'Our Catherine' Picks up her first award...


Our 2018 drama Our Catherine has picked up the award for Best Regional Focus at the 2019 Sunderland Shorts Film Festival - the event was an absolute joy to be a part of, and we thank SSFF for the opportunity. Not to turn this into an Oscar acceptance speech or anything, but we’d also like to thank out very small but passionate & dedicated band of cast and crew (Kerry Browne, Mark Beckham, Rachel Adamson, Sarah Parry, Debbie Thompson, Tom Kelly) - you guys are incredible, and every time someone messages us to voice their emotional resonance with the film, there’s a pang of gratitude for you all and your efforts into bringing our vision to life. It truly was a labour of love, and we’re so pleased such is being recognised. Thank you also to Richard Barber and The Word for commissioning the project, and giving us the freedom with it that you did.

Our Catherine tells a universal and transcendent tale through the lens of the famous North East England born author, Catherine Cookson, as she revisits the places of her youth in modern time, reflecting on the cultural and personal impact of her writing.

Our Catherine Trailer.
Our Catherine Full Film (16min).

our cath poster award.jpg

Advertise & grow your business with Unified

View our latest Facebook advert for local business, Sapphire Studios


There’s never been a better time to make what you love your life, by starting up a business of your own. So what makes ‘now’ so special?

It’s no secret: social networking is massive. Geet massive. ‘Geet’ means ‘very’, if you’re not from our neck of the woods. So it’s very massive. So that’s one of the reasons it’s never been a better time to start and grow a small business. Something else is fairly obvious in this equation, and it’s that advertising works. That’s why businesses pay literally millions of dollars to have their services and products advertised during something like the Super Bowl. And that’s just for the slot - never mind the production costs of the advert itself.

These days, effective advertising isn’t something only enormous businesses and corporations can afford. Although television & print advertising remains effective, the internet has levelled the playing field somewhat. Or at the very least, it’s given new businesses a way of targeting and exposing themselves to their audiences for prices that are actually affordable to most people.

Facebook, for example, allows business owners to set themselves up and promote themselves organically for free - with an option to take advantage of their marketing and targeting algorithms for small amounts of money. Of course, you can reach more people with more money, but the scaling is something every tier of budget can afford. From £10 to £10,000 - you set your budget, and the amount you pay determines the amount of people who will see your advert. And you get to choose exactly who sees your advert, so only the folk who are likely to be interested in your product will be exposed to it. Once again, for peanuts, in a relative sense.

So the sudden ubiquitous nature of Facebook makes it much easier for people to actually start businesses, as they no longer require massive amounts of initial investment & risk just to get in front of people’s faces. You can inch forward in a way that’s comfortable with you, and commensurate with your growth.

But what are you going to advertise with? Well, another thing that’s shifted is how much more affordable it is to have adverts produced for you. Camera technology has come on considerably (as in, as is the case with all technological arcs - increasingly cheaper and more compact and accessible) and so now it’s possible to have a small video production business like ours to provide video content that is actually affordable to the majority.

It’s looking like the only way is up, as social networking isn’t likely to go anywhere any time soon. It’s here to stay, and with it the opportunities to provide other people with information in an immediate and cost effective way. If you’ve got a sound service and a competent product and you’re wiling to invest everything from a little to a lot, this is one of the best ways you can get it out there and in front of your audience. On a more general and thoroughly positive note, this whole situation is proving extremely beneficial for personal, national and global economic growth, too.

Not only are you improving your world, but the world, when you choose to start a business, and allow what you love and what you’re good at to fully manifest.

Why advertise & grow your business with Unified?

The problem with advertising is that there is a lot of it. People are savvy to the ways of advertising. They understand it more than ever, and more than ever are they aware of the disingenuous side of marketing. Not all businesses are truthful and operate on integrity - some use cheap tricks to sell their message, product or service, ranging from the manipulative to the full on deceptive.

As a result, advertising is like the boy who cried wolf - it can be hard to believe. We’re so used to being bombarded with messages that they’ve become trivialised. No longer do we believe that products can solve all of our problems, or claim to make us eternally happy if we buy them.

We do, however, know that products and services can and do benefit our lives, and have brought us a level of comfort, leisure and amenity never before seen in human history. We also know that there are people out there so competent, genuine and passionate about what they do, that they’re worth listening to, and worth our hard earned money. The issue is, if you are all of those things, how do you get that across to an audience in a way that makes it obvious that those things are true about you? Of course adverts are going to claim that the product is those things - but how does your audience know it can trust you?

That’s where we come in, we would say. And so would our clients. How we do things different, and how we promote your product or service is in that we tell the truth. We find the heart and the truth in your business, in you, in what you’re offering the world, and we hold up what is already there to your audience. We don’t create propaganda. We tell a story. The story of who you are, what you’ve created, and, truthfully, what you’re offering. If what you’ve created is something you’re good at, something you do well, then all we need to do is be honest about that in a creative and engaging way. You have to build trust between you and your customers, and the business that does that well, these days, for reasons mentioned earlier, are the ones that succeed and thrive. People are wise to the BS, it would seem, and so, only the truth will do.

So if you’re thinking of investing in a powerful trust-building tool such as an advertisement created for you by ourselves, get in touch. We’d love to talk to you about you, your story, and the most creative and effective way of making you the most natural choice to your customers.

- Jon & the boys @ Unified

Unified Story Ads - Mambos Express

Good day. I’m going to say that more often. Good day. I thought i’d share an Instagram/Facebook Story Ad we produced for MAMBOS EXPRESS, which offers restaurant quality Italian takeaway and delivery. That's pasta, risotto, and other Italian restaurant favourites delivered right to your flipping door, so that’s something to shout about.

