Having trouble getting noticed? Need more views and publicity?
Check your buzz.
In today’s tough economy, it’s more important than ever to stand out, and the only way to do that is to stir the pot.
Sound daunting? No worries. Actor-turned-local entertainment favorite Valensky Sylvain schooled the Geek on how to make it happen.
James Hunter – whom he now works with on a regular basis), and has been a theater actor since age five.
His experience has taken him through New York, Florida, England, and even South Africa.
“Anytime I’m acting or creating, I’m having a blast.”- Valensky Sylvain
His repertoire even includes three years with The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, FL; and he’s done plays during the local Fringe Festival.
Want some more? He also studied musical theater at University of Central Florida and Florida State University, even doing a brief stint at Valencia Community College. “Anytime I’m acting or creating, I’m having a blast,” he said.
Good brain to pick, yes?
Meet Dark Elf Films
The company’s iconic name alone is proof of Sylvain’s fellow geekiness: it was inspired by his favorite character in the sci-fi fantasy series Forgotten Realms, who happens to be a dark elf.
Dark Elf Films began as Crossroads Productions Studios, a client-based videography company (weddings, etc.), but broke off into the local indie film company it is today from a simple conclusion Sylvain found years ago:
There’s a difference between producing for clients and producing narratives. [Cassi Willard Success Secret #3]
Variety is the spice of life. Dark Elf Films doesn’t limit itself to short or feature films. The guys produce music videos, commercials, promos for game shops and game releases, and currently have four web series in the works.
Sylvain plans to premiere their "GameStore" web series at MegaCon (Orlando’s largest annual comics convention) this year.
Build Your Company's Buzz in 4 Steps
Here are Sylvain’s proven methods of success.
1) Writing. “Having a good project starts with the writing,” Sylvain explains. Many of the DEF shorts were written by Frank Tobin, and two have already made their mark.
“Bond”, a short about domestic violence, received great reviews at the Orlando Film Festival in 2011.
Their commercial for local client company Groundflights garnered the client the B.I.G. (Business Innovation and Growth) Award in 2011.
Great buzz tool.
2) Have an awesome team. Group cohesion is always important on any project, and Sylvain’s team all share his enthusiasm for their craft.
He even added that the Company’s above-the-line staff share a common faith in God and pray for each project.
3) Have a marketing plan. [Sound familiar?] Dark Elf Films wasted no time here.
The first step: establish an iconic brand.
When you watch all of the videos on the website, you can even see the progression:
· text (initial look), to
· stylized font, to
· an image of a female toting two guns (credited to Lindsi Jeter), to
· the current edgy logo and trademark colors (designed by Full Sail grad Uriah Peterson).
Next and highly important: the website. Sylvain connected with Mario Giancini, a good friend from his college days, to design the gorgeous company website, valued at about three thousand dollars.
Yes, newbie entrepreneurs. You have to spend money to make money. That amount may sound like a lot, but when you see the website, you’ll understand.
“A good web presence is integral…It’s immensely important to have a good site,” Sylvain confirmed. “If yours is low-quality, [people] are going to get turned off from that because your site is a reflection of you.”
Next, the guys made their work accessible everywhere.
· Facebook Fan Page (978 fans)
· Twitter (195 followers)
· YouTube (5,460 views and counting)
· Vimeo network (150 likes; 463 contacts)
· You can +1 any of their material
· Their work is also available on their company blog
Sylvain also utilizes ProductionHub to broadcast his work and to look for work himself.
4) Network. There’s that pesky word again. It’s a very necessary step, though.
Sylvain says he can “network in my sleep” – evident in the nearly 5,000 people he has in his personal network.
If you’re shy like me, just think of it in even simpler terms: move your legs to approach someone and open your mouth to speak.
Networking not only increases visibility for your business, it also leads to collaborative partnerships. Dark Elf Films includes a “Partnerships” page on their site boasting the logos of the indie companies they work with on a frequent basis, including make-up artists, other indie production companies, etc.
The Unspoken Buzz Rule: Show Your Best
Sylvain demonstrates but didn’t mention it in his tips above: have a marketable flagship concept or product to flaunt on your site and when you network with others.
Give them something to taste.
Dark Elf Films expertly whets appetites with its trailer for upcoming web series “Technopolis”.
The trailer’s Reservoir Dogs flair is immediately recognizable, which attracts action fans and fans of that film; and its edgy editing leaves viewers hungry to watch the series.
Have a high concept product to show off that represents the overall quality and purpose of your company. People like what I call quality brevity – the best you’ve got in the least amount of time.
Sylvain’s four tips for getting noticed are foundational – you can’t exclude or skip any of them. The same effort you used to develop the business is required to get it noticed among the din of other businesses seeking attention.
Get good writers (yes, non-movie companies need writers too – copywriters and copy editors will provide the quality content your target market needs to read).
Have a great and cohesive team to get the highest quality work in a streamlined fashion.
Have a solid marketing plan so you can be seen (including the social networks).
Network with like-minded professionals and establish collaborative partnerships. They’ll broadcast your work when you help them, and you can broadcast theirs when they help you.
And don’t forget that high concept. Give them a phenomenal sample that best represents your company.
Trust me, they’ll start talking about it – both in person and online.
Have you used any or all of these for your own business? What were the results? What other tips would you add to the list? Comment and share with the buttons below.
Thanks for reading!