January 18, 2020
Cinema Crunch Ep 127: Narrative Advertising Online

Cinema Crunch Ep 127: Narrative Advertising Online

– Welcome to this
episode of Cinema Crunch. My name is Rose Donahue,
and we are filming at the Quantum Arc Media
Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada. Video content is very
useful in advertising. Today we’ll be specifically
talking about how to create advertising opportunities
within a narrative format. My guest today is director
and producer Maud Lazzerini. – Hi! – Hello, welcome! I loved that little, “Hi.” Love that, great start. So, director and producer. Did I leave anything off for you? I know those are your main things. – Writer. – You’re a writer, yes. Okay, very cool. Which I’m sure was helpful in the projects that you’ve worked on, whether they’re yours or other people’s. – Yes, of course it was. And, as a director, you
always wanna be involved in the writing process to be
sure you get everything right, and you direct it the best
way, so, yes, always helpful. – Very cool. And how did you first
get into the industry? – So, the usual way, I guess. Film school, then short films, then film festival with the short film, and then full-time work. – Phenomenal. (laughs) Love that. And you’ve primarily been based in Paris. – Yes. – And you’re in Las Vegas now. – Yes. – So I wanted to talk a little
bit about some of your work from your time in France. Specifically, “Le Latte
Chaud” and “Mam’s”, which, to translate, I don’t speak French, but I was very happy
Google Translate exists, “The Hot Latte” and “Mom’s”. So it seemed like, I did watch a couple of the
episodes of both of them, and I really liked that it
had a cinematic look to it even though it was a YouTube show. – Yes, I really wanted that. That was the deal. – That was the deal. (laughs) Well that’s good! That’s good. – Yes, yes. – So they’re both YouTube
shows, YouTube channels. – Yes. – Which one did you start with? – “Le Latte Chaud”. – Okay. – Yeah, it was the
first one I started with right after touring with my
short films in festivals. And it was a new channel, the idea was put all the
best female YouTube artists and do something that was
a little bit more feminine. And so, first it started
as like a fake late show. So, “Latte Chaud”, late show. – Love that. (laughing) That is so fun. – And then we turned
more to doing fiction, short films, web series, and all. – Yeah. So, they were all the
lead French YouTube stars. – Yes, the first YouTube
artists that are female. All girls. – Yeah. – So, lifestyle, comedy, different types. – And there were about five artists. – Yeah, there were five. – I have Juliette, Lea,
Nathalie, Marjorie, Audrey. I don’t want to butcher their last names, but I can include them
in our copy. (laughs) – Yes, it’s fine. – So how did you get connected
with them, to get started? – So, the short film I’ve made in Paris, the last one was purchased by a company that was called O Film, and that company started
doing YouTube video when YouTube basically
started to be big in France. So, they worked with
Natoo, she’s Nathalie. She’s the biggest YouTube
female artist in France. And then we produced a
couple of videos for her, when she needed production
for bigger YouTube videos, and then that’s how,
when she started to do “Le Latte Chaud”, I was in. – That’s very cool.
– Yeah, it was fun. – And when you started “Le Latte Chaud”, were you planning on
creating these sponsorship and advertising opportunities
from the beginning, or did that kind of develop
as the show unfolded? – That’s always the idea,
because, behind this channel, there’s an agency that’s put
their money in, basically, for the first months and that’s
what the agencies expect. For us it’s a bit different, because we want to do what we want to do. (Rose laughs) If we have friends, that means that the
channel can keep on going, but that was not our goal, it’s just a way to finance it.
– Sure. – For the agencies and
production companies. – So you guys were in it
for the creative aspect. – Yes. – Telling cool, interesting stories, making people laugh, making people cry. – Yes, and of something
that was all female-driven, which was, you know, not really the case. At that time it was like,
2015, and everybody was mostly guys making fart jokes on camera. (both laughing) – Classic. – So we wanted to do
just, you know, be girls making fart jokes I guess.
– Yeah! – You know, just make a difference. – Definitely. So, were you guys just working
off of the agency’s funding for the first month or, few months? – Yes. – What did the timeline look like? – So, we started shooting in July. I started working with them in July, and I think our first deal
with money was January. No, maybe October, actually. October, but it was a small one. And then the biggest
brand came in January. – Okay.
