Adam Lisagor

Mostly a director and the founder of production company, Sandwich Video

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON August 18, 2015

Discussion

Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
I’m Adam. You may have seen me on your TV selling cars (I think) or on your other TV selling Internet services, but I’m not an actor or a car salesman. I’m mostly a director and I founded a production company called Sandwich Video in Los Angeles five years ago. In that time, I've gotten to introduce like a hundred incredible tech products people would soon clamor for, and a few not incredible products no one wanted. I’ve personally endorsed a lot of them, which is how most people know me, and I’ve invested in a lot of them through the venture arm of my company, taking equity in some of my clients in lieu of cash. I’m not a brilliant director, but I’m good at what I do because I think about technology more than the average filmmaker. Ask me anything.
Jonathon Triest@jtriest · Ludlow Ventures
@lonelysandwich Any (serious) ambitions to create something more long-form? Maybe a feature length film?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@jtriest Hi, JT. Yes, I would eventually like to see if I'm worth a damn at anything other than the two-minute format, but I'm still enjoying what I do, so I don't want to get ahead of myself or assume that just because I'm okay at X, I'm going to be okay at Y. But I love tech and I love funny stuff and I love stories around tech and I bet if we put our heads together, we could come up with something cool. Hint.
Brett Radler@brettrad · Founder 86App.co
@jtriest Perhaps he can produce one of your carpool.vc videos!
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@brettrad SOMEBODY needs to ooh zing
Brett deMarrais@brettdem · Partner Ludlow Ventures
You have tons of companies trying to work with you. What is the selection process like and what do you think is the most important factor for deciding who you work with?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@lonelysandwich #1 answer: should this product exist in the world (according to a loose set of standards decided by me, which is admittedly fairly limited). Are they doing something no one else is doing, in a way no one else is doing it? Then that's a GREAT start.
Mychal Edelman@mychaledelman · Marketing Automation Strategist
@lonelysandwich would you consider working with a larger tech company if they fit your criteria? or are startups your wheel house?
Alan Cassinelli@alancassinelli · Director of Marketing at Need/Want
@lonelysandwich How does this relate to your work with Century Link?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@alancassinelli That? That was a fun opportunity to do what I know how to do for a larger brand and a different audience. They literally came to me and said "we like how you and Sandwich make videos, so can you do that in TV commercials for CenturyLink?" And I said, "Yes."
Max Beaumont@maxpbeaumont · CEO, Beaumont LLC
Hey Adam! When is the best time for a startup that is always changing and improving its product to create a video?
jonathan barronville@jonathanmarvens · Software Engineer
@maxpbeaumont I have the same question, @lonelysandwich!
Ty Martin@tymrtn · Founder, Turf.ly
@maxpbeaumont +1 (yes, upvoting just not enough)
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@maxpbeaumont One answer: when the product is mature enough that you know not necessarily what it looks like, but what it *feels* like to a user. Second answer: when you can do it right. And right is very subjective, so that might mean you shoot it with an iPhone or it might mean you spend a million dollars, but it means that you didn't compromise.
Ray Garcia@raygcreative · Founder @teleporme
@maxpbeaumont Every upvote counts so I just upvoted this question!
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Hey, @lonelysandwich! Love love love your work. Your Navdy video is one of my favorites:
You've directed dozens (hundreds?) of videos for startups. Which one are you most proud of any why?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@rrhoover Thanks for this opportunity, Ryan. Thanks for making ProductHunt. I love it and people love it and Products love it and presumably hunters love it. Quick short answer: I'm fond of the video I did for Aeropress, depicting my love of the Aeropress, because it was the most pure concept that sprung from a very simple emotional response to a product. And it wasn't for the money, it was for the love.
Other answers: Knock, JAMBOX, QuizUp, Warby Parker.
Ray Garcia@raygcreative · Founder @teleporme
@rrhoover Thanks for sharing this video! Never knew that existed...
Chris Gonzales@gromble · Writer, The Spark Journal
@lonelysandwich The AeroPress video is a favorite of mine. I still go back and watch it from time to time. That ending.
Igor Stefurak@druh_opryshok · Dealflow Manager at GrowthUP
@lonelysandwich do you use Navdy in real life?
Brett Radler@brettrad · Founder 86App.co
@raygcreative Pretty good resource of all their videos! http://sandwichvideo.com/projects/
Chris Carlson@clcmusic · Product Manager, Saatchi Art
@lonelysandwich Sometimes your videos are TOO good; you make certain tech companies' products look market-ready when they are not and the companies have then had trouble delivering their products as described in your videos. Since then, have those experiences informed on your process at all? Whether that is choosing who to work with, or what type of content you will include in a video?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@clcmusic Yes, absolutely. Thank you for that. I answered a question about this above, about learning our responsibility as people who make products and market them to be honest with the consumers. It's something that's on my mind a lot these days.
