By Andrea Harwood Palmer
“We do a lot of work for nonprofits,” said Bob English, who owns and operates Luzerne Productions, a video production company he opened in 2002.
“It’s such a necessary part of service. For nonprofits, especially right now with the COVID-19 problem, fundraising is a challenge. Everyone needs to raise money.”
He believes his company can help in that regard.
Luzerne Productions is responsible for many videos shown at area nonprofit fundraisers every year. Most recently they produced a fundraising video for Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
“What usually happens with annual fundraisers is: You get everybody in a room with some cocktails and food, you tell them about your service,” said English. “Then you show them a nice video and people say, ‘Wow, I wanna help’ because the people there are altruistic anyway or they wouldn’t be there to begin with. A video at a fundraiser is great because you have a captive audience. You show a video for 2-3 minutes, and if they’re wiping away a tear when you turn the lights back on, then I’ve done my job. That’s how I know I’ve been successful.”
With COVID-19, people can’t congregate in person.
“What we’ve managed to do is hold a number of fundraisers online, on YouTube Live. Everyone is already on the internet anyway. We’ll gather 200-300 people together who are altruistic enough to help the community, and we give them a URL, and a time and date to click on it. The entire fundraising premise will be there for them, pre-produced and put online.”
“Everyone has a website, but if it’s just text, people don’t tend to hang around for very long,” said English. “It takes so much longer for your brain to process words than it does video. My slogan is, ‘Don’t tell me what you do, show me what you do’. With your website, video is such a great opportunity for someone to see your product or service in a way they’ll remember.”
“Most of the time, these annual fundraisers include an auction of some sort,” said English. “So we take those auctions, and put it online.
English grew up in Brooklyn, New York and graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in TV production, with a minor in political science. He moved to the Capital District in 1973, and spends much of his time on Lake Luzerne.
“I’ve been in the video and television production business all my life,” said English. He worked at all the local television stations over the years and in 2002, decided to strike out on his own.
“I didn’t like the direction the industry was going in,” he said.
Previously, he directed and produced the local portions of the annual Jerry Lewis Telethon. Having worked as a producer, he built relationships with high level leaders and CEOs in the area. When he went out on his own, those contacts would take his calls.
“It helped a lot,” said English. “The first thing I did when I went out on my own was for the Double H Ranch in Luzerne. Neal Golub from the Price Chopper family was on the board and he called me” about help with fundraising.
“We managed to do a half-hour video that was aired on all of the stations around Christmastime. I had Paul Newman do the open and close (of the segment) and I had Rachel Ray walk through the camp. It was extremely successful.”
By Andrea Harwood Palmer