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What Bottle Rocket Media Sees in Chicago’s Creative Scene

Chicago is a mosaic of creative enterprises: photography, architecture, television, theater—you name it, there’s a home for it in Chicago’s creative scene.

As the Internet, social media, and a proliferating mobile culture puts a greater degree of visual storytelling (and consuming) potential directly into the world’s hands, how do companies, creative firms, and artists keep up with changing technologies without losing what makes them who they are?

We sat down with Dan Fisher, Principal, Producer, Director and Brett Singer, Principal, Creative Director at Bottle Rocket Media, to learn about the significance of visual storytelling, how they adapt to a fluctuating technical environment, and what it is about Chicago that enhances their creative work.

Chicago Ideas (CI): What is the importance of visual storytelling?

Dan Fisher / Brett Singer (BR): The importance of visual storytelling cannot be underestimated. In addition to the general understanding that people are reading less than ever, visual storytelling has the greatest reach, communicating across language barriers, incorporating emotion, and clearly expressing ideas that might otherwise be open to interpretation.  

CI: What makes Bottle Rocket Media’s way of storytelling unique?

BR: The way we approach each project is really rather simple, but you’d be shocked at how often companies jump into a video project without this foundation. We ask these three questions at the start of every project: Who is the video’s target audience? How will they be watching the video? What do we want them to think/feel/do after watching the video?

The answers to these questions become the backbone of the videos, and we, as creators, become advocates of these answers, using them to challenge us creatively, protect the original message, and manage everyone’s expectations of the project.

CI: How does Bottle Rocket Media’s company culture enhance your capacity to tell stories?

BR: We’re constantly pushing our team to try new things (augmented reality, virtual reality, etc.) and to experience Chicago to its fullest (theater, comedy, museums, architecture). We do this as a group with company events and gaming sessions in the office. But we also encourage and support museum memberships and any training opportunities that may interest an individual. We know that we find creative inspiration everywhere, and we hope that rubs off on our team. We want our team to be curious about more than video, but creativity as a whole. We also invite any team member to come up with a video project they want to direct or write or create, and we’ll all pitch in to make it happen. It’s our personal projects that keep us fueled up throughout the year. And it’s those same projects that regularly propel us into new areas of creation. 

CI: Why should people be paying attention to the work Bottle Rocket Media is doing?

BR: We’re very lucky to work with a wide range of clients across a variety of industries.  Throughout all of our varied work, a love of story and obsessive attention to detail are constant. We’re taking decades of broadcast production experience and filmmaking, and bringing it to the world through online content. You won’t find a more passionate group of creators than the team making video at Bottle Rocket Media. And it shows in the work we do.

CI: How has Chicago influenced the work you are doing?

BR: We’re obsessed with Chicago. We really are. Having our home here has allowed us to connect directly with some of the biggest brands in the world (Oprah, Dyson, United, Chase, American Girl, and so on) but that’s only possible because of all the genuine talent that comes out of this city.  Writers, Directors, Advocates, Intellectuals…the list goes on and on. And on top of this, Chicago (and the whole midwest) has genuine easy-going charm. People are nice. We know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. And working here, amongst a city of talented, kind people really sets the tone for all we do. We surround ourselves with wildly talented, incredibly fun people. To us, that feels like a Chicago thing.

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