When visiting the office of Frank Borres’ American View Productions in Bridgeport, it is difficult not to be impressed upon arrival. For starters, Borres runs his company from his home, which was built in 1888 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Once inside, Borres’ interior is tastefully decorated with remarkable antiques, and his mantlepiece is decorated with a lineup of shiny Emmy Awards and Telly Awards.
Borres’ career spans different aspects of the media world — he began as a radio reporter going on camera as a television reporter for News 12. During this period, he began a video production company focused on weddings and special events. In 1988, he decided to leave journalism and take on the role of public relations for a local bank.
“My timing was bad because that’s when all of the banks folded at the same time,” he lamented. But in a classic lemons-into-lemonade moment, Borres chose to tap his media background to preserve the moment.
“I did a documentary recording the closing of the bank,” he continued. “I had the marshal coming in and handing the president his papers, and the FDIC coming in to the bank doors closing. It was an inside view of a bank closing. I caught the bug about producing.”
Borres set up his American View Productions, dividing his professional attention between video production and public relations/marketing. “The majority of our time is spent in marketing, while the minority of our time — maybe one-quarter — is spent in TV and video production. That was what we were first known for.”
On the marketing side, Borres credited his journalism background in initially making his agency stand out from the competition.
“That knowledge equipped me to understand the other side and to properly consult my clients,” he said. “But things have changed a lot. Now, the world is totally different and you cannot count on PR alone to satisfy the needs of your client to get their brand out there. Traditional media and self-produced media via Facebook, social media, your website or podcast — they’re all connected.”
One area where American View Productions is increasingly focused involves corporate videos. Borres observed changes in how news and information are being consumed, particularly on digital platforms.
“People don’t want to read on the website or social media post, so you are better off sending 10- to 30-second videos,” he said. “On your website, it is good to have a two-minute intro video on your company. At an event, you may want to show a five-minute video on what you do.”
Borres acknowledged that the rise of social media has encouraged many people to use the digital platform for self-marketing. While he did not think there was a right and wrong way to use social media for this pursuit, he advised businesses to emphasize the target audience rather than the vehicle for reaching them.
“I think there is a degree of usage,” he said. “You have people my age who might use it less and focus on the newspaper and then you have more of a middle-aged person who might do both, use the newspaper and social media, and then you have a younger person who doesn’t use the traditional forms at all. I think everyone has a customized use of social media. It is so varied and so full and holistic how messages are out there, you can kind of determine which channels you use for your information.”
Nonetheless, Borres is making sure his agency doesn’t fall behind the high-tech curve. “I’m very fortunate to have young people working with me, and that has been done somewhat intentionally,” he added. “I hire people who understand the technology that is coming — and everyone here is younger than I am. I have people working on all aspects of that technology.”
Borres has been turning out a series of half-hour documentaries for broadcast on public television that spotlight Connecticut history and culture. His latest, “A Story in Stone,” follows a small cadre of artists, including Bridgeport-based Jim Reed who continue to create stone lithography using the techniques and procedures of the 1700s. Borres is now working on a follow-up to an earlier documentary on Puerto Rican migrations to Connecticut, focusing on the post-Hurricane Maria environment and the island’s future.