Q & A with Ted TV’s Ted Smits
By Rachael Barthelmes, Intern
Ted Smits met me in the conference room at Fusion PR dressed in a black tee and distressed jeans. He seemed remarkably relaxed for someone working on a deadline, never once, throughout the entire interview, indicating he was in a rush. A veteran in both PR and video production, Ted admits that he has mastered the ability to remain calm and collected in even the most stressful of circumstances.
Ted was introduced to both PR and video production in his early 20s: filming and editing videos with his friends throughout college and then landing a role at Shandwick PR agency shortly after graduation. While PR remained his focus for the beginning of his career, he never abandoned his passion for video production, creating unforgettable reels of company Christmas parties and softball tournaments. His “hobby” began to transform into a career after Ted left Shandwick for another agency and received a call from his previous boss asking him to produce a video for Fig Newton. The video was used to promote Fig Newton’s 100th anniversary.
Ted then began a 5 year transition out of his career in PR into a career in video production, splitting his time between working freelance for GCI Group and producing videos for a variety of big name clients. Finally after years of dividing his time between both industries, Ted started Ted TV Productions where he now focuses entirely on video production. He has since worked on top video campaigns for clients like Sharp Electronics, Domino’s Pizza, Guinness, and Pharmacia & Smithkline Beecham and aspires one day to work with Facebook, Google or Microsoft.
Read Below to learn more about Ted and his career:
How have you witnessed technology change the video production industry?
The biggest change that I have seen in the last couple of years is the introduction to this whole concept of creating original content. What I mean by original content is say for example that you want to get a message out from your CEO, five or so years ago you would have to go find a newspaper or TV station or magazine to agree to do an interview with him. Now it’s possible to tape your own interview with him and put it on your Facebook page or website. From there blogs, other websites and news outlets will pick this original content up. It’s cutting out a step essentially, which allows you to not be dependent on outside media. Also, another thing a lot of people are doing is pairing a video with a news article. When people are given the option to read this news article or watch a three minute video, they will most often choose to watch the video.
Also technology has obviously changed how we distribute our footage. It used to be that we would have an event in the morning, rush into the studio and edit the footage, and then have to produce about 20 tapes that we would Fed Ex out. Now it is much easier where we can upload videos online and receive much wider coverage.
What is a typical week at Ted TV? Is there is a typical week?
While there is no typical week at Ted TV, we’re always talking to clients for new business, sending out proposals, and planning future projects. So that’s one part of our job, planning projects. We do a lot of videos now outside of New York City, we’ll get hired to shoot videos in Dallas, we’ll get hired to shoot videos in LA, and depending on the budget I’ll either fly there or hire a crew and manage that crew so they can get the video exactly how we want it to look. Another part of the job is editing videos. That can last up to 2-3 weeks. We do an initial edit, we send it to the PR agency for the client, the PR agency looks at it…they’ll do a round of changes then they’ll send it to their client and they’ll do a round of editing. It definitely varies how long an entire project takes to complete but generally we work on about a 2-6 week time frame of the whole project. In some circumstances we will produce a video in a week, but typically 2-6 weeks.
What advice would you give to young people starting their career in the video production industry?
I would say go take your camera and shoot a video with your friends, and edit it on your own. With editing you really can only learn by practicing. Even now every edit I do, I find some other editing trick or effect, and I’ve done hundreds of videos but still I find myself saying “I never knew I could do that!” Video companies often expect you to have some ability when you show up, so I recommend learning the basics of editing and learning how to shoot with a camera.
What is a typical Saturday afternoon for Ted Smits?
On the weekends I like to head to the beach, walk the park, or go for a bike ride on Riverside Park. I try to spend time outside!
Ted’s Guide to NYC:
Marumi LaGuardia Place
546 LaGuardia Place New York, NY 10012
Favorite Coffee Shop:
2130 Broadway New York, NY 10023
29 Union Square West New York, NY 10003
B and H video
354 W 34th St New York, NY, 10001
Favorite Part of NYC:
Central Park New York, NY