Views on the Edge - John Jenkins

Random thoughts, observations, and reviews of things I'm interested in and sometimes of importance to my clients.
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It was 1969.  I was still in high school but I worked afternoons at a radio station in Augusta, Georgia. I was wet behind the ears and though I loved movies, I really knew nothing about them.  Actually, I knew little about anything, but I was a professional DJ so I apparently I had some media credibility.

I don't exactly recall how I was selected, but a New York actor/director was passing through town promoting his short film. In those days there really weren't many film festivals and I suppose he needed to be able to say this film had been shown in theaters in order to get it accepted by the Academy.  For some reason I got the call.

     "Sure, I'll come watch it"  I said.

I met him in the lobby of the Imperial Theater in downtown Augusta, Georgia. He looked familiar.  I had seen him on network television somewhere.  I wasn’t sure where but I knew his face.  

Apparently there were no film critics in Augusta or no interest in his film as I was the only one to show up.
 
So there we sat, sitting alone in the middle row of an empty theater.  Although he was very polite, I'm sure he was disappointed to be presenting his film to this teenage boy.  But he didn't hesitate, asking me if I was familiar with foreign films and Ingmar Bergman.  

   "Sure" I lied.

So that's the day I sat in a theater with George Coe screening "De Duva". I now know how special that was and that short film would help launch Madeline Kahn's career. The little film was nominated for an Oscar and was the only film he ever directed but Coe went on to a successful acting career as a character actor you’ve seen countless times.

He died in 2015. I'm sure he never remembered me but I get a kick out of this memory.  

George Coe



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How Not To Sell

I get it.  You’ve got lots of pressure on you to add new clients.

It’s getting tougher and tougher to make those cold calls.  Emails go into the spam folder.  Calls go to voicemail with no callback.  

No doubt, some “expert” sales trainer has given you tips on how to get past the gatekeeper.  They’ve given you tested messages that always get you a callback when you leave a voicemail.

However, leaving a deceptive message is a sure-fire way to make me distrust you from the outset.  Today, I got a voicemail with the message that I’d been highly recommended for video services and that we should talk about a project.  Calling back, I found out that the “project” was actually buying an ad from this salesperson in a publication aimed at consumers.  I politely informed the caller that my production company generally only worked with businesses and I felt the venue described was mistargeted for the services I offer.  

So not only had the message been deceptive, the product she was selling didn’t fit my business. Both of us were wasting each other’s time.  No doubt, she was working off of a sales lead list that didn’t differentiate one videography business from another.  I’m sure she was talking to everyone from wedding photographers to industrial video companies to documentary filmmakers.

Frankly, I learned long ago that making cold calls to businesses was a waste of time.  That’s why I’ve worked by networking and asking my existing clients to recommend me for projects.   But even if you must cold call, do so with honesty, because getting someone to call you back thinking you are interested in a project, then trying to sell them something, is just going to end up wasting your time...and theirs.
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It is clear that Many American citizens have a fundamental need for instruction in the basics of life. According to a recent survey by Bankrate.com, 63% of us don't have enough in savings to cover a $500 emergency expenditure. 56% of Americans have less than $10,000 growing for retirement.* 40 million Americans now carry student loan debt averaging around $25,000.** It frightens me to hear calls to “revisit Marxism” and that “income inequality” means that the American Economic System, built on a healthy give and take between business and government, simply doesn’t work anymore. I was fortunate enough to be raised by parents who taught me about evaluating the consequences of any action I was contemplating. They taught me not only that some actions were bad for me, but why. It served me well and I tried to extend those lessons to my own children. I suspect they’ll do it for their children as well. Unfortunately, not everyone gets that at home. It is apparent we have a lot of people in our population who have no idea of how to critically assess the consequences of their actions and how those actions can result in either disaster or achievement beyond their wildest dreams. Why not institute a mandatory course in our public school curriculums in around the 9th grade? A course to teach basic life skills. I’m not talking about the old “home economics” classes of years ago that allowed students to learn how to cook and sew, but real, substantive information about how the economy works at the personal level. Cover what those deductions a paycheck actually mean: taxes, Social Security withholding, health insurance, and where all that money goes. I am certainly not an economist nor a genius but I agree with Albert Einstein when he said “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” I doubt that many young people and quite a few adults have any idea what that statement means. Let's teach kids not to get pregnant young and unmarried because the results of that action will have serious lifetime negative implications. Let’s discuss how buying a car with a low monthly payment spread out over 8 years is a bad choice. Let’s discuss why one should research what that degree from college will be worth versus what it will return in income and how to achieve that without incurring so much debt. Let’s teach some kids that it’s also honorable to choose a trade and that some people make good livings doing that. Let’s teach kids that some of the stuff being sold to us is simply a bad deal: high interest credit cards, payday loans, and get-rich-quick schemes. Let’s teach them how to balance a checkbook and how putting off a purchase until you can afford it, rather than buying it on time, is usually a very good idea. They should learn that immediate gratification without thought, rarely turns out well, no matter what the endeavour. I realize that there are many people demanding more math, more history, more art and music in our classes. All of those are important, but nothing is more important than educating a citizenry in the basics of economic survival. *GoBankRates Survey **Analysis by Experian Credit
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      "Lem" Johns

