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More Than CONTENT, It’s COMMUNITY That’s King [aka How To Cultivate Online Relationships & Stuff That Matters]

You’ve heard the drum beat for a decade – ever since the innernets really started popping… “content is king”. As a content creator (both in front and behind the scenes) this has, of course, always made me feel great about my chances to succeed in cutting through the noise online. Pump out good content and you can make your mark. Welllll, I’ve come to know that this target is a moving one…and that, while content is the most TANGIBLE thing for us creative types to latch on to, I’ve come to revise my position over the past year or so that it’s actually waaaaay more that COMMUNITY that’s king. For one, the purpose of making and sharing content, is really to cultivate COMMUNITY (in this case you’re probably here because we’re all of the creative + photography communities, right?!). Whether it’s to feel good about what you’re making, get critiqued, make a living, expand your understanding, etc. For two, the pure act of making stuff is an amazing gift, but community PLUS content can definitely act as a better lever to drive your life/career/hobby/professional experience forward. In short, there are important things to know that’ll help you understand how to cultivate online relationships that matter.

So that gets me to a conversation I recently had with good friend, Brendan Gahan. As a long time agency strategist and super creative guy, Brendan has crafted (social) media campaigns for some of the biggest brands and media companies in the world including Pepsi, GE, and Virgin, to name a few. In 2012 he was named by Forbes as one of the “30 under 30: Brightest Minds in Marketing’. But that’ not what makes him qualified. Why he qualifies in my book is because he GETS IT.

In the recent past Brendan was also a guest on creativeLIVE with Ryan Holiday where the twitter feed and chat rooms went nuts when he was dropping knowledge bombs. Sooooo, I’ve chatted him up in such a way as to inform, share, bestow wisdom on us here in THIS HERE community that’s been growing for nearly a decade. The guy knows his stuff and he’s been a great resource for me and my work, his no BS approach will help you connect the dots from concept to execution. Take it away, Brendan. -Chase
________

Thanks, Chase.

“Community is king.” What does this mean?

In the times before the interwebs, when you wanted people to know about something you had to go through very clearly established and familiar forms of media:

- NEWSPAPER – RADIO – TELEVISION – PRINT

In a sense, these outlets acted as gatekeepers, and production of content was limited to people who could afford distribution through these channels.

Now communities gather on social platforms that make that sharing and connecting easy, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Chase understands this better than anyone – he’s built a reputation, business, and prestige based on the marriage of his art as much as the power of his audience.

Maybe you’re a singer and you have a new album.
Maybe you’re a photographer trying to generate customers.
Maybe you’re a theater and you have a new show coming up.

Regardless of what type of creator you are, you’re a marketer – and as such you face many, many challenges. Executing a social media campaign is one of those challenges, and before you draw up plans and start spending your budget, you should understand the lay of the land.

I get asked about social media and youtube marketing constantly. I’ve spent the last eight years working in the space. The framework I’ve outlined is the backbone I’ve applied to hundreds of social campaigns and shared with many of my friends. It’s constantly changing at every level and there’s always more to know.

This article doesn’t dig into the latest tools. This is not a list of 83 Tips. This is about excellent fundamentals and will help you get started on building your own audience regardless of your end goal.

I recently dug up an email that I wrote for a friend, but have since copied and pasted to share with others a dozen times or so whenever anyone else asks me for advice.

A QUICK NOTE BEFORE WE BEGIN:

The info below is helpful, but I’m assuming you’re two steps deep into the basic communication framework. I’m assuming you:

1. Already have a deep understanding of your target consumer, and
2. Know the story you want to tell.

This article addresses the functional steps that will help you get your message or content in front of your target audience. This article does not help you craft that message. If you don’t understand your consumer and the story that will resonate with them, nothing I share below is really going to help you.

So let’s break it out.

SOCIAL MEDIA 101
Where does all this start? You start with the three categories of media that are possible to generate online: Earned, Owned, and Paid. In laymen’s terms these are typically categorized by:

1. Earned Media – Buzz you generate (i.e., bloggers talking about you)
2. Owned Media – Distribution through the channels you operate
3. Paid Media – Ads/awareness you buy

1. EARNED MEDIA
Within the earned media space and engaging online influencers, take a three-step approach:

1) Identify Relevant Targets
2) Establish Incentive (i.e., what the benefit is to them)
3) Engage (i.e., reach out to them via email, phone, etc.)

Identify
If you know your target well you should have a good idea of what they’re already reading online. Use the sites you know as a jumping off point and identify additional, relevant sites with SimilarSites.com (which does exactly what it sounds like – recommends similar sites). Also, when you’re on a site you you’ve deemed relevant, visit the sites in the blogroll – most blogs and sites focused around the same topic help cross-promote one another. Also review who they’re communicating with and following on Twitter lists (I’ve outlined how to do this in the slideshare embedded in this post). If you’re really starting from scratch, you can search for blogs by entering the topics relevant to you using any of these sites:

http://blogsearch.google.com/
http://www.icerocket.com/
http://alltop.com/

Blogs are incredibly powerful, but a platform often overlooked is YouTube and online video creators. YouTube drives massive engagement – oftentimes moreso than blogs, tweets, facebook, etc. Just take a look at the average number of comments on videos – engagement is through the roof. To identify relevant YouTube ‘influencers’ simply search YouTube to see who’s already evangelizing your brand, product, topic. Nine times out of ten, their contact info can be found in the ‘about’ section of their channel. You can also view a directory of creators at vidstatsx.com.

