Ace photographer Kirk Jordan contributed the above photo from the Hobbs State Park Monument Trail. I learned early on in my commercial filmmaking for Arkansas Parks & Tourism (now Arkansas Parks, Heritage & Tourism) to keep my eye out for where the still photographers like Kirk, Casey Cocker, Bernie Jungkind, Drew Harris and Chuck Haralson were shooting and to adjust my cinematography setups accordingly. Steal....er, borrow your creative ideas from the best, as they say.
I receive a constant stream of solicitations from web design companies, who helpfully, cheerfully point out that my web site is woefully inadequate--a problem they promise to rectify forthwith if I will only send them money. One of last boiler-room salesmen offered his firm's service to ghost-write a monthly blog that would be filled with nifty-albeit-generic production industry advice. You know, stuff about new cameras and editing tips and ongoing advice about the absolute necessity of hiring expensive professional web designers. :-)
Below is a page from a November 1982 Hype & Jive--announcing the birth of our youngest son, who is now a new father (Alex and Samantha's first) in Chicago.
"The Changing Production Economy"
"Volume 56" is no typo. I've been a would-be satirist and card-carrying wiseacre for a long, long time. Today, however, I tend to save my creative energy for filmmaking and leave the wordplay to young folks whose snark hasn't mellowed out with age and maturity.
Actually, this first entry of 2019 is courtesy of a creative director named Franklin Tipton, who is a partner and CCO of San Francisco ad agency Odysseus Arms (https://www.o-arms.com). Writing in the January 2019 issue of SHOOT magazine, Tipton observed:
"...the easy accessibility of the technological tools for content production has driven a rapid growth in the number of 'content producers' for clients to tap. Smartphone penetration is at nearly 90% of U.S. households, meaning those households have access to basic fill-in editing and broadcasting tools to deliver content to channels like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Anyone with a bit of gumption can become a content production house.* (emphasis mine)
"The need for assets and content continues to outpace the budgets set to make it. Quality content will take more and more a backseat to the economics of a need for a volume of content to fill a rapidly expanding media space and time. Brands are feeling pressure to be across too many channels for the funds they have available. In the process, brands are underinvesting in the quality needed to compel people to give a shit."
After describing pretty well the current production challenge of "free" User-Generated-Content (UGC), Tipton does provide a "happy ending" to his analysis, saying that (surprise, surprise) "really creative work will stand out more than ever."
ARKANSAS CINEMA SOCIETY-- "FILMLAND"
One sign of maturity, I suppose, is to be able to admit when one is out-classed. As someone who has helped organize 24-hour-film competitions, screenplay writing contests, and motion picture education seminars, I know the challenges and work involved. Kathryn Tucker, Jeff Nichols, Graham Gordy, and everyone at the Arkansas Cinema Society, however, have taken to a new, higher level the building of an Austin-like film culture in Little Rock. In just its second year, the ACS has just completed the resoundingly successful, four-day FILMLAND event.
The official ACS Mission Statement is worth quoting: "We're building a film community in Arkansas where film lovers can watch films, share ideas, connect with each other, and nurture the new and existing film talent within our state through increased exposure to filmmakers and their art."
I'll leave the recent pesky details and name-dropping to practitioners of the journalistic and public relations arts, but can attest that the proverbial good time was had by all during the first annual FILMLAND. Congratulations. Can't wait to see what Kathryn, Jeff, Gordy, their sponsors and associates do next.
Ron Robinson moved on to an honored celestial marketing executive position on August 14. His agency--Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods--had been a favorite production client for decades.
Ron was one of the three Little Rock movers-and-shakers who were charitable enough to write letters of recommendation when I applied to the PhD program at the Department of Heritage Studies at Arkansas State University--Jonesboro. He was the first person to address me a "Dr. Jones"--long before it was legitimate to do so. Ron was one of those individuals to whom the terms "icon" and "larger-than-life" were NOT hyperbole. He will be missed. We are not likely to see his kind again in the Little Rock market.
You can watch Ron's tribute video here. It was produced by Deborah Grace and edited by Seth Padgett. Dr. David Stricklin--director of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies--delivered one of Ron's eulogies. You can view it here. One of Ron's lasting legacies is the CALS Ron Robinson Theater. I created a series of work-in-progress and Opening Night videos of the theater. Check them out here.
