Thursday, December 27, 2007

New WCBS Spots

I hope everyone had a very nice Christmas. I'm still on vacation... enjoying every minute of it!

I ran across this promo from WCBS today. Not sure what I think of it - I'm not sure I get the point. There is lots of historical footage - but none from WCBS themself. There is no "we've covered it all through the years" theme - just generic, emotion button pushing. Hmmm... beautiful spot but what does it tell me about WCBS?



Thoughts?

UPDATE:

Here is another that I find just freakin' creepy. Check out the shot right after the text "heartbreaking endings"...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thank You!

As I get ready to begin my holiday vacation - I just want to thank all of you that come to my blog. I've heard from many of you and have had a great time sharing ideas and getting feedback.

I have enjoyed doing the blog and look forward to continuing in the new year. I may still post here and there - as I get bored after eating too much and opening too many presents. So don't forget to come back after the holidays!!!!

I'd like to also thank promogirl, who has been a great contributor to the blog. And each of you who have written me or posted or hopefuly learned something or were inspired.

I work with a great team at WESH and I look forward to working with them in 2008.

Thank you all and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bill Cosby thinks I'm an asshole.



Recently, Dr. Cliff Huxtable himself visited our station. He was here to do an interview with our main anchor.

Now, I've always been a comedy nut - ever since I was a child. I told the Cos I owned "Bill Cosby: Himself" on cassette. I was very happy to meet such a legend.

Then the story takes a dark, tragic turn. Actually, it turned into a great story that I thought was pretty funny.

At the end of the interview - someone asked Mr. Pudding Pop where he gets his Philly Cheesesteaks(he's from Philly)... and the Cos couldn't remember. But he did shout out a phone #... 555-932-2252... rapid fire went this phone #.

So afterwards, trying to be funny, I say "Wow, you can remember that phone #... but you can't remember your favorite cheesesteak place." to which he replied, in his famous drawn out Cosby voice "That's my home phone number you asshole!!"

He was kinda joking... I think. Still, having a beloved entertainer call you an asshole is kinda cool.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I miss Johnny Carson

I was a huge fan of Johnny. And this clip reminds me of that.

Here, Carson visits the man he thought was the rightful heir to "The Tonight Show" - David Letterman. I know this has nothing to do with promotion - but it is still fun to watch.



I wish some cable net would acquire the rights to Johnny's old show and air it in it's original timeslot. Although I love Dave - there was nothing like falling asleep to Johnny, Ed and Doc.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This spot in disgusting!

Here is a spot from KXAS in Dallas - probably from the 90s.

Many stations have a "dirty restaurant" report and this spot uses humor to get the message across.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

X-mas Promos

Here is a nice idea from KTVT in Dallas. My friend Andi Parker was able to find an ice skating rink in Dallas!

Check out this video: Anchors on Ice



Add to My Profile | More Videos

And of course, here are 2 of the 7 spots we did at WESH last year:






Do you have an cool Christmas/Holiday spot ideas? Share them! At least you'll be able to say you got me something for Christmas this year. :)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Another Great Sports Promo

This spot is from KHOU, my old station. Great spot.



Great use of nats and visuals... nice job Bobby.

Friday, December 7, 2007

New POP

Recently, our station won the Emmy for Team Coverage of the February torandos that came through Central Florida early one morning.

We did amazing coverage but in the end, people died in this. So to promote our Emmy win, I went a different direction than "WE WON AN EMMY!!"...

Our "slogan" is Big Coverage of the Big Story... I wanted to take a softer, more gentle approach. Let me know what you think...

In Camera Tricks

One of my favorite things to do is create promos using in camera tricks or by shooting actual objects/materials. It has a very real, organic feel.

The following video is from art house 3 Ring Circus. They show how they've done some special effects - including shots of logos, water effects and even blowing up cars. Enjoy!



You should also check out their website at 3ringcircus.tv

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Interesting Morning Show Promo

I'm not sure what I think about this one. This is a morning show promo for WNBC. It certainly is different and probably gets people's attention... but, hmmm... I don't know!

Let's discuss this one. What do you think?

Holiday Idea

I ran across this idea at WFAA.COM... a great way to make more money for whatever charity your station is working with this holiday.

They are auctioning off Christmas trees decorated with all kinds of gifts(gift cards, tickets to shows, sports team tickets, autographed items, etc)

A really cool idea. A way to get people who may not donate otherwise but would bid on something cool.

http://www.wfaa.com/santashelpers/trees/

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sports Promotion

Promoting sports can be a lot of fun. Sports offers the chance to break away from news and do something creative and different.

Here is a spot done for Fox. It promotes the 2002 MLB All Star Game. Great visuals...



And check out this spot for season tickets to the Atlanta Braves. I've always wanted to do a comic book effect... and this is a great example.



And of course, this isn't as fancified as these - but I still love my San Antonio Spurs spot, that we did when the Spurs came to KENS-5...



If you have any cool sports promos, let me know and we can share them here!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Doppler Spot

If you haven't seen this... well, it's time.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Great spot!

I just love finding promos that are unexpected and break the mold.

The following is a spot from WBZ in Boston. I'm not sure this is exactly the way it aired, as the note on the side says something about slowing it down and adding music.

If anyone knows... let me know. If I'm not mistaken, the former CSD at WCCO(fast becoming my favorite promo shop in the country) is now at WBZ. Very creative work. Check it out.

Friday, November 30, 2007

HELP!

A coworker and I were talking today and he starts telling me about this spot... one that I remembered as well. It was for the TBS miniseries "Moonshot", starring Barry Corbin. He explained the Apollo mission and I can't remember the wording but it was extremely well done.