It’s incredibly important to note that you want to focus on relevancy and engagement over reach. A blog with 10,000,000 monthly uniques that is mildly relevant is less valuable and far less likely to interact with you vs one that has 1,000 monthly uniques and covers your topic exclusively.

As you’re researching, you’ll want to collect data on who you’ve identified on an Excel sheet for each influencer, blog, site – entering summaries of their web presence for you to review and consolidate (Tim Ferriss has a great guest post on this process). I typically break this out into five basic sections (but you can tweak to suit your needs).

_Name

_Contact info

_Why they’re relevant

_Relationship (you or someone you know, knows them)

_Average engagement (comments, shares) per post

Once you’ve collected your list I recommend you review it and force yourself to whittle it down to the 5-10 most relevant outlets. This will ensure you’re focused on relevancy; you won’t end up sending a ton of spam, and that you’ve thought through your approach.

Incentive
When you reach out to people you want to answer the questions:

Why should this person share my story?
What value am I bringing them and their readers, viewers, followers?

It’s important to approach them with something that will incentivize them to post – make it easy for them to say yes. Can you offer them an exclusive trial of your product, interviews with the founders, etc.?

What can you do to make it worth their time to check out your product/brand and write about it?

Engage
Bloggers, YouTubers, and digital influencers get pitched constantly and its best to either have a relationship (ie your friends or acquaintances with these thoughtleaders in your space) or if at all possible get an introduction. Form real relationships with people that are of interest to you and the rest will fall in line. That said, I understand that it isn’t always possible to be best buds with everyone. So, when reaching out to people make sure to make it as custom to them as you can. They’re a person – use their name (not the blog’s name) when addressing them, call out articles relevant to them, etc., and don’t sell too hard.

I recommend a tease/intro email that hints at what you’ve got. Then, as soon as possible, escalate to a phone call. This allows you to become a real person and start building a real relationship vs. just being another email in their inbox.

PITCH TEMPLATE

Hi (Name),
I wanted to reach out because (insert brief explanation of what you’re doing – for ex, launching an album). I thought it might be relevant for (Site) because (insert example of similar stories covered by blogger in the past – for ex, they covered a similar artist and the post performed well). Any chance you’d think it would be a good fit?

I’d love to hop on the phone (insert time) if you think its something you’d be interested in (insert reference to incentive – for example, you could potentially provide a sneak peak to the demo before launch). Just let me know!

Best,
(insert name)

Here are some other great articles on how to ‘pitch’ a blogger:

21 Tips on Pitching to Bloggers
Make it a Win-Win Situation
20 Tips for Pitching Bloggers

2. OWNED MEDIA
When managing online communities, ie your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc you can really break things out into two categories:

1. Pro-active communications: e.g., events/initiatives you can plan for, and
2. Reactive communications: Responding to the community or current events, and whatever is happening in real time

Proactive:
On the proactive side you’ll want to create content calendars highlighting relevant holidays, events, product launches, etc., that you want to capitalize on.

Then, you’ll want to plan what you’re going to say. Here’s a great example of a content calendar template you can use.

Reactive:
Obviously it’s difficult to have someone sit in front of their computer all day long to interact with commenters, so I recommend utilizing a community management tool, which allows you to track fan engagement and schedule posts. These are a few I recommend–

Facebook & Twitter:

Hootsuite

Crowdbooster

Bufferapp

YouTube:

Tubular Labs

On the reactive side you’ll want to create guidelines outlining the various do’s and don’ts for how you react to the community (particularly if you delegate some of your community management). To accomplish this you’ll want to create an escalation chart, as well as community guidelines to outline how you respond to people.

NOTE – I highly recommend you invest in a presence on YouTube. As the second largest search engine, YouTube is an incredibly powerful marketing tool and its getting better every day. In my experience, I’ve seen engagement on YouTube to be much higher than most other social media platforms. Check out my post on YouTube Marketing, a one-stop hub/cheat sheet for all things YouTube.

3. PAID MEDIA
If you want to grow your community or distribute content quickly, paid media can be a great option. Across Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, I recommend buying directly through the platform for small scale buys (i.e., less than $5k-10k).

Never use a service that makes bold promises, such as ‘1000 fans for $50’ – those are just bots/fake followers and aren’t going to provide any value.

Each platform has relatively simple self-serve advertising platforms – Twitter and YouTube being easiest (in my opinion) with Facebook’s ad marketplace being a great tool, but potentially cumbersome if you’ve never bought ads online before.

