Jessica Kizorek is a founding partner of Two Parrot Productions. Two Parrot is an international video production company whose expertise lies in commercial HD video production and journalistic documentary coverage of charities around the world. Jessica has also just authored the industry-defining book, “Show Me: Marketing with Video on the Internet.”
Tell me a little bit about your work and your new book.
My background is in documentary filmmaking. I’ve been doing that for almost ten years now. I own a video production company where I produce video content for clients ranging from corporate clients like Bacardi to Moet Hennessy to Hyatt Hotels. I also work for a lot of substantial, large non-profit corporations.
About two years ago, I knew I was going to need to put my videos online for my clients. I started researching it purely from a business standpoint – how do I do this for my clients? I was shocked at the lack of information out there on how to put something up on YouTube. There was no good guide on how to compress it, how to shoot specifically for the web, how to display videos effectively over the Internet and so on. I started compiling all of my research, which then became the book.
The book is called Show Me: Marketing with Video on the Internet. It covers a really wide range of topics, everything from planning to how to shoot a video and how it then incorporates with other more traditional media forms. It answers questions about how to have your video sync up with your website, sync up with your business cards, sync up with your brand identity, sync up with your overall business objective. We also address the issues of how you shoot the images that look best on the internet; how do you distribute have watch people watch it, interact and respond to the video. It covers the whole breadth of the subject.
The book was released in January. You can find out more about the book, read what other people said about the book, and access the blog about the book. You can purchase copies there.
Tell us about your non-profit work and how you got involved there.
My father and I are both involved in this organization called Landmark Education. I lead the SELP (Self Expression in Leadership Program). He did that program, and his project was to go over to Thailand and, while there, to videotape and do a short documentary for a non-profit organization. He consequently was deeply moved by using his expertise with camera and video to communicate what these people were doing over there. He was so moved by it, as was I, that we really saw an opportunity to create a business model that was primarily philanthropic in nature. We donate a lot of our services to these on-going projects.
In Tanzania, for example, we’re working for an organization called Kids of Kilimanjaro. The kids in this neck of the woods have to walk two hours to get to school. Because it’s so poverty-ridden, they literally did not have the food it took to walk four hours a day. This organization started a school lunch program. All the kids get fed at school, and the attendance rate is close to 100% now. So we go over there and shoot these films and do it free of charge. They pay for the editing on the post-production side. We do about 8-12 jobs like that a year.
How do you fund these projects?
We use the frequent flyer miles we’ve built up over the years. We donate our time.
We typically work with projects that are outside of the United States, but they have to be pretty significant sized. They pay about $15,000 on the post-production side of things. It requires that they have a marketing budget. But a lot of these organizations would never be able to afford what we provide them.
Before, having a website used to be enough. But now, people are so oriented around audio-visual communications that when you can’t communicate that way with potential donors and potential givers, organizations are really missing out on an opportunity to pull people’s heartstrings.
How does social networking and social networking technology tie in with both your business and your philanthropic contributions?
Social networking is really incredible, and I’ve explored it primarily through my own research and have just been amazed. I was at a conference on Wednesday, and the analogy the speaker used was that in the past, people used to sign each other’s yearbooks upon graduation in high school, “Good luck with the rest of your life! I loved knowing you! Good luck!” Now, people don’t sign one another’s yearbooks anymore – because they never lose touch with them! They are all on Facebook or Myspace. It’s a perpetual web. There’s no longer very much distance between people. The ability to stay in touch and remain connected to people over the course of time is what we’re really developing.
The power of that in the business world is significant. Say I’m on Facebook, and I have a bunch of friends personally; I have business acquaintances; I have business leads. I change my profile that says, “Jessica is delivering a presentation in New York City to the American Association of Advertising Agencies.” It immediately goes on an update that goes to all the people on my contact list. The ability to communicate rapidly with short-fire phrases has dramatically impacted how we do business. It has provided access to information about what is going on with any one of your contacts at any given moment.
You get that on LinkedIn. I use LinkedIn, and it’s the same kind of thing. I see my contacts and who they’re meeting every day. On my home page on LinkedIn, I can see who’s active – some are more active than others. Those are the people I want to be in contact with. Last time I went to NY, I was hunting around for appointments. I was going through all my contacts’ contact lists, asking who is it that would be a potential client or someone I want to talk to in New York. There I was able to go through and look at the close connections.
Then I could immediately send an email and say, “I’d like you to introduce me to John, Rick, and Jane in New York because I’d like to see them next week and see what I could provide them in the world of video.” So I had access to meeting people. I’m much less likely to do a cold call because social networking is facilitating people being connected and introducing one another in ways that I have never heard of before.
What’s so intriguing to me is that people are more connected, meaning you keep in touch with more people, but the way that people relate to each other is on a more superficial level. As people become more connected, they become less connected, paradoxically. People are physically divided, not spending as much time previously as they did in person. They don’t know the sound of one another’s voice anymore. They aren’t acutely aware of the facial expressions that people make. It used to be that kids would go to spend three hours at the park on the swing-set together. Now they spend three hours on MySpace, instant messaging each other.
In the business world, rather than having a business meeting, they send emails or instant message or communicate from afar. From a business standpoint, there’s a need to foster the depth of relatedness. That’s why I think that video email and video communication are really going to change the nature of this game. We’ve been emailing for years and years now, but when we’ve got video email, that becomes the methodology for communicating. That’s going to be incredible.
You can find out more about Jessica, her book and her business by visiting her website at www.TwoParrot.com.