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We have an awesome episode for you this week – The Power of Video! Our special #EventIcon is none other than Billy May of Speed Motion Films. The are a full-service production house that is passionate about the creation of high-end digital cinematography for commercial, web, and TV outlets. They film and travel all over the world, telling the stories of athletes, brands, companies, and interesting individuals, as well as creating features and commercials for web and TV. With Billy on the show, we’ll be getting all of the insider info on the upcoming Power of Video Conference 2016 in Belfast. It’s going to be an awesome conference featuring some HUGE names in the business! We’ll also be getting the scoop on Marryokes – the Epic Wedding Videos that are taking the world by storm. Billy will share his tips for incorporating video into events and you’ll have the opportunity to ask him all of your questions. Tune in and join us!

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Transcript of this episode of #EventIcons:

Laura: Welcome everybody to to another episode of EventIcons. I’m Laura Lopez with Social Tables. We’re doing a semi-live –


Sean: This is live!


Laura: – in The Social Tables office in Washington, D.C., joined by our friend Sean.


Sean: What’s up? I wish Billy was here from Ireland, live in D.C. It’d be a fun night man, I’ll tell you that.


Billy: I have some tea, some green tea. Throwing it down hard.


Laura: That will be awesome. We have an awesome show for today. We are joined by Billy May. If you don’t know Billy, you should know him. He is a filmmaker, a TV show producer, and he is the man behind Power of Video. It’s a huge, huge event. He’s the co-founder. He’s huge into filming, photography, travel, drones, gaming, and pretty much everything related to that world. I’m looking to learn a ton today about video from Billy.


Fun fact about Billy, which I don’t know if we want to start with this or not, but why not go there? Fun fact, one time Billy streaked in Hyde Park, which is one of London’s 8 royal parks. With that, welcome Billy to the show.


Sean: I didn’t know that about you, Billy. I didn’t know that about you.


Billy: There’ll be no streaking today, I promise.


Laura: We like to start every show with one question. That question is, what got you into the event industry?


Billy: What got me into the event industry? Oh my goodness, wow. Essentially what happened was we’re a film production company, we’ve been working on a TV show for a couple years, we’ve attended lots of events. We’ve seen Gary Vaynerchuk, we’ve seen Philip Bloom, who’s a big filmmaker here in the U.K. Seen events like VidCon in LA and said, “Well, why don’t we do an event? Why don’t we have our own event and get some YouTubers over.” Northern Ireland is a small place, but we’re creative here we said, “Let’s just do it”. Basically with 4 weeks to go, we decided to make an event and foolishly, maybe some would say, but it was a huge success. We learned a heck of a lot. I can honestly say that anybody can do it, they can build and go from strength to strength and just follow a couple of things.


Sean: I think we’ll get deeper into The Power of Video itself, there’s a lot to talk about there, which is super cool, but before even The Power of Video, what else have you been doing around the event industry? We can get into the wedding side, but just from a film perspective, some of the cool stuff you’ve been a part of.


Billy: We’ve done a lot of events. Video buys for companies like Red Bull. We’ve worked with Diageo who’s a big drinks manufacturer. We’ve been all over the place doing that kind of stuff, and I honestly don’t know exactly how it started. You just have to keep pushing on with your work, and hopefully you stay visible to some of these good companies, and you get blessed a bit I guess.


Laura: Who was the first big company that you landed as a client?


Billy: It was probably Diageo, was one of the first big companies that we landed. It was actually my wedding company that let that happen. They saw what we were doing and thought it was a little bit different. They said, “Can you do what you do,” we’ll explain that later, “Can you do it for a Christmas ad?” Basically it went to their global audience on all their different channels and everything.


Laura: Very cool.


Sean: We haven’t dove much on the EventIcon show into the wedding side of events. We’ve talked about future shows starting to get into that. You’re pretty heavy on the wedding side, even up in the celebrities and bigger guys, but tell us a little bit about your take. Maybe a little bit about Marryokes.


Billy: Again, another thing that started us is I want to say a bit of a fluke. We filmed a friend’s wedding with a camera that we had just gotten. Was really my first experience with a DSLR. We found out that it shot video, and we had seen a lip-synced music video type thing online and we said, “Well, we can do that.” We did that as a surprise for them and put it together, a couple weeks later it had 60,000 views. At that time, that was essentially a viral video back in 2010. That was a lot of views for that, got lots of press for that. That’s kind of just took us on to the bigger clients. It kind of takes one little thing to completely change the flow of your life and everything.


Sean: It’s true. So Marryoke, let me give a bit of a background. Basically lip-synching to famous songs. Billy’s got over 8,000 subscribers on his channel. Total views in the millions. Some classics recently. You’ve been featured on ABC and a couple different publications?


Billy: Yeah.


Sean: Kind of this fun thing to do at weddings, right?


