Ongoing Updates/Thoughts on Free Corporate Video Contest

The idea of this ongoing loose form blog post will be to provide insight and updates as they relate to the free corporate video contest offered by myself and my brother Brandon Carlson. Keeping you in the loop as the project progresses from the planning stages, selection of winner, pre-trip preparations, travel, filming, editing and final release. Please be aware that this particular ongoing blog will be creative, loose and flexible in nature. It may include written updates, photos, short video, random thoughts, sketches…..hell maybe even a poem or something?

I will post in chronological order with the most recent updates on top. 

April 10th Update
Guess what people?  This video thing is a reality.  Brandon and I have our flights booked to Portland and will be staying at the Hyatt House Portland Downtown.  We arrive late in the day on April 22nd.  We will be dedicating two full days (23rd and 24th) to spend with Katrina (sun up to sun down) to film a variety of scenarios.  Brandon will be sticking around in Portland for a few extra days to grab Portland “B-Roll”, scenic shots, etc. 

As a further update, we have a several internal Zoom meetings going over creative ideas, visual angles, intended vibe/message, overall storyline, etc.   We have also had some one-on-one meetings with Katrina to dive deeper into what makes her tick as an Advisor and what her unique story is.  Two weeks from today and we roll up the sleeves and get started on this puppy.  

Stay tuned, I plan to share small video updates via LinkedIn.  These updates will show some behind the scenes of the actual filming and creative process. 

January 23rd Update
The winner is Katrina Bell.  Congrats!  It really was tough to pick a winner from these final three.  They all were so very impressive and had great stories that would have translated well to video.   In the end it was Katrina’s story that really stood out as the best opportunity to capture some unique angles and try some new things in video.  

Brandon and I will now schedule a trip to Portland Oregon.  We will spend 3 days with Katrina filming.  In the time leading up to the filming trip, we will continue to talk with Katrina and develop a narrative/concept for the video.  Remember the idea here is to create something unique and different from the typical corporate video that we see out there.  No shots of conference rooms, acrylic awards, people typing on computers and no sit down interviews where Katrina talks about their Fiduciary Process.  That shit has been done and then done again and then done a few more thousand times.  Time to create something better. 


January 22nd Update
Okay all three interviews are in the books.  We will announce the winner via LinkedIn tomorrow 1/23.  Who is it going to be?  Jeanne, Lisa or Katrina?  You might be asking yourself…..with three candidates that are all so, so qualified… will Brandon and J.D. make a decision?  Will it be A, B or C (below)

A.  We are going to get totally hammered drunk and make our decision after hours and hours of inebriated debate and slurring.  We will then wake up hungover and have totally forgotten who we picked.

B.  Put the three candidates pictures on a dartboard, close our eyes…..and fire away.

C.  Spend several completely sober hours going through all the minute details about each of the candidates, their business models, their charisma, their unique approaches, their background, history, etc.  and finally choose the one that we think will make for the most compelling video. 

The Answer:  All of the above


January 15th Update
Brandon and I have scheduled Zoom Video Interviews with all three of the finalists. We will be talking to Lisa this Thursday, Jeanne on Friday and then finally Katrina next Tuesday.  Where will this video be created?  Will it be Portland?  Will it be Buffalo, New York?   Or will we be heading to Kentucky??   We will know soon enough as the WINNER will be announced next week. 

January 9th Update

Released the Final 3 on the 7th via LinkedIn.  Congrats to Jeanne Fisher, Lisa Petronio and Katrina Bell.  Brandon and I spent a ton of time reviewing all the submissions and discussing the candidates.   In the end it was clear who the final three were….however we had a concern…..THEY WERE ALL WOMEN!   We were fearful that it would look weird and we even considered bumping out one of the women for the 4th best candidate that would be male and therefore provide some more balance to the finalists.  Then we said to ourselves “WHAT ARE WE DOING?!!!”  These are without question the 3 best submissions and it would not be fair to alter the results out of fear of people’s opinions.  That’s just not our style.  So, power to the women!

Further thoughts:  I think the men in 401k could learn a lot from the women in 401k.  I see a clear trend happening, women are more comfortable when it comes to branding and marketing.  Or I guess I should say that they seem more skilled in expressing “who they are” and “what sets them apart”   The men in our industry have become very homogenized.  They all look the same.  Very, very hard to dig in and find out where they differ or what makes them special.  I don’t find this to be the case with many of the women in 401k.  If you are a man in 401k, start taking a look at the leading women and take notes on how they go about creating a digital presence that shows uniqueness and authenticity.


January 7th Update

Final 3



December 31st Update
Today is the final day of 2018 and the deadline for the final 12 to submit their answers to the 7 questions.  We have been getting some really cool responses and its been a ton of fun to review them all.   I am going to send a quick LinkedIn message to any of the final 12 that have not yet submitted (as a friendly reminder).  Brandon and I will review all the submissions over the next week and announce the FINAL 3 on January 7th.    Then on to the video chat interviews and picking the WINNER!   

Happy New Year Everybody – I am heading to the Park Hyatt Aviara tonight and going to see if I can break the world record for drinking the most champagne in one night



December 20th Update
Today we sent each of the 12 Finalists 7 questions. The questions are below.  December 31st is the deadline for submissions.  Once we have them all in, Brandon and I will sit down, crack a cold beer and discuss each of the candidates and their answers in detail.  We will pick the Final 3 and announce them on January 7th.  I am excited to learn more about everyone’s business model and what makes them tick.  Now, I am off to spend the day with Mother-In-Law, her name is Carol…..but I have called her Gertrude for the past 17 years, I just do it to piss her off. 😉 


-Are you doing anything special or different in your business model?

