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Film School: Producing School Promo Videos

St. Louis-area studio Gebbs.TV has created a renewable revenue stream and a powerful body of work producing promo videos for area schools that live on the schools' websites and serve as recruiting films and video mission statements.

To you, the name Michael Gebben might be synonymous with "same-day edit," but get out your thesaurus because this streaming media producer is branching out. While he's busy launching his new endeavor, KRE8Insights, an online resource for video production business training, his business partner Ryan Hanlon, working with him since December 2010, has gone back to school.

That is, Hanlon has made school promotional videos his pet project at GEBBS, the studio's new, simplified name. As Hanlon describes the company's re-branding, "It had become a bit of a two-headed monster. There was Gebbs Wedding Films and then there was Gebbs Total Video." Now just GEBBS, the studio lists four core services on its website: music, events, schools, and weddings. But at the rate Hanlon is going, school films is poised for top billing. Re-re-branding might not be far away.

Gebbs.tv
The new Gebbs.tv

Back to School

Inspired by entrepreneur, speaker, and author Timothy Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek) and other "creative folks" who evangelize lifestyle design and finding a niche and excelling in it, Hanlon didn't have to travel far to find his niche. Growing up in a family of schoolteachers (he even substitute-taught after college, and his wife is a school social worker), Hanlon got the idea to approach schools in the St. Louis area with the idea of producing promo videos for use on their websites as recruitment tools, "like video mission statements," he says, describing an academic version of a commercial product recently profiled in a three-part article, "Producing Corporate Identity Videos." "If you're on a school's website," he argues, "you can read their description of what it's like to attend school there, but it's not the same" as a film that draws you in and motivates a visit or phone call.

Hanlon first approached nearby Illinois' Alton School District [www.altonschools.org] with the idea, and "they loved it." GEBBS produced promo videos for their elementary school, middle school, high school, and Redbirds varsity baseball team, all available from their respective web pages. A shorter, 54-second music video-style piece, encompassing all grades, greets district homepage visitors.

Alton High School from tree9 on Vimeo.