Five Ways To Be Our Favorite Client

It’s time to have a heart-to-heart. We love our clients and their projects or we wouldn’t work with them or on their projects. In fact, we pass on more clients and projects than we take on. Really.

Why? Because working in PR is straight up grueling, with long hours and a lot of coffee (and wine), so we must be passionate about the people we’re working with and the work we’re doing for them. Otherwise, it doesn’t work.

And while we don’t wanna play favorites—we will. There are some clients for whom we’ll always go a little extra. Because these are the ones who make an effort with our team to go beyond being work. They put in extra too.

Whether you’re one of our clients, you’re thinking about becoming one of our clients, or you’re in an exclusive relationship with another Public Relations firm—here are some things you or your team can do to always be the favorite client.

Read More…

What Jade Thinks About Internships Now

jade and rachael working the GR Film Kickoff

This is for all of my fellow peers who are interested or who need an internship. My advice is yes, get one, especially in the public relations industry, you’ll definitely need the experience.

So here’s a little background info as to how I worked my ass off to get my first internship. It all started with an extensive search on Grand Valley State University’s job/internship site, where I came upon Spectacle’s ad. I was extremely nervous to apply for internships because I felt that I wasn’t ready and that I didn’t have enough experience under my belt. I had only been in one PR class that encouraged my passion for PR and really challenged me. This was my first interview for an internship and I didn’t know what to expect, but I went into it determined to get the internship. I’ve now been at spectacle for 9 months and it’s been a great experience.

To this day Spectacle Creative Media has challenged me more than any class that I have taken. Education is important to provide a base for learning an industry, but actually working in the field and getting the real experience forces you to grow. I’ve learned the base rules for PR in classes, but actually working with real clients has allowed me to discover my strengths and skills that I can improve. The PR industry is a very hands-on, multi-faceted industry, and to be a pro it’s important to learn and —keep learning— different skills. At Spectacle, most of our clients are niche, entertainment clients and I had to learn to crawl before I could walk. This means I had to learn the ins-and-outs of the film industry too, I had to learn many aspects of the business of filmmaking, its lingo, and I had to learn the etiquette. Read More…

teamSpectacle Takes on #SXSW

Tamaryn SXSW
Dauntless Studios Film Lounge SXSW

These past couple weeks our very own Tamaryn was down in Austin, TX at SXSW—the of the biggest interactive, film, and music festivals in the world. While at the festival, #teamSpectacle was representing the West Michigan independent film community, several of our clients including Stage 32, WomenOnCall, and films in development. 

While there, Tamaryn attended many panels and film screenings. She also did a lot of networking in the Dauntless Studios sponsored film lounge and had the pleasure of waiting in many lines throughout her trip 😂. 

March 22 2017 1:30 pm

posted in Spectacle Creative Media, Spectacle News, Tamaryn Tobian by admin

God Bless The Broken Road at NASCAR 🏁 Daytona 500

Jordin Sparks NASCAR Daytona 500 National Anthem Jordin Sparks getting ready to sign the National Anthem. Photo by AF

O’ Say Did You See Jordin Sparks sing The National Anthem at Daytona 500?

DAV Ambassador and a star in God Bless the Broken Road sang the National Anthem for the 59th annual Daytona 500 with the Thunderbirds doing a flyover at the end. The day before the race, Sparks had the opportunity to fly with the Thunderbirds—achieving 9Gs! After giving her performance, Jordin took a lap around the track as part of the pre-race ceremony.

NFL Hall of Fame inductee, LaDainian Tomlinson, and another star in God Bless the Broken Road was also an honorary starter at the race. This is the first time Tomlinson has ever been to a Nascar race and the event didn’t disappoint. He waved the big green flag, as the racecars revved their engines.

#TeamSpectacle has been handling PR for the film for nearly a year and it continues to be exciting. We’re looking forward to its release.

Introducing Lowing Studios

Lowing Light and Grip StaffLowing Light & Grip Staff. Photo by Dan Irving

Our client—Lowing Light & Grip—recently purchased Deano’s Studios—a sound stage facility where commercials, feature-length films, and corporate television stations are produced. #TeamSpectacle handled the PR for the announcement for what is now the new Lowing Studios.

Lowing Light & Grip has always offered all the grip and electric equipment for film and commercial production and when Deano’s Studio became available they thought it would make a great addition to their product offerings. Located on the North end of Grand Rapids, the studio’s largest soundstage can accommodate a full-size semi truck with a bit of wiggle room left over.

We’re excited that Dave and Matt Lowing will be stewarding this facility and what it will mean for not only commercial production but for artists and independent filmmakers in the Midwest.

Read about Lowing Studios in The Grand Rapids Business Journal, in Mlive, or ReelChicago.

New Year, Big Announcements

Spectacle Creative Media Welcomes Stage 32 to Growing Client List

Stage 32 Logo
Hopefully, you’re signed up to our newsletter (and if you’re not, get on that will you). But if you’re not you can read December's newsletter here. In it, we talked about how in November we attended the American Film Market in Los Angeles. While we were there, we took the opportunity to further foster our relationship with the amazing team at Stage 32—where some of our previous clients like SetHero and CineScout have been featured. And as you no doubt remember, even our own Tamaryn is now contributing to their blog.

