Q1: So Ryan, tell us: what is your company, Brand Red?
RS: Brand Red is a video production company that specializes in marketing for brands, corporations, non-profits, education institutions and more. We love stories. So our mission statement is to help other people tell their stories. And one of our values is to be great storytellers. We believe everyone has a story to tell, and it requires a good storyteller to tell that story. So that’s what we do on a most basic level. We try to help people tell their stories and tell them well.
Q2: So how did you decide on making films as a career?
RS: I’ve always loved movies. As a family, every Friday night we’d get together, eat pizza and watch movies. So they’ve always had a special place in my life. But I think the turning point came when I was a senior in high school. I was a super shy kid, and most people didn’t know who I was. But I had seen at my sister’s college talent show, these guys made this funny video where they integrated their performance on stage with a movie that would play. And at that time, video with live action was still a novel idea. And I thought it was a great idea, so for my senior talent show, I decided to do something similar. I’ve never been a morning person, and for one of the scenes I had to wake up at four in the morning on a Saturday. And I was so excited! It wasn’t something that I had a hard time waking up for, and at that time I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do career-wise. And I realized that if that was something I was that excited to wake up at four in the morning for, then it was something that I wanted to keep doing. So for me, the desire to make films has always come from the fact that it’s something I just really enjoy doing.
So once I decided that’s what I wanted to do, I actually got a business and communication degree from Berry College. And in college I was making wedding videos. So really right off the bat, I was making videos and being an entrepreneur. And I grew up in a family where both my parents were entrepreneurs and had side businesses that I helped out with. So being a small-business owner wasn’t something that was a huge leap of faith for me, because it’s something that I had seen work my whole life. After college, I did work for non-profits in town. I then worked four or five years for a production company, working on different TV shows, music videos, marketing content. And you can learn a lot by watching other people run their business. And at the same time, I was getting my M.B.A. from Berry. So when you put all that together, launching Brand Red was the next natural step. We started in 2008. And it’s been 10 years.
Q3: What does a typical day look like for you?
RS: I don’t have a regular, typical day ever. It’s constantly changing. And my role as Creative Director and also as our staff Director changes day to day, hour to hour. Sometimes I’m doing more post-production and editing on projects. Other times, I’m overseeing projects in pre-production; like scripting, storyboarding, casting, distribution strategizing, or set building and location scouting. And on my favorite days, which are production days, I direct the spots we do, and I get to do the traditional role of the director; I talk to actors, the crew, work with clients. I enjoy all of my days really though. And I especially love the variety of them. I’ve always been an adaptable person if plans change, so that’s a strength that comes in handy when my days are constantly shifting.
Q4: Obviously film and video content is more prevalent today, but why do you think having well-made videos that tell a story is more important now than ever?
RS: From the time I grew up until now, it’s been fascinating to watch how video has replaced the written word in a lot of ways–for good and for bad. I definitely see how there are bad elements to that. But the good thing for me is that as I grew and became more capable of producing well-made video content, the industry grew and digital video online became a thing. And it kind of hit its stride just as internet speeds and downloads were able to keep up. Like you can stream 4K video, which is insane if you think back to even just 10 years ago. And then you think of mobile devices, and the fact that the online platforms were built at the same time that people were ready for that type of content.
But because video is now everywhere, and everybody can do video, I think that’s why it’s even more important to tell authentic stories and tell them well. Because there’s so much content out there that your story can get lost in the weeds if it isn’t good. And I think that the generations now desire authenticity and truth more than ever before–more than a flashy commercial that would have appealed more to the Baby Boomer generation. So we have more options than we can ever choose, but we don’t want a cookie-cutter, generic story.
And as far as marketing for businesses go, back in day, you called the first five people in the yellow book. And nowadays, if you have bad video content or you’re not telling your story well through video, you’re going to be listed low in people’s mental yellow books when they think about your company and your brand. People talk about websites being the new storefront. And I think video is now a part of that. It’s an element of your brand and your presentation. If you want people to take you seriously, then you need to take your video seriously.
Q5: What do you see for the future of Brand Red?
RS: We just finished traveling with our first feature-length documentary to film festivals all over the world. And that was very exciting. So for the future, we’re looking to continue to create more story-based content. We would love to move in the direction of helping more brands tell their stories with continued quality of both the storytelling and of production value. We’d also love to work with more national brands and national agencies. And we’re even looking at how we can be content creators ourselves. That’s always been our dream. So we’ve gotten the commercial side of the business up and running; and now looking to future, we’ve begun strategizing how we can tell our own stories too and create our own content. So you can keep a lookout for that!