– So yes, a few months. – Yeah, okay, so a few
months on spec or whatever. – Yes, yes, it’s basically
it’s for you to have at least 200,000 followers
so the brands know that they can have that many views. – [Rose] Okay. – Yeah, it was a bit
different with “Mam’s”, because it was about
parenting, motherhood. – Kind of a different audience? – Yes, so we didn’t need that
many followers, actually, because it’s such a niche. Like you know, it’s very specific and we had no competition online, so it was way easier to
have brands follow us. – Interesting. So, when you started “Mam’s”, was it, did you have brands
involved from the beginning, or was it also– – No, not at all. We first did like a web series, like a real web series
and not a YouTube channel. You know, short, five
to six minute episodes for a few months, and everything was written down, it was like, a beginning
and end to the season. And the deal was really just to do it, and see what happens next, and next some friends followed, and we were able to make a, you know, to make a living out of
this YouTube channel. – That’s great. I know it’s a medium
where people can actually make a profit.
– Yes. – It’s an interesting,
really, and it’s new. – Yes, yes. And it’s interesting
because you’re going to have some YouTube artists who
are actually going to make millions very easily, and some others who are going to struggle for months with no money at all, and others that are going to
make 20 grand for one thing, and it’s going to be
enough for a few months. – Yeah. – So it’s definitely, not everybody’s on the
same scale, or same level, which was the case with “Le Latte Chaud”, because we had very big YouTube artists, and the other one was just like big enough to be a little bit
famous on the YouTube scene, but not that huge, so they were not like, even themselves making the same money. – Oh, okay, got it, yeah yeah. – (Rose agrees) on social media, because she has millions of followers, so it’s different. – Yeah, so you had those five actresses, so even within those five
there’s stratification on where people were financially, yeah. When it came to… So, the agency was funding it, you guys were making art, then the brands came in, how did the brands
purchasing this creative work slash advertising space from you guys interact with you writing your stories? Did they have specific parameters of what they needed to
see in that episode? – Yes, of course they did, and part of our work was actually to tell them that no, you
don’t need to do it this way, because, for instance, we work
with a French brand that’s, I don’t know, maybe close to
Target, or something like that, just, you know, a superstore, and it was their first time
working with YouTube artists, and they had no idea how to do it. So they just wanted their
brand to be in every shot. And we had to make them
understand that it was there, because there were all like,
shirts that they all had, you know, with the name tag and stuff, so it was there all the
time, but it was enough. But it was a process to
make them understand that people don’t want to see
product placement as advertising as much as that. It doesn’t need to look like a commercial. Our audience is going to feel betrayed, and it’s never going to work out, either for us or for the brand. They’re just basically,
as I told you before, brainwashing. – (laughs) Right, okay. – Trying to be subtle, not too subtle, but you know, the product is here, the video is obviously sponsored, but the story is not about
making advertising for the brand. There’s an entire story and it’s just– – And the brand’s part of the story. – Exactly. – It’s a character in the story. – In that case, the brand was just the place where it was happening. They were all playing, you know, cashiers, employees of the supermarket, and that was it, and that was enough. – Yeah. So the audience watching
could see the brand, see the celebrities
interacting with the brand, but it wasn’t like, “Go here! Go here! Go shopping here!” – Never. The name was never mentioned
once, for instance. – Interesting. – You could read it, many times, but it was never mentioned. To me this was one of our most successful product placements, and the brand was actually great, because it was a bit like, “Look at this, this is it, “we’re sponsoring this, it’s amazing.” So just needed to be, to make it work with the story. – Yeah. What were some other techniques you used to subtly promote products like that? So it wasn’t an obvious ad. Things like reading a
name tag, or a location, what were some other ways of doing that? – Yeah, so, well, depending on the brand, because there are some brands that are very hard to place. We did one for a game
that was from Hasbro, I have no idea how you say it in English, but it’s the game where you
put something in your mouth, and you try to say names – Oh, it’s like a big thing? – Exactly. – I don’t know what it’s
called, but I’ve seen adverts. – It’s (speaks French) in French. And, well, how do you
place that in fiction? (Rose laughs) It’s pretty specific, so. – Yeah. – This one, we just went
