Video production

Danbury could spend thousands on a video production contract to ‘highlight’ the work of city officials

DANBURY — The Mayor’s Office is trying to keep pace with social media trends with a new plan of weekly promotional and explainer videos that could keep residents up to date with City Hall news and events.

“It seems like everyone and his brother is on social media, so that gives us the ability to directly access individuals,” Mayor Dean Esposito said.

A request for proposals, posted March 17, hopes to locate a video production company that can help produce weekly videos to “showcase the work of departments and the mayor’s office,” the app says.

Specifically, these short videos would showcase the work of various departments — for example, showing residents what the finance, purchasing, or health department does for residents every day — as well as covering larger events. The mayor’s office is looking for a “better, more dynamic social media presence” and an information platform for residents, said John Kleinhans, Danbury’s government affairs and communications adviser.

“For a city our size, there are a lot of residents who don’t know how important and tough our city staff are, so it’s good to highlight them as well,” he said. “We’ve found that we can communicate better with residents effectively with videos and it’s – as the mayor said – it’s more enjoyable to watch and it kind of gives people an idea of ​​what the city ​​made day to day level.”

The mayor’s office budgeted between $20,000 and $25,000 for a one-year video production contract, but the office will select the lowest, most qualified bid, according to Kleinhans. Applicants should have expertise in scriptwriting, video production, editing and all aspects of pre- and post-production work, the application states. The company cannot subcontract any work to third-party suppliers.

The one- to two-minute videos would be produced weekly, and the producers would work in tandem with Kleinhans to write scripts and schedule shoots.

Esposito pointed out that his office has used videos “quite often” in the months since he took office, and the response has been “very positive” so far.

Indeed, three recent projects, including a promotional video for the renovated Emergency Management Office, the announcement of the new career academy site at Cartus Corp. and Esposito’s annual State of the City Address, cost $750, $1,800 and $2,250, respectively, Kleinhans says.

The State of the City Address is usually given in person each December in front of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce. In 2021, Esposito’s first address consisted mostly of a four-and-a-half-minute video played at the in-person event, followed by some additional live commentary from the mayor.

All three projects were made by RmediA, LLC, a Danbury-based video production company located on Main Street.

“People feel like they’re getting really accurate information, and it’s a little less boring than some of the old ways of communicating with the public with a speech or a long presentation,” Esposito said.

The RFP would cover all costs for the video projects requested for the one-year contract. Two proposals have been submitted so far, but the application period is open until April 6, according to Kleinhans.

Esposito said his administration was “all about communication.”

“We are very confident in video technology and being able to produce these types of videos relatively quickly and inexpensively to get the message out to our citizens,” Esposito said.

Resident communication

This is not the first time a Danbury mayor has used social media and video platforms to get a message across.

At the start of the pandemic, former mayor Mark Boughton launched a “[email protected]” series on Facebook, filmed on his Samsung phone each weekday at 5 p.m., to update residents on the virus and other concerns. essentials of the city. The low-tech videos, which were produced using a $35 microphone that Boughton said he bought himself, garnered thousands of views and became a bright spot during a dark time. .

Eventually, the series moved to Mondays and Thursdays, and occasionally even included a guest.

In Bridgeport, the mayor’s office hired a company, Ferocious Media, to help produce daily COVID briefings for Facebook and radio. In total, the city has budgeted about $200,000 a year for marketing efforts “aimed at attracting visitors and stimulating the local economy,” Hearst Connecticut Media reported.

Danbury’s YouTube page had just 198 subscribers as of March 23, and the new videos had yet to rack up many views there – just 17 on the state of the city video and 177 for the announcement of the city. career academy – but embedding YouTube videos into other parts of the city’s media, like their Facebook page and updated website, will be key to their use of video to communicate with residents, Kleinhans explained. . The videos have significantly more views on the city’s Facebook page.

The added video components are just part of an updated communications and media strategy for the mayor’s office. An updated city website is nearing completion, and Kleinhans said they are also integrating these video outreach efforts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The goal is to have a diverse communication plan, he added.

“There are just a lot of good things happening when it comes to improving communication with our residents and our ratepayers,” Kleinhans said. “We’re looking for ways to do better, and that’s just one element.”