when something old is new again

it’s the time of year when the world starts anew…. and many of us look back at what we’ve done.   new year – it either gives a a sense of

sandy kowal - looking forward to.... something.

“better things to come” or “oh, no, not more of the same.” me, i tend to be melancholy. introspective.      each year its different for me.   this year i worry. what usually worries me is the sense of dread over things i can’t control…. like the economy, war, is God really listening to me? i do realize that worrying about stuff i can’t really control is probably not the best way to spend my time…  but i guess that’s what makes me who i am…   human a small business owner.

Don’t get me wrong i do feel blessed… by my relationships (yes, honey, i mean you), my fantastic job and the many gifts in my life.    life IS good.

i stumbled across this website last year… it’s like heaven for old discarded photos from a million years ago. when i get mucked in my melancholy madness i like to go look at these oldies but goodies. i like to look into the eyes of the proud parents with a newly hatched baby or the fancy ladies with fashionable hats or the fresh faced lovers on a date. they make me smile. they make my heart swell with hope. they make me look forward to better things coming in the new year… knowing that whenever i need to i can look back at this website, when something old is new again.   happy new year.

“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch!”

For me, part of getting into the Christmas spirit involves watching the animated Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! I remember, as a kid, lying on our living room floor surrounded by my sister, brother, and parents as we all watched.  As an adult, I usually miss it when it airs on TV, but I make sure I take the time to revisit it sometime before Christmas.

With the incredible computer-generated animation by the likes of Pixar, the hand-drawn animation of The Grinch seems so boring.  So flat.  Why, then, do we return to it year after year?  How does this short video gain a new audience with each generation?  It’s because Dr. Seuss knew how to write a good story.  The story draws us in.  And that’s true of all good videos.

At Tweedee Productions, we are storytellers.  What story do you want to tell?

A Seminal Event, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past

Over One Million Served…

There is much ballyhoo and hoopla around the Tweedee office these days, and it’s not just because of the holidays. For one thing, Mac Chorlton, our rangy and esteemed VP of Business Development, won the fan basketball shootout at the

Mac Chorlton Dominates in the Paint

half-time of the UW vs. Marquette basketball game! In honor of his big win we’re all wearing terrycloth headbands and high-tops all week. Mac will be selling autographs later this month.

And, there’s more hoo-ha! Last week, Gregg wrote about our Turkey Testicle Festival video closing in on one-million views. Definitely a seminal event here at Tweedee. Well, the tote board is flashing and the big band is playing.  As I write, nearly 1,060,000 viewers have watched. The power of a good story lives! (Probably didn’t hurt that the word “testicle” is in the title, either.) Sandy Kowal and Carrie Cokins will accept their Gold Tubee Awards at a ceremony to be arranged when we get around to it. Plus, Sandy won the informal office pool on when the video would hit a million. What a month for her! Now, she’s on jury duty.

Speaking of a good story…

Earlier this month, I took my 11-year old son to see Disney’s A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey. We both enjoyed it. More than 150 years after it was written, the story and lessons in Dicken’s classic still hold up for the young…and the less-than-young. Like many of you, I’ve seen and read the story before. This time, one exchange between the Ghost of Marley and Scrooge has been clinging to my brain like ice dams to the eaves of my house.

Scrooge says to the shackled Marley, “But, you were always a good man of business, Jacob.” The Ghost angrily replies, “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

For me,  those words are a great reminder of why our business exists in the first place. They carry even more weight during a time when so many are so focused on the next dollar…often with good reason. But, our relationships with people are at the core of everything we do. Thanks for being one of those people!

And, finally…

Our next Tweede-E-News (video newsletter) does homage to our own Ghosts of TV Christmases Past. If you grew up watching your local network affiliate, our video will bring back holiday memories. Stay tuned to our website…and Happy Holidays!

