Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

Getting personal with Buddha's Uncle

Pull back the curtain and get personal
Much of what you see around the marketing interwebs is boilerplate, straight-from-the-can content. This well-produced cookie-cutter sheen may actually have the exact opposite effect you are after. If your content marketing, no matter how well produced, is indistinguishable from the next guy; how do you get your audience to fully engage and participate on a deep level?

Who are you? What makes you tick? Why do you enjoy what you do? These are the questions that you should try and answer within the core of your marketing efforts. It could be a subtle thing like speaking directly to the camera. Or, it could be an extended marketing post that tells a personal story.

Take a look at this video profile that Buddha’s Uncle created for Columbus State University’s “Travel Journalism” Instructor, John Greenman. There is something engaging about his on-screen manner. He cares about what he teaches. You can tell. And he even offers a little peek behind the curtain, in the form of an anecdote about childhood summer vacation traveling. This weaves in very nicely with the subject at hand: Travel Journalism.

Now, what good is it if I’m not practicing what I preach? Okay, you got me. I like telling stories, so here’s a good look at the man behind the curtain…

Terrance Grace An Ape Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes were released the same week in April, 1968. I had the good fortune, at the tender age of seven (quick, do the math), to see them both that year: A double feature. I don’t remember which movie screened first. I do however, remember feeling as if I had tripped and fallen into a deep, dark rabbit hole. During the “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” sequence, I recall closing my eyes from fear of that unknown.

What was beyond the infinite?

Planet of the Apes, although it did have heightened moments of suspense – The spacecraft crash; The first roundup of humans; Charlton Heston escaping through Ape City, culminating with “Get your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape;” And of course the final twist: A half-buried Statue of Liberty – What struck me more was the young lust I felt for Nova – Linda Harrison.

Linda Harrison as “Nova” in The Planet of the Apes

Linda Harrison as “Nova” in The Planet of the Apes

I wanted to be T-a-y-l-o-r on horseback, with the raven-haired Nova clutching my waist, as we embarked on an epic journey Beyond the Planet of the Apes.

Then, there was HAL. And now I think 2001, must have been the 2nd feature – How could it have been, otherwise? HAL lulled me into a meditative anxiety, the first half of the film. I was f-e-e-l-i-n-g-s-l-e-e-p-y…

But then, with one cut of Franke Poole’s lifeline, I lurched awake. Something was happening. My stomach started churning. “Dave, please stop.” After he and I somehow managed to get through the pod bay door without our helmets, and then past the infinite, we landed up in some strange sterile room lit from the bowels of the renaissance.

HAL 9000 computer

HAL 9000 computer

My mind, like HAL’s, was blown apart.

That night, I had a difficult time falling asleep. Every shadow on the wall was either a monkey, or a monolithic slab of unknown origin. When I did sleep, nightmarish images of Dr. Zaius chasing me through color-soaked corridors of prehistoric deserts and Peter Max pools of acid, shook my cerebral cortex.

I woke up in a sweat and stumbled into my mother’s room where, unbeknownst to me, she and my step-father were having their own difficulties navigating the darkest regions of Jupiter Apeland.

“Mom… I can’t sleep,” I whined. She woke up, her mouth agape in horror as she looked across the room at me. The shadows on the wall came to life. My mother pointed, and screamed. My step-father leapt to his feet. I cried as they jumped up and down on the bed like two screaming extras from a Godzilla movie, running away from a Gorilla army led by the HAL 9000 computer.

Twelve years later – I’m in my second year in college. Baseball is on my mind day and night, and yet I know that this will probably be my last year playing second base.

One night after a double-header, I saw that the school was having a free screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I had seen it a few times since ‘the premiere’ in 1968 – mostly on television, though. I couldn’t pass up a chance to see it in the theatre again.

It was a terrible print, filled with scratches and splices that competed with the over-modulated strains of Strauss and Ligeti.

The next morning I found the professor who taught the only cinema history and production class the college offered, and told him I wanted to make movies.

BADASS of the week – Annie Smith Peck

BADASS of the week – Annie Smith Peck

Are you afraid of heights?
Annie Smith Peck isn’t. This week’s BADASS was a noted Lecturer, Mountaineer, Suffragette and Adventurer. But let’s allow Annie to speak for herself: “Climbing is unadulterated hard labor. The only real pleasure is the satisfaction of going where no man has been before and where few can follow.”

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Our Planet spec spot

Our Planet spec spot

This is a spec spot for a fictional environmental non-profit. It was produced in conjunction with the filmsupply.com 2017 challenge. The seed to this spot comes from an original dramatic feature screenplay that I wrote several years ago – “80” – An entire life story of a woman told from conception to death in 80 scenes.

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BADASS of the week – Dr. Jacob Bolotin

BADASS of the week – Dr. Jacob Bolotin

Known for his expertise with heart and lung disease, Dr. Jacob Bolotin was one of the most respected physicians in Chicago. It was just after the turn of the twentieth century and the medical profession was growing by leaps and bounds. Watch this BADASS of the week to find out what exactly made Dr. Bolotin such a remarkable individual.

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BADASS of the week – Khutulun the Mongolian Princess

BADASS of the week – Khutulun the Mongolian Princess

Every week, Buddha’s Uncle will feature some BADASS from history. What’s this all about and why? Well, marketing your brand by aligning with an influencer can be extremely effective. Remember Apple’s Think Different campaign? The BADASS of the week is a simple, cost-effective version of that.

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Have You Ever Been Experienced?

Have You Ever Been Experienced?

You’ve heard about it. You’ve seen it. And maybe even, you’ve EXPERIENCED it. The IT is, engagement marketing, a.k.a. experiential marketing, live marketing, participation marketing, on-ground marketing, pop-up marketing or just plain old, special events. It’s a strategy that directly engages your audience in an interactive, physical space that promotes your brand in a positive, entertaining, thought-provoking, experiential way.

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Are YOU the Box?

Are YOU the Box?

Are you feeling boxed in by your content marketing? I created a short little video as a demonstration of how it’s possible to turn marketing on its head by going for those ‘hmmm…’ moments.

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Are you telling stories?

Are you telling stories?

How many marketing posts in your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook feed do you scroll past? If you’re like me, it takes a lot to get me to stop and click. But If you incorporate some form of storytelling into your marketing efforts, you are much more likely to engage people.

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