Promotional Videos Masterclass From Standupper and CEO of Vooza

Promotional Videos Masterclass

From Standupper and CEO of Vooza

Humor brings people together. So why not use it to promote your product or service? In this webinar CEO of Vooza teaches us how to make funny videos that sell.

Sarcastic Videos

That Will Boost Your Business

With Matt Ruby, co-founder of Vooza

Matt is no regular CEO. At Vooza, he takes part in all of the stages of video creation process. He writes, produces and acts in them. Vooza videos is a sarcastic and witty take of startup live, go give them a look here.

You’ll Learn

  • How to create non-pushy promotional videos for your product
  • How to distribute your videos around the web most effectively
  • Full promotional video creation cycle starting with the idea

Full transcript

Jeff Bell: Hi. I’m Jeff Bell from Startup Hub, TemplateMonster. Joining me today is Matt Ruby, the founder and CEO of a revolutionary next gen startup – Vooza.

What helped you build such a futuristic vision? Or should I say, what helped you become a visionary?

Matt Ruby: I think it’s my willingness to embrace failure. Because as we know in the startup world, failure is really the key to success, you got to fail over and over again in order to learn and I like to say that you can look at how often I failed and how much I failed. Look at that and see how smart I’ve become.

So I think that’s really the basis of everything that’s happened to me in the startup world. It’s my willingness to say “failure, I’m with you.”

Jeff Bell: What’s the story behind your most recent app Vooza?
Matt Ruby: Well, Vooza, we’ve pivoted a few times. We started out with an online dating app for drones that was called dromance. We had some problems with FAA though so we had to pivot.

Then we started a meditation app that was called Guru, which is like Uber but for meditation. So you can press a button and have someone else do your meditating for you. Then we got sued by Dalai Lama and had to pivot again from that.

Now we’re working on Vooza which is basically an app that you install on your phone and then we steal your data and sell it to both, the NSA and spammers located either in Eastern Europe or Asia.

Jeff Bell: What would be the #1 lesson every startupper needs to learn?
Matt Ruby: I think the most important thing you need to learn is to use buzzwords as much as possible. If you want to show people that you’re really in the know, early adopter you need to start talking right now about artificial intelligence, big data, wearable tech and you need to work this words into sentences as often as you can.

It really doesn’t matter if you have any reason to do it. It’s just more showing and indicating to the world, wow, this guy knows what people are writing about at tech blogs. And that is, I always say, 80% of the path to success.

Jeff Bell: How do you come up with an idea for a unicorn or even a griffin startup?
Matt Ruby: I’m big at pitching the griffin startup. Cause unicorn startups, you know, now there’s dozens of them out there. I always ask how can we take things to the next level, how can we be a griffin?
Jeff Bell: You don’t want to be just the next Uber, you want to be bigger.
Matt Ruby: You’re just another unicorn – you’re not unique. The key is try to be as huge as possible. First of all, don’t focus on making money, ignore that for now, what you really want to do is staff up, you want to get funding.

I always say, the more money you can borrow from people, the more of a success you are in life. That’s why I have three mortgages on my house. Cause I always tell people, that is the path to IPOing.

Jeff Bell: So what are your plans for IPO?
Matt Ruby: To go big, go huge, I plan on ringing the bell at Nasdaq at least a few times. Really the idea is to be a corporate success, be able to answer to shareholders.

Because what I found is, the structure of being a public company it’s really…you’re helping the world, making the world a better place, you’re improving things, answering to shareholders who really are looking at the long term, what’s going to be best for the planet, what’s going to be best for our society and that’s the realm that I want to be in. I’m not about let’s make a profit tomorrow.

I’m more about, let’s borrow money and maybe in ten years we can build a spaceship.

Jeff Bell: What represents the corporate culture of Vooza perfectly?
Matt Ruby: I think it’s the free snacks that we have. You know, we give people Cheetos, we have one of those espresso machines so you can make your own coffee right there, we have an inhouse masseuse, we do mindfulness classes, ping pong tables, big bag chairs, we do your laundry for you.

We basically treat our employees as if they were 5 years old. And they really respond to that well. Because they are extremely immature. So it’s kind of a perfect fit. So I’d say the perks that we have in our office really helps us attract and retain moderately talented people.

Jeff Bell: How do you become an influencer, a thought leader in the modern tech world?
Matt Ruby: First big step is you just start saying that you are one. I always say, you fake it till you make it. So I just go out and tell people, hey, I’m a thought leader, hey I’m an innovator, hey, I’m a director of the future.

