On this episode, we sit down with Jeff Kaiser, DP for Appian Media, and talk about the power of good storytelling and how marrying that with stunning visuals can create an addictive piece of content.
Welcome to INROADS, where we talk about the why of Appian Media and how you can use the technology of today to spread the timeless message of the Bible. Learn more about us and watch our free video series at Appian Media, Dawg. Jet, welcome. This is exciting that you’re here. Craig It’s all so exciting that you’re here. I’m excited.
You’re here all the time. Yeah. No, this is this the big deal. So. So first, tell us a little bit about yourself. Oh, man. I mean, you’re married, so don’t let’s not not dating. Oh, OK. So this is. No, no long walks on the beach or anything like that. It’s just I do enjoy. Keep it professional. Keep it.
That’s very hard for me, you know. Well, I’m Jack Keizer.
I was had the fortune to work as a DP so far with the bigger Appian media projects.
But I got my start in the video industry shooting weddings. Actually, when you’re a corn fed Hoosier growing up with an interest in videos like, well, what do you do?
You can, you know, move to the West Coast and try to make it big or you can start shooting friends’ weddings. And that’s exactly what I started doing.
So and he’s really, really good at it. I’m going to throw that out. Cornfed Hujer or this guy’s wedding videos? Stellar, stellar work. I almost want to get like married again to my wife so that we can hire him. I actually get it.
We do a Valmeyer Newell’s as well. Yeah. Donya. No divorce videos yet. But. Yeah. But over the years, you know, we started people start asking, well, do you do commercials too? It’s like, well I can but I don’t. And so we create another brand to do commercial works on her. And now actually we’re doing way more commercial corporate stuff than weddings. So that’s really how we spend most of our time. And when I say we, I’m talking about my wife, Danny and I, it’s a husband and wife business. So that’s great.
So when we talk about storytelling and I know you and I have had lots of conversations about storytelling and the importance of it, you know, why does it matter? Why is storytelling important to not only what we do at AP media, but just in general? Why is storytelling matter?
Well, hasn’t mankind always been interested in telling stories so no matter what it is? No. I never talked about AP in media or wedding videos or commercials. I believe that story is the ultimate element of creating compelling content. You can have the best care in the world. You have beautiful actors that arrive on time. But if you have no story yet, it’s empty. It’s an absolutely empty. And you can never use technology in the place of story because it only gets you so far down the road.
Yeah. And I totally agree with you. Like, this is how mankind has been sharing information from the beginning. Storytelling. You know, before there was written language, before we able to communicate in that way, we passed things along generationally in families sharing their traditions. Storytelling is still potent and powerful.
And we read about that in the Bible when God instructs the Israelites to pass down the stories about them being rescued out of Egypt and other things through the generations to their kids and then their kids pass it down to their kids. And so it’s it’s a powerful tool, but the tools change.
Oh, yeah. The tools change. But store remains. Yes. And we never want to lose sight of this story, because when you start to lose the story or forget about it amongst all the different tools, you’ve already you’ve already been defeated.
Hollywood, anyone here, like clearly they were just trying out a new computer animation technique. Clearly, they were just trying to show off the actors ability here. And they they time you the story. Yeah, the story again, not what it should.
And yes. Yeah, it’s hard to see.
So so talking about the changing tools, because you’re right, the tools do change in this industry, especially at the moment is is changing really fast. We’re going from what we saw 40, 50 years ago where cameras were expensive and lighting equipment expensive. And like we will talk about, Hollywood is the gatekeeper for a lot of content to a day in time where you can go out to your big box store and buy a camera and you can put your stuff on YouTube. How is the industry changing and then how does story still fall into that and make a difference?
It’s funny because when I got in the video industry like 15 years ago.
I use the word or term Hollywood as like a far off distant thing that we could never grab. But what has changed over the course of the last 50 years is the technology has been enhanced so much that now we can do. We? Yeah. US little guys in Indiana could do the same thing that Hollywood can do. Hollywood’s come to us, right? Yes, right. We have the power of Hollywood now. So that enables us to not just allow Hollywood to set the pace, but we have the power now to choose what Hollywood is.
And I think the more we go forward, the more that’s gonna happen. The power comes back to the real people rather than the corporate world. I’m so excited to be part of that movement. Story is so important. One of my bigger commercial clients, we shot his wedding back in 2011. And, you know, he.
