Sunday, January 31, 2010

How to Create a Vision Board

In the middle of all the madness that has become my PBS project, I took some time out last weekend and invited invited friends and fellow artist members of my Facebook group "Manifest Your Creative Destiny," to my apartment to create vision boards.  Although I do this every year, this year I wanted to invite some new friends over and so, I put out a call to fellow manifest members. It was fun to see my circle of friends expand.

Each person brought over 2 magazines, a glue stick and a pair of scissors. Then, after introductions, we sat around my living room and cut out pictures from what we wanted our lives to look like during the next year. As we talked about our artistic goals and dreams, we eventually started sharing photos. Someone would ask, "Hey I'm looking for a photo of someone playing the guitar?" or "Did anyone see a picture of a tree?" and then a few minutes later someone else would say, "Who was looking for that photo of a tree, I found a good one?"

It wasn't a formal thing and we didn't do any prayers or deep breathing exercises. I simply opened up my apartment, made two pots of chili (one vegi and one turkey), wheat-free cornbread, tea and drinks, gave everyone a piece of poster board and said, "Hey, mi casa es su casa. Go for it." I provided the space and got out of the way.

The only thing that I offered that was unique was I invited my friend Jerod Eisenshtadt over to give a talk on health and acupuncture and he offered free sessions to anyone who wanted them. So while people were doing vision boards and eating chili, some people had needles in their bodies.

I actually had a hard time making my own vision board. As an artist, I tend to be somewhat rebellious and to be forced to "Make a vision board now!" Well, I kind of felt uneasy about it. What a weird experience to rebel against my own rules. 

The following artists showed up and if you don't know them, please visit their websites or find them on Facebook. There are some very creative peeps in Richmond doing some pretty rad things.

Eliezer Sobel - author, musician, visual artist
Shari Cordon - experimental psychology researcher and film maker
Valley Haggard- author, blogger,
Susan Singer - visual artist
Chris Singer  - grant writer for non-profits
Becca Bernard - clown and choreographer
Lara Kimbrell O'Connor - visual artist
Dawn Layne - musician, poet
Joanna Lee - poet
Shelia Grey - sculptor
Jarrod Fergeson - Gallery Owner J Fergeson Gallery
Jerrod Eisenshtadt - Acupuncturist, owner of Community Acupuncture

Oh yeah, artist Susan Singer keeps a blog and she posted photos of her vision board. Visit her blog to learn more.

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 20: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): Say Goodbye to Constant Contact

A year and a half ago I could send out a Facebook invite and get a great response. About 75% of all invites would actually RSVP and of those nearly 80% would actually show up. If I was trying to fill a 100 seat venue, during that time I could depend on at least 14 seats being filled from my Facebook invite efforts.

However, 6 months later a flip occurred which is about the same time Constant Contact started it's campaign off the web. The Facebook invite went belly up as everyone and their brother seemed to be flooding the Facebook in-box with them.  Try to send one now and you're lucky if anyone actually looks at them.

At about the same time, I noticed the number of Constant Contact users increased as well and my e-mail in-box was suddenly flooded with informal e-Newsletters - all of them looked the same - smart, glossy, professional and blah. What was once unusual became so old so fast that I, like a lot of other internet users, started deleting them almost immediately.

Now, if I'm holding an event and send out Facebook invites, my response rate has fallen to less than 3% which is what business books typically tell you is "normal."

In sending out my requests during the last few days via e-mail. I experimented with two different versions of an e-mail. Although they are both effective, can you guess which one is getting a better response?

E-mail #1

Hi emily, happy new year – I hope you are well!
I wanted to ask you a favor?
My show, The Neon Man and Me, has been picked up by a national distributor and will begin to air on PBS stations nationwide in March. But even though every PBS station has the opportunity to broadcast the show doesn't mean that they'll air it.  I wanted to ask if you would write one e-mail or call one station on my behalf? On my website at there is a sample e-mail that you can cut-n-paste, a sample phone script and a station list. It’s extremely easy to use. Thanks in advance for your help. It means a lot. Slash

E-mail #2

Hi Emily, Happy New Year. I hope you are well!

I wanted to share some good news and to ask you a favor.  My show, The Neon Man and Me, has been picked up by a national distributor and will begin to air on PBS stations nationwide in March 2010. I’m excited because part of my mission from the beginning has been to inspire men and boys to talk openly about their feelings related to bereavement, loss, male friendship and other difficult topics.

