The following link is to the official The Strangers website I made upon completion of the movie back in June 2006: http://thestrangers.empfilms.net
This project was originally started as an experiment. I had seen DVDs from Islam1 Productions but was dissatisfied with then in the respect that it wasn’t able to keep my attention. I have a few problems with those lecture DVDs:
- One camera angle
- Lectures were too long
- There wasn’t much eye candy
- There was no allegory to help remember what was said.
I wanted to make a video that was capable of keeping an individual’s attention, be entertaining, and not be too long.
I decided to have the following setup:
- 2 Headshot camera angles
- 2 Midshot camera angles
- 2 long shot camera angles
- 1 drifting camera
My friend Hasan Mahmood was in the process of writing a script for a video contest that I was conducting for Young Muslims. We decided to go out and start filming one night. To our misfortune we forgot the script, so we decided to do it free verse. Initially I had no intention of using the video footage for the film, but when Hasan decided not to submit it, I figured it would make an excellent introduction and attention grabber for the lecture.
After filming was complete, I was able to complete editing, compiling the DVD, having it duplicated (300 DVDs) with DVD case and cover art in three weeks…which was just in time for ICNA 2006.
Challenges I Faced
The biggest challenge once you have a product out is promoting and selling it. Two years ago I tried a sales venture where I ended up loosing $3000, but the lessons learned were invaluable:
- Before doing any sort of business, plan it through.
- Don’t be hesitant in execution. If you are then you wont succeed.
- Make sure you evaluate the people you request to do the work. Follow up with them often, for it’s your investment.
I applied those lessons for selling the DVDs. Alhumdulillah, we were able to break even, but we still have inventory that we need to clean out. A sales principal I learned was: How ever much you want to makes, put 10%-15% of that into the marketing of the product.
I had received MUCH feedback regarding this product which is great. It give way to improvement.:
- The nasheed in the background was too loud and was becoming distracting for some.
- Lecture was a little too long (for me personally)
- Camera angle’s switched too fast
- Video introduction really grabbed the audience’s attention
- Multiple camera angles help in keeping one’s attention.
Lessons from this project will surely be valuable when doing future projects of this nature.
This is the trailer that was put together for the DVD promotion:
For more info on the DVD itself: http://thestrangers.empfilms.net
Later that year we did an event showing of the actual DVD. I put together a promotional video for it. Here it is:
There were some major lessons learned from this event showing:
- Have a backup DVD — My DVD got stuck have way through.
- Carry the DVD in an actual case.