Here are the links to self serve ad dashboards for each platform:
Twitter
Facebook
YouTube

TRACKING
By now you’ve built up some buzz, begun to cultivate and manage your community and you want to understand how things are performing.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the analytics options out there and have difficulty differentiating the signal from the noise. There are a lot of great tools out there and each has their pro’s and con’s. I won’t go into the paid options here (although there are a lot of great ones), instead I recommend starting out some of the great free options out there, including PeopleBrowsr & Topsy.com for Twitter, Facebook Insights on choose. Wildfire’s social monitoring tool is great if you want to do some competitive analysis. For YouTube I recommend using VidIQ’s chrome plug in, and SocialBlade for competitive research.

BUILDING YOUR OWN COMMUNITY
The reality is, the basic stuff is simple — marketers, pundits, ‘gurus’, ninjas, et al tend to overcomplicate this form of communication. That does not mean that it’s easy – it takes a great deal of time and effort. However, with this info you can begin to generate awareness, manage your social media profiles and have a deep understanding of what’s working for you.

So what’s your passion, your goal, the community you want to cultivate and craft you want to promote? When you can effectively master the steps and processes I’ve outlined, you can build your business, gain recognition for your craft, and develop social media campaigns brands pay millions for.

Start at the fundamentals. Where is my audience spending time? How can I provide value to influencers to ensure I’m relevant to them? How do I engage my existing community and where can I amplify my efforts through paid media – then track success? It’s all there.

What is the community you are going to build?

Check out Brendan’s slideshare of this post below:

Visit Brendan’s blog to read more social media and youtube marketing strategies.

Iceland’s Endless Light – chasejarvisRAW

After years of finger-crossing and well-wishing, I finally got the chance to visit Iceland on a commercial shoot a couple months ago. It was worth the wait, but I can’t say I’d want to wait that long again to return. Iceland was the definition of magical, and the light was to die for. And it went on. And on. We put in 16-hour days and grabbed a TON of shots and footage [see some of the behind-the-scenes stills from the shoot here], almost too much to cram into one short RAW vid. If you dig what you see, tell us in the comments below, cuz we’re considering putting together a Part II.

Once again I’ve got to give a shout out to ProFilm for hooking us up with Marteinn Ibsen and Arnaldur Halldórsson, two incredible local producers who drove us across their land to all the must-see and must-shoot spots. Our time with them serves as a lesson to anyone heading abroad for travel or a shoot: get in with some locals early or ahead of time to get pointed in the right direction, particularly if you’re short on time.

As is customary these days, we took to the air, chartering helicopters and flying affordable drone quadcopters too. [Stay tuned for a special chasejarvisTECH episode featuring some ill-fated experimentation with the DJI quadcopter and a roll of gaffer's tape.]

Music by Big Chocolate.

How to Sell Yourself Without Selling Out [RE-WATCH the Legendary Marc Ecko on chasejarvisLIVE]

Let’s face it… it’s a complete myth that your work will just “be discovered” and that your personal brand just “happens.” These are topics that simply cannot be reduced to sound bites and can’t be left to happenstance. In case you missed last week’s LIVE broadcast of chasejarvisLIVE, we brought on brand luminary Marc Ecko and spent a full 90 minutes uncovering the core principles of Marc’s 20-year-long rocket ship of a career as an artist & entrepreneur.

Some top takeaways from the episode:

_Compete with your ideas – not dollars.
_The system will try to make you think you are not an artist – be a creator anyway.
_You can be a great artist AND a great entrepreneur
_By definition, a Community is about what you ARE, but also about what you AREN’T
_Creativity is a messy process. You have to be comfortable with the mess.
_It’s not what you make – it’s how you make people FEEL.

Marc is the man. He is THE Marc Ecko — the hugely successful graffiti artist-turned-entrepreneur whose Ecko Unltd and Complex Magazine brand platforms (which started in his parents’ garage) are now worth more than a BILLION dollars. Marc came on the show to help you and me understand personal authenticity, personal brand and how to apply them in your life and career. We also got an insider’s look into his new book, “Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out “ – which – if you can afford the $15 bucks should definitely purchase. I read it cover to cover on a single flight SEA to NYC last week and I’m on my second read now. LOTS of nuggets in there.

Here’s a few BTS shots from the episode:

5 Travel Hacking Tips & Why Your Creativity Needs a Vacation Right Now

ChaseJarvis_Chris Guillebeau_Travel Hacker

[UPDATE: This class is happening RIGHT NOW at creativeLIVE: here]

Among other wonderful benefit, travel is known to inspire creativity. And for those of you who want to travel but don’t think you have the means… allow me to (re-)introduce you to my pal Chris Guillebeau is a globe trotting, “self employed for life” hacker. He is also the founder of the World Domination Summit (most amazing name ever for a creative conference…) and the best-selling author of The $100 Startup as well as The Art of Non-Comformity. When Chris appeared on chasejarvisLIVE earlier this year I heard from a lot of you that you want to travel, but didn’t have the means..

Soooo…I begged him for a followup post to help you and I hack the system.

As such, in advance of his free creativeLIVE course on Travel Hacking which is running RIGHT NOW (tune in here), he agreed to lay out a specific foundation for us here to make worldwide travel a reality for more than just the rich… Take it away, CG.

Thanks Chase. Over the past ten years I’ve built a hybrid career from travel hacking, a way of seeing the world on a limited budget. It amazes me how many people find traveling — and even the idea of a vacation — out of reach. Whenever I tell people about the next country I’m visiting, they respond the same way, over and over: “I wish I could do that.”

