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Tweedee helping businesses tell more captivating tales

A Tweedee Productions crew produces an image video for Agrace Hospice Care.

A Tweedee Productions crew produces an image video for Agrace Hospice Care.

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The following is the first in a series of stories on the 2014 Dane County Small Business Award winners.

Gregg Schieve doesn’t watch TV the way the rest of us do. For nearly 15 years as chief news photographer for WKOW 27, he served as the eyes and ears of a broadcast news operation, and now it’s impossible for him to look at a television news segment with anything but a jaundiced perspective.

“To this day, I watch television news and I analyze the stories,” said Schieve. “I go, ‘Boy, I have no idea what that story was about because the visuals were all counter to what the anchor was saying. And why was that shot in there? I have no idea what that shot means.’”

It sounds maddening — particularly since Schieve left the TV news biz way back in 1998 — but that kind of attention to detail has served him well as founder and CEO of Tweedee Productions, a Madison-based video production company that recently took home a 2014 Dane County Small Business Award.

CEO Gregg Schieve founded Tweedee Productions in 1998 after a long career in TV news.

The company, which offers an extensive suite of video production services, easily met the award criteria, which include giving back to the community and fostering a responsible and rewarding workplace environment, but its work in the private sector for heavy hitters such as Epic, Exact Sciences, TDS, Findorff, TASC, McGraw-Hill, and Milio’s Sandwiches has helped it sustain the kind of success that’s also paramount in the DCSBA judges’ minds.

To Schieve, that success is at least partly attributable to his TV news experience and the discerning eye he developed during his tenure as a video photographer. It’s also a testament to the skill of his five fellow team members, who bring a wealth of broadcast news experience to the table.

“I think that definitely gives us an advantage, because we can communicate effectively because we do have those skills in-house,” said Schieve. “We can literally show up at a location, at a business, and within a few minutes or an hour or so understand what that business is all about on a surface level, and a lot of that has to do with our news background. We could go in cold into a situation and within a few minutes learn what’s happening. What is this all about? What does it mean?”

According to Schieve, the company’s small but energetic workforce has stood the test of time. Worker retention is a point of pride for the organization, and some of the team members have been with the company more than 10 years, with most having served for seven to nine years.

The company doesn’t do anything special with regard to team-building, but Schieve did learn plenty of cautionary lessons during his years as an employee.

“I think we treat our employees fairly, coming from an industry that tends to not treat employees fairly sometimes,” said Schieve. “I learned a lot of what not to do, and yelling at people does not inspire them, and I think I’m a pretty mellow boss in terms of that. We give people the work that they need to do, and we let them do it.”

A community vision

Tweedee is also active in the community, having donated its services to organizations like the YWCA, Sunshine Place Food Pantry in Sun Prairie, the Red Cross, and the Girls on the Run of Dane County.

“Ever since I started the company, I thought if there’s a way we can give back to the community, provide our services to the community, we should do that,” said Schieve. “We try to pick an organization — sometimes they pick us — for typically one project a year, and we try to donate our services toward a worthy cause or a worthy organization that needs our services.”

While there’s plenty of satisfaction in being able to give back, Schieve says the work itself can be a reward. He said he appreciates being able to work on longer-format projects and put in the time it takes to do them right, as opposed to being pressed by the kinds of unforgiving deadlines television imposes on its reporters and photographers. With the changes that have occurred in the industry over the last two decades — primarily as a result of the Internet — having the time to devote to longer, more reflective pieces is key.

“I would say that there’s been a trend to … a storytelling approach as opposed to an in-your-face, we-are-the-best-at-what-we-do kind of approach,” said Schieve. “That’s primarily because of the Internet. Today, a company can actually produce several videos to have a customer get a feel for what they’re about in a more subtle way, in a more storytelling way, as opposed to more of a hard sell kind of way.”

(Continued)

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