He watched his dad. He was like, oh, yeah. Wedding video or whatever. He watched this video. He was amazed with how that’s that video. That story was created really. Right, right under his nose.
Is his wedding we’re talking about. This is a wedding. Yeah. So after he got his wedding video, he said, hey, I have a couple businesses.
Can you make some commercials for me? Because he saw something special that he wasn’t getting from Hollywood because it was all the smoke and mirrors and not what we gave him was something real. He wanted to have the realness that he wasn’t getting from Hollywood.
Right. He was wanting somebody. If I’m understanding you correctly, he was wanting someone who could do more than just set the gear up and hit the record button. But he was looking for a story teller. Right. He was looking for someone who not only knew how to use the tools, but knew how to tell a compelling story.
Because story has depth to it. It should have depth. Who when all your your bells and whistles of technology. Yeah. It enables the story to be created and preserved. The story can be as deep as you as you want it to be. And really, the deeper it is, the more compelling the content is.
So, yeah, the content has to be compelling. And we’re seeing a lot on YouTube of people who have great equipment. And honestly, they have a talent for using that equipment. You know, cameras, drones, lighting, all that stuff. But yet the story is still lacking. And you can kind of when you look at a video on YouTube or on wherever you name it, you can kind of tell if it’s going to be engaging and a good story. And then you can kind of tell if it’s not going to be pretty quickly. And, you know, I think of specifically the you know, it’s really flashy and fast edits and the music maybe is really, really fast paced. And they’ve got beautiful shots, but there isn’t much substance below the surface. And, you know, I think that, you know, you guys correct me if I’m wrong that there’s a lot of that out there and that’s creating a lot of noise for the industry.
It is noise. It’s visual pollution. It it is. Yeah. And I get it. You know, sometimes you only have a few seconds to sell a product or whatever.
So smoke and mirrors and and bells and whistles will get you there. But if you have a platform where you have the element of time and someone is willing to give you some of their time to sit down and say, entertain me or tell me a story or change my mind, that’s really where where we shine is.
If you’re willing to listen to story, we’ll deliver it. And that’s often the biggest issue, isn’t necessarily that. The story’s not being told that people nowadays are often even willing to sit and listen to a story, which is why people aren’t even opening their Bibles nowadays.
Yeah, it’s a story book. But you know, people don’t read their Bibles as much as they could or should.
It takes time and it takes you dedicating the EP, making the effort and dedicate the time to do it.
Call Hollywood or whatever. There is a lot of noise. And the problem is it’s like junk food.
It’s yeah, you know, we love to have a Snickers bar or whatever or an ice cream cone. But if you eat ice cream for every meal, your bodies can start to in a rebell. Yeah, it’s the same way with junk food, TV and movies and music. You face Lutfullah that you think you’re getting fall, right?
You have the sensation of fall, but you’re getting fat and fat and your teeth are rotting out. Yes. Does the same thing with your brain with with that content.
Right. And you think about what people have done even with the Bible story, which is rich and compelling, is they think if we just strip all that out and and I think you look at specifically what Hollywood has done to biblical stories.
Right. Christian Bale with the Exodus movie. Right. They stripped out the heart of it, thinking that that moviegoers are only really interested in the the bells and whistles and with the action sequences and the special effects, now that the Bible has the most compelling stories to tell you, don’t let the tools and and the special effects distract from it.
And I think when as we’ve created these two series following the science and searching for King, we’ve realized that even more than maybe we realized before that man, you read the story of David and Goliath in its entirety. That is as much an action story as anything you’re going to find. And I mean, those stories were throughout the Bible. And if people really stopped and chewed on those stories, they would be like, wow, this is way better than anything. Hollywood can put out all the political intrigue.
Right. It’s not just like David transitioning into Solomon. There’s there’s people trying to usurp the throne and the trials going on. And if people would just take the time to invest in that. And what we’re trying to do with Appian Media is, yes, we’re trying to attract them or get their attention with quality crafted video. But we’re we’re trying to get them reinvested in these compelling stories. Absolutely.
And I proclaim to because we worked on some projects together, and David and Goliath was one of the stories that we tried to bring to life.
Yeah. But I still when I open up my paper bound Bible and I read the full story, I’m I’m more compelled than anything I’ve ever seen onscreen that relates to that story. There’s something about just how it’s written and preserved for us. Yeah. So, you know, we’re not trying to be a distraction to that, but we’re where the people are. The people are you know, they’re always looking at a scream. If we can take that and say, here’s something worthwhile, here’s something that’s going to benefit you now the rest of your life. And then the life to come. So it’s all about getting people back to the word and not replacing it.