Although every local PBS station has the opportunity to broadcast the show doesn't mean that they'll air it.  I would really be grateful if you would write an e-mail or call one PBS station on my behalf. On my website there is an e-mail that you can cut and paste, a sample phone script and a PBS station list. It’s extremely easy to use:

Also, the program has three 15 second commercial spots available. For most companies, this is a great opportunity to reach a national PBS audience in a targeted demographic. If you know someone who might be interested in a commercial spot, please let me know and pass along this information to them.

Thank you in advance for your help. I truly appreciate it. I look forward to catching up with you soon! 

Have you guessed?

Yep, e-mail #1! It  was created to look like someone who didn't know much about what they were doing created it. I purposely used lower case letters in the name and even in the subject bar. It's quick, easy to read and clear. In a world where we are flooded with information this is important to keep in mind. #1 sounds personal. #2 is kind of formal and sounds kind of spammy. In addition #2 is asking for two things, e-mail help and funding.

I continue to use both though because with some of my contacts I need to sound formal and with others I don't. Which would you prefer receiving?

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): Making Good Video

The following story "Hero By Tens," is story #3 from "The Neon Man and Me." At it's foundation, it's a story about trust - which connects us to others and to ourselves. 

It's a true story based on a photograph I have of the actual incident that took place. My Dad and my Uncle were egging me on to rescue the girl's beach ball. My Mom wasn't all that enthusiastic about the plan. I paddled out after the ball, all the while the west wind was blowing it away. 

I returned without the beachball...without a hero's status, nearly 45 minutes later. The entire time I kept thinking about the theme to Jaws. "Da-dum. Da-dum."

When you go paddle out that far, the ocean floor just drops out from under you and the water seems to take on a life of it's own.

Part of my personal mission is to inspire men and boys to talk openly about their feelings related to bereavement, loss, male friendship and other difficult topics.

If you believe in this too, please help by sending a quick e-mail to 1 PBS station. The station list is available at

Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): Good News

So, I started sending out requests to by e-mail list. Asking my friends and fans to contact at least 1 PBS station on the list and send the following request.

"Hi, I would like for you to broadcast The Neon Man & Me. It's a program that's being fed by satellite to PBS stations by NETA on Sunday, March 21, 2010 from 2100 to 2200 ET/SD 07.  It's an uplifting tale about best friends that explores family, following your heart, and a journey home. The show is moving, informative, timely, and fun and there's more information at Thanks"

 It's hard to know what the PBS folks think of this. So, the following response was great to receive today. Thanks to my friend Pat Correll who works at Bliley's Funeral Home in Richmond, VA. After she sent her request, PBS sent her this message back. It made my day to have a human being on the other end respond. Thanks Pat and Thanks Megan

Ms. Correll,
Our Director of Television Programming will look at the program when it feeds to decide if we will air it and when.  Since it does not feed until March, we will not know more until then.  Please feel free to search our schedule as the time grows closer at
Megan Brown
Community Relations Manager

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): Twitter Reconsidered

After one full day of staying away from Twitter, I can't say I necessarily want to get back together, nor am I regretting our break-up, but I do feel I'm missing out on something. Maybe Twitter wasn't that bad? Maybe I I don't have to have a social media relationship that encompasses everything.

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): More Personal Connection

So, I talked with Elli Morris today. The person in charge of selling the three 15 second underwriting spots for the PBS special. She said she talked with a company in the bereavement business that had two questions. 

1) Could 1 company purchase all three spots? 

2) Would the company logo appear on the DVD and could promotional copies be sent to the company?

This was the answer I found out. One company could purchase all 3 commercial spots, but would only  get 15 seconds worth of air time. I guess PBS wants to push the commercial idea, but doesn't want to push it over the top. Money always talks, so I inquired just how much money it would take to purchase all of the 45 seconds. Answer? 2.5 million dollars for 45 seconds at the end of a PBS special. Great Gatsby!

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): Break Up Letter to Twitter

Dearest Twitter,
My intention in writing this letter to you today is to say things out of my love for you, for support of your own path. To point things out about you that you may not see, things that affect those around you whom love you and things that seem to hold you back from being all that you so desperately seem to want to become.