It was one of the best promos I've ever seen(or that's the way i remember it now) -- I thought it was telling that two different people remembered a :60 commercial from back in 1994.

We've searched youtube and the internet and can't find it.

Do you remember this spot? Do you have it? A prize for the person who uploads it for me!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Two words...

... thank God.

November sweeps is finally over and I'm sure every promo department in the country is glad. Judging by the poll I did - most news departments continue to go into battle without a solid battle plan. Poor planning, poor stories and the fact that nearly every sweeps story has a "been there... done that" feel.

I used to love sweeps. I used to take sick pleasure in working like a mad man... coming up with ideas at 3am and in the end, coming up with some good spots and some good ratings. Maybe I'm getting too old for this crap. Maybe the situation is just different here.

I often wonder why many stations go into sweeps without a solid plan. But I think the answer is simple. News departments are at their best when they are doing daily news... breaking news... not news that's planned for weeks. Our news department is on their game during big, breaking stories. The station can really turn it on during big events. I should say we also had some decent sweeps stories as well.

I've worked for every kind of station. The one's that were well planned and actually had good material were the ones that won. KHOU in Houston was great... an amazing investigative unit, an A+ reporting staff and great management who understood what it took to win.

They also did what many stations cannot afford to do. They did a sweeps story, basically, every weeknight. It was called "Upclose" when I was there and it was a well produced, time invested piece that ran anywhere from 2-4+ minutes if needed. They have a reporter who only does work on Upclose. All the other reporters get to pitch in as well and work on stories that are not day of turns. Out of book they were interesting and teaseable... in book they were rocking. Not always... but they hit the mark day in and day out.

Not every station can do this. However, I do think just about every station in the country can do better in planning for sweeps.

Sure... today is a day to rest and lick your wounds.

Tomorrow should be your February planning meeting. Is your station already working on Feb?

Share your sweeps war stories below... along with any news stories that spiked ratings for you.

Lets go get em in Feb.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WBNS Spot

In my last blog - I raved on a 50th anniversary from WBNS. The following is an article from our promo pal Paul Greeley on the spot. Thanks Paul!

The Best Local TV Station Promo? You Decide.
By Paul Greeley

There's probably not a more advertised product on TV than local TV news. In every market, 3 or 4 or more local TV stations vie for viewers, airing slickly-produced commercials about their talent, their technology or their content. Most local TV stations have on-air schedules that few national or local advertisers could match. Then when sweeps come, the exposure goes way up.
The question is which of these promos actually work?
Over the years, I’ve seen tens of thousands of examples of local TV station promos. I’ve written and produced more than a thousand myself. So I’m often asked if I’ve seen any one promo that I thought was the best. And while I’ve seen lots of terrific work, (and lots of not so terrific work); recently I saw a promo that, in my opinion, is one of the best local TV spots I’ve seen. And the good news is that this technique might work just as well for many local TV stations. The spot comes from WBNS, the CBS affiliate in Columbus, Ohio. Take a look.



Frank Willson, WBNS’s Director of Operations says, “the response has been amazing. In addition to the promo…the Marketing Department placed a lot of additional content online. They uploaded it on the WBNS-10TV You Tube channel and started a viral marketing campaign using Face Book, MySpace, and other social networking sites.”
Here are several reasons why I think this spot works.
First off, it’s a 60-second promo, and in :60 seconds, you have time to tell your story, and make an emotional connection with your audience. And very few other advertisers, except perhaps pharmaceutical companies, can afford to do :60s, so your message really stands out.
Secondly, I like the music. Not many local TV station promos feature a rock band performing on the roof of the station’s studio. Imagine pitching this idea to your GM?
“This one took a lot of trust from our President & General Manager, Tom Griesdorn,” said Wilson. “But he gave us his support to make the spot as good as it should be. Everything was shot using Sony HDCam and edited on Avid DS HD’s.”

What’s interesting to me about this spot is that it was conceived and executed by a 25-year old writer/producer, David Plantz, who also wrote the music and the song. Plantz says he got the idea of doing a heritage campaign while watching old Nickelodeon promos on YouTube.
“I thought that our viewers would make the nostalgic connection I felt watching those old kids’ promos.”
The song is original and fresh, appeals to young and old alike and when combined with the images, projects the electronic news gathering process as important and fun. And according to Plantz, it worked.
“We’ve gotten 200 e-mails about it, all positive. It’s been a wonderful success.”
Lastly and most importantly, one of the real strengths of the spot is that it uses carefully chosen examples of WBNS’ performance over the years in news, weather, sports, community and local programming to make the point that while times may change, WBNS’s contribution to its viewers and the community hasn’t. I think local TV stations often ignore their history. We often forget that while local TV station owners may come and go, the station itself has been an integral part of the city or town for so many years. Why not highlight the years of service your TV station has made to remind viewers of the long-standing contribution the station’s made to the community? If showcasing history and tradition is good enough for Mercedes Benz and Cadillac to sell cars, then it certainly will work for a local TV station.
At one point WBNS had a documentary on its web site about the making of this promo and WBNS’s anchor, Andrea Camburn, mentions that sometimes in local TV, “we forget to look where we came from, it’s fun to look back.” She goes on to say that she likes the spot because it “reminds people of our legacy here.”
Indeed, what kind of legacy does your station have?

Paul Greeley has over 20 years experience in local TV marketing and was recently the VP of Marketing for a top-20 broadcast company. You can contact him at pgreeley98@aol.com or 817-528-2354.

