The Making of IMA’s Emojical Christmas Video

With the addition of some brand new faces to the IMA team in the past year, we set out to create a Christmas video that introduced the team in a fun, engaging way—as well as thanked our clients and vendors for a great year. We began with a few all-team meetings to zero in on theme back in early October. Down to a top three or so, we ultimately chose our emoji theme because it was a near-match to our goals and production ideas were already flowing.

Santa’s reindeer, Ron Burgundy, and Pac Man—oh my!
Our script had an opening and a close—and the rest was unscripted, well sort of. The idea was to have each employee choose an emoji—real or customized—that best represented his or her personality. The team was asked to be prepared to explain the emoji selected and dates for videotaping were scheduled.

To ease nerves, employees were videotaped sitting on a stool and facing toward one of the producers (as if having a conversation with the producer). The producer asked a series of Christmas-related questions in addition to the “emoji personality” one to get genuine, spontaneous responses that could be used in the final video. Surprises were brought in, including props and cue cards with sayings pulled from pop culture, to add to the fun and spontaneity (ultimately called “raw emojis”).

Editing the “monster” to create the magic.
Once we had all the footage in the editing system, the producers began the offline process. We watched back all the footage, clip by clip, selecting the best parts from each clip and then determined how those pieces fit best into the overall theme. This offline process took several days, and in the end we had a good rough cut of the video. The art department, cohorts all along, was able to capture all the emojis and bonus graphics and have them prepped for final editing. Over two days, our video editor finessed the rough cut video. She added the emojis, name keys, and special effects under the watchful eyes of the producers. The editor was also able to add her own creative touches to help achieve the desired look and feel the producers intended.

The open with our president set up the video and the close brought us full circle—framing the silliness and peeks into personalities—with our genuine heartfelt gratitude:

Have a Blessed Christmas and Magical New Year!
To continue our 32-year tradition of giving back, IMA is donating what we would have spent on Christmas cards, postage, and gifts to a Waukesha-area charity that is dear to our hearts: ARCh. The ARCh office is in need of an upgrade to its front entrance. Currently, for those using wheelchairs and walkers, it is extremely difficult to enter and leave the building. IMA has agreed to pay for the purchase and installation of an electric auto-door opener to improve access immediately. ARCh, the Association for the Rights of Citizens with handicaps, is a United Way partner and promotes the health, safety, and achievement of children and adults with disabilities.