Going Beyond the LIKE to the SHARE!

Going Beyond the LIKE to the SHARE!

About a year ago I was having lunch with friends catching up on lots of things. I don’t really remember how the topic of TV programming came up, but one of my friends was complaining about the cancellation of one of her favorite television shows — Last Man Standing. I told her that happened to be one of my favorite comedy shows as well, but I admitted to her that I would often forget to watch it when it was on.

One of the curses of living in the central time zone is that the evening shows begin at 7 p.m. And even though I’ve been in this time zone for decades, I still don’t think about plopping down in front of the TV that early in the evening; especially on a Friday night.

One of the other friends sitting with us said, matter of factly, as if she’d been given the inside track, “They cancelled it because of his politics. They didn’t like that he was an outspoken Republican” My other friend agreed with her, saying that’s what she heard too. I dare not to ask where they exactly heard this, but instead asked them a fair question. “So, when’s the last time either of you watched it?”

There was a long pause, so I filled the blank during the temporary silence. “Seldom will a network cancel a show that’s making them money.” I then reminded them that the lead character’s politics had always played a role in the show from the start. It was what made the show — Tim always praising the politics of Ronald Reagan and most other Republican presidents and policies, while frequently taking a jab at the Clintons, Obama, and Democrats as a whole. Additionally, the family’s dynamic of having some “liberal” kids and some “conservative” ones, with a wife who tried to stay in the middle, was a large part of what made the chemistry of the show work. It was part of what made it funny. So I definitely wasn’t convinced that the network would pull the show simply for politics; no matter who was in the White House.

After the silence lifted, it turned out that neither one of my friends had even watched the previous season, and admitted they were not regular weekly watchers of the show prior to that. Like me, life came first, and without a DVR, I couldn’t even say that I recorded it to watch later. And neither did they. I told them that many people are too quick to blame politics or religion whenever their “favorite” show gets cancelled, as a lot of Christians and churches did when Touched by an Angel got cancelled, without looking at the data, the ratings, and other factors that may have contributed to it, as was the case for Touched by an Angel. If everyone who liked the idea of that type of family show being on air actually regularly watched the show, it would have last even longer on air than the many years that it did.

Recently, Last Man Standing returned to network TV on Fox, who announced their pick up of the show almost exactly a year after the cast learned that ABC was cancelling it. Once again, it’s airing on Friday nights in the same time slot. So of course I forgot it was on the first night it aired, and only watched the end. When the second show aired, I remembered it was on about 10 minutes into it, and tuned in. I texted one of those same friends, asking if she’d been watching the show now that it’s back on. I expected the answer I got…”No,” but wanted to ask anyway. “I thought you were so upset when it got cancelled last year?” She said she was more upset when she thought they’d cancelled it because of his political views.

Sure, I messed with her a little, but also reminded her that if people don’t watch it, it’ll be gone again. The entertainment industry is a business. And businesses are about making money. That made me also think about the recent response on Facebook and Twitter when it was announced that Toys ‘R Us would be closing. Hundreds, it not thousands, of people went online to share their stories about shopping at the store, getting their favorite doll or board game there; or just loving the commercials and the song with the giraffe. People had fond memories, but when poised with a similar question by someone online, most of these same people who grew up visiting the store, admitted to now doing most, if not all of their shopping online.

You can’t get mad about a store being closed or a show being cancelled, if you’re not willing to support it before that decision is made. Whether it’s a small retail store or an independent coffee shop in your community; a favorite TV show or radio program; or even an online shop, public support is essential to that person, that organization, or that company’s success. Support comes from watching, listening, or reading; as well as visiting, buying, and the all important part — sharing (word of mouth) about that business or entrepreneurial effort.

Several friends and acquaintances of mine, and some people at church, have commented to me over the years that they enjoy my writing. They like the way I write. I used to do a lot more creative writing — poetry, short stories, even plays — before I moved to Nashville and got involved in the music industry.  After shifting from music to academia several years ago, I started writing again. Over the past six years, I started three different blogs. The most recent one, Grieve With Me, I started earlier this year as a means of working through the grieving process I found myself still in over a decade after the passing of my mom and dad less than three years apart. I also had observed some of my close friends as they were going through their own process.

Several years before that, I launched my primary blog, Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets, That’s the blog most of my friends were referring to when they commented on my postings. As the closing sentiments of my blog page suggests, my desire for this blog is to inspire, encourage, and share suggestions, tips, and new discoveries of ways to live life to the fullest, even when the pantry, bank account, gas tank, and perhaps even your physical and mental reserves are close to empty!

