Signalfire Wins 2 Telly Awards for Animal Shelter Video

Signalfire, a Delavan-based award winning creative digital and branding agency, has won two 2015 Telly Awards in collaboration with Drywater Productions and Lakeland Animal Shelter. The Telly Awards has honored the very best film and video productions, groundbreaking online video content, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs for 36 years.

Telly Award WinnerSignalfire was awarded the 2015 Award for Fundraising Promotion Online Video Online Webisodes, Segments, or Promotional Pieces- Charitable Not-for-Profit and the 2015 Award for Fundraising Promotion Online Video-Online Webisodes, Segments, or Promotional Pieces-Fund Raising. The video was entitled Lakeland Animal Shelter’s Extreme Shelter Makeover and was produced to promote the capital campaign for Lakeland Animal Shelter, located in Elkhorn, WI.

The Telly Award’s mission is to strengthen the visual arts community by inspiring, promoting, and supporting creativity. Last year’s Telly Awards received more than 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents.

Lakeland Animal Shelter began working with Signalfire over three years ago. They were referred from Scott Hartwig, the owner of Delavan Lakes Veterinary Clinic and Lakeland Animal Shelter Board Member, as he knew the Shelter was interested in redesigning their website. Signalfire went on to redesign Lakeland’s website as well as create the brand identity and logos, which they donated to the non-profit. Lakeland’s Executive Director Kristen Perry said they were pleased with the results and knew they wanted to continue working with Signalfire in the future.

Building Project Needed Special Promotion

Perry and others involved with Lakeland wanted a video to showcase their Capital Campaign building project to demonstrate their need to the community, donors and supporters. The video was filmed in November of 2014 and launched in January of 2015. The response was exceptional.

“We knew the best way to tell our story was with a video,” Perry said. There is so much the public doesn’t see at Lakeland that it was important to give them the real scoop on what it takes to care for Walworth County’s homeless, stray, neglected, unwanted and abused animals.

Signalfire Owner Matthew Olson, Project Manager Susan Geye, and Drywater Productions Owner Stephen Pickering met with Perry to discuss the vision and organize a plan. The meeting was a success, and the video was filmed in November of 2014 and launched in January of 2015. The response was exceptional.

“Though we had money donated for the video project, after it was launched we received a donation that would have covered the project entirely,” Perry said.

The 8-minute long video showcases the plight of the shelter and the desperate need to operate in a new building. Donors, supporters and volunteers were all very moved and inspired by the video. According to Perry, even those closest to the shelter were surprised to see the behind-the-scenes look at what limited space and resources the staff at the shelter has to work with to get the job done. This includes, but is not limited to, housing, medicating, feeding and caring for approximately 3,000 animals annually (2,000 cats, 1000 dogs and about 200 other animals like horses, chickens, small pets and the occasional pot belly pig). The video also highlights that the building, which houses all these animals, was not built or equipped for such a large population when it was built in 1978.

The success of the video has led to an increase in donations to the shelter, specifically for the Capital Campaign.

The Story Behind The Story

Signalfire presents awards

Award statues are presented to (L to R) Stephen Pickering (Drywater Productions), Matthew Olson (Signalfire), and Kristen Perry (Lakeland Animal Shelter)

“Lakeland Animal Shelter is very proud of the Extreme Shelter Makeover video,” said Perry. “It is an excellent depiction of our organization’s needs for a new facility in which to care for the animals that we serve each year. This was not our first partnership with Signalfire, as we have had several marketing and design projects that they have done for us in the past, including the redesign of our website. We were confident based on the past work with Signalfire that this video would be yet another professional and polished piece that would represent our organization and this project in the best way possible. We are very pleased when the end product did that and so much more. We look forward to working with Signalfire and Drywater Productions again in the future.”

“Early on in our meetings with Signalfire and Lakeland Animal Shelter we discussed the group goal of creating a video that wouldn’t feel like a traditional capital campaign video, but rather like a documentary telling a story,” said Drywater Productions Owner Stephen Pickering. “This was a fun project in that it had an organic feel; the stories we captured were not scripted, and it was like a puzzle to assemble. One of the unique challenges of this project was to show Lakeland Animal Shelter’s desperate need for a new facility, while also not undermining the outstanding work they somehow continue doing with their current facility. I recall several revisions of the story being sent back and forth before we ultimately found that balance. It was a group effort. Our favorite part was being able to utilize very simple, yet effective 3D compositing to add the extra touch.”

Signalfire and Drywater Productions were able to construct and visualize the story they wanted to tell. Project Manager Susan Geye was meticulous about what was going to be portrayed.

“My goal was storytelling,” said Geye. “We had to juxtapose the gritty reality of their cramped, crumbling shelter with the transcendent passion and dedication of the staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to provide a safe and caring home for hundreds of homeless animals. I wanted viewers to connect emotionally to the story and feel compelled to help. It worked for me—I became a member!

“Lakeland Animal Shelter allowed our team to produce a video showing their vision of an incredible building project,” said Olson. “By giving us the access needed to tell their story and share their challenges, we developed a video that put their situation in the forefront of the public eye.“

“In winning this award,” Olson continued, “I sincerely hope we can bring even more attention and support to Lakeland Animal Shelter’s desperately needed shelter construction project. There is no doubt that the biggest benefactor will be the thousands of animals helped by new facilities.”

About Signalfire

Signalfire is an award winning creative digital agency offering a full range of services from branding and web development to social media management and content marketing. Serving small and medium sized businesses as well as non-profit organizations, they provide a comprehensive level of innovative creative services specifically tailored for each client. Signalfire develops the complete strategy associated with your brand from selecting the right domain name through maintaining an annual content calendar. By providing as much support as your business or non-profit organization requires, Signalfire can handle the planning and execution of a successful marketing plan.

For more information on the Lakeland Animal Shelter or to make a donation, visit

For more information on Signalfire, call (262) 725-4000 or visit

For more information on the Telly Awards, visit

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