I usually reply with a question: “What’s keeping you from it?”

The answers are always resoundingly the same: I don’t have the money, I don’t have the time, I’m waiting until I retire.

It’s not just the people I meet who feel this way. Here are a few statistics:

● A Harris Interactive study found that 57% of Americans will have unused vacation time at the end of the year.
● On average, American workers surrender 11 unused paid vacation days the end of the year — 70 percent of their allotted time off.
● According to a study from Hotwire, 87% of Americans would take more trips if they had the time and money to do so.

The problem isn’t lack of time or lack of money; the problem is how we choose to spend our resources. We choose what we value, either consciously or unconsciously — and Americans are clearly unconsciously choosing work over play.

When’s the last time you took a vacation? Here’s why you need to start planning your next trip today:

If not now, when? People often tell me they’re waiting until retirement to invest resources and time in traveling. While I don’t see anything wrong with delaying gratification, I do see a major problem in doing so to avoid living the life you want. You will not lose your job because you take a vacation. Don’t fool yourself into believing busyness is how you earn happiness.

There is no substitute for new experiences. For me, the more I have traveled, the more I learn, and the more I realize how big the world really is. Leaf Van Boven, a psychologist at the University of Colorado, has found that people are made happier by new life experiences than by material possessions. Visiting a new country exposes you to new sights, smells, tastes, and sounds. A trip is an incomparable investment in your memory bank.

You can afford it. Most people reading this have limited time and limited money. I’ve spent a lot of my own time figuring out how to help you save money — so you can spend your downtime unwinding and making new experiences, not cutting coupons to nickle and dime on that dream vacation you want to take in 20 years.
Here are 5 innovative travel hacks you can start using right now:

1) Never let airline miles expire. Make use of the airline miles you have and never let them go to waste. If you have miles that are getting close to expiring don’t believe the myth that you have to fly to keep them- you only have to have activity in your mileage account. Redeem a few miles to buy a magazine subscription or check out the airlines facebook page to see if they have any offers to get a few quick and easy miles. Some airlines offer promotions that will give you 500 miles for liking a page, watching a video or playing a social media game. All of these action (or shopping online- see #3) will keep your miles in business.

2) Track glitch fares. Once in awhile, airlines will screw up and price one of its fares incredibly low. This is an accidental glitch that will eventually be fixed — but, if you spot these glitches before the airline does, you can save thousands of dollars. One of my readers who alerted me to a special deal on Business Class flights from Malaysia to any airport in Canada. A ticket that normally would cost $2500 was showing up in the system priced at $630. I went to Malaysia twice using that single glitch fare, and even earned elite status with Delta thanks to the offer. Pay attention to the mistake fare forum at milepoint.com

3) Multiply your miles for online shopping. Whenever you buy online use an airline’s mileage mall portal to get extra points for your purchase. Some shops offer 2x – 10x bonus miles per dollar spent just for clicking on their link to get to the store you were going to buy from anyway. Check what sites are offering the best bonuses the day you shop at www.evreward.com.

4) Play the credit card game. Sign up for a new credit card and get up to 50,000 airline miles as a bonus. That’s enough miles to book a free ticket for the European holiday you think you can’t afford. See what credit cards are offering the best bonuses at www.cardsfortravel.com

5) Buy gift cards. Know what bonuses your credit cards offer for spending and take advantage of them. If you get a 2x – 5x point per dollar bonus at office supply stores, drug stores or supermarkets take advantage of the system to buy reloadable gift cards for restaurants, gas stations and your favorite shops. My Chase business card gets me 5 miles per dollar at Office Depot but only one mile per dollar at gas stations. My solution is to buy $50 gas station gift cards and then use these to get gas. Not only do I get 250 miles for my fill up instead of 50 (at one mile per dollar) — I also get the cash price at the pump for using a “cash” gift card.

Of course, this is just the beginning. but get off your bootie and make it happen. 30 min of strategy today can to set this stuff up can pave the way for at least one free trip each year and many more if you’re on your A-game.

##

REMINDER Chris is offering a free creativeLIVE online course that will reveal how he travels the world, upgrades to first class and gets to travel and photograph the world LARGELY FOR FREE with his How to Become a Travel Hacker course. It’s LIVE RIGHT NOW. Tune in HERE.

ChaseJarvis_photo_Chris Guillebeau

How to Sell Yourself Without Selling Out [Legendary Marc Ecko TODAY on chasejarvisLIVE, Oct 9]

20131009 cjLIVE Marc Ecko Home Page Graphic

UPDATE: The LIVE broadcast is TODAY October 9 – 11am SEA time (2pm NYC -19:00 London) – mark your schedules and flip your dial to http://www.chasejarvis.com/live. My guest — the legendary Marc Ecko — will give you the most important tool kit that an artist can know outside one’s craft —> how to sell yourself without selling out.

Let’s face it… it’s a complete myth that your work will just “be discovered” and that your personal brand just “happens.” These are topics that simply cannot be reduced to sound bites and can’t be left to happenstance. We’ll go a full 90 minutes and uncover the core principles of Marc’s 20-year-long rocket ship of a career.

