberto Correa on the red carpet, were the talk of the festival with their fashion film comedy, The Selfie That Changed The World. The film takes a look inside the mind of an instagram selfie addict. Comedies usually don’t screen at the festival which made it that much more special. The response we got from the audience was remarkable. It’s such a fun festival to go to and I’ve been to it several times in the past but having a film screening in it was really an honor. It was nominated for Best Creative Concept and Best Narration. Shot at 6k resolution and mastered in 4k and filming guerrillaa style on Melrose Avenue and in a back alley made to look like a coffee shop off of Sunset Blvd.

Watch The Selfie That Changed The World on my narrative page. Or check out Photography.

To discuss working together on any projects, contact me.

Welcome To My Site

Welcome to my site. I’ll be posting newsworthy stuff here about projects along with random nonsense that I find interesting or funny.  Take a look around at my narrative videos and commercials and fashion films or my photography

director dealmaking from the pool
A typical day of doing deals for director Greg McDonald.

The website for my production company, Gate5, can be found here.

If you want to talk about working together on a project or just want to argue about whether a cheeseburger is a sandwich, give me a hollar. Contact me here. In case you think it isn’t, you’re wrong. Meat with bread on either side is the very definition of a sandwich. The fact that it’s a bun and not sliced bread doesn’t make any difference.

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