This week I sit down with Shelby Dash & Kristina Clifford from Take 2 Content, and we discuss their agency story and how they tap into comedy to deliver sticky, viral, memorable content for their clients, and how you can tap into your funny to do the same.
Jason Yormark: Hello, and welcome to another episode of anti-agency stories of doing business differently. My name is Jason Yormark. Thank you for listening. I’m really excited about the guests that we have today. I met them through recruiting for my what recently was canceled summit, but I enjoyed our conversation so much that I felt like I just had to have them on the podcast. So here we are. I’ve got Shelby Dash and Kristina Clifford from Take2Content. Welcome ladies.
Kristina Clifford: Thank you. So nice to see you again.
Jason Yormark: Yeah. This is my first interview. I’ve done with two people at the same time. So yeah.
Kristina Clifford: Well, two for the price of one.
Jason Yormark: Yeah. I like it. Awesome. Cool. Well, let’s you know, I always like to, you know, when I have guests on, let’s just talk about you guys, you know, tell me, gimme a little bit of background about both you guys you know, where you came from and your entrepreneurial journey. Just give us kind of like the whole story if you will.
Kristina Clifford: Well, there was a lot of twist and turns. We both came out to LA for acting and that’s how we met initially in the comedy acting world and right off the bat, I thought Shelby was super hilarious and really smart. And I could tell she was motivated because she was right off the bat always wanting to make content and write and do all these things. So, I was like, okay, I want this person in my corner. So, I kind of was going back and forth between New York and here. So, we kind of started making some content, but then I would leave and then I’d come back. But then we were like, okay, this is a good fit. Let’s start making these comedy videos and putting them out there. And the first one we did, I remember it got like a crazy number of views and we were kind of like, oh wow, like there’s something here. So, we did that for several, several years without making a dime and then the pandemic hit, and we lost our day jobs. And I randomly got in contact with this ad agency in Sweden. And because we have such a small crew, we started doing these videos for them and that kind of sparked like, okay, we can do this Not only for them, but like expand and find other clients. So that’s what we did.
Shelby Dash: That’s what we did.
Jason Yormark: I love it. So, I used to be at Microsoft and I was like, I got deemed the video guy and I did like funny stuff because for me that was like, well, part of it was just like, well, if I make an ass outta myself, then you know, if it doesn’t work out, whatever, like, so that was kind of my default. So, whether anyway it ended up being funny. You know, it remains to be seen, I guess. But what I am curious about is in terms of comedy, like how did you guys get, like, I mean, did you just kind of grow up being kind of like the funny kids or like how did, cause a lot of people are uncomfortable with trying to be funny. Like when I think about that now in terms of like, oh, I want to do a video and I want to make it funny. It’s like, Ugh, like what if it’s not funny? So, like people have like a, a fear of like trying to go down that path. So how do you guys do that and where did it come from?
Shelby Dash: Yeah, well I know for me going back to like being a kid I always wanted to act, I never thought I was going to be like in comedy. I always thought I was, I wanted to be like a serious actress that like, you know, like would go and like live with the homeless for a role. And like I wanted to do that. But then when I was in high school, we used to have to make these announcements, like if we had like a show or a dance thing or whatever, and I would always make mine really funny and people would always laugh and would love when I would do these like announcements for the school or whatever. So, I was like, okay, whatever. And then when Kristina and I met, we were both studying with like a very wellknown acting teacher here who focuses on comedy. So, we were both kind of like moving more into that world. And we both also were doing some improv at the same time. So, I think that’s how we kind of pivoted more into this comedy circle and got really comfortable with being funny. Because I think being funny is synonymous with like a lot of failure, you know? Yeah. And you, you know, especially like with standup or something like that, you’ve really got to be willing to put yourself out there and fail. And once you’ve done that enough times, and you’re not afraid of it then that’s, I think when you really start to..
Kristina Clifford: See the magic.
Shelby Dash: Yeah. And it’s that time where like you put yourself out there and it goes really well. People laugh, people share a video, people laugh at your standup, whatever it might be. That’s so addictive that you just want to do that more and more and more.
