Tag Archives: georgia

Oyster Bamboo Fly Rods

In my tenure working for Georgia, USA, I’ve collaborated with executives from many global brands to elevate the business environment here. One of the greatest joys of my job has been the opportunity to peel back the layers and look inside the inner workings of companies and their leaders. But when I learned of Oyster Bamboo Fly Rods in Blue Ridge, Georgia, it especially caught my attention.

My brother and I follow our father upstream in the Chattooga river watershed.
My youth was filled with fishing expeditions. Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, my father took me out in the boat seemingly every weekend. We were also fortunate enough to share a mountain house, and a former fly fishing camp, in Cashiers, North Carolina with 9 other families from Charleston. It was here that my father taught me how to use a fly rod. When A River Runs Through It came out I thought the brothers in the movie held an uncanny resemblance to me and my brother (I’m the nicer one). But that movie, and Robert Redford’s voice, absolutely encapsulated the deep and intricate love one can have for rivers.

Speaking of famous people, rumor had it that President Jimmy Carter had one of Oyster’s fly rods. So I made my way up from Atlanta to the Georgia mountains to learn more.

Meeting Bill Oyster
Bill Oyster is the consummate entrepreneur. When he was 15 his father drove him to the local airport, so that he could then fly off in a plane with his pilot’s license in hand. He joined the Navy when he was old enough, but he ultimately decided that wasn’t his future. Bill jumped in to professional cycling instead where he dominated the sport until he was injured. Meanwhile, he majored in Art at the University of Georgia and fished whenever he could. He tried his hand at real estate, but there was a call for something different. His wife, Shannen, suggested that he make fly rods. Bill got his hands on some relatively underground books on the craft of making fly rods, and he taught himself the trade. Easier said than done, but of course now he is an expert at it. He also happens to be a master engraver.

Bill in his element on a stream near Blue Ridge, Georgia.

The Process
Bill sources bamboo from a small region of China that is renowned for producing the perfect tensile strength. He fires the bamboo with a blow torch, cuts it down to strips, and then planes it out to an exact triangle. These pieces are glued, compressed, cured and eventually fortified with resin. The eyes and handle are then attached in addition to any custom engraving. These rods are beautiful works of art and highly functional as well. Bill’s customers range from plumbers to presidents to members of the royal family. But he has taken this manufacturing business above and beyond.

Giving it Away
Oyster Bamboo Fly Rods not only makes a product you can buy, it also teaches you how to make it. This is unusual for a company to do something like this, but instead of cannibalizing business, it has made it blossom. Bill and Shannen hold classes every month, and attendees can work alongside them – and their expert staff – to make their own fly rod. And because their shop is a stones throw away from some world-class trout streams, you’ll have every chance to whip some water. People come from all over the world to attend, so if you are interested in doing this yourself then sign up now because there is a healthy waiting list. You may also want to join them on one of their various fishing adventures around the world.

Rock Star
Bill and Shannen’s business is so unique, and has done so well, that they were recently recognized as a Small Business Rock Star. I had the opportunity to return to Blue Ridge to produce this video celebrating their win. Of course Bill is a natural on camera as well.

We Speak Business

I was recently tasked with creating a new video for the Global Commerce team here in Georgia, USA. This is not a simple task given the diversity of industry sectors the Global Commerce division targets for recruitment and relocation. From Aerospace to FinTech to Food Processing, each industry has its own requirements for success – with one exception. They all require talent to innovate and grow. Coupled with the tried and true approach of, don’t listen to us, listen to the companies that are here, and now you have a strategic approach to keep the narrative succinct and applicable to all.

This video project took me to a myriad locations across the state of Georgia:

Stogner Hill at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport at dawn to shoot footage of planes taking off and landing.

UPS’s new SMART Hub, which is 1.2M square feet, or the size of 20 football fields. And I love the fact that every morning UPS drivers do calisthenics together before departing on their rounds.

In the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains with Bill Oyster, owner of Oyster Bamboo Fly Rods.

In the brand new Telluride on a 2-mile test track at Kia Motors Manufacturing in West Point, Georgia.

In addition, the port of Savannah – headquarters for Gulfstream – King’s Hawaiian’s food processing facility in Hall County – the data center for InComm – the new Cyber Center in Augusta – Sany in Peachtree city, which is the same location “Avengers: End Game” used for their headquarters – and the list goes on.

I also spun out three separate videos from the larger finished piece:

It was a big project and a great experience, and I am thankful to the companies and individuals who opened their doors and took their time to help me tell a great story.