And people are like, well, if it’s on his business card it’s probably right. And I think that’s what makes me such an idea evangelist, as I like to say.

Jeff Bell: Where do you get your inspiration? Who inspires you most?
Matt Ruby: Samurai warriors, also kamikaze pilots, I’m very influenced by eastern culture, eastern philosophy, so I try to bring out those ideas of how can I bring honor, ritual suicide and the notion that there’s nothing more important to me than my work and bring that into my day-to-day life.

And one of my other big influencers is Woody Woodpecker. Because I really admire his resilience at constantly sort of chipping away at that tree and just going away at that tree all the time.

That’s a real lesson for people in the startup world, how you have to iterate over and over again and keep banging your head against that wall, until eventually, either that wall falls or you get a concussion. Either way you win, really.

Jeff Bell: What’s the most challenging thing about being a revolutionary startup?
Matt Ruby: It’s probably all the press attention. Every day on the way into work there’s bloggers, there’s paparazzi, there’s people wanting quotes, wanting me to snapchat with them, trying to take a photo with me. It’s probably a little bit of putting up with that kind of media attention and the fans.

But I also realise that without them I wouldn’t be where I am. I have a policy where I’m willing to take selfies for at least 5 minutes but then please, let me go back to eating my meal, at that point I think it’s a good balance.

But that’s the nature of the beast, that’s part of what you get for being so successful and for building such great companies, it’s going to be a lot of attention from the masses. I’m okay with the riff-raff.

Jeff Bell: What traits of character do you and other great CEOs have in common?
Matt Ruby: Well, like Steve Jobs I always wear a black turtleneck, that’s sort of a basic one, I’m a big fan of Peter Thiel, who is at PayPal, we have a lot in common, I also resent the media and freedom of speech.

And I’m really into funding secret lawsuits against people who write anything that I disapprove of but not having my name behind it. I think it’s a really noble way of fighting for the cause of personal privacies so I respect that a lot.

I guess mark Zuckerberg, because he puts tape over his camera. And I think that sort of proves that NSA is spying on everyone and Facebook kind of knows it, I respect that.

Jeff Bell: Thank you for taking the tape off your camera for the webinar.
Matt Ruby: It will go right on afterwards.
Jeff Bell: So yeah, this was the gooffy, pretentious startup part of our webinar to give you an idea of what Vooza does. Huffington post said it’s the most hilarious tech startup spoof ever, Forbes magazine says that guys are comedic geniuses and today I’m so happy to introduce you to Matt Ruby from Vooza and let’s get to the real questions.
Matt Ruby: So I get to be myself now? Hang on, I got to take my turtleneck off. All right, that’s better. When I wear the turtleneck I got to be this guy. How are you?
Jeff Bell: I’m good, thank you, and you?
Matt Ruby: Doing well, thanks for having me.
Jeff Bell: My pleasure, we’re huge fans. So let’s get right to it. Have you ever caught yourself using the buzzwords that you hate?
Matt Ruby: Yeah, I think there’s a couple. I think two that I’m using are content and monetize. Which are often words that I associate with silly people who are saying nothing. I do feel like sometimes there’s just no better word for a situation so I wind up using those at least once in awhile.

It’s more in a awareness. It’s okay to use a buzzword if you don’t have a better option but if you’re using it if you don’t know what you’re saying or just to sound important that’s when it’s really a problem I think.

Jeff Bell: How exactly do buzzwords harm businesses? Why you shouldn’t use them?
Matt Ruby: A good example is how people talk about legalees. Like when lawyers are talking to each other, when you read a contract, it just sort of creates this barrier, sort of a club, people in industry can talk to each other and understand each other but outside of the industry it just sounds like a foreign language.

I think it’s intimidating and a turn off, sort of like the way to shut down conversations or to exclude people who maybe don’t have the same vocabulary or knowledge of buzzwords that you do.

The more valuable your ideas are the less you need to rely on jargon to get them across. You can explain things simply and directly in a way that anyone can understand.

Jeff Bell: What do you do if you used a buzzword in your brand name and after a while it went out of fashion? As you might’ve guessed, I’m talking about Startup Hub now.
Matt Ruby: I like it, there’s real clarity there at least. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that name specifically, and sometimes names overvalued.

Some companies that have blown up and became huge the names are pretty dumb but now we’re so used to the actual value and services provided and we’re just used to it.

