The Working Experience: The Videos and a Leap of Faith

Photo by Muzammil Soorma on Unsplash

Matty Kerr is co-creator and cohost with John Brancaccio of The Working Experience podcast which can be found on iTunes, Spotify, and wherever else you listen to your favorite podcasts. Find more of us on Twitter, Linked In, Instagram and Facebook.

The idea of The Working Experience did not start as a podcast. I was familair with the concept and had listened to a few such as Serial, but I had never considered producing one. What would I talk about?

The original project, starting in 2016, was a series of short comic videos that we hoped might gain a following on YouTube and get picked up by a production company for development. We did not call it The Working Experience at the time and did not conceive of the videos as being part of a larger brand.

That came later.

The videos center on a character named Brian Stiglitz who works for an advertising company named Gold Crest Enterprises LLC.

Brian has some issues. He steals food from his coworkers; he has bladder control issues and frequently smells like urine; he is needy and a borderline stalker; he wears sneakers with Velcro straps instead of laces; he brings an emotional support doll to work which creeps everyone out. His coworkers complain to Mr. Hegely, the Human Resources Manager, who is then forced to have very awkward conferences with Brian to address the issues.

The videos were not a total ripoff of The Office but they certainly drew from that genre.

I wrote the scripts, very short scenarios of 2 to 3 pages. However, I knew from past experience that when it comes to the technical aspects of production, I tend to stall out.

It is important for a person to understand his/her limitations.

I needed professional help in getting the videos shot, edited, and posted online where people could actually watch them. So I did some research and found a local studio in Quincy MA run by two brothers, Keith and Luke, called Keep the Edge. They mainly do music but also produce video content. I went to them and explained the project and they were a great fit. For a very reasonable price they provided a three camera set up, an office in which to shoot, and professional quality sound (boom mic, lavalier mic, mixing). Luke edited the videos and also set up the YouTube channel where we posted them.

These guys just have a great attitude. They are enthusiastic about the creative process, had excellent suggestions for how to most effectively shoot the videos and we got along really well which makes life so much easier.

Side Note: I cannot stress enough the value of professional grade audio for a video. That quality alone will set it apart from all the other amateur stuff out there.

Of course, before we could shoot the videos I had to get people to play the roles. I recruited my college friend Nick to play Mr. Hegely. He had never acted before but he has spent a lot of time in the corporate world so he knew just how to play a Human Resources Rep: upbeat but passive-aggressive with the criticism, never making outright accusations, always being very careful with his language.

I went on local casting sights such as Boston Casting to find actors to play the other roles. There is quite a bit of local talent and many aspiring actors are quite willing to work for free in order to gain exposure and make contacts.

I played Brian because it was a lot of fun. I love playing creepy weirdos.

We shot about 30 videos and posted them to the YouTube channel which was called Full Disclosure (a commonly used term in the corporate world, the legal profession and among government employees). I would then share them to my Facebook page and John (cohost of The Working Experience podcast) would do the same.

Posting videos to YouTube is a crapshoot; you are just hoping that they will catch on and become wildly popular (go viral) and some producer sees them and offers you a bunch of money for development. But there are so many videos out there that it’s like playing the lottery. One consolation is that many of the videos are of very poor quality and, much like podcasting, most people do not stick with it; they post a few videos and then fade out.

Which is what happened with Full Disclosure.

We did not get a development deal. Very few people saw the videos. Some friends and family members thought they were funny but what else are they going to say? They cost between $250 to $500 for a session and, while I really love doing the videos it just didn’t make sense if we were not getting any kind of significant audience.

This is what led to the idea of the podcast, which is much cheaper and easier to produce. However, the podcast is not meant to replace the video aspect but to enhance.

Under The Working Experience brand we see all of our projects, or products, working together to create a larger whole.

So we have continued to shoot videos but have modified our strategy. I did a series of very short (30 second) videos parodying the endless affirmations that can be found on Instagram. These were very simple: one shot of two people sitting at a table reciting lines. I did other videos with the same set up so I could do a bunch at minimal cost.

We did a series of 8 videos parodying the Master Class. Our videos were about how to shift blame to others, get out of doing work and look engaged at a meeting, that sort of thing. John and I shot them at the WeWork in Boston. They cost more than the one shot videos but less than paying a studio since John could shoot and edit them. All the videos are posted to Linked In, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

We continue to refine the material to see what works and search for new and better ways to market ourselves. I am thinking about redoing the Full Disclosure videos with a clearer vision of a series with some sort of arc and character development. When I did the videos in 2016 I really didn’t have that in mind but I have learned since then.

Our website is nearly finished so posting the videos there along with the podcast episodes and links to our Shopify and Patreon accounts might attract more viewers which may lead people to buy our merchandise and support us on Patreon.

It can be exhausting.

The truth is we are not sure what exactly to do except to keep trying until something hits. That might be the podcast or the videos or an ebook or a blog post.

Who knows?

All of this requires a leap of faith. Walking into Keep the Edge Studios more than four years ago was a leap of faith. Starting the podcast was a leap of faith. Asking people to watch and listen is a leap of faith. Writing these pieces is a leap of faith.

Every hour a person spends pursuing his or her passion is a leap of faith. Every dollar a person invests in building something is a leap of faith. Every fear confronted, every doubter faced is a leap of faith.

If you take that leap you’ve already won.



Co-creator and cohost of The Working Experience Podcast. We explore what people do for work, how they do it and how they feel about it. Twice a week!

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M. Francis Enright

Co-creator and cohost of The Working Experience Podcast. We explore what people do for work, how they do it and how they feel about it. Twice a week!