-In three sentences or less, describe to someone what you do for work.

-What do you love about your job?

-What do you hate about your job?

-Your life outside of work? (hobbies, sports, music, etc.)

-What inspires you to make a better business?

-Do you offer services other than retirement plans? Can you break down by percentage the different services you provide?


December 19th Update
Pretty excited about the 12 Finalists.  Will be super tough to narrow down to 3.  My MOTHER-IN-LAW has blessed my house with her presence, so I am blaming all delays in sending the survey questions to the final 12 on her.  Ha!   Planning to send questions to final 12 in the next 24 hours.  Stay Tuned.  

December 14th Update
Drumroll please……….the 12 finalists for the Free Company Video Contest are:

David Cox, Ryan Scalera, Nyle Bayer, Andy Bush, Lisa Petronio, W Dean Salyer III, Katrina Bell, Jeanne Fisher, Jeremy Golar, George Grombacher, Lucas Biefelt, Karin Alvarado.


December 11th Update
Picking the final 12 today.  Using an orange highlighter for the final decisions and feeling super guilty about all this.  I hate saying “No”  I wish I could give away 50 free video productions.  So many cool Advisors that signed up for the chance.  😦  Sucks to eliminate some of them.  Will release final list of 12 tomorrow before midnight (PST).   Good Luck! 


December 7th Update
Below is the list of everyone that commented ‘Lets Do Dis’ on the original post and Chad Johansen’s repost and any reshares.    How do we pick the top 12 from these 50?  I will personally stalk each and every one of them.  I am going to check their social accounts, websites, posts, etc.  Try to get a feel for who they are and what they are all about.  The goal is to find 12 finalists that Brandon (my brother) and I think we could make a KICK ASS corporate video with.  It should be noted that since nobody from Hawaii entered the contest that everyone is now on level ground when it comes to location.  I honestly have no preference (now that Hawaii isn’t on the list)….New York, Texas, Virginia, Minnesota, Louisiana, Oregon, Florida, Kentucky…it all sounds good and fun to me. 

Had someone from Hawaii entered, I would have completely rigged the whole thing and made sure that they won.   And I just spent the month of November in Maui, but “too much” Hawaii time is not actually a thing. 

I will post the final 12 next week and each will get a congrats email or Linkedin message, letting them know nest steps. 

Okay, my internet stalking starts now…starting at the top of the list and working my way down.  Googling: “David Cox Hermitage Wealth Management”  and directed to    First thoughts:  Pretty nice website and looks like they already have taken a stab at some corporate video creation in the past.   Based on David’s LinkedIn pic he looks like a pretty nice Dude.  Then I find out that David has SIX kids….thatta boy!  I think there is a story in that for sure, if you can raise six kids, then retirement plans should be a piece of cake.  They got a cool link on the website titled 2 Minute Drill for Retirement Readiness, I like that.   All in all, looks like a successful shop and a great story.  Pretty sure we could find a cool angle here, dig deep and put on film what makes Hermitage different.   Okay, lets see what old Google says about “Ryan Scalera Everything Benefits”


December 6th Update
Putting the finishing touches on the survey questions for the 12 finalists.  What are we hoping to accomplish with these survey questions?  We want to know more about the Finalists and their businesses.  What is unique or special about what they do?  What motivates them?  What do they love about 401k?  What do they hate about 401k? Who is their favorite band?  Favorite ice cream?    YOU KNOW…WHAT MAKES THEM TICK.

December 5th Update
I posted the below on Linkedin on Saturday November 24th, probably not the smartest thing to post something important like this on a Saturday, but I had been planning and thinking about this project for a long time.  I was excited to finally pull the trigger. The response was everything we were hoping for as we had over 50 people sign up for a chance to win a FREE FULLY PRODUCED COMPANY VIDEO.  I mean, really why wouldn’t they sign up. The shit is legit for free.


Now what? How do we pick a winner? Random selection?…no way am I leaving this project to chance. My brother and I decided to narrow it down to an even dozen applicants and then send those twelve a survey of questions, then pick the final three where we will have face to face video chat interviews.  From the final interviews we will pick our winner.

Stay Tuned:  the twelve selected will receive a congrats email and a link to the survey during the week of December 10th. 

Here is some inside information (excerpt from the conversation) on a phone call I had with my brother about what kind of winner we are hoping for.

As much as I want to show a ‘zero to hero’ kind of story, we cant risk choosing somebody who cant hold their own on camera, not for this project at least, some decent charisma will be key.” – J.D.

I also don’t think it is smart to pick someone that already is kicking ass in video, we want to show that we can take your typical Advisor and create an awesome video.” – Brandon

I am not sure if I want a big successful shop or a smaller boutique shop, I guess that doesn’t really matter….either one should work.” -J.D.

I have been all over the internet  watching Advisor Company videos and holy shit man!  99% of em’ follow the same look, feel and narrative.  So LAME!  With this video project we will do everything in our power to avoid this sucky and boring template.  Cool visuals, fresh ideas, storytelling and creativity will be our approach. 


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