By taking innovative steps to grow his business, Mathieu Seguin believes he’ll also help to grow other Sudbury companies and to create more opportunities in the local film industry.
Seguin, a Sudbury cinematographer trained at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, returned to his hometown last year and released #SudburyThrives, a video anthem intended to instil a sense of pride in his fellow Nickel City natives.
The video also helped his company, MotionArc Studios, to gain new exposure in the local marketplace, and encouraged Seguin to develop a new production model aimed at the Sudbury mining and industrial sector.
“The release of #SudburyThrives was kind of my debut back into Sudbury after graduating from AFI,” Seguin, MotionArc’s creative director, told The Sudbury Star. “I had a lot of ambition and wanted to help the community, and I did that in a sense, but it was also really important to listen to the clients here, so I took about six months where I got approached by a lot of people, I talked to them and just tried to figure out what the market here needs.”
To leverage the power of video and help them compete globally, he said, companies in the mining and industrial sectors need to enter that world, and quickly, but to do so without sacrificing quality.
“I still want to bring lighting equipment and to have a crew at their facility, but I also don’t want to have a long sales cycle, where it takes us five months to determine what their story is and their script and stuff like that,” Seguin explained. “The virtual trade shows are coming up and they need content.
“Most of these businesses already have marketing departments and editing has now been democratized. You don’t need a special editing rig, you can go to a coffee shop with a MacBook and edit 4K footage, no problem. What you do need is a very high-fidelity source, because if you’re going to repurpose for your marketing and stuff like that, you need a good source of footage, and it’s obviously better if it’s your business and your brand. If you’re talking about your workers and stuff like that, it sucks to use stock footage of people who are not your workers.”
Seguin and his team have begun to sell seven production days at the end of each month, on a first-come, first-served basis, for work on local projects.
“What I have been able to do is eliminate a lot of the variables which made it difficult to give a quote to businesses,” he said. “Now, I have a crew, I have grip and lighting equipment, I have cinema cameras and we’re ready to go. We need three weeks of prep, so sign up now, because every month, there’s only seven days.”
As of Saturday, the company had already sold two days near the end of March, with five remaining.
Companies that neglect video as part of their marketing strategies are missing out on an important opportunity, Seguin said.
Research has shown that 95 per cent of viewers retain a message they receive via video, according to statistics provided by MotionArc Studios, compared to 10 per cent in text.
“Indirectly, this also creates a stable commercial film market in the industry,” Seguin added.
Previously, he might have a project every few months, with a budget large enough to tap into a local talent pool that is impressive, but still limited in size. With a new, more stable production model, he hopes to woo more up-and-coming talent to the region.
“A lot of the great talent we have here, they’re working on other projects, like Resident Evil, which was going on last month,” Seguin said. “That’s hard for me to compete against if I don’t have very competitive rates or very competitive days, because I can only hire you for two days. The way to eliminate that is to have this group buy, which is what we’re offering to these companies, like hey, we have eliminated all the costs, but you guys have to fit into these days.
“I really hope the companies are going to dig it, because it’s a unique model and it allows us to bring talent up here. Now that I have a set cost for everything, we’re able to invest more into talent. That’s what really matters — someone who really cares and is driven by passion. That is what we want behind the lens. That’s what we’re prioritizing and what companies are going to see when they work with us.”
He’s convinced that as more professionals move north, many will decide to stay.
“I think Sudbury could be a content-creation capital, at least in Canada, if not the world,” Seguin said. “We’re going to find that when artists get here, they’re going to be removed from a lot of the distractions and the high cost of living that does not mix well with creativity. It’s hard to be creative when you’re stressed about things. They’ll be coming up here for a month and help us out with these projects. They’ll have three weeks of prep and they’ll be shooting seven days with companies, and they’ll be able to really focus on their jobs. We want 110 per cent of their creativity and we want to set them up for success in that way.”
MotionArc Studios are storytellers focused on co-creating Premium Video Content to help Mining & Industrial businesses leverage the Power of Video.