FSP DOE Small BizFireside Production was named the Energy Department’s 2014 Protégé of the Year at the 14th Annual Small Business Forum & Expo in Phoenix. This national award recognizes the accomplishments and growth of the Protégé organization during the course of a Mentor-Protégé program.

Fireside Production was awarded a Mentor-Protégé agreement with the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as a woman-owned, small business. Through the agreement, the protégé organization has an opportunity to improve its capabilities and skills to successfully compete for federal contracts. It also builds relationships, further develops best practices and in this case, resulted in a subcontract for video production services with the federal laboratory.

During the Mentor-Protégé, Fireside worked with the laboratory to advance its video communications and produce content to reach viewers throughout the United States and around the globe. Fireside helped NREL make it easier for news outlets to access media-friendly footage of renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.

“Fireside Production’s performance under NREL’s Mentor-Protégé program was exemplary,” said Rexann Dunn, Small Business Program Lead for NREL. “As a mentor, you are always looking for the right fit when it comes to the mentor-protégé relationship. It’s a two-way street; you want to be able to provide a valuable learning experience to the protégé while receiving valuable feedback. I feel that this mentor-protégé relationship has been very successful, which is why NREL nominated Fireside Production for the Energy Department’s 2014 Protégé of the Year.”

Fireside Production is so grateful to NREL for the valuable mentoring over the past several years, the opportunities to work with the laboratory and of course, for the incredible recognition as Protégé of the Year.

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CREATEEXPERIENCES-02 (1)One of our core values at Fireside Production is to Create Experiences.  Our goal is to produce videos for our Clients that engage viewers and allow them to experience the message.  We also strive to provide an experience for our Clients throughout the project – one that makes the process enjoyable!  As Fireside’s Production Assistant, I’ve had a front-row seat to see and experience Colorado in a whole new light.

I have been in Denver for almost six years and I feel as though I have learned more about my community in the past six months as a part of the Fireside Production team than I have during all off my previous years here.  The best part is I feel I’ve been able to experience the heart and soul of this beautiful city through the lens of our Clients.  I have been able to hear historical stories – straight from the people who experienced them firsthand.

Colorado RiverI drive by the “Dancers” sculptures at the Denver Center for Performing Arts every day and now, I know how they came to be.  I have been fortunate enough to interview our Governor and have had the pleasure of rafting down the Colorado River as I learned how that water touches so many aspects of our lives.  Most importantly, I have been given the opportunity to give back to our community by participating in our Fireside Day of Service events.

I am forever grateful for these experiences and hope to continue to offer our Clients a memorable experience as well.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

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We’ve been working as a team for a couple of years now to create our Fireside Production Vision Statement.  It was importanvision statementt for us to brainstorm, whittle down and finally, craft our vision in its entirety – as a team.  I don’t think you can pull together in the same direction if you’re not all 100% committed to the goal.  I couldn’t be more proud of the Fireside crew for this beautiful vision we’ve together created!

To inspire action through the power of video.
This is where stories are told.

Video is such a powerful medium to inspire others.  The footage we see, the spoken words and natural sounds we hear – when done well – come together to create an experience. Combine a thoughtfully-produced video with a strong message and you’ve got magic!  It’s the ideal way to inspire others to act… to join a team, to support a cause, to gain and share knowledge.  Our hope with each video we are entrusted to produce is that we can inspire action in those you want to reach through the power of video storytelling.

When the artwork with our new vision arrived, our daughter read it and asked what a vision was.  Tom and I explained that a vision statement is your dream for the future, something you aspire to achieve.  Well, as a 10-year-old artist, the concept moved her!  She began right then and there to develop her personal vision statement.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we each identified our personal – and collective – vision statements to move us powerfully into the future with purpose each day?  I love the idea!

Inspire us with your personal and professional vision statements. We’d love for you to share them with us!




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My ceiling remains high on top of a wind turbine.

My ceiling remains high on top of a wind turbine.

In sports, you may hear of an athlete and his or her ceiling.  This is a common reference often used regarding young athletes and their perceived potential.  If we were to use this description in the professional world, where would your ceiling be?  If you are well into your career, you may be worried that you have plateaued.  So, how do we raise the roof and keep our potential limitless?  Here are a few ideas…

1.  First, never stop learning.  At Fireside Production we are always looking for new ways to develop our video production skills.  This includes critiquing our own work and studying others.  After a shoot or edit, it’s important to get honest feedback from the team to see what we did right and what could be better the next time out.  We also find new things to learn, then devote time to mastering them.

