In this world of connectivity and visibility, if you are not utilizing video marketing for your business or brand, then you will definitely get left behind. However, we have to admit that not many of us are confident to stand in front of the camera and share our stories through videos. Not to worry, though, because, in this episode, Paul Higgins talks to Nina Froriep, a video producer and visual storyteller of Clock Wise Productions, Inc. Here, Nina helps us understand what video marketing means and gives out tips on how to do it the right way. At the heart of it, your videos should communicate the story that you want to share with the kind of impact that it ought to have. She guides you to do just that, helping you be more comfortable when shooting so that you can tell your story with ease. Tune into this conversation to up your video marketing skills and more.
Our guest in this episode is someone who went to New York from Switzerland for six months and ended up staying for 23 years. Her fling with making films turned into an amazing career. She would see the middle market vanishing, disappearing and she knew she had to pivot. She pivoted into helping small business owners tell their story with ease. The key is to doing video well. Why your iPhone or your phone is your best friend and a live critique which is giving you timeless tips. I talked about their video challenge and how to become part of it. Let’s go over now to Nina Froriep from Clockwise Productions.
Welcome, Nina Froriep, to the show. It is such a joy and pleasure having you on.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.
You’ve been such a wonderful part of our BLG Collective Community and you’ve been helping me step up to videos. We’re going to talk a lot more about that, but why don’t you tell me something that your family or friends would know about you that we may not?
The most fun thing that people don’t know about me is that I am a Citizen Pruner, which means I’m allowed to prune and take care of and advocate for the trees in New York City.
Does that include that famous big park of yours?
No, Central Park is off-limits to me.
What qualifications do you have to have to be a Citizen Pruner?
It is a class that you take. Thankfully, I didn’t know how rigorous it was. I wouldn’t have done it if I had because there was a pretty massive test at the end. It was six classes, six evenings and an outing where we physically got to saw some limbs off of trees. That was the fun part. There was a pretty rigorous test, which freaked me out because I had to learn the 30 most prevalent trees, how to identify them in New York City. I looked like a crazy woman for a couple of weeks walking up to all the trees and grabbing the bark and pulling down leaves and pulling out a little app or a book to identify them.
How many Citizen Pruners are there in New York?
I don’t have a hard number, but I’m thinking somewhere in single-digit thousands.
Have you been able to continue it through COVID?
Yes and no. I’ve gone out on a couple of trees where it was super necessary because the branches were hitting people in the head. In the beginning when all of this started, we all did stay home, then by the time everybody felt a little bit more relaxed, including me, the trees, especially the oak trees in my neighborhood that had started budding. I did remember enough for my test to know that I wasn’t allowed to touch my oak trees once they started budding. I’m going to have to wait until next winter.
My heart goes out to all of you that are in New York. Take us there at the moment, what’s the feeling like in this amazing city?
Thank you, first of all. We have probably somehow managed to be the eye of the storm. There’s been a pretty big shift in the last couple of weeks, but the first ten weeks of being asked to stay home, it was eerie. At night, I could sit with my window wide open, I did not hear anything but the occasional ambulance. Normally in New York, you sit where your windows open, there’s a sound carpet of everything, music, people screaming, noise, car alarms and garbage trucks and there was nothing. That was disconcerting as much as I complain about the noise sometimes. It did feel like the world left me and forgot to give me the memo that I was supposed to leave as well.
We finally have some nice weather. It was very cold for very long, unusually so. It feels like it’s nearly back to normal. People are going stir crazy. New York apartments are not made for people to stay home. A lot of people have been cooked up in tiny living situations, not a lot of daylight, so now that the weather is nice and it’s getting warm, the streets and the parts are flooded with people. It’s not the best-case scenario, but most people are good about wearing at least a face mask.
I know you’ve had an amazing career, mainly as a video producer and you’re helping other people at this. Take us a little bit through your career and how you transitioned to running your own business.
