LAKEVIEW — The German author and playwright Goethe once wrote, “One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.” That’s a philosophy recently taken to heart by Lakeview Village Manager James Freed while producing a promotional video for the town.
Rather than hire a big production company to slap together a slick advertisement for the village, Freed and Lakeview Marketing Director Alexandrea Andersen opted for a more “small town” approach; on-the-street interviews with locals interspersed with footage of some of the town’s highlights. The result is a one-minute video — recently posted on Facebook and the village’s website — showcasing the “real” Lakeview.
According to Freed, this more honest approach to portraying the town lends the video an authenticity many such projects lack.
“Nobody goes on social media sites to watch professional video,” Freed said. “They go to see real people talking about the town they live in. So far we’ve gotten over 700 views in just one day and we haven’t even publicized it that much.”
The video took about a month to produce, including editing, but most of the footage was shot in a single weekend, during Lakeview’s Summerfest, June 15 and 16. Andersen, who serves as marketing director for both the village and Chamber of Commerce, spearheaded the project.
“James (Freed) came to me and said the village needed someone with both a knowledge of advertising who also knew Lakeview,” Andersen said. “I grew up here, so I know the town pretty well.”
Andersen and Freed spent much of Summerfest weekend touring Lakeview with a videographer in tow, shooting footage of some of the village’s best features and interviewing “townies.”
“We talked to a lot of people during that time,” Andersen said. “Then we went out on Tamarack Lake and got a lot of good shots. For only three people working on the project, I think it turned out pretty well.”
Freed stressed that none of the video was scripted. The responses of those interviewed are spur of the moment and unrehearsed.
“We didn’t tell people what to say,” Freed said. “We just asked them what they think about Lakeview and filmed their honest response. The people of Montcalm County and Lakeview have an incredible story to tell the world and that’s really what we wanted to do. There are 1200 rural communities in Michigan, many like Lakeview, but though we’re similar, we’re also very special. I think it’s important that we’re able to share our story with the world.”
The video cost $2,200 to produce, which Freed calls “not bad,” considering some neighboring communities have payed up to $20,000 for similar projects.