Billy: Yeah. We just kind of kept going with it and said “Let’s see how far we can go with it.” We’ve been almost everywhere with it. We’ve been as far as Sri Lanka with it, which is off the coast of India, and the other way we’ve been Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Paris. I’m going to Egypt next week. It’s kind of become this random phenomenon that I never saw myself doing but it’s cheesy but we enjoy it.


Sean: Let’s get into the bones. I know Laura’s got a great question coming up.


Laura: Well actually, we have a question in from a friend, Brant Kruger. Hey Brant. He asked “Is it cake?” I’m not sure if he means is it easy to do Marryokes or, I can read that question in so many ways.


Billy: I obviously like cake. I know, either way.


Laura: I also like cake, yeah. Brant, let us know, if you could elaborate on your question a little bit more.


Billy: Yeah.


Laura: Yeah I don’t know what he was referring to. Okay.


Billy: I’ll respond to that. No, it’s not easy. A lot of times it’s paired with another video that we do because we don’t want to do just a cheesy video and completely wreck someone’s wedding, so we do a bit of both. You do a normal wedding video and you’re also doing another video as well. It’s actually very hard to get all of the logistics down and still get what they need done. It’s not super easy.


Sean: On your special day, get it [inaudible 00:07:26].


Billy: The fury of a bride, if you mess up her wedding day, I’m sure is … it hasn’t happened yet.


Laura: Knock on wood.


Billy: There’s no wood there don’t say that.


Laura: Not an option. Alright. Next question. We want to know a little more about Power of Video. What is it? How did you get started with it?


Billy: Okay. My business partner and I just literally had this idea to bring a big conference to Northern Ireland. It’s a little bit further behind than the rest of the U.K. They’ve never had anything like it. There’s been sort of things like it in London, on the main land, but we’re an hour flight away. We’re an island off of a second island off of a continent. We said “Let’s just try and contact some YouTubers and see if we can get some people to come and travel around Northern Ireland. We’ll get all these companies to essentially pay all the hotels or the flights or whatever and say ‘We’re just going to take you around Northern Ireland and then we’re going to have a conference.”


I thought “Well if we could treat them to a good time and they could enjoy themselves and enjoy the beauty that I’ve seen here, maybe they won’t charge a huge exorbitant fee, and so we can get some bigger names for people. It’s our first year, we’re unproven at the time. We had a fantastic turn out. Casey Neistat was there. Shonduras was there. A guy named Cian Twomey who is from Ireland who has 5 million Facebook likes was there. There were some big heavy-hitters there.


They all got to know each other as well in a different way than a normal event would have been where they just fly in for the conference, they’re in a green room, and then they’re away. They got time to actually gel together and now I’m actually watching their blogs and seeing these guys have actually become friends, and it’s sort of a little bit to do with something that I created, which makes me feel good about it. Their content is stronger because of it and it’s just interesting to see. You can actually change even multi-millionaires, you can change their little path ever so slightly. It was a huge success. I enjoyed it.


Sean: We’re getting a lot of planners, we have a lot of different aspects on the show of our viewers. Give us what it’s like to book Casey Neistat. What’s the process to find this [inaudible 00:09:57] he’s probably the hottest guy on YouTube. He’s won a lot of awards recently. How do you get his attention enough to come out for three days to Ireland?


Billy: It was a gauntlet, I have to be honest. He was represented by William Morris and I’m not ashamed saying that but they’re the biggest talent agent in the world. I am not a legal person. I’m a creative person. Dealing with them, it was literally going to the citadel. We had a film that we made called “Drone Blender” which is, we took a drone and we chopped up a bunch of fruit up with a super slow motion camera. Basically thought “I know how to get Casey interested in both our film and maybe seeing us on the radar.” We actually packaged that drone up and locked it with some padlocks and shipped it to his office. At that time he was actually opening stuff for “Mail Time.” He had gotten quite [inaudible 00:11:02]. Not open anything and think “Gosh we just wasted an absolute fortune of money because we sent this huge box.” Lo and behold, one of the days suddenly he’s using an angle grinder to grind these locks off and basically that kind of put us on his radar, I think.


We got a couple emails that we were able to open the door a little bit. It wasn’t easy, but it happened. There you go.


Sean: A creativity that key on that one, sending a box from Ireland to a guy in New York and making it into it. It’s interesting.


Billy: It was about $100 that we didn’t have at the time either as well. Are we burning $100 just to send someone a broken drone?


Sean: It worked.


Laura: How do you go about leveraging, since you’re working with such big YouTube stars, how do you leverage their audiences that those YouTube stars are bringing in?


Billy: We have done work with the tourist board here. We’ve done work with big hotels, big restaurants. I had them in my pocket anyway. I said “Listen, these guys are going to come, they’re going to blog anyway. You’re not going to be able to ask them to blog about your place but if you’re cool, they need content for their blogs so essentially they’re going to advertise your spot if we treat them right.” We never asked them to blog, we never asked them to do anything specific about having any type of endorsements for the places that we took them and make sure that the businesses knew that.