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@clcmusic Just an hour ago, I made my first ever purchase on Saatchi Art. Nice work on that product. It's beautiful. When I checked out and paid, I noticed a thing that said "you can get 10% off your cart with this code" but it was too late to do anything about it. Too late? The code was UPGRADE. I'm asking you a support question on my PH AMA, by the way. What a world.
Chris Carlson@clcmusic · Product Manager, Saatchi Art
@lonelysandwich Hi Adam. Thanks for your purchase and the kind words! We can apply that discount retroactively for you, no problem. Regardless of you writing to me here, our support team will be calling you (if they haven't already) congratulating you on your purchase and can answer any additional questions you might have.
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@clcmusic Thank you! Yes, I did get a call from one of your team, and I couldn't be more excited. And THANK YOU for the retroactive discount. Pays to be on Product Hunt LIVE.
Chris Carlson@clcmusic · Product Manager, Saatchi Art
@lonelysandwich So... the real question on everyone's mind... does Sandwich Video accept fine art as a form of payment? :P We'd sure love to have a video showcasing our awesome artists and the incredible customer service experience you're currently in the middle of.
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@clcmusic It actually sounds kind of great. Email me adam@sandwich.co.
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
@lonelysandwich What advice do you have for young filmmakers who want to do what you do?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@eriktorenberg Get yourself onto a professional filmmaking set as soon as possible. There is no substitute for the inspiration and education that comes from watching people who are really good at what they do working quickly and effectively, doing what they love.
Maxime Pico@maximepico · Conversion optimisation consultant
@lonelysandwich Which one inspired you the most then?
Shiva Kilaru@shivakilaru
@lonelysandwich Why do you think Sandwich’s product resonates so well with tech startups?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@shivakilaru Good question. I think it's mostly because we at Sandwich love tech. Plain and simple. We are not production people/filmmakers who are trying to capitalize on an opportunity in the tech space, or on the web. We're tech people who also have a whole set of skills because we also make video.
Olivier Plante@oplante · CEO, Thingthing Keyboard @thingthingapp
@lonelysandwich So true !
David Diamond@david_diam · Product designer
@lonelysandwich What was the thought/strategy around creating such a personal brand, how did the idea for you to star in most of the videos come up?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@david_diam It was not intentional to put myself in them, but it ends up being sometimes the most natural way for me to make videos that explain a thing, is to be the person in the video explaining the thing. Because IT TURNS OUT that explaining things well is the hard part, and not every butthead with a nice haircut can do it.
Andy Orsow@andyorsow · Designer / Product Video Guy at InVision
@lonelysandwich Your story (or what I know of it at least) is a pretty awesome “I just kinda stumbled into this” one. Were you interested in being a Director prior to the interest you got after your birdhouse video? If not, how have you managed the learning curve? Your sets and production seem to get bigger and better every time.
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@andyorsow I did go to film school, and wanted to be a director from the age of 11. But it wasn't until I'd graduated from film school, spent years working in post-production, and given up on the idea of being a director, that I started to understand what being a director is. I just did a Creative Mornings talk on this idea. I don't know if they shot video of it, but if they did, I'll put a link to it on Twitter, because it and I am endlessly fascinating oh my god I have to stop talking
Andy Orsow@andyorsow · Designer / Product Video Guy at InVision
@lonelysandwich haha, thanks for the response, Adam! I'll keep an eye out for that tweet.
Neven Mrgan@mrgan · Designer, Panic Inc
@lonelysandwich Your videos epitomize "good advertising" for me; like classic VW ads, they're something I don't mind watching on its own, whether it's primarily there to sell to me or not. Do you think this can be achieved in all forms of advertising, or will some types (say, banner ads, popups, overlays) always be… less than lovable?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@mrgan HI NEVEN. Thank you for the great question. Yes, I believe there's potential for high quality and taste in all formats in all media. A square of toilet paper can be clever if made with care.
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@mrgan And it was David Ogilvy that once said "all advertising is toilet paper, and that's a metaphor".
Ricky Yean@rickyyean · CEO, PRX.co
@lonelysandwich could you tell us a general structure about your creative process starting from first client interaction?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@rickyyean This is the short version: 1) have a phone call to see how the client sees their product. 2) sometimes get to see it in person (not always) 3) pay attention to my brain to see if I start explaining it to myself in a particular way. 4) see if there's a natural story-like way of translating that explanation to people outside my brain. 5) present that story-like thing to the client in a way that they can see their product through fresh eyes. 6) get the production people involved, because they're the ones who know how to make things happen 7) ask the client to pay for it. 8) make it. 9) crush it. 10) flambé it. 11) pulverize it. 12) filet it. 13) let simmer for 16 minutes on medium high heat OH HI NEVEN
Ryan Shook@ryanshook · Creative Director
When marketing beta (incomplete) products, how do you balance hype with customer expectations? What do you do when a founder asks you to focus on a feature that might not be stable?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@ryanshook Great question, Ryan. Because this is a tricky one. You (I) have to be realistic about what is achievable and what is imaginable. Because those two things aren't always aligned and may be even increasingly less aligned. Because we all have active imaginations and if we want to believe something is real, we can convince ourselves that it soon will be. So we as consumers and product makers and and marketers have an increasing responsibility to be practical and real and honest about what is achievable.