The transition to running my own business happened early on. My business is going to have its 23rd birthday on June 1, 2020. I started out wanting to be a journalist and I went to University in Zurich. I am from Switzerland, originally. The idea was floated that I should do a half-year abroad to broaden horizons. I came to New York and the new school that I went to offered film classes. I felt like, “I’m here for half a year. I’m going to go back to Switzerland. I’m going to get married. I’m going to have children. Let me do something crazy.” Instead of doing what I was supposed to do, which is study Journalism and Media, I signed up for Film classes. Many years later, I’m still in New York and I’m still in the film. It was love at first sight. I adored everything that came with the package of being a filmmaker or creating films and communicating visually. I love the tech, business, creative and community aspect. It very much spoke to everything that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Take us to some of the films that were memorable for you that you’ve put out in the world.
I’ve always been a freelancer until I started my own business. I worked mostly on no and low budget feature films in the beginning because that’s where you get your foot in the door. Back then, the no-names where people like Jim Jarmusch or Ted Hope who are now our big players. I worked in the first film of Ang Lee. Back then, I was a lowly craft service person and second, second, second to the third assistant’s assistant but those were great times. We slept three hours a night. We worked twenty-hour days. I got my first gig, I was paid $175 for the week and that was in the ‘60s. It was everything that my upbringing in Switzerland hadn’t been and I loved it. It was cool and fantastic.
Through this many-year journey of being a freelancer, you are now running your own business. Who have been some of your biggest supporters?
There are many people throughout the years. I probably would forget 80% of them if I were to try and get a list together. I went through a major change in the last few years when I saw the writing on the wall that traditional production, unless you’re still doing features or you’re doing big productions, everything that was in the middle tier has disappeared. I refashioned from being a filmmaker and a producer and a director to being a video marketer. In that transition, my biggest champion has been Tanya Alvarez. She runs a company that supports solopreneurs so they can grow faster by being in groups and having a community, support and accountability.
She knows probably better than anybody else. The last years, it was banging my head against a wall and trying to figure out what would stick and nothing snuffing did stick. It was not an easy time and not a very pretty time, but I was determined to not be the old geezer in the corner who missed the train of the Digital Revolution. I kept trying because if anything, I’m tenacious. I would say Tanya is probably one of my biggest champions I’ve ever had because she kept at me to keep going.
Fortunately, through Tanya, that’s how we met. I know that she just had a first child, a little boy. I hope everything’s going well. The next section is the build section and we set it up nicely. Tell us what does video marketing means? When someone comes to you and says, “Nina, how can you help me with video?” How do you answer that?
I normally tell them what I don’t do because a lot of people are starting to be more educated about video marketing. The first series of questions I get is around, “What camera should I buy? What equipment should I use?” The people have fantastic ideas of these complicated talk show setups, and they show me the examples of blogs or video series that they like. I’m like, “Sure, I can do this for you. I have the skillset, but do you have the budget for it?” I tell people, “I will teach you how to shoot yourself with your own smartphone. I will teach you how to continuously keep it up so it is effective for you. If you’re looking for the big bells, whistles and super complicated and you want the tracking shot and you want to prance through the room and then lounge yourself on your sofa and have the cameras roll around you, I’m not your girl. I want my clients and I want the people I work with to be successful with video marketing. In order to be successful and see an actual return on your investment, it doesn’t have to be complicated and it shouldn’t be complicated.
With COVID, you’ve seen a lot of people, big stars, TV personalities, more in a home environment, more shooting from their phone. I wonder, do you think that is going to hopefully encourage more people to do video?
Overall, yes. When you have to start shooting from home, they might also have an intimidating factor, but what is much more helpful is that we’re all on Zoom calls all day long. If you have an occasional Zoom call, you might put on a fresh top and then jump on. Now that we are in Zoom all day long, people much more are paying attention to, “What is my background? Why is my face dark? Why can people not see me?” Maybe it dawns on them at some point that having a window right behind you is not a good idea, or they are lucky enough to meet me and I will tell them that’s not a good idea. There is a facility and a familiarity that starts to happen with video that people might not have had, had it not been for us all being forced to communicate with one another, mostly via video conferencing.