We were able to leverage their audiences and get about 18 million views on Northern Ireland over the course of when they were here. We thought that was really successful and the Tourist Board was actually like “Oh my goodness, you brought an event to us and we spend tens of thousands of pounds,” which is tens of thousands of dollars, “on these big videos that get 500 views.” This keeps happening, they keep spending money on videos that aren’t getting views because they’re not putting them out right. I was like “Listen, you can go and get 10 of these guys and they’re just going to immediately be able to bring you 50, 100 times that.” It was a random thing that we just thought and we just went for it. I guess sometimes things work so we’re lucky.


Sean: I think that kind of plays into the next question. This is from the audience, from Abigail. She asks how did you manage to improve your marketing strategies to reach a wider audience? And maybe that plays into 2017. What are you going to do for Power of Video in 2017 to reach even wider?


Billy: We’re going to bring on a bigger travel partner from the first part because the thing that actually limited us was the people we could bring in and the biggest costs was the flights. We kind of took over all that and had to pay that. We’re literally holding people in your hands, we’re like “Can we take this guy, can we trade this guy, how do we get these people here to essentially do that?” At the end of the day, it was essentially a big ad for our video production company. We couldn’t have gotten what we spent on the conference, if we spent that on just advertising the company, it would’ve just gone away, it would’ve been in the back of a magazine, it would’ve been a TV or radio ad or something. Essentially it was just an ad for “Look at our video production stuff,” and we actually have gotten stuff off the back of that. There’s different ways that we’re going to do it next year, but essentially keep it the same and just make it a bit bigger.


Sean: I worked with Billy a little bit on the event and kind of knew a lot of the details. Just to give you some insight, it was an experience more than just an event. Tell us a little about how you took, I always get this confused, all the fans out there, if you remember Laura and I about 6 episodes said [inaudible 00:15:13]


Laura: DMC? I’m really bad with synonyms so anybody out there, that was embarrassing. [crosstalk 00:15:27] I’m sorry. DMC, CBB –


Sean: DVD, DVR. [crosstalk 00:15:33]


Laura: DVR, CSEP, CMK. There’s just so many.


Billy: I’m so lost. I’m so lost.


Sean: But we’re not going to try to throw out any acronyms because I don’t know what they are. You kind of talked about using these venues and hotels. Tell even more though about the experiences that you had planning with Casey and Shonduras and all these guys. Using these other businesses to leverage their power and the combination, I think this is with Abigail’s question too, your marketing and experience together.


Billy: You take something like a hotel and essentially, someone staying a night at the hotel doesn’t cost anything. It’s just a perceived value for that. I took them a proposal and I said “Listen, you give me this amount of rooms and you feed them while they’re here, and I can’t promise what’s going to happen but I can show you examples of what’s going to happen.” Luckily we had a good enough relationship with the hotel for them not to like chase me out the door. From the hotels endpoint is the smallest thing.


Sean: Like directly from the hotel even, Shon and Casey did a video where he jumped off the roof. [inaudible 00:16:50] just one little touch point. What are some of the other things that they went through?


Billy: We went a did a Game of Thrones experience. Obviously Game of Thrones is huge for the entire world, but it is partially filmed here in Northern Ireland. There’s a castle here called Castle Ward and they have a tee-pee there. You put on the cloaks, the dire wolves are there. You do archery and you eat like you’re in Game of Thrones. We thought that would be awesome. That one wasn’t a freebie, that was something that we paid for that we felt was something really cool to do. We knew that it would tick a box with the Tourist Board. They’ve been really good to us, and we’re like “Let’s come up with something tat would be really interesting, that would entertain the guys, give them stuff for their blogs, and tick another box.” That was the kind of road that we were thinking on. Everything had to tick multiple boxes.


They did some railway car driving. They were picked up by DeLoreans at the airport. The DeLorean was made here in Northern Ireland. Even seeing three of them together, a bit rare. There’s not many left. We just tried to tie in Northern Ireland and everything. Something exciting for their blogs and something that they would naturally just put in there and it would excite their viewers. That was all for everything we did with them.


Sean: Something we can all learn is using your resources. When I was coming to D.C. out of Phoenix, I was like “Where am I going to do my show?” I’m like “Why would I not use all the people here connected in D.C?’ I think the DeLorean was the DeLorean Association, it wasn’t like =


Billy: It was, yeah.


Sean: – or something where you had to go down to the dudes who just love the cars for loving them and ask them to you out.


Billy: People can see a vision, it doesn’t have to be Casey Neistat. It doesn’t have to be a DeLorean. It can be anything. Use your resources that you have available to you because everybody knows somebody that does something. We used to have a little book at my church when I went to church back in the States, and there was always like “Who does what?” kind of a thing. It was a book of this guy cleans gutters, and this guy paints houses or that kind of thing. Get your toolkit together and figure out who you know that does what. You’d be surprised at what you can pull together. People are willing to do anything for you if you treat them right.