That is why we're thrilled to announce that with this new year, we're welcoming Stage 32 as our newest client! We're excited to advance the mission of Stage 32 because, like us, they're passionate about independent film and helping indie filmmakers get their films made. Read More…

Our local, non-film client lands mention in major online outlet, BUSTLE

Our Client, Schafer Chiropractic, was recently featured in an article on Bustle about bad habits that can affect your neck and back.

Bustle is a national, online outlet that averages nearly 1.2 million unique visitors per month, according to Cision.

So you can see how this kind of awareness is important for Dr. Schafer and his local, East Grand Rapids practice.

Schafer Chiropractic specializes in chiropractic adjustments, massage & manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, exercise correction and Running Gait Analysis.

#TeamSpectacle spends too much time looking down at our phones and typing on our computers so we’re all about Chiropractic medicine. Take care of your spine, it’s the only one you have! Make an appointment with Dr. Schafer and tell him we sent you.

Jordin Sparks talks God Bless The Broken Road on NBC’s TODAY

Screen Capture of

Did you catch Jordin Sparks on the Today Show this morning? She talks about her work as an ambassador with DAV, Disabled American Veterans and God Bless The Broken Road’s partnership with the organization. Watch the clip now.

Spectacle WorkSTYLE: What’s in Emily’s Mobile Office

As the newest member of #teamspectacle, I often find myself looking to both Tamaryn and Jade for advice and inspiration on everything from best font style on a press release to the most practical shoe options for an event (Helvetica and wedges, respectively). My ever-evolving mobile office proves no different. Influenced by both co-workers, my backpack boasts elements found in each of their bags, delivered with a flare that is truly reminiscent of my own style and functional preferences. Read More…

Tamaryn Tobian now contributing to Stage 32

Stage 32 Logo

Our very own Tamaryn is now a contributing writer for Stage 32!

Stage 32 is a networking platform dedicated to providing a productive and educational environment for film, TV, and theater creatives—or as we around here say—Facebook that’s exclusively for entertainment professionals. Because of her background in film PR, marketing, and branding, Tamaryn is able to provide Stage 32 and its members with helpful information into the benefits of working with a PR team through all stages of filmmaking. Read More…

A New Client We’re Going NUTS For!

Wicked Cool Nuts

We’re excited to announce our new client, Wicked Cool Nuts! an L.A. based snack company that offers delicious nutty and dehydrated treats such as assorted nuts, tomato chips, and kale chips—all in a variety of flavors. All of their treats are vegetarian, gluten-free, and made in a home kitchen, permitted by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and city of Los Angeles. These snacks make a great gift for any occasion. But they’re especially great for hostess gifts, housewarming gifts, and holiday gifts. Read More…

Spectacle WorkSTYLE: What’s in Jade’s Mobile Office

We’ve recently covered our very own Tamaryn’s work style and the necessities that accompany her on the go in her mobile office. Today we’re going to dive into my own mobile office and see how I’ve been preparing for ArtPrize On Screen. I’ve been working with Spectacle Creative Media since June and I’ve made many advancements, including in my work style. I mean c’mon, I’ve been learning from the best! Read More…

Spectacle workSTYLE: What’s in Tamaryn’s Mobile Office

#TeamSpectacle is headed to ArtPrize On Screen this week with the Grand Rapids Film Society. To honor that, our own Tamaryn has compiled some helpful tips on how to create your mobile office. Having a well stocked mobile office can save you time and help shred stress.

PR pros, especially Film PR pros, are required to be professional, be prepared, and be portable. We can go from the office to client meetings, to life on set, to hosting an event any given day. And we’re not the only ones. More people are choosing to work a mobile life. If you’re new to this work style, here’s some ideas to get you started. Read More…

Client Update: God Bless The Broken Road

Our director, Harold Cronk, hard at work! The director, Harold Cronk, hard at work!

Back in June, Spectacle welcomed faith-based film “God Bless the Broken Road” as a new client. Initially, we were brought on to do Unit Publicity while they filmed in Manistee including at Berlin Raceway and the iconic Rosie’s Diner.

We are happy to announce that we have been asked to stay on the film project through the movie’s theatrical release, which is slotted for early 2017.

We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with the whole GBTBR crew and to working with the film’s distribution team.

New Nonprofit Client: Meet WomenOnCall

WomenOnCall Logo


A round of applause for Spectacle Creative Media’s newest client, WomenOnCall! Women on Call is a Chicago-based, online network created to help match nonprofit organizations with female volunteers from all over the country to accomplish specific goals in 10 volunteer hours or less.

This efficient and effective networking system is able to connect professional women looking to utilize their passions, skills, and expertise with deserving organizations needing to optimize their exposure and better reach their audiences and local communities. 

We are pleased to welcome them to the Spectacle family and look forward to providing them with integrated public relations strategies and tactics that aim to increase awareness of and engagement with this amazing organization. 