With that said, my letter isn’t meant to be judgmental or hurtful - only truthful. In a relationship where there hasn’t always been a lot of truth, I think truth can be a gift if you let it.

The reason I am writing this letter to you rather than breaking up with you through my Tweet Deck is so you can reflect on my words, read them again if you need to, print them out and perhaps show them to your counselor. 

Besides, if I broke up with you in 140 words or less, I knew all your followers would just say, “That's just plain out harsh.” In a relationship that’s been plagued with judgment and distance I don’t think I can handle more.

Twitter, you have so many rules and I know rules can protect us from bad things – lies, deceit, people who might hurt us physically. But rules also keep the good out as well as the bad. 

Rules keep out good things like – more than 140 words, e-mail addresses, the warmth of a hug, and trust. It is these good things that sustain us and give us the energy for life itself, without these essential things; it can feel as if we are being crushed by life. Since we started our relationship, more often than not, I feel crushed by you.

Since we started our relationship nearly 8 months ago:
I’ve found that more and more I’m afraid to express myself freely with you and I feel like I have to watch what I say around you. I’m looking for a partner where this isn’t an issue. I know Facebook isn’t perfect, but at least I know where I stand in that relationship.

And to be honest, I get jealous a lot. You seem to have so many followers and with all the distance (sometimes I don’t hear from you for hours or days and the best you can say to me is ‘What’s happening?”) I can’t help but to make assumptions about your love for me. As a result, I feel that my self-esteem has taken a blow since we’ve met.

One of the bigger issues is that besides reading all my correspondence you prevent me from spending time with my friends, family, and anyone else outside of our relationship. You pretend you are open to this sort of thing, but in the end I just don’t feel like you respect me.

I know I may lay awake tonight longing for you and deep down, I may want you back and I hope you will eventually appreciate my honesty because I know deep down you are decent. But I know this break-up is for the best.

I love you,

PS. I wrote this poem for you last night.

”Tweet me one more time.

Tell me what You need.
Tell me you’re mine.
Fill my heart with joy, but keep me close.
It's only one second from 4ever.”

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): Twitter Fall Out

For the first time since I committed to writing a regular blog on August 13, 2009, it's official. Twitter has totally ruined my relationship with all social media. I feel like I've been cheating on my blog and Facebook. I am ridden with guilt and shame. I know what I need to do on Friday. It's obvious. I'm breaking up with Twitter.

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): Twitter What?

So, it takes me like an entire hour to compose one tweet. How I can win over 300 PBS stations at this rate is beyond me? I feel like I'm programming HTML code for love sick aliens.

When I passed the question on to @iknowtiffany (Small Art League)I found out I can program my tweets in advance through and I can even set them on one day for the whole week... to go out at "peak times" (7am, noon, 4pm, 7pm). 

But, you know what, I'm beginning to question my sanity.

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): The Viral Marketing Plan

On March 21, 2010, every PBS station nationwide has the opportunity to broadcast "The Neon Man and Me"  by satellite.  But just because the show will be readily available (through NETA), doesn't mean that any of the stations will air it. 

In fact, statistics show that without a promotional campaign to let PBS stations know about my program, it will likely air on only 10 of 300 stations. Based on a series of interviews I've conducted over the past few weeks, and posted on my blog, I've come up with a viral marketing campaign plan aimed at improving my program's chances of airing. 

I would be very interested in receiving your feedback on my plan. Please leave your comments below or e-mail me directly at

Viral Marketing Campaign Plan for Slash Coleman (Steps are listed in order of importance)

Goal 1: Secure distributorship on 60% of PBS stations.
a. Implement a daily Twitter campaign three times a day targeting the cities where PBS stations are located. Tweet links will take viewers to: the request for help on my website, a PBS Contact Database which shows viewers how to help, and a weekly video that promotes the show.

b. Send a gift package to all the PBS stations that contains: A picture that my friend’s son drew, his photo, a personal letter, and a small press kit. 

b. Post new videos promoting “The Neon Man and Me,” once a week until March and post them on Twitter and Facebook.

c. Send individual e-mails to my 1,500 Facebook contacts asking them to repost a request for help with this campaign. The link will send others to the request for help on my website.

d. Send individual e-mails to my e-database of 6,000 asking each person to e-mail or call their local station. A link to the PBS contact list on my website will be provided.

e. Implement a fax campaign where I send a series of 5 clever fax stories over the next few weeks to each PBS fax promoting “The Neon Man and Me.”

