By Nick Caruso
RISMEDIA, January 27, 2011—The medium of video can be utilized in many different ways in the real estate business. It can showcase specific listings, provide an overview of a market, or in the case of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, David Winans & Associates, it can be the basis for a new comedy Web series.
Touted as “a comedy about life, love and real estate,” “The Agent,” follows Justin (Andrew Milbourne), a young man who accidentally stumbles upon the industry and his new job as a REALTOR®. The unprecedented series will unravel over the course of 10 episodes, each with its own storyline, while following an underlying plot showcasing the quirks of an agent’s daily life in the field.
The initial idea came about during a meeting in the summer of 2010. “We were talking about the need to bring humor to the industry—to our agents and to our customers,” says David Winans, president and broker/owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, David Winans & Associates. “So, I went back and sat down with our marketing team and said, ‘I want to do a real estate comedy.’”
The following week, Winans and his marketing team put out a casting call. “We got 70 people to come to our open audition to get a part,” says Mark McDonough, vice president of Marketing & Business Development. “The level of talent blew us away. They were quality actors that were willing to take a risk with us.”
To precede the series’ official launch, the team produced a rap song and music video that stands as the show’s theme and sets the tone for what’s to come. The song, entitled “Makin’ Money,” was written by Toby Pipes, guitarist for Texas’s own Deep Blue Something, a band that reached mainstream success worldwide with its 1995 hit single “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The official music video is spliced with footage shot from the pilot episode of “The Agent,” whittled down from its original 15-minute length to fit the four-minute song. Each additional episode will run somewhere between four and seven minutes long.
According to Winans and McDonough, the series will poke fun at industry elements that REALTORS® deal with on a regular basis, all with the goal of incorporating humor and making the industry and its consumers laugh.
“There’s a lot of negative views and heads hanging low, not sure when we’ll get out of this funk,” says McDonough, confident that laughter really is the best medicine. “Everything is not doom-and-gloom. We have to keep people motivated and keep them coming back for more in a time when they’re not used to laughing.”
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, David Winans & Associates is no stranger to the world of video. In February of 2009, Winans and his company created the very first video in their “Texaplex” series, highlighting the Dallas-Fort Worth market and its many advantages. Since its launch, Winans also created specific videos for Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth as well, with more videos coming soon for Austin and San Antonio. To date, the series has garnered almost 200,000 views.
“People come back to us because of those videos. The Governor of Texas sat with us for an hour because he’s a fan of Texaplex,” says Winans. “The success of that led us down the road that video is the right way to communicate.”
With “The Agent” debuting soon, the firm hopes to grow its local business in the Dallas-Fort Worth area through name building, capitalizing on referrals, and most importantly, attracting quality agents to the company in a fun way.
“We’re totally sold on social media, especially the use of video, and we know how to maximize it,” says Winans. “With social media, you can get such leverage.”
According to Winans, the potential jokes and content for the series are never-ending and a little self-deprecating humor is always healthy. “In Texas, it takes 200 classroom hours to become a REALTOR®. To become a manicurist in Texas takes 600 hours—a hair stylist or barber, 1,500 hours. There are so many of those things you can really laugh with and laugh about.”
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