I have enjoyed writing and sharing, and appreciate the kind words when people tell me they learned something or relate to something I’ve written. It inspires me to keep writing. What’s curious to me, however, is that many of these same people; some of whom say they read the blog “pretty regularly,” are not subscribers to the actual blog.

Subscribing to someone’s blog is a commitment that goes beyond reading it when you remember to check for updates. It’s being alerted to those updates. And more importantly for the blogger, it’s a way of building a community of followers, which help to provide the means for continuing the work and time that goes in to blogging.

Imagine how a blogger’s community would grow if everyone who liked a post, were to also share it with their followers. Or the people who say they read it, actually became a blog subscriber, and maybe told other people about it — the growth from word-of-mouth to friends, family, and co-workers.

An entrepreneur with an Etsy site cannot grow their business if the majority of the people who land on the page, only looked around; complimenting them on the workmanship of their crafts, but never purchasing anything, or telling other people about it. 

I blog because I enjoy writing. I enjoy sharing information with people. I enjoy knowing that something I said, something I shared, or something I suggested actually helped someone. It’s a passion of mine that I don’t think will ever go away.

Like the comedy Last Man Standing, Toys ‘R Us is getting a second chance. It’s heading back to a retail outlet next year, under a different name. I wonder how many of the same people who complained about its closing, will remember their disappointment, and come out and support it once it returns?

 

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Why I Watch the Hallmark Channel

Why I Watch the Hallmark Channel

It’s a Saturday afternoon in mid-July and I’m sitting at home watching Mistletoe Over Manhattan on the Hallmark Channel. If it sounds like a Christmas movie, you’d be correct. Both Hallmark stations are featuring Christmas in July this summer, running previously aired Christmas programs. I’ve seen this one numerous times, as I did the one that was on when I first turned on the television. But I’m still plopped down on my sofa, pretending to get work done, as I veg out in front of the TV — because it’s too hot to be outside — watching Christmas movies in July!

I haven’t always watched the Hallmark Channel; and I certainly typically reserved the watching of Christmas programs for the holiday season. But I’ve seen my own consumption of these programs increase, throughout the year, over recent years; especially the last three. And according to several articles I’ve read recently, apparently I’m not the only one.

Forget about the talks regarding the increase in primetime ratings, the shift in gender demographics, and growth of viewers among the coveted 18-49 year olds.  I personally started watching the Hallmark Channel as an escape from the world which seems to have suddenly started to lose much of its collective minds! As much as I don’t believe in burying my head in the sand; not remaining informed about the things going on around me and what’s happening in our country, the bombardment of negative, divisive, and depressing news that’s filled the small screens lately has become too much to consume on a regular basis..

I no longer enjoy watching dramas and crime stories, because the plots are too real; many times snatched right out of the headlines of the day. Reality TV is a train wreck, the talent shows seem rigged, and most of the sitcoms are no longer family-friendly.

In the past, I’d always turned to stations like HGTV and the Food Network to get away from all of the craziness of the real world. They were such great stress relievers. But they’ve changed so much over time that they are no longer enjoyable to watch. I mean, HGTV seems to only be about renovating, flipping, and buying homes. Gone are the decorating shows and programs focusing on actually THE home; and people enjoying being at home! They might as well call themselves H-TV, since there’s pretty much nothing going on with the “G” category of their name — no gardening shows whatsoever. And if you’re not interested in people competing, you might as well forget about watching the Food Network; at least not at night! Of course, that’s the time of day when most working people get a chance to watch anything.

What the Hallmark and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channels have figured out is the adult formula of Disney! The programming is simple — positive, family-friendly, uplifting, encouraging, and inspirational. The Christmas shows are almost always stacked with the stereotypical trappings of the holidays — overly decorated homes, lots of glitter and gold, snow covered yards, roaring fireplaces and fire pits, snowball fights, plenty of homemade cookies and a gingerbread house, hot cocoa and cider, and of course an ice skating rink — mostly all in the same show! And then there are the romance programs; sectioned off seasonally — February’s Valentine’s Day programming, Spring romance, June weddings, summer and autumn themed love stories, which all have the story line predictability of a sunrise over the Atlantic ocean!

And in spite of knowing all of this…I love it! We all do; those of us who keep helping to grow the Nielson ratings for this network.

But why do we love it? Why do I watch the Hallmark Channel?

