Connect Social. Build Local. Think Global. This is the way I created an idea (presence. brand, virtual network) online over the past 11 years. It is the motto I stand by when building a presence online, getting followers /customers, resolving problems or giving value to people around the world. Having communication with thousands of people online from around the world, I discovered, no matter where we live, we all have similar dreams and share some of the same goals. Despite cultural and religious differences, we are the same within the realm of wants and desires.
In 2001, I got the idea for an animation site one day cause I thought there was a better way to help animators produce their indie animations and to help them promote their animated shorts. Cartoonmogul.com was a little webpage that I created online as a private database. Someone told me it was a weblog. I said what the heck is a weblog? It was 2003, the internet was in the process of recovering from the dot.com crash. I had gotten shallowed in as a content creator and spit out as the wave of dot.com money that instantly shrunk to nothing. I was determined to build a virtual animation studio, using the internet to connect, develop, produce and distribute animation online.
Youtube was not around yet, nor the social network as we know today. Through it all, I thought with the fast paced technological developments - I would get lost in it all and lose what I had planned to build online. Through the ups and downs of the internet, it was a rocky road and sometimes shook the vision of cartoonmogul. But I would always get back to the core and rebuild with the changes in mine. Internet was changing with myspace, youtube, facebook, twitter and so on. I did learn to roll with what I though would be the end of vision, but with every new internet trend - it made the internet more accessible and easier to manage with regard to my websites. Change is constant, so I now embrace anything that will make my internet experience better for the end user and the content creator.
I always saw the internet as a way to build "something." Without much capital, with a dream plan and lots of hard work and willpower. I kept saying, like the movie Field Of Dreams, "build it and they will come." I was not just saying this, there were many of us creatives online saying that. It felt like the gold rush in the wild west - I still think we are in the new frontier. It is only the beginning with the internet. Create something you are passionate about and find a way to make a living at it. I didn't focus on the money part as much - but I knew it would make it easier to follow this journey with deeper pockets.
Prior to giving it a go online, I was working in the film and television business pursuing a career as a film producer. I had optioned a few properties, took some meetings with studio executive and learned the business by way of graduate film school, working in the trenches as a newbie producer and a "gopher." They say Go For This, Go For That - I was the Go To Dude - people look down upon this as a down and dirty occupation in the film industry - but they all need "gopher" or production assistants to do the work no one wants to do.
I can tell you this, I soaked up many conversations and the names of the industry players being the little guy on the totem pole. You had to be side by side with producers, actors and executives, just incase they need you to "assist them." I heard contract deals, negotiations and got wind of what was in development before the entertainment news got the press releases. And even that was only part of the story. I was in line of learning so much about the industry, I could careless if I had to clean the lunch table. I guess I was earning my stripes and learning the ropes.
Knowledge is King they say, but learning to leverage that knowledge is the world. So I took that to build my database of knowledge to learn to become resourceful. For a short time, I also worked in the mailroom for a major family and entertainment company. I was not in the middle of the action like before, but I got to see a lot from what the company was planning and the inner workings of an animation studio. It gave me a bird's eye view of the type of projects it produced and who they work with. Through all those years and the many productions that I work on, I met and developed friendships with a lot of colleagues. Many I have kept in touch and many I have not, but it provided a industry map for myself. A database of connections that at anytime, I could pick up the phone and reconnect with. Now what does that have to do with Connect Social, Build Local, Think Global? It is the same principles I use for my online activity for building personal brand, growing a community of followers and giving value to people with same interests.
I continue to treat the internet as just an avenue to connect with others in my social network. The things that you do in real life having one-to-one conversations, sending a letter or calling them by phone - connecting on the social network is just another tool for communication.
Build local is going out to the community and getting involved. You can do a lot by reaching online, but nothing beats face-to-face contact especially when you are in the same town. I love when facebook or linked in connects turn into ways to build relations offline. All though I have a network of people I connect online only cause they are too far away to connect in person - it is alway good to build a local community around what you do - whether for business, special interest or a cause. Getting people onboard with what you do locally, nothing can beat that business opportunities and relationships that grow within the city or town you reside. I am more willing to help people more cause I am physically in the same proximity with others.
Think Global. The first year I launched cartoonmogul.com - it was supposed to be my personal database of links of animation from around the world. The first thing I noticed on my analytics, I was getting web traffic from around the world. It just never occurred to me that would ever happen. As soon as that happened and I was getting feed back from people all over that they enjoyed the curated animations on the weblog - I started to look at the weblog as not my personal site. I had a global responsibility to people content that a broader community would enjoy - it was not just about me anymore. This is what how I know look at things when building something online. Whether it is a business, special interest, art website, know that your visitors big or small is going to come to see what you have on your website or blog. And it you want to grow it, build more followers or give a solution to a problem,- you have to be mindful of giving some value to your visitors. Always produce or curate content that your visitors will be entertained , informed or better off cause you recommended an option for them for their problem.
So you want to build something online? Connect Social. Build Local. Think Global.
Click on my link here to watch a video, but also be included on advice on building a presence with a blog, video or social networks. It allowed me to leverage my business, professional and network online.
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About Johnie Tidwell
I'm a new media producer + online filmmaker producing marketing & documentary content for businesses. I consult and train entrepreneurs, creatives, small businesses and freelancers to use video to brand and market themselves.
I also curate animation at indieanimator.com and worked in the broadcast, corporate video, film & television industry for over 30+ years.
"Johnie is so much fun to work with! He is really knowledgeable and very creative. He is great at listening to your needs and wants and executing them. I highly recommend anyone that is looking for great video production services to hire Johnie. I have and will continue to outsource my video marketing services on behalf of my clients to him."
- D. Marie
- D. Marie
"Johnie came to our store to do the video for Bead Jungle and he was the best. He was so calming and self assured with a wealth of knowledge regarding the shoot. I can't tell you how professional he was and keep everything moving smoothly. He knew the right questions to ask and the best way to present our product. He is the best and I will continue to use his services for our video needs. Thanks Johnie."
- S. Murphy
- S. Murphy
"Johnie Lewis Tidwell was hired to shoot video for me for a music event. When I had seen the hard work, amazing quality, and just a superb professional person he is, I knew right away this is a person anyone can hire and feel comfortable knowing they are going to get what they want. This is one person that I would use over and over, and that I would recommend to anyone at any time. Thank you."
- C. Rivero
- C. Rivero
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