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Storytelling, Evolved: Shine Creative Carves a New Niche in Video

Shine Creative's Drury Bynum, Jamie Campbell, and Melissa Kirby - Arianne Teeple
Shine Creative's Drury Bynum, Jamie Campbell, and Melissa Kirby - Arianne Teeple
Drury Bynum describes his work as simple.

"We do videos for companies that can go on the internet," he says. "Simple. But I think a lot of people have a hard time visualizing that because when we say we make films, they think either Hollywood films or they think home video, and we are somewhere between those."

Bynum is a partner in Shine Creative, a Baltimore film studio he runs alongside former Shine Collective boutique owners Melissa Kirby and Jamie Campbell. At first glance, Shine is in the business of advertising with a focus on fashion. But take a closer look and it's clear the business goes beyond that and instead lands solidly in the realm of storytelling.

"What really interests us," says Campbell, who is married to Bynum, "is doing more documentaries, mini documentaries and stories about people. I think fashion is interesting, but what I really want to know is who is behind that brand, and not just what are they wearing. So really the work that we want to do more of is the storytelling."

Before running Shine Collective for eight years, Kirby worked in project management and marketing. Campbell joined her at the store about four and a half years later after a career in advertising.

Following the economic turmoil of recent years, the pair decided to alter the direction of their brand.

"We just felt like there was a lot of change and evolution going on in the retail world, and also in fashion," Kirby says. "So there was a lot of disruption and change, and people were having to adapt and change quickly and figure it out. You float or you die, and we just had to change and shift gears really fast, and we're lucky it took off."

But Kirby and Campbell made sure to remain true to their vision and loyal to their followers.

"We felt like we had something really valuable with the Shine brand, so it was really important for us to keep that brand and evolve it instead of ditching it," says Campbell. "We had over 900 fans on Facebook and Twitter; we had gotten a lot of traction there. Our website was getting a lot of traffic, and our blog. So we didn't want to just dump the whole thing and start over again."

And so the duo decided to combine forces with Bynum, a painter turned self-taught videographer, who had been using the medium to show companies how such content could help transform their businesses using everything from how-to videos to personnel portraits. The videos are now useful on a number of platforms with social media becoming a ubiquitous part of life in the last few years.

While Kirby, Campbell and Bynum agree that selling their service is often an uphill battle due to the client pool's lack of familiarity with such a means of promotion, they are optimistic about the growth of video and their place at the forefront of a shift in the face of advertising.

"It's going to reach the sort of critical mass point that websites were in the late '90s," Bynum says. "Like the point where every business said 'We have to have a website.' Just to compete, you have to have a website. Video is going to be that in the next year or the next year. Very sweeping. Every business is going to realize 'we're going to have to have video.'"

And once the videos are complete, the Shine Creative crew doesn't abandon its clients.

"[We educate them] a bit about how to use video," Kirby says. "What's the best way to use it on their website? What's the best way to get it on their Facebook page? Technical things that are actually quite easy that people may not have the staff to manage it. We walk them through that whole process as well."

"In our ideal scenario, our clients would think of our product as they would a traditional advertising campaign, where they're not just going to create one video for the year. They're going to do a series of videos that have a strategy behind them based on their marketing plan so it all makes a lot of sense together; it's integrative."

And in collaborating with other artists, photographers, musicians, and editors, Kirby, Campbell and Bynum say they feel they are able to accomplish the company's stated mission of "connect, engage and inspire."

This, they say, is the key to each of their clients gaining attention and customer loyalty.

"We're seeing major brands and really big corporations wanting to have that intimate authenticity that's hard to obtain when you're a giant," Campbell says. "So they really want to get down to the level of raw human emotion to make those connections."

Although many of their clients are fashion clients resulting from the relationships Kirby and Campbell built while running Shine Collective, Shine Creative also produces videos for artists, educational institutions, and other clients.

In fact, Bynum cites "Little Ears, Big Voices," a moving documentary about Baltimore's Hearing and Speech Agency, as one of his favorite projects. Originally intended to showcase the school's services for deaf and hearing-impaired children, Bynum ended up following the experiences of four of the children for several months.

He was there for the activation of one child's cochlear implant and caught on video the moments when the boy was able to hear for the first time. Campbell says she cries every time she watches it.

Such a story could not be considered traditional advertising, and yet it provided the Hearing and Speech Agency with some of its most effective promotion.

"Just being able to get to the root of what someone's passion is, what drives them, what motivates them," Bynum said. "That's kind of what people respond to in our work, that sort of element of clarity and passion that comes through, and authenticity. That's what we sell."

Staci Wolfson is a Baltimore-born, NYU-educated writer and editor based in Charm City. In addition to BmoreMedia, you can read her writing on Patch.com and her Just for Kicks & Giggles soccer blog.

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Photos by Arianne Teeple:

- Shine Creative's Drury Bynum, Jamie Campbell, and Melissa Kirby
- Some of the equipment used by Shine Creative artists
- Shine Creative's Producer/Partner Melissa Kirby
- A bag used for styling photo/video shoots at Shine Creative
- Shine Creative's Drury Bynum, Jamie Campbell, and Melissa Kirby
- Shine Creative's Producer/Partner Jamie Campbell
- Shine's Director/Editor/Image Maker/Partner Drury Bynum, left, looks over an edit with photographer John Davis, right
- The Shine Creatives strike a pose
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