Discovery HQ – Leaving Silver Spring

The DMV (DC, MD, and VA) Film and Video community was surprised by the recent announcement that Discovery Communications will move their headquarters to New York in 2019. The fate of the One Discovery Place building remains an unknown, as local businesses and developers brace for impact. Discovery transitioned from Bethesda to Silver Spring several years ago, a move which Word Wizards followed shortly thereafter. It always benefited our company to be close in proximity to Discovery HQ, and we can’t help feeling a bit sad to see them leave.

Forward Momentum

Regarding life in downtown Silver Spring, there will be a major impact on the local businesses because of the departure. Word Wizards will be tracking the progress throughout the move, and posting updates and new information on our blog.  As a member of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce (GSSCC) we have inquired as to what the plans for the space and the area may be going forward.  Here is what the chamber can tell us so far about the move.

Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce

GSSCC – Discovery’s Decision a Loss AND an Opportunity

The GSSCC is currently keeping their discussions with MD Governor Hogan’s office close to the vest.  However he didn’t get to be the second most popular governor in the country by sitting on his hands. (According to  Look for developments from the Governor and the Chamber of Commerce that will keep the Silver Spring expansion moving forward.

Industry Fallout

Many people will loose their jobs and or have to relocate because of the Discovery Mexit (a term I just coined). However, the local video and film industry is still strong in the DMV.  There are still major documentary and educational media players in the area. DC production is strong at the Smithsonian Channel (in partnership with Showtime) and National Geographic (in partnership with Fox.)  For a fascinating review of the relationship between the 130 year old National Geo. Society and Fox, see this excellent article from 2015 in “The Guardian”

Smithsonian Channel

Progress and Opportunity

Despite the loss of this major player, the DMV video and film industry is robust and continues to serve the needs of private and public sector entities large and small. Production opportunities continue to exist at large metro area corporations such as Marriott and Lockheed Martin in MD, as well as CACI and SAIC in VA. Each of these companies employs hundreds of local contractors like ourselves, keeping the economy moving and expanding with the nation’s continued recovery. With a wealth of research, PR, marketing, consulting, and lobbying companies in the region, there is always local demand for media professionals. Competition for jobs won’t be easy though, and media teams are soon to be inundated with resumes from top talent leaving Discovery.

Media Moves The Nation

The DMV production community is and always has been supported by the Federal Government, US Military, and countless intermediaries with government relationships. In our current political climate, the need for video production has never been in higher demand, and the firms supporting these agencies and subsidiaries continue to thrive. It was in a similar climate that our small business was founded over 25 years ago. We hope that many new small businesses will open as top talent leave Discovery and set out to make their own futures. Word Wizards will be here to support them all, and we will continue our coverage of this transitional period for our community. Stay Tuned!

P.S. Amazon listed Silver Spring as one of their top 20 cities for HQ2. With the entire One Discovery Place building now up for grabs, maybe they could call Silver Spring home one day. I have made an offer to show Jeff Bezos around town via twitter, he has since not responded.



How To Talk Back On Social Media

two way convo

The Beauty Of Social Media

As I’ve said quite a few times in this blog, one of the best things about social media and the way it’s changed the nature of business is the relationships that it sets up. Gone are the days where customers could only get messages to their favorite brands via old snail mail or by telephone. Today people just have to pick up a smart phone and an endless number of social media channels become available for a message. They can go right onto a brand’s own Facebook, Twitter or Youtube page and get their voices heard. With this new freedom of expression however, brands and businesses now must be wary, since their fans can just as easily use these channels to complain or spew something negative. This is the importance of how relationships, and more specifically, two-way relationships, come into play and how social media can sometimes backfire no matter what business you’re in. While perusing Mahsable, I came upon this article that showed some great examples.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Some shining examples of a good two-way conversation include  a person who went on a JetBlue flight and then tweeted how much he enjoyed it, to which JetBlue tweeted back, “Great, does this mean we’ll see you again?” Another great example includes someone who tweeted that there was only one Oreo left in her bag and she didn’t want to be the one to eat it. Nabisco’s @Oreo tweeted back and just told her, “Go for it!!!”