Jeff Bell: So how did you come up with Vooza’s name?
Matt Ruby: It’s just a word that I made up years ago and the domain name was available. The week before we launched I had owned the domain name for almost 6 years and never heard anything about it and the week before we were ready launch the site I got an offer for a domain name for fairly decent amount of money but we’ve gone far enough down the path.

It’s just funny to have a domain for 6 years and no one offers you anything and the minute you launch like, hey, you want to sell that?

Jeff Bell: How do you research topics for your videos? Is there some kind of system behind this research?
Matt Ruby: Not as much a system, a lot of the ideas start with me. I do have some writers that I work with. I read tech blogs, articles I come across, conversations that I have in real life at tech conferences, I used to work in the startup world.

It’s just paying attention to what’s going on. A lot times it’s just seeing an article or a quote that almost sounds like a Vooza episode. Seems like something ridiculous is happening all the time.

Programmers who are drinking meal replacement drinks not to leave their keyboard at any moment. Okay, that already sounds like a Vooza episodes. So let’s just take the reality and make it like 10% more absurd

Jeff Bell: Looks like your business is built on pure talent. Can a regular person without any background in comedy make videos of this kind? What would you recommend to these people?
Matt Ruby: You know, everyone on our team is comedians, has performed a ton. It’s a craft in its own way. I don’t think you’d bring a comedian to be a programer and give them like a day to turn in some great code so people who are experts at certain things need to do what they do.

I think sometimes there’s an element of just try to have a sense of humor even if you’re making a more serious video explaining something. Just have a light tone and use language that makes it seem like you’re not positioning yourself as being more than you are, sounding human, throwing in a couple jokes here and there.

I think it’s sort of a good middle ground for a lot of people. In tech world people tend to, not always, but a lot of times take themselves so seriously and there’s a lot of pretension.

And you need if not actually try to be funny, take that tone, like standup comedian or comedy show takes of having a sense of humor and not taking yourself too seriously. Using plain language and making fun of yourself a little bit, coming across as human helps you be different as a part a technical world.

Jeff Bell: When people try too hard to be funny it’s kind of sad, so..
Matt Ruby: Yeah, it can be a little painful, yeah.
Jeff Bell: How do you find the line of what’s funny and what’s not? Do you test videos on some focus group before publishing?
Matt Ruby: Sometimes we’ll collaborate on scripts, edits, there’s collaboration on like which takes do we want to use. For the most part, we edit something and we’re confident enough to put it out to the world.

That is where performing live comes in handy. Doing standup and being on stage you kind of learn what’s funny and what’s not funny in front of a room full of people. You develop a certain ear of what’s going to work and what’s not working. At the very beginning it’s what you think is funny.

And if you’re confident that something’s funny sometimes that’s good enough. You put it online and hope that everybody else agrees with you. You’re like hey, that’s the thing that I wanted to make and I thought it was funny and good so I’m putting it out there.

Jeff Bell: Who’s your favourite comedian?
Matt Ruby: I guess now Bill Burr is the best standup comedian who’s out there. Louis CK is great too, Norm McDonald I love, as far as you know, TV or film I love Larry David, Woody Allen I think was a great director. Christopher Guest Spinal Tap, Best in Show, sort of mockumentary style movies were definitely very influential on me.
Jeff Bell: What are the most efficient channels in distributing promotional video content?
Matt Ruby: Best is a tough word. We put all of our stuff up exclusively at at first cause we want to sort of own this experience of not just being lost in Youtube snadbox, having our own sort of arean and being able to encourage people to watch our other videos and to sign up on our email list, follow us on social media. Also we show advertiser videos there.

So they are able to see other videos that we’ve made, sponsored content. Later on we put the videos up on Youtube, Facebook recently has become a really good way to spread videos and get attention, people obviously are spending time there. So instead of having people need to go to your site, it’s a way to reach them where they’re spending time already.

And then, unfortunately, it’s like rather a challenge. I think you just gotta, you know, get your videos up everywhere, you know. We’ve put them up on the AOL license or content, and then Amazon and Dailymotion and so we kind of just syndicating the videos afterwhile, they might end up everywhere.