Kristina Clifford: Yeah. I mean for me, I think, I didn’t even think I knew I was funny for a lot of my childhood, but like, I, I just thought that’s how life was, like you say stuff and people laugh, you know what I mean? I don’t think I like really connected the dots. Cause I am kind of quirky, like outlandish goofy kind of kind of gal. But I think once, you know, people start telling you those things and same thing with Shelby is putting it out there, like putting it out there is the first thing. And then, you know, you will probably not get laughs whether it’s standup or improv or whatever. But you kind of have to live in that uncomfortability, which is super tough. I’m still yeah. Figuring out how to do that. But yeah, so it’s been a journey.
Shelby Dash: Yeah. And it’s kind of similar to being an entrepreneur, like living in that uncomfortability, living in that sense of like, you don’t know what’s going to happen.
Jason Yormark: What, so you launched Take2Content. It sounds like you later last year, how has it gone? And I’m curious, is that how you position your guys self? Like you’re like the go to for, is it video or do you kind of position yourself as funny videos, comedy videos, we’re the ones for that? Like you take it a step further in that regard.
Shelby Dash: Yeah. I think we definitely take it a step further and say that our bread and butter is, you know, branded comedy video. Okay. Specifically, we love doing YouTube ads and broadcast for different reasons. I mean broadcast just gets so many eyeballs and it’s you kind of have some creative freedom there and with YouTube there’s, you don’t have that time limit. And I think clients are more willing to take risks with YouTube ad. So that’s kind of like what we love to do that said, we also do do video content for clients. That’s not funny, that’s more just, you know, aesthetic or branded, straightforward. So, we, you know, we work with all different types of clients, but I think we’re pushing to get more into our niche, which is comedy.
Jason Yormark: Gotcha. So, I’m curious in terms of the clients that you’ve worked with how often do they get in the way, like in terms of the creative process, like, are they just like, hey, do it, we trust you, do your thing or are they like, that Wasn’t really that funny. So, can you do this or that like, how does, I’m just curious what your experiences have been like?
Kristina Clifford: I feel like it’s been like a mix, a big old mix. The guy we worked with who lives in Sweden ad agency, he was kind of, we would pitch him ideas and he was kind of like, ah, I love them all, let’s do this one, this one, this one. And he was kind of just letting us take the reins. And I think that’s where we really found the love for it. Cause we like had full CR creative control essentially. Because at the same time they’re also testing things out and seeing what works with the various videos. So, yeah, I think it’s been that where we’ve had full rain, but then also where we really have to stick to the branded guidelines and like pull back here and there, or make sure we’re hitting certain points and start like for instance, with this cat litter company we work for there’s a lot of that, a little back and forth. So, it’s a little more like fling figuring out how to mix the two together. Like for instance, they were like, we have to see the cat right away and we’re like, okay. Like we can make that work, like little things like that. And then, you know, we’re working, we’re potentially going to be working with someone who, there’s a bit of a language barrier and we kind of pitched all these ideas and she’s kind of wanting to come back with other ideas of her own. So, it’s kind of, we’re trying to figure that out still.
Shelby Dash: Yeah. I’d say overall though, we’ve been really lucky. Yeah, we do check in with our clients, like all along the way to make sure that they’re on board with what we’re doing. But compared to video jobs, when I’ve worked with other people in the past or for other video companies, I feel like our clients really do let us have a lot of creative control, which is nice.
Jason Yormark: Yeah. No, that’s awesome. So, when you think about the business that you’ve kind of started what’s like the, what’s been the biggest thing that you’ve learned up to this point in terms of what you’ve experienced, in terms of like what’s worked or what hasn’t and how you had to pivot, like what’s kind of the thing that stands out more than anything.
