Janet Laidlaw-Shurvell wants to take her work to a new level.
She plays a sample of it on a small monitor that shows a resume of advertising and educational videos created for commercial clients and community groups along with samples of stock footage.
Laidlaw-Shurvell owns Alterramedia, a full production company that covers everything from writing to shooting, editing, producing and directing videos, that she created in 1997 after leaving CHEK TV in 1997.
Like most electronics-based technologies, video production is constantly influenced by the continual march of technological innovation. Even the format her company’s commercial is stored on is phasing out and being rapidly replaced with a faster and higher storage-capacity medium.
“Of course that’s already outdated because that’s a CD production and now everything’s on DVD,” Laidlaw-Shurvell said.
Her career as a TV creative writer and producer started in 1988 in the days of video tape after she graduated from the B.C. Institute of Technology’s TV production program.
Laidlaw-Shurvell’s first job was with Cariboo Central Interior Radio in Quesnel, B.C., before moving to CKPG TV in Prince George, B.C., and finally CHEK TV.
Over the years her work received several awards that include GM Canada’s Ad Impact Award, a certificate of merit from the Vancouver Island Chapter of the Graphic Designers of Canada and three Television Bureau of Canada awards.
While learning her craft, she also learned a lot about dealing with people especially in the small markets where she got her start.
“Actually in a small station you really learn about customer satisfaction and working directly with clients,” Laidlaw-Shurvell said.
“I think the whole thing in any business is about relationships with people and this business is no different and, in fact, even more so because there’s so much involved with video production and a lot of the dealings with clients is about educating people about how the whole process works.”
Since going independent Laidlaw-Shurvell’s clients have included Aqua-Pacific and Madill Equipment of Nanaimo, Canopus Corporation of San Jose, Calif., Digital Adventure – A Corus Entertainment Company, Weyerhaeuser, Grayline Tours and Scott Plastics of Victoria.
She also produced Workstyle Alternatives, originally for Nanaimo Youth Services Association, but which has been distributed to school districts across Canada and the U.S.
In November Laidlaw-Shurvell’s company was awarded the Mid Island Science and Technology Innovation Council’s Technology and Innovation Award for New Media.
Workstyle Alternatives is a bit of an ironic title because it has pointed the way for Laidlaw-Shurvell to start working her business differently, starting with a video about her favorite pastime, dog agility training, and a new video titled Dog Agility 101.
“There’s a shift in my company from going from one client production to another client production to another where you’re always planning and marketing and going from one thing to another
“I like the idea of doing products because you have a bit more control over scheduling, but there’s such a huge emphasis on marketing,” she said. “Over the last couple of years that’s what I’ve been looking into and trying to focus on.”
Laidlaw-Shurvell said she also wants her future projects to deal more with education and presenting positive messages to youth and society about dealing with modern social issues and challenges.
“If you have a skill and an ability to put something together that can teach people something then why not use that? That’s my focus,” she said.