Right? Well. And we did that with the Valley of Elah. You remember we got very in Jeremy in the Valley. And what did we have them do?
We read and read it. Right. It was emotional. Yes. And I think we all can sit here and say that we look at the Bible in a new light after seeing some of these places.
And it’s powerful and it’s emotional. And I know that there are passages that I read in the Bible that I’m like, I don’t have the same feelings as I used to have. And I think that’s kind of in a little way. What we’re trying to do with everybody that watches AP me as content is change the way they view some of these places. So so I want to talk a little bit about social media, because that has a huge impact on storytelling and honestly just the industry as a whole. How has social media changed your business and how do you think social media has impacted what AP media is doing?
Actually, I just got back. Danny and I were was shot a wedding on Cape Cod.
How many times during that trip you hear someone says, what were you guys from? You don’t sound like us with the Boston accent. It’s like, well, from Indiana, they flew us and we’re going back tomorrow. Like, how did they find you?
And sometimes I’d never know how to have an answer that because the power of the Internet enables me sitting and Greencastle, Ind., and I can have people find it to the coast all the time for work because if you make a good piece of content.
And you send it out on the Internet. You never know who’s going to watch it. So that’s the power of the Internet. Is it? It is an outlet. It enables us to, you know, send our projects out.
When I first got in the wedding video industry, I had a stack of DVD at my desk.
Someone through the Web site. They couldn’t watch our work on the Web site because this was pre YouTube. And so wrap your brain around that one. I’m selling a product that you can’t see unless I mail it. Wow, that was horrible. Remember, that’s but humble beginnings that make us thankful for the technology that exists today. There’s no excuse to not have your content in front of people anymore. I’m so, so grateful to have that. And in a certain way, I look back at the old cutting room floors and the dark rooms and all these crazy things that people had to do to make content.
And now I just kept a camera, reusable media.
And once you buy a camera, it can give you thousands and thousands of dollars worth of work. The technology is amazing. But, you know, the Internet, social media, if you make a good product for someone, a business or a bride and groom, what do they do with it? They don’t keep it to themselves. They share it. Yeah. And they share it with the world. Sometimes, you know, I’m friends with brides and grooms that we work with. And, you know, they share your wedding video. So, you know, you go look at the comments and think, what are people saying about our work or whatever?
But then you’ll see the same person inquire because they’re getting married next year or someone that sees a video on Facebook and they say, hey, I was on the dentist or whatever, have commercial stuff, too. It’s it’s absolutely amazing what’s before us yet.
Really, the stage is set for Christians to use these things. You know, YouTube has been created, use it in social media networks.
They’re changing. Right. Some are going to the wayside. Some are taking their place. But they’re there. Use them. And that’s really what what fired Stu and I about this originally was the tools are right in front of us. They’re easily accessible. And the distribution methods are are right there in front of us. All we have to do is produce quality, biblically accurate content and set it out on those roadways and not be afraid, because I think there’s a lot of fear in that.
Like, you know, we think about what the transitions that a lot of churches are going to like.
Can we show video right now? It’s like it’s a it’s twenty four pictures. A second it with sound. Of course you can.
There’s nothing wrong with it. So, you know, I’m always trying to remove the fear from whatever situation is, whether it’s on a set or, you know, for for churches to take the plunge and and decide that, you know what? We can’t put our sermons online week. We can have Bible classes that show video. There’s there’s just no reason not to.
Yeah. No, it is. So, you know, we’re going to take a quick break. When we come back, we’re going to talk about what the recipe is for good storytelling and give our audience a few tips about how they can produce some good story. But we want to stop and take a break and talk about one boat rescue boats.
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So real quick, in the few minutes that we have left, let’s talk about the recipe for a good story. Let’s cook up something in Jet’s kitchen. And you know, how is AP media using that?
Sprinkle it with a little bit. A shwarma spice. Absolutely. Some shwarma spice and lots of swamis.
Yeah. Well, you know, I think what’s maybe most important for us is, is not to lose sight of the story that exists. It’s not that we are creating the story to tell. The story is already there. It’s already in our books. It’s been there for two thousand years.
You know, don’t reinvent the wheel.