Jeff Bell: Right, so, for people who maybe want to start their own agency creating promotional videos, for people who want to create promotional videos for themselves, what were the pitfalls that you didn’t know about when you were getting into it, that you can advise people to check out? What were the pitfalls that you fell into?
Matt Ruby: I think it relates to startup life in a lot of ways. Just getting a real world feedback as soon as possible and again, to go back to the buzzwords, what is the minimal buyable product? What’s the smallest thing you can make for the cheapest demand of money and the lowest investment and then put it out to the world and see if people really like it and respond to it.

I think, there’s always that temptation like “No, I’m gonna make something brilliant, I’m gonna spend all this time writing a perfect script and I’m gonna have a perfect crew and we’ll spend a lot of money doing this shoot we’re gonna do all this.”

When there’s sometimes you better opt to making something cheap and put it out to the world and, you know, if the idea’s good you’ll get that feedback that will tell you “Oh, this is really good, it’s worth more investment, it’s worth more time”.

And I think sometimes that’s a mistake that I’ve fallen into which is trying to create a masterpiece and spending, you know, too much time planning and trying to shoot stuff with a big budget while I’m supposed to “Okay, what’s the cheapest, quickest thing I can make?” and put it out to the world and see if people pick it.

Jeff Bell: Continuing the story of the person who starts their own agency and wants to promote their product. When you’re just in the very beginning there won’t be much exposure. What ways did you use and what ways do you recommend using to get the traction going, to get the word out of the world about your business?
Matt Ruby: I mean I think the biggest thing is to try to figure out a way to be sustainable, to keep making something over and over again. Look at the podcast model. It’s not like someone’s like “I put out one podcast, I really hope it takes off” It’s like good luck with that, because once it’s out there then it’s just sitting there.

Versus someone who’s like “I’m gonna put out a new podcast every week for two years regardless regardless of you know.. That’s just the thing I’m gonna do and recognise that it might take 6 months to pick up some traction or even a year before people really start to notice it”.

But having that sort of weekly or daily or weekly or monthly or whatever regular sort of edition where you’re picking up steam all long. You’re sort of a train that keeps going as supposed to, just making one stop and picking.

That’s all you need to do. It’s not easy, it’s hard. I think, there’s so much media out there right now that I think there’s some real power in sort of sticking around and being sustainable and just kind of going after the same people slowly over time and building organically.

You know, that’s where you’ll have an email list or social media following just sort of keeping your name at the top of people’s minds. It’s easy to forget. Just cause it’s easy to forget. If you’re making something really good you can put it out there, but when it’s out there and done that just kind of recedes into the background.

Jeff Bell: Right. Cause yeah, the Twitter feed it’s like, it’s really fast, so you need to come up with new things all of the time. So, Vooza did promotional videos for companies like MailChimp, Turkish Airlines and so many more. What are the keys of successful promotional video in your opinion.
Matt Ruby: I think for us… I’ll tell you want we tell our clients, because I always like to let the funny part lead the way over the informational part. It really depends on the goals. But a lot of times the companies we were working with, they want to make a fun video that gets shared.

And I always tell people, like, the heavier the plug, the product mention, the less likely people are to share it. So, it’s trying to create that balance where you’re mentioning the client and you’re getting their message across but you’re also doing it where it’s embedded into an episode when it feels organic and natural and not too heavy and not too over the top.

And the rest of video is funny and it feels like it fits in. I think we’ve done a good job with that. We’ve had a lot of times people say our sponsored are some of their favorite episodes, which is what we’re going for.

We don’t want it to be, like, you know, our viewers like “oh, great, this is one of the sponsored ones, it’s gonna suck.” It’s like a lot of times they are just as fun or even funnier than the regular episodes. Also, it gives us a little more budget to play around with.

Sometimes we can do, you know, more interesting things on the sponsored episodes. And yeah, I think it’s similar to what I was saying before — you’re just telling your clients, like, what we do that’s gonna be human.

What can we do that’s gonna make you sound like like, you know, funny and real people, and like you get it, for the lack of a better term, as opposed to what so much marketing does which is people stand up and be like “we’re the best, we’re number one, you need to use us, we’ll change it”, you know. And it’s like this whole sort of facade of something that comes across as kind of phony.

So, I think there’s a way to reach people that’s a little bit more organic and human, and funny, and you know, hopefully we help our clients do that.

Jeff Bell: Yeah, I don’t doubt it. They are one of my favorite episodes. I wanted to ask, do you think that viral video can be designed intentionally or is it just a blind luck?
Matt Ruby: I think you can aim for virality, but anyone who, like, guarantees it, is probably lying you a little bit. I don’t think there’s a way to guarantee you’re making a viral video. I think what you can do is to aim to make, like, a really good video, video that seems really sharable or something that you think people well respond to and want to pass along to others.