Monday, November 26, 2007

50th Anniversary Promotion

When I first got to WESH-TV in Orlando, our 50th anniversary was right around the corner. I used it as a great opportunity to get to know our station and the people who built it into the station it became. I'm not a big history buff - but it was a lot of fun researching and talking to people about the station's rich history.

This weekend, Dave Plantz from WBNS sent me this great 50th anniversary spot. It made me jealous... extremely well done. Check it out:




After seeing it - it got me thinking about a couple of anniversary spots I have in my archive. Here is a very interesting one done by KXAS in Dallas several years ago:



And here are 2 fantastic spots from KING-TV in Seattle:





What do you think? I think the WBNS spot does a great job of not only highlighting the past but also showing off what the future will bring.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Is anyone working on any great, holiday/sweeps giveaways?

Here's a great one...

Writer's Strike

Here is a funny video from Fred Armisen, cast member at "Saturday Night Live."

Right before the strike, he introduced a studio head character on SNL.

In this video he hits the streets of NYC as he fights against the strike. Very funny.



I hope the writers get what they're asking for. The studios know good and well they're making money off of the internet. Let's get these guys back to work so we can see more groundbreaking television like "2 and a half men", "Cavemen" and "Carpoolers."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Nice spots

These are from the late 90's, I'd guess. KRON in San Francisco, before they became an independent.

Not your typical promo, let me know what you think!





The second spot is my favorite of the two.

I'm a big fan of this music and VO guy. The script may be a little over the top for today's world... but I like that it is subtle. And I have to admit - I stole a couple of those lines for a spot I did years ago. I am not proud... but it was too good to pass up!

I agree with several of you about the NY spots below - I think the 4 New York spots are too slick. But I think these KRON spots are pretty good and the visuals are very layered with localism without being over the top.(maybe a couple of shots - that's it)

What do you guys think?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

4 New York

WNBC has used the "4 New York" campaign for years. Recently, they brought the campaign back with these slick spots(perhaps too slick?)



What do you guys think about these kind of promos? They don't tell you how much experience they have, that they have a chopper, that they have the most powerful doppler or that they prepare and protect you during severe weather.

They attempt to make a human connection. A connection to the city and it's people.

Emotion. I'm telling you - that's where it's at. Stations love to talk about themselves and very little about the people they serve.

Having lived in NYC during 9/11 - I know New Yorkers certainly have a pride about their city, made stronger by the events in 2001.

Here is a spot WCBS did right after 9/11 that I thought was fantastic. The music is great and the spot is well shot and edited.



So what do you all think? Do these spots work? Make connections with viewers which end up driving viewership? Or are they pretty music videos that do nothing for the station?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Best Sweeps Ideas so far

Well, its about 1/2 way or so... soooo.... anyone have any good sweeps ideas?

This has been a hard book. I don't see many good stories out there anywhere. Tonight, we're profiling a guy who may have cured a form of cancer, with a machine
he built in his garage. A good hook, since he has no medical background.

If anyone has anything good to share - please do so.

From you, from the competition, from 10 years ago - any good ideas will do!

Sorry to beg. It happens in November.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Way Back Machine!

Today, I happened to hear our station's internet guru(a 20-something year old genius) mention a website. So I checked it out, as his leads are usually interesting.

The site? archive.org

If you've never heard of it - check it out. It's an archive of, I assume, every webpage ever. Some of my websites I checked out:

- my station's site: interesting to see the evolution of your station's web presence
- September 11: I went back to cnn.com and msnbc.com as well as drudgereport.com(which strangely didn't have an entry archived)

I'm sure there are tons of other good uses for this. The site doesn't have everything and seems to be a bit slow - but it's certainly interesting.

Any other cool ideas for using this site?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The motherload!

A fellow blogger shared her list of arthouse websites with me and it's extensive!

I won't just post her info on my site... so please check out promogirl's website for the list:

http://tvpromos.blogspot.com/

This is an incredible list of some of the wildest, most creative work being done out there in TV land.

Enjoy! And thanks Promogirl.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Jump!


When I worked in Houston, I got to work with former President Bush twice. What a great guy. No matter how you feel about politics or his son - he was charming and nice each time.

To be honest, the first time I worked with the President(and his wife Barbara) - I was making up a project to do so. The Superbowl was coming to Houston and since they live in H-town - I wrote a promo for them to read. It worked out great and it was very cool meeting them.

The next time was even better, as the station was doing a "day of sharing" following the Tsunami in Southeast Asia. His people made sure we all got photographed with the president and he even signed my script "Don, Brilliant text! George Bush 41"

Now I know its silly - but I really enjoyed working with him. Its a great feeling having the President read your words.

And today, I see this picture of 41.

Any president that's that old that still SKY DIVES?!?!!!!!!! is ok by me.


Have you had the chance to meet someone cool because of work? Tell us all about it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Inspiration.

Imagine working at Nike. Your job? To inspire. To push creativity in the designers, the commercial producers and the sales team.

What a job, eh? Well that job was once held by Kevin Carroll, who called himself "The Katalyst"...

If you've ever heard him speak - you were inspired. If you've read his book - you were inspired.

Kevin has a great story about the desire and passion he had as a kid and how he continues it to this day.

Kevin's book "Rules of the Red Rubber Ball" is a quick read, maybe 15 minutes, tops. But it has a powerful message.

He talks about following your passion and loving every minute of it.

In the book, Kevin explains how a red rubber ball helped him become one of the first black trainers in the NBA, with the 76ers.

He then went on to work for Nike, where he inspired these spots:





Here is one of my favorite passages from the book, that encourages me to think differently everyday:

For creativity to serve you well, you must exercise it daily. You must nourish it, or it will weaken.

