323 Media is a video production firm that started in mid-2011. They are a three-person group based in Columbia City, Indiana. This is the story of how this team is cranking full-speed-ahead, thanks to crowdsourcing.
The team's manager, Dave Schmoekel, makes it a point to say that 323 Media is an equal partnership between himself, Nick Henney, and John Burkett. Dave handles the majority of writing, conceptualization and logistics. John is the director of photography, and Nick does the lion’s share of the firm’s editing.
The success of its three partners in developing brand-purchased videos through crowdsourcing generated more than $115,000 in revenue for the firm in just the past eight months; their crowdsourced videos were selected by major brands, including American Express, Dell, and PayPal. The team has also worked locally to create videos directlyfor businesses such a Indiana-based hospital and a credit union.
“It’s been surreal,” Dave said, “to have a regional company ask us for a demo reel and then see their reactions when they realize that we’ve already done work for many of the world’s best-known brands.”
Only a year ago, Nick, who was a communications major at an area college, first heard about crowdsourcing through his friends in the school’s film department. He encouraged his friends Dave and John to check it out, and the three soon agreed that it was worth taking a shot. The very first assignment they saw was for PayPal, and they immediately thought it could be a good fit.
They conceptualized, wrote, and shot their submission that weekend, and it was selected by the brand. And the momentum continued to build, to where the team is now working on crowdsourced assignments on a nearly full-time basis, a stunning development for a group of guys who’d never made a commercial before crowdsourcing caught their eye.
According to Dave, the firm has several “favorite” videos it has developed: They range from a Build-a-Bear spot (“we loved the way it works.”) to an ad it developed for Dell (“our first time dealing directly with this brand!”).
“We all work together to really fine-tune all of our projects, but we love the story-telling that can happen within a 30-second spot, whether it’s supposed to be funny, serious, or sentimental.”
For those of us in the crowdsourcing business, one of the most rewarding aspects of our jobs is to see the genuine opportunities crowdsourcing brings to talented individuals and teams. At the same time, brands get access to these creative resources and ideas that they simply would not get through ‘traditional’ means.
As I noted last month, sometimes it’s worthwhile, and even fun, to take a small step back and look at some of the individual stories behind the world of crowdsourcing. It reminds us again that we’re not dealing with anonymous crowds, but with very gifted and talented individuals who have unique stories of their own to tell.
Neil Perry is president of Poptent, a global video production and media company, utilizing crowdsourcing and a social network of more than 45,000 videographers in 140 countries to produce commercials and other video assets for Fortune 500 brands and agencies.