If you've ever met new StoryTeller video producer Todd Vaske, you know he's a people person. He loves to chat. He loves to listen. And he loves to learn.
"I don't know what it is, " Todd says, "but I'm fascinated by what people do."
In fact, that's one of the things that excites him about producing videos — taking a complex story and turning it into something that's easy to understand. "It's a challenge. You get to learn new things every day, and I think if you're speaking with people you ought to be able to speak their language and bring their story to life."
A Natural StoryTeller
Whether he's producing an intimate profile for a non-profit or a big multi-camera production for a national brand, Todd prides himself on finding those little nuggets that make a story special. "You just have to ask enough questions," he smiles, admitting that he doesn't need much encouragement to extend most conversations.
"We're excited to have another journalist on the team," says StoryTeller President Ed Heil, "but we also appreciate all of his agency experience. He's just so good at taking a client's vision and turning it into a video with all the right messaging."
"I got that from my days in news," Todd explains. "I was always fascinated with how you took a whole bunch of information and squeezed it into 20 or thirty seconds. It made you prioritize the information and ask yourself, how do you make this interesting, how do you get them to watch it?"
Since then, he's produced video at agencies in Wisconsin and Minnesota, working with big name clients like ThermoKing, UnitedHealth Group, Harley-Davidson, and Sub-Zero/Wolf (which surprised him with a going-away party when he moved back to Minnesota).
He even produced a few shows for the Food Network. "That was awesome," he says. "The first one was a show called 'The Best Of." It was the same show as Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, just without Guy Fieri. That was a lot of fun." His other Food Network shows were "Tasting Napa," and "Appetite for Adventure," where the host combined adventures like ice fishing or cliff diving with fine dining.
Feels Like Home
Now that he's at StoryTeller, Todd feels like he's returned to his newsroom roots. "When I talk about video terms like VOs and VOSOTs, people actually understand me," he jokes. "But seriously, StoryTeller is probably the most collaborative place I've ever worked. If I have a question I just blurt it out and there are 10 people that have the answer or can help me find it."
He also appreciates the attention to deadlines and details that come straight from the newsroom. "I think we just all understand the importance of getting the story right and being on time. You can just feel it."
On top of that, Todd found one unexpected benefit to StoryTeller's emphasis on journalism — a common bond with clients. "Everybody knows what we're going for," he says. "When you know that your style is a journalistic style, that makes it so the clients know exactly what they're getting, and I think that's really important."