Why Marc? He is THE Marc Ecko — the hugely successful graffiti artist-turned-entrepreneur whose Ecko Unltd and Complex Magazine brand platforms (which started in his parents’ garage) are now worth more than a BILLION dollars. The same Marc Ecko who conceived, shot + starred in the controversial “Still Free” video that made its interweb rounds back in ’06 and featured a hooded Ecko sneaking across a guarded runway to tag the above words on AirForce One (it was actually a replica). But – again – Marc isn’t coming on #cjLIVE to tell stories about tagging antics – he’s coming to help you and me understand personal authenticity, personal brand and how to apply them in your life and career. We’ll also get an insider’s look into his new book, “Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out.”

WHO: You, Me, Artist/Entrepreneur Marc Ecko + a worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, Oct 9, 11:00am Seattle time (2pm NYC time or 19:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into www.chasejarvis.com/live. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE

chasejarvis_markecko

HELP US PIMP THE SHOW AND WIN STUFF.

We’re giving away two prizes before the show:

1) signed copies of Marc’s new book and
2) $200 free @creativeLIVE course credits

To enter, just help us promote the show starting RIGHT NOW.

Send out a creative tweet OR Facebook post (pointing back to my Fbook page so we can find it) promoting the show and be sure to INCLUDE #cjLIVE + @marcecko + the short url to THIS blog post.

We’ll select a few of the best ones at the beginning of the show, give you a shout-out, and one of these great prizes.

DURING THE SHOW.  THIS IS BIG!!!  You’ll have to tune in to find out more. But I can say we’re giving away

@BorrowLenses discounts

AND…wait for it… the NEW GoPro Hero3+ (estimated retail value of $399.99)

JOIN US IN THE STUDIO.
Want to be part of the live studio audience? We’ll invite the first 20 people who send an email to production@chasejarvis.com to join us +1 guest. You’ll receive a confirmation email with attendance details if you’re 1 of the first 20.

Peep the Unlabel book promo here:

How to enter here.  Official Contest Rules here.

Photoshoots with Flying Cameras, Bulldozers & World Class Athletes [plus Other Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Antics from my Aspen Campaign]

Snow cats. Flying cameras and world-class athletes.  Couple-o-sunrises. One of the most unique locations I’ve found in my career (a coal mine?!) and a superfun campaign for one of the top mountain destinations in the world…here’s behind the scenes for my most recent campaign to drop –> Aspen.

ChaseJarvis_20130313_CJ_Aspen_3_AAA1167_Edited_2rev

This past March, you might have caught wind of my live updates while shooting the 2013-2014 campaign for my friends at Aspen/Snowmass ski resort. In the midst of the controlled chaos of a high-altitude photoshoot, while obsessing over the weather, we were able to share a few the scenes photos. chasejarvis_aspen
Today we’re dropping “ChaseJarvisRAW: Aspen/Snowmass Behind the Scenes” timed to coincide with the launch of the campaign in action sports magazines worldwide. We’re also sharing those ads below (See below for a few examples with the original photos) before they land in magazines and on billboards worldwide.

As is always the case with a project of this scope, the story behind the final imagery is something I enjoy sharing via the photos or videos themselves.

Last March, we rolled into Aspen with a fast-n-light crew of six of my Seattle-based team to join Aspen’s marketing + media teams and their creative agency Factory Labs) To produce this video and the images below, we coordinated around 45 people and quite the pile of gear in an unpredictable, high-altitude, always-changing environment over a span of 5 days. Standard challenges apply

Working in an alpine environment can be difficult, but there’s another challenge to shooting in Aspen: telling a unique story about one of the most written about, filmed and photographed places on Earth. So we ventured north from Aspen into the Roaring Fork valley looking for a new angle. And we found it.

Backstory on our unique location and how it tied to the campaign. Aspen Skiing Company is one of America’s most outspoken corporations on climate change, and it backs up its talk with innovative efforts to both mitigate its own pollution and to model climate-friendly business practices. That’s smart, forward thinking for an industry that depends on consistent snowfall for its survival – so we incorporated this into on of our shoot locations….
ChaseJarvis_Davenport20130312_Aspen_1_AAA9873 So here’s the crazy part – Aspen’s newest addition to their sustainability program is based at the Elk Creek Coal Mine. How does that make sense you say? Here’s how it works: First, Aspen BUILT & OWNS A system that captures methane emissions vented from mine (a mine that has been under operation for a long time – no going back on that) and uses this gas to generate electricity, which is fed into the grid. NOT the coal, but capturing the energy put off by the off gassing. By preventing the methane—a greenhouse gas twenty three times more harmful that carbon dioxide—from entering the atmosphere, the project eliminates three times the carbon pollution that Aspen Skiing Company creates each year. Boom. If that’s not thinking outside-the-box then I don’t know what is. It also happened to be a perfect place to find a unique photograph. So we went to the mine to capture a gritty, industrial snow shoot with this, what I consider a unique backstory, about how Aspen is being inventive around how it invests in clean power.