So I think for us, when we’re we’re telling stories about, you know, Bible people. I don’t I usually like to use the word Bible characters. Because when we talk about story in a fictional play, they’re not characters. These are real people. Jesus is not a character that is portrayed in the storybooks. These are real stories. These are real events that happened. So it’s really about turning the light, the spotlight on those people. Giving them an opportunity for their stories to be told. I think that’s the most important thing that we can do, is to not let ourselves get in the way of the story and not lose sight of it.
Yeah, no, I think you’re absolutely right. And, you know, I think I’m always thankful for the fact that we we may be the content creators, we may be the ones that are doing the storytelling. But really, it’s not original content, not where we’re going straight to the pages of the Bible and sharing this with people through the medium that we know really well doesn’t that that takes a huge weight off my shoulder.
Right. You know, will this resonate with people? Well, as long as residents claim justice. Yeah, yeah. We know that the gospel is the key thing that will resonate with people. So all we have to do is is do our our humble part to do that story.
Is presented in. Isn’t that kind of what the gospel does? Right. It takes the pressure off of you when you say you’re trying to evangelize to share the gospel. You don’t have to have all the right things to say because you just have to let the gospel speak for you. Right. And if you can help someone say here’s a Bible in your Bible. Open up your Bible. Say, here’s a story of a man that died for you that paid for your sins. All you have to do is point to that. It’s not your story. It’s not your gospel. It’s good news of Jesus Christ. So that’s for me as a storyteller in the visual world. When you talk about, you know, Bible ends and trying to tell stories of Bible, people just get out of the way of it. Yeah. Don’t don’t create a blockade. Right. Right. And don’t try to make it something. It’s not because it is compelling enough. You just need to highlight it.
And I think that God has created us with the ability to use our talents to compel people through the Bible. He’s given us the creative ability. We need to use it to tell the story of the Bible. And I think, you know, oftentimes it’s easy to forget that God’s the ultimate creator. And he created us and he gave us the ability to do this and tell these stories. And so I think that’s what we need to do. So, you know, lastly, I want us to talk a little bit about how we’ve harnessed that power to tell good stories, because that’s what AP media is doing, is where we’re taking the Bible and we’re using those good stories to harness power and share with the world. So what do you think about them?
I think about the story that we chose to tell first. Oh, yeah. Right. Right. Maybe that’s a good way to start the discussion is we started with Jesus. And part of that, I’ll just speak frankly. Part of that was we didn’t know at the beginning if this was the only thing we were going to get to. That’s is true. Right. Right.
We didn’t know if the next year they would be funding for it. We didn’t know what was if we got one shot at this. Yeah, we want people to know Jesus.
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s it’s cliche, but there’s no better way to say it. It is the greatest story ever told. Yeah. Because it’s the thing that everyone needs to hear.
Yeah, I know. You think. I think you’re absolutely right. So I think that was a good place to start. And that’s heart, meat and the power of the story of Jesus. It doesn’t get bigger than that. The love that he had for us. And it’s yeah, it’s amazing. So we’re kind of wrapping up anything else that you can think of in regards to storytelling.
But this is really big. And put this on you leave our audience with something that they can take away with storytelling.
You know, I guess I just go back to what we’re talking about is allow the Bible to speak for you. I would say the Bible doesn’t need you.
But it does need you to get in front of people. So whatever avenue you have, whatever you’re good at. You know, here we’re doing a podcast. We’re trying to get get some messages out today. Whatever you are good at. Do it with all your might, but allow the Bible to speak. Allow the Bible to flow through you. I think that’s it’s very important. Don’t be afraid. Do not fear as the most common command that Jesus offered when he was on earth. Do not fear. Do not be angels yet. We’re so fearful. We’re fearing people. Right. And so don’t be afraid. Get out there. Go and do go and do it. Allow the Bible to speak for itself.
I can agree more. So we’re gonna wrap this one up and in-roads is a production of AP and Media. We’re a non-profit video production company that is 100 percent crowdfunded. So if you’re interested in learning more about how you can support AP media and watch our great free content, please visit our Web site. You can find us at Appian Media dot org slash inroads jet. It’s been good having you here. I think we’re going to have you back for us again. Let’s do this again. The loud mitha. So coming up next in our podcast, we’re gonna take a look deep dive into the creative process for following the Messiah specific.
And kind of give people a pull back the curtain a little bit and give people a view of what it took to make found the Messiah, because it’s a pretty interesting story. So that’s coming up on the next podcast for Inroads.