One of my friends just started a new company called “Stream House.” He actually live-streamed the entire event, which would have cost us a crazy amount of money, but all the stuff on the screens was all done by my good friend who just started a new business. Use the people that you have around you. You’re going to have to do favors for them back at some point but use your tools.


Sean: You can tell I’m a huge fan of Billy. I know what he’s going to say next, but using your tools, your friends, building a great connection over the last 6, 8 months. Billy was the reason actually that I got to sit down in Gary Vaynerchuk’s office for all those Gary V fans out there, so I owe Billy for making it happen. Had a picture with Alex from the Gary Vee show, those guys. D-Rock. It all just comes back around. Hopefully will give something back to Billy with all the insights and connections. It’s always help everyone else out, give back. At IMEX recently, unfortunately you weren’t there but, Will and I got to meet all of these amazing icons and they all gave references and said “Oh you should talk to this person and that person.” That’s a huge part of this industry and any industries, obviously help each other out.


Billy: Absolutely. Especially in my industry, the film industry, there’s a lot of people that want to hide secrets and keep off to themselves, like “I’m going to lose a bunch of business” or “We’re going to lose clients if we slip up in this one area” but we actually partnered with another event company because we’ve never done an event. The company called “Digital DNA” here in Belfast. We said “Listen, you’ve done this before. We’ll kind of piggy-back on your event and if you have some people that want to come to ours, you can send them over, and if we have people that want to come to yours, we can send them.” It wasn’t huge, the amount of people that went back and forth, but they were happy to help us because we’re not in direct competition with their same clientele. Maybe find someone that doesn’t do the exact same thing that you’re doing that you can use in a different way maybe. I don’t know this would be my advice for this kind of thing.


Laura: Good piece of advice, yeah. We have a question from Twitter and it’s totally unrelated to what we’ve been talking about thus far but this is coming from [Evette Collab 00:21:46], thanks so much for joining us on the show today. Sometimes Billy sounds Irish. Mostly he doesn’t. How long has he lived there. Where from originally? Where are you from, Billy?


Billy: I’m from North Carolina, North Carolina in the South. Charlotte specifically. I’ve been here for about 11 years. I moved over here in 2006 when I married my lovely Irish wife. That’s why I have a dee-dilly-dee-dilly going on with my accent.


Laura: Love it.


Sean: Any kids?


Billy: I have 2 kids, 2 amazing kids, yeah. They’re asleep or burning the house down.


Laura: What was that like when you first moved? Did you own your company at the time? Big moves are scary, especially one across the pond, as they say.


Billy: Yeah I essentially moved almost right out of college so I had nothing really when I came over. Just a suitcase and kind of amassed from there. I had to find all my PP stuff again. It’s home now. I still go home quite frequently, go back to the States, but you get to a place and after a lot it does feel like home. It does feel like home.


Sean: Love the accent. You’ll get more hopefully.


Billy: Yeah.


Sean: Another great question that we wanted to give it to you on is how do you see … you created this cool conference Power of Video, you’re bringing these YouTube stars and kind of connect them to the real world, but how do you see this playing into the future of events and videos?


Billy: How the videos help with that or?


Sean: You’re client’s hiring you to go shoot videos, whether it’s wedding or event, a traditional event, how do you [inaudible 00:23:51] in the future?


Billy: At the moment, the biggest thing right now is some of the events that we’re doing are sponsored by 20 different people. They want to see what they’re money’s being spent on, honestly, and they don’t want to see a piece of paper that says here’s a graph and this is how many people came and this is how many people saw maybe your little roll-up ad or whatever. We find ourselves doing a lot of event highlights and it sounds like no work but we put a lot of heart and soul into making a really exciting little video for the people that can look at it and say “Oh look, we sponsored this for big money and look they actually did have our banner everywhere. People are enjoying it, and that’s exactly what we wanted.” We feel like we’re bringing value and maybe more sponsorship to events as they can see. Once people start believing in an event and what’s happening at it then I think then maybe the sponsorship will go up. We feel like we’re bringing more sponsorship money to people through our studios.


Laura: Are you seeing any trends from clients like big commonalities, interesting things that they’re asking about? Do you have any expectations for 2017 and the Power of Video conference? What do you foresee in the future?


Billy: I think in the future that we will have less polished videos. I think the media is moving towards looking like a blog. A lot of clients don’t want this polished slider thing, they’re all wanting this home-made, home-spun … like the classic car commercial where it’s just really expensive. Clients aren’t asking for that anymore. They want something that tells a story, that’s personal, that has a certain vibe to it. I feel like it’s stripping back all of that stuff that Hollywood and all those people rammed down our throat for so many years. I think it’ll be more hand-made, more crafted, and with a bit more heart. That’s where I see video going in the future.