Shooting on location in the mountains comes with the usual crazy challenges: cold weather, even colder hands and feet, crazy wind, scorching sun and altitude, but shooting at a coal mine with skiers and snowboarders – that was a first for me as a professional and a wicked creative way to tell this great story. And were the bulldozers, cranes, choppers and other nifty things we needed to build the shoot.

But that is what makes Aspen great – they do things differently and allow the artists that work with and for them to operate that way too. While some of my previous BTS videos show that originality, we wanted the focus of this video to be the ways we captured the photos, the people, the athletes and the action. We skied, hiked, snow-catted, ate, drank, danced, piled gravel and pipes and laughed our way through this job – a helluva a lot work, but even more fun. Hope you enjoy. Here are some of the images and the final ad creatives:

chasejarvis_coalmine_aspensnowmass

Chasejarvis_coalmine_aspensnowmass

ChaseJarvis_chrisdavenport
ChaseJarvis_Dav_BurntMountain_Powder_NovResortGuide_FINAL

If you’ve ever wondered what we use for a video and photo shoot like this…here are the essentials on our GEAR LIST:
[Available from Adorama]

// (2) Nikon D4 bodies
Nikon 14-24mm f2.8
24-70mm f2.8
70-200mm f2.8

// BTS camera kit:
Canon 5D MarkIII, 16-35mm f2.8, 24-105mm f4, 70-200mm f4, 35mm f1.4

// Sony F3 35mm f2, 50mm f2, 85mm f2
// Kessler CineSlider
kessler pocket dolly
kessler electra drive for timelapses

// (1) Octa-copter

// (7) GoPro Hero 3s – strapped to my head, my leg, to an octo-copter…and more.

// Broncolor Scoro 3200S
(2)Broncolor Unilite 1600,

Some other nuts and bolts from the shoot that are not obvious from the BTS vid, but that you might be interested to know:

// The Elk Coal Creek Mine/Aspen initiative is the first project west of Mississippi to turn coal-mine methane into electricity,

// Among the many shredders we worked with is legendary Chris Davenport, one of the best skiers of all time. Chris has climbed and skied all 50+ 14,000 peaks in Colorado in one year and recently skied off Everest. Follow him here @steepskiing. Total badass. Consummate pro. And he’s in Washington DC lobbying for climate solutions as you read this.

// We shot the entire campaign and video in 5 days

// Aspen is releasing a 6-part series to go with this campaign video – tune in here.

Also – final note. MY GOODNESS is the band responsible for the rocking tunes in the video. Three songs in the video: Check your Bones, Lost in the Soul and Cold Feet Killer. If you dig the tunes, you can listen to an entire live performance they did shot by cjLIVE here in video form, and you can also stream the performance on soundcloud here. Please enjoy – take a listen, and share with your friends.

Learn more about My Goodness here - http://www.facebook.com/MyGoodness

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I Will Give You $50,000 + a VIP Trip to NYC + I’ll Be Your Mentor For Life

I’m not much known for just dipping my toe in the water. And this is no exception.

“It’s gotta be real money and real access” I said.
“How about $50,000 cash, plus a trip to NYC to receive your mentorship and spend some quality time with you.”
“Um. DEAL.”

An that’s how it went down on the phone with my friends at Shopify, the powerful e-commerce website solution that allows you to sell online by providing everything you need to create an online store. In short I will be giving one winner — one of YOU — a check for $50,000 and a promise to be a mentor for life if you start an online business using Shopify and earn more money than anyone else in the Art & Photography category. I’m not getting a cent from this. This is all about firing up our community of creatives and helping make shit happen. So join me by entering.

Even more news? Since this is a diverse readership, let’s say instead of Art & Photography you prefer Music, Electronics & Gadgets, Jewelry & Crafts, Health & Beauty, Food & Beverage, Fashion & Apparel, Sports & Recreation, or…hell…anything else! Then you’re in luck because the competition extends to you too. But if you win one of these other categories you will be assigned another mentor… How bout billionaire Mark Cuban? Or Tim Ferriss? It’s THAT good. In fact here’s the complete list of my peers with whom I’m working on this project for you to choose from:

_Lil Jon (hip hop legend)
_Tim Ferris (4 hour everything)
_Tina Eisenberg (aka swissmiss)
_Selita Ebanks (model & health star)
_Gary Vaynerchuk (wine & food guru)
_Damond John (founder of FUBU – star of shark tank)
_Mark Cuban (billionaire entrepreneur/owner of Dallas Mavericks
_Arianna Huffington (media maven)
_and yours truly

chase jarvis mentor build a business shopify

Never before in history have creativity & business come together in such an obvious, simple and radiant fashion. Like Gary V says in the above video, “This is the most practical time in the history of time to be an entrepreneur. If you even have 1% of a thought about doing it [starting a business], do it.”

YOU’RE SAYING RIGHT ABOUT NOW…

SO HOW DO I WIN? The short version is that you if you start a business with Shopify and have the most sales in your category over a particular window between NOW and MAY 2014, then you win. The longer, more detailed version of all that is here on the Shopfiy site. There is plenty of time to kick ass and sell your heart out, but the time to start is now.

AND WHAT DO I WIN AGAIN?

