About Christina Anderson

Christina Anderson is the Founder of Runaway Train Productions, a small, female-led production company that specializes in short-form, character-driven video for healthcare companies, universities, philanthropic organizations, and businesses.

Before launching her own company, Christina headed up Original Video at TODAY.com and spent five years at HuffPost. Prior to HuffPost, she spent ten years in traditional publishing at SELF magazine, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar and JANE magazines.

“People expect storytelling through video to be part of their purchasing journey.”

– Christina Anderson, Founder & Executive Producer at Runaway Train Productions



Socialive: What is a key takeaway you learned from brands producing video content in 2020?

Christina Anderson: Video is king (or queen). Video traffic is poised to be 80 percent of Internet traffic in 2021. For video creators, we have to adapt to now. Normally you go to your location, and you have your crew and gear.

Well, nobody’s going anywhere right now. So, how do we create really compelling, engaging videos through Zoom? We have become super creative filming at in-home studios via Zoom, and have been leaning on amazing animators. In these strange times, you have got to be creative when telling a story.

SL: What do you consider the top video trend businesses should know about in 2021?

CA: Always lead your videos with emotion and keep it short. Right off the bat, you have three seconds to grab your audience with emotion – whether it’s happiness, melancholy, and excitement. You’ve got about two minutes before they get bored and want to do something else. Make it quick, engaging, and impactful.

SL: What do you consider the top challenge for businesses looking to produce video content in 2021?

CA: There’s no doubt video is expensive. You’re hiring a crew anywhere between five to however many people, depending on how big the production is. It’s not like writing a blog post, where you can just dash it off in a half hour. It takes weeks and months of production. That’s why when you get the final product, it’s glossy, polished, and gorgeous.

What comes up in every conversation with clients is budget, especially with the pandemic. People are really reining in their budgets and pinching their pennies during this time. So, you’ve got to figure out what is the best way to get the most bang for your buck.

SL: Are there lessons B2B video marketers can learn from the B2C world?

CA: One thousand percent. It’s storytelling. If you can tell a story that engages your audience, you’re good to go. There’s just no reason for things to be dry anymore. Remember airline videos back in the ‘80s that were dry, boring, and nobody watched it? Now you get on Virgin Atlantic and it’s funny and engaging. Now you’re like, ‘of course I’ll watch the airline video because it’s done really well.’

Whether we’re doing videos for universities, pharmaceutical companies, or hospitals, we always start with something personal. It can be happy or sad. Driving with emotion is how you connect with audiences. If you can make sure your imagery, music, and voiceover is dynamic while telling a great story, you’re good to go.

SL: What types of videos resonate with B2B audiences?

CA: This year has been especially interesting because we’re all living through the pandemic. Right now, the stories that have been the most successful and our clients are looking to tell are ones about how a company got through COVID-19.

Businesses are celebrating essential workers, and sharing how they pivoted on a dime back in the spring. Not only are they doing their best to show how they got through the pandemic, but also sending a ‘thank you’ message to employees. They thank their employees for their patience and everything they’ve done.

SL: How can businesses stand out when producing video?

CA: You have to know your audience. Who is your audience? Where are they? Which platform are they on? Then, you have to meet them there. If your audience is 40-year-old moms, then you better get that mom content going. If your audience is 20-year-olds on TikTok, then that’s the kind of content you need to produce.

You can no longer shoot one long video of grandparents gardening and hope that you’re going to capture a huge audience. It’s just not going to work anymore. It has to be targeted to your audience.

SL: What consumer behaviors do we expect to see adopted in 2021?

CA: Again, video will continue to be king (or queen) in 2021. I read 70 percent of people are watching video through their purchasing journey. Whether it is testimonials or how-tos, people expect storytelling through video to be part of their purchasing journey.

SL: What has it been like to transition from the B2C to B2B video world?

CA: Man, HuffPost was such an amazing experience for me. I learned everything about who your audience is and how to speak to them – whether through headlines and social media.

Then, I took what I learned from HuffPost and went to NBC to start the Original Video team. While there, I of course kept a close eye on data and analytics to create video stories that resonated with our audiences.

The lessons I learned in media ring true to people, even if it’s an organization watching an internal communications video. If you can start out with something that resonates with the audience, lead with emotion and make it dynamic, you’re going to grab their attention. I think the idea of tapping into emotion is what really makes videos stand out.

SL: What is the future of Runaway Train Productions?

CA: I started Runaway Train Productions in May 2019. Before that, I headed up an Original Video team at NBC for a few years. At that point (and sort of serendipitously), my team had always been female. When female producers, shooters, and editors came back from the field, they would say how awesome it is to be on an all-female team. No one talks over you, and you feel very much in control and empowered. I love that.

When I started Runaway Train Productions, I wanted to keep that scene. We are female founded and are committed to empowering women and underrepresented communities in video production. As a woman and mom, it’s really a powerful tool to be able to tap into other people’s emotions. I find that when working with women, there is a real talent there. There is a real empathy chip we have that allows us to tap into not only getting the best content out of our subjects, but also really engage with audiences.

SL: Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

CA: Connecting with your subject and audience will allow you to produce something that is really organic. That is the key to success.

As a video creator, we are taught to be relatable. Be authentic. We’re all human, right? If your cat is jumping on your laptop, like, that’s great. Let’s talk about your cat and then you’re warmed up and we can get right into the interview. Perfect.