Japanese Investment Video

My latest video production is complete. It was quite a journey, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It is always fascinating to peer behind the curtain and see how global brands operate. But the best part is figuring out how best to tell their stories, and do it in a manner where the personality and the “real factor” shines through. This video is designed to be a handshake reaching across the globe to Japanese executives who are thinking about doing business in the United States. Even now, Georgia is home to more than 500 Japanese facilities employing over 30,000 Georgians.

Footage was captured at the JapanFest in Atlanta, the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, and company locations in Norcross, Peachtree City and Monroe. But the crux scene is at the restaurant. I was able to get each of the companies to Nakato, the oldest Japanese restaurant in Georgia, for a tatami-style dinner. Even the owners of Nakato, along with their daughter, joined us for a very special evening.

The culture and tradition of Japanese people is one of humility and respect, and it was an honor to work with all of the individuals it took to make this project a reality.

Southern Charm

My most recent video production is the culmination of many other supporting video projects that have taken me across the state of Georgia, and behind-the-scenes of some incredible companies, over the past 5 years. In essence, I took a limited budget and made it in to a $250k production.

But I could not have done it without the great guys that make up the band, The Quiet Hounds. Their talent and genuine personalities carry the diverse scenes that are tightly edited to inform the next scene, and the next scene, and so on. I feel lucky to have been able to ink a sync agreement with them for this perfect song. I followed them to Athens, Georgia to record the live performance at the Georgia Theatre, and we spent a long night together at a recording studio in Midtown Atlanta. It has been a pleasure getting to know them.

How do you encapsulate an entire state in one video and do it well? That was indeed part of the challenge. I knew it could not be everything to everyone. Sure, there were sacrifices and difficult decisions along the way. But positive emotion is the great equalizer.

The video is now featured on Georgia.org and its affiliated social media properties – at all the Visitor Information Centers across the state – and baggage claim in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

I hope this experience provides you with a taste of the authenticity, beauty, diversity and “southern charm” that I have come to find in Georgia . I feel it. The band feels it. Georgians feel it. I hope you do as well.

Do me a favor. Pop the video full screen and turn up your speakers.

A special thanks to the Quiet Hounds for lending their creativity, time and music to this piece.

“Southern Charm” Lyrics

All the gardenia on the sideway dropping like they want you.
I’m a believer on the highway when they’re playing our tune
driving up slowly though the gravel nothing stopping Sunday
Summer love songing in my longing we can do this our way

Hot city you are mine

Storms on your shoulder and I call it Paradise
Everyone knows this thunder only means bright lights for us

Hot city you are mine
So pretty on my arm

Hot city you are mine
So pretty on my arm
Tell me that you’ll make this rainstorm ours
make it ours
dancing through the black night
Hot city you are mine
Oh say that you are mine
This is where my southern charm will lye

This city home, this home is you, you are my summer love song
how do you do it, how do you make it hum
My heart is warm, my blood is red, this sweat is all I have to make it up to you, make it up to you, love.

Get the Song

Southern Charm

Behind-the-Scenes

International Trade Commercial

Generally, I am an advocate of letting clients speak on your behalf verses cutting a straight commercial with voice talent and nice music. I call it real marketing. But in listening to my client I heard that what they really needed was a video that would set an energetic tone – more of a wow piece – that could also be highly informative. In addition, it would work well as a 15 or 30 second promotional spot.

Since I had already produced this Telly award-winning video for Trade that did have good testimonials, it was decided to pursue something different. This piece uses heavier animation work and a fast-paced rhythm to hopefully incite the target audience to take action. Because the International Trade team is predominately women, I was keen on using a female narrator of which I auditioned several. I was also very particular about the script and balancing practical information with some sales sizzle.

Check it out!

German Investment Video

Here is my latest production. An inside look in to the lives and businesses of three German companies who fabricate elevators you ride, industrial systems you need, and most of the world’s pressure gauges you depend on. It offers a little mountain biking, Mexican food, running, welding, robots and virtual reality.

As is often the case with these video productions, it provides me the opportunity to meet new people and get behind-the-scenes of what makes global companies tick. Before a video camera is ever turned on I have done quite a few things:

  • An extensive amount of research on the company’s brand, operations, employees, and competitors.
  • Met with company executives and stakeholders.
  • Thought very carefully about the target audience and any cultural nuances.
  • What kind of supporting locations and footage would bolster the story?
  • How much can I realistically cover with the budget available?
  • What are possible risks that I may face?
  • How much crew do I really need?
  • What permits do I need?
  • What will effectively tie the piece together?
  • What will be the timing for each shoot and where?

