The Lab; Portnoy Media Group Blog


A few weeks ago I asked – Can you say it without words?

This short does just that.

How do you feel right now?

Make sure that emotion is in your next piece of media!


Portnoy Media Group uses the influence of social networks to expand your organization's voice and tell your story. We connect people with your mission and enable your brand to be shared, discovered, and connected. Work with us as we empower your organization to dramatically extend your online presence and increase donations.

Thank You!

It’s December and I’d like to take a moment and recap all that happened this year

2012 started with a bang! We launched The Non-Profit Narrative. On location with Jones Coffee and complete with a photo booth.  And thanks to so many of you, the book has been a real success. Thank you for buying it, talking about it and for your reviews!

This year we continued our work with The United Way of Greater Los Angeles. Last year we worked together to revamp their digital communications and launched a complete rebrand of their website in just 9 days. It wasn’t a lot of sleep but it was a whole lot of good.

First up, we launched a new site for their Home for Good initiative.

This group of business leaders, state officials, faith communities and non-profit partners are moving people off the street and into permanent supportive housing.

We helped to create a video about their first year results and helped recap their conference.

Over the summer it was all about community heroes.

Together, the team from United Way, Double Vision Inc and Portnoy Media Group all worked together to build a profile for a campaign that was dynamic, engaging and a whole lot of fun.

This was a great integration of print and digital, of traditional and new media to create this campaign.

It was incredible to see top executives from LA’s largest corporations getting involved with the campaign and making it their own.

This year we also got to work with Nnamdi Asomugha and created a PSA about the work that he cares about with the children of LA.

We also provided media and the stage production at this years Homewalk. Over 10,000 angelinos raising money for the homeless it was great! With attendees like Mark Valley from Body of Proof and Jon Huertes from Castle – Homewalk was a star studded community event!

We coordinated cameras, created the production visuals and covered the event. Homewalk is a great event that helps a lot of people but it doesn’t hurt when Kobe Bryant is the honorary chairman.

In the late summer and fall we partnered with ArcLight Cinemas, incidentally my favorite place to see a movie in the country and produced the Behind the Curtain Series.

First we met Frank an incredible man who loves film and loves to set the stage for the best possible movie going experience.

Next we met the actual man behind the curtain, the director of projection and sound Mr. John Sittig. His decades of knowledge and work with the Hollywood studios makes him a legend! My jaw dropped more than a few times at the stories he told.

This year ended with a big bang of stellar proportions. We worked with The SETI Institute and were able to spend some time talking with TED prize winner Dr. Jill Tarter. and Founder of the institute Dr. Frank Drake.

We worked together on The Communicate campaign

It was a really full and fun year and I can’t be more thankful for all the challenges and the great people that have helped make all of this amazing work happen.


For everyone here at Portnoy Media, I’m Dan Portnoy  Be safe.



[Video] Recap for End of Year Fundraising Tips


Congrats to Chris Girardi for winning a copy of The Non-Profit Narrative Audio Book!

United Way Celebrates Veterans

This past weekend Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other city officials hosted the 1st Annual Veterans Appreciation Day.

United Way of Greater Los Angeles was on hand to celebrate veterans and launch their report and action plan to support 25,000 veterans returning from service.

“United Way has set a goal to cut post-9/11 veteran unemployment in half by 2017″ – Elise Buik

“Given the current state of veteran services, thousands will be unemployed and at risk of poverty or even homelessness, which is why United Way has set a goal to cut post-9/11 veteran unemployment in half by 2017 with a four-pronged strategy that requires a cohesive partnership across all sectors to create a pathway to gainful employment and economic security.” – Elise Buik, CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles

Portnoy Media teamed up with United Way to talk about why they’re involved – check out the video.

Last week the United Way of Greater Los Angeles (UWGLA) launched their 2012 campaign. This was a great project for our team to work on. Starting this past May, we began meeting with UWGLA staff on all of the possibilities that were before them.

A few days in the R&D labs and we had a few options panned out. Next, we worked with Jeff Millican at Double Vision Inc. to take the ideas and direction we were forging into some rough templates on look and tone. I think he really hit the mark and gave us some great options. Lastly, UWGLA staff made a choice and we were off to the races creating this video, a campaign website and full integration across social media platforms.

