OtherOEN Sponsor Spotlight: Tall Palms Creative and the Power of Video Storytelling

We love our new brand video and wanted to introduce the creative talent behind it — Nate Kalaf from Tall Palms Creative — and find out a little bit more about why video storytelling is becoming such an important medium for companies, especially startups! If you like what you see, check out Tall Palms Creative

Q: You recently worked with OEN to create our new brand video – which, by the way, we love! Tell us about your approach to digital/video storytelling and what sets you apart?
A: Thank you! I think the approach I take to digital storytelling is very similar to being a fly-on-the-wall. I believe that authenticity matters more than anything else when trying to portray the candidness of an environment or the personalities of people I talk to, and that really happens when you don’t try to force too much of the scene by “over-directing” a room or scripting a conversation to get word-for-word responses. So where my talents set me apart is in how I try to prepare to be unprepared; to let the person I’m interviewing tell me what the story is. It takes a lot of empathy to go that route, but I look at being able to sit down and talk with many different people from many different walks of life as one of the best parts of the job. During projects, if I can dial in on that main thought or idea that will be the story’s lead, the rest usually takes care of itself.

OEN Brand Video: The heart of our entrepreneurial community from OEN on VimeoCreated & produced by Tall Palms Creative.

Q: Why should an entrepreneur or startup consider creating a video and what advice would you give them about where and how to start?
A: I think an entrepreneur should consider creating a video if they feel their story is one of the things that sets them apart from the competition. It’s a great way to give people a look into the processes, products, and people that make up your organization, and it’s powerful when done properly. When thinking about where to start, it’s important to not feel like you have to get everything across all at once, and in one video. Write a couple of leads for your company’s story, and go from there.

Q: How did you get into video production?
A: When I was getting ready to sign up for my first high-school classes back in Florida, somebody mentioned you needed to pick a couple of electives. I always loved going to movies growing up, so I picked a mass media class taught by Mrs. Kautz. She had come from the broadcast news industry and had actually been able to build us a small-scale working studio and newsroom to learn the craft with. Something clicked once I picked up a camera to do my first project–I pretty much knew I had found a craft I wanted to learn to master. That urge hasn’t gone away yet, so I’m always trying to learn new techniques and approaches while refining what I work on.

Q: Why is video such a great medium to tell a story or communicate a message and where do you see it going?
A: I’ve come to realize that video’s greatest strengths are in the way you can compose a story the way an orchestra composes a crescendo. You can bring in so many different elements that are all building together to leave the audience with a visceral experience that goes deeper than what you can feel just reading about it.

I think the most interesting developments I’m seeing are in the way we can now interface with video. It used to be all video came from a standalone box with limited interaction and connectivity to the environment around it–now we are seeing a complete explosion in different ways to let the user touch, sort, manipulate, and consume media. What museums are doing to enhance exhibits with iPad apps or touch-displays that play custom content depending on what you are looking at is one great example of this. I can’t wait to see the day when I can get one of those transparent screens with the advanced gesture interaction depicted in the movie Minority Report, though.

Q: During your work on OEN’s video, did you learn anything you didn’t know about our work to help entrepreneurs?
A: I definitely didn’t realize how much connectedness to other groups and organizations OEN offers. I was one of those out there that thought OEN focused on a particular type of entrepreneur, so I was interested in the fact that OEN can act as a great interface to finding the right person to talk to at the right time for that particular person or startup.

Q: You’re not only a videographer but also an entrepreneur. Can you share any ideas that you’re percolating at the moment?
A: Being involved with digital media has me staring at a screen or through a viewfinder for most of my day, so I always relish the moments where I can take a coffee break and have a conversation with others face-to-face. So, I’ve started learning a bit more about product design and what makes a great cup of coffee in hopes that I can build something that leads to a better coffee experience. The thought of making something that doesn’t need a wi-fi connection to use is my attempt at balancing the hyper-connected world we are now a part of, and coffee is a great way to disconnect.

Q: What’s your favorite video or movie – and why?
A: Hands down, it is Saving Private Ryan. When I talk about video allowing for a visceral experience, that is the film that I think of. It was the first time I felt completely engulfed by a film, and since my grandfather was a tank operator that landed on those same beaches, it meant much more to me to experience a shred of what he did through Steven Spielberg’s vision.

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