It’s a good point. For me, Zoom is my home. All my clients are virtual. I’m in Australia, most of them are in the US. Zoom is a core part of what I do all the time. When I looked at that iPhone to shoot a video for your challenge, it wasn’t the same. I was a different person. What are some tips to help people take what they do on Zoom, but being more comfortable when they’re shooting to camera?Being cohesive as a whole is the beauty of visual storytelling. Click To Tweet
I can think of several things. The most important advice would be to just do it. The first couple of videos I shot when I realized that even as a filmmaker, I needed to learn how to do video marketing and how to shoot myself and not hire 50-person crew. Those videos were awful. I was stiff. I was uncomfortable. I had never been in front of the camera but with every video, I got better and more relaxed. Even in the video challenges that I do, I see how on day one, there are a couple of people that are like deers caught in the headlight. By video number fifteen, they’re all relaxed and chitty-chatty.
I think everybody relaxes. I relaxed more. For now, I’m still participating in the challenges myself and how many ums and filler words I have been able to drop by doing this for nearly three months daily is amazing. You get better by doing. If you’re super intimidated, I know how it is, you hit that record button and somehow the universe takes a shift and it’s different. Do some Zoom interviews with some friends where you record it and you can use that as a video to use for your social media feeds. There are ways around it in the beginning, but go straight in and practice is the best way to go about it.
With the interview with friends, take us through that. Are they asking you questions and you’re answering it? What’s the best way to do that?
If you want to practice, I would have some questions that you want to be asked to have your friends ask you. Your friends could be the client that asked all the questions that you always get. You could give your friend those questions and you would then answer those for them. In the first round, you answer the questions however you’re comfortable. You will look at your friend on the screen and do so. I would do a second round and then this time, I would focus on the green light that is on your computer that stares at you, which is the camera. Try and do it again, but this time look at the green light because you do want to be looking at the camera when you’re answering, not off-camera because the beauty of video is it creates this connection with your audience that you don’t get otherwise. If you’re not looking at your audience, meaning you’re not looking at the lens, you’re missing out on this very powerful connection tool. That’s how I will go about it to build it up if you’re super camera shy and super self-aware in the beginning.
That’s a brilliant tip. I saw you do a post on LinkedIn about it and that it struck a chord. There are different ways that you can see the screen on Zoom to change views. Tell us a little bit about that.
I shoot all of my videos that would be at a big group or be me on a one-on-one with another person, in gallery view because what Zoom does is it has a lag on switching screen from one person talking to the other. If you have it on a speaker view, which means the person speaking is the only person you’re seeing. If I ask you a question and you start answering it, by the time Zoom reacts and realizes that the other person is speaking, you’re already halfway down your first sentence. If you go to edit that, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place because you’re missing the person talking because the video or the visual is still on the person who asks the question.
Could you do it for friends interviewing you? Could they have their video off and have your video on and they ask you the questions and you answer it? Therefore, you only capture your answers.
You could do that, but that would maybe lose a little bit of the reaction of being natural. The other thing you could do, maybe not the best thing to do but in absence of something better, you could do the gallery view, then grab that person, enlarge them and only use that for your edit. That makes for a more complicated edit and probably for a lesser quality video, but that could be a workaround.
Speaking of editing, I know certainly ongoing through the challenge at the moment of, “Do I get someone in house to do it?” I’ll clearly state I’m not going to do it. Do I get someone in-house to do it or get someone external to do it? What are your views on editing and giving your rich experience?
It’s complicated. I’ve gone through trying out editors that are VAs or VA editors. This is my personal experience. I’ve not had a good experience with that because I’m extremely nitpicky and I have a trained eye, many years of looking at video frames. If something is not where I want it to be, I’m not happy. A lot of people call themselves editors and they’re not. What they know how to do is how to open up the software and how to load footage and how to trim something, but they’re not visual storytellers. They don’t know how a graphic is in support of the story that’s being told and not, “Wham bang, thank you, ma’am. Here I am.” You want it all to be a cohesive whole, which is the beauty of visual storytelling.
