I’ve just wrapped one of my biggest projects I’ve done in years – a full day shoot for a video about my Brilliant Biz & Life Academy!
In this long-ass post, I’ll share behind the scenes with all the goss including:
- how much it cost
- how I organised it
- which videographers I used
- the assistants, volunteers & models
- behind-the-scenes photos
- and the finished video… it’s my most favourite I’ve ever made… brilliant, gorgeous AND hilarious!
Let the oversharing commence!
Why I decided to do a professional videoshoot
At the start of this year, I felt a new wave of energy coming into me. I decided I wanted to enter into a new phase of my business of active regrowth and expansion. I’ve been running my online business for nearly 2 decades. Me & my husband have been solely employed by my company since 2010. Along the way there’s been years of explosive growth, periods of “maintenance mode,” endings and new beginnings. It’s totally normal to have cycles in business, especially when you’ve been in business for a long time!
It’s been exciting to ride this wave of energy. I wrote a big list of things I felt like would help with expansion, and one of the big things on my list was to rewrite my Brilliant Biz & Life Academy sales page and record a professional video ad for it.
I already knew how I wanted the video to run – I’d made a similar video 6-ish years ago for the Academy which makes it easier. I’d filmed it when we were living in Canberra, and I used Screencraft to film then.
For this time around, I updated the old script I’d used previously, and then started looking for local videographers on the Sunshine Coast.
How I found the videographer
I googled “Sunshine Coast videographer” and looked at a bunch of websites.
From then, I eliminated the ones that were wedding focussed or I didn’t like the video style of.
Then I emailed about 8 of them and gave clear details on exactly what I wanted to create, including giving the link of the previous video I was updating, the length I wanted it to be, and the timeline I needed it in. I asked about their availability and for a general quote.
This makes me laugh, but I chose my videographer because he:
- responded the quickest to my emails
- didn’t need to get on a phone call with me to give me a quote!
Everybody else asked me to get on a phone call with them to get a quote, even though I’d already given very clear details about what was I was needing.
I totally get that that’s how a lot of people work, and it gives businesses a chance to build a rapport with possible customers, but I:
- hate talking on the phone (thanks Autism)
- work at odd hours when inspiration strikes
- treat my work hours as super precious.
Adam from Film Tree was great – he emailed me straight back to clarify a question, gave me a quote & made it simple for me to just book straight in.
When I told him I’d picked him purely because he didn’t push for a call, he said:
“Usually potential clients want to jump on a call, but it was pretty obvious that you weren’t one of them. So I was happy to communicate in the way that works for you.”
Champion! And a good business lesson, I reckon. Sometimes potential clients will want to communicate differently. And if you want their business, you might need to change how you communicate with them.
Once I accepted the quote & we started brainstorming over email, we had a 30 minute call about a week before the day to discuss our expectations for the day.
I also told Adam before the shoot that I was Autistic and had a sensory processing disorder. And that I’m usually fine on shoot days, but I could become overstimulated and need some downtime. He was rad & understanding about it & is such an ally. I’m so grateful!
Here’s the general schedule we decided on for the day:
Adam had a more comprehensive schedule on his end, including the shots he wanted to take & at what time.
We started with filming the video with audio where I talk straight to camera, and the rest of the day was spent filming B-Roll to layer in.
On the day, he also had Charis Gibson as his assistant & she was a total babe as well. Totally my kind of people, and I’m so excited to work with them again!
Date & Location
When we locked in a date to film, I immediately contacted Noosa Valley Manor to book in to film at. It’s the most gorgeous, eclectic, maximalist, bohemian B&B. I have previously done a photoshoot there as well with Michelle Swan from Eyes of Love Photography… plus stayed overnight with friends for my birthday, and went to a painting workshop with my kids & friends as well. It’s my home away from home!
I wanted to work at the manor again because:
- I don’t need to bring many props for it to match my aesthetic
- it’s got a range of different backdrops we can work in
- I adore the owners Roberto & Renate and feel so at home there
- the owners were able to cater lunch for us (the most amazing Italian vegetarian pasta!)
Models & Volunteers
For this shoot, I knew I wanted a bigger group of volunteers & models for group shots. Previously for video & photo shoots, I’ve had about 5 friends or customers volunteer to be a part of them. Usually I gift them workbooks & merch as a thank you, but usually they’re just there because it’s great fun to ham it up for a camera.
This time I wanted about 20 people. And I also wanted to make sure it was a diverse group of womenfolk. I knew I wouldn’t be able to find that organically as I live in a white-washed area in Australia. So I decided to hire in Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) models on top of our usual volunteers. I paid $200 per model for about 2 hours work (we managed to finish in about an hour though, we were super speedy!)
I hired BIPOC models by posting a job on Star Now and advertising in this Sunshine Coast models group. They ended up being amazing to work with, and I’m so grateful I got to meet them!
