Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Emerging Charlotte Film Community

Charlotte, NC has a tremendous amount of emerging talent in the film community including actors, directors, producers, and voiceover specialists. With the advent of high definition digital video technology, it is now easier to produce independent films.

As digital filmmaking grows, there are more opportunities for local talent to have time on a movie set gaining valuable experience. This is a very supportive community, many who began their careers within the last few years. In a few cases it started with George Clooney bringing the movie "Leatherheads" to Charlotte 3 years ago.

Another area of the Carolinas which is also growing in projects include the Wilmington, NC area which includes a sound stage for Screen Gems. It is where they produce the tv series called One Tree Hill. In Charleston, about 3 hours from Charlotte, the television show Army Wives is shot.

On the first Monday of each month, there is a meeting of the Charlotte Film Community. This early stage meetup has accelerated the networking which brings all of this talent together. In my personal case, this already led to a role in a short comedy film called "The Chicken Hustle".

One advantage of filming in North Carolina is the lower cost of labor. North Carolina is "right to work" state, meaning primariy non-union. As a result, anyone who wants to work on a film is able to do so. There are more opportunities for films to be made here as the economics favor the producer and filmmakers. Many actors love the collaborative work of making a film and usually will work at a much more reasonable pay scale including "free". For many productions which aspiring talent will work for the experience and resume building, the "pay" comes in the form of food on the set, a copy of the movie/dvd or credit in the movie.

It is thrilling to watch all the emerging talent coming from the Charlotte area. Some of this talent has already begun to split their time between here and Los Angeles. If you have a dream of working in film, the journey can start here.

For me personally, 2010 is my year where I will be accelerating from being a featured extra to small speaking roles. A wonderful opportunity for this "accidental actor" and mediamensch.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Andrew Kaplan Live - Public Speaking, Radio, and TV

Andrew Kaplan,award winning Toastmaster and public speaker, is speaking to groups around the country regarding social media and branding. Kaplan brings a lively and interesting perspective to his talks which can be customized to your group. Kaplan brings his unique perspective of being an early adopter of social media combined with his backgrond working in traditional media. In 1987, Kaplan started a consulting practice to bring sales and mobile computing technologies to with over 200 companies including 30 Fortune 500 companies. If your organization would like to book, Kaplan as a speaker, please contact us with your dates, name of your group and topic.

Andrew Kaplan Public Speaking Biography

Andrew R. Kaplan is the Managing Partner of MediaMensch Networks, a company focused on building brands and communities using social media and traditional public relations. Over the past two years Kaplan has launched LinktoCharlotte which was one of the first and now one of the fastest growing Charlotte groups on LinkedIn. He also launched LinktoMotorsports which has over 700 executives from around the world and includes an advisory board from Motocross, NASCAR, NHRA and Boat Racing.

In 2007, Kaplan started blogging as a facebook branding expert in his blog Facebook Enthusiast. In 2008, voted an article featuring Kaplan's discussion of Facebook Branding, as #1 in its "Great Minds" series.

Kaplan recently has been involved with the local film industry as what he calls "an accidental actor". He has worked on 6 films from major motion pictures such as Leatherheads to local independent films. In January 2009, he received a "movie credit" as Social Media Marketing Advisor for the independent film In/Significant Others.

Kaplan is also on the advisory board, providing marketing and branding advice, to EVPowersystems which won the "2008 Green Idea of the Year Award" from the Charlotte Business Journal for the development of electric hybrid trucks and the eco-vehicle.

Kaplan began his career in college at WNBC radio at 30 Rock and worked in the early days at Home Box Office and The Movie Channel. After his career took a turn, he became one of the first trainers and certified consultants for ACT! contact management software. His company ARK Sales Automation Group brought sales and marketing technology to hundreds of companies in the NY/New England Market including Gartner Group, GE Capital, Virgin Atlantic, and Colgate Palmolive. He personally trained over 5,000 sales and marketing executives worldwide. He moved to Charlotte in 1995 to start his family and to build the new market around the banking sector and professional sports.

