The Winding River that Led Me Here…
It all started for me around ‘81-82, as a high school student. I was fresh out of my no rim, coke-bottle eyeglasses and into soft contact lenses, finding muscles I didn’t know I had, and discovering my hidden artistic talents, as an academic burn-out.
My first year in High School would prove to be quite an experience for me, certainly a polar opposite to any of my previous years in the education system.
I will never forget our school’s Radio/Television instructor, though for some strange reason I do forget his name, Mr. Burleson, I think, lol!? Anyway, he was a man of short stature from what I recall. He had long wavy hair with a calm, laid back attitude. He could casually bend over backwards to pick up a dollar bill with his teeth. He was quite strange, yet funny in his own peculiar little ways.
Thanks to him and his comical genius, our small class of ten would become, as our entrepreneurial son-in-law would say, a well-oiled machine both onstage and off. Located far off the west wing of the school, we delivered the majority of the radio and TV announcements to our fellow alumni. Our principal would stop by sometimes to give a few words of encouragement for our extra-curricular efforts.
My favorite experience was in my second year, when we gave a LIVE, on-air performance of the famous Orson Welles radio show adaptation of H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds” Something I’ll never forget. Thanks Mr. B, if you read this!
I spent two seriously productive years learning the ins and outs of broadcasting. This included being a radio host, camera man, sound grip, key grip, production manager, and even the TV show talent. We were connecting together what would now be considered ancient technology to produce live audio and video. As teen-aged students we were pumped up just having permission to use all the old-fashioned Radio/TV studio equipment and cameras stored in the classroom!
At graduation, my teacher pointed me toward the local public access cable company, which at that time (1984) was United Cable Television. There I spent my next few years on and off again. This allowed me the opportunity to play with the mobile van equipment (you know, the kind that gave your shoulder ache a backache?), and with the studio cameras, stage mics, and yes, those huge manual dials and switches that made the days of beta video tapes so much fun!
In fact, I still have the official producers license they gave me back then. It expired in 1988. And yes, it’s true, my name doesn’t match up, that’s because I had a different name then, (more on that a little bit later). Let’s jump ahead almost 20 years.
It was 2006 before I ever picked up a mic professionally in order to make a few bucks. Outside of the occasional karaoke pub party, or getting my goof on anywhere that had a loudspeaker, I would have never imagined being behind a mic as anything more than cheeky fun. But following a 2nd divorce, this time around from a felon thief (no more on that), I was at a point in my life where I could now be entirely free to be my truest self, it was time for me to reset my life.
One night, driving past my run down rental on Little Caesar Blvd. (pizza much?) into downtown Saginaw, a faintly lit karaoke sign caught the corner of my eye at a nearby bowling alley; one commonly referred to by the locals as Le’Fevres.
The DJ was working his gig inside the bar attached to the front of the bowling alley. Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) and Delta campuses created a college town atmosphere, and like any other weekend, the place was packed with college students. I was beyond old enough to be any one’s father.
Thankfully, the DJ was also older than the rest of the crowd, so I found myself in close conversation with him straight away. Before the end of the night, I sang one song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band. It was like breaking out of a twisted rope trap I had been wearing for far too long.
Within a month or two I became a part-time digital DJ, bouncing around the local classic rock/country music scene. Most of the time I was representing All Star Entertainment, as “Cowboy”, or “Cowboy Lee”, receiving my nightlife scheduling from a smooth talker named Mark Jamino. Thanks Mark.
Mark was a good decade older than me, often dressed like the “Man in Black”, and always offered me a lot of mic time, which gave me the real opportunity to put on my game face and play around with the crowds. I was just rounding 40 myself, so we teamed well together. I was having more fun in my mid-40’s than I had through most of my younger days! There was a freedom of expression I experienced before and fell away from. I was breaking out again and loving it!
AnyMeeting with Friends in 2013
I remarried in 2008, but it was 2012, the year I restored my birth name (told ya I’d get back to that), when I began to dive head first heavy into video again.
I signed up for an exclusive 100 Day Business Builder Challenge through MLSP which cost me $1500 for a year’s worth of specialized training. From there I quickly honed my skills in WordPress, lead generation, social media marketing, mobile applications, video marketing, video editing and live streaming video production.
During this business challenge, I was randomly paired up with a motivated little redhead by the name of Julie Becker from IGetPaidOnline.biz. We were to work together on a required video production for the challenge. We were expected to do a short interview of each other, much like all the commotion we’ve been privy to over at BeLive.tv since they hit the live streams back in the Spring of 2016.
The two of us went for broke, and that’s when “Mind over Money!” came to be. It wasn’t much, we only did about 7 or 8 shows that year that were ever put in the can, but the experience was phenomenal! We did have some followers within the MLM and Marketing crowd, it was enough motivation to push us both into high gear, and me over the edge, back into LIVE video for good.
After that, you name it, I was doing it. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, G+. I even created a training course that was included in the following 100 Day Challenge that I named “Hangouts 4 Payouts”. I’d beta tested many 3rd party applications for Hangouts on Air and still hold developer’s rights for what used to be a few exclusive WordPress webinar plugins. Since then, I’ve been involved with hundreds of webinars, untold private hangouts and mega-sized meet-ups.
The times then seemed more laid back. I remember the first live streaming website (Ustream) and phone app (Screen Recorder) that appeared in 2007 and 2015 respectively. They were both big hits! In those days we went LIVE via HOA and let YouTube take care of the rest. If you were a gamer, Twitch (Amazon) was your go-to playground.
The way I see it, 2013 was collectively “The Year of Live Streaming Video”
So I chuckle when I look back and see what was, compared to what is now.
I suspect that 2017, (the year millennials are claiming is the year of live stream video), will most-likely be heralded as…
“The Year Real-Time LIVE Video Began to Change the Face of the World!”
If you don’t see it happening already, it’s probably because you’re not on the front lines, face behind a lens, looking out to the vast ever-changing landscape that live stream video always was, and still is to this day.
Come join us in all the fun, won’t you?