How?

Breakout of your routine, everyday.

Put yourself in uncomfortable situations, everyday.

Look at the world with the innocent eyes of a child by approaching everything in your life with wonder, not assumption.

Be playful, not always serious.

His book inspires people to follow their passions and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Simplicity.

Sometimes, we get so complicated with our promos. Facts, figures, flying boxes and whiz bang effects.

Sometimes I think we're just trying to trick viewers into thinking we actually have a good story - when we really don't.

Below is one of the best examples I've seen of a promo that is simple, direct and fun. Its from WFAA(late 90's?)...



If anyone has a spot they'd like to share - please let me know. I'd love to use this blog to share great spots that can get us talking, thinking and making better spots.

What's in your favorites?

I love to surf the net. I love to keep up to date on what's going on in the tv industry. I love to see what's going on in the world. Here are my fav websites - how about you?

drudgereport.com --- i love this site, keeps me up to date
tvspy.com -- great tv news website
tvtattle.com -- updated each afternoon, I learn a ton about tv/movies here
ftvlive.com -- sure, its a pay site - but I love it
newsblues.com -- another pay, tv news site
lostremote.com -- great way to keep up on web trends
tvbarn.com -- another tv/movie industry site
welldunne.blogspot.com -- a must for anyone who wants to know who's who and who's where
nbcumv.com -- NBC's media village, good for press releases, etc

I also check out my local newspaper's site and a select few TV station websites(KHOU.COM is a great local news site)

What about you? What keeps you busy when waiting for a script to be approved or for that render to complete?

Share you fav sites below...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Daily Show vs. One Scary Freakin' Promo

Thanks to Tim Taylor - who forwarded this to me.

I've never been more frightened in my life. very funny stuff...

I love Videohelper

How many of you use Videohelper for your promos? There is a survey to the right...

I have loved that library ever since I received a demo reel with such song titles as "What the funk?" and "Shot in the head"...

Their titles and descriptions can many times be hilarious - but most importantly, the music is perfect for promos!!!

For those of you who are not using it - their website is second to none. You can search for whatever you could possibly imagine and it'll find something! The search engine has a way of knowing what you're looking for. You can also download the song right into your avid - making those silly CDs obsolete.

the website is playvideohelper.com in case you didn't know.

Does anyone have any other great music packages they would recommend?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

NOW THAT'S DIFFERENT!

There are a few stations out there that really take creative to the extreme. I'm not sure what I think about it... it certainly seems to be working for some. WCCO has done some great creative and WCNC in Denver does some great/interesting things.

Some of the spots I love. Some I don't get. Some I dislike. But they create a reaction. I'm much more conservative in my style than these - but I wondered what you all thought of these spots. I showed them to a coworker who hated them.

Yesterday, I gave the opportunity to criticize my work... today, lets do it to someone else's!!!







I think there are some really interesting concepts here and I'd love to know how they rank in the market. My hat is off to anyone who breaks the mold, especially if they create an identity for themselves in a promo world that is so bland. Lets discuss... good, bad and ugly.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Good? Bad? I CAN'T TELL!

Have you ever created a spot that you don't know what the hell you've created. People say it is good - but you know better.

I recently produced an image spot for our 11pm news. I'm not thrilled with it but can't put my finger on it. Is it the script? Is it how it was shot? Am I just too hard on myself?

Check it out and PLEASE - give me your opinion. None of us can learn or grow without good, constructive criticism.

Be gentle.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Spot Placement

Where you place the spots on your air is critical. I’m always surprised at how many stations still just throw promos on the log without much thought.

But even the ones who do it right(first position is king) probably are missing one key exception to that rule.

In maximizing the effectiveness of your log – have you taken into account where you spots ACTUALLY fall during network and syndicated shows?

Many times, we place our spots in first position. BUT – if you are in prime, chances are the network will take a commercial break before your local break rolls. That, in effect, puts your promo in the MIDDLE of one long commercial/bathroom break.

It is my belief that the promo should actually be LAST in that break.
People switch during commercials then come back. Viewers are so skilled at multi-tasking. By putting your spot closest to the content – then better off you will be. Not to mention our friends with DVRs, who will fast forward to the program and will now have the chance to catch at least part of your promo.

The same goes for syndicated programs as well.
It makes sense and I hope most of you have already figured this out – but I’ve never talked with a station that had.

Does anyone else have any great advice on promo placement?

It’s not sexy – but it’s critical to our success.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

An Oldie but Goodie Investigative Spot

I've been talking so much and not sharing spots - so here is a promo I did back in 2000 or so. This is actually a revised version of the spot - removing one of the investigators... so it seems a little odd to me now.

This was to debut KENS 5 Investigates. This was a lot of fun to shoot (we shot 16MM - one of my first film shoots ever)... I found this art museum that used to be a milk processing plant - which looked old and cool in the spot. I set off the smoke alarms in our building doing one shot...And I even make a couple of Hitchcock-like appearances in this spot.

This was when TV was really fun! Let me know what you think...


Made to Stick

I originally promised great sweeps ideas today. Well, I struggled with that and decided to give you something you could actually use.

Today’s blog is on a book that every promo person should own.

This book will inspire you. This book will make you a better writer/producer. This book will make you waffles on a Saturday morning when you and the book decide to just stay in and make love all day.

The book? Made to Stick. (www.madetostick.com)

Here’s an excerpt from their webpage:

Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that “stick” and explain sure-fire methods for making ideas stickier, such as violating schemas, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating “curiosity gaps.”

There are stories in here that just make you think. Why do we continue to do the same, lame promos that we’ve seen everywhere a million times?

