With well over 35,000 hours of video production and over 2,000 interviews conducted to date, we have discovered that the best marketing is found in the joy that you give to others and that it is better to let another praise you - not yourself.
It’s in the family blood.
1980 - I built my first camera out of a cardboard box which landed me a spot at the local science fair. Thanks to my family roots at Kodak Canada, I was always around cameras and found myself capturing images at an early age. Throughout the year my dad would record family highlights. At the end of each year, he would splice the film and put together a family video and we'd all watch it together.
It was one of my favourite nights of the year. My siblings and I would get special snacks and snuggle up together on the couch to watch our ‘year in review’. Through those videos, we recalled events we otherwise would have forgotten…and laughed our heads off. Now I carry on this great family tradition with my own family. I credit my dad for inspiring me to capture and share my family’s ‘Kodak moments’ together year after year.
The teen years.
We always had a video camera in the house. In the early 1980s, my uncle would let me borrow the 8MM film camera that he used to record training sessions for his employees. I would spend countless hours filming comedy skits with friends and conducting hallway interviews for high school projects. Eventually, my uncle just let me have the camera…
Thanks, Uncle Bruce. I owe you one.
My Wife - The communication guru.
Throughout her teen years Julie perfected her love for words and media production. She studied creative writing for a time at Concordia University, received a BAA from TMU (formerly Ryerson University) in Radio and Television and then a B Ed specializing in communication technology from Brock University.
In the early 90’s while I climbed the corporate ladder at a company called Ingram Micro, Julie was busy co-creating a cable TV show called Java Jam where she interviewed politicians and filmed promotional commercials for local businesses in the Cobourg area. Julie eventually moved on and worked in production planning for a Burlington-based TV network that served millions of viewers across Canada.
For a time after that, she focussed her attention on our biggest productions to date…our three children.
The dot.com bubble.
In the early 2000’s as we started our family, the tech crash was coming down hard and I was faced with an inevitable layoff. The environment was not good at the office, many feared losing their jobs, sales plummeted every month and corporate morale was in the gutter. I can remember the tension in the air at every sales meeting, everyone thinking the same thing, 'Is this going to be my last day at the office?' The fear was palpable.
So to avoid the inevitable HR exit interview, I said a little prayer and came up with an idea that would transform the sales meeting and the course of my life. I knew that I couldn’t change the numbers, but I could change the atmosphere. But this time my camera was calling me for something more. Something inspirational.
The show was a hit. We interviewed every department in the company and brought in special guests and local celebrities like Paul Henderson, Wendel Clark, and Mayor Hazel McCallion of Mississauga. Needless to say, I was busy for the next several years with my camera. If I could have given myself a job title back then it would have been Smile Maker. It was in these years that I really began to hone my craft for interviewing people and capturing authentic and meaningful stories. I loved it. More than that, I loved seeing people across departments and provinces connecting in a new and fun way through video. The biggest lesson for me at Ingram was in discovering the power of celebrating people. When you expose the brilliance of others, they shine even brighter, become more productive and postivley impact those around them.
Thank you to Ingram Micro for allowing me to create my own job title :)
In 2005, I resigned from Ingram and joined a tech company as VP of Marketing where I enjoyed working with a small team of creatives for two years. In 2006, Youtube was acquired by Google and we were off to the races with a better way to communicate our brand story - using video. We filmed a number of client testimonials that illuminated the company's brand online. The videos we produced where instrumental in positioning the company for acquisition by a larger firm the following year. It was then that I decide to take the leap to start my own business helping other companies illuminate their brand and the people behind it through the power of video.
So with an approved $1800 budget, I hired a camera operator who had worked with Julie at the television station and created Ingram Micro’s first internal TV program called IMExposed. The whole idea was to connect people across all departments by celebrating them - exposing them for their awesomeness. Every Monday morning my partner, David Frank, our customer service Director, and I would deliver 20 minutes of pure video joy. People loved seeing themselves and their co-workers the big screen.
In 2007 my wife and I put our video and marketing skills together and launched See My Clients. We have been illuminating amazing brands ever since.
If you want more out of your marketing, contact us today!
Your business will thank you for it. But don’t just take it from me - See My Clients!
Tony Hall, Smile Maker @ See My Clients