Part 3 Trends: Sometimes the 65 year old mother identifies them.
“Are you insane mother?”
I know you might think it’s just rude of me to talk this way to my mom, but I’d thought she lost it.
“I have no interest in taking people in front of the Great Wall of China. Those things are so..
She was trying, again, to convince me to tackle green screen photo events. But every one I’ve ever seen, I just thought looked awful. Really? I know, let’s get people’s photos as they ride down a roller coaster and try to sell them at Kings Dominion! To me, that was the equivalent. I think I’d rather shoot a wedding. I hate shooting weddings. In fact, I’ve only ever shot one.
You couldn’t pay me enough to shoot another.
But, I thought, I’d rather do that than some god awful tacky green screen crap.
“LISTEN TO ME MICHAEL,” said the crazy mother, “put your own spin on it. You don’t want to have people in front of the Great Wall of China, fine. Have them walk on the Great Wall of China. Have them CLIMB the Eiffel Tower, have them do things inside the green screen only possible with this technology. You love photography. You love technology. You love gadgets. Think what you can buy to make this work.”
Hmmm. Dangle shoppping in front of me, and I am so there. True. I’d have to upgrade my computers. Printers. I could prop shop. I’d need new backgrounds. Lighting. Maybe she had a point?
So I let her talk me into our first green screen, for a group called the “National Corngrowers Association”. Every year, she took photos of the corngrowers in front of cornstalks they imported to the Caucus Room in the Cannon House Office Building, the same room, incidently, that held Nixon’s famous Watergate Hearings.
And, the Corgrowers loved their corn stalks! They were as into the quality of the corn as I am into the size of pentium processor on my laptop. They’d pet the corn. Stroke it lovingly. Then, they’d pose in front of the stalks, sometimes with a member of Congress.
We decided to see if The CGA wanted to forgo the live corn, have us set up a green screen, and substitute in the corn — with the Captitol Building nestled in the stalks — in the background.
They went for it.
And it was a huge success, though I have to admit, explaining the idea to the actual participants was a bit of a challenge. Somehow, though, Nancy Pelosi — yes, THAT Nancy Pelosi — showed up at the event.
And, she posed (by herself and with members of the association) in front of the greenscreen.
For some time after that, when I would do a mock up of a green screen for a client, they’d remark, “You know, your model looks just like Nancy Pelosi.”
“Yeah, it’s uncanny.”
That first green screen seems decades ago, but it really was — what — maybe five years ago? Maybe? Now, about 65% of our business is some kind of green screen . Another 10% is a “print on location” or social media upload without a green screen, and the remainder is convention and conference photography. Prior to the Corngrowers, the entire business was either events on Capitol Hill, or conferences and conventions.
Think about that. In five years, the business has completely changed.
About 5 years ago, most of our events were in Washington, DC, with about 10 or so in other cities — mainly from our DC based clients that held events elsewhere. Today, about 10% of our business centers in our home town. The other 90%? Events anywhere BUT Washington. Readers of this blog know I’ve had to hire managers in both Las Vegas and Dallas. Before? It was my mom and I.
I write this blog post from United Flight 701, enroute to Houston, TX. In Houston, I’ll switch planes and fly to Veracruz, Mexico. This, the first of two events in Mexico this month, both for the same client.
Which has me thinking. Perhaps in 5 years a huge part of our business will be in destinations OTHER than the United States?
I better get to training more people. I’m gonna need them. And, they better speak a variety of languages. Habla Espanol? Bueno! Necessito ayuda.