Three individuals sit around a conference table talking.

Bringing the Bellmont Partners Video Series to Life

Pic­ture this. Pre­car­i­ous­ly perched on a plat­form on Cloud City, Luke Sky­walk­er braces him­self, kneel­ing and aim­ing his blaster pis­tol at an enraged Darth Vad­er. Back and forth, the neme­ses duel! Sky­walk­er uses care­ful­ly aimed bursts from his gun while Vad­er har­ness­es telekine­sis to blast Sky­walk­er from the ele­vat­ed bat­tle ground. After an extend­ed series of vio­lent bursts and force­ful lunges, Skywalker’s adept com­bat skills ren­der him vic­to­ri­ous over Vad­er, the supreme Com­man­der under the Galac­tic Empire. Sky­walk­er defeats his ene­my, his father, once and for all.

But the set­ting is a dif­fer­ent kind of Cloud City. It’s St. Cloud, Min­neso­ta. And the plat­form is real­ly the roof on a house in a cul-de-sac on Michael Court. And Luke Sky­walk­er is hold­ing a bat­tery-pow­ered laser-sound gun while Darth Vad­er wears an old black rain pon­cho. And these “Star Wars” char­ac­ters aren’t father and son, they’re broth­ers. And it’s not George Lucas behind the cam­era. It’s Bri­an Bellmont.

The year was 1981 and Bri­an, Dave and Mike Bell­mont put their cre­ativ­i­ty and cama­raderie to work in their very own sci­ence fic­tion Super 8 movie. Using edit­ing tricks Bri­an had learned in a film class that sum­mer, the broth­ers cre­at­ed their own spe­cial effects. With cal­cu­lat­ed cut­ting and tap­ing, they craft­ed their char­ac­ters to have super-human abil­i­ties like being able to jump onto roofs or dis­ap­pear with the snap of a fin­ger. Anoth­er trick cre­at­ed the illu­sion of laser beams. By tak­ing a pin and strate­gi­cal­ly scratch­ing care­ful­ly placed lines onto the film, the Bell­mont broth­ers made the dis­tressed emul­sion appear to be beams of light shoot­ing from eyes, hands, and bat­tery-pow­ered laser-sound guns! I mean blaster pistols.

And this was just the beginning.

Fast for­ward to 2023. Bri­an and Dave Bell­mont are the respec­tive own­ers of Bell­mont Part­ners Pub­lic Rela­tions and Kinos­tadt Films, two com­pa­nies deft­ly root­ed in video pro­duc­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Bri­an and Dave have each become local indus­try lead­ers, joint­ly and con­tin­u­ous­ly hon­ing their pro­fes­sion­al video pro­duc­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions craft since bor­row­ing their dad’s cam­era in those Super 8 film days, imag­in­ing projects and bring­ing them to life. Their com­bined decades of expe­ri­ence, wealth of indus­try knowl­edge, care­ful atten­tion to detail and pas­sion for sto­ry­telling make them a high­ly prac­ticed, dynam­ic team. Bri­an and Dave fre­quent­ly and skill­ful­ly col­lab­o­rate on projects for a wide vari­ety of clients and audiences.

Recent­ly, they came togeth­er again for a very spe­cial project that start­ed sev­er­al years ago.

In August of 2021, Bell­mont Part­ners cel­e­brat­ed its 25th anniver­sary as an orga­ni­za­tion. But the Bell­mont team, deal­ing, along with every­one, with the com­pli­ca­tions, stres­sors, com­plex­i­ties and dis­tance of the pan­dem­ic, did not get to cel­e­brate their remark­able mile­stone. With heads down and a deep focus on clients and each oth­er, Bell­mont Part­ners con­tin­ued shar­ing their pro­fes­sion­al exper­tise while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly adapt­ing to new needs and a land­scape of shift­ing targets.

In late 2022, when Bri­an and the Bell­mont team final­ly had the chance to pause and reflect on the past two years, includ­ing the fact that we’d flown past a huge mile­stone, he saw an oppor­tu­ni­ty for intro­spec­tion. He remem­bered think­ing, “This is a per­fect time to com­mu­ni­cate why we do what we do, where we’ve come from, where we’re going.” As an orga­ni­za­tion that oper­ates by telling oth­er peo­ples’ sto­ries, he want­ed to take a moment to use our team mem­bers’ com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills to tell a new sto­ry: our own. And so, Bri­an com­mit­ted to shar­ing Bell­mont Part­ners’ sto­ry in hon­or of our 25th anniversary.

He knew just the per­son to bring this project to life: his broth­er and life-long video pro­duc­tion part­ner, Dave Bellmont.

Dave start­ed his video pro­duc­tion career in and after col­lege, work­ing on projects like “Mys­tery Sci­ence The­ater 3000” and “D3: The Mighty Ducks.” He is a firm believ­er in the pow­er of video not only as a means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but as a tool for shar­ing authen­tic sto­ry­telling in a way the writ­ten word could fall short.