                             
    1925-2014  

Today I attended the funeral of Thomas Lemuel “Lem” Johns.  It was wonderful  

to see the hundreds of his friends that attended, including Linda Bird Johnson Robb,

President Johnson’s eldest daughter who spoke lovingly of how he became a part of their family.

I met Lem in October of 2007 after he called out of the blue.  He wanted

someone to help him put all his memorabilia and thoughts into order.  Perhaps a

Powerpoint presentation.   Like many I suppose,  I had not really ever heard of

"Lem Johns” but I listened politely as we talked on the phone.  I indicated that I

would be happy to talk to him and if I could help him I would.  I recall hanging up

and out of curiosity typed his name into the trusty Google search.  Immediately

came forth everything from official news stories about the Kennedy

Assassination, conspiracy stories, and a plethora of articles about Lyndon

Johnson.

I later called him back and indicated to him that I had no idea that he was as

important as he apparently was.  He was a humble man, and laughed.  He later

agreed with me that I could spend time interviewing him and perhaps we could

get a documentary film out of this.

I am honored to have been able to sit with this man and his sweet wife Nita to talk about his life.

We talked too, off camera about many things over the last few years and those chats will remain a

treasure to me. I will miss our periodic meetings over coffee at Panera Bread.  At that time, I had recently

lost my father and I think Lem reminded me a lot of him.  These men were the old fashioned, can do,

problem solvers that made this country great.  I think talking with him was somewhat carthartic for me at

the time.

Hearing stories today during his memorial,  I was not surprised to see that he had

many people in all facets of his life from his family to his friends that really loved

him.

I’m glad I got to know this man.  He was a treasure – to his family and to his

nation.
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Birmingham,  Alabama, 3/28/2014 – The Telly Awards has named EDGEMARKETING-EDGEVIDEO PRODUCTIONS as a Bronze winner in the 35th Annual Telly Awards for their piece titled “1963: The Year That Changed Everything.”   There were nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, representing a variety of content.

The DVD was produced and directed by John Jenkins as a one hour documentary for radio station WBHK-FM (KISS FM) in Birmingham to be distributed to the public.  The video documents the events that occurred in Civil Rights in Alabama during the pivotal year of 1963 and features interviews with participants at the time, along with historical footage and photographs.

The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 and is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and online commercials, video and films.  Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.

A prestigious judging panel of over 500 accomplished industry professionals, each a past winner of a Silver Telly and a member of The Silver Telly Council, judged the competition, upholding the historical standard of excellence that Telly represents.  The Silver Council evaluated entries to recognize distinction in creative work – entries do not compete against each other – rather entries are judged against a high standard of merit.  Less than 10% of entries are chosen as Winners of the Silver Telly, our highest honor.  Approximately 25% of entries are chosen as Winners of the Bronze Telly.  

“The Telly Awards has a mission to honor the very best in film and video,” said Linda Day, Executive Director of the Telly Awards.  “EDGEMARKETING’s accomplishment illustrates their creativity, skill, and dedication to their craft and serves as a testament to great film and video production.”

“We are truly honored to have worked with our client, KISS-FM on this project and are appreciative that it’s significance has been noted by this award.” Said John Jenkins, who is president of EDGEMARKETING Inc. and was the writer and director of the documentary.
 
To find out more about the Telly Awards visit our website at www.tellyawards.com.

About EDGEMARKETING-EDGEVIDEO PRODUCTIONS

EDGEMARKETING is a multimedia promotion and marketing company located in Hoover, Alabama and is a member of the Hoover Chamber of Commerce.  The company specializes in developing and producing television and video for use on the Internet and elsewhere, and DVD presentations for radio stations, businesses, and the medical community.  