But the idea that you can just, you know, guarantee a viral video is really tough unless it’s a bunch of cute dogs playing pranks on each other while girls in bikinis jump around in the background, you know. It’s something like that, I don’t know.

Jeff Bell: That’s a great video right there.
Matt Ruby: Yeah, I know, someone is giving that pitch right now somewhere at Madison Avenue. Yeah, I mean I think also, we’re fooled a lot… The metrics we use are kind of broken a little bit. You know, a lot of these videos that get millions of views. You’re like “How? Are these real people watching them? Who’s… where are these views coming from?”

If someone watches 2 seconds and then turns it off, is that as valuable as someone who watches, you know, 40 minutes of something. I think we started to realise now that a lot of metrics we’ve used for attention and engagement and views and clicks and all that stuff sometimes doesn’t have real values.

I think that’s what people start to realize in the next few years and how to measure that sort of thing in a way that’s more productive, I guess.

Jeff Bell: To continue this topic, can you share one success story, when the promotional video or just one of your funny videos went into the world and behaved even better, scored even more than you expected it to?
Matt Ruby: Sure, we did a video for AppDynamics about our coders at Vooza and how they do their code as poetry. And it involved a poetry slam, sort of event where they were reading poems about coding. And it was fun video and it actually went up, especially through AOL, getting a ton of views.

And within like a month it got millions of views and was really blowing up in a way that was great to see. It was sponsored video, but people were responding to it. It was one of, if not the most popular videos that we’ve ever made.

And this one that we made for a sponsor. It’s great when you get to collaborate with a client in that way and then also your viewers really dig into.

Jeff Bell: Do you think, does the regular sponsor, the regular owner of a big corporation become more likely to get a funny video instead of just regular advertising with dogs and naked chicks in it, in your opinion.
Matt Ruby: I mean, I think, there’s a lot of… It depends on the person. I think more and more people are realising the value of video online and realising that they need to sort of have video marketing or content, or promotional videos or something in that direction.

I don’t know, I think people also are aware that there’s, like, a lot of noise out there, and that comedy is a great way to sort of break through the clutter of all this other content of people being serious and talking about how they are the best and their product is essential and all this other stuff.

Or you can come in with a sense of humor and you’re gonna see yourself apart from a pack. So I think people are seeing value in that way.

Jeff Bell: In your opinion, what’s the minimum skillset required to record a successful promotional video, to create one?
Matt Ruby: I mean, get a decent quality camera, put it on a tripod, don’t have it shaky. I think my biggest pet peeve was audio quality. I think a lot of people think they just can be in a room and use an on-camera microphone.

And that sounds like they’re in cave somewhere. Get a good audio, get someone who understands, like, boom mics or something where you can actually hear people. Well, and then again, to go back to sort of like the actual developing an app model, just, you know, be willing to fail and put stuff out there and iterate a lot and, you know keep making stuff and you’ll get better.

We work with a comedy club Vistia where we host all our videos and they have some great tutorials on their site targeted at, like, tech companies or startups or small businesses who are trying to make videos and sort of teaching them of here’s what you can do and how you can do it simply.

That’s a good resource to check out and see Try everything else. Just start making things and you’ll start learning right away. Oh, this didn’t work and this didn’t work. You know, keep doing it and that’s how you get better at something.

Jeff Bell: Do you think that promotional videos are a good way to promote any product or are there some categories of products that you know because you’ve tried and found out these videos are harder or impossible to create a promotional video about? A successful one.
Matt Ruby: I believe that humor works everywhere in whatever situation. Even if something seems really serious, it’s nice to have a comedian take. Maybe if you run like a nuclear power plant or something, maybe, you need to stay on more serious tone. And also, I think it depends on a purpose.

Like, there can be sort of two different… Maybe, you don’t need one video that does everything for your company. Maybe you have one video, series of videos that’s more serious, that explains what your product does for people already know about it.

Maybe you make a funny video or something more comedic that’s shareable for people who’ve never heard of your product so that you get in front of people

Jeff Bell: What are the keys of making product placement in a promotional video?
Matt Ruby: We usually we try to keep the ad part of a video to 30 seconds or less. We try to have it in a second half of a video so it’s not like you’re watching and the first 10 seconds totally seem like an ad.