Shelby Dash: I think, yeah, that’s a good question. I feel like one big thing is kind of to trust yourself and push yourself and believe in yourself because when you’re first starting a business and you don’t have that much, you know, that many clients behind you, you still need to act like you do and you still need to approach new clients like you really know what you’re doing. Because especially for us, I mean, even though this business is technically very new, we’ve been doing video for 10 years or so. And we have a network of, you know, really talented actors, really talented crew members that I think a lot of other production companies that might have been in business for many years, they might not have those special connections that we do. So, I think we have certain things that you know, we should be proud of, and we should bring to the table. And I think it’s the same for new entrepreneurs just really trust yourself. Think about what separates you and push that even if you don’t have that wealth of experience or clients or what have you.
Kristina Clifford: Yeah. And along with trusting yourself, I think for us, I think we struggled with, you know, our pricing and how to go about that because it’s very difficult when it comes to a service especially a service that includes various ideas that all run the gamut of a budget. So, I think we had to really figure out and be comfortable with what we are charging. Because you know, you feel like you want those clients to say yes, but then you also want to make sure you’re getting the money that you deserve for the work that you’ve put in. So, I think that’s been a little bit of a struggle.
Jason Yormark: I love that. There’s two things that you guys said that really resonate with me. One is it’s fear. I wrote this in the book that’s coming out next week about, that was one of the biggest, I think revelations for me in starting the business was how I didn’t realize how much fear can kind of handicap you. Like it could really kind of just get in the way of that path working out for you. And I think for me, you know, I figured it out later in life and I eventually got to the point where I just, and it was probably similar to you. Cause it sounds like, cause trust me I’ve been fired or laid off plenty of times being a marketer and I think the last time it happened, I was just, I was done. I’m like, okay, you know what? I’m done. Cause I was always looking for that stability in my life. Like I need my paycheck, I need the benefits. I got things to take care of. I can’t go off and do things, it’s too risky. It’s like the unknown. And then it just got to the point where I’m like, I just got so tired of my fate being in the hands of other people. I’m like, okay, I’m just, I’m going to go off and do my own thing. Now, luckily for me I kind of had created a runway and it was kind of already in process, but I’m like, I’m going, I’m all in. Like I am not working for somebody else ever again. And I went into it and the fear was gone because it’s like, I didn’t have much of an option at that point and because that fear was gone, everything took off and I didn’t get my own way. And I don’t know if it’s just like, you know, fate or whatever, but I’m like, it took off like it never had before. And I’m sure there’s a variety of reasons for that, but not being afraid. And then realizing the stability that I was always looking for in my life was the entrepreneurial path. Because you control your own fate and what you put into it, you get out of it. And so, I can totally relate to that. And as far as the pricing thing goes such an interesting journey there you know, you always, the advice I’ve always given is most people don’t charge enough for what they do. And you should always charge more, and you should always raise your prices. And it’s okay to say, no, you know. It’s harder in the beginning. Kind of take what you can get, but once you kind of get over that hump a little bit, you create a little bit momentum. You’d be surprised, you know, people pay more for talent. So, I love that.
Kristina Clifford: Yeah. You have also have to consider, you know, because we do work with a lot of freelancers. We want to make sure they’re taken care of. So, it’s like, it’s not just us.
Shelby Dash: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think we’re finally getting to that point now where we’re realizing like, okay, we actually really need to start saying no because, we’re getting a little overwhelmed.
Jason Yormark: Well, that’s interesting. Do you guys, so when you create, are you guys always the talent when it comes to what you’re doing for clients or are you pulling other people, pulling other people in?
Kristina Clifford: Not always. I mean, we started out doing that obviously, because you know, we had to keep it tight during the pandemic in terms of amount of people. So, we started out that way and you know, we trust ourselves obviously within the comedy realm. But more recently we want to pull from actors in our network and we have done that as well. So yeah, I think it’s more the creative behind the scenes at this point.
Shelby Dash: Yeah. We don’t want every video to be our face again. I’m sick of myself to be honest.
Jason Yormark: That’s funny. Like when I would do the videos at Microsoft, I always felt I ended up because I would write them, and I would direct them and then I’d have to be on camera because most of the people were uncomfortable with it or they weren’t Capable of like delivering like lines in a way that felt comedic. But I’m sure you have access to people that obviously, you know, have that type of experience.
Shelby Dash: Yeah. Luckily, we do, but I totally know what you mean. That’s so funny.