My favorite is how the Jared/Subway spots came about. It may not surprise you that Subway was working on a rather bland campaign to tell us how good their sandwiches were… how healthy… less fat, blah, blah, blah.

Then someone chanced upon Jared and had to convince the agency that selling the idea of quality, low-fat foods with this “character” would help people make a connection.

Duh.

It was memorable. Facts and figures do not make a connection. A loveable fatso that lost a ton of weight does. (Subway’s sales were up 18% in a year thanks to Jared)

They break it down into 6 principles: Simplicity. Unexpectedness. Concreteness. Credibility. Emotions. Stories.

It spells SUCCESs… which even they admit is corny… but it works.

How can you make your spots stand out? How can you get your ideas to resonate?

Read this book. And let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

YOUR BOSS IS A MORON! GET A NEW JOB... QUICK!

Well, first off – if you haven’t subscribed to Graeme Newell’s free newsletter, do it now! Fantastic newsletter and weekly job email. This is THE list. Go to 602communications.com

Other favorite sites:

www.nbcjobs.com
I’ve always wanted to work at 30 Rock on SNL or something cool. This site has all the NBC jobs, including promo jobs at the O&Os (Sorry... no SNL jobs just yet)

www.belo.com/jobs My former company’s website that has every station they own listed right there. However, of note, the WFAA site does not work and you must go to WFAA.COM to find out what’s up there.

http://jobbank.emmyonline.org/
The Emmy website - searchable by state, city and job categories

http://talentdynamics.com/jobs.html
Great website that is updated often. Broken out into market sizes and on/off air positions.

www.tvjobs.com
I hate pay sites but I’ve heard this is a good one. $60/year apparently gets you tons of job information.

http://showbizjobs.com/
Jobs at CBS, NBC, Pixar and oh yea baby... Playboy, all on this site.

http://mediageneral.com/careers/index.htm
Corporate site for Media General

http://corporate.disney.go.com/careers/index.html
Corporate site for ABC and Walt Disney

Share your favorite websites by clicking on comment below!

Monday, October 29, 2007

BEST PLACES TO FIND GREAT PROMOS ON THE WEB

I like to see good work from all across the country. I’ve always used it as a learning tool. Good writing, great visuals, interesting concepts… I’m always on the lookout for great promotion.

The following list is the sad result of countless hours of mindless web surfing. I am not proud.

www.youtube.com
I search for news promos here all the time.
Here are some of my favorite searches:
- station call letters
- news promo
- stealthjeff (San Antonio promos)
- newsbyte2 (WCBS promos)
- WNBCHD4 (WNBC promos)

www.johnnypromo.net/
This guy gave me inspiration to do my own blog. Unfortunately, he hasn’t updated in awhile – but it’s a great promo blog with lots of topical examples. This guy has real passion for what he does.

www.hothauscreative.com
In my opinion, the best design house out there. Their site has examples of promos and news opens.

www.thefriendsofgranthorne.com/work/
Unfortunately, no longer updated - but some great work.

www.sharkspoon.com/
This is the website of the promotion manager for WFTV, my biggest competitor in Orlando. Great site with examples from his days at KING in Seattle.

http://jeffpatterson.tv/
This guy is a very talented art director for KGW in Portland. He’s done some great work on many different promos and his site has tons of examples.

http://www.thespecspot.com/
Not news promos but some great creative. Haven’t delved much into this one – but you can see some great creative here.

www.flnewscenter.com/
Ok, a bit of a stretch – but this Florida-focused website has video examples of stations across the state

www.alteregofilms.tv/News.html
They’ve done great work for KING, WFAA & WLWT

www.littlesiberia.tv/
They do a lot of work for WNBC

http://www.raygunfilms.com
They have worked with Belo

www.abc7fansite.com
I’m not sure who runs this – but they have promos up all the time from KABC. Some good work to check out.

Another good place to find spots is voice talent websites. The main VO guy for KNBC in Los Angeles has this site:

http://www.jeffmcneal.com/knbc.shtml

Also, right now – KHOU & WFAA are posting daily topical promotion on their websites… I’m sure there are more stations doing this.

Got some secret sites to share? Where do you go to find good spots?Just place a comment below.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fantastic "The Office" Promotions Parody

I had to share this... very funny. If you've ever written a topical - this is for you!

Funny spot

Today's post has nothing to do with news promotion. Although if you think about it - maybe it does. This is a Geico commercial - selling freakin' car insurance - and the spot really draws you in. Geico does great spots. This is one of the new ones and a fav of mine. I'm not saying news promoiton should go to this extreme - but should we all take a page from this kind of "unexpected" marketing?

I'm not a fan of humor in news promotion as it could hurt your credibility - but is there a way we could get more interesting with our spots? That's the thought of the day. Enjoy the spot and comment below about what you think about the state of news promotion today.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Turning an email into an award-winning spot

In February, tornadoes tore through Central Florida late at night. Our new chief meteorologist Tony Mainolfi was on and kept viewers informed throughout the night.

Almost immediately, we began receiving "great job" emails. That same day, our senior producer and myself jumped into the car and went and interviewed one of those people. Turned a spot right away. To me, that's how aggressive you have to be in this promotion world of ours. Jump on each and every opportunity.

The spot below came from yet another email. I called and interviewed this woman and since she didn't seem like a nut - we scheduled time to come out and interview her. She was fantastic. Her entire family was fantastic. It was great to meet them and she is someone who I still correspond with.