As far as Power of Video, we want it to be very cross-community here. Northern Ireland still has that vibe that everybody kind of … the Irish divide thing between the British and Irish. I always feel since I’ve been here that there’s something to be done for almost a reconciliation of people coming back together and living with their neighbor. You’re living next to somebody, you’ll get along with them hopefully. That’s sort of how we see, the video supersedes everything. Everybody likes the same TV shows and that’s water cooler talk that everybody talks abut so why can’t we just sit across the aisle and enjoy something in the same place. That’s sort of a round-about way of …


Sean: You’ve had a couple videos, one of those being the blender video. One of those actually, subsequent to the Power of Video had some virality to it when they found Casey’s skateboard. Casey Neistat and Shonduras were in Belfast just cruising the city. One loses his skateboard in the water at the Power of Video conference. Someone else, some, what was it, a 12 year old kid?


Billy: Yeah.


Sean: 12 year old kid, nothing to do with the event, saw the video on YouTube. Had his dad or uncle scuba dive and get the skateboard out of the lake, send it to Shonduras and that video has got millions of views on it. You’ve been around there enough, you’ve had your fingers in several viral videos. Can you give some tips to some of these event planners who want to say “I want my event to have some virality to it.” What does that look like?


Billy: The very first thing you have to do is literally not try to make it viral. This is not going to happen. I guess that balloon just popped right there. I guess think of something that’s current and try and play on that. The less scripted and the less it looks like it’s been made by a company, the better. We’ve made some kind of, I want to say fake-blog looking music videos for people where it looks like he’s literally reaching across and turning on the camera himself. It’s all lit and it’s all hidden and it’s all a guy in a room jamming on his guitar, but everything’s miked. I guess trying to get that authenticity is where the virality is going to come from. Try and be authentic as best as you can be and hope you catch something that’s a bit different.


Sean: [inaudible 00:28:55] into the next question I was going to ask is, for planners looking to create video content for their events, what are some tips for creating the best content? We’ve been around a ton of events, Will, Laura. Sometimes it feels very staged. Guy standing in the middle of the street while people are walking across the crosswalk is a classic, up the escalators with the big banner re-enforced in the background, or whatever the conference is. It sounds like you suggest more raw, real-type footage. Give us some insight there.


Billy: Especially if you’re going to have someone speaking, you’re going to need somebody that can actually run off the script well without looking like they’re running off something to the camera. I think that’s probably the hardest thing when we’re doing promo videos, is trying to get someone that’s actually comfortable in front of the camera. You get someone that’s comfortable in front of the camera and you go and do something that is completely different. Depends on the event. Try and get access to the top of a crane or the top of a building and just think outside of the box and try and do something that looks really epic. That’s the other option, is just make it really cool-looking. People like cool stuff. It’s like if you look at “People are Awesome,” there’s a video series on YouTube and it’s just epic stuff that people are doing all the time. If you know what you want your event to look cool, then go and do something epic and get someone to talk about it while they’re doing it. I don’t know, hire a free-runner. Get something a bit crazy.


Laura: What’s the most outrageous request you’ve gotten from a client that you did end up making happen, or didn’t make happen.


Sean: [crosstalk 00:30:41] that I said that I had to do?


Laura: Yeah.


Sean: Hopefully that’s not on video somewhere.


Billy: I’ve had to really not safe for work ones. I have without fail have clients that ask me to fly the drone in really, really dangerous places. You wouldn’t believe what people ask. Between dancers and all kinds of things like that. I had something today, actually. There was a guy wearing a tutu and they felt like the joke that they made was appropriate and I was like “That’s kind of, I don’t know …” It just wasn’t really appropriate and this guy’s wearing a tutu and he’s like “It’s a bit girly.” Just the way he walked off, I was like “Guys, really, is this what you want me to film and put on tape?” Sometimes you just have to make …


Sean: Go with it.


Billy: I don’t know there’s probably all kinds of things that I’ve been asked to do but …


Sean: Some of our newer planners that are coming into the industry looking at EventIcon as a good way to [inaudible 00:31:57] icons. What would you be, a first time creator of an event that went well, what would you change? If you could go back, being that it was your first time, if you could go back and do another first time, what would you do different?


Billy: Biggest thing would be starting earlier, planning for longer. We would definitely delegate, we would have more teams. I literally with my business partner did everything. Damien and I did everything from driving the vans to paying people to booking hotels and flights and everything. There was nothing that we didn’t do. I would say try and get some people that you trust and get them around you. Over-estimate how much costs are because my goodness, you’re always like “We’re going to make $500,000 on this event. I’m so excited!” Then you’re like “Wait, we’re not going to make $500,000, we’re going to split $50,000” or something, whatever it is. Reign yourself in a little bit because creativity tends to exaggerate. I’m not a numbers guy, I’m creative, so you kind of have that person who’s a number’s guy. Have somebody that can help with different segments of what you’re trying to do. Advertise early. [inaudible 00:33:24] get the word out there. Once the day comes, there’s literally nothing you can do. You just have to roll with it and just enjoy it, or try to enjoy it anyway.


