Over the weekend I had the immense pleasure of seeing A Hawk and a Hacksaw play at Elsewhere in Bushwick. They are the virtuoso duo of Heather Trost and Jeremy Barnes that scored our TV show, Skanderbeg. You can hear the Skanderbeg theme song on their latest album here

I have been a fan of their interpretations on Balkan rhythms since long before I could point to the Balkans on a map. Their sound continues to refine over the years into something more awe inspiring each time. 

Listening to their music inspires me with stories and images and and I hope they compose for us again soon. If you have a chance to see them in your town, I highly recommend it. There is nothing else like it. 

World Cup Content

I absolutely love World Cup and I try to watch every single game – (my apologies to my clients during these trying times :D) but every 4 years I hope that the additional content surrounding the games will improve and it never does. This is a tournament that owns such a huge opportunity to expose people from all over the world to the beauty of different cultures and almost all of the media does just the opposite.  Time and again they are doubling down on stereotypes and tired old narratives.  The VW commercial that is running this year is particularly embarrassing with it’s caricatures of northern Europeans.  But when you get down to Africa and South America, it’s downright offensive.  I remember watching a match in Lagos in 2014 and seeing a sort of country profile segment on Ghana which decided to focus on children that pick garbage out of the dump to survive.  Ghana is not a perfect place by any means but it is one of the nicest countries in West Africa and they have a great deal of interesting stories to tell.  They are so much more than “African Poverty” and it takes very little effort to see that.  We have heard the poverty story so many times.  Who on earth wants to hear it again?  Especially when we are celebrating Ghana and their exceptional football team!

At Rucksack we are always working to redirect this kind of media representation because it is simply noise.  It is an overstimulated wavelength.  There is no need for more of the same and it is most certainly not helping to make things any better for anyone.

This tournament has been chock full of the unexpected.  I wish I could say the same about the media surrounding it.      

Video Series vs. One Off

From time to time we get requests from our clients to make a single video for their social media and I immediately have to ask, “Why?”  We usually find that a series of videos is going to achieve your goals much more efficiently and a series can be produced much more cost effectively than something that stands alone. Depending on your social media strategy and your video release calendar, a single video CAN work.  But without an overall strategy in place, a single video is most likely not going to increase your viewership or audience engagement.

Due to the way search engine optimization (SEO) works, a series of videos is more likely to reveal your product in a search.  With each video placed, you can increase your search keywords and hashtags in the metadata, thereby multiplying your effectiveness.  Google will also prioritize websites that are “active” and so a regularly scheduled release of videos will optimize you for search.

There are plenty of good arguments for a single video to be made. Video is proven to be the most effective marketing tool available.  There are countless studies which show how video can bring a dramatic increase in trust for your brand as well as engagement with your product.  But knowing that you need video is not enough.  You need to know what you want your video to accomplish and that’s where a placement and release strategy is paramount.

Seeking VO artist for women’s empowerment

We are currently making an introductory animated video for an exciting new online platform that aims to help women enter the workforce all over the world. I can’t get too much more specific due to confidentiality but we are currently casting for a welcoming and tranquil female voice to record the copy. 

If that sounds like you, please send your reel over to us ASAP. We are all very proud to be the creative team on this project and I’m sure you will be too.  



Production Company SEO

I've been spending a lot of time in the past few weeks trying to work on the SEO for the Rucksack website.  In the past I have scoffed at this as a waste of time.  My feeling then was that no one was going to accidentally stumble upon our site and magically want to do business with us.  Even if we are on page one of the "production company" google search, how many people are really searching google for a video production company? 

Today I feel different about it all.  Marketing and visibility are more important than ever because the industry is more crowded than ever. In the past, it felt like enough to differentiate ourselves with personality and creative flair.  Now it's not enough.  It's not enough to be experts in our field of video and story.  We must also be experts in sales, marketing, finance, business operations and certainly SEO.  

Today we are at the top of page 8 for the keyword search "rucksack".  I don't dare try to find what page we're on for any variation of "production company".  Hopefully I can sustain my interest and discipline in this task.  Let's see where we are at in November. Is it possible to compete with the backpack industry and get to page 1?  Is there any chance someone will be searching for a backpack and become interested in visiting the Rucksack site?  

A wrap on "ALEPPO"

This past week, Rucksack provided a little bit of production service to a short film called Aleppo, directed by Anthony Grippa.  Even though there is never enough time to dedicate to our own slate, we are always trying to help out on good projects in any way we can and I'm really proud to have been a part of this one.  Short films, like short stories, are often harder to write than features and this script really jumped out at me as something exceptional.  The crisis in Syria is devastating beyond comprehension, and that's often where poetic moving images can step in to succeed where words fail.  I'm sure the film will turn out to be something special and much talked about in the festival circuit next year.