The Art of Making Videos – Part 3: Useful links and free resources

And so we end the week with the third and final part of ‘The Art of Making Videos’ series, here at the Audiences London blog. To catch up on Part 1 (The Basic Rules) click here, and to catch up on Part 2 (How to distribute your video) click here. This series has only touched the surface of producing video content for your organisation, and I hope that it has encouraged you to be creative with your resources. Today, I’ll be providing you with handy links to some free service providers who can help you further with producing video content.


Miro Video Converter, free software that converts video into mobile and other platforms

Miro Player, provides free video player software

Universal Subtitles, subtitling resource for YouTube

Boosey & Hawkes, offer affordable back-music for videos


 IT4Arts, helps UK not-for-profit arts organizations manage their IT effectively

Openmute, a web resource project aiming to support cultural practice in the information age


Somethin’ Else, a cross-platform media company producing work for radio, digital media and branded content.

Evolve or Die? ITC shakes up our thinking

At a packed Independent Theatre Council conference in Tuesday we answered the call to discuss the timely issue of seeking alternative funding sources or models in these times of cuts and gloom. The title was deliberately provocative; and we all giggled nervously as we considered on which side of the divide we would fall.

The challenge of the title carried on through initial presentations by Dawn Austwick of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, ACE’s Althea Efunshile and Lorna Brown of Nalgao – and on through the afternoon’s breakout sessions.

 The clear messages of the day were:

  •   Cuts are here, don’t pretend they’re not.
  •   Arguing that ‘the arts’ per se are a special case and should be protected will not win any sympathy – indeed, quite the opposite – in the minds of the greater public.
  • Concepts such as the ‘Big Society’, a shrinking public sector and the cuts themselves are aimed at fundamentally changing our society, a paradigm shift. How can we frame what we do in the context of these ideologies? How do we ensure our values and ideas become part of the concept?
  • We can no longer be a ‘growth’ society as we’ve been used to – forever doing more. We need to learn to do less, better.
  • Big scale philanthropy may kick in, but not for a few years yet.
  • We need to prepare our minds for working with lower budgets – and not just a ‘keep doing what we do but squeezing and cutting corners’ mentality. This is a time for radically re-thinking how we structure our organisations, our offer and our relationship. Get creative!
  • Focus on what your core purpose is but also on what your assets are. Are they your building, your brand, your audience and supporters, your ability to create connections or unlock memories…?Image of an audience at Sadler's Wells
  • Keep close to and fully understand your audiences – their needs, desires and perceptions of you. Audiences are still a substantial source of income for many organisations. Now is not the time to cut your communications with them. It’ll also help you understand and respond to your own ‘Big’ community.
  • Collaborate, make partnerships, share and save – maybe even merge. From sharing sets to sharing producers; co-training to giving office space to a smaller company; from co-commissioning audience research to reusing past productions.

For Audiences London’s part, as well as implementing our own new models of working with you, we see ourselves as helping arts organisations collaborate between themselves – through such projects as the newly-established Outer London Venues Audience Development Support project and through the wealth of intelligence from previous joint research projects, available free on our website.

Transparency Rules OK


It’s not going to be an astounding revelation to any of us but Nielsen’s latest Global Online Consumer Survey shows that word of mouth is the most powerful form of communication when it comes to getting people to trust your brand. No fanfares there.

What I think is interesting is the second highest result in this league table of “trusted sources” – ‘Consumer opinions posted online’. The opinions of strangers posted on online forums and review sites are now incredibly powerful portals for gaining consumer trust, and there’s not a thing the brands can do about it! Although I do wonder if this will provoke some corporations into trying to infiltrate the message boards… My advice? Focus on good CRM and values that you believe in and stick to and let the quality of your product shine through, and this fits perfectly well with cultural organisations too. The consumer (audience) is king!

Social Media = PR. Discuss

I was at a great conference yesterday:


Although the event was dominated by corporate PR types, there were some really interesting case studies raised. Craig Elder, Online Communities Editor for the Conservative Party demonstrated that he and his team absolutely understand how social media should be used to get your message out there. I think the essence of this understanding has come from the delicate position of representing a political party – you have to listen to people, not force your message down people’s throats, and that is precisely what was reiterated by several of the speakers:


I was delighted to hear everyone back this up! You wouldn’t barge into a pub and announce at full volume how great your next exhibition is would you? No. Sit down, talk to people, find out what they’re interested and find a way to introduce what you think is of value to them about your brand.

Also, I can Highly recommend Steven Davies’ (no, not that one) blog at, where he’s just posted a copy of the presentation that he gave about Twitter – WTF is Twitter and why should I care? Very useful for you newbies, I’ve just upgraded to TweetDeck, so I’m an expert myself. Read: proper geek now…

There’s so much to say about the conference, why not search for #dontpanic in Twitter – lots of comments were made throughout the day. And while you’re at it , feel free to check out my tweets – emmclean

On my reading list this week…

I’ve heard this book referred to a number of times – by Diane Ragsdale of the Mellon Foundation and also the International Futures Forum: Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales ( – essentially I gather it focuses on looking at survival situations and concludes that those who realise they are lost the quickest are the ones that survive…

And on a different note – Citizen Brands – putting society at the heart of your business by Michael Willmott ie. being a better corporate citizen is the right business call – which seems sensible to me!

Reviews of these will follow! But both seem to have possible applications for surviving in a recesion…