Laura: You were coming from outside the industry. Now you’re in the industry, ad I think that one thing we can all agree on is that this is an industry that changes pretty much daily. There’s always something new to learn. How to you stay sharp on industry trends? Is there maybe a blog you read or people that you talk to that always have something really good and useful to share with you?


Billy: My thing right now is that I’m a filmmaker so we make corporate videos, we go to weddings. The event side of things is still very very new to us. We still, I don’t want to say stumbling our way through it, but we’ve learned a lot of lessons that we want to implement. I think probably the best thing that we’re going to do this year is just to do it again. Take the lessons that we’ve learned and it’s basically to get the team around us and just do everything earlier, and just have another go at it. Sometimes the best way is to just exercise that muscle and just kind of blaze ahead. Maybe that’s not exactly the best philosophy for it, but …


Sean: I’ve been there. I heard you at EventIcon spit out somewhere [inaudible 00:35:03].


Billy: [crosstalk 00:35:08] Absolutely.


Sean: Here’s another question that’s actually coming in. You mentioned Power of Video was kind of a huge advertisement for your own production company. How did you convert and make new clients from those leads and that exposure and any recommendations of companies that want events to grow their company? You would use your production company, any suggestions?


Billy: One of our things was that we wanted to have a business section in the morning that would really appeal to ad agencies and businesses. Here in Northern Ireland, it’s very hard to get listed as someone that an ad agency would use as a video company. It’s always a tendering process where people come and they get quotes and then, blah blah blah, and hopefully you get in there. We basically called up every ad agency in Northern Ireland and Ireland, and even some in England, and gave them either discounted or free tickets, especially the ones that we wanted to work with. They all got tickets to come and enjoy something that was a bit different. We looked very thoughtful and they got something out of it.


I guess it’s kind of like slipping them $20, I don’t know. I tell you what, if I would have just called them up and said “Hey I make videos and here’s my business card,” I would’ve gotten nowhere. Since Power of Video, it was only in June that we had the first one and I think we’ve had 4 or 5 big agency jobs from clients that we did not have before. Those were people that were invited to the event. I think the best thing you can do is try and figure out a way that you can invite people that you want to work with to the event.


Sean: You said “big risk” to put this event on. Massive financial risk, massive reputation. What if Casey didn’t show up? What if Ben Brown didn’t show up? What if these guys just decided not to participate? I think part of it is it takes some risk to get the reward. You had to put your name out there and go for it. Your particular clients, these agencies you want to be in front of came and saw them and was like “Wait, if Bill is going to pull these kind of people together and a beautiful video afterwards. Obviously we can do that with our clients.” It seems that you’ve got some [inaudible 00:37:37] as well, some depth of contacts. It’s a risk.


Billy: Calculated risk is probably the best thing you can do for your business. You can’t just stay stagnant in one place. If ever you’re seeing in sales just tread across the board forever, you’re never going to get any bigger. There are a couple reasons we did. One, of course we wanted Casey and Shon and Ben Brown and everybody that came, it was amazing. Selfishly, yeah, that was a big thing. Also the Tourism Board has so much money to promote Northern Ireland and we always feel like they’re not really using this effectively. We wanted them to believe in us too. There’s just check boxes we’re like let’s do this, we’re tying these little loops together and hopefully that will bring In something that’s workable. It’s not going to work for everybody. Not everybody’s going to be able to do it. We were totally enthused by it. We loved the whole process once it was over.


Laura: We have another question in. This question asks: what filmmaking skills like storytelling are the most valuable for an event professional to have? If you yourself could recommend a film class for any professional to take, what would it be?


Billy: I think probably the most important thing for an event videographer would be to potentially get your interview skills up. Know how to quickly mike talent and have questions already prepared in your head to know the way, because that’s going to shape the entire event video depending on what these guys say and you can literally make people say anything with the questions that you ask them. Before we go to every event, we have questions for the talent that we want to ask them. Whether it’s the auctioneer, the celebrity from TV or whatever, we have these questions to know which way that we’re going to tell the story of the entire event and we bookend the entire thing based on these interviews that we’ve already planned. Obviously you don’t know what the event’s going to be like 90% of the time. Things are going to go completely different from what you’re told, but if you have the questions prepared ahead of time, then you can always steer the entire video with the questions.


I never did a class. It was always going online and emulating videos that I really enjoyed. There’s a company called Still Motion, obviously, oddly enough. I did not copy them. That’s S-T-I-L-L Motion, M-O-T-I-O-N dot CA I think it is, and they just have beautiful stuff. I’ve been watching their stuff for 5 or 6 years or something and I was like “If I make corporate videos, I want them to look like that.” Every time I go on, I strive to do the best and make it look sort of like that. From that we’ve actually developed a very different style from what they have, but we knew that we wanted something that had a vibe like what they were going for.