“Out of all the com­mu­ni­ca­tion meth­ods, video can be very pow­er­ful because it can con­vey infor­ma­tion and emo­tion very quick­ly and effi­cient­ly,” said Dave. “It’s cap­tur­ing authen­tic moments. And audi­ences want to see video. They want to ingest video. They’re open to it and it’s part of their every­day experience.”

Dave also shared some of the many ways in which a com­pa­ny or orga­ni­za­tion can use video. “A video doesn’t have to accom­plish every­thing,” Dave shared. “It can just be one ele­ment of a larg­er mes­sage. And maybe that’s why peo­ple have his­tor­i­cal­ly been sort of intim­i­dat­ed by video because they think it’s a big deal, that it has to cov­er every­thing. But it doesn’t. It can just be one part of it.”

“We took the approach that we take with our clients,” said Bri­an, dis­cussing the process behind mak­ing the video series with Dave. “We start­ed with a strat­e­gy, a con­cept. Why are we doing this? What do we want to get across? And in our case, we want­ed to com­mu­ni­cate, using video, who our peo­ple are and why we do what we do. The end result is a real­ly good rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Bell­mont Part­ners. It starts and ends with our people.”

Addi­tion­al­ly, Dave shared, “With any sort of doc­u­men­tary struc­ture video, I like to let the inter­views cre­ate the struc­ture and then sup­port it with B‑roll and pho­tos and things like that. So, it kind of edit­ed itself based on the interviews.”

Over the course of their 42 years col­lab­o­rat­ing on films and videos, Bri­an and Dave have watched video and more specif­i­cal­ly, cor­po­rate use of video, trans­form through­out their lives.

Bri­an rem­i­nisced, say­ing, “30 years ago, you hired a crew to make a cor­po­rate video for thou­sands and thou­sands of dol­lars. And you need­ed months to do it.  Sure, that kind of pro­duc­tion still hap­pens, but you can also empow­er your employ­ees to take their phone and shoot an inter­view in the hall­way, and that may be even more effec­tive than a for­mal video. If there are peo­ple in the video com­mu­ni­cat­ing in a way that is authen­tic and that is inter­est­ing, you’re already halfway there. When good peo­ple are telling good sto­ries, that gets you where you want to go.”

They share sup­port for this grass­roots, go-for-it approach to get­ting start­ed in using video as a com­mu­ni­ca­tions tool for some aspects of a busi­ness, but they also stress the impor­tance of know­ing when to bring in an indus­try pro­fes­sion­al. Work­ing with an expert, like Dave, allows for an expe­ri­ence in which qual­i­ty, con­cept, and impact are at the fore­front of a project. “The process of work­ing with Dave was seam­less,” Bri­an explained. “He’s not only a good direc­tor and video­g­ra­ph­er and edi­tor, but he is a good plan­ner and pro­duc­er. So, every­thing was ready to go, and our team mem­bers just need­ed to come in, talk for a lit­tle bit and then leave. It was a very pain­less process for them. And every­one we’ve showed these videos to real­ly just talk about how authen­tic and how “Bell­mont Part­ners” these videos are and that’s just what we were going for.”

“These videos” that Bri­an ref­er­ences are the final result of Bri­an and Dave’s col­lab­o­ra­tion. It’s the cul­mi­nat­ing project to cel­e­brate the 25+ years of Bell­mont Part­ners: the Bell­mont Part­ners Video Series.

The themes Bri­an envi­sioned and organ­ic respons­es the team gave trans­lat­ed into four authen­ti­cal­ly unique and dis­tinct videos:

  1. The his­to­ry of Bell­mont Part­ners as an orga­ni­za­tion is cap­tured in Our His­to­ry
  2. Show­cas­ing the extra­or­di­nary peo­ple that makes up Bell­mont as an agency inspired Our Cul­ture
  3. High­light­ing the amaz­ing work we do, and have been doing, for clients for a more than a quar­ter of a cen­tu­ry appears in Our Work
  4. And the emer­gent, tran­scen­dent theme across them all was Our Com­mu­ni­ty (com­ing soon!)

The Bell­mont Part­ners Video Series not only show­cas­es who we are and what we do but has offered tremen­dous oppor­tu­ni­ty for reflec­tion and grat­i­tude. We are so proud of what we do and enjoy shar­ing the sto­ries of the clients and peo­ple with whom we are for­tu­nate enough to work.

We hope you enjoy the Bell­mont Part­ners Video Series and their respec­tive blogs, all of which are acces­si­ble on our web­site and via the links below.

We’re thrilled about where we’ve been over the past 27 years, and we can’t wait for the next 27! Stay tuned for our 50th anniver­sary, which may be com­ing to you live from a rooftop in St. Cloud …

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