In the old days when you would visit our webpage (loyally and frequently as we know you do ;-), you would arrive at our homepage, soak in the background video and leisurely navigate to the other pages, thoroughly enjoying your visit, dreaming about the possibilities and that would be that. But the homepage was static and you would have to click around.
But now, like our favorite Baltimore Speak Easy that shall go unnamed, there’s a secret new entrance into our world. . . . you can now simply scroll down! Check it out and see some new content. We’re redeveloping our website to better tell our story, who we are, and the new redesigned homepage just launched. You’ll see some new messaging about who we are and how we can serve you.
“Inspiring people through film is our super power. Our Documentary Style Paired With Earth-Shaking Brands Creates Emotional Attachment, A Recipe For Deep Impact.” What does this even mean? It really is the essence of what we do and what we’re about. If you need to inspire someone to take action, to truly influence their next decision, it’s all about connecting the head with the heart, something that is the ultimate goal of documentary filmmaking to influence action. Prior to starting this company five years ago, our profession was telling impactful, change-inducing stories for news agencies like The Boston Globe and various Television organizations. We have told thousands of stories in every conceivable situation in fast-paced documentary environments. The challenge in journalism isn’t simply to spit out facts. It’s to get people to care about those facts so that somebody will DO something about it. The goal is to inspire change. So every single day we would spend carving narratives that showed (not told) what something meant to a particular person’s life. And if relationships are what gives life its meaning, then people and their experiences are what gives your mission meaning. The skills that we have accumulated from doing this every single day for many years allow us the ability to see opportunities for an impactful narrative that many others simply haven’t put in the 10,000 hours to attain. The combination of human-driven storytelling, structured for impact, mixed with high-end production techniques is truly elemental.
“But if you guys are documentary filmmakers, how does that help me and my brand?” That is such a good question. First off, we don’t work exclusively on documentary films. Documentary is what we love, it’s where we refill our souls, and it’s how we give back. But as long as you’re an ethical organization, we can utilize these skills to direct TV commercials, produce corporate videos, and work with non-profits, something that we wanted to clarify directly on the homepage.
Authenticity is the gold we treasure. And years mining for this soul mineral has set us up to find it in all sorts of ways, for various client needs, on a multitude of platforms. Here are just two of the following ways.
Reducing on-camera self consciousness: In documentary, many times the only way to land a big interview and get to what’s real, it takes an understanding of the human condition, knowing how to relate to someone, active listening, genuine curiosity, preparation, emotional intelligence, making them feel safe and build trust, and making the process easy and comfortable. This skill is important when interviewing your CEO, or making a testimonial, or creating a brand documentary. But what’s also very cool is that we direct actors all the time for fictional based advertising and brand storytelling as well, and for an actor to lose herself in the character and give the most honest, authentic performance, all of the above characteristics apply exactly the same way. While we are true documentary filmmakers, we say “documentary style” in the new mission statement because we want for our fictional work to feel as real as a documentary.
Understanding Story is EVERYTHING: Structure, layers, character development, metaphors, beginning/middle/end, tension/release, conflict/resolution, etc . . . As students of the craft for years, in doing thousands of actual stories, learning from missed opportunities, and learning from the best, our brains are trained to look for patterns, ask the right questions, and listen for clues that help us piece together a narrative for the most impact possible. In non-fiction, it’s more reactive, building off of what exists and taking away elements to expose the story, or carving a statue from a large piece of material. In film and TV & most advertising, it’s proactive, creating something new, more like painting. Because our nonfiction minds are so developed, when we write scripts or direct commercials in the fiction space, it has been enormously beneficial to know so well what is real and impactful in the real sense so that we can spot overacting, overproducing, overwriting, and make adjustments as needed.
Ability to pivot on a dime: Documentary has set us up for fluidity, flexibility, problem solving, resourcefulness, decisiveness and teamwork so that we can handle literally anything that comes our way. Sometimes our favorite jobs are small non-profits where the situation only requires a two-person crew who can shoot, interview, and capture moments. We’ve also directed massive budget national commercials with all the toys and a massive crew. But they are far more similar than you might think. Both have the same exact objectives, and require very similar skills.
If you have an idea, are simply curious about the video production process, or if you’re not sure what goes into the budgeting process or whether this is right for you, just give us a call. We can talk you through it, find solutions, and let you into the whole process. Video is a powerful way to connect with your audience and we invite you on a journey to CAPTURE THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE.
Keep an eye out for more exciting content from ELM. We have so many fun things we’re working on and can’t wait to share them with you very soon including continuing to redevelop our website, new hires, launching a feature film, the next installment of Invisible Thread, and so many more exciting projects with wonderful clients new and ongoing.
A big thank you to our ongoing partner Backroom for our website updates. Call them with any of your branding needs. They seriously rock.
Peace & Love, ELM Team