There’s another filmmaker here called Philip Bloom and he’s actually going to be a guest at Power of Video next year. He is about my filmmaking idol. If there’s going to be one, it’s going to be Philip Bloom. He’s a local British guy. He’s worked for the BBC. He’s done all this travel filming. I think find some people that you like their stuff and figure out how they did it. A lot of them will have behind-the-scenes type videos. They’ll say “Hey, this is how we did this shot or this is how we did this or check this gear out, these are the settings for my camera” or whatever. That’s literally how we learn to do, it’s just building blocks, it’s just a little step that you have to take.


Laura: You alluded to this, but is there anybody else that you consider super iconic when it comes to event video or just video in general besides Mr. Bloom?


Billy: Are you looking for a specific person or like, YouTubers?


Laura: Anyone. Yep.


Billy: Obviously Casey and Shon and all the guys that we had over. I love DevinSupertramp. I love his stuff. I don’t know, find the person that you want to be like and try to emulate it but also put your own spin on it. I’m on YouTube probably a lot more than I should be but I like to think of it as research.


Laura: That’s right, you’re “working.”


Billy: I’m working, yeah. I’m working darling.


Sean: Before we sort of wrap up, our last couple questions we always like to ask people: how early in the process do you like to be involved with the event, not as an event planner, you doing the Power of Video, but a client coming to you and saying “Hey, we want to do a video and we want it to kind of look like this and it’s going to be at this venue.” What’s the planning process to bring in production?


Billy: We’ve had everything from “We have this date and we want you involved” which is like “we don’t know anything,” all the way up to “This is the couple days before, we didn’t hire a videographer, and you got landed with this job and have no idea what’s happening.” Sometimes they’re international like that and it’s crazy. I’m happy at about 2 or 3 weeks. It depends on how big the video project is. If you’re trying to get someone to live-stream for your event, don’t wait that long. Most of the time most of what we’re doing is highlights videos so we essentially just need to know when and where and what kind of stuff you want to get out of it and the sponsors, make sure they give us all the sponsor list.


Sean: Do you do a lot of sit down, production style, run of show, this angle, this shot, this interview … is that a big part of what you plan when you’re doing film for an event?


Billy: Sometimes. It depends on what the client wants. You kind of have to do it. A lot of it is run and done because the event is an ever-changing thing. You have one time to get it right. If someone’s making a speech or someone’s bringing out food, you can’t be like “Hold on a second, you bring that steak out again.” You have to get it while it’s happening. It’s not a commercial as such. I like to have a really good run of the events, like a really good time schedule so I know what’s happening so I’m not surprised by anything, but every time clients will be like “well we just thought we’d bring out a surprise” and they never think to tell the videographer. It happens in weddings as well. [crosstalk 00:44:47] secrets.


Sean: “Hello, you’re videographer. Hey, we’re bringing cake out!”


Billy: If you want it in the video, just tell me. That’s all you have to do.


Laura: Is that your # 1 tip for planners is just inform your videographer?


Billy: I think so. Don’t have unrealistic expectations as well. If you’re in a white office building room or something don’t think that it’s going to turn suddenly into some well-lit funky looking place. It’s just going to be what it is. You’re going to see what’s there. There’s no filter you can put on it to make it look better than it really is. I guess make it look how you want it to look. Let the videographer know what you want back from them and then hopefully we can get it back to you.


Sean: [inaudible 00:45:38]


Billy: Yeah.


Sean: We have a couple, kind of our wrap-up questions. One is actually from Mary [Atlinson 00:45:48]?


Laura: Oh, Mary Baird Wilcock, she’s over in the U.K. She’s over there. Mary, I think she’s been on the show before, but Mary if you have not been on the show, please be on the show. Mary says “One, hello from Nottingham England!” She has a question and we’ve been talking about this the entire time, what is the date of Power of Video 2017, she would love to attend?


Billy: I like that. Tentatively it is June 2 2017. That’s a Friday instead of a Monday this year.


Laura: Okay so you’ve got the weekend, perfect.


Billy: Yeah we’re going to throw some curve-balls in there. Different venue and maybe a little food festival next door. We’re going to change the game up a little bit.


Laura: Very cool. Mary wants to know, and maybe she has an event coming up, what are your starting rates for videography for live events? How do you regard pricing? [crosstalk 00:46:52] Right now.


Sean: [inaudible 00:46:56]


Billy: Look at the extras. Is there like a finders-fee in this?


Laura: That’s right, we’ll send you the details after.


Sean: I’ve got the contract already written up, don’t worry.


Billy: It just depends on location. We don’t change our prices for different clients. We have a standard rate card that we use for everybody. I feel like the cards that come to us, they need to plan into their budgets early, but we give them back I think so much more. You can always go to our website “” and check that out or you can email me directly at [email protected].


Laura: Perfect. Mary actually had a follow-up. She has a client event on Saturday, November 12 in Nottingham England. It says “… seriously.”


