A woman smiles at the camera - Still from a video produced by Cognitive Films for Amend Wellness

Make Interviews More Engaging with Direct Eye Contact

At Cognitive Films, we’ve conducted hundreds of interviews, and we’re not exaggerating when we say that a single project might involve more than ten interviewees in one day. Being on camera can often make you self-conscious—some thrive under the spotlight,

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A Monster Kickstarter Campaign Comes to Life

In mid 2020, veteran character and concept artist Allison Theus turned to Cognitive Films to help produce a Kickstarter campaign trailer for her second concept art book, Mostly Monsters.

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How to Get the Most Production Value From Your Video Budget

Video production has a reputation for being costly and time-consuming. If you want to create a commercial, video series, film or documentary with a high production value that also stays within the comfy confines of a pre-defined budget, you are

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How to Scale Your Business Operations with Video

Producing a video isn’t always about acquiring more customers. A well planned and executed video can streamline your internal processes, cut down on customer support time, reduce returns, attract the right people, or make new hire training more efficient.  Here

St. George and the Dragon

Your Customer is the Hero in Your Brand Story

How do you tell your brand story that resonates with customers? Make your customer the hero in your story. The word “Storytelling” has become a bit of a buzzword in the marketing world.  It’s the perfect buzzword because on it’s

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Bumper Ads: The Haikus of Video Advertising

It has been reported that nearly half of all Internet video is watched on mobile devices, and Youtube now reaches more 18-to-34-olds and 18-to-49-year-olds than any single TV network – broadcast or cable, on mobile devices. News, comedy, documentary, web series and educational video

Ted Stanton on Storytelling

Make Me Care: Pixar Writer Andrew Stanton on Storytelling

In this TED Talk, Pixar director/screenwriter Andrew Stanton (“Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo,” “WALL-E”) shares a few of his ideas about what makes a great story.   Here are a few takeaways from the presentation: Why should you care? Every good marketer at least pretends

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Mobile Video Platforms: The Big Three

You don’t need to be told that digital and mobile video are hot these days. You can read this article, or you can read this one, and don’t forget to stare at the pretty charts some intern put together in

Ken Burns on Documentary Storytelling

Ken Burns on Emotional Truth in Storytelling

In this short video featured in The Atlantic,  legendary documentary filmmaker Ken Burns explains how the whole of the story transcends the sum of its parts: Jean Luc Goddard said cinema is truth 24 times a second. Maybe. It’s lying

Burt from Burts Bees on a Motorcycle. A screenshot from Burts Buzz Documentary

Documarketing: The Branded Documentary

Brands are putting themselves in the spotlight with feature-length documentaries. Over the last decade, documentary films have been on the rise in popularity and profitability. Production and equipment is lighter and cheaper, and filmmakers are free to experiment in finding creative

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Measuring Facebook’s Massive Growth in Video Views

Since the 2014 introduction of new auto-play video features, Facebook video view averages have been growing by leaps and bounds. Uploads are also are on the up and up as people are seeing videos flying through their timeline, triggering even more uploads.  Since June 2015, an average of 4

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Depicting Digital Interfaces in Film & Television

Showing interaction via text, the internet and other devices can be a challenge on film.  You are faced with a few choices.  You can shoot the screen on the device in a live action shot, use graphics or typography to overlay the messages

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Transparency in Fashion Documentaries

Removing the veil in front of fashion From finance to fashion, certain industries are traditionally, by design, cloaked in mystery.  New York Times fashion columnist Vanessa Friedman’s column, Fashion Has Much to Gain From Honest Documentaries, points out how fashion brands clearing the air


A Rare Interview with Stanley Kubrick on His Life and Filmmaking

Check out this 76 minute uncut interview with Stanley Kubrick in 1966 during the filming of 2001, A Space Odyssey. Interviewed over a game of chess by New Yorker columnist Jeremy Bernstein, Kubrick answers questions on his early career, creative problem-solving, photography, why he

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Commercials We Love: The Impossible Dream by Honda

When Honda released “The Impossible Dream” commercial in December 2005, created by Wieden+Kennedy London, it set a benchmark for aspirational advertising. It is a narrative about pursuing one’s passions against all odds, embodied by a protagonist riding through various terrains

all purpose film

Your Name Here: The First All-Purpose Film

After watching the 1960 corporate parody film Your Name Here, it will start to dawn on you that the corporate cliche’s of yesteryear are still alive and well in the modern world. It was created for trade shows by The Calvin Company, a Missouri-based educational


Viral Video Study Part 1: Amazing Stunts and Spectacles

The key to understanding how viral videos spread is knowing what motivates people to share. What common traits do successfully branded viral videos share? I’ve been researching videos that have amassed millions of views in an attempt to find the common

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5 Commercials Directed by Wes Anderson

Commercial production and ads support many independent would-be filmmakers dreaming of shooting their first feature film. Some may look at these ads as a troublesome stepping stone to the “big break”. But for seasoned feature filmmakers like Wes Anderson, directing

Website Video Integration

10 Business Website Video Integration Mistakes

Many businesses are now integrating video on their websites. Unfortunately, the integration can be sloppy. Why spend the time, resources and energy making a great video just to fall short on the final delivery? Here are 10 common mistakes businesses

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Robert Rodriguez on Digital Filmmaking at UT

Robert Rodriguez visits the UT campus to host a conversation with students and inspire what he calls, “the next generation of innovators.” covering the push and acceptance of independent films in the 1990s, the rise and explosion of digital film