While these might seem like silly examples, they underscore an extremely important point. Everyone who has an online brand, whether a big business, local production house, or even a freelancer, wants to build that human touch. Of course there have been a few ways that social media relationships have backfired on bigger companies. McDonald’s used a new hashtag on Twitter to promote positive stories customers had the at the famous chain. Instead, people used it to share their horror stories from the restaurant. One other example comes from England, where Snickers paid celebrities to tweet pictures of themselves eating the candy bar. The UK’s Office of Fair Trading investigated the ads, since companies are required to specifically spell out when a product is being endorsed.

Laying A Foundation For That Two-Way Conversation

Corporations today try use social media to build a personal relationship with their audience, which is what they should be doing—and so should you. Personification is truly the name of the game here. Your customers should always feel like you have their back and that there is genuine give and take in the relationship. While you may not be a huge corporation with millions or billions of dollars to throw around, you still want to make sure you have a positive presence online. If you put something out there and someone comments on it, you should respond even if it’s a negative comment. Your aim should be to make these interactions as natural as possible and show that you care.


Video Tech in Business – Foxconn Buys Big Into GoPro

Over the last few years, GoPro has become a standard term in the extreme sports lexicon. If you don’t know GoPro yet it is defiantly something to investigate. GoPro cameras offer a rugged, mountable video camera solution to help capture life on the go. Waterproof, shockproof, idiot-proof… Put one on your surfboard and watch yourself shoot that sweet tube, or put one on your mountain bike and catch a glimpse of yourself huckin’ that 10 footer!

Surfer Byron Bartlett goes deep in the tube of a beatufifull wave, captured using a GoPro sports video camera.
Byron Bartlett surfing with GoPro

Buying Into The Extreme

Talk about going big, Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn just plunked down a cool $200 million dollars for 9% ownership of the developing camera company. Foxconn is one of Apple’s main manufacturing outlets in The Orient, and has been the focus of some human rights and labor rights controversy over the past few years. Nobody is quite sure what inspired this big semi-accusation, but GoPro enthusiasts are looking forward to seeing what impact the injection of capital will have on the consumer.

GoPro sports camera systems, Be a hero

Maximize Shareholder Adrenaline

Hopefully, now that the controversial Foxconn is sitting on the board, there won’t be any slips in product quality for the sake of additional profits. All too often in recent years, we see a great product ruined by the shareholder’s lust for profit at the expense of product quality and consistency. I am hopeful that the main stakeholders of GoPro will prevent this from happening, but I guess we must wait and see what happens.

In the meantime, check out Kelly Slater rip it up!

GoPro: Kelly Slater Surfs Lower Trestles from GoPro on Vimeo.

Shot 100% on the HD HERO2® camera from ‪

Kelly Slater having fun on some practice waves before the 2012 Hurley Pro at Trestles in San Clemente, California.

Transcription Services 101 – Communication and Organization

A professional transcription business is about one thing, words on a page. It’s simple, right? Just plug a media file into your transcription software and bang… Well, as you might know, its a lot harder than that. In this brief article, I want to cover two basic components of the operation that separates the professional transcription company from the “other guys.”

Communication – Get The Info While Being Human

Communication is the key!

The fine art of communication is essential when providing transcription services. There are a vast amounts of variables to consider for any given transcription project. Don’t be shy! Ask the right questions, the first time. A transcription service provider must be diligent about the information they obtain from their clients so the job gets done right. If you want some ideas about what to ask potential clients, or what you should ask before sending work for transcription, check out this article.