Sean: We want to see this thing. We want to see this, this is going to be a direct outcome from the EventIcon show. Let’s put it on their blogs. This is going to be great, I think we’re ready.


Laura: It’s great. Awesome.


Billy: Do you want me to check my calendar Mary, right now?


Laura: Mary jump in there. Yes please! She says yes please.


Billy: I am free. I am free.


Sean: You both know where to go from here. Got to connect to Billy Mays, Billy got to connect to Mary. What’s the best way to exchange contact information? We’re already live. Mary shoot us your email and we’ll give it to Billy.


Laura: Yeah, put it in the chat if you could and we’ll connect you both via email.


Sean: There it is. Wow.


Laura: Perfect.


Billy: Making connections.


Sean: There you go.


Laura: Boom. There’s a win. Thank you for joining us.


Billy: Thank you so much for having me. I wish I was in D.C. as well now but …


Laura: I know, we could always … the crazy thing, you can’t see, is I’m just going to turn this around. We have an event happening right outside. Look there is an event taking shape in our office.


Billy: That’s amazing.


Laura: We could have used a videographer, just saying. Cool well we like to end every show with two very similar questions. One of two is if you could pick just one – oh we already did that, sorry. There’s only one last question. Do you have any new and cool resources you want to share, what’s your favorite website, blog, books, gadgets, scuba mask, Spotify mix?


Billy: I don’t like scuba masks.


Sean: I threw a couple in there –


Billy: Obviously [crosstalk 00:49:31] is one of my favorite resources. I’m just joking. I’m a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk as well. I highly recommended going and checking out the website. You can search through all of his blogs, get amazing resource for his crazy brain and all of his great information. I don’t know if you can share the link with those guys. I use Wunderlist all the time. I highly recommend it. It basically organizes my crazy brain into a checklist that I can just check off and I feel like I got an achievement for doing that. Receipt Bank. Keep your receipts people, this stuff is tax-deductible but it’s not tax-deductible if you throw your receipts away. Your accountant doesn’t like it when they’re like “What’s this thousand pound bill for?” “I don’t remember, I just paid it.” There you go. If you’re looking for a good streaming company in the U.K., I highly recommend my friend Stream House. He does all kind of live-streaming for events to the web. He uses this nuevo camera, it’s from Live Stream, for some of his smaller stuff all the way up to big other stuff as well.


Sean: If you’re on the show and you need a connection, Billy’s just one of those guys to have. He’s like “I know this guy [inaudible 00:50:52], he’s got a buddy in Arizona that turns phones into mikes, he’s got a guy in New York who’ll do video chat.” He’s a great guy to be in contact. Somebody was asking for your contact information, we’ll make sure to share your email address, the best way to get ahold of you.


Billy: I don’t know if anybody wants to ask any other questions, you’re welcome to shoot me something on Twitter or LinkedIn or anything. I’m an open book, for the most part.


Sean: The Twitter handle @TheBilly.


Billy: Are there any others? I don’t know anybody else really.


Sean: I saw Casey’s blog yesterday Billy with an exclamation point. I think it’s to you. ?Maybe I’m wrong.


Billy: I sent a message.


Sean: [crosstalk 00:51:35]


Billy: He hasn’t received … it said three Billy’s on it like the last show.


Sean: There it is. I don’t don’t see any other questions coming in. We’ve documented all the resources that you … and you threw in some direct links. We connected you and Mary to close a deal on November 12 and we’re going to watch that video when Mary releases it to the world if her client permits. Yeah, we’re excited to keep doing this. We’re doing this every Wednesday so those that are tuning in. Billy we need to get more of your connections and people on the show, friends like Mary. We’re excited to have Alex on the show now, Alex Blackson as well is joining us. We’ll keep coming on here, keep watching, and …


Laura: If you had to jump off on today’s recording and you came back, be sure to check the blog. This is put on typically by Will Curran of Endless Entertainment. You can catch the recording on his blog and the address, which we’ll also put in the track, is You can see Billy’s episode or binge out on all the previous episodes that we’ve done. I promise they’re all a good time so check them out if you got the time. If you want to keep the conversation going on Twitter, use the hashtag #eventicons. If you have any lingering, burning questions to ask Billy, feel free to hit him up on Twitter. Use the hashtag #eventicons. With that, I think that show is a wrap.


Billy: It’s a wrap.


Laura: Thank you so much Billy for being a part of today’s show. It was great.


Billy: Thank you, thank you.


Laura: Thank you to everyone for logging on and we’ll see you next week where we’ll interview yet another event icon.


Sean: See you guys!


Laura: See you.


Sean: Thanks Billy.


Billy: Thanks.


Sean: Good luck.


Will Curran

Author Will Curran

Information junkie, energetic, and work-a-holic are just some of the words we can use to describe Will Curran. Aside from spending 20 out of 24 hours a day working as the Chief Event Einstein of Endless Events, you can catch Will ordering a chai latte or watching The Flash with his cats. He is also well known for his love of all things pretzels.

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