Goal 2: Secure national media attention for the project 3-5 times by March 15, 2010 as follows:
a) Contact journalists in the past who have written about the production and tell them about the national distribution and my viral marketing campaign. 

b) Call and press release: People Magazine, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, The Today Show, David Letterman, NPR, Rush Limbaugh, etc.)

Goal 3: Sell three 3 fifteen second commercials for my program (also called underwriting sponsorship spots).
a. Create a list of: drug companies that deal with depression, national funeral home companies and professional fields that’s seem appropriate.

b. Hire 1 salesperson to make sales calls and give them 15% commission on sales.

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): More Personal Connection

Last week when I met with she mentioned that she knew someone at PBS down in Florida. She said she would let them know about what I was doing. I didn't think much about it until a couple of days later she sent me an e-mail. 

Seems she e-mailed her friend down at WUFT who works in the community outreach and education department and her friend passed along my info to the Program Director. Just like that mu information was "in the room."

After all my many hours of coming up with all my ideas of how to get my foot in the door of each PBS station - from sending cookies with The Neon Man logo on them to an exstensive fax, e-mail, and phone campaign, this e-mail suddenly changed my approach. 

The reality is that people help people that they know and everything else is like twitter without a tweet deck - a lot of white noise and static.

Part of my plan which I would welcome feed back on when I post it on here tomorrow is how to make those important individual connections with each station. In other words, how to turn the static into a station that others can hear, enjoy and feel good about becoming a part of. Stay tuned. for more on Tuesday! 

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): Personal Connection

This weekend I spent Sat and Sun in a storytelling workshop with Donald Davis. There were about 12 of us storytellers who holed up in a farmhouse in Ijamsville, MD and gave feedback to one another, told stories and learned sage advice from Donald. 

For the weekend, I put my viral marketing campaign on auto-pilot and just let it be for a few days. Often times I find when I surrender and allow myself to be in the moment and open to new experiences, then those new experiences bring me gifts I never could have imagined.

Jane Crouse, the storyteller/librian who I wrote you about the other day, sent me a newsletter from Mal Warwick. Warick & Associates gives advice regarding direct mail, telephone, and on-line fundraising campaigns. The newsletter on, "Building Donor Loyalty," is well worth a read. The most interesting thing I learned from this newsletter ties into something I learned from Donald Davis this weekend.

He said, "Facebook has totally destroyed the idea of the word friend." 

What "Friend," meant in the past has been replaced by a new idea. Warwick suggests that one of the keys to connection and commitment is engaging someone in conversation. In other words working with the old notion of a friend in a new way. As I begin to set my sites this week on asking not only all my Facebook friends, but also my extensive e-mail database of almost 10,000 contacts to help me reach out to PBS stations nationwide, these ideas have now sprouted with my new plan on how to go about all this to ensure maximum affect while reserving my time.

In a previous blog entry on "Courting the Media," I suggested that often times it's easier to ask advice from a media source than to ask a journalist to write a story about your press release. 

I've often called or sent an e-mail and asked, "Hey, I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I do a lot of events in the area  and I was wondering what's the best way to get something like this into your publication?" 

This creates an opening for a conversation to take place where both parties are on more equal ground. I'm not putting the journalist in a power position in which he/she must say,"No." In these instances, I'll usually get really good advice and the jounalist will end up reading my press release, offering feedback and in a lot of cases write an article.

On Monday, I plan to apply this principle to step one of my viral marketing campaign. Check back then to see how I do it.

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 9: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): Throwing out Ideas

Ok, so it seems like I keep getting a great idea, sleeping on it and then throwing it out. At first I wanted to send a button to each station - you know a shirt button. I was going to put it in an envelope and have the station send it back to me. I was going to say it was from my friend's shirt and could they please send it back. I liked the idea of them being responsible for being a part of the process even if they said "No." I figured it would make a profound impression. 

I don't even have to tell you why that idea is getting tossed, do I?

The cookie idea, while it seemed great at first just seems more and more not to work. Sure if I could send each station a dozen cookies that'd be the bomb, but sending one cookie with my logo on it. Well, a logo cookie isn't exactly appetizing is it? So, I'm back to the drawing board with the package idea.