  • No politics! Not even when there’s a politician in the storyline.
  • No murderers.  Though someone has usually lost a mom or dad; a spouse, or child, and that loss is typically what brings them together with the family or love interest in the story.
  • Family first. The importance of family, even in conflict, is never taken for granted, and ultimately, the “good” character traits are attributed back to someone important in their family.
  • Everyone who loses a job, finds a bigger, better one. Or they strike out on their own, following their passions and dreams that their regular job kept them from achieving.
  • Love wins. Even if the person has to discover the true meaning of love along the way, and/or ends up with someone different than who they thought they were in love with.
  • No illicit sex scenes and no profanity. I can watch Hallmark with any age member of my family and friends.

I watch the Hallmark Channel in part to be reminded that good entertainment doesn’t have to include sex, drugs, violence, and heaven forbid — politics! People are interested in their entertainment —  music, movies, literature — to be entertained; to enjoy their time in front of the screen or in a book. I think that too many writers, television and movie studios and executives, songwriters and music artists forget that. 

I think Hallmark is accomplishing that, at least in my household, and with many of my friends.

Now, if they would only work on the lack of diversity in their programming!

Looking Backwards. Springing Forward!

This month. It’s March! And it’s almost over. So quickly it slid in, and so fast it’s marching out towards April.

This is the time of year when I like to take a little time to reflect back over the years since I shifted gears and went into a different direction. It was nine years ago when I launched my new company (www.gloriagreenentertainment.com). The date I chose to go live with my website and the announcement about my new venture was not random. I chose March 20 — the first day of Spring — for a reason. Actually, for many reasons.

Spring has always been the season many people associate with new beginnings. Life! Fresh starts. It’s the time of year when early flowers force their way up through the ground, and trees start greening up; others budding in preparation for the blooming show they’ll give us later!

I had every reason for wanting to make a fresh start in my career when I did. So the seasonal timing of it seemed only fitting. And while I have no regrets for forging ahead with Gloria Green Entertainment, there’s a lot I would do differently. If there was a time machine that I could jump into, and take the knowledge I have gathered, I would definitely apply that information, and make some major changes to my launch, my focus, and my time; doing things a little differently than I did starting out in 2009.

Looking back over the past nine years, here’s what I learned.

  • People will use you. This was not a new concept to me. I’d met users throughout my life, and even worked with some, no matter what job I was in. But striking out on my own, where my income was dependent upon closing deals, it was definitely frustrating after spending hours in meetings and/or conference calls; even traveling to the location of potential clients, only to figure out what they wanted more than hiring my company was gathering my expertise.
  • People will take advantage of your knowledge and network. I’d been somewhat forewarned about this one. After reading a blog by an Industry Insider, I attended a seminar he held that was designed for the many music industry people who, at the time, were all finding themselves in this new “entrepreneurship” world all around the same time period. His caution…don’t let someone pick your brain for a cup of coffee. It was interesting that he used that term, because I’d stop counting the number of people who wanted to “grab a cup of coffee,” and “pick my brain,” which was just code for “I want to know what you know and who you know, but I don’t want to actually pay you any money for it or invest in you by hiring your company.” I was surprised and then somewhat sad that so many other of my industry associates were having the same experience. Some of us even dealt with some of the same “brain pickers.” It was one thing to receive email from complete strangers. Those I could blow off, questioning the gall of someone to think what I spent over 20 years building, they could just take advantage of over a $3.00 cup of Starbucks! But then there were the people who worked in the industry; other areas, or perhaps just not as established as where I was. Those are the ones where I had to take a step back, shake my head and wonder why (sometimes after the fact), they could think it’s okay to take advantage of their former industry peers.
  • People will want something for nothing. Probably the biggest lesson learned is just how much some people want something for nothing. It’s one of the biggest issues I caution my students about even today — to beware of the “friends” and other people they might know who ask for something (input on a project, help with artist development, assistance connecting with people in the industry, access to network and favors, hours of phone calls “bouncing ideas around!” etc.), but don’t want to give anything in return! I would even have been happy if they were willing to barter our expertise or services. Once, I had someone who wanted my help in public relations for one of their clients. I was willing. But weeks later, when I asked the same person if I could see a sample copy of a management contract they had for one of their clients, there was silence. No return email or text…for weeks. Until I happened to run into that person at an industry event, and asked them in person. The excuse was to blame their partner who didn’t want to share information that they had paid for. I went home from that event with the “REALLY?” expression still on my face. What the heck did they think I had just done for them?!