Kaplan enjoys giving back to the community and working with non-profits and received awards for leadership over the past few years including Toastmasters International NC President of the Year, NC Area Governor of the Year and Dickinson College's Alumni Volunteer of the Year. In Connecticut, he was one of the founding leaders and chairman of Corporate Volunteers In Action, a professional community volunteer group serving the Fairfield County area.

Currently Kaplan coaches business executives and creative professionals who are working on their own brands. He has active clients from countries such as Ireland, Germany, and Italy which found him using social networking. He also has a valuable team of coaches and advisors to help him reach his personal and professional goals as well.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Social Media Motorsports Summit Takes Checkered Flag

For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrew Kaplan
Media Mensch

Social Media Motorsports Summit Takes Checkered Flag

Industry Leaders and Influencers Gather to Build Social Media Horsepower for 2010 Season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb 3, 2010) – Try as you may, you can’t hear a “tweet” over the roar of race cars, but if you embrace social media you’ll quickly see it has more horsepower than 43 cars taking the green flag at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The first Social Media Motorsports Summit concluded at the Charlotte Westin, where motorsports and social media leaders met to discuss trends and share best practices. Now that one of every four Americans gets the news online, a communications authority wonders if one can conduct a successful enterprise without engaging social media.

"When I was at the May NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, I saw an opportunity to help brands with social media strategies and programs,” said Andy Kaplan, Chief Idea Officer at MediaMensch. Kaplan also saw demand for the social media motorsports event from MediaMensch’s members, a group of over 1,500 motorsports professionals worldwide who embrace social media. Kaplan has spent his career working with corporations to become early adopters of technology and built his brand on being ahead of the technology curve.

Panel topics ranged from creating a social media toolbox and measuring social media ROI to social media and brands and social media trends. A broad spectrum of expertise was represented by speakers including Mark Walsh (GeniusRocket), Craig Coblenz (Facebook), Terry Dry (Fanscape), Ramsey Poston (NASCAR), Leilani M√ľnter (ARCA driver/environmental activist), Joe Tripp (SPEED), Kevin Kennedy (PCG Campbell/Ford Racing), Jeff Gluck ( and Stephanie Agresta (Porter Novelli).

Keynote speaker Walsh put social media in perspective and set the tone of the summit when he discussed the change of marketing from elevator speech to the microscript – a simple one or two-word phrase that captures brand essence and consumer self perception. Think of President Obama’s campaign microscript of “change”. Kennedy, EVP, PCG Campbell / Ford Racing shared, "I really enjoyed the Summit and the exchange of ideas between the panelists and the audience. The discussions covered a broad spectrum of ideas of where Social Media is now and where it is headed in the future, and left everyone who attended richer for the experience."

The power and use of social media was not just conversation, but was also actively practiced as attendees “tweeted” and updated Facebook pages on their laptops throughout the day-long event. Joining in the conversations were representatives from Chevrolet, Toyota, Stewart Haas, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Stewart-Haas Racing, JR Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing. Participants and speakers came from Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Detroit and Daytona Beach.

“The Social Media Motorsports Summit proved that online community and social networking is having a huge impact on the motorsports industry in general and NASCAR fans in particular. In 2010, social media will grow to be an even bigger part of marketing and exposure for this sport.” said Agresta, who is EVP of Social Media and Digital Strategy at Porter Novelli.

Future Social Media Motorsports events are being planned for New York City and in Charlotte in May to coincide with the NASCAR Hall of Fame opening and the race festivities for the Coca Cola 600. Social Media Motorsports also plans to offer a “virtual summit” to accommodate motorsports professionals worldwide.

Additional information about the Social Media Motorsports Summit, please visit the summit website at and the Facebook fan page at The twitter hashtag for the event is #smmsummit.