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After encountering a friend and client the other day, he made a flippant comment, "well, you know DVD is dead. We want to do everything with web video now." This is a common feeling these days. That DVD is dead. And many think it might be because of the mega-shift going on now with streaming video. Netflix has placed it’s future on streaming and even upstart Redbox admits that fewer people are renting DVD’s. But unless you are planning on making a fiction movie, you might want to reconsider the DVD’s demise as it applies to corporate video presentations. Over the years at EdgeVideo we’ve produced DVD projects for television stations, and very successful patient educational videos for our medical clients. For the TV stations, that tangible piece, easily handed out, filled with logos from clients who sponsored the DVD, provided a massive “added value” return on investment to their sales budget. For our medical clients, patients considering surgery or just learning they had cancer, could easily review everything they could possibly ask from menus on a long form DVD packed with information and animations. Then, when they visited the doctor, they’d surely have questions, but they’d be based on some amount of knowledge. Furthermore, it would be information vetted and factual. Our physician clients have found they’ve shaved their time addressing strange internet medical facts to a minimum. Plus, the relatively inexpensive cost of doing a large amount of DVD’s compares favorably to print pieces, often cheaper. Fast forward to today. The internet has changed everything. Streaming video on our phones and tablets at work and at home is everywhere. Of course, for those who feel that the DVD still has no place, you might consider that there are well over a billion DVD players and computers humming along every day. So why in the world would I every want to produce a corporate DVD? Think about how you use video. Go online and search, play a video, get bored, find another. On line video is valuable of course. And we produce lots of it for our clients. But for thoughtful, longer form messages, that speed and conciseness might not really serve the needs of your audience. But think of someone who wants to spend time with a subject. Perhaps they’ve just learned they have cancer and want to explore all the options, want to listen and see other people who have experienced the same thing. They want a thorough, informative, and yes emotional, experience. And something like that lends itself to the long form of a DVD, branded to your product our service. Sitting down with your message, a serious customer is going to spend time with your product and your people. With a DVD he or she also won’t end up on a competitor’s video with one click of a mouse. Furthermore, this viewer will have made a committment to spend time with your DVD and learn and experience what you are all about. A longer format, and time to explore subject matter that cannot be addressed in a 90 second video streaming from an IPAD. Of course both venues have validity and both can be highly effective. But both have their place. But if you want the tangible, existing piece, with your logo on it, easily distributed and handed out, there is no better venue than DVD. On line video is powerful and it must be a part of your plan. Your website must have video these days, it is essential and at edgeVideo we pride ourselves on giving our clients great streaming video. But for fundraising, or patient education, or presentations that need to have a lasting impact and punch, there is nothing better than a DVD. Think of it as the difference between thanking someone with a quick email message, or having an old fashioned “Thank You” card arrive the day after in the mail. Which is more powerful? Especially to decision makers who rarely see this anymore.
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Nursing homes are lonely places.  I’m sitting next to my mom who lies half-asleep in her bed.  

Looking into her eyes I wonder what world she sees in her mind.  She seems to be talking to me but her words just don’t make sense.  When she does drift off into sleep she continues talking and her conversations become more animated and lengthy.

I’m not sure she really knows who this man is sitting next to her.  Up until a few months ago she kept asking about “John” the 10-year-old boy she is worried about.  I’m assuming that is me.  She’s been at this place just a few days, coming here after a stint in the hospital.  The decline in her mental state is very apparent and getting her to eat is a struggle.  I feel she is giving up.  At 92 she probably has earned that right.

As I walked in today I walked by an elderly man soundly sleeping in his bed, seemingly much in the same state as my mom.

On the wall next to his door, like all the rooms in this place, was his name.  But someone had proudly added “Dr.” in front of it.  It was if they wanted to make sure passers by knew that this was a man who had accomplished things, not just another elderly person in constant need of assistance.

It made me wonder about this stranger.  

Had he been a caring doctor?  Did he treat his patients with dignity?  Had he worked so hard his family never knew him?  Did his wife die before him?  Did he even have a family?  If so, do they mourn the loss of his mind before the loss of his body?   Did he anticipate this day when he was a young doctor?  When he made his rounds and treated elderly dying patients did he understand that someday he might need the same?
Was he even an MD?  Perhaps he was a psychologist, or a scientist.  Or a philosopher?

I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if they would put a biography of each person under their name.  That way they’d know that my mom married a sailor in World War II and spent 60 plus years married to him.  That as a young woman, who couldn’t drive, she took my 9 year old sister and her baby brother half way across the country on a train and boarded an ocean liner to Japan to join my.dad, sailor turned soldier.  Or a mom who later endured two tours of Vietnam raising those same kids alone.

I guess if we are lucky (or unlucky depending on your perspective), we all might be in that doctor’s place some day.  

But to whoever put that Dr. in front of his name, thanks.

We all deserve to have some recognition that the life we led had worth.

John Jenkins
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Avoid these common misconceptions!


We are all guilty of stereotyping.  You know you do it, but if you are going to reach consumers by advertising, you need to check yourself.

Take the 50+ generation for example.  I spent many years in the radio business and I can tell you, we always concentrated our efforts on the 25-54 demographic.  That’s what the agencies cried out for and we aimed to deliver it.  It was always amazing to me to see 6 to 7 entities battling it out for a piece of the 25-44 pie,  while the 50 plus audience stood there, with massive numbers, completely ignored.   That’s still happening today with our excessively youth-oriented culture.
Of course the paradigm has evolved and the internet has changed everything.