2.  Corral your ego.  It’s okay to have an confidence but don’t let it keep you from getting better in your craft.  If your ego tells you that you know it all and you’re already perfect, get out and do something else.  Your possibility of getting better is all but lost.

3.  Work for it!  The best athletes in the world don’t just posses the natural talent, they also out-work everyone else.  Practice makes perfect and as long as you put in the time, your ceiling will continue to grow.

Have you reached your ceiling or is the sky the limit?  I would love to hear your thoughts or tips for growing in your craft.

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Photo in Motion 5 platform separated into layer using Photoshop.

Photo in Motion 5 platform separated into layer using Photoshop.

If you’ve been working in the same professional field for years, almost two decades in my case, there come points at which you wonder if you’re still growing? Am I doing the same thing over and over, or am I finding new ways to challenge myself?

At Fireside, we try to challenge ourselves and each other to develop in the creative and technical aspects of our work. I’ve recently embarked on learning (and hopefully, becoming proficient) at an effect called 2.5D. It’s a process by which I use photo-editing software to separate still pictures into layers and then, move those layers into another program and inject depth and movement. The result is a still photo that appears to have an almost three-dimensional appearance. I was able to find a bevy of “how-to” videos on the internet to help me understand this new (to me) technique.

Setting simple, attainable goals is an easy way to keep your work fresh, your mind engaged and your enthusiasm a part of your day… all of which will show in your work.  What professional goals are you setting and how are you achieving them?

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One of our Core Values at Fireside Production is to Create Experiences.  When it comes to delivering effective Fundraising Videos, creating an experience – is vital.  By allowing viewers to really connect with your mission or to be moved by the story of someone touched by your organization, you can greatly improve your fundraising results.

“Fireside Production has dramatically increased awareness of our nonprofit through the video they produced, helping us aid even more homeless families!” – John Chambers, Family Promise of Greater Denver


Many non-profits use fundraising videos to promote the mission of their organizations, to inspire support and raise critical dollars to carry out their work.  At Fireside, our process is designed to make producing a video for a fundraising event – easy and enjoyable.  We work closely with each Client to determine how to best bring that Client’s vision for a successful video – to life.

Fireside can offer recommendations on what length of video is best suited to the platform in which it will be viewed.  Fundraising videos that play before an “ask” at an event can be a little longer than a piece that will be shared online.  Think too about maximizing your video investment by using it after the event… post it to your organization’s website to inspire supporters, show it during outreach opportunities to increase your volunteer-base and internally, use your video to motivate your team.

“We’ve shown the “Bonfils Touches Us All” video at our Give LIVE benefit concert for the past two years to great response.  We’ve received so much positive feedback from the public that we’ve begun using it for more community-based events and internal message training.  During recent market research Bonfils conducted, the video was shown and it received 100% positive feedback with individuals indicating they would be more inclined to support Bonfils after viewing it.” – Taylor Robertson, Bonfils Blood Center 

Our team partners with our non-profit Clients to capture the most compelling story to deliver the mission and message of that organization in a way people remember… and we do it with the special budget considerations of our charitable organizations in mind.  Next time your organization needs fundraising video, we hope you’ll consider Fireside Production and be sure to ask about our non-profit discount as well!

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By 2018, 84% of Internet Traffic Will Be Video Content, according to a Cisco Study


What does this mean?  As video consumption is on the rise, it is important as an organization to use video.  If email and newsletters are a part of your marketing strategy, now is the time to use video to enhance your email marketing results. There are multiple ways you can do this.  Here are just a few examples:

Create a Testimonial video – This is a great way to share what others think about your organization and build trust.

Video in Newsletters

Add video to the footer of newsletter – Think about adding an “about us” video at the bottom of newsletter to get new subscribers to learn more about your organization.

Create a Thank You video – Show your customers or donors how much you appreciate them.

Inspire action with a video – Sharing stories or inspiring others to give is a great way to increase fundraising results.

Create tips or advice – Show off your expertise by creating some helpful tips. Fireside produces video tips for our quarterly newsletter, The Creative Kindling… just another way to share great information.tam blog 2

Make sure to include the link to your video in your newsletter.  There are several email providers out there, and they are all different on how they work when adding a video. But do not overlook the power of video marketing!  I would love to hear how you share video in your emails and newsletters!  You can also check out some of the ways Fireside has used video in past newsletters.