And, of course, it should be fitting that Ron has the last word.
TOO MUCH INFORMATION (?)
In the olden days, I would mail out a printed Hype & Jive newsletter more or less every month. I never knew how many tri-folds wound up in the trash without even having been read. In my self-delusion, I imagined that EVERYBODY read every witticism and were all suitably impressed. :-)
In this day of marvelous technology, however, one can tell exactly how many people OPEN an email and how many people actually CLICK THRU to watch a video. More to the point, one can determine all the recipients who DELETED an email without bothering to UNSUBSCRIBE. This sort of precise snd unequivocal feedback is....well, sobering. For example, for a perfectly wonderful video I sent around a few days ago, the open rate to date has been 37% with a 9.9% click rate. Seems discouraging--except that the average "Marketing & Advertising" statistics are a 16.48% click open rate and 1.74% click rate. In other words (for you math-challenged creative types), the industry average for every 100 emails in less that two people watching/reading your message. By those industry standards, Gary Jones Video is doing "pretty good."
Alas, I miss the days of printing bulk rate postage stickers, dumping the printed newsletters into a mail box, and reveling in self-delusion. :-) Of course, one can IGNORE the email program reports and remain blissfully ignorant of the challenge of direct email...but where's the fun in that. :-)
If I may quote from the program of the Henry Awards Banquet at the 44th Annual Governor's Conference on Tourism held March 11-13, 2018 in West Memphis:
"Captured by legendary Arkansas filmmaker Gary Jones, ArkansasTravelChannel.com is a free online service from Gary Jones Video that offers original videos of tourism topics within Arkansas. Filmed from border to border though all seasons, these high-quality videos include eye-level and aerial views of Arkansas's breathtaking natural beauty, historic treasures, events, cities, and towns. Viewers can also enjoy insights from Gary's blog."
Uh, "insights"? "Very occasional, random wiseacre asides" is more descriptive of my writing style, but I appreciated the description. GJV was a finalist for the Media Support Award won by AY Arkansas magazine.
And, yes, I know this is in unnecessary boldface type. I simply haven't figured out yet how to turn it off.
Maybe next entry.
Well, this is embarrassing: a year since I was kicked to the curb for being too old and independent, and I only have three piddling blog entries to show for it. At least there have been enough Akansas Travel Channel features squeezed through the ol' video sausage-maker for me to allow myself to maintain the title of "filmmaker". I've never claimed to be much of a "blogger" or "column writer", although I've always wished my writing skills were on a par with my photography.
Much of YEAR ONE has been a reality check--or RE-check. Yes, State Tax Reports and paperwork are a pain in the derriere. Yes, reinvention of oneself at active Elder Statesman/Producer is a challenge. Agency creatives do not fall over themselves to work with guys old enough to be their grandfather. :-)
And technology has introduced new-and-iproved reality checks that certainly work to counter any remaining self-delusions. Once upon a time one sent out printed promotional mailers and never really knew who opened and read them. Then email came along and, again, the reception to sales efforts were often blissfully vague. Now, however, proper email aggregators can tell you exactly who tossed your promotion gem in the virtual wastebasket without even opening the message. Even more sobering are the statistics on the number of recipients who open but do not bother to "click-through" to the video links.
So, to the few and friendly who at least have a passing interest in video production from the GJV perspective, I say "thanks". To the fewer still who actually watch some on the videos linked in our promotions, please add an "amen" to the "thanks". And to the fewest off the few who remember the rambunctious heritage of "Hype & Jive" and still check the blog to see if I've retained my cherished wiseacre status, I say "thanks" and hope that the staff at your assisted living facility are treating you kindly. :-)
I'm not too old to remain a valuable filmmaking partner, but I'm definitely too damn old to be learning web design. :-) Bear with me, folks, while I figure out all the web site stuff.
I'm shifting everything from "Jones Film" to "Gary Jones Video" in an attempt to assuage the Swagger Squad. And I'm moving from eNom web hosting to PairNIC because of security issues.