We’ve got a more complete version of the story in the works that will show you all the pieces as they came together (but you’ll have to be patient for now)

Here’s the video and I’d like to thank everyone who worked on it to make it spectacular. (see for yourself)

Our latest short in the Behind The Curtain Series for ArcLight Cinemas has just released. John and the team at ArcLight have been incredible to work with and we’re big fans of what they do!

Let us know what you think.


Cinerama – Our Time with John Sittig

This past month we spent some time with John Sittig, Director of Projection & Sound for ArcLight Cinemas.

John is the next subject in the Behind the Curtain series for ArcLight and a true wizard. He dropped so much knowledge on us that our heads were spinning. I was thrilled to see the projection rooms, all of the digital technology that currently supports the theaters and also the 35mm and 70mm projectors with a nod to the golden age of Hollywood.

John had so many stories about premieres and big name stars and directors, our team was giddy.  In fact, there was so much information we suggested to ArcLight to cut a few teasers to their Cinerama Festival (it begins this weekend, get tickets here) and they agreed.


Check them out.


Big thanks to the crew:

Producer – Tiffany Johnson
Co-Producer – Jen Fodor
Director of Photography – Ryan Prouty
Production Assistant – Matt Thornton
Editor – Justin Dial


Behind the Curtain | Frank

I met Frank a few years ago while attending a show at ArcLight Pasadena. He’s incredible to be around and he makes the movie going experience that much better – check him out!

With reserved seating, double-arm reclining chairs, a café and bar, and a sound system that exceeds THX standards, ArcLight Cinemas in Pasadena has created the ultimate movie theater experience for the movie lover.  However, the state of the art theater has kept its roots in customer service.  This is what makes Frank, a greeter at ArcLight Pasasdena, come alive.

Recognizing his passion and spirit, Portnoy Media Group joined Frank in telling his story and capturing his zeal for life, movies, and customer service.  His goal is to be the best greeter anyone has ever met, and he does just that each evening. Welcoming guests with a grin, warm eyes, and a nod.  Introducing each movie, Frank never knows exactly what he’s going to say but is fed by the audience’s excitement.  Putting on his name tag and checking in with the projector technicians, Frank says, “Ready to Rock and Roll here at ArcLight.”

We had an incredible time making this piece and want to thank the whole team.

Director/Producer – Dan Portnoy

Consulting Director - Greg Helvey

Director of Photography – Marc Ritzema

Sound – Austin Storm

Key Grip - Jason Car

Clapper – Michael W. Moore

Colorist – Michael Mintz

Production Assistant – Jen Fodor

Sound Mix 1 – J.C. Sutherland

Sound Mix 2 – Chris Wygal

Composer – Josh Myers

Editor – Justin Dial

Special thanks to Sonja Kolstad and the staff at ArcLight for their input and expertise!

I can’t recommend this crew more highly – Great work!

Later this week I’ll be posting some behind the scenes pics and let us know what you think about Frank  in the Comments.



Here’s a video from PBS Off Book featuring masters of the title sequence craft to help inspire you on your next video creation. A title sequence is usually about 2-3 minutes (just like your next video!). Check out their take on what a sequence should accomplish.

Peter Frankfurt and Karin Fong, Imaginary Forces
Ben Conrad, Logan
Jim Helton, Blue Valentine

Key: Every time they say “film” substitute your cause or organization

Check out more from PBS Off Book

Start With Why

In 2009, Simon Sinek wrote the book with a bottom line – WHY matters. (Check out his Ted Talk for some incredible insight) Why matters because it’s inspirational.

A lot of non-profits forget or take for granted that everyone in their organization made a very conscious choice to join in the work to change the world. This is social capital that needs to be used over and over. Every organization should continually go back and state WHY they’re active in this area. Tell us WHY they’re fighting against human trafficking, WHY they’re building wells or WHY education needs to be a priority.

The most crucial piece that will differentiate your organization from another when explaining WHY is to let your people say it. Don’t stick with the party line of numbers and rhetoric – Show me PASSION! Help me understand how your team has been directly impacted by a specific issue. I’ve never walked into a non-profit organization that didn’t have multiple people with a personal story of how their lives were touched by the issue that the organization fights against. That story is important and making sure it’s personal gives a lift to the organization.

I know they’re not taking the party line because I’ve seen their faces and heard in their own words about their piece in the story. It’s real people and it’s beautiful.

Here’s an example of how an organization can share their story. We worked with the team at United Way of Greater Los Angeles. Here they talk about why Los Angeles and their mission matters.