This morning I woke up a little freaked out, which is unusual because typically these moments usually happen at night. But I remembered that God doesn't give us a problem without also giving us the answer and so, I just have to remember to hold God's hand a little tighter.

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 8: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): Fundraising Tips

I had a long conversation with Jane Crouse today. She's a storyteller, a librarian, and a full-time student of fundraising (from what I can gather, she's enrolled in fundraising classes at Life University which I think is where most of us take classes to learn about things we feel we missed in regular school) and she passed a long a wealth of information to me.

First, in selling the 3 underwriting spots, I decided to target drug companies that deal with depression drugs, and also funeral and bereavement associations. As a librarian I figured she would have access to lists and databases that I wouldn't. Sure enough, she confirmed that hunch. She said she would start with the PDR (The Physicians Desk Reference) and once she located the correct drugs, she'd go on to find the companies. I could then pass this along to Elli who's going to be making the sales calls.

Although I put an ad out on Craigslist the other day for temporary Salespeople, I'm still on the fence about hiring more people. Part of me feels like I need a team, but Elli wanted to see how hard it would be first before I called in others. The Feb 19 deadline for the sales makes me kind of nervous, so I'm just going to trust my intuition on it.

She had a lot to say in terms of my ongoing dilemma of what to put in my "Gross Impression Gift Mailings." Jane said the most important thing she learned in fund raising is how important a personal connection is. She suggested I have my friend's son draw a picture for the package, that I include his photo and that I have my friend's girlfriend write a letter for it. But to tell you the truth it makes me really nervous. I've already stop sending checks to her from every show because I feel they remind her again and again of Mark's death. Mark's mom even suggested I stop sending the money and so now, I'm saving it all and maybe when he's older I can give him the money.

Jane also said I should send cookies. But I know how weird people are about food these days. She googled delivery cookies for me and guess what? Mrs. Fields will make cookies with a company logo with them. The price wasn't bad - $200 for 100 - which would allow me to send 2 to each of the top 50 PBS stations in the country.

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman - please visit

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7: The Neon Man (Slash Coleman & PBS): Gross Impressions

So, today my meetings continued. 

I spent most of my day thrift store shopping with my cousin, stylist, Josh Coleman, who gave me some advice about my wardrobe/storytelling costume. I confessed to him that although I'd chosen one outfit to wear when I performed from now on, during my last two unpublicized shows, I rebelled against myself and chose not to wear my outfit. It seemed like I was putting myself into a box  - like a 9 to 5 job. He said a lot of time that happens to him as well and situations, and emotions should dictate the wardrobe. He said if I settled on a tie, a vest and a shirt, then I could choose amongst many styles and colors of tie and vest and shirt to wear.

In the late afternoon, I met with Greg Kontos. This is a guy who writes about Lunar Radiation, Paranal Observatories in Chile, and Technovelgy on his blog Let's just say whenever we get together and talk our conversations are profound and world shaking. (Perhaps you felt the tremors move the sidewalks outside Ellwood Coffee Shop at 3:45 pm) We discussed my viral marketing campaign and more specifically the the idea of "gross impressions," and how to create them. 

Greg was trying to help me come up with ideas of what specifically I should send to each PBS station under certain conditions. Knowing that I needed to send things to 300 stations across the country and knowing that I didn't have much money - these things needed to be flat, cheap and small enough to put in an envelope. 

In the end, we decided on a couple things that I have yet to research:
1) I would spend the extra money on a priority mail envelope which would be more likely to get opened.

2) I would put a plastic, flat, neon colored, ginger-bread type man in the envelope with my contact info and "The Neon Man and Me," printed on it.

3) We tossed around the idea of including a saxophone reed since the show is about my late friend who played the saxophone, but we thought it might gross some people out with germs and stuff if they thought it was a used reed.

4) I would include a miniature version of my press kit  - maybe index card sized, so it wouldn't look like I was trying to pitch something traditional, but I would still be able to pass along important contact information to them.

5) I would write a very specific letter. I will reveal this on my  blog after the viral marketing campaign is complete so you can see how it worked. 

I'm shooting for my campaign to win over the support of at least 80% of the PBS stations nationwide.