You win a check for $50,000 USD. Shopify will fly you to NYC to join me & the other mentors and winners (that’ll be a nice gathering), and then I will be your business mentor for life. (Or if you’re in another category, you’ll get mentorship from THAT categories mentor).

Boom.

Again, YOU have the tools and vision to win this sucker, it’s all about focusing on your passion, using your business skills, and making shit happen. I’m doing this purely out of love and a desire to see creative businesses thrive. I’d appreciate your helping me spread the word by linking, pointing, RT’ing FB’ing whatever you can to contribute to this cool contest. I’ll be doing lots of talking about this over the next several months, so get used to it. This might just be your big chance. All the details can be found here.

The Biggest Photo Education Event in History – creativeLIVE Photo Week [Public Service Announcement]

This is it, folks. Er at least I think it is…the biggest single photography education event in history. Last February creativeLIVE drew 150,000 people together from 178 countries around Photoshop…and today’s kickoff aims to be much larger. PhotoWeek is 6 days of FREE, live instruction from over 50 of the photo industry’s leading instructors. creativeLIVE Photo Week has pulled together some of the biggest names in commercial, outdoor and wedding photography and devoted THREE separate channels to broadcast a nutty amount of instruction and inspiration your way.

It all starts TODAY, September 16, 9:00 PT. Mark your calendars. [Click for the full Photo Week schedule breakdown.]

ADDITIONALLY – you may have heard the news. In addition to its “normal” location here, you will also find this week’s superdope forthcoming epsiode of chasejarvisLIVE is being simulcast here on creativeLIVE as well. In this coming episode, we’ll be spreading the effing brilliant words and vision of Austin Kleon. If you know who he is – your mind just blew up. If you don’t, you should get the details on him and this upcoming episode here. Join us. SRSLY.

Here’s some cool promo’s. First one emotive, second one funny as hell IMHO>

Lastly, LOOKING FOR MORE THAN INSTRUCTION / HOW BOUT A LITTLE FEEDBACK? This is for you too. In conjunction with Photo Week, creativeLIVE is running the Photo Week Critique contest. This is your chance to have your work examined by professionals, live and on air. By submitting, you’ll also put yourself in the running for some nice schwag, including a Canon 5D Mark III. Check out the Photo Week Critique page for contest rules and instructions to enter.

**and if you don’t already know that i’m a cofounder of creativeLIVE, that’s strange, but I’ll let you know…in this case consider this your disclosure my dear friends…

Photogs Aren’t Good With Money– 9 Tips for Sticking to Your Photo + Video Production Budget

ChaseJarvis_productionWe artists often suck at managing productions and budgets. We all have to get thru that stuff in the early days, but if you are numbers/manager challenged, my first piece of advice is bringing a producer into your shoots as soon as you can make it happen. That allows you to focus on your craft. Having said that, my staff producer Megan has had a ripping series of posts going on, including this one aimed at those of you who are either managing these budgets yourself or moving into hiring your own producer. Megan is my awesome-sauce staff producer and almost entirely responsible for all estimating for incoming project requests, all line producing, making sure we stay on budget, helping me realize the creative vision and then reconciling (or capturing actual costs) once the project is complete. Safe to say she rocks it. While there are a thousand resources available online to help you write an estimate; you’ll want to listen to Meg – here she offers up some tips for staying on that all important budget during your production. And there are 3-5 more links at the bottom to help you even more w your productions. Best of luck – take it away Megan.

Thanks Chase. There are 3 main components to any photo estimate: creative fees, production fees + expenses, licensing + usage rights. The creative + usage fees will only be impacted by a change in scope of work or deliverables, so it’s really about keeping an eye on the production fees + expenses when you’re thinking about budget and planning.

The fact of the matter is that the more accurate your estimate is, the easier it will be to stay on track once the production is underway. As with most things in life, practice makes perfect, so stick with it. Here are my top 9 tips for staying on top.

1. Get clear:
Make sure you have a strong understanding of the project parameters before you start the job. Ask for a creative brief, shot list or any info that may help paint a clearer picture. The more you know in advance, the better equipped you’ll be to produce the job on time + on budget. Get it in writing – budgets and all the info you need (see later tip ;) – so you have something to point to while doing all the work).

2. Research:
This step is especially useful if you’re traveling but applies to everything. When you’re drafting the initial estimate, check out the going rate for flights, hotels in the neighborhood, per diem + mileage rates for the state you’re shooting in, car rentals, baggage fees, etc.

Booking talent? Call an agency or two and ask about day rates and availability.

Renting equipment? Call your local shop to make sure you know how much to budget for each piece – and make sure it’s available!

3. Plan ahead:
Regarding travel, keep in mind that flight costs generally rise as you get closer to your travel date. Try to book 2 weeks in advance to avoid getting gouged, or make sure your estimate is padded enough to account for higher rates.

Reach out to contractors early on to check on rates + availability. Most folks are willing to work within your budget constraints if they’re not super busy and if you’re transparent about the job.

4. Over-communicate:
Set super clear expectations with both your clients + crew. How long will the shoot day be (realistically)? Is there budget for overtime? If not, make sure everyone knows what the hard stop is. Provide crew with as many shoot day details as possible. Share scope of work, schedule, etc. so there are no surprises + everyone knows what’s expected of them on set.

