My $25,000 day with Casey Kasem

Radio and voiceover legend Casey Kasem died today after a long battle with a disease that, sadly, left him speechless the last few years of his life.

Twenty years ago I had the opportunity to work with Casey Kasem for a day. (You can see some of the segments I co-produced on my YouTube channel starting with the one you see here.)


How Getty Images outmaneuvered the competition

Recently, I was speaking with Larry Urbanski of Urbanski Film. I was ordering some film storage supplies, and we started talking about the state of the stock footage business today.

I told Larry that I was with Getty Images, and I was making money each month. He seemed mildly surprised and speculated that the one way you could still make money with stock footage these days was to do what I was doing: ally yourself with Getty.

He seemed slightly nostalgic about the all of the stock footage houses that existed before Getty came along and gobbled up the market. There’s an element of truth to that, but I see things slightly differently.

I’ve been with Getty since 2002, and I’ve watched them do two things: buy up competitors and integrate their technologies into Getty’s site. Call Getty the Borg of Stock Footage.

However, from my perspective as a contributor, it doesn’t seem that banal and sinister. For instance, they bought up istockphoto and began to incorporate that site’s ability to provide previews of all of its still photo and film clip offerings. This was revolutionary back in 2009, and it’s exactly what customers wanted.

It was also a much better experience for everyone. In the old days, a customer would phone a rep at Getty and ask them to make a tape filled with clips of, say, a boy eating a sandwich at the kitchen table. Then Getty librarians would pull tapes from films that they knew contained shots like that and make the compilation tape. They would send it to the customer, and six days later, the customer could move forward with his video project.

This process was clunky and horrible. It had to change. Cue the internet.

With video previews and prices for clips available directly on their web site, Getty has totally streamlined the process for researching, inserting a watermarked preview clip into your edit timeline, and purchasing the clip online. I can’t begin to tell you what a giant leap forward this was for stock footage.

Competitors couldn’t keep up, and that’s why they’re either Getty contributors now, or they’ve simply disappeared.

As a contributor, it also meant that I could make more money, because customers could find my clips more easily. They no longer had to go through the Getty gatekeepers. (It’s also a sly business move for Getty, because they shift the responsibility of finding a clip back to the customer so that they can focus on speeding up transactions and making more content available.)

So where am I going with all this? Simple. You can be nostalgic about the good old days all you want. That’s fine. But don’t ask me to go back. The way stock footage was handled in the past was slow and frustrating. Today, thanks to Getty’s technological prowess, it’s as fast as a retail transaction. And that kind of innovation keeps Getty’s internal customers (contributors like me) and external customers satisfied.


Newest promotional video

It’s just like riding a bike. You never forget how!

I don’t do them much anymore, but my brother Dave needed some help promoting his app Paint Pro, so I wrote and co-produced a promotional video for him. I finished it about 3 weeks ago.

Dave and his partner Mitch run a software development company called Figure 8. They had entered a hackathon called The Evernote Devcup 2013. It’s a competition to see who can create the best app that integrates with Evernote.

One of the entry requirements is a 2-3 minute promotional video. I thought this would be a fun chance to “sharpen the saw” as Steven Covey called it, so I wrote the script in 4 or 5 hours.

Then I visited Dave in Cleveland to shoot his hand painting a bunch of white sheets of paper.

The following weekend I traveled down to Cincinnati to supervise the post-production, which was expertly handled by my friend Gary Templeton.

Gary did a great job and blogged about getting the chance to work with the Adobe CC suite. (Jeezus, he was shuttling back and forth between Premiere and AfterEffects more times than Politico trying to fact check a Michelle Bachmann speech!)

There are 181 entries in the contest. About 5 of the other videos are really any good. If they judge us on video quality alone, I think we have a good shot at being a finalist.

Finalists are announced on August 15th. Stay riveted to this page for more details!

Done! Finished! Uploaded!

Todd does Getty
It sucked my soul, but I did it. It eroded my spirit, but I finished it. It added lines to my face and took 18 months of my life, but I was grimly determined to upload all of my digitized car films to Getty Images.

Mission: accomplished.


My no-nonsense Adsense story

Not too many strangers visit this site. Those that do seem to be looking for information about one of two things:

  • Report cards and/or report card envelopes
  • AdSense

Although I’m here to talk about the latter, here’s some info about report cards: I got nothin’. Folks, I just wanted to share my 2nd grade report card from 1972. That’s all. I wrote that blog post almost two years ago. Nothing further to see or learn. Return now to your Google search. I wish you well, young padawans.

However, AdSense is a different story.