Category Archives: Design
So first lets look at the series synopsis ::
We don’t set out to build our faith on myths, but it happens. Somehow untruth keeps showing up in the way many Christians think about life and God. People hold fast to a myth and when life proves it wrong they’re left confused and angry. Get ready to be shocked, relieved and inspired. Myths can hurt you, but the truth will set you free!
What was the Process for this Video Project
Let me first say that this project was done entirely by a team. There were many brains behind the concept :: conception, design and implementation. Both volunteers and paid staff were involved.
- We first studied the six “dumb things.” We needed to understand the target for each bumper.
- We then began meticulously going through each episode of Davey & Goliath — looking for 30 to 45 second segments that could be reworked to fit the lesson for the week.
- The segments were discussed. Script ideas were bandied about. A concept was adopted.
- Then the script was written. And this was more difficult than it may seem. The dialogue lengths had to match what was already on the original episode.
- Next the recordings for each script. I this was fun for the team. We got to use “animated voices” when we recorded the dialogue. Fun Factoid: All of the voices for the original episodes were done by 3 people.
- Then the shortened video clip from the original episode and the audio segments were edited.
I am very pleased and proud of the team. They did a tremendous job with this project. We received many comments from people thinking we bought the segments.
We believe making the video teasers and bumpers unique and customized to our series and Sun Valley makes a world of difference. It is well worth the time and effort.
And they’re a lot of fun!! Really!!
Last week I wrote about a video project that we thought was one of our best ever produced at Sun Valley. This week I’m gonna continue with that theme — video projects.
Our latest series is entitled :: Dumb Things the Smart Christians Believe. We have chosen six phrases (principles) that Christians believe are Scripture.
I’ll talk more on Wednesday about the series theme.
When we began discussing how we would tease the series, comedy came to our mind. Many ideas were bandied about, but we landed on taking Davey and Goliath episodes and use voice overs to teach the “dumb thing.”
Davey and Goliath is a 1960s stop motion animated children’s Christian TV series. The programs, produced by the Lutheran Church of America were produced by Art Clokey after the success of his Gumby series.
Each 15-minute episode features the adventures of Davey Hansen and his “talking” dog Goliath (although only Davey and the viewer can hear him speak) as they learn the love of God through everyday occurrences. Many of the episodes also feature Davey’s parents John and Elaine, his sister Sally, as well as Davey’s friends; Jimmy, Teddy, and Nathanial.
I’ve included the video we used to tease the series. Wednesday I will talk more about the theme and the process behind the teaser and the bumpers.
It was a fun process.
That’s why we attached a themed invitation to The Cure Series. Since we went with the pharmaceutical / medicine / cure theme, we decided to make our invitations look like prescription pads.
This acted like a Rave Card and gave individuals in the Sun Valley community the opportunity to place something in the hands of those they invite. It is an easy way to help your folks “break the ice” and invite.
The prescription had the vital information:
- Church Name
- Worship Times
- Dates of Series
- Series Name
- Series Description
We made them available in packs of 5. For the three weeks leading up to The Cure, we made an assignment to Sun Valley folk. Invite 5 people this week:
- Week 1 = friends and family
- Week 2 = coworkers
- Week 3 = random people in the community
This is culture you have to establish and build. It will take a couple or three times to get Sun Valley used to using these types of invitations.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress.
I’ve already explained our thought process when it came to creating the branding. Our inspiration was the Sherlock Holmes movie. Thus, “The Cure” brand that I talked about a couple of days ago.
We kept is consistent. The teaser again had the Sherlock Holmes feel. We wanted the teaser to look like an old-school lab where a man is concocting a formula — the cure. So what did we need to do to make this happen.
We asked everyone we know for antique medicine bottles and pharmacy items. We hit a jackpot with one of our friends who happened to have a old pharmacy collection. This was a fantastic find.
But we still needed beakers, test tubes and the like. And we wanted to choose items that were had a “generic look” so it wouldn’t conflict with the period styling.
Now that we had the containers, we got creative on what went in them. Water and food coloring did the job well. We also used candies and anything that had a powder look or a pill shape. We also wanted bright colors.
The next hurdle was finding the chemical reactions that would work well on camera. We talked with one of our friends who was a science teacher. He not only let us use some of his science containers, but helped us with the chemical reactions. He helped us choose reactions that were cool but those that wouldn’t blow us up. Seriously.
And finally, we went to the costume shop to find the right costuming. Remember we wanted to have the Sherlock Holmes feel.
Frankly, Dan, our Video Director did the rest of the magic.
Hope you like it.
I’ve talked about this before.
But it’s worth reminding you again that taking the time to take a piece of the sermon series theme to the stage is well worth it. It doesn’t have to be to elaborate, but it can be. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It doesn’t have to cost a bunch of money either.
Be creative. Plan ahead. Be wise. Consider different and uncommon materials. In other words, what inexpensive materials could be used to build your stage elements? Remember that in theatre, it doesn’t have to look rea up close, but from the auditorium seats.
We are currently studying the life of Jonah. The stage of course is nautical. The elements were purchased at Stumps and the Army Surplus Store. And it looks fantastic.