There are many lessons I learned over the pat several years. Actually, anyone working on anything over the course of time, will learn lessons that they wish they’d known sooner, and with the additional experience that years bring you, discover which of those things they would make a point of not to repeating.

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Springing forward into the coming years, I’m more ready now to deal with all of those same things today than I was all those years ago. I am moving ahead with many things that’s to come, which not only includes relaunching Gloria Green Entertainment later this Spring, but also continuing my full-time job as a college professor teaching Music Business to the next generation of music industry executives.

Lessons learned. Time passed. After looking backwards at my mistakes and successes; I’m ready to look forward to my next season. And so much more…

Torrez Marketing & Productions

So 2018 is here! You’ve made more personal new year’s resolutions, and now you’re re-evaluating your professional goals; reassessing which ones you reached last year, and what changes you want to make for this year.

If one of those goals include starting your own business, expanding the company you already have, creating a secondary revenue stream, or turning that hobby into a source of income, then one of the things you’ll want to be sure not to overlook is your Marketing plan.

I often tell my music business students that it doesn’t matter how talented they are, how well they can sing, or how many songs they’ve written. If they don’t know how to promote and market themselves, then they won’t be able to sell their music, increase their fanbase, and grow their business. The same principle applies for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Let me introduce you to Gabe and Danielle Torrez and their company Torrez Marketing & Productions (TMP). Gabe and Danielle are storytellers from Nashville, TN. Driven by a desire to make your brand shine, TMP specializes in creating shareable content that your followers, friends and business contacts will want to watch and repost.

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Prior to creating TMP, Gabe Torrez worked on the creative team at Bethel World Outreach Church bringing messages to life through video and visuals. Danielle (Kimmey) Torrez formerly worked as Director of Marketing for eOne’s Worship division, and is best known for being one-third of the singing group Out of Eden.

Together, Gabe and Danielle take their shared industry knowledge and utilize it to create fascinating business branding videos, music videos, wedding videos, and much more.

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To contact TMP for more information and pricing packages, email Gabe Torrez at torreztmp@gmail.com or call 615.500.0596. Samples of their work can be found on Youtube at Torrez Marketing & Production.

What Did You Get for Christmas?

Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? Was it a brand new guitar? No? Perhaps you already have one that’s been collecting dust because you never learned how to play. Or maybe you play a little, but haven’t figured out how to go from amateur hobbyist to a professional guitarist. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to play guitar and work professionally at it, but haven’t found a teacher who can also share tips on making it in the music business, then meet singer/songwriter, and classically trained guitarist Robert Arthur! 

 
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In addition to his one-on-one personal lessons offered locally in Nashville, TN, Robert is now accepting guitar students via Skype and FaceTime. A graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelors degree in classical guitar performance, Robert was a full-time guitar teacher in Union, SC before moving to Nashville in 1992. He has toured extensively with country music artists Brad Paisley, Jeff Bates, The Henningsens and many others, and has performed with legends like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, and shared the stage with a number of other country music stars. 

“My guitars have seen all the lower 48 states, Canada, the Caribbean!” Robert Arthur

As a studio musician, Robert has spent many hours in different types of studios, recording hundreds of sessions, from very low-budget demos to major label records. As I songwriter he has been blessed to have had three major publishing deals, and over 100 songs recorded by small independent country and Gospel music artists, and major-label acts such as Chris Young and Brad Paisley. One instrumental cut with Paisley was nominated for a Grammy.

Robert wants to put his vast experience to work for you helping to equip you in many styles, on acoustic or electric, and to share his special insights for the guitar playing songwriter! He is passionate about the guitar and would love to put that passion to work for you! Contact Robert Arthur at: SirRobArtMusic@bellsouth.net for more information about pricing, scheduling, etc.

Corner of Danny & Kansas Avenue

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Happy Anniversary to Danny and Kansas Fergen! Ten years of marriage is definitely something to celebrate! It’s even more so as our country and culture have watched more and more couples choosing not to ever get married; and many who do, even within the church, still ending up in divorce just a few years into their marriage.

But wait. Why am I sending congratulatory remarks to some couple on my entertainment blog?

Well, this is no ordinary couple; at least not to me. And while I’m sure the word extraordinary would not be appropriate, they are definitely two people making a huge difference in the world today, just by living out their lives the way they feel God is directing them to do.

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I first met Kansas Calkhoven before she became Mrs. Fergen, when she was part of a Christian sister pop group TruEmotion. The oldest of six girls, she and four of her sisters made up the music group who I represented. There’s an incredible story to tell, not so much about how the group was formed, but rather how their family of six girls was made. But that’s another great story for another time.