Ever heard the adage that anyone over 50 is so set in their ways that they just aren’t interested in changing product habits?  That might have been true a few years ago.  Not so much today, even though a lot of advertisers still seem to be working out of the old marketing textbooks.

One of my clients indicated that he needed to still buy those double truck ads in the Yellow Pages because people over 50 just don’t use computers.  Really? Really?  Did you know that half of all Americans over age 60 use the Internet* and many are buying stuff and not living in their parent’s basement either!   Check out all the older folks on Facebook and report back to me.  And video works for every age group.  So if you are excluding consumers that have tons of money and focusing only on young people – better rethink your strategy.  As Dylan said, “The Times They Are A Changing.”

Interested in some new ways to market?  Contact me to find out how video, can make your presence on the internet more effective and compelling.


*According to Focalyst
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Back in the seventies when I was young radio disc jockey I recall sitting in my little office as a young woman slid a 45rpm record she had recorded across my desk.  This wasn't unusual in those days.  There were lots of mom and pop record companies around.  One just needed a good used Ampex 4 track tape recorder,  a mixer and some mikes.  Once you had what you thought might be a hit record, you could get a couple hundred records pressed, then hit the road to promote it.  Better yet, you might hire an independent record promoter and pay him a spiff for every "add" to radio station playlist he got.    

I was working in Augusta, Georgia and although you might think the Master's Golf tournament was it's claim to fame, you'd be wrong.  In those days, if you wanted a national hit record you had to get it played in some key "breakout markets" and Augusta was one of the most important ones.  That happened because a guy named Mike Randell who was the music director at WBBQ seemed to have a golden "ear" for picking hit records. He cultivated that talent and made WBBQ a leader in starting hit records up the charts.  The walls of the station were covered with countless gold records as proof of the power of the "Q". So important was Mike to the record industry, one company hired him and moved him to Atlanta.  That's where I came in,  recommended by Mike, I succeeded him.   I certainly don't claim to have had the instincts Mike had, but I did my best.  You can blame me for foisting "Kung Fu Fighting," "Chevy Van" and other tunes - some good - some bad,  on America.

Back to the lady in my office.  She was nice.  She and this tall guy with dark glasses who stood in the back of the office were traveling the country to promote a song called "The Way I Want To Touch You.". It was a nice enough tune but I just didn't "hear" it (as we said in those days when we didn't think a song was going to be a hit).  Understand,  I had about 50 new songs a week to listen to and only one or two slots to add it to the playlist.  We'd usually drop a needle on a song, listen for about :15 seconds and into the trash it would go.  I don't think I knew the brutality of that.  I never really thought about how someone may have sunk their life savings, heart, and soul into putting  that record out, only to have some 24 year old punk kid throw it in the trash!    

For years now I've joked about throwing The Captain and Tennille out of my office only to see them become a huge success with a network TV show.  "The Way I want To Touch You" later became their second release on A&M records which picked them up soon after.  That was the follow-up to "Love Will Keep Us Together."  

Of course I was very polite to them,  throwing the record into the trash after they left.


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We've been producing Video Testimonials since 2001 for our clients in the medical field and other industries.  It is one of the most powerful ways to communicate the essence of your business in a personal,  sometimes emotional venue that doesn't come across as a commercial.

We were pleased to read a recent article passed on to us by one of our clients that confirms everything we've been saying for years.  It was an article in an information management magazine one of our medical clients receives.  The article indicates that patient testimonials not only attract new patients but improve a clients on line reputation.  This internet "word of mouth" is essentially like having that satisfied patient armed with a megaphone - extolling the virtues of your practice.

Of course, just sticking a camera or I-phone in front of a patient doesn't cut it.   It is always important to conduct a professional, probing interview.  While in the age of YouTube it seems everyone is making videos,  production quality, good sound, proper lighting and composition does matter.  That, coupled with an experienced interviewer,  makes your message cut through in a believable and compelling way.

We know that viewers will trust what other people say to them.  There is always a bit of danger in professional spokespeople because instinctively, we all know they are being paid.
 
When visitors to your website see how positively you are received by real people,  they will be drawn in to the good vibes.  I learned that many years ago when we used to produce TV spots for radio stations with real listeners talking about their love of the radio stations.  It worked for radio. It works for most any product or service.

If you are ready to translate some of that good will you've worked so hard to develop over the years from your customers into a tangible referral that gets seen over and over.  Give me a call or email me.

John Jenkins is president of Edgemarketing Inc. and EdgeVideo productions and specializes in producing video of all kind for small and medium size businesses.   http://www.edgemarketing.com

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