For staging ideas, visit this site. You will get lots of great ideas. www.churchstagedesignideas.com
So, I have to admit that the church mailer is the hardest thing I do. It’s because I’m not a true marketing person. I’ve been around the block on these kind of things enough not to hurt myself, but I’m still learning.
- The target audience is firm. We know this without question
- The fall series is confirmed. We know exactly what needs to be said.
- And we know the above two match: the message will speak about need of the target and will offer them solutions.
What I think is hard is creating the “hook” and “answer.” We call the “hook” the image and verbiage that attracts the reader. This is the front page of the mailer. The “hook” often creates a crisis or reminds the reader of a need they want met or a problem they need solved.
A page turn usually reveals the “answer” which tells the reader what the church (and the sermon series) is going to offer them in order to “fix the problem.” This page normally has the description of the sermon series and then days and times of the worship services.
It’s the hardest thing I do. I think my teams have produced great mailers over the years. Sometimes really good ones and sometimes really great ones, but over all — successful. I also think that the direct mailer we are currently designing is going to work very well.
I don’t enjoy the process. Do we ever like everything we are asked to do?
If you say, “yes,” I think you’re lying.
These are some of the reasons why we are doing it.
The average response rate for direct mail overall is 2.61%. In the church market, some churches see results at that rate, most ultimately have a response of between 0.2% and 1%. We expect to see 500+ families for two of our campuses.
We understand that our design has to be stellar. Within a few seconds, the design must grab attention of the reader. No pressure. The mailer is designed to answer a felt need. It will also provide information on why Sun Valley is unique and great place for our target audience to attend.
We plan for it to be authentic.
The “hook” and “answer” of the mailer will talk to young families. It will remind them of a need where typical families find themselves. Then it will answer that with what the fall sermon series will offer them–a solution for the problem.
On Wednesday, I will talk more about why we do a direct mail piece.
I’ve said it many times in this blog — God Stories are extremely important at Sun Valley. We love to tell the stories of God changing the lives of our friends and family. The community is made stronger when these life-change stories are told.
First, we have our ministry leaders report to us the stories they think should be used. For the most part, we coordinate the stories based on the series that we are in. If there is a way to tie the life-change to the sermon topic, we’ll do it. It ads more interest to the story.
Actually, it’s not that it just ads more interest; because the sermon topic and the life-change theme aligns, there is better impact.
Secondly, we ask the person or persons in the God Story to write down their story. Write it chronologically and don’t spare any details. This helps them organize their story. We want them to think about their story, maybe more clearly than they have ever thought about it before.
Thirdly, we read the written story and form questions for the interview. We also determine what B Roll is necessary for the video shoot.
And then there’s the interview. I have found that the interview is the most important part of the God Story process. This is where you capture the story and it’s here where you determine the success of the telling of the story.
During the interview, I ask questions in chronological order. This way, the story is told in sequence and in order. I have them repeat lines that I feel are great for the story. I have them say them many times if needed. I also re-ask questions or narrow a question during the interview in order to clarify small nuances of the story.
This method is also good for the video editor too. In most cases, he or she can more easily to edit the footage in the sequence it was shot; pulling out the weak parts, leaving the parts that can then be molded into a compelling story. This is golden.
My philosophy: Don’t make it any harder than it needs to be.
We like telling God Stories at Sun Valley. A God Story is simply a narrative of what God is doing in someone’s life–an individual, a couple, a family, a group, a community. Our tag for these videos is: When you give, lives are changed.
It’s a generosity thing to us. When people give of their time, their talents and their resources, lives are changed. Their lives and others lives are changed too. That’s the way God intended it.
Because these stories are important, telling them accurately and clearly is important. But these videos also need to be entertaining. What I mean by this is that they need to be put together in such a way that they are interesting to watch–compelling. And that isn’t as easy as it sounds.
I find that these are a common problems:
- Time–the length of the video depends on the content. For sure. One story requires more time than another, but, there are limits and you have to decide when you’ve told the story clearly. In other words–when is enough, enough. It’s not a science. It is an art.
- Interest–this is where the art intersects with the true story. It is a God Story. It is interesting because God is writing the story, but we have to make sure we are telling a great story in a great way. Again, this is art.
I think the most important part of capturing a God Story well is in the interview. If this is done well, the video is often all you need it to be.
I will talk about mastering the interview process on Wednesday. And also on Wednesday, I will tell you how you can make the video editing of God Stories easier for your video editor.
HOW WE DID IT
The brand was simply created by taking a portion of the illustration from the series promotion. The beginning of the promo is very much like book cover art.
We used 48” wide butcher paper and placed in on a table. It took about 20 feet to capture the entire story. The Canon 7D with a 24-102mm lens was mounted above the drawing surface. The camera was set to take a photo once every second.
The illustrator drew the Jonah scenes at a good pace but not too quickly. The true acceleration is rendered by the video editor.
Next step was to add the voice over. The script is about180 seconds in length. The pictures were then lined up to the reading of the story.
And there you have it — a play by play of The Story of Jonah