Ryan Shook@ryanshook · Creative Director
@lonelysandwich Great response, thanks!
Ryan Block@ryan · Cofounder of Begin
Your beard is (and always has been) fantastic and well kept. What are the @lonelysandwich beard grooming habits? And what tips can you share with those of us with lesser beards?
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@ryan I have the same question about @alexisohanian's well kept beard.
Ryan Block@ryan · Cofounder of Begin
@rrhoover seriously strong beard game in the startup community these days. 🐻
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@ryan Rule #1: There are no rules. Also, don't groom your beard. Not worth it.
Chris Duncan@cjduncs
@lonelysandwich How do you measure the success of your videos?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@cjduncs Good question. Three pillars of success: 1) Does it effectively convey the value of the product (does someone watching it now understand what the product is, how it works, and why it exists? 2) Am I proud of it on a creative level? (Does it entertain, look nice, sound nice, make me want to keep watching?) 3) Did it help my client get more downloads, pre-orders, sales, investors, tweets and spacejams?
Jordan Singer@jsngr · I build my ideas.
So there's Sandwich video for startups, but before the video comes the pitch. Have you considered making a Sandwich for pitches/presentations?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@jsngr Interesting idea but that sounds like kind of a nightmare! Because in the room, you have so much less control. The reason Sandwich is okay at what we do is that we're afforded a level of meticulous control over the output. To pitch in a room requires a different kind of intimacy with the subject matter, and it takes a different type of investment.
Aaron Taylor@theaarontaylor · BizDev, Personify.ai
@lonelysandwich You seem to be able to distill complex businesses into really simple ideas and explain them clearly. How can founders explain their startups the way you do in your videos?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@theaarontaylor Thank you, Aaron. If you were to ask me what is the value I provide, I'd say what you just said. So it's not an easy thing to do, but it comes down to this: scrub your mind of all your experience of your product. Then learn about it again from the ground up. What confused you along the way? What adjustments did you have to make to get yourself past each barrier to understanding? What parts of it did you respond to the most, and would you be able to recreate for someone else to receive the same value as you did? Remember that no one understands your product like you do, so put yourself in their position and relearn it from scratch. That's how the world will be introduced to your product, and fall in love with it the way you did. (Hopefully.)
Randy Miller@milla_killa · srWorx. Vitality Films. Ex-MoversSuite.
@lonelysandwich This is really hard to do and what also makes a great Product Manager great. You have to overcome the Curse of Knowledge. The Heath Brothers really drive this concept home well in Made To Stick with the tapping experiment example.
Andrew Farah@andrewfarah · CEO, Density
@lonelysandwich Do you ever get startup fatigue? If not, how do you stay enthusiastic about tech and its story?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@andrewfarah Good question, Andrew. (For inside baseball, Andrew asked me this question on the phone yesterday, and I enjoyed it very much—look out for Andrew and his thing.) The answer is yes. Because there's a lot of sameness out there, because we're in a gold rush. And sameness is exhausting. If you're exposed to (meaning: pitched) ideas every day, then you approach each one with an enthusiasm that tells you that the one you're about to hear is the one that's going to change everything. But more often than not, they aren't going to change everything. So there's a disappointment in that process, and it's a pattern of disappointment and that, if anything, creates what Andrew calls "startup fatigue". The remedy for this, of course, is that we, as makers of things, concentrate our resources and energy on solving problems others haven't solved yet, in ways others haven't solved them.
Chris Gonzales@gromble · Writer, The Spark Journal
Where do you see Sandwich Video going in the coming years? Any long-term plans, or do you mainly stay focused on whatever's happening right now? (Love what you guys do!)
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@gromble Thank you! In coming years, I hope we get to keep doing what we do, with a mark of quality, in bigger, more interesting ways. There are a lot of people out there with big brains and a lot of talent and I hope I get opportunities to invite more and more of you to work on things with us. That would be my dream—grow the operation while keeping what's essential at the core. That's a big giant cliché but it's true so whatever I don't even care.
Kevin Wimer@kevinace · CEO of LootMarket.com
@lonelysandwich Do you feel your videos are a differentiator in certain companies getting traction (specifically via crowd funding) or not getting traction? Or just a "nice to have"?
Adam Lisagor@lonelysandwich · Founder, Sandwich Video
@kevinace Sometimes yes, sometimes no. There are some products and companies that will achieve high levels of success and traction without a video, or with an amateur video, or with a mediocre professional video. But the one thing that we can hopefully consistently provide because of what's important to us is an ability to communicate the value of a product. Some products don't have as easy a time doing that, and in that context, we can be very helpful and sometimes even instrumental, and sometimes sometimes even crucial and sometimes sometimes sometimes even this season's must-have.