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relaxAn on-camera appearance is a great opportunity to share your story or thoughts on an issue close to your heart.  I don’t know about you, but most people get a little nervous when they think about being in front of the camera.  The first thing to do – in the words of my favorite Quarterback, Aaron Rodgers – R-E-L-A-X!  Many of you also ask… what should I wear for my interview?  Here are some tips to help answer that question and to help you look your best.

First, what NOT to wear!

Pure white or black:
  The extremes of these colors can make it a bit more difficult for the camera to balance exposures.

Competing Colors:  Colors that may compete with your complexion or the color of the backdrop.  For instance, you don’t want to wear green if your interview is in front of a green screen.  You don’t want to wear red if you’ll be in front of a red backdrop.

Flashy accessories:  For women, elaborate jewelry can distract the viewers from what you’re talking about.  In this case, less is more!

Shiny lip gloss:  Along with the lights, it may cause some reflection.  Just use a light hand with lip gloss.

Heavy Make-Up:  You want to be comfortable and look natural.  Our crew always has

What Not to Wear

What Not to Wear

powder on-hand to help with any shine created by the lights, so no need to over-powder ahead of time.

Busy Patterns or Stripes:  These tend to dance on-screen.

Now, suggestions on what TO wear!

Solid Colors:
  Jewel or earthy tones and blues look beautiful on-camera.

What to Wear

What to Wear

Contrasting Colors:  A blue dress shirt with a gray jacket.  The contrast can add a little pop!

Tone-appropriate clothing:  This largely depends on the message of your video and how you’d like to appear.  If it’s a business piece, a suit jacket might be the best look.  If it’s about a volunteer event, you may want to wear something more casual.  Dress to what you’re talking about.

For more tips on what to expect from your next video interview opportunity, check out our blog, Successful Q&A, Interviewing Advice.


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The Production Person's Secret Weapon... Gaffers Tape!

The Production Person’s Secret Weapon… Gaffers Tape!

At Fireside Production, delivering videos that captivate and inspire is something we take great pride in.  However, there are other ingredients to a successful project that we also strive to meet with each and every video.

The first is low impact.  One of our early Clients marveled that we showed up to our first shoot with a small crew and a reasonable amount of gear.  The Client’s previous experience involved a large crew, lots of gear and a great disruption to the work that was taking place.  We try to keep things tight and do our best to never be disruptive.

The second and most important ingredient to a great shoot is safety.  A safe set is paramount for obvious reasons. First, we don’t ever want anyone getting hurt.  Second, at many of our Clients’ locations, a fallen piece of equipment such as a light, can mean a shutdown of their entire operation.  It’s critical that we take care to avoid creating trip hazards by taping down cords in high-traffic areas or being careless with our gear.

So in every Fireside Production video, you’ll see passion and hard work but also, a lot of care that went into creating a safe and tidy shoot space behind the scenes.



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Mpowered_Logo_woTag_RGBHow do you know if you’re financially healthy?  As with physical health, there are certain indicators you can use.  Knowing your savings account balances, retirement plan status, debt load, interest rates, and credit score can give you a picture of your current position.  If you don’t like what you see, here are some tips to help you get your money in shape:

– Just like you plan your meals and prepare them ahead of time to make sure you eat well, you can plan and automate your savings.  Create an automatic deposit at the beginning of the month into an account named after your goal.

– Debt is a heavy load. Consider using a debt management plan to consolidate your payments, lower your interest rates, and pay off your credit cards.

– Focus on what you want.  As with physical fitness, it’s easier to reach your goals if you focus on the healthy foods you can have instead of what you can’t.  Focus on what you truly want to spend money on and what your values are, instead of what you can’t afford.

– Tell someone about it.  We’re more successful in reaching our goals when we write them down or share them.  Let a friend or partner support your savings or debt reduction goals.

– Reward yourself.  Pick an activity that you enjoy and that fits within your budget (taking a walk, drawing, watching your favorite show).  When you reach your goal, you can do the thing you love.

– Break it down.  In trying to be physically healthy, it helps to look at a daily or weekly goal instead of your overall, long-term goal.  When it comes to your money, break your financial goal into small steps, and focus on completing each step, not the whole journey.

– Use a coach.  It’s hard to hold yourself accountable, or see what systems are getting in your way.  Use a coach to help you get where you want to go.

mpowered is a Colorado-based nonprofit resource for individuals and families in Colorado who want to learn about money management and participate in coaching to achieve an individual definition of financial success. Since 2002, mpowered has provided affordable programs to help more than 40,000 people make informed financial choices. With offices throughout metro Denver, mpowered is a leader in financial education and champions financial stability as one of the most important components of a healthy lifestyle.
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