Jason Yormark: Yeah, no for sure. So that comes to a good point. Like in terms of, you know, the whole point is podcast is like talking to people that have unique things or are doing things differently. So that’s where I think the comedy thing is so interesting. So obviously not everybody can afford to hire an outfit to kind of do that for them. So, what are some tips or strategies or advice that you have for maybe, you know, that solo entrepreneur or somebody that maybe wants to create something funny but feels a little paralyzed about the idea of putting themselves out there. What tips, like how can somebody set themselves up for success to at least, you know, give that a shot.
Kristina Clifford: Yeah. In terms of comedy?
Jason Yormark: Yeah. Yeah. Doing like comedic videos or something That’s just fun in general.
Kristina Clifford: I would say, we always say to start off with kind of understanding what makes you laugh and understanding your own humor, what are you drawn to when it comes to comedic ads or things you’ve seen on TV? Like what, and like why do you like those things and kind of really just study it a little bit I think first. We always say that a good full brainstorm session is a good way to start. I mean it’s classic. You pour all the ideas you have write them down, no filter, nothing is dumb, etc., etc. And then kind of just circle the ones you resonate the most with and bounce it off. Some people in your life. That’s always good. It’s nice that we have this partnership that we can do that. And then, you know, just start really small, do something on your phone. Do like a story and with whatever theme that you came up with and don’t feel precious about it.
Shelby Dash: Yeah. Another thing that’s really key is really go for the unexpected and try to be vulnerable because comedy kind of lives in the unexpected and in vulnerability. So, you know, if we see somebody that’s sharing something about themselves that maybe they’re kind of embarrassed about. If we have that same thing, we’re going to feel a connection and we’re going to laugh. So, you know that’s a great way to do. We have a lot of I guess tropes that we fall back on. One being you know, making big things, small and small things big. So, like if you know, it’s the end of the world, then you’re upset because your pencil broke and if your pencil broke, it’s the end of the world. Like treating those things like the opposite, essentially.
Kristina Clifford: Yeah. Like George Castanza about to lick his ice cream cone and it falls and he like loses his mind.
Shelby Dash: Exactly.
Kristina Clifford: Like we think those things are funny cause it’s unexpected. And you know, within unexpected there are some other different rules, like the rule of three, like initiation, repetition, and variation. It’s like you’re setting up a pattern and then you break the pattern, and we laugh. Because it’s a surprise. Also, reversals are in the same vein. If you’re going 180 miles an hour in one direction and then quickly turn it in the other direction, then that always gets a laugh cause it’s unexpected. And you see that a lot in sitcoms and you know, ads on TV as well. So yeah, there’s a lot of different things like that. We also like to have a strong character with a strong POV, like for instance, our cat goddess spokesperson, who is myself. But it’s kind of that person, who’s a little aspirational, like has a very clear vision because I think people are attracted to seeing other people know what they want, have a clear vision, have a crisp point of view. Like people like to watch that.
Shelby Dash: Yeah. And it’s aspirational because a lot of us, you know, are afraid to really mean what we say and say what we mean. So, when we see a spokesperson that’s unabashedly doing that, we’re going to be instantly attracted to them. And it’s also an easy way to deliver product information and get jokes out.
Kristina Clifford: In a fun way.
Shelby Dash: In a fun way. Yeah.
Jason Yormark: I love it. I love it. Well, I’d be crazy not to ask who I need to know either, it could be, it could be one or both like favorite comedy movie or show and or comedian. I got to know who that is for you guys.
Shelby Dash: Mine is Talladega nights. Okay. I love that movie. It kills me.
Kristina Clifford: Oh my God. There’s many.
Jason Yormark: Somebody’s got to jump in your head immediately or something.
Kristina Clifford: Is it so dumb to say dumb and dumber? It must be so.
Jason Yormark: No, that’s a classic.
Kristina Clifford: I’ve just watched that movie a thousand times and I think I’ve watched it that many times for a reason. It is so funny.
Shelby Dash: What about you? What’s yours?
