A Hero's Journey: The Darren Hardy Case Study

Published on in Director's Cut

Towards the end of Summer 2020, agencies and studios around DFW started to feel a little better about creating video content again after the initial phase of Covid-19 had passed. It was then that I was approached by Mariana Lenox from Darren Hardy’s production team. She informed me Darren was launching a new series, the Hero's Journey, geared to help a person find the leader within themselves and needed an editor and co-producer to help bring a campaign of trailers and teasers to life. Consider my interest peaked.

A Minor Caveat

The catch to this Hero’s Journey campaign was 99% of the footage used in the edits would be stock. If you’re familiar with typical stock footage sites, you can understand why I initially thought this idea was DOA. Bouncing ideas of one another, Mariana and I took to the internet to find the best sources of stock footage we could.

Thanks to my Better Editor blog and YouTube channel, I was already familiar with Artgrid.io’s easy licensing and pushed their platform heavily. We then stumbled across Filmpac.com and I immediately fell in love with the quality of the stock they offer. Both sites provide subscription options so we weren’t paying per stock clip, which helped to keep costs down. The combo of these two sites, plus a few bonus clips we picked up here and there, built the foundation of the trailer campaign.

The Campaign

With sourcing stock footage sorted out, we moved on to scripting. Mariana and Darren had already put in a lot of leg work ideating concepts for the teasers. In total, I’d end up editing, coloring, and delivering 9 unique trailers with two endings each, for a total of 18 deliverables in the campaign. Eventually that would also grow to encompass animating a handful of motion graphic templates to be used in the Hero’s Journey series itself by Darren’s in-house editors.

The teasers varied in style. Some were your typical flashy promo that left you wanting more once it ended. Others took a slower narrative approach and a few even relied on stirring speeches from Sir Winston Churchill, set to a modern light. As I discussed with Mariana, the common thread through each was that they should leave you feeling inspired while also almost questioning what you just watched.

Desire, Mission, and Never were my favorite pieces from the campaign. Never was a particularly interesting edit, taking an inspiring real-life event and heightening it with music and clever compositing to pull two heroic women to the forefront of the video. The end result took a community effort from the programs on my system, DaVinci Resolve, After Effects, and Premiere Pro.

Timeline Tuesday

All of the campaign’s videos had their challenges, but the one that kicked the process off, Desire, I am still especially proud of. It’s a fun edit that took a lot of time to distill into its final form. I especially love the opening which was animated entirely inside of Premiere Pro using text layers, track mattes, and other basic effects. 

The edit had enough other compositing and sound design going on inside of its 1-minute run time that it made for a fairly impressive looking timeline. So once the campaign launched, I shared it to my social media channels and that’s when Adobe’s Twitter team took me by surprise and announced it won that week’s #TimelineTuesday!

The Results

It became clear when working directly with Mariana that she and the rest of Darren’s team clearly believed in Darren’s mission to help people on their Hero’s Journey and that pushed me create some fantastic content. Mariana agreed:

"His video work is amazing! Working with Chris was one of the easiest experiences I have ever had with an editor. My team and I had a massive project of 9+ different video product trailers, and he brought a level of excitement and sophistication to each and every one. He had stellar communication and early delivery on everything. And the ideas he brought to the table helped take things to the next level. I can't wait to find an excuse to work with him again."

Original post can be found here

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About the Author

Chris Salters
Chris Salters
Post-production nerd and editor of dynamic content.

I'm drawn to thought-provoking stories and brands that show character and pack a punch. Whether that's a hard-hitting 30-second promo or a complex interwoven documentary, I thrive on the challenge of piecing the puzzle together, even if the picture on the puzzle box isn't clear.

My post foundation was built grinding through the ranks of the high-pressure, fast-paced world of Hollywood's leading trailer house. Ultimately the skills learned there launched my career; developing an NCAA Division 1 athletics video department, and now cutting content for creative agencies and studios.

This diverse background taught me multiple styles of editing that I now lean on regularly. Along the way I also picked up motion graphics and compositing as secret weapons. I enjoy shepherding projects through delivery independently, but often find my best work blooms when collaborating closely with other creatives, directors, and producers.

You can usually find me tearing through edits and tweaking keyframes in my personal edit suite, but I'm also available to work from your office and even have a sweet mobile setup that's ready to roll on location. Here are my preferred story-telling tools:

Premiere Pro | DaVinci Resolve | Avid | After Effects

Outside of the editor's chair, I'm a dad to two cute little girls, a husband to a very understanding wife, and the lead wrangler of a giant snow-white dog. I also pretend to be good at casual carpentry, enjoy cycling (road or mountain), drink way too much coffee, and love a good beer.

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