Mambos Express is scheduled to be opening before Christmas rolls around, so if you’re from the South Tyneside area, love pasta and would very much like to have it delivered almost directly into your mouth, check them out at: https://mambosexpress.co.uk

Check out the story ad for Mambos Express below…

A New Way to Advertise

Leon, the owner of Mambos and all-round excellent chap, wanted to advertise his upcoming venture in a manner very much befitting the times. What do I mean by that? Well, stories. Stories are massive, and getting more massive by the day. Instagram Stories have “attracted more than 400 million daily users and changed the way people share and consume things online” (source) and so a new way of advertising is emerging through these platforms.

Though technology seems to be moving at lightning speed, and anything you can factually claim about the state of it is subject to change, it is clear that at the moment, the potential for reaching audiences through this platform is massive. Stories are interesting “because they’re full-screen in the mobile-native vertical format”, which makes them “instantly engaging, especially on larger smartphones.” Instantly engaging, eh? Brand-owners everywhere are and should be taking note.

We are too, and that’s why we’re offering Unified Story Ads, which allow our clients to take advantage of the “fastest-growing media format ever” to promote their brand. Sure, filming things in the vertical format is taking some getting used to, but like we said, the world is moving fast, and it makes sense to move with it.

Get in touch to talk about your businesses instragram/facebook story ad. It may well be the leg up your brand needs.

Much love,

Jon & the boys @ Unified

'8eyes' - an abstract glimpse into the lives and perspectives of Unified

A year or so back, each of us made three 15 second films for '8 Eyes', a feature we'd planned on doing regularly. At the time, our friend Kyle* was still part of Unified, hence eight eyes instead of six. Each 15 second film would then be cut together to make a single 1 minute film, possibly to work with Instagram if I remember correctly. I've often slammed the 60-second instagram cap, yet I suppose it can also give you a sort of finite condition and structure to work within, which can be good. I'll be doing a blog on that topic very soon, as it relates to a film we made this year for England Rugby, who hired us to take on a challenging brief after the success of our Durham RFU Women & Girls film.

But anyway - the motivation for this feature? Well since you asked, you see, the films we make as Unified Media are always filtered through the unified filter and joint-perspective of all of us, and so this was a sort of excuse to make something individually, where we could each produce a film without having it subject to feedback from each other. We just wanted to do something fun and just for us, some kind of Frankenstein film, where we'd stitch different body parts together to see if they wouldn't come to life.

There was only one criteria: each person's film had to in some way be representative of their own life (perspective/eyes) at the time they were made, and so these are what resulted. They're definitely weirder and more abstract than our usual films, and perhaps that serves as a sort of metaphor for what we'd be like if we were each left to our own devices. In any case, I've always really like watching these, and find them deeply evocative of the time they were made. The music was also produced by our very own Ryan, which gives them a veneer of heightened 'us-ness'. 

We did three lots of them before shifting our attention to films for clients, and so like my 6th hamster once my family finally got a puppy (sorry, Hammie) '8 Eyes' was kinda' neglected. There's a good chance we'll do more in future, but these are the full wack for now.  

Anyway, here they are. We hope you enjoy, and as always, let us know what you think!

- Jon, and the boys at Unified

*Kyle will always be the 4th member of Unified, though he has since moved on to other creative endeavours. We'll be putting out a full blog about him soon, as he's a fundamental and crucial part of the Unified story, and one of our best friends. Enough of the mushy Sh-.... show of emotion, though, it's time for the films...

Lil Fellas - The 1st Edition

Hello, dear reader. We thought you might be interested in some of the films we've made individually/together over the years. Some weird. Some interesting. All too misc to be in our portfolio. We make a lot of films for fun (or for friends and family) that are like the unwanted siblings of the Unified family, cast into the attic. Not hid from the world, but it's like, you'll have to climb up there to see them. 

Anyway, here's four of them to begin with. We'll call these videos 'Lil Fellas', as that seems to be what I (Jon) call everything that I can't immediately recall or think of a name for. Yeh. That'll do.

In this edition of Lil Fellas, we've got (from left to right on the grid)...

  • 'Being' - This is the *first ever* film we made together as Unified. It's aged well in some ways, not so well in others. Though, I can't watch it without tuning into that feeling of starting up Unified and how exciting it was to go from a teaching job to making films with my friends. Lovely song by Craig Armstrong in there, too. He did the theme for Love Actually. See how it makes you feel. Coz it makes me feel. Even with that old-school DSLR footage.

  • The Stealthy Rollers Workshop Session - This one's a live music performance video we did with our friends Emily & Bethan of the Stealthy Rollers. Though our approach seems a little dated to us now, you can't fault the Rollers' performance, which is a powerful arrangement of 'Under the Same Sun' by Ben Howard and 'I Will Wait' by Mumford and Sons. By jove, they're talented.

  • South Shields Sunset - This is a 4k drone video featuring an iconic South Shields (our hometown) view, set to music that we recorded when Ryan & I were in a band together. That's one way around finding licence free music.

  • 'Barcelona' - A film shot entirely on my iphone 5 using Hyperlapse (cool app that allows you to get smooth tracking shots) when I went to Barcelona with my now-fiancée, Emma. I was actually really quite ill during this holiday, so I distracted myself from the immense physical discomfort with filming. See what you think. Some amazing street performances & beautiful sights and sounds that made all that worthwhile.

That's all for edition 1. Let us know what you think by leaving a wee comment, and be sure to keep checking back for future Lil Fellas.

- Jon @ Unified

Source: www.unifiedmedia.org.uk