For more info about "The Neon Man and Me" and other storytelling projects by me - Slash Coleman  - please visit

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6: Neon Man & PBS Gets Twitter

Today I met with Tiffany Glass Ferreira founder of the Real Small Art League. We met over at  Weezies Kitchen  on Cary Street. She's been a real supporter of my work and she's taken a few of my artist marketing classes and so I was excited to hear what she might have to offer in terms of advice for my viral marketing campaign.

Let me just say that half way through the meal, I felt myself transition through a Vortex, as if I'd been living the life of an Aborigine for the past year and I'd just been introduced to Ultrabright Toothpaste and boxer briefs.

I signed up for Twitter a year ago and kept the profile because people told me "it's something you need to do." I didn't put a lot of energy into it. In a year I made about 160 tweets, following 1,200 people and have about 500 people following me. I basically used it like a Neanderthal for the last year. I friended people on it and I'd occasionally transfer a status update from my Facebook account to my Twitter account. 

When I first started using it, I asked a lot of my friends who were on it how to use it and they all said, we don't really know, but that's the whole point. I never really understood it..... until today.

Wow! For those of you who have gone through that same vortex, you know what I'm feeling right?

She showed me the tweet deck and I got to view all these messages that were directed toward me that I never even knew existed. Better yet, remember that guy Jeff Anderson, that I wrote about the other day, the creator of The Cricket Toy (@thecrickettoy), well she showed me where he had "re-tweeted" my status update from the other day when I saw all the cone-heads walking around Carytown. When he re-tweeted it, it went out to over 5,000 of his twitter followers. Holy Cricket-moley.

Now, just to give you some perspective, I spent the entire morning separating the fax #'s on my PBS list so I could start my 8 week PBS fax campaign. When I asked Tiffany about my Fax campaign idea, she was very nice - she didn't laugh at me or anything. 

After meeting with her I saw how it was insane to compare the fax with twitter, but it also helped me see how old skool Facebook actually is. I came home feeling that Facebook is a lot like snail mail.

Anyway, at home I downloaded the tweetdeck and am now well on my way to the modern world. I even had some queries about gigs that I found using tweetdeck that I would have never found otherwise. 

I think maybe they should have a technology friend that they assign each person when they renew their driver's liscence so they can make sure we don't embarasss ourselves when it comes to stuff like this.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5: The Neon Man and Me (Slash & PBS)

If you ever need a reality check on the state of the world economy, I suggest putting an ad up on Craigslist advertising a job opening. This summer when I was searching for a personal assistant I put an ad out and received about 20 ga-zillion responses. After that, I knew I needed to hire a personal assistant just to read all the responses.

In the ad I asked potential assistants to e-mail me 2-3 sentences about themselves and why they wanted the job in 150 words or less, that was it. I got some whacked out responses (one person wrote to me from the "mothership" and sad responses (mis-spelled woes of job loss and needing to make ends meet - a couple that actually made me cry) and a lot of resumes with form letters that my potential worked bees had probably sent to the last 50,000 job openings they'd applied for. I even got someone who stalked me for a while and kept showing up at all my shows and cornering me and asking me about the job.

When I put the Craiglist ad out last night I was expecting the same thing. Although only time will tell it was actually refreshing to wake up this morning and only see one reponse in my box.

* In my on going quest to go viral I set up some more appointments today. Later this week I'll be meeting with Greg Kontos, who I met in 2006 when we each won Style Weekly's Top 40 under 40 award. He invented some kind of plastic tube that converts salt water into fresh water.

* I downloaded a program called Fast Blog Finder that I found on Kim Komando's website. It's supposed to search the internet ether and bring me back blogs that I specifiy according to key words. For instance, I can type in the words PBS and FBF will show me all the blogs where PBS is a topic. This will allow me to leave comments on these blogs, which is supposedly a great way to get "back links" which drives traffic to your won blog.

I thought this was kind of bogus when I first read it, but if you look at a comment that was made on my blog two days ago, you'll see what I'm talking about. Some guy named Jeff Anderson commenting on my tenacity and then talked about how it reminded him of his own marketing prowess in trying to get his product into stores. He sells a little toy cricket called the Cricket Toy that makes a cricket sound. The thing is pretty dang cool. I plan on buying one, telling my aunt to carry them in our store and heck.... look at this I'm even writing about the things on my blog, so that tells you the power of blog comments. Thanks Jeff for the lesson. 


