Filmmaker Roberto Serrini talks COVID production with Marketing Champions Daily Ad Brief.

So COVID, Omnicom, the pandemic, whatever you want to call it, has completely changed the way we do … well … everything … but this is how I survived, and dare I say thrived, as a commercial director in advertising during that time.

First, I got my hands dirty. That sounds more romantic then it actually was. If you were like me coming up in the business, you pretty much did everything at one time; you shot, you edited, you wrote your own content. At some point I was able to just focus on directing, which is the skill you have when you know what needs to happen by who to make a successful production. When crews dried up with the work, it was time to go back to the old ways and do it yourself.

So what are the two things I did?

  1. I rebranded. If we’re talking career path I wanted to continue to focus on directing, however, I had all these other skills that allowed me to produce content without needing a crew or producers and that is what brands needed. So I rebranded. Instead of putting only my director hat on I put on my protean hat, and showed off my full scale 360 turnkey production skills. I built a simple little website, threw some self produced work on there and got down to business.
  2. I reached out. I started with brands and products I had a personal desire to work with. Everyone was cooking so I reached out to Ooni because I really wanted to make pizza’s on my balcony. I reached out to Allen Brothers because I really love their meat. I said hey to MAX ID cause their glassware is stunning. The first jobs I traded product for concept and had the best time of my life creating unique, authentic content for these truly remarkable brands. Then, once they were out in the world, and the name one man one camera was with them others came knocking like Dosist, Indian Motorcycles and Aegis.

The end result is that perhaps I’m not making my director day rate, but I’m working more then I ever had, and whats more, on projects I am in love with working closely with brands to deliver content that would never get past the first round of an agency. The shoots are fast and fun, a fraction of the budget of an industry shoot, and perform well beyond and above what brands are expecting.

I’m not saying I don’t miss big budget commercial production, with big crews and working with advertising elites, after all that’s exactly what taught me everything I know to to pour into these hand crafted projects. What I am saying is that like anything if you want to not just succeed but be fulfilled, you have to adapt constantly. Sometimes like now with something like a pandemic you’re forced to transform yourself a bit faster then normal, but for me, a kid that grew up in a basement in Long Island with dreams of travelling the world, the best thing to happen is sometimes the worse thing. That might just be a Long Islandism but I’m telling you, it’s true.

The bloodhounds over at Daily Ad Brief caught wind of my goings-ons and we did a little skype interview where I break it down a bit more… check it out … if I can do it you can too.

How to become YouTube Famous. (In 13 steps)

It’s time to become YouTube famous. I feel like I’m the last person on Earth who isn’t.

How do you become YouTube famous? Well, there are A LOT of ways people suggest to do it, so I went through the top 20 most popular articles and combined them ALL in one place, like a cheat sheet, mainly because there are A LOT of steps, and I’m lazy.

So here we go, the ultimate guide to becoming YouTube famous (in 13 steps).

  1. Keywords: Hop over to Google’s Keyword planner tool and Google Trends and KeywordTool.io and TubeBuddy to see what keywords are hot, and stay clear of long-tail keywords.
  2. Transcript: Uploading a transcript of your video will give Google more context to index your video, driving more search power to you.
  3. Share: share your video 3 times A WEEK on social media (and aggregators like Reddit and Scoop.it), and after 1 week, write a blog post about your video and then share that post.
  4. Call to action: add CTA buttons to the end of your videos that link to a playlist instead of a single video. Just add &list=”youtube playlist ID”  For example: your normal video URL looks like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkxeqomggF4 You need to modify it and add the playlist ID like so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkxeqomggF4&list=PL3Ikn3SKdJHh3ydUUZpusjBVgt3PTPmeH
  5. Subscribe Watermark: Instead of uploading a watermark of your logo, upload a subscribe icon as your watermark so it’s on the screen, discreetly, all the time.  Located in Creator Studio > Channel > Branding
  6. Check your stats: Each week check your video stats to see where viewers are leaving your videos. Add a YouTube card at that time code inviting viewers to watch different content on your channel to help retain viewers.
  7. Branding: Brand your content and channel consistently. Use branded thumbnails. Here are some tools to help you.
  8. Add featured channels: parter with other YouTube Content creators. Click Modules > Other channels > Save changes – Then add a few like-minded channels and save.
  9. Keep “related channels” on: this will keep you in the YouTube recommended network of channels.
  10. Link your website: go to Creator Studio, then hit the channel settings link to add your blog or website URL, and hit link your associated website.
  11. Interact: Ask questions for your audience, like other videos, leave comments.
  12. Sub Confirmation: when linking to your YouTube Channel add “?sub_confirmation=1” to the end of your URL. This will prompt the viewer to subscribe immediately upon clicking the link.
  13. Consistency: Post once a week, Thursday, at 2pm, for a year, at a time when your demographic of viewers typically consume your type of video (check other similar channels to see when this is) – check your analytics monthly, and adjust your release time to 3 hours before your peak time.

I’m not going to mention you have to make good content, or how to make good content, or any of that business because that’s like telling someone in order to learn how to swim you have to get wet.

I hope this helps you guys… as I attempt to build an audience for my new Travel Channel venture The Travel Agency, it was interesting boiling down all these different articles into a concise list of “how to get YouTube famous”. Good luck and see you online!