Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The World's First Multimedia Press Release by an Octogenarian!

By Steve Kayser

Okay. Maybe a slight fabulist prevarication ... but on a nano scale. A miniscule, dissimulated equivocation at most.


Yes, I did help write and create the The World's First Social Media News Release by an Octogenarian!

I know Mark Miller, the writer, actor, producer and director of Christmas Mountain: The Story of a Cowboy Angel ... which the press release was about. I helped write the world's first Social Media News Release (SMNR) by an octogenarian -- for Mark Miller. We're friends, introduced through each other's writings. Mark is the consummate pro, his career spans from the 1950's until today in TV, film and print.

I wanted great things for him. To plant the "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" octogenarian flag of immortal conquest on the new lands of the Social Media News Release (SMNR). Mark Miller has earned the right.

What does that mean? Well, let's see.He went to film school with a lady named Grace Kelly.
She called him "Herbie" (don't ask). Grace later became known as ...

Princess Grace of Monaco - and still called him "Herbie" when she saw him.

He's acted in the "Twilight Zone," wrote screenplays such as "A Walk in the Clouds," starring Keanu Reeves, an award-winning family film called "Savannah Smiles," and many others. He's appeared in "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "General Hospital," "Barnaby Jones," "I Dream of Jeannie," "Gunsmoke," "Adam 12," "The Waltons," "Marcus Welby M.D.," and on and on and on.

On and On and On

When I say on and on and on, I don't just mean writing and acting. The on and on and on runs in the family.

Mark is also the father of

Penelope Ann Miller and Marisa Miller both noted actors as well. I'm not sure who that guy is in the picture with Penelope. His name was Carlito in the film though. I'll have to send this picture to Mark and tell him it looks like she is hanging out an unsavory looking fellow. Mark is still going strong at 82. Incredible huh? Mark Miller was an Indie film producer before the term was in vogue. In fact, Christmas Mountain: The Story of a Cowboy Angel was an Indie film. He wrote the story, raised the money, produced the film.

Shortly after Christmas Mountain was released he wrote, produced and starred in an award-winning, all-time family classic called Savannah Smiles.

A Really Hard-to-Believe But True Story

About 2 years ago someone introduced him to a screenplay called Acceptance Bridge. He loved the story and wrote by hand (yes, it is still possible to find someone who can actually write a letter - if they have the requisite technology - paper, pen or pencil) a letter to the author telling him what a great story Acceptance Bridge was.

Unaccustomed to Favorable Reviews

The writer, unaccustomed to favorable reviews ... waited for an accompanying solicitation from Nigeria telling him there was $10 million dollars just waiting to be deposited into his account for safekeeping ... if only the writer send his social security number, license number, bank and checking account numbers asap and all other applicable private financial data to a PO Box number in Nigeria.


But the scam email never came. Why? Because it wasn't a scam. Mark Miller had taken the time to hand-write a note to the author because he truly loves "stories" with heart, spirit, soul and a positive message.


Well, that writer was me.

Even a blind chipmunk gets a nut every once in a while.

I was sure, at that point, however, that Mark was off his rocker. Why would anyone write a note of thanks wanting nothing in return? Weird.

But, after speaking on-and-off for months with Mark and watching a lot of his work, I came to know him as a genuine classic. A humanistic populist grounded in real-life. A prolific storyteller for our times. A great person whose word in business was a life and death bond. Whose heart was soft ... but strong. Quite incredible person actually. Didn't know his type still existed. I was blessed to meet him.

This "Internet" Thing

Anyway, we became friends. One day he said he didn't know much about this "Internet" thing but had heard that he might be able to make one of his out of print films available for sale using this "Internet" thing. "Hmm", I said, I knew a little bit about this "Internet" thing and would see what might be possible.

Almost Certain Doom

In short order I worked with a graphic arts person to design a DVD cover (all we had was a very worn, old VHS cover). We created a new image for the cover. I wrote the jacket synopsis and helped with the design ... thereby almost certainly dooming the project.

The Only Thing That Could Save It?

The only thing that could save the film was the story itself.

It did.

And does.

It really is a timeless classic, beautiful scenery, imagery and evokes a heartfelt stirring of a bygone time. A bygone place. A bygone people.

I found an on-demand video distribution vendor called CreateSpace. Worked the niggly details out and shortly thereafter "Christmas Mountain: The Story of a Cowboy Angel," was available again.

This "Internet" Thing Again

But how to promote it? I started messing around with this 'Internet" thing again and soon became aware of a new Press Release format being designed and tested. A Social Media News Release (SMNR) ... or a press release incorporating bookmarking capabilities, audio, visual elements. It also utilized a fundamentally different format and structure from the traditionally BORING press release. I liked it. But then the next question became ... how to create, distribute and test the effectiveness of it?


I stumbled upon PRX Builder.


It's a tool and service offered by Shannon Whitley. The PRX Builder enables PR & marketing professionals to easily create Social Media news releases through a series of guided steps.

Easy to use. Easy to understand.


It really is easy-to-use and easy-to-understand. And that doesn't mean just for technology geeks ... but for business users as well. PRX Builder is the tool I used to create "The World's First Social Media News Release by an Octogenarian!"

There may be mistakes in it - but if there are, it's purely operator error.


A hearty thanks to Shannon Whitley and PRX Builder.com. I'm not giving it near the accolades or full review it deserves. But it's a great and ongoing contribution to helping evolve business communications in a positive manner. And help banish the boring.

Go to his site to check it out.

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