Maybe I’m too strict or too nitpicky. That’s why I started editing myself and I had to teach myself how to edit because in the old days, you hired an editor for that and you just supervised. I am at the point where I’m outsourcing my editing and I’m outsourcing it to a proper editor because the hours that they will spend less fiddling, figuring out something rendering and fixing what they didn’t do right in the first place, what they had should have done right. In my opinion, it makes up the lesser expensive person that might sit somewhere else in the world and does not have that experience and does not have that kind of quality computer. Sometimes it comes down to the fact that somebody who sits in a third world country, we pay them pennies. They will have probably old computer and bootleg software, which means that they will take forever to render out. It will take them forever to finish a video, not because they are not fast as an editor, but because their machine cannot keep up. It’s a ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t.’
How do you go about finding a good editor?
For me, finding a good editor, that’s the easy part. I still have a massive network from my big production days. I make a couple of phone calls, who’s the new kid on the block, who’s hungry, who has an easy 9:00 to 5:00 editing job, and wants a bit of a creative outlet on the side. I can make sure that the stuff I have is not time-sensitive.
What about someone like me that hasn’t got many years of experience? I’m thinking a lot of I love the point around and make sure that the specs is right. I think that’s a question to ask someone if you are going offshore because there are options there. How would you recommend someone like myself or someone reading how to find someone?
I have heard people have found some good editors on Upwork. I think there are several platforms like Upwork. I’m not sure about Fiverr. I would make sure that it’s people who have been on the platform for a while that have a good success rating. I would interview them. I would ask them to show me samples of their work. I would make sure that what they show you they’ve done everything because an edit is not just trimming the beginning and the end or making some cuts in the middle. Did they do the graphics? Did another person do the graphics? Did they do the animation? Did someone else do it? Did they deal with the music? Did they do a color correction? I would ask enough questions to be satisfied that what they’re showing me and what their showreel is or their work samples are, that it is 100% their work and not just a part and parcel of it.
I’m going to put you on the spot a little here, but we’re going to the video challenge at the moment and I’m loving it. It’s forcing me, and I’ll use the word force at the start. It’s more of that consistency thing to shoot videos every day. I know you’ve got Swiss-German, New York influence, I’m ready for the hard news here. With what you’ve seen of my videos, give me a critique. What could I do to improve my videos?
I’ve experienced you on the phone or on a Zoom call completely relaxed, you’re yourself, very charming and likable, with a great sense of humor. I would love for that to come out more in your videos. Your videos are nearly a little too perfect.
Stiff is the word I would use.
I wouldn’t use stiff. I would use formal. It describes it better because you’re not stiff per se, but you’re very formal. You are put together and that has its place. For your LinkedIn videos, maybe more so that’s appropriate. I like the video where you went cycling and you were talking about multitasking and combos. That was starting to go down that road of being much more relaxed and yourself that we know who have experienced on video and relaxed.
I think the key message here is, “Just do it.” I used to be incorporate. I used to do a lot of presenting and used to do a lot of media. When I see a camera, I go back to that person. The key thing for me and for readers, if you did come from corporate, you did come from a job, you don’t have to be that person anymore. You can just be you. That’s a brilliant message. It’s one that I’ll take to heart. Fortunately, that may mean the world we’ll see. We will hear more dad jokes, but that’s part of it. You talked about LinkedIn. What’s been your experience using video on LinkedIn?
It’s been interesting. I’ve been looking at the statistics a lot, and the prevailing wisdom is that when you put up a video, your views go down massively, however, your engagement goes up. When I did the March video challenge where I did post eighteen videos in one month, I saw my views half and my engagement triple. I was extremely happy with that outcome. What I’ve also noticed is I’ve been with you for a few years and my engagement has steadily gone up since I’ve been posting more and more confidently. In the beginning, I did the timid three days a week. Now, I’m doing most weeks five. I’m also seeing how having done video consistently for close to three months, I’m honing in my engagement more on the audience I want to speak to. That to me is amazing to see how the way I speak to people and speak to the people I want to be heard by, how they’re hearing and coming back. I’ve been completely in love with LinkedIn, my videos and what they do for me.
I suppose you’ve started solo and you’ve been with our community, our group for months. What have been some of the biggest differences you’ve noticed from solo versus being with a group?