We went through dozens of emails and chose her. Somehow it just worked out. She spoke with such passion and was great on camera. Taking the passion a viewer has for your product and turning into a promo can be very powerful. Check out what we did:



This spot won Best of Show in the Hearst Argyle Promo Cup Awards. Earlier in my blog you will find the other in-home testimonial we did. It takes a little extra effort - but I think it pays off in the end.

I also want to point out this was a true team effort. Matt Helf and Kip Christine did a fantastic job of shooting and editing. My hat is off to these guys.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

SECRETS REVEALED!!

COMING THIS MONDAY!!

A week's worth of secrets and fun revelations - that can help you in your work.

MONDAY: My favorite places to find promos on the web. Want some inspiration? Check out this collection of websites for some great promos. If you like seeing great work - this is the place!

TUESDAY: How to shoot film quality time lapse, for less than $1000. This is impressive, folks. The new way to jazz up your promos for very little money.

WEDNESDAY: Looking for a new job? I'll show you the best places to search online.

THURSDAY:
Just in time for sweeps. The best sweeps stories I've ever seen. Simple ones, you can do in your market.

FRIDAY:
The biggest mistake most stations, no matter how smart, are probably making right now. This one is controversial(at least where I've worked) but I believe I'm right on this one!

I look forward to sharing this stuff with you. I hope you'll check out my blog and send comments, emails and ideas of your own. I'd love to share great ideas from other promo professionals out there.

Favorite Technique

I've worked in 2 markets where serial killers were big stories. In Houston, it was Coral Eugene Watts. In Orlando, Danny Rolling.

That's a good thing... because I was able to reuse my idea in Houston here in Orlando! Its perfect for serial killer stories or any investigation-type promo.

I HATE just using news footage and calling it a day. I always like to find a way to make the piece more organic. More visually stimulating.

So what I do is print out pictures of the serial killer, the crime scene, the victims, etc. -- type up a few words and cut them out (ex. CORAL EUGENE WATTS) and tack them to a cork board. Then, we do wild rack focus shots, close ups of the pics and words. It makes for a nice, jumpy, CSI-type spot. Check out the one we did for one crazy mo-fo... Danny Rolling.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Take 12! The Ellen DeGeneres promo

Since Ellen DeGeneres has been in the news so much - I thought I'd post a spot we did earlier this year.

Ellen brings her show to Orlando every year. Her people are always great(especially James Pettit - the director of marketing and station relations)... This year she cut a promo with our main anchor Martha Sugalski.

Ellen, unfortunately, couldn't quite get the lines right. (Maybe she was thinking about adopting a dog about this time...) So instead of ditching the footage - we added a few slates and made it into a fun spot. Check it out:

Monday, October 22, 2007

3-2-1 Blast Off!


One of the most exciting things about living in Central Florida is watching the space shuttle launch. Tomorrow - if all goes as planned - Discovery will take flight.

We can see the shuttle take off from our building - but on a few occassions, I've been able to go out to NASA and see the launch from the media setup. Its as close as you can get as a civilian. And its pretty cool!

The shuttle launch always captures everyone's attention. I put together this spot to run every time the shuttle goes up. Its a nice message that's evergreen. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

WFAA: The mountaintop

When I first got into promos, I was shown a tape that blew me away. It was 1995 or so - and the tape was of promos from WFAA in Dallas. They were great promos and got me excited about the possibilities.

I later went to work for KENS in San Antonio - which is owned by Belo, the parent company of WFAA. All of the sudden, I had access to the Belo Reels - a compilation of the best promos from across the company. WFAA was always the best of the best.

I soaked it up like a sponge. WFAA promos were always light years ahead of the competition. Sure, in the late 90's - they shot everything on film and the spots were beautiful. But the most interesting thing I took away was the use of concepts in selling a news story. Unbelievable stuff. Great writing. Smart spots.

I've since found a few other stations out there doing great work. KPIX does good work, KTVT in Dallas does some incredible creative, WNBC has done some great work. I check out youtube all the time for great promo work. (More on where to find great promos to inspire yourself in a future blog)

My entire career, I've spent trying to live up to the great work that first inspired me. I've done ok with that.

Here is one of my favorite WFAA spots ever. There were 3 main :60s - but I only have this one available. I eventually worked for one of WFAA's best producers, who worked on these spots. I learned a ton from him. At the time, I had no idea what the Dallas market was like. But after seeing this spot - I was left with the impression "Wow... that must be the biggest and the best station in Dallas. How could they not be?" They didn't have to say "Biggest newsteam" and "advanced this and exclusive that" -- the spot's production left me with the "feeling" that WFAA was special. And even 11 years later, this spot holds up. Great work always does.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Right. Uh huh.So you don't know Avid? Hmm, ok...press this button, now this one...and that one... ok, now click here. Good! Now edit a national spot

OR: HOW I LEARNED HOW TO EDIT ON THE AVID...FAST

My lesson in how to edit came in the small market known as New York City. I'd done some non-linear editing before - but the Avid was a whole new ballgame.

The title of this blog is just a bit of an exaggeration. I was to cut spots for the Travel Channel. I loved doing these because they were so much like doing news promos. Plus, I was always assigned anything that had the terms: bikini, beach, or babes in the title. As Yakov Smirnoff used to say: What a country!

So I was brought in to this room, was told to punch some buttons... learned the room "wasn't set up to do that" and don't forget to do this that and the other. My "trainer" was off to her office within minutes and I was on my own.

I look back now and think - Did I really learned how to Avid edit on NATIONAL SPOTS? Sure, no one was going to let me send a jumbled mess of jump cuts and black holes to the Travel Channel folks - but it was still a tough place to be in.

