I was honoured when Vancouver Webfest sent me a message on Twitter asking if I’d like to cover their event with a Press pass. I went for all three days to get as much content and story as I could for my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram profiles. It’s been a few days since this years event ended and I have reflected on my time there.
Vancouver Webfest is a festival of short films that are released digitally online and not through traditional channels. The submitted episodes played in three theatres, with free bags of popcorn, through out the first two days, giving judges time to determine the winners for the various categories.
Along with the screenings were workshops, panels, and keynote speakers comprised of producers, business leaders, and influencers. What I found most impressive was the amount of women leaders who were there to share their stories and offer support to the webfest’s 5th year.
When I first arrived, Regina, their PR person, asked if there was anyone I wanted to interview. My first reaction was panic. Interview? I’m supposed to interview people? I don’t know what I thought I was expected to do, but interviewing people had not crossed my mind.
I’m a promoter. An observer. A storyteller. Not a journalist.
I started by recording a live Facebook Video that people engaged with and did another selfie video to post on social media. I Tweeted a lot. I used my social media platforms to tell people about the event, show what was happening, and promote it as much as I possibly could. After all, they’d been kind enough to ask me and gave me a press pass to boot, the least I could do was my absolute best to spread the word.
During my time in workshops, listening to keynotes, and taking in the various panel discussions, I realized that there is a huge opportunity for marketing professionals who embraced the Webfest’s attendees online short story telling skills.
Traditional advertising on TV media channels will have to change as people turn away from cable for the convenience of online streaming subscriptions. With less people watching mainstream programming on the big networks, the ROI of commercials is decreasing, while the pricing goes up to cover the increasing costs of running a traditional media business.
Those companies who turn to web based series storytelling will benefit from lower costs and better messaging through storytelling. Whether they sponsor an influencer or create a web series around their product, service, or industry stories, they will find an audience who engages with their programming.
If you are an Independent Professional with some personality, you could create yourown channel and web series to tell stories about your industry, clients, products, or services.
For example: A Realtor could host his own List it or Love it type show with a stager then add drama, cause that is what reality TV does, and voila your own Real Estate Channel starring you. All you need is a bit of cash, a camera man, and a writer who understand how to write for Reality TV, that is to start… If you start seeing success, then you can decide if you need a director, producer, better equipment etc.
They hosted it at the Vancouver Convention Centre with floor to ceiling windows displaying the panoramic view of Burrard Inlet, Stanley Park, and the North Shore mountains and all. It was a reminder about why we pay high prices to live here. There were people from Toronto, the US, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa, Japan, Mexico, and I’m sure other places I was unaware of, at the webfest. Vancouver did not disappoint with two out of the three days being clear and sunny to show off it’s jaw dropping views.
Video is one way to tell stories online and considering that YouTube is the #1 actively used social media site in Canada, it is a huge opportunity for anyone who can create quality and interesting stories. As a writer, I am overwhelmed by the collaboration, planning, and resources it takes to create a quality short film. The attendees are passionate about creating videos and anyone who wants to use video to promote themselves, should consider a more creative storytelling method, which these folks are experts at.
The red carpet gave everyone an opportunity, if they wanted it, to get their photo taken in Hollywood style. The MC was hilarious and kept everyone on their toes with his antics. The love and support in the room created a positive energy where everyone supported winners and losers alike, at least the laughter, applause, and congratulations coming from everyone made it feel that way.
I was impressed by the organization of the event, the attendees, and the speakers. They showcased women leaders in the industry, the speakers were well spoken and provided great tips, advice, and insights. The quality of the movies from all over the world was eye opening and the ability to connect with various financiers, producers, and talent is valuable for anyone who wants to work in the film industry.
Webseries enable people who want a career in film making the ability to show their skills, talents, and personalities, which will sell them to those in the entertainment industry at a fraction of the frustration. By building personal brands through content these film makers are making a name for themselves and the future is opening up opportunities for them. This Festival gives them the awards to stand out and the connections to help get them to the next level.
Thank you to Vancouver Webfest for inviting me to cover the event and I hope that you will continue to grow your festival for years to come.
Shannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. Her company, Shannon Peel Marketing, helps Independent Professionals and Small Businesses define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels. Click to find out more: Shannonpeel.com