Friday, September 23, 2005

John W. Scherer Blog Sept 23 2005

Let’s talk computing!

Actually, let’s talk infomercials!
We just shot a new infomercial this past weekend. What you’ll see at home is the final, polished thirty- minute version put together by Chip Hopkins and his talented production team. But I want to show you all the work that goes into the production of an infomercial.

By the way, Chip and his team have won the coveted Aurora Gold Award for Video Production for the second year in a row. More on that in future blogs.

Two teams here at VIDEO PROFESSOR worked very hard on the infomercial, our marketing team and our production team. Not only do we have to develop the key messages and themes of each infomercial, but also we have to produce something that’s exciting and informative.

Dozens of our employees spend weeks planning in advance. We have to choose a location, in this case, Park Meadows Mall here in Denver. A shopping mall is a great place to recruit folks like you to try the many titles from our library of VIDEO PROFESSOR computer lessons.

The night before was pretty much an all-nighter as all the cameras, lighting, computers and pieces of the set were all set into place. We had to be ready to go when the mall opened Saturday morning.

The mall location provided us lots of room to work with. We were able to design a set that gave us plenty of “people” room! In this newest version, I have my anchor position with my excellent co-host, Laurel. But we also added an area for a “focus group. We got together with these folks and talked with them about what they knew about computing and more importantly, what they still wanted to learn and how they wanted to learn.

We then turned them loose at several computer laptop stations we set up and got them learning. We even had some folks try and learn with those bulky and hard-to-read instruction manuals to compare how fast they could learn compared to the folks using our lessons.

The contest between bulky and technical manuals and our VIDEO PROFESSOR tutorial lessons was in fact, NO contest!

I also had the chance to stop by the various workstations and visit with our users. Just like you, they have different interests in what they wanted to learn. Some worked on the basics, others worked on advanced skills with programs like PowerPoint and Excel. I’ve been teaching people how to operate their computers for over 18 years and it’s still wonderful to hear people say how fast and easy it is to learn a new skill, or improve existing ones.

Of course, because this was an infomercial, the cameras and microphones were everywhere. But it was spontaneous and unrehearsed. What you’ll see actually happened. And when our new infomercial begins airing around the country, you’ll also see first hand how quickly folks learned, and how good they felt about it.

And this is what makes it so much fun to come to work each day.

One special moment came when Laurel and I were taping a segment, and one of our guests came up to excitedly show us a picture she’d been able to create after just spending a few minutes with our lesson!

We wrapped up shooting at about 6pm. Then the hard work began again, this time in reverse; tearing everything down, packing it up and loading it on the truck for the trip back to the office.

Now our production team is hard at work, beginning the process of screening then editing dozens of hours of tape from the many cameras.

An infomercial is just half an hour. But hundreds and hundreds of hours go into making it. And all these pictures give you a chance to see the many talented and hardworking people that make VIDEO PROFESSOR so successful.

Site o’ the week
Here’s a collection of just plain silly stuff. Just once I’d like to meet one of the people that sits down and creates this stuff!

My cyber door is open. E-mail me at

John W. Scherer
CEO and Founder
Member: Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau. View our report at