We are all challenged to learn new things. That experience taught me I could conquor anything. I'm now a fairly decent Avid editor, I've patiently taught it to others and the Travel Channel is still on the air, despite my having no idea what I was doing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Silly Spot of the Day

In the news promotion business, we often deal with people in suits. But how often do you deal with people in fuzzy suits with tails?

We had a lot of fun introducing the San Antonio Spurs to our air at KENS-TV. This has to be one of the silliest promos I've ever done and it stars the team mascot, the Coyote(who I still believe is the best mascot in the NBA)...

How do ideas like this form? I was coming back from lunch with our editor(the very talented Ms. Jennifer McCabe) and we started joking around. One thing led to another, we called the Spurs, rented a film camera and were shooting in no time!

Sometimes in our lives... in between the "could this kill you?" and "prepare and protect you from danger" spots -- we just have to be stupid. Enjoy!

Great blog to check out

I've recently discovered a great blog that anyone in the promo biz should check out.

http://welldunne.blogspot.com/

It is a great place to find out who's who, who's where and who's making a difference in the world of promotion. Kate Bacon outlines new hires, jobs that are available and also profiles some of the best peeople in our biz.

It's always great to see who else is out there and what jobs may be coming available. I'm a big believer in doing your research - and this blog is a great way to stay plugged in.

http://welldunne.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hate your job? Give a tour!

If you've done this as long as I have, you get burned out at times. Its easy to forget just how much we loved this when we first got into television.

Of course, TV has changed. Our roles have changed. But somewhere, deep inside, is a true passion for what we do. Otherwise, besides the massive paychecks, why would we do this everyday?

Last week, I was asked to give a tour of the station to a group of 20 kids and parents. It really brings you back to what it is like to walk into a television station for the first time. I enjoy getting the kids excited about TV, answering their questions and I find myself trying to lure the children(wait, where is this sentence going?) - let me rephrase... I find myself trying to convince these kids television would be a great job to have someday.

Now, lets be realistic. TV will no longer be TV when these kids grow up. So I show them the internet department, the graphics team and the technical folks. The technology will get better and change and who knows what TV will be in 10 years. But as excited as I was to tape pieces of paper together and run it through a crank teleprompter - these kids will be excited about uploading the latest newspod(now with smell-o-vision!) to your Apple Brain.(yes, the computer will just be wired right into your brain, trust me on this... don't fight it.)

I wanted to work in television so bad when I was a little kid. And giving these kids a tour reminded me of that.

Plus, its always great to meet your future bosses. Maybe they'll remember my little tour... right before they fire my ass. Ah, now that would be sweet indeed.

Favorite Website

I'll admit, I don't know squat about After Effects. I've always wanted to learn - but being a manager - I can assign those projects to other people!
(insert evil laugh)

But a recent project had me doing some very basics in the program and I kind of liked it. Then I was introduced to a great website.

www.videocopilot.net

This guy has some great tutorials and a great sense of humor. Sure, he's also trying to sell you a few things - but that never gets in the way of him sharing great information. Plus what he sells could be something you really need.

He goes fast sometimes but you can follow along with his tutorials and pick up lots of free help. Everything from sky replacement to creating your own light sabers(comes in reeeeaaaallll handing when making promos) - you'll learn a lot from watching these tutorials. I've already taken some of the lessons and put the information to good use. (I'll upload my "Consumer Reporter slays the bad guys with a super sweet light saber" promo any day now...)

I highly recommend checking out this site. Its got me recharged again... excited about learning new things. After Effects can do amazing things.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More Awards!

SELF INDULGENCE ALERT!!

Last week, our company Hearst-Argyle announced the winners of their annual Promo Cup awards. This year, WESH won in two big catgories: Weather & Best of Show. We were tied for #2 station overall.

Here is the spot that won for weather:



This was truly a team effort. Kip Christine did the shooting and Matt Helf edited.

One of my favorite spots

When creating spots, music can many times help dictate the creative. Give you ideas, inspire you to do something really cool.

This spot has one of the best jingles I've ever heard. We were singing it for months around the office. 615 Music did a fantastic job on this.

We hired a company, now called Zenfilms, to work with us on this spot. Ross Wells directed and edited. He's fantastic and did an incredible job.

The spot was nominated for an Emmy and won the Promax Gold Award for use of music.

I believe this campaign and KHOU's first rate work on the Superbowl/Houston coverage was a turning point for the station. We really began to show our talent as real people who were just as excited to have the Superbowl in Houston as they were. Manytimes anchors can be talking heads -- this gave us the opportunity to get from behind the desk and really show what we had... which was an incredible newsteam.

Check it out and let me know what you think. I apologize in advance if you begin humming this song afterwards... you have been warned.

Monday, October 15, 2007

His blog is better than my blog :(

I want to use this blog to share great things and ideas I see. Unfortunately, this site I'm about to share blows away my little rinky dink blog. This is very cool:

http://www.phatterism.com/

Sincerest Form of Flattery??

I've been in the business long enough to know - we all "borrow" ideas from each other now and then. I get tons of inspiration by watching spots from all across the country. But what happens when your work is outright stolen? Word for word, shot for shot?

