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Meet CID: David Busse
Meet CID

Meet CID: David Busse

This transcript has been edited for this format. Watch or listen to the video to catch the full interview.

Meg: For this month's Meet CID we are talking to David Busse, our in-house video extraordinaire, and so of course we thought it would be appropriate to talk on video. David, what are you officially responsible for here at CID? 

David: I'm involved in the video creation process from the time that we get a project coming in, so that includes being involved in estimating, through the creative of the video. Everything from speaking into scripts, to writing the shot list, to figuring out who we want to help us with the video on the crew, to production, post-production, and delivery. 

David Busse: The Early Years
Meg: Have you always been interested in video? 

David: I've been doing it since I was 11 or 12 years old. The first camera I bought was a DVX 100. 

Meg: What were some of your projects back then? 

David: Just skateboarding videos. I also made a video called "The Germinators." That was us running around doing stunts, and then we made a mafia boss video.

Meg: I feel like every kid that was interested in video made some sort of mafia movie, and it always included ketchup as fake blood. 

David: We didn't get that involved, but yeah, I did get knocked off in that movie. 

Meg: When you were a kid, what were you using to edit your videos? 

David: I feel like there was some free movie editor that came with Windows. But then I was lucky—my parents saw I liked video and they gave me a Mac G5. It was really powerful back then, but it's really weak by today's standards. So then I was using Final Cut probably from the time I was 17 or 18. 

Meg: So how did you get your start in video? 

David: I bounced around majors in college. I always knew I enjoyed video, but I just thought it wasn't something you could do. So I started college as a psychology major. Then I switched to a fire science major. And actually at one point I thought about being a chef. The only thing that was sticking with me was video. So then I switched to that. Long story short, I graduated from UWM in 2011 and then I was lucky enough to have my parents semi-support me when I first graduated, so I was able to scrape by and try to find freelance jobs. I was able to find enough freelance jobs to make me float. It probably took about two years before I was established.

Meg: What did you learn during that freelance process?

David: Oh man, I mean, I definitely think in the freelance process you learn a lot more than you do in college. I think college was important for me to go but being in the real world did teach me a lot of things about business etiquette that they don't really go over in school like how to present yourself and the interpersonal side of things.

The Current State of Video and Where It's Going
Meg: Is there anything in the video world right now that you particularly love?

David: My favorite type of content is either absurd comedy or science journalism. I really like the show I Think You Should Leave or Curb Your Enthusiasm or The Eric Andre Show. Something I really love is Radiolab. Even though it's not visual, I like the way they use audio to build a world that is really imaginative.

Meg: Is there any trend or style that you absolutely hate? 

David: Hate's a strong word, but I dislike it when things are stylized just for the sake of being stylized.
When DSLRs first came out around 2008 or so, and YouTube and Vimeo were just starting, you'd see a lot of videos that were just beautiful videos, but there was no real content to them. And I feel that now it’s shifted to where everybody can shoot a beautiful video, but everybody's just trying to do something that's really cool and stylized. Sometimes it still is empty outside of the style itself. 

Meg: Yes, it's hard to be substantive in a 15 or 30-second clip, which is where you'll typically get that high visual impact, but very little substance.

David: And I think right now there's more uncertainty with how TikTok is changing everything. Especially reaction videos where things are so content-based that the actual technique doesn't matter at all.

Meg: Where do you think video is going? 

David: You know, once AI tools become easier to use, I think it'll be easier for people to create certain types of content. But I also think that people do want to see real people. People still gravitate toward the videos where they know there are real people. 

Creating Video In and Outside CID
Meg: What is the hardest part about what you do?

David: When you start collaborating with more people, the more complex everything becomes because you have to make sure everybody's on the same page. So I would say that that's probably been one of the biggest challenges for me in navigating my career. Since I started doing video and editing when I was 12 years old, there are a lot of things that I just know innately. But communicating with a crew effectively took a lot of years to learn how to get better at that. 

Meg: Do you have a favorite CID project so far?

David: My favorite project that was just fun to film was probably the Wheel & Sprocket 50th anniversary video. We got to just go around and film bikes for basically a week straight. And I do always enjoy working with a bigger crew and just a good team. I definitely enjoyed the Potawatomi projects and then also the MSOE commercials we've done and the latest Versiti project. When I think about favorites, it's always those ones where we're working with a bigger team and there’s a lot of good collaboration. And access to scenes and locations that are unique. 

Meg: Do you prefer going into a shoot with very strict and structured storyboarding and script, or do you prefer to be more on the side of going in and see what happens? 

David: I think usually I tend towards the more planned side of things. You do want to make sure that you're capturing the story that the client wants you to tell and helping to tell the story of their brand, which does often require more planning. I do enjoy the opportunities to explore a concept, but planning is important. And something that's always interesting with video is that ultimately the audio, in some ways, matters more than the video. You can have the best commercial you've ever seen, but without audio, you're going to want to turn that commercial off in 5 seconds. Audio can live on its own. You can't overstate how important the audio is because so many times before we add the music in, you're watching something and you're thinking, “Oh man, this is not really what I want it to be.” Then you add the music to it and it just elevates everything. 

Meg: Are there any personal projects you're working on right now? 

David: Yes, I'm working on a project that’s kind of in the vein of Radiolab meets Planet Earth, where I'm hoping to inspire that sense of awe and wonder in people. So just south of Milwaukee along the shores of Lake Michigan, there's this colony of thousands of bank swallows that breed there. It's this insane sight to see. And then the more I dug into it, the more I saw that their world is totally different from ours. They have almost 360-degree vision around them.  They fly extremely fast for their size and scientists think the way they're able to do that is because they experience the world in slow motion. So it's just fascinating that there's this huge colony of swallows living so close to a city. 

Meg: That's super cool. When can we expect your Netflix documentary? 

David: I'm hoping to be done in late July. I'm thinking it'll be 8-10 minutes long.

Expert Advice for You, Dear Reader
Meg: Is there any advice that you would give to any of our current or potential clients for their video projects? 

David: I would say focus on the content side of things. With video, just like any other content, you have to make sure that you're giving the people watching the video something that's useful to them.
I do feel that a lot of videos serve the top funnel of brand awareness really well. And that can really expand your customer base by making interesting videos that appeal to a lot of people who share them around. And obviously you can go down the funnel and make videos that are more focused.

Meg: You can usually tell a richer story, too, when you focus on the awareness. And I think that's where the interesting work happens the most is the awareness stage. 

David: Yeah, definitely. I think awareness definitely lends itself to stories and emotive things, and also sometimes letting your brand take a little bit of a punch to show that you’re a real brand and you're willing to be honest about yourself. When you see brands kind of poke fun at themselves or just let criticism come through, it makes you trust the brand more. If a brand is being honest, I like them more than if I feel a brand is only willing to show their shiny side to me.

Meg: Absolutely. An openness and an authentic side. 

That’s a wrap on this month’s Meet CID. And if you like this format, be sure to let us know!

Meg Brondos

Meg Brondos

Sr. Brand & Marketing Strategist

Meg’s racked up experience (and a couple awards) across a variety of disciplines in her 10 years: editorial and advertising design, marketing strategy, and brand development. With a focus on uncovering the thread that begs to be pulled, and getting into all the nooks and crannies of an initiative, Meg’s work results in verbal and visual communication that packs a punch.

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