for it, we were like “Okay, they’re playing a game
and there’s an earthquake.” And that was not… It’s a cute-looking video, but that was not our most
successful product placement because it was very hard to place, and the brand also had some restrictions, like they wanted the name of the game in the title of the video, so that’s a further thing that’s just like (cutting noise) – [Rose] Too obvious. – Too obvious. The followers are going to hate it. Even if it’s a young crowd, they just don’t want to be taken as fools. – [Rose] Right. – So, yeah. – And the game itself is an obvious game, so it’s not really a subtle nod. (laughs) – And it was everywhere on TV, so it’s very hard to place subtly. – So how would you guys
gauge the success of how one of your videos went? Did the sponsors have the
statistics and report back to you, did you collect statistics
and report back to them? – The marketing agency
we were working with was collecting the statistics, and basically it’s also
the number of views. When they see, like, three
million views within weeks, they’re just super happy, even if sometimes it doesn’t
mean that they’re going to– – Actually get sales? – Yes. But I mean, you know,
it’s a very cheap way for them to actually reach an audience, in that case a younger audience, because when you put an
ad on TV you’re unsure if actually this target
audience is going to watch it. With a YouTube channel you are, and it’s worth three million views on TV, for that small money because
it’s really not the same price as a commercial. It’s good for them. – Yeah, that’s great. So who were the other key players? You had the YouTube actresses just because they had the following already, then you were producing,
writing and directing, who were the other key
players to make it happen? – We also had a few
writers working for us, and writing different things, and also the actresses were
writing their own stuff. Behind it we had the company, which was called, at the time, (mumbles), and that was bought by a bigger
company called (mumbles). And basically it’s like,
everything that goes online. So big websites, marketing, all that, and that was the one taking
care of the YouTuber. Like a talent agency, but the idea is to make money
out of it by having brands, wanting to work with them all the time. – Okay, so they were managing that. – [Maud] Yes. – Very cool. And then, what were some different
things working on “Mam’s” compared to “Le Latte Chaud”? – Well, first it was very different because we had no one famous. The idea was really to
have real actresses, and the “influencers”
doing, you know, blogs, about motherhood, but we are not big YouTube stars
with millions of followers. So it was really like
starting from scratch, which I love because it’s more freedom. – Yeah. – And for me, more control, I was basically the boss. (laughs) – [Rose] Nice. – I loved it, it was great. More creative, too, because
we didn’t have, you know, anything to do, not to respect
what the brand tells you. When people have a lot of followers they’re also going to worry all the time, like, are my followers going to like this? Is this too different from what I do? So sometimes it’s extremely tricky, to work with especially
five different influencers. – Yeah. – With five different
audiences, completely, because they didn’t do the
same kind of videos at all. – Okay, yeah. – So to make it work
together sometimes it’s just, yes, a headache. – Right, one person might think, “This is too quirky for me!” “This is too feminine for me!” “This is too sporty for me!” – All the time. So this is why in the
end we ended up doing sometimes an episode
with only three of them, because only three of them
wanted to do that episode. And sometimes just one, you know, because no one else
really liked it for them, and for their audience. So it was a lot of restraint,
working for “Le Latte Chaud”, and “Mam’s” was just pure freedom. – Do whatever! – Especially at the beginning, because we had no expectations about it. So we could be very politically
incorrect all the time. (Rose laughs) – No one would care, no one would mind. – That was fun. – That’s great. Did you have some type of
agency involved with “Mam’s”? – Same company. – Same agency, okay, got it, cool. So they just kept coming back to you. – Yeah I basically worked for
them exclusively for like, three years and a half. – [Rose] Oh, awesome. – I was their only female filmmaker, so everything that was
female-driven content, because these were the
two YouTube channels I did but I also directed for other YouTubers, every time, you know,
this brand is going to work with this YouTube artist, so, “Do you want to do that?” Because, well, “she’s a girl!” (laughter) Basically that’s what happens, so. – So you were the female contact. – Yes, exactly. – All the girl stuff. – If it’s female driven… – Maud’s got it. Interesting. – So I directed more than
120 videos with them, and I think there’s only
three that I’ve made with YouTube artists who are male. – Wow. Wow, yeah, definitely niche. – Definitely, yes. (laughter) – So you’ve worked with lots