And we try to make a video actually funny and we try to, you know, integrate the plug or the brand in the way that seems fairly organic and not just like something that makes no sense. And we work with our clients on, you know, script approval and we make sure that it’s something that seems like a line with what they say.

It takes a little bit more time on a front-end to make sure that it’s collaborating in a way that everyone’s happy with. I think you can see it in a final product. It feels fairly seamless about how we integrate the different products we mention into the show.

Jeff Bell: You mentioned parts of it already, but what’s the minimum budget… If a person wants to make a video for themselves, what’s a minimum budget you need to create a promotional video for yourself? Like, the mic, the camera and so on.
Matt Ruby: I mean, I think it depends on… You can do stuff cheaply for a few hundred dollars. And it’ll probably look cheap, you know. You can even film yourself on an iPhone and just put that up there.

If you’re someone like Gary V, I mean that’s how he started out – with just shooting selfie videos and just throwing them up online, but you know, if you’ve got a message or a content that is valuable to people that can be good enough.

For what we do exactly more of a production, more of shooting with a crew and lights and cameras and actors and makeup and scripting beforehand and editing afterwards. That’s certainly for us more of a production, but I think you get a different quality of product from that.

And from a film-making perspective I like stuff that looks good and looks professional and I think that helps, you know, people taking more seriously too in a way. So, it kind of depends on the goals and what you’re going for.

I think you can make something for fairly cheap and it might look cheap, but that could be a good way to at least test out your ideas and what you have to say, you know, and get your performance going and then, you know, proved.

Jeff Bell: I wanted to ask about the audience once again. How did you reach the first 1000 people? Because it’s a big challenge for a lot of websites to get it going. What were the marketing strategies? Was it just your friends on Facebook that shared a lot? What’s the way people can start.
Matt Ruby: Fortunately, we started back in 2012 and there was less video content to compete with at that time. So I think that was an advantage that might be gone now.

But yeah, I think we were lucky the first couple videos we’ve made went viral. I guess, like, the biggest thing that we had at the time we were launched was the mystery around who was doing it, and why, and was it a joke or is this for real, and what was happening, cause that was a big part of the attraction at first was people seeing, you know, a Radimparency video and being like “Is this serious? Who is behind this? Why? What is going on here?”

And I think there was a lot of value promotionally that we got from that at the time that people sort of guessing and not sure what was happening. So in the beginning we’ve got a lot of big names in the tech world tweeting about it, you know, like, Tim Farris, Steve Case, the founder of Foursquare, the founder of Basecamp.

And I think at that point, when those people all were talking about something, that starts picking up traction, so we luckily at the very beginning kind of got out of the gate and spread pretty far and were able to start selling advertisers within a month after releasing our first video, so it was a pretty lucky sequence of events. And I think that would be difficult to replicate.

Jeff Bell: I’m really glad it worked out for you, cause now we have a lot of really funny videos to watch. Can you describe the process of creating a short film, a video of yours from the very beginning till the moment it’s live.
Matt Ruby: Sure. So yeah, if we’re working with a client, we’ll get on a call with them and talk through what their goals are and research them a little bit and figure that out. And from there it’s sort of, like, picking out…

You know, like I said, we have a collection of sort of ideas or stories we think are funny from the real tech world, different concepts that are kicking around all the time coming up with the idea that we want and then from there it’s collaborating.

Like, sometimes I write the episodes on my own, sometimes I work with other writers that we have. And we start up with a treatment which is sort of like “okay, here’s the idea behind the video and make sure that’s got point”. Then, from there we move to the actual scripting phase, which is, like, actually writing a script for the whole episode.

Couple of things that I mention to the people is that we usually write too much, so everyone, so if you want, like, 2-minute video, we might write something that’s actually 3,5-4 minutes long.

That gives us the option to edit down later. You know, kind of shoot too much and edit down to something that’s pretty funnier at the later point. Also, the script is sort of like the worst case scenario. Like, everyone we work with is comedian and they are really funny.

And we do encourage people to improvise, you know, figure things up in a moment. So I think a lot of the funniest stuff comes from letting our cast, who is really funny people, you know take things in different directions. And then from there, we move to the editing phase.

And that’s usually, like I said, editing something that too long and then sort of chopping it down a lot of times of there’s, you know, improvisation along the way, it might be “Okay, there’s 5 different options for what this line could be.” Which one is the funniest? Which one actually sets up what’s gonna happen in the rest of the episode?