All of the difference. That’s what I do with my video and with my clients too. You have to be held accountable. You need that support because it’s easy to slip and it’s like, “I didn’t post Monday. If I didn’t post Monday, why bother Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday?” It’s not that anybody in the group says, “Nina, where’s your video?” Although it has happened when I was on vacation, somebody was like, “Are you okay? Are you still around?” which is lovely, but it’s like you get this major case of FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out. It’s like, “Who’s posting what?” It becomes this click and everybody’s putting out amazing content and is aiming to give so much value.
I’ve learned so much and I’ve been inspired so much by the group. The more I post, the easier I find it to find content to post and to engage. It’s something I look forward every morning. You’re in New York and it’s 10:00 to 11:00 and at 9:45, I’m in the kitchen, I make my triple espresso concoction. I’m sitting at my desk with anticipation to see what everybody else is writing and to see how they’re reacting to what I created for them. To me, it’s a nice part of my daily routine.
For everyone, it’s not a group on LinkedIn, but it’s a group that we run. We happened to run on Slack and we all support ourselves. Before we go into the live section, let me give you the opportunity to learn a little bit more about it. It is called the Authority Machine. It helps you find and convert your ideal clients. You can go to BLGClick.com and I’ve got a 27-minute free masterclass. You can watch it at any time. You can watch it as many times as you like. There are three key steps we talk about. One, is the formula to get ten times your current views. Step two is the seven killer elements to get 50 likes and 20 comments on every post.
In the masterclass, I talk about why that’s so important. Step three is the scripts to get 80% response rates to your LinkedIn messages because there’s nothing worse than doing a good post, no one seeing it and then reaching out to people and you get that door slammed. Go to BLGClick.com and watch the free prerecorded masterclass there. Many of the activities mentioned in it can be done by virtual assistants. If you don’t have one, we can help out there as well. Go to BuildLiveGive.com/VA. The next section is the live. What are some daily habits that help you be successful other than pruning trees?
I would say the daily habit of posting a post and a companion video or the other way around on LinkedIn, that attributed directly to the successes that I’m seeing with my company. Are we talking business here or general?
We’re talking about your life. It might be the triple espresso that you have. Linda, my wife has a double. I haven’t heard too many people who have had a triple.You lose sight of what you're doing when you’re not connected to your why. Click To Tweet
I drink espresso with my milk, so I use an awful lot of milk and then I need a triple espresso to make it work. The other thing that has accelerated the business and is a great habit is I have a partner in my business. That’s made all the difference for me. Having a partner, having regular check-in calls and having a sounding board has made a huge difference for me. I’ve always been a solopreneur and having that feedback has been invaluable for me. I have a dashboard that I use where I write down every day how many hours I spend on marketing versus sales versus system versus retention, which is a platform that comes through OwnersUP, which is Tanya Alvarez’s company. It is a precise goal setting in staying focused on which goals are important for the month, which goals you want to achieve for the week, and keep that in front of your nose basically. Every day, I don’t run off doing stuff that might be fun but doesn’t move me forward.
The next section is the give section. What’s a community or a charity that you’re passionate about and why?
I have several. As we have talked about the fact that I’m a Citizen Pruner, I do support by giving my time to Trees New York or TreesNY.org. This is a volunteer organization that takes on what the City of New York doesn’t have the budget to do anymore, which is taking care of the trees that we have in New York. They’re incredibly vital for our air, for our quality of living and many other factors, which I could go on forever. I’m very passionate about that. There’s another foundation that I’ve been involved with called the Making Headway Foundation. Their mission is to provide care and comfort for children with brain and spinal cord tumors. They also fund medical research so these children can get better treatments. This is a family foundation and I met the family when I was hiking in Switzerland years ago. The parents are of Swiss origin but live in New York. Their daughter, Audrey, is one of my best friends. I do a lot of fundraising and helping out and I’m spreading the word for them.
The last section is the action section where I’ll ask you some questions and get some rapid-fire responses. The first is what are your top three personal effectiveness tips?
Be focused and keep it simple and always being connected to your ‘why.’
What are some of the tech which is essential to running your business?
