Every year in Term 4, CAT’s Digital Filmmaking students are paired up with local companies to shoot a corporate video. This ‘live’ project is part of the Business of Video and Film course and is done in partnership with Accelerate Okanagan. This year the project was done with The EQ Development Group, a company in Kelowna that offers coaching, workshops, and certification in Emotional Intelligence development. “I have worked with CAT students before and this particular opportunity came up in a Kelowna Business Group I belong to – Accelerate Okanagan,” explains Karen Bowen, Senior Partner with EQ. “Working with the students was great, and interesting. They were adept at creating a plan, defining the scope and keeping it clear, along with good communication. For improvement….hmmm…perhaps giving me more information around expectations as an “actor”, I don’t think I did a very good job!” she laughs.
“Working with a live client was really exciting, it was the first time I really got to do the whole producing thing and I found I really enjoyed it, says Morgan Thomas, DFM student, and the project’s producer. “I think the most important aspect of working with a live client is to keep a line of communication open between all parties, I sent so many emails to our client always keeping them up to date and I think that really helped in the long run because there were no surprises for either of us.” Project director Jared White agrees.
“Without a doubt, the most important aspect of dealing with a client is communication. Our client was great at keeping in touch with us and vice versa,” agrees Jared. “Working for a real client was a great opportunity to let our professionalism grow. To me, the only thing different about making a corporate video is the end goal. A corporate video needs to help a business grow, and that’s it, while a more narrative-driven project is about letting creativity shine. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just different.”
“Corporate videos differ because working on them is the first time we start to work with live clients and work on something non-school related,” explains Morgan. “We all had to learn how to adapt to different clients and different requests which is something we hadn’t really had to do before.”
This collaboration has been running since 2014, during which time over 60 companies and students have participated – and benefited.
“The partnership was initiated by myself and Victor Poirier sitting down to discuss how Accelerator Okanagan could be working more with the Centre for Arts and Technology,” Retzlaff explains. “Victor said he was looking for real industry clients that the students could work with in order to have that real-world experience. I said we have a large database of clients – and are constantly working with new ones – and it would be a real win for these early-stage start-ups to get a professional video that they could include on their website. That was how it started.”
The video explores the chaos we all go through in our day-to-day lives, and how to better deal with it via emotional intelligence. “Jared actually came up with our concept, I’m not sure how that particular idea came to him, but when it came time to show the client they loved the idea. They didn’t have a lot to do with the idea for the concept, however they played a big part in the script,” says Morgan. “I honestly couldn’t tell you how the idea came to me,” laughs Jared. “I guess I thought about how emotional intelligence is like looking behind the scenes of a movie and understanding how it is made. It’s also kind of like breaking the 4th wall. “It was important to offer students an opportunity to develop the skills of working with a live client in a safe and educationally pertinent environment,” says Victor Poirer, Department Head ofPProfessional Filmmaking.
“Accelerate Okanagan’s business incubator was a perfect fit, as it offered not only a wide range of organizations and opportunities for our students to work with, it also meant that established production companies were not being negatively impacted by students going to the wider business community offering free work in return for their services.”
Like all real-world projects, this one was not without its challenges. “The most difficult part of this project, in my mind, would be the planning. Luckily for me, Morgan is a great producer, so I knew I could trust her in handling it,” says White. “The most important thing I learned with this project is that you should find a partner that you can rely on. Not only to pull their own weight but go beyond what an average person would do.” “For me, the most difficult part was when we had to make the decision to re-shoot the entire video,” remembers Thomas. “We had originally done the video with one of our clients as the actor, but we ultimately decided that the best thing for the video would be to go with an actor, and so we had to convince the client that this would be what was best for the video.”
That being said, the challenges didn’t take away from the positives. “I honestly enjoyed pretty much every part of it,” agrees Morgan. “I didn’t play a big role in coming up with the concept but I enjoyed the organizing of the project.” “The most enjoyable part of the process was filming it,” says Jared. “With that said, it was challenging getting the crew to hurry up and wait so much.” The project was also a great learning experience for all involved.
“Make sure everyone is on the same page and that there is time to sit and relax,” explains Thomas. “Otherwise I was stressing myself out more than I realized and it takes a toll on the whole project when not everyone is able to contribute their best because they’re too stressed out.”
As with any ‘live’ project, the success of the endeavor always lies in the customer’s level of satisfaction, so we asked the client if they would recommend the experience to other companies?
The answer: “100% yes!”