10 Things To Consider Before Sending Media For Transcription

Keep in mind however, that good communication is not just about what information you get, but how you get it. Here’s a pro tip, the more “automated” the intake process becomes, the less people think you value them as customers. Furthermore, trust and loyalty come from treating people with integrity, dignity, and respect. In this regard, automated transcription management systems fail to create a sense of connection during the communication phase. Experience is everything, so make it a good one and you will be rewarded.

Organization – Efficiency and Optimization

Color Coded

Humanizing your communication channels is not enough. Once you have all of the information, you need to develop a way of keeping it all organized. It won’t do you any good if you have three clients but you don’t know which one likes time code, and which one likes verbatim. Depending on your resources, it is a good idea to invest in a project management system of some kind. There are plenty of free ones out there, but if your a large company like, Word Wizards, you need to be able to keep all of your open jobs and contact information well organized.

It may take a little bit of time to get used to keeping track of some many details for each project, but in the end its worth it. After all, thats why they call a business an “organization.” Organization is not just about getting the right thing to each client, but it also helps promote efficiency in your transcription practice. Knowing where all the information is kept, and being able to utilize it quickly, has a significant impact on how efficiently you can work.

Keep a Tight Ship

We hope that this little lesson in transcription services 101 was helpful to you, either as a potential client or as a fellow transcription provider just looking for some good tips on the industry. Make sure to sign up for our mailing list to receive more articles like this. Please leave us a comment if you have something to share. Oh yea, and we invite you to Contact Us for further information about our services, pricing, or even just to chat.

No More DVD Rentals: Does Hollywood Encourage Piracy?

When was the last time you heard, or said, “Hey, lets go to the store an rent a movie?”

We all know that DVD rental stores seem to be heading the way of the dinosaur. A once vast international empire of video rental stores, like Blockbuster or the now bankrupt Hollywood Video, are now a rarity among communities in The United States. It seems that the convenience of online video streaming has changed the landscape of the film entertainment industry forever.

Another blockbuster store closing!

Convenience vs Content

Unfortunately, there are some serious drawbacks to online video rentals that have yet to be addressed. With traditional the rental system, you typically had 3 to 5 days to watch your movie. Now, if you choose to rent a movie for streaming online, you only get 24 hours to watch it and have to pay again if you don’t finish it in a day.

I remember when part of the experience of watching a DVD included special features, bonus tracks, secret menus with outtakes, and many other interactive features. Sadly, none of the DVD special features are available via any online video store. Don’t forget, if you have a slow internet connection, or if internet service is disrupted for some reason, your not going to be able to watch your video at all!

You can't watch the specil feautures online!

Possibly the biggest limitation of all is the content that’s available, or more importantly, not available, on these online streaming platforms as stated in this quote from an article by Scientific American, How Hollywood Is Encouraging Online Piracy.

“Yet, perhaps most important, there’s the availability problem. New movies aren’t available online until months after they are finished in the theaters, thanks to the “windowing” system—a long-established obligation that makes each movie available, say, first to hotels, then to pay-per-view systems, then to HBO and, only after that, to you for online rental.”

Online Piracy, Yo Ho!

There’s only one solution if you missed that new summer smash in the theater but its not available for online rental yet… Illegal video piracy! Yes, the despicable practice of watching movies for free on the internet illegally seems to be supported by the red tape imposed by Hollywood studio lawyers. The trend of online piracy has been rising ever since it became possible to “rip” DVD’s and put them on a website for everyone to enjoy as unpaid entertainment. The sad thing is that most people would choose to pay for these movies if they were given the opportunity, but because of all of the Hollywood legal so-and-so, people are forced into the seedy criminal activity of pirated media streaming.

Want it, Love it, Own it!

Either way, nothing will ever beat actually buying a DVD that you love. Remember, when you own a DVD you can watch the media and all the features as many times as you want, anytime you want. Online streaming, whether legal or illegal, means that if the website is down, your not watching, if your internet is out, fat chance, and if you want Blu-Ray quality, good luck getting your stream to play without interruption.