Everybody would mention Zoom these days but for me, Zoom, even before COVID-19 hit us all, was super important. My iPhone, it’s my camera, it’s my everything, but it’s also my camera and my editing tool. Adobe Premiere or a whole Adobe Suite, Photoshop Premiere and Media Encoder. I wouldn’t know what to do without that.
What’s your best source of new ideas?
I read a lot, so I love reading WIRED magazine. New York Times is a never-ending resource for great content. I am discovering podcasts as we speak. I used to love listening to the Fizzle Show and still do occasionally. I’ve also discovered The Tim Ferriss Show where he interviews people for 1.5 hours, which is if you do have time for it, it’s wonderful to get to know and do a deep dive with people. I find that extremely inspiring to have that leisure to explore someone’s brilliant person’s brain. I find that amazing. There’s RevThinking, which is also a show I discovered that I enjoy as well. That’s more about the entertainment, advertising and media world. It’s a very New York-centric.
The last question is the big one. I always leave it to the end for that reason, but what impact do you want to leave on the world?
It’s such a difficult question and it’s also a very easy question. I want to be able to impact small business owners to tell their story and be heard, so they can make the impact they want to make without it being difficult. I want to help them tell their stories with video obviously in my case without making it harder and make it as accessible as humanly possible. If I can do that for a couple of dozen or a hundred small business owners, solopreneurs and mission-driven entrepreneurs, that would make me extremely happy. Helping people to be heard, that’s the bigger picture answer.
It’s been fantastic having you on. You’ve given some brilliant tips around video. Personally, being part of your video challenge has stepped up my game. You’ve given some great tips. There’s the weekly call where we all share experiences and your guidance has been brilliant. A lot of that has shown through in the episode. If you want to learn more about Nina and you want to learn more about the video challenge, there’s one in July 2020.
I’m doing them every other month, so July 1, 2020 is the next one.
This will be coming out and there will be plenty of time for you to sign up to that. Go to ClockwiseProductions.com. Nina, it is brilliant having you on the show. Have a fantastic day in New York. New Yorkers are tough but are still smiling.
Thank you for having me. This has been a blast. When you love doing something, then you love talking about it. Thank you for indulging me.
I love that interview with Nina. I’d love to know, what is your biggest takeaway from Nina? Please share with her through LinkedIn. She would love that. If you believe someone you know will get the benefit from reading this blog, please share it as well. You can learn the three steps to building your authority and finding and converting more clients on LinkedIn in a pre-recorder masterclass. Go to BLGClick.com. Please take action to build your business and lifestyle and most importantly, stay well.
At age seven, I wrote and illustrated my first book. As far as I remember, the story was about a princess in distress, a knight, and a horse. A modest profit was achieved as the limited and signed edition of ten was sponsored with a parental grant and sold at fifty cents apiece. Today the book remains out of print.
I’ve seen it all from the early days on independent features, to big national TV commercials, corporate mega-shows and many documentary films, including one I wrote, directed, and produced about Muslim kids in New York, called Abraham’s Children. In short, there’s no film- and video- production scenario I haven’t taken care of.
Along the journey, I’ve met many, many awesomely wonderful people and a few bad-asses. All of them worth great stories.
I’ve worked with stars like Sophia Loren, John Malkovich, and Wynton Marsalis, I’ve interviewed Fortune 500 CEO’s, I’ve worked on Emmy award-winning and Emmy-nominated documentaries, and produced hundreds of videos for uber-corporate shows.
I’ve negotiated with teamsters, clients (big and small), actors, crew, children, police officers, a few dogs, and one snake.
On a personal note, I’m a sports-nut – the kind that goes outdoors every moment possible. Central Park is my back yard and I know (nearly) every inch of it.
I’m also a certified citizen pruner which affords me the privilege to prune, take care of, and advocate for the city trees of New York.
I’ve lived in Harlem for close to 20 years, and since April 2011 I’m a proud owner of an American passport.
Fall of 2017 I finally, finally got a dog. He’s a Dorkie, a Mini-Dachshund-Yorkie-mix, with the attitude of a Great Dane. Like any well-deserving dog in this time and age he has his own Insta feed: @TiggerFroriep.
If you want to find and convert your Ideal Clients on LinkedIn – go to blgclick.com to learn our three steps.