For now, let’s talk about when Kansas met Danny. Or better yet, what they have been doing since marrying on June 11, 2007.

From early on in their relationship, they knew they wanted to grow their family in a non-traditional way. Both agreed that adoption was God’s plan for them before trying to pursue having children biologically. They began the adoption process a few months into their marriage, thinking it would take a few years before they had placement of a child. But, God had a different plan. Just a year after they were married, they got “the call” that would change their lives forever. They welcomed a nine month old baby boy into their forever family. It was that choice, that call, and that child that paved the way for how God would continue to work in their hearts and orchestrate their family for the years to come.

“I fell into motherhood really fast at the age of 23, to a nine month old baby boy and two months later we found out we were expecting.” — Kansas Fergen

Every day people fall in love, they get married, they talk about how they plan to grow their family, and they move forward towards those goal. So what makes Danny and Kansas’ story a special one? Well, for one, I have never met a young twenty-something year old couple who sets out to become parents by adoption first, so early in their marriage. But more than just having children — biologically and through adoption — it is how they are raising them, and what God is doing through their kids, as much as with them as a family unit, that caught my attention.

Now, ten years into their marriage, Danny and Kansas are already the parents to five beautiful, creatively different, loving children, ranging from a toddler to two tweens.

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“Not every family is meant to look the same, but every life matters. Our family is built on the faithfulness of God through both biological & adopted children.”

Danny and Kansas aren’t just growing their family; they’re building a ministry while they’re at it. And I’d like to introduce you to different parts of that, a little piece at a time.

So come back here as I continue to share with you more about The Fergens over the next several weeks, and see why you will enjoy getting to know who they are, what they’re doing, and what’s next in God’s plan for their family’s life! And who knows? Music just might be a part of what’s to come in the future!

So Happy Anniversary Fergens! Here’s to 10+10+10+10+10 more!

Labor Day is Not Just for Cookouts

So we’re two weeks into the new college academic school year, and we’re having our first break — Labor Day! Every few years, I like to remind myself of the historical significance of some of the holidays we often take for granted. Labor Day is one of those. Another day off from work; no school; an extension of the summer vacation. I’ve heard it referred to by almost everything except what it was designed for, and the reason the first Monday of every September was put aside as a holiday.

According to the Department of Labor’s website, Labor Day is intended to be dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

The first governmental recognition of Labor Day came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday.

Like many other American holidays, I sometimes think if the real meaning and purposes of these days, which we set aside for either celebration or remembrance of something significant to the values, growth, or protection our country, are buried under the day-long or weekend obligations of parties and picnics; camping and cookouts. Or drowned out by the advertising sounds of retail shopping, car dealer sales, and specials on in-ground pools and summer inventory clearance!

Social and economic achievements of American workers. That’s saying a lot; especially in these modern times. How often do we think about what we do, and how those things contribute to these achievements every day?

There’s a lot of “labor” that goes into working in the entertainment industry; whether you work in motion pictures, television, radio, sports; even gaming. And then there’s music, which I believe also helps to contribute to the “strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”  They all require a labor force!

Not everyone understands that while from the outside, this industry might look glamorous, the truth of the matter is that it takes a lot of work to make it successful. “Overnight” successes are years in the making. And it could be decades before you see sustainability in many artist’s careers.

The word “labor,” means to “work” or “hard work.” The noun for “work,” is an activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result. In spite of the definitions, people still complain when they have to “work;” and when what they’re doing is “hard,” and requires a mental or physical challenge.

I asked students an open-ended question on their first quiz this semester. I wanted to know what they were looking forward to learning and getting out of the Artist Management class. There were several predictable answers expected from someone taking a course such as this. But one student made mention of the fact that while they were interested in working in the music industry, they didn’t want a job that required more than a 40-hour work week.

I chuckled when I read this, but I did not directly challenge the student on their thinking. Obviously there are some jobs in the industry that are basic 9 to 5 type of positions. But I did take the opportunity to let them know that management was not one of them; neither would be most of the jobs related to building an artist’s career.

Working in the music industry, and certainly in artist management, is not for those more interested in keeping up with the clock and hitting some magical “end of the work week.” It requires labor. Hard work. And it will at times be taxing on both the mental and physical capacity of the person doing it. But if it’s something you’re seriously interested in doing, it can and will also be rewarding. And like most things, that means it’ll be worth the time.