BIPOC models I can heartily recommend:
- Sabrina Fu
- Skye Kaden
- Emily Mayne
- Valentina Vargas
- Vegas-Latina Castle
- Jessica Ellie Anderson
- Ijeoma Ikpe
- I also had one of my Academy members fly up from Sydney for it too… I’m so grateful! Professor Malisa Ali is a phenomenal and inspirational human!
I also had some beautiful Academy members & friends volunteer:
- Lisa Twohig
- Sam Starshine
- Amanda Rootsey
- Karren Clark
- Lea Clea
- Nadja Ostro
- Renee Allert
- Leonie Rastas
- Gabriele Dockendorf Allert
I also let both models & volunteers bring their babies, kids & teens along if they wanted or needed to… so we have at least half a dozen of them too! It was gorgeous!
I gave volunteers a Brilliant Year Life workbook & a Biz workbook & a unicorn tshirt as a thank you.
The always amazing Sam in her unicorn tee.
I was THRILLED with our models & volunteers… and it was divine to see everyone commune and connect and make new besties. As I always say… when women circle, magic happens!
I always have shoot assistants on video shoots & photo shoots. I pay a day rate of around $350.
Usually for photoshoots, I have one assistant for the day. However, I knew this would be a bigger production because we would be having about 20 volunteers & models also coming in for group shots.
So I treated myself to TWO assistants for the day, and I’m really glad I did. We definitely needed them, and they worked as an awesome team together to cover all bases.
I usually hire a friend who knows me and loves me already just so I don’t feel like I need to perform or do small talk. I had two of my darling friends as assistants for this shoot – Madi Beaufort (an incredible artist) and Jody Lee (an amazing hypnotherapist).
I got my shoot assistants to:
- buy fresh flowers beforehand to use in the shoot
- order my favourite smoothie & bring it for me to drink while getting hair & makeup done
- unpack my car (clothes, jewellery, props… it usually ends up being a huge amount of STUFF)
- set up & manage wardrobe & arrange it into outfits
- walk around the property with the videographers to plan out shots
- be on hand incase they need to run out for supplies or errands
- help stage sets & add props
- manage contractors
- watch for wardrobe & makeup malfunctions on set (at one point, I went rogue and attempted to come up with an outfit myself when I was a bit overstimulated. I walked out of the room, and they sweetly intersected me before I got in front of the camera again.
“How are you feeling about that outfit, Lones?”
Me: “Really not great, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Them: “Okay, let’s find something that works better & you feel great in.”
And they got me changed into something far less dishevelled.)
- help with packing up & cleaning up after… always a big job.
- managing the models & volunteers for group scenes.
If I was doing all of that myself, I would end up sweaty and overstimulated… and we would definitely get less shots by the end of the day.
Also: when I’m hyperfixated on work and conscious of how much other people are waiting on me, I flip into performance mode and forget my basic needs. So I always ask my assistant to help with the “Care and Feeding of Leonie.” It’s helpful when I’m performing, and it’s especially helpful because I’m Autistic.
I got my shoot assistants to:
- constantly pass me water without asking so I stay hydrated
- carry food & snacks & push me into eating (I forget to otherwise)
- remind me to use the bathroom (I’ll go without otherwise)
- keep an eye on whether I am getting autistically overstimulated & get me to take a short break to recalibrate.
I have this all written in a document that I’ve been giving to shoot assistants since 2015! Ha!
At one point, we were running early on our schedule, and I was starting to get a bit blank eyed, so they ushered me into a bedroom to lie down in for 15 minutes while we waited for lunch to be ready.
They were absolutely indispensable… I don’t know how I would have navigated the day without them.
Hair & Makeup
I had Valentina Pintus come out to do my hair and makeup for the shoot. I’ve used her before for a photoshoot and was thrilled with her. She’s great at perfecting natural style makeup. I’ve also previously used Sian Howard who is brilliant too.
Over the years, I’ve collected a bunch of colourful, drapey clothes that I drag out for shoots (& wear regularly too).
Renate the gorgeous owner at Noosa Valley Manor also lent me one of her precious Camilla dresses!
How The Day Went
What I most loved about this videoshoot is how flexible & creative Film Tree are. We followed the script, but then started improvising & adlibbing, and I think the video ended up being even more hilarious.
At one point, Adam said:
“Look… I don’t know if this is too out there or wild but I’ve got an idea…”
“YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH ADAM. NOTHING YOU EVER SAY WILL BE TOO MUCH FOR ME.”
And so we carried on, being ridiculous and inventive.
At one point, Jody said:
I love that they have a POOL! I had a dream last night that you were getting pushed across a pool on a giant floatie for the video!
And we looked at each other and KNEW we would do it. And KNEW that our friend Sam would be the one to volunteer to jump in the pool to do it. And that’s how I ended up fully clothed in the pool at the end of the day.
All in all, it was the best fun ever.
- shoot location hire
- hair & makeup artist
- paid models
- books & merch for volunteers
… the total cost for this shoot was just over $8,000.
It’s a big investment, but worth it for an investment that will bring in more Academy members I reckon!
I’m SO SO proud of how it’s turned out… my most favourite video EVER!
Can’t wait to hear what you think!