Jason Yormark: I mean I, Seinfeld was always, I kind of grew up on that. Recently, there’s not a lot of, nothing really jumps off the page recently. I find Sebastian Maniscalco, he does it for me lately. He just, he’s so great at storytelling and he just, you know, when he is on stage, he just, it’s just his mannerisms. There’s such an appreciation because I mean, I’ve done video and I’ve done some like stage work earlier in my life. So, I kind of get it like, cause like you watch it and some people just see it and they just laugh and it’s funny and they don’t know why. And I’ll watch it. And it’s funny and I’m like, oh my God, I can imagine just the amount of preparation that someone like that puts into it. Like all these, like these little things, like I just pick up on like, I bet you he thought about saying it that way and moving in that way and then pause it for that long. And it’s just so interesting to me.
Kristina Clifford: Absolutely. Everything is so structured with that. In search party, if you haven’t seen it.
Shelby Dash: Search party…
Kristina Clifford: That is a really good show. We got sucked in.
Shelby Dash: Buckle your seatbelt. It’s so good. Also, I want to give a little shout out to king of Queens. I want to say that’s underrated. Okay. It’s underrated.
Jason Yormark: Okay. I never watched that one. I would say, I mean I saw like clips and parts of it here and there.
Shelby Dash: Yeah. First few seasons got me good that Kevin James, he’ll get you.
Jason Yormark: Awesome. Well so before we kind of wrap things up, tell me in terms of where can people find you and tell us a little bit about like who’s your perfect client. Like who do you typically work with?
Kristina Clifford: Yeah, I would say go to www.take2content.com with the number two. You can also find us on YouTube. We’re going to do some tips and tricks behind the scenes, bloopers, all that fun stuff. You can also reach us at [email protected] and [email protected] And our ideal client, we always say this is someone who’s willing to take risks with their content. Because we really do think that gets the eyeballs and when you see a fun, clever, funny ad, I feel like you immediately respect it because…
Shelby Dash: And the brand
Kristina Clifford: Yeah. The brand itself. You automatically think, wow, they’re innovative. So, I think that’s the number one, but also somebody who also could, you know, has a budget to do that.
Jason Yormark: Those are key. Awesome. No, I mean, I mean, one of the most frustrating things is like, you have this conversation, you get so deep, and it feels like it’s going to be great. And it’s like, oh yeah, So, you know, what’s the budget and you tell them and they’re like, oh, I can’t like, oh, I only have a couple dollars to put. I’m like, really? I’m like, we just spent 25 minutes on this. So, I’ve learned a long time ago to just put it out there and in that intro email, like here’s our budget range. So, if you’re listening and you’re not doing that, you’re going to save yourself a lot of headaches and time by just being transparent about that.
Kristina Clifford: Amen.
Shelby Dash: On that note, we do do a free 30-minute call if you’re interested in working with us.
Kristina Clifford: But come with your, No, I’m kidding. You don’t have to come with your budget, but if you listen [24:43 inaudible]
Jason Yormark: Yeah. Well it’s, you know, I don’t think there’s, I think people, you know, what’s interesting about agency life is, what makes it a little bit more challenging as a social media agency is like a lot of times a good portion of what we do Isn’t like necessarily a deliverable, whereas you guys do, it’s like you create this thing and it’s like, well, here’s this thing that you’re paying for. You could touch it, see it, feel it. So, you know, we experience a little bit of volatility around pricing, but trust me people, when I say there’s a lot of horsepower that goes into making videos, period, let alone funny videos. So, Huge appreciation for that.
Kristina Clifford: Thank you.
Shelby Dash: Yeah. Thank you so much.
Jason Yormark: Yeah. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today. It was so great to meet you spend a little bit of time with you. Make sure if you’re listening, check them out at Take2Content. If you’re looking for funny stuff, go there. That’s a good place to start. Thank you for being on the show and look forward to hopefully staying connected in the future.
Kristina Clifford: Absolutely. Thank you so much.
Jason Yormark: Absolutely. Awesome. Well, thank you all for listening to anti agency stories of doing business differently, we will catch you next episode.