The Lab; Portnoy Media Group Blog

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.


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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.

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

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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.

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No! No! No!

Just heard this story from across the pond.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council (H&F) agreed to cut its council tax bills, for the fifth year out of six, last night (Feb 29) and says the cut was partly made possible by local residents throwing away less, recycling more, dropping less litter and using the council’s website more.

H&F Council has been cutting council tax faster than any other local authority and is today launching a major campaign to thank residents for helping cut bills – while urging people to do more.

Incredible! A government agency really working for their constituents and making a tangible improvement for efficiency.

Then the wheels fell off the wagon.

A digital advertising van is touring the borough to thank residents for doing their bit and a YouTube video has been released covering The Scaffold’s song ‘Thank you very much’ – better known as the Cadbury’s Roses theme tune – with council staff singing the praises of local taxpayers.

WHA!?!?!??!?! I’m failing to see the connection.

A group of very smart people have flexed the system, streamlined the steps, created a system that will garner a lot of praise. I’m sure there were late nights, early mornings, lost sleep and blood sweat and tears to make all of it happen.

All of that hard work behind the scenes and then…. this?

This is not a small piece to complete. There was an animator, camera operators, some sort of “jingle writer”.

Nothing about this video conveys that proper message of “We’ve worked together and reached a goal – lets keep going!”

What coud’ve been done to make it better?

  • Have the council leader, Stephen Greenlaugh, tell me all about those late nights and the sacrifices made by the team.
  • Highlight the brite spots (See Chip and Dan Heath’s book Switch)
  • Show me how the savings happened -it could be done with that animator that was brought in.
  • Make it personal – highlight a specific person or family that was part of this process.
What did the video do right?
  • I’m talking about it.

Unfortunately it’s not for the right reasons.

Two things spread on the internet – the awesome and the awesomely terrible. Be part of the awesome column.

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Kelley James Talks with The Drop


In this episode, Tiffany catches up with Kelley James at the world famous Troubadour in Los Angeles about life on the road, frequent flier miles and more. This episode includes the song “Perfect To Me” off of his EP “The Recent Future”. Download it today!

Kelley on Twitter

Purchase The Recent Future EP

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Shooting Video That Doesn’t Suck

Steve Stockman is a writer/director/producer and he wants to help you.  His recent book, “How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck” just launched and his book trailer is super helpful.

I get asked a lot about the role of video and how to make it better. I’ve found with some small tips (Steve talks about them here) you’re next promo video can greatly improve.

Check out his trailer and tips, then visit his website ( and then buy his book here

Connect with Steve Directly on Twitter @stevestockman

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The Drop’s Latest Episode – Switchfoot

We’re thrilled to have the guys from Switchfoot on the show this week! Hear what they have to say about their new album “Vice Verses”, life in San Diego, tour pranks and more!

Grab Vice Verses on iTunes or Amazon

Switchfoot on Twitter

Join our team for Homewalk LA

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Book Announced

I’m super thrilled to announce that we’re launching my first book – The Non-profit Narrative

My goal for the book is to end up in the center of three topics.

This book shows how non-profits can thrive by telling great stories.

  • Learn what it takes to communicate a narrative in the digital space that gets results.
  • Acquire and cultivate your audience at the same time.
  • Further your organizations communication with engagement, connection and more donors.

I’m really excited to share this information and study with you very soon.

Sign up for our email list to be the first to be sent a chapter from the book before anyone else!

And check out the book page – The Non-profit Narrative

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“O1″ Hits the Funny or Die Homepage

Tuesday’s launch of comedian Michael Jr’s “O1″ video on Funny or was a great one for us at PMG. The sketch made it all the way to the homepage as one of their trending videos.

Here’s a picture:

With nearly 1,000 views in just 48 hours since it’s launch – we’re thrilled to be producing collaborative high quality shorts. Plus, Michael is bringing the funny!

Watch the short here.. and don’t forget to vote!

O1 – watch more funny videos
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Ben Stiller and Stiller Foundation launched a video 2 weeks back about an organization involving Jennifer Aniston and the idea of her being naked. This video preys on the natural behavior on the web (that many people want to see her naked) and give it the old Bait and Switch (because she’s not going to be naked) I’m sure this results in some serious clicks.

Sadly, clicks are not the name of the game when it comes to donor development and brand champions. This video is a great grab for acquisition to a whole bunch of people that probably don’t get asked to help kids in Haiti. (Which is fantastic!) Here’s a breakdown on the video launch.

What he did that was great:

Splash – Using the star power super effectively, Stiller uses his and that of Anistons for fun and with purpose. I applaud Stiller for the brash nature of what he’s doing. The status quo is not getting it done in Haiti so bucking the system is a great start.

A Talkable Video – It’s highly sharable and because of the nature of the video saw exposure on morning talk shows and lots of blog posts. So many nonprofits just communicate facts and forget that they’re crafting a narrative around their brand. Stiller knows this and doesn’t forget.

What could’ve been better:

Nonprofit Youtube Channel – There’s great use of title cards at the end. They show where you can connect to the Stiller Foundation but it would’ve been super hot to allow users to just click the annotations in the video. I’ve written about Annotations inside YouTube videos before (Thanks again for talking about it Weber Shandwick, call me!) and they put a potential donor really close to engagement in your campaigns. Any 501(c)3 can apply for one at

What’s Next? – The question that is always asked. If I do decide to visit the site, the call to action is to support the foundation financially, also a bold move, but it looks like that’s it. There’s connection if I want to click to facebook or twitter (also good) but what about a call to join the email list? Is there an email list?? I couldn’t find one easily. What if in that email was a system of 2-4 auto-responders that explained why Ben felt so strongly to spend his money, effort and energy in this idea. That’s a great story and you’d have me hooked and I’d guess a lot more people too.

Interesting to note:

Impact – With nearly 2 Million followers on Twitter I’d expect a 2 week old video to have more impressions (call me picky). It’s a great video (for reasons mentioned above) but it tells me that the impact for cause related media is not why many of his followers are there. I’d be thinking through how to convert them from observers to participants.

PS. My favorite role of Stiller has to be Tony Perkis in Heavyweights.

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