Dan waits for his appearance in the Tweedee Holiday Video

Turkey Testicles Go Viral

Tweedee Productions is currently riding one of those YouTube viral video phenomenons that you hear about.  By the time this blog entry is posted, we will probably crack the 1,000,000-view mark of a story about people eating a most unusual part of the traditional Thanksgiving bird.

It all started innocently enough back in the fall of 2008.  We assigned Sandy Kowal and our good friend Carrie Cokins to do a simple little story about the annual Turkey Testicle Festival (see video below) in the great city of Huntley, Illinois.  That’s right, a festival celebrating the eating of turkey testicles!  Deep fried.  Dippin’ sauce.  Tastes like chicken.  After much fun and frivolity, the story was put together and posted on Tweedee’s YouTube channel where it has lived in relative obscurity (by YouTube standards), generating only about 1,500 views throughout the year.

This fall, things changed.  It started with the organizers of the event asking for permission to post our testicle eating story on their web site.  At the time we thought any exposure was good exposure, right?  Besides, it would be nice if a few more people saw one of our videos, right?  Within a few days we started to notice a slight increase in the trickle of views.  A couple of mouse clicks later and that trickle turned into a flood.

As Thanksgiving 2009 approached and viewership continued to grow, we were amazed at the numbers we where getting.  In a matter of a few days we went from 3,000 to more than 150,000 views!  Over the long Thanksgiving weekend we surpassed 700,000 views.  It kept growing – 880,000 on December 4th – and growing – 950,000 on December 7th – AND GROWING!  Just when we thought that viewership would trail off, wham, another 20,000 views!

Up until now, in the vast video wilderness known as YouTube, we had never received more than a few thousand views for any of our videos .  So, naturally getting 1,000,000 views for any video let alone one about a testicle eating festival made us happy.  In YouTube numbers, however, it’s a drop in the digital bucket.  There are millions of videos on YouTube and millions of video producers trying to be the next big thing.  So why have viewers flocked to our video?  What has attracted viewers and, more importantly, kept them watching, prompting them to spread the video virally?  Apart from the rather unusual subject matter, it tells a story pure and simple.  It pulls you in, explains an event and leaves you with a good taste in your mouth (pardon the pun).  Simple is better.

Watch our video and share it with a friend – it’s the viral thing to do.

-GS

Thanksgiving

Steve Donovan, Senior Editor

I wanted to add onto Amy’s blog entry about television on the computer. I, too, am watching my shows on the computer. I’ve been building a collection of movies from iTunes for a while.

I noticed a few days ago that my living room and my office look a lot alike. They have seating to comfortably view the respective screens except the desk chair had to be moved for a proper unobstructed view of the computer. I’m interested how the crossover happens and if it even happens at all. The beauty of evolving technology is that it continues to give us options–allowing us to adapt the technology to how we live.

In terms of video/television/computer/internet crossover, there won’t be a silver bullet. There will continue to be many options available to adapt to our lives and how we like to live them.

To segue, I could say that lives are created through evolution. Many times, we don’t choose what we like but we turn down what we don’t like. I’m very fortunate that I’ve found so many things that make me very happy. This includes working for a company of people who care about the two very important things: 1. A Great Product 2. Me.

This past Spring, I presented a very rough idea of a short film that I wanted to make as a viral video for Tweedee Productions. Gregg was a little cloudy on the details and it was hard for me to explain how it would play out. As he began to add suggestions and ideas, I told him that I wanted to do it my way and asked for his permission to run with it. With very little hesitation, he told me that he would let me produce it and he would keep the details secret.

I finished it and I think it turned out great. Very funny and fun to email around. I’ll post it below.

This past month, the local awards for excellence in digital media WAVE Awards sponsored by the Media Communications Association Int’l honored my little movie! It received a honor in the Craft of Graphics & Animation.

People may bawk at self-serving awards but I was very proud to receive this. Thanks to all my bosses at Tweedee for letting me take a risk. They care about two very important things: 1. A Great Product 2. Me.

If you’re thinking about shopping around for a different/new production company or have an idea that might be risk taking, please consider us.Taking chances can pay off in a big way!