For me, I laugh. I actually see it as a compliment. Where I draw the line is when the offending station enters it for awards or takes full credit. Below is a :15 spot I did for KHOU in Houston. Don't turn up the sound... the spot is completely silent - on purpose. It won me a CBS Eye on Excellence Award. It went out to all the CBS stations on a reel. One year later, it showed up in a Magid presentation. But this time, it was a :30 and from another station! I was so convinced it was my spot - the first :15 looked like they may have just used my video!! Identical. Check out what I did for the spot:




More recently, I produced a spot for our new web initiative "The A-List"... with the incredible work of one of our producers, Matt Helf, we created a fun little spot. Matt really brought it to life... he's the man. A few weeks later, I'm on Youtube and see other stations have copied it word for word! I did get a very nice call from a CSD in Indianapolis praising our spot and letting me know they were using it for inspiration. I thought that was very classy. He's the only one I heard from! And I will say, they added some very clever ideas of their own. Here is my spot:




Now check out these copycats!!:








I continue to find copycat spots on youtube. flattering... but come on people! At least send us a small fee. :)

Have you ever had your work "borrowed"??? Do tell...

It's 3AM!!! I NEED AN IDEA!!!!!

During sweeps, I become a madman. My mind is always racing and with so many projects going at once... it is easy to hit a creative roadblock.

In one particular case, I had what I thought was NOTHING. The story was about abused children. I had good sound from an abused kid - but of course, no visuals as we couldn't show him on television. The rest was generic news footage and that would do me no good in selling this highly emotional story. So, at 3am - I sat there at my computer. Worried. Then I got an idea. How can you visualize the mindset of children who deal with abuse. Drawings. I found several great ones and was off to the races.

I didn't think this spot had turned out well until weeks later. I just needed some perspective and during sweeps was no time to dwell on it. Let me know what you think and if you have any "Its 3AM!!!!" stories to share...

An Honor to be Nominated

I received some great news this weekend. I've been nominated for 2 Emmy awards!! Sure... it is an honor to be nominated - but now I want to win!

The station was nominated for 5 total, so to have brought in 2 of the nominations is pretty cool. The spots nominated are:

Rolling Sings:
When a serial killer breaks out into song during a court appearance - it makes for one creepy promo. It was simple - yet effective. Take a look here -



Kids on Christmas:
And who doesn't love the holidays? I took our anchors to a local school and played "Kids say the darndest things" -- and got some great moments from these kids on what they believe about Santa, reindeer and elves. Here are 2 of the 6 spots...





Wish me luck on December 1 when the Emmy award winners are announced.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Getting Started in TV

Its crazy - but I can trace back my desire to work in television/movies to the ripe old age of 4 years old. Damn them muppets and their movie! I was lucky enough to have grown up in a town so small, the local tv station was glad to have me right out of high school. Market 179: Lake Charles, LA. I answered an ad for a part time news production assistant. I got that glamerous job and began running the teleprompter, logging feeds and running the Vidifont machine. Wow, I was in TV!!

I soon discovered my interest in the production end of things and moved to that department. I had a thirst for knowledge and begged to learn anything I couild. I found out the cable company in town had a paintbox-type system and offered to volunteer my time to learn it. They offered me a job... making commercials. Now what exactly does a 21-year-old punk know about making commercials? NOTHING! But it was fun. I left there for the bright lights of Beaumont, TX(worst year of my life) -- I then received a call from my old station, "Had I ever thought about doing promotions?" The answer was no but I accepted the job to:
1) get the hell out of Beaumont, TX
2) work with one of the most creative and talented individuals I'd ever meet

After working a few years for Tim Bourgeous and learning from him - I got a phone call from KENS-TV in San Antonio, TX. (Is this getting boring? Trust me, it gets better - there are dragons and warriors coming, i promise!) I took the job and wow - that's when I learned: I didn't know a damn thing! Market 38 was on a whole new level and my boss, Dale Lockett, would whip me into shape! Dale changed my life forever. He taught me how to write and produce high-level promotion. He was hard as hell on scripts but I learned to write from that man and I am forever grateful.

He bolted for the first job he could get to leave us all behind(kidding... he moved to Houston as Creative Services Director). So in comes a new CSD, from WFAA in Dallas - Stan Melton, Jr. If Dale had taught me how to write - Stan taught me how to be creative. He opened up our minds to thinking several levels beyond the typical promo department. We did some great work under his leadership. Dale and Stan made me who I am today.

I then got the chance to live a dream. I moved to New York City to work for a company called Stun Creative. My main job was to produce promos for "Crossing Over with John Edward." Along the way, I got to do spots for Showtime, The Travel Channel and other "big time" projects. I hated it. It was so much different from news promotion and my bosses were difficult. I loved NYC but the job was not what I'd hoped.

Sooooo... a year later - I call my old boss Dale and he offers me a job in Houston at KHOU-TV. Close to home at a great station, I was glad to go. Houston turned out great. I worked on some great projects and met some great friends. Working for Dale was great because we had a history and he trusted me. During my time there, we went from third place to first and I was proud to play my little part in that success. It continues to be one of the best television stations in the country.

After 3 years, I was ready for management and moved to WESH in Orlando. I've been here for the past 2 years and I've made some great promos and some great friends. And who doesn't love Florida?

So that's it. I can't imagine why you'd care about my life story - but hey, isn't that what blogging is all about - self indulgence?

Oh... I promised dragons and warriors. Ok, hmmmmm... ok... the dragons ate the warriors. The end.

My first post!

Its amazing how fast we learn new technology. Just yesterday, I had no idea how to make a blog. Today - I'm typing my first blog ever.

I hope to use this blog to discuss the very subject I love best: television promotion. A little about myself, I am currently the Assistant Creative Services Director of the NBC affiliate in Orlando and Promotion Manager of the ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach. I started in Lake Charles, LA and have worked in San Antonio, Houston and New York City.

I want to share and discuss creative work, occassionally dwell on "the good ole days" and hopefully meet some people with my same passion for promotion.

Now I'm going to hit Save and see if this blog thingy actually works. Wish me luck!