Monday, January 4, 2010

Seeking Part Time Temporary Sales Person: Telecommuting OK

Although I have a more thorough detail sheet for the project which I can send, here's the reader's digest condensed version:

1) There are 3 commercial spots that are available for sale within my PBS special.

2) These are 15 second underwriting spots where a company logo and mention of the company are made following the program.

3) As a goal, I'm looking to sell each spot for $15,000, although the sky is the limit in terms of a price for a savvy salesperson. If you think you can sell them for more you're welcome to.

4) Sales persons will make a 20% commission on any $15,000 sale and 30% commission on any sale over $20,000.

5) Sales must be complete by March 1, 2010.

6) More specific information about the project is available at

If you're interested in more details or you know someone else who may be, send an e-mail to

Day 4: The Neon Man and Me (Slash & PBS)

Today I was consumed with gathering more PBS addresses. The list that Mr. Felton gave me was kind of dated, but I managed to go thru about half of the list of 300 stations. That means from 9:00 - 3:00 I was visiting every PBS station website, and finding the fax #, the phone # and the Production Managers name and e-mail address. By the end of the day, when I went to yoga class I was seeing double. 

My good friend Scary is also helping me with the list and a former storytelling bootcamp student of mine, Maddie Jay, is helping too.

It's funny, when I put a request out on Facebook a few weeks ago asking for help for the project all kinds of people came forward and said yes, but when I followed up with them I only heard crickets chirping. I think it's become too easy on Facebook and with other social media to say Yes to something and not feel like following through is important. To me though, it's a reflection of the person and their intergrity.

Now, the other things I have to start thinking about are:1) What I'll actually plan to send each station 2) How I'll pay for each little gift I create 3) How I can pay the postage on whatever I send 3) How I can get people all over the country to call each station and tell them that they want to see my show on their television.

Mr. Felton said I have three 15 second commercials that I can sell on my show. On PBS, these are called underwriting spots. For instance, after a PBS special there's usually a company graphic and a voice over that says, "The following program was underwritten by Dow Chemical Company." My goal is to sell each spot for $15,000 each and let whoever makes the sale keep 15% of the price. Not a bad days work for someone with some savvy. My friend Dr. Larry Volz (the infamous comedy hypnotist), reccomended I seek out drug companies that offer products around depression. 

The things I've got planned so far:
1) Tomorrow I have a meeting with Ellli Morris ( a photographer and author) who is interested in selling the ads.
2) Tomorrow night I have a phone meeting with Jane Crouse, a storyteller and librarian, who said she would help me brainstorm ways that she might help me do research for the project. (I think she can help me research possible funding sources).
3) Wenesday I'm having lunch with Tiffany Glass Ferreira, (artist and founder of The Real Small Art League) who is pretty dialed into the social networking scene who I'm hoping will give me some ideas .

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 3.5: Neon Man and PBS

Today I found a site called 

It looks like she produced her own special like me and had to court the national PBS scene like I did. She had a list on her site, but it looked kind of dated. So, I've been visiting each PBS station site and updating the info. I'm not even ready to think about what I plan to do beyond that. This kind of work gives me anxiety and makes me feel I can't keep up. I feel the same way when I have to fold my laundry.

According to Mr. Felton, he says I need to a certain number of gross impressions on each PBS station so when the list arrives in March with "The Neon Man and Me," within a list of about 200 other programs that NETA will offer, the program managers will know about it. From what I know about advertising, I know we usually have to see something at least 7 times before we recognize it. 

At first I was planning to send each station 7 things - seven postcards, seven neon bracelets from the dollar store, etc., but then when I talked to my friend George Tisdale (who used to work at the Martin Agency), he said one good thing is better than 7 crappy things. In fact, one cool thing that is over-nighted will get some prime attention and make a great gross impression.

Last night after visiting Steve Pavlina's blog and reading his article on How to Build a High Traffic Blog, I started the daunting task of visiting a blog carnival. It sucked. Maybe Blog carnivals are a thing of the past, but it didn't seem like there were enough of them to make the effort worthwhile. I did end up posting an article to a writing blog and another to a non-profit fundraising blog.

