Blake Glenn’s Looney thoughts, perspectives, adventures, and insights on the world of business!
— By Blake Glenn
In 2008, shortly after being laid off from a brief part-time stint marketing for a small tech firm, I got a call from a placement company called Aquent. Like many placement firms, or “body shops” as some call them, Aquent matches talent with contract assignments at companies that need their expertise. And Aquent specialized specifically in placing “creative talent”.
After spotting my TV show and podcasting experiences on Monster.com, an Aquent rep contacted me. I’ll call her Susan. I think that may have been her actual name. But it’s been a few years and I’m not foolish enough to wager next month’s rent payment on that flimsy bit of speculation. So with my TV and podcast background, Susan thought I’d be a great fit for this gig.
In this case, the client in question was Booz Allen Hamilton, a big-time consulting firm based in the sprawling Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. A couple of marketing managers at Booz Allen were seeking help with their projects – one with a web video series and the other with a podcast show. Each manager worked with a different Booz Allen group and planned to feature internal experts in these video and podcast episodes.
Both of these projects needed an executive producer. And I was the man for the job. In essence I would be the guy that led these projects from the nascent idea stage to shining new finished digital media product. So I drove from Maryland out to the section of Northern Virginia where both Aquent and Booz Allen were located – Tyson’s Corner.
If you love food and shopping, Tyson’s Corner is your absolute consumer Shangri-La, a mythical place filled with delicious ethnic foods, endless displays of designer clothes, multi-level shopping malls as far as the eye can see. You’ll even spot the occasional unicorn – usually sporting the latest designer trends, such as the Beyonce Unicorn Hat. But with a mighty burst of willpower I managed to fend off the temptation and make my way to the meeting with Susan.
She informed me about the project preliminaries, her Booz Allen clients, and of course Aquent. Susan was very nice and quite informative. I then had a meeting with the two Booz Allen marketing managers. The meeting went great! I touched on my expertise with producing a TV show and podcast and how I could successfully produce their respective projects. I was truly excited about this.
Then I waited … and waited. There were no calls. No emails. No smoke signals. No Morse code messages. Nothing. A few weeks went by with no word from Booz Allen. Susan assured me they were interested. But I thought maybe they found someone else they liked better. Perhaps our first date was better for me than it was for them. I was the anxious potential lover waiting for the follow up phone call that never came.
My ripe optimism slowly faded as the time ticked away. Naturally I thought it was over. So I decided to temporarily leave the cramped bustling DC-VA-MD metroplex for the wide open rustbelt allure of southwestern Ohio. I was contemplating my next move, there was no word from Booz Allen, and Thanksgiving was coming up. So I decided to just get an early start on spending the holidays with the family.
Sometimes though … sometimes when we think we’re making plans for ourselves, destiny intervenes, says “I Don’t Think So”, and makes plans on our behalf. A few short days after my arrival in Ohio, the clients called Susan with the great news. They wanted me to start as soon as possible. They just had to figure out some budgetary and other internal issues before launching the projects. Well of course. I knew that. I never had any doubt what-so-ever of their interest in me. So I gladly piled into my 2002 tan Buick LeSabre (is there any other color?) and drove the 500 monotonous miles back to the DC suburbs.
I started the project about 3 weeks before Christmas. The web video series we created was called “Ready for What’s Next”. It would be a slate of short webisodes featuring Booz Allen consultants discussing key topics critical to their corporate and government clients. As the executive producer, my duties included:
- Helping develop the web series idea
- Helping develop the budget
- Creating the series format
- Scripting the interview questions
- Prepping Booz Allen experts for their interviews
- Vetting, helping to select, and managing the video production vendor
- Helping to select the intro music
In the end, we created 40(+) webisodes of 1 minutes to 5 minutes in length. Unfortunately, that podcast show never came to fruition. That was fine with me. In retrospect it was much better for me to focus on producing the web video series. The project downside was that I had to listen to dozens of music pieces before the final selection was made for the intro music. I must have listened to “the chosen one” at least 100 times as we reviewed the videos. And I couldn’t get that damned music out of my head for an entire year.
But even now I look back at that gig as an all-time favorite. It was love at first sight. The gig was short, only three months. But it was one of the most fun and interesting assignments in my career, especially since I spent most of the time working from home, barely out of my PJ’s, sipping hot morning coffee with a little extra – Bailey’s, Amaretto and Kahlua. It’s not every gig where you can become intoxicated by noon and still keep your job.
P.S. In the event that your life has ground to a boring, meaningless, screeching halt, you can click here to see some of those exciting Booz Allen Mission Integration videos. Enjoy!
Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?
If you dare, I can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com
P.S. I’m actively recruiting test contestants for my business game show experiment. Interested? Please contact me so I can add you to the player pool!