One of the biggest mistakes I see from junior producers is that they fear talking about things that “might” happen or the uncomfortable cost issues that arise from evolving plans. This is not a good quality. Turn this kryptonite into a strength – be open and willing to chat about budget and all things like it — and you will have separated yourself from 90% of the cost and client management challenges. Be proactive.

5. Get it in writing:
See my note above. Consider drafting deal memos for contractors to outline the length of shoot day, agreen-upon rate + hourly O/T costs, should the shoot go long.

Client wants to add a shot? Have them sign a change order, outlining how the extra shot will impact the bottom line; don’t forget to include crew + location O/T.

Even the most basic stuff should be captured in an email so everyone is on the same page – and if there are any discrepancies you can always refer back to what you’d agreed to. In the biz they call this the paper trail.

6. Know your pinch points:
For those of us that have been doing this a while, we’re able to readily identify the places we tend to get in trouble. The most common areas are food + travel. You might have to get creative in order to stay on budget in these categories, but keep an eye out for places you might be able to make up any overages.

7. Keep a running tally:
Plug receipt totals into an “Actuals” column as you go, so that you always know where you stand. It will help you easily identify if and where you’re over budget, and where you have a little wiggle room.

Don’t let yourself get surprised. Always know where you stand relative to what you’re spending.

8. Allow for contingencies:
Be sure to include the fine print as part of your estimate (as a Terms + Conditions addendum), or as part of a larger contract. Identify who’s responsible for what, outline protocol for any major changes + how any disputes will be handled. For instance, if your shoot is outdoors, include a note about how weather delays will be handled.

Agencies will often issue a PO for the exact dollar amount of your estimate. You’ll want to know how to go about submitting an estimate for unforeseen overages (i.e. you arranged + paid for your client’s car to the airport, or you ended up shipping all product back to your client’s office).

There is an art to this. Practice makes perfect.

9. Be smart:
Your clients are hiring you for your creative vision. You may be able to offer some ideas your client hadn’t considered or find solutions to get the intended results at a lower cost. Pipe up. Don’t be afraid to propose a more cost-effective solution, as long as your client’s needs are met.

Want some more Production advice? Try these on for size:

10 Essentials to Go the Extra Mile [For Clients + Crew]
Deliver With Style – 6 Tips for Delivering Files to Clients
How to Prepare for Your Commercial Photo or Video Shoot

That’s all I got for now folks. Try keeping these things in mind on your next shoot, and let us know if they helped. Also, feel free to chime in with other tips or tricks that you’ve found especially useful – I’ll keep an eye on the comments and the social feeds with some answers. Until next time!

The Big Dogs Are Wobbling Like Drunkards [Time for Us Small Dogs to Sharpen Our Knives]

If you’re looking for your next creative breakthrough or if you’re in a job you hate and looking to make a change, this video from Dan Wieden of legendary Wieden + Kennedy agency in Portland is a worthy 15 min of your time. The intro is slow (a Portland love fest…) so skip in a few min if you’re watching the clock.

Here’s what’s in this video that I like:

- dan is a really likeable guy
- dan’s speech echoes my belief that creativity is the new literacy
- dan eloquently voices the idea that constraints & failures lead to creativity
- small is beautiful
- mistakes are the building blocks of knowledge

Take a look at some of the agency’s work over the years.

NEW Update from GoPro. Shoot, edit, and go social with photos + videos

Apparently as a followup to my well-timed and very handy video I put out this week (check it), my favorite camera manufacturer today announced the launch of a new app. It’s getting really slick my friendz. While you could control the Hero3 cameras with earlier version of the app (view – start -stop – etc) the newest version of the app allows you the same ability to control the camera, but you can now remotely view the images and videos on the camera and–here’s the kicker — edit + share them from the app for iphone, android, and windows phones.

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From today’s TechCrunch article: “The app is simple enough. It connects to GoPro cams through a WiFi signal, giving owners a large set of available tools. The cameras can be viewed and controlled from a smartphone or tablet, for one –this includes adjusting the dozens of available settings on each little guy. Owners can also view, manage and download content from the camera to their phone. From there, it can be shared like any other media. Upload the action to Geocities or FriendFeed like you would any other picture.”

This update illustrates why I opened this post with “my favorite camera manufacturer”. It’s not because they are overwhelmingly the best. Sure I love them. Not sure I could make my living with just a GoPro, but truth be told it’s really what they stand for and where they’re going that make me love them the most. Like I told the New York Times a while back — it’s 5 years past due when Nikon and Canon should have had this sort of reliable technology built in small packages to allow creative photographers to shoot, edit, and share their work in new and novel ways.

Dear Canon and Nikon,
I know I’ve been telling you this stuff for 5+ years. I’m sure other pros and consultants and bean-counters have too. So why is this so hard?

ASIDE: given that you are reading this post, you’ll probably want to know how I pack my GoPro’s to travel everywhere I go. Here’s a quick post and a short vid.

AND here’s their cutsy little promo vid illustrating the emotional bits…

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