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From Green to Pro Demo Video Makers: Meet inventRight Students TJay and Billy

From green to professional video demo makers!

Every entrepreneur expects obstacles along his or her journey. Expecting them and successfully overcoming them, however, are two very different things. I recently had the pleasure of coaching inventRight students and cousins, TJay Kleeberger and Billy Maroo, who know all too well what an obstacle looks like.

TJay and Billy, residents of Minnesota, had a small problem. Their incredibly innovative and simple outdoor product had to be demoed in their backyard. Ideally, their demo would be filmed next to a barbeque with the glowing sun casting bright rays, creating a sense of serenity that only a summer day can bring.

So, what do you do when the weather is approximately 10 degrees outside and there is a fresh five feet of snow in your backyard? Most people would panic. Some would pick a new product and others might simply quit. That's why my mind was blown when they quickly shared their completed video with me, and it was seemingly filmed in a beautiful, sun lit backyard.

Or was it? I wondered, how did they accomplish this when it was at least a 7-hour drive to Missouri, the next sunny state over?

Outside of TJay's house on the night of filming

I would later learn that they had purchased a "green screen." Surely you are familiar with this technology. Nowadays there's hardly a Hollywood movie made without one. You likely have seen green screens used during your local weather forecast or perhaps in behind-the-scenes footage of your favorite film. Technically, the process is known as color or chroma keying. Simply put, a large screen, green in color, is placed behind an object or person being filmed. After the film is uploaded to a computer, simple software such as Apples' iMovie, allows you to replace the green screen with any image or video, achieving incredibly convincing visual effects.

I interviewed TJay and Billy to learn more. Was the process intimidating? It seemed like it. TJay assured me it was anything but.

"If you have a smart phone, you can learn about green screens and visual/audio editing by watching YouTube videos. Then, you're only limited by your imagination," he added.

After doing a bit of online research, the duo purchased a green screen on Amazon.com for $50.

They then reached out to a close friend who agreed to be their actor. They gave him a few directions, told him where to stand, placed the green screen behind him and started filming. They used their shop's cold concrete floor to double as a patio. Billy and TJay scoured the internet for hours before finding the perfect high-resolution photograph of a backyard that they wanted to use.Using a simple $3 iPhone app, the two effortlessly placed the image behind their actor in the final video.

Not entirely sure what I was looking at, I asked, "So, this entire video was filmed indoors, correct?" The two chuckled at my question and the reality of just how convincing the video was, which, yes, had been shot entirely indoors.

Billy and TJay’s actor in front of their green screen

What I really wanted to know why the two, faced against impossible odds, decided to think outside the box and do something that we at inventRight had never seen attempted by a student.

"Don't give up, adapt. Too many people think they have failed when they are only halfway to the finish line," Billy told me.

TJay has learned to welcome challenges.

"Billy told me once that you can't have any real growth without discomfort, and I've been embracing the chaos of life ever since. The more weight I feel from our time and schedules, the more I know something great is going to come from all of it."

The video has been extremely well received. In fact, the two are in very serious negotiation with their potential licensee and everything is certainly trending in the right direction.

"The licensee is absolutely in love with the video and they have been using it to gauge interest from buyers."

TJay and Billy’s incredibly convincing effect utilizing the green screen

The results have been so good, Billy and TJay have use the green screen on a second video demo as well. What advice would they give to anyone making a video?

"Keep it simple. One of our commercials is only 17 seconds long with background music and no words. Everyone loves it."

They explained to me that the sell sheet is simply the delivery mechanism and it's the video which is the ultimate star of the presentation.

"The sell sheets show the idea like a covered platter of food. Clicking on the video button is like pulling off the cover, revealing your video like a gourmet meal they can smell and taste. The video evokes an emotion that gets your audience invested."

As their coach, I must admit I am incredibly proud of them. After viewing the demo for the first time, inventRight cofounder Stephen Key simply stated, "I absolutely love it!"

TJay and Billy have taken the initiative to stand out in a crowded sea of other inventors. The green screen can be a game changer for inventors. The truth is they were only limited by their creativity. They could have just as easily put a video of the ocean or a rocket ship blasting off behind their actor!

Coaching inventors like TJay and Billy is exhilarating. The passion and creativity each has demonstrated is truly palpable.

They strategically overcame an obstacle and their end result was extraordinary. I'm confident that with a little extra effort and out of the box thinking you too can achieve remarkable outcomes!

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