Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I spend hours scouring the Internet some days. Nope. Not for free porn, however noble a pursuit that may be, but for broadcast journalism courses at this fine nation's colleges universities.

Because I need the lesson? Ha! Ha! You're a regular Seinfeld, you are. But no. I'm looking for places to market a DVD (A Reporter's Guide to the Art of Television Storytelling) I produced this past summer.

I look through a school's web pages, which in some cases requires quite the detective work, to find courses whose students can benefit from the DVD and the professors who teach them. I e-mail the prof, or the department chair, and offer to send a demo copy.

Technically, I suppose I'm spamming. Except I'm not sending random bulk e-mails. And the product offered is actually something useful. Even better for the targets, I'm not asking them to buy anything, just to require (or at least recommend) that their students buy it. So I suppose I'm not spamming after all.

How do I know I have a useful product besides the fact that if I made it it must be good? Because the first two college professors I asked to review it both adopted it into their course materials. And because all of the actual working professionals I asked to review it thought it was great too. Some even said they learned from it themselves.

Praise doesn't get any better than that.

So why didn't I start my e-mail campaign sooner? Because I know television storytelling a lot better than I know marketing, that's why. I should be happy the thought struck me at all.

I've sent out about 80 e-mails so far -- right during the holiday break when no one's in school to read them -- and I've still gotten more than a dozen requests for copies of the DVD. I've been collecting names and e-mail addresses for more contacts and will wait until after the new year to pitch to them. If the people I've already e-mailed come back next semester and flood me with replies, I don't want to run out of DVDs to send, especially considering I'm also filling some orders for paying customers.

I've got to set up a method for taking orders over the Internet. PayPal scares me. It's too much like a bank without any of the regulatory oversight. And I've read some horror stories. So I'm looking for alternatives. One recommendation I got was for It's got a low set-up fee and low commissions. If you know anything about this stuff and have ideas to pass along, please do!

Family Documentary

Still needing to acquire more pictures to complete the family documentary about my parents I've mentioned, I went ahead and finished the audio portion, minus any music I might decide to add later. I broke it down into eleven chapters and made mp3 files of each of them. Click on the title to play it.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Should I Worry?

Thanks to my new bestess buds at, I can see how many people visit my web site ( and even get some idea who they are. Don't worry, it doesn't give street addresses but it will say who the Internet Service Provider (ISP) is and what city it's based in.

That means if you visit me from an AOL account, it registers as coming from Reston, Virginia, so it's not like you're giving me the keys to your front door. Mostly it's a neat way of seeing that two people have come to my site from England and two from Canada.

Oh, and also to learn that my site's video page gets almost as much traffic as my home page thanks to people finding it by searching for things such as "girls fight," "kids fight" and "naked news clips." My apologies for the letdowns they must have suffered.

One visitor is apparently not disppointed. Thirteen times in the past two days, someone from the domain has made an appearance. So I paid a visit to and discovered that Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison is a law firm with offices in New York, Washington, Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong and London.

What on my site could possibly fascinate an international law firm enough that it would stop by more than a dozen times in two days? I don't know, either, but it's got me a little spooked. Maybe you can check it out for me and see what's on there that could get me sued.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Family Documentary

About a year ago, I got my parents to sit down and do interviews with me about their lives. Twelve months of procrastination later, I have finally finished a script for their story.

I put off recording my narration because I've had a cold and my voice isn't right but today I finally buckled down and recorded it. Looking at the .wav file of the recording in my sound editing software you can see my voice level weaken as I go through the 50 minute session. I didn't realize how much I had written but after editing it down to the takes I preferred, there was still almost 17-and-a-half minutes of my voice alone.

Never mind how much we're going to hear from my parents. This is a much more mammoth project than I thought. Maybe I wasn't procrastinating all year. Maybe I was working stuff out in my mind.

Oh, BS.

I have spent a considerable amount of time shooting video of and scanning the pictures going back more than 60 years that I'll use. I shot some video of Mom and Dad at the local horse racing track and some shots of Dad golfing. Plus, I discovered a video made from home movies my maternal grandfather had made when my mother was a child. They're in color!

Over on my video blog if you scroll down far enough you can see a couple of montages edited to music I made of my parents' lives. They run 3-4 minutes each.

This one will run 30-40 minutes it looks like.
Dover, Delaware is not a world-famous sports town. But twice a year it swells to accomodate tens of thousands of NASCAR fans who converge on Dover Downs International Speedway for NASCAR race weekends. The track began as a harness racing track for horse racing. A one-mile oval was added later for auto racing.

In June of 1989, Dale Earnhardt won the Budweiser 500 NASCAR Winston Cup stock car race at Dover with your humble correspondent on hand, shooting the race and later reporting the results.

Bud 500

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