The last thing I did before going to bed last night was to figure out how to put social media links on my blog and my website and I found a really cool way to do that at Add

Here's what I've done so far:
1) Made a video about what I'm trying to do.
2) Starting compiling a list of all the PBs stations.
3) Started asking some designer friends what quirky and clever things I should send to the stations to make a good gross impression.
4) Friended all the PBS stations on Facebook (it will probably annoy all my friends).
5) Started researching how to increas my blog traffic.
6) Added Social Media links to my blog and website.
7) Created a page on my website for the project:

The Missing Day: The Neon Man and PBS

The countdown officially began on January 1, 2010. You might be wondering where day 1's posting is. I put that little grey thingy on the top of my site explaining what I was doing until March.  It was all I could really do - really. Oh yeah, and I added the video for a visual explanation on the side bar.

No one knows about the project yet except me and the Vice President of Programming at WCVE Richmond PBS, John Felton. He thinks I've started a huge viral marketing program... and I have... but it's still only in my head. 

I'm feeling a sense of dread and fear and stomach wrenching failure at starting this project. Maybe it's because I fear the failure the most. Maybe because this is the moment all my life I've been waiting for - like I've been playing for a farm league team for four years and I'm finally getting called up to the majors? That sounds reasonable doesn't it?

John told me if I do nothing, the PBS special will get picked up by about 10 stations nationwide. If I put forth a successful viral marketing campaign it could get picked up by about 75% of all PBS stations nationwide. With option A it seems like getting a single at my one and only at bat. With option B it seems like knocking it out of the park or at least getting a triple.

When I was procrastinating doing anything tonight and watching "Lord of the Rings," I swear Gandalf looked right at me and said the only thing I needed to do was wake up every day and plan my day out.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 3: Thoughts on The Neon Man

In 2006, PBS green lighted my production of “The Neon Man and Me,” to become a special. There was one stipulation. I had to raise the money myself to produce and film the show. The price tag was $65,000. At that point, although I'd been making my living as an artist off and on for years, the most money I've ever made in a year as an artist was about $17,000. My first words were, “No problem.”

As a Leo I tend to have a little too much courage sometimes, seeing myself as I want to be rather than as I am. 

My first plan to get the money would fail miserably. I sent letters off to First Market Bank, Ukrops, Golds Gym (which is featured in my show - so I figured they'd be a shoe-in), our local Food Lion and Kroger. Waited. Waited and Waited some more. Chirp...chirp. I never heard back from some. Others sent me a standard rejection letter.

I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I created an Action Plan for both the creation of a documentary film and then a subsequent tour through living rooms. I got the idea from, musician Kyle Vincent and my friend Noah's sister, Mica Scalin

I then went to work. I found a film student off Craigslist who would shoot the film in exchange for exposure, and after learning how to edit the video myself, and making a 30-minute DVD, I set up the Living Room Tour for the documentary film entitled, “Glow.”.

The idea for my Living Room Tour for Glow was simple. I asked my friends and local fans if anyone was interested in hosting the film in their house or apartment. Hosts would invite over 10-15 guests who would donate $10 - $25 to watch the film. After the film, I would discuss what I was doing, perform a selection from my show and provide a Q&A. 

Over the course of nine months, besides my regular tour, I ended up spending every Thursday - Sunday in a living room.It wasn’t exactly easy. I was touring with the documentary film alongside my other tour. Every weekend for nearly nine months, I was taking the DVD into a new living room and watching it on a television with various hosts and their friends.

During that time, I also continued my media goals, landing my quest in the news every chance I got.  As a result, PBS was so impressed with my desire to succeed, that they lowered the amount they were requiring me to raise. By nearly 3/4's. Wow!

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Salute to 2009 Artists of the Month

I'd like to salute all of our 2009 "Manifest Your Creative Destiny" Artists of the Week. Congratulations to you all! Thank you for inspiring us with your creative spirit and artistic endeavors. I hope 2010 will be a great year for you.

Daniel Jose Custodio, Lucia Gulino, Susan Singer, Valley Haggard, Tiffany Glass Ferriera, Dean Whitbeck, Jarrod Fergeson, Jen Berlingo, Paulo Garbonzo, Stevie Jay, Dave Watkins, Heidi Spieth Klugg, David Pijor, Noel Williams, Joan Bellefield Davis, and Kim Weitkamp.


Check out our Facebook group “Manifest Your Creative Destiny,” at to read more about her, her artist-centric law practice, and her book.