And from there… You know, there are usually 2 or 3 rounds of editing and then we’ve got a finished product, and we put it out. So, it’s usually about 2 to 3 months from, you know, the origin of the idea to the final video being delivered.

Jeff Bell: So, there must be a lot of videos coming up. What do you at Vooza consider a successful promotional video? After it’s published, how do you know a month after that it’s a successful one?
Matt Ruby: Yeah, I mean, I think it depends on how the client is measuring success. I mean, different people want different things. Some people just want as many views as possible. Other people, like they’ve got a website and they just want their site to attract some attention, so having a funny video there is just like nice humanizing thing that shows them as a company that seems a little more real and like they get it.

Sometimes, for people like that it’s not about getting tons of views, it’s just more about how it makes their company look. For others, it’s about sales. So it might not be like they need to, you know, get millions of views from just the general public a , they want someone to buy their products or to at least know about their product, then it’s gonna be worthwhile for them.

So if it’s sponsored episode, it definitely depends on the client and what they’re going for. For me personally, like, I just wanna make something that I’m proud of, that I think is funny, that shows up what we can do, that, like, our team enjoys making and feels like they spend theory time working in something that is worthwhile and, like, enables us to make more stuff in future that we’re proud of and think it’s good.

So, it’s… Each video to me is sort of like a calling card, like “Hey, here’s what we can do for someone else”. Like we wanna do a good job since someone else gives us money so we can make a video for them or we can make a show or we can do something else in a way that makes this whole world we are building kind of sustainable.

Jeff Bell: I have one more question from me and several questions from the audience. What are the most common mistakes people make in their promotional videos?
Matt Ruby: Bad audio that’s too long, too serious. It’s CEO who’s a bad performer talking. Too many buzzwords. And they’re just boring. Everyone’s boring. Stop being boring.
Jeff Bell: It’s a perfect one. So, the question from the audience. Roger asks about the pro tips for elevator pitches and for pitch decks.
Matt Ruby: So, like, what’s my advice for elevator pitches?
Jeff Bell: Well, yeah, I guess so.
Matt Ruby: I think it goes back to a little bit what I was saying about, like… So, comedy is almost the philosophy. I think you can bring it to be as brief as possible, sound human, don’t use complicated language, don’t use buzzwords, don’t write down… I think…

So, here’s one of my biggest pet peeves since, like, first releases, whether they have a behavior like a CEO. So clearly a sentence that no human being ever said out loud. I see this all the time in a tech world, where we have, like, analytical people, who plan everything.

Sometimes you just can’t write it out with fancy language. And yeah, that might sound important and make you sound smart, but just gonna make you sound like a robot, and everyone in a room is gonna be like “yeah, but that’s not a real sentence that anyone says”.

So think about how to talk like a real human being is probably, like, the biggest think. And then I think also, that’s something from a stand-up, is you gotta open strong and close strong. So, like, make sure, you hook people in the beginning.

Like, in first 10-20 seconds people are just judging you based on, like “Okay, who is this person? Where are they coming from? What’s this gonna be like?” So, kinda answering that will do. And then close it strong, because usually how you end is the thing that people remember about you.

Jeff Bell: That’s really good advice. I hope it helps Roger with his pitch. And one more from Eugene. Can you tell us about Vooza team? And really, you managed to gather together the incredible team of individuals, so tell us a little bit about your team.
Matt Ruby: Everyone, who’s featured in the videos is also a stand-up comedian here in New York city, so all of them have some capacity through doing a lot of comedy. There’s a ton of talented performers here and so it’s been a pleasure to kind of give them an opportunity to shine in a way that’s different than just being on stage.

And we also have a great director who directs mostly episodes. He’s got a great crew he works with like camera- and sound-people. and the writers are mostly people featured on the show or rather comedians. It’s been really fun for me being able to, you know, work with talented people who are doing good stuff but maybe aren’t getting as much exposure as, I think, they deserve.

So being able to cast them and stuff and give them a place where they get to kinda show what they can do. That’s been a fun part about the show, too.

Jeff Bell: That’s all the questions I have for today, thank you so much for being with us, for sharing, for doing the goofy part and for doing the serious part, thank you.
Matt Ruby: Thanks for having me, I appreciate.
Jeff Bell: It was Jeff Bell from Startup Hub, free educational project by TemplateMonster and Matt Ruby from Vooza. Go check out their stuff, it’s awesome. Thank you for being with us.

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