of different performers, would you say there’s a strong difference between actors and influencers? – Huge. – [Rose] Yeah? – Huge. Well, for the same reason, also, they’re going to be so
worried about their audience that sometimes they’re
way harder to direct. And because they don’t come
from the movie background, the behavior on set
can be quite different. They could just, you’re shooting, and they stop a shot and be like, “Wait! Let’s do a Snap!” And you know, just being like, yes, when you have an entire crew behind, and you’re already three hours late, maybe it was two hours late this morning, yeah, it’s way more challenging. And, you know, acting has, you learn how to act, and this wasn’t the case, so everything has changed. To me it was the best school because now I think that I could work with everybody. – Right, you’re ready
for anything. (laughs) – Exactly. – Even if it is an actor
who is maybe a little new, or maybe a little overconfident, you’re ready for it. – Yes. Even, I worked with a
very young YouTube artist, she was just getting started, but she was like 16, and it was her first time being directed, so working with the
girls before helped a lot just to help her, you
know, be comfortable, and how to manage to
talk to her so she can actually get what I’m asking
her without being too, like, “Do that, do this.” Because this is basically
how I was before, less of a diplomat, for sure. You know, being more like, “This is what I want, can we do that?” Now I’m just never saying
this is what I want, I’m just bringing them to understand what’s best for the video. – (laughs) Love that. Yes. Integrated the subtleties in life, to your life, to your videos, across the board. – “Mam’s” was very different because most of them were actresses, so. – So it was a little easier. – Easier. – (laughs) Easier. And yeah, I think there’s a lot of people that don’t fully understand what it takes to run a production, keeping the schedule, and, you know, if you change
the call time for one person, it’s going to affect everyone, all that stuff. – And that also makes complete sense because people who started
online just as a hobby, and just filming themself
on their computer, or iPhone, and editing themself, so they know exactly what to do, and also they’re the
writer of the content, so they have, you know. – Right, they’re very independent. – Yes, they have full control of anything, and all of a sudden you ask
them to play a character that they have never played, because they are always themselves, so, you know, it’s very different. I had one of the artists, she never wanted to look ugly on camera, and one time she got hit by a car, that was the plot. But she didn’t want to look
ugly after being hit by a car. – Okay. (laughs) – So, no blood. – No bruises. – I was like, “Oh my god.” So it’s, it can be tough. – Everyone has their limits. – Yeah. (laughter) But it is different, for sure. – Yeah. So what has been some of
your greatest take-aways from creating content specifically
for online distribution? – Well, first was really
the quantity of it, because I was basically producing, writing and directing a video per week, because that’s what we were,
you know, distributing, one video a week. – Oh, wow, okay. – So it was a lot. – That’s a lot. – Because you know, as you said, they were quite cinematic looking, so we tried to do our best all the time. But definitely to work on that time frame, and with so many restraints, like budget, and crew, and brands when they were involved. And just to, you know, keep doing it, and never stopping, and find a way to make it work. Like, how to shoot 80 shots in half a day, but you just have to do it! – Yeah. Just got to make it happen. – Yes. – Did you have, like, a rehearsal Monday, shooting Tuesday, post-production Wednesday… – No, not at all, never. – [Rose] Never. (laughs) – Sometimes they will just be on set and have no idea what we are shooting. Never read the script. – Just go for it. – Yeah! – Hey! – And you just have to make it work. Definitely a very good
way to learn how to edit the best way. You know, to keep it dynamic,
even if there’s like– – Quick. – Exactly, so even if the
acting some days are off, because, you know, someone doesn’t know their
lines well or whatever, you just have to make it
look as if it’s perfect, just by very quick edit. – Nice. Very cool. Well honestly, this conversation has gone so much faster than I thought it would, I have so much more I want to talk about, but we’ll just have to find another time. Before we wrap up, where can people find out
more about you and your work? – Yes, so, here in town
I have a company called Glitz Entertainment, and we’re online we have a website, www.glitzent.com, and on social media it’s
Glitz Entertainment LV. – Phenomenal. Well thank you so much. – Thank you! – Loved having you here today. And thank you all for tuning in to this episode of Cinema Crunch, again we are filming at the
Quantum Arc Media Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada, I’m your host, Rose Donahue, and we’ll catch you next time.

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