And the list goes on. But one key factor that I think is often underestimated is getting very busy executives to open up their lives and their companies. To potentially spend a whole day with me while we get this shot, and that shot, and that quote and, can you say it again but like this?

Don’t ever discount what your mom and dad taught you about being a people person. These productions require a lot of moving parts, and the coordination of many different people.

Once the video shoots have taken place there is a considerable amount of time spent:

  • Selecting the right scenes and quotes.
  • Making sure the international translations have the right message, tone and inflection.
  • Developing the script.
  • Listening to dozens of voice talents if the piece requires professional narration.
  • Carefully choosing the right mix of music tracks and sound effects.
  • Ensuring that each scene informs the next scene for a seamless story.

Sure, I’ve had many 5:00am starts, flipped an ATV, crashed a drone, equipment malfunctions, no shows, bad weather and host of other issues, but it is all part of the process in telling a great story and learning a few things along the way.

Like what you saw? Also check out this China Investment Video.

Georgia’s Film Industry

In the past 2 years I have produced dozens of videos dealing with aerospace, agribusiness, manufacturing, life sciences and international trade. Some have even won video awards. But it has been a real pleasure working on this one for Georgia’s film industry. Tax incentives can be a hot topic, but in my opinion this one so clearly demonstrates the positive impact they can provide.

Film Industry Video from Robert Payne on Vimeo.

A few takeaways:

The crew at Devious Maids were very accommodating and helped to capture much of the b-roll. The part with Brigid Capelletti was not planned, but while she was handling lighting we struck up a conversation. Beneath the Carhartts and big knife on her side she proved to be an articulate and intelligent woman. I asked her if she would mind speaking on camera. She agreed but needed to check with her boss. Her boss admitted her to the makeup truck and she came back looking like a completely different person.

The Lifecycle Center is an amazing example of recycling. Now I know where to go to get Italian slate, wooden blinds, door knobs, mantels and much more for cheap prices.

John Raulet probably knows the location of more abandoned warehouses in Southwest Atlanta than anyone else. What he has done with one is what entrepreneurship is all about.

I’ve always thought of Atlantic Station as a shopping center. Now I know there are dozens of talented illustrators and animators creating fictitious characters just above the street.

After the interview at Cofer Brothers I’ll never look at a small Georgia town in the same light again – there is always so much more than meets the eye.

Forged from Steel

Recently attended the grand opening of the new Mando facility in Hogansville, Georgia. The run of show started with paying respect to several Korean War veterans, and led all the way up to the raising of flags and cutting the ribbon. I was fortunate to get a tour of the foundry and casting facility. There is something about the melting of metal that gets at the root of human ingenuity and progress. I am continuously fascinated by the sheer amount of products that are manufactured in the southeast, and the innovation and technology that helps get it done.

Georgia’s Creative Economy

It is nearly impossible to move about Atlanta, or the majority of the state for that matter, without bumping into some aspect of Georgia’s creative economy. I’m not just talking about the High Museum, or the lesser known Michael C Carlos Museum on Emory’s campus, but everything from film to animation to street art and beyond.

This creative industry generates more than $29 billion of annual business revenue according to a 2012 study by South Arts, and it does not appear to be slowing down.

“From cutting-edge street art to community-inspired and public-transport projects, the arts scene in Atlanta is thriving.”

The Guardian: “Top 10 galleries, art attractions and events in Atlanta”

“Home to a number of significant cultural venues, Atlanta is a hotspot for contemporary art of all mediums and a fascinating destination in the heart of Georgia.”

The Culture Trip: “Atlanta’s 10 Best Contemporary Art Galleries: Profiling Georgia’s Culture”

“Where one might expect to see San Francisco or New York City at the top of this list, Atlanta was a little surprising; but when considering it ranked in the top 15 in all five of our categories, it was certainly deserved.”


MyLife.com: “The 10 Best Cities to be an Artist”

To make matters better, the USA Today ranked Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill as one of the top 10 city art districts.

Take a gander at the above links and them come have a look around. If you want to know more about the economic impact of art in Georgia visit the Georgia Council for the Arts website.

ROI with a twist

Delta_Sky_sm

For an upcoming Delta Sky issue I wanted to take a different approach to your typical B-to-B ad. For most metro Atlanta professionals there is more to Georgia than just ATL. On the weekends we are hitting the mountains, beaches, golf courses and soaking up that sweet southern charm and historical landmarks that no other state can replicate.

When a certain senior executive has a seat and pulls the Delta Sky from the front pocket for a flip, I hope this ad catches their attention for a moment or two and gives them pause. Should I relocate or expand to the state of Georgia? Quite clearly the answer is yes.