Grand Rapids Film Society Launches With A Spark

Grand Rapids Film Society LogoAt Spectacle, we love films. You’ve probably gotten that vibe from us by now. We also love to see our team members use their talents and skills to better the community. Sometimes this means volunteering or serving on boards and sub-committees. Other times it means helping launch a film society.

The Spectacle family is proud to announce, Owner & Publicist, Tamaryn Tobian’s involvement in the recent launch of The Grand Rapids Film Society. The Grand Rapids Film society is a group dedicated to building a thriving film culture in Grand Rapids by presenting opportunities to appreciate independent, international, and documentary cinema through screenings, unique events, and promotion of the region’s motion picture storytellers.   Read More…

5 Things You Should Look For In Your Publicist

Recently, we’ve been diving into what you should expect of your publicist when they’re on the job. But you may be asking, “What characteristics should I be looking for in a potential PR practitioner before I bring them on my team?”

The needs of every project will vary slightly, and maybe one publicist will have that extra oomph that makes working with them a no-brainer. Here’s a quick hit list of skills you’ll want your publicist to have. Our hope is that this list will help you find the best candidate for your needs. Take a gander.

Critical thinkers

Don’t be surprised if you see your publicist taking The Thinker’s pose. It’s part of the job description to stay 3 steps ahead. Sometimes, that calls for some tough questions and out-of-the-box thinking. Maybe even some role-playing. You should be looking for a publicist who approaches problems from a variety of different vantage points, adopting the thought processes of critics, producers, and audiences alike. That ability to dissect and analyze problems means more thorough and efficient solutions. Anytime a problem can be solved like that, it’s a win in our book.

critical thinking cartoon gif

 University of Alabama

Read More…

We’ve updated our look but kept our SPARK.

Updated Look. Same Spectacle Style.


We’ve always felt we had a strong logo, having received many compliments on our overall branding. However, we knew we could improve it and in doing so better communicate who we are, what we do, and what’s important to us. Therefore, we viewed our logo with a critical eye and realized we could make a few simple tweaks that would better reflect the meaning behind it. Read More…

Spectacle Stories: Why You Should Let Your Publicist Interrogate You

film pr questions Makerbook

When you first start engaging with a film publicist (especially if you have little to no experience working with one), it may feel a little uncomfortable. Don’t be surprised if the first couple days working alongside your new public relations practitioner are filled with rapid fire, interrogation style questions. For some, these blunt, no-nonsense Q&A sessions can be nerve-racking or even offensive. You might ask yourself, Seriously? You’re asking me what kind of camera I’m using? But it’s important to understand that these questions are all meant to help you and your bottom line.

Read More…

Why You Don’t Need to Hire A Hollywood Publicist

Bucking the misconception


This isn’t the first time that we’ve brought up the publicity biz in the Midwest, and we can say with certainty that it won’t be the last. The thing about this industry is that there’s always this misconception that to succeed, you have to relocate. However, in film publicity we’ve proven it’s not required.

If you’re making a film that’s budget conscious—and what film isn’t—you don’t need to be looking to the East Coast or West Coast to hire publicity help. You should be turning your gaze to the Midwest, home to a number of talented people working in the entertainment industry. (Yes, you read that right. There’s an industry here.) And trust us, there’s a lot of perks to working with people on the Freshwater Coast. We put together a quick list of reasons why you should look to us for publicity help versus a metropolis firm. Read More…

Spectacle Stories: Why You Should Hire a Publicist in Pre-Production

Think of your publicist as your film’s defender. They are responsible for keeping the information of your film—its story, cast, crew, and potential drama—under wraps until you’re ready to pull the trigger. That being said, it floors us that some films are still leaving a publicist out of the picture. Let’s just get this out there: You should be bringing in a publicist in pre-production. Now let’s dive into why.

Bringing in a publicist in pre-production is crucial to the success of your film.

1.) It’s hella important to have a publicity meeting in pre-pro.

Although you may feel like you’ve thought of everything concerning your film, there will always be something you miss. Unfortunately, most of the time the piece that gets overlooked is the film’s communication strategy. We’ve seen filmmakers time and time again miss opportunities to create buzz for their projects. If you’re going to generate some earned media, you’ve got to put aside some cash to get a publicist on your film in pre-pro ASAP.

A publicist is able to look at a film and plan communication for every stage of filming. You’ll also be saving yourself a headache by having them privy to all the project’s caveats before you hit any roadblocks, which newsflash: you will hit roadblocks. Here are a few of things a publicist is thinking about when starting a new project:

• How do we create engaging Deal and Attached Director announcements?

• Are there any organizations that would be interested in this film that we could partner with?

• How are we capturing the story of production?

• What media outlets will be the best fit for this project and its story?

In a way, these kinds of questions and evaluation help a publicist decide how to position the film. Part of the success of the film is related to identifying the target audience for it and understanding where and how that audience consumes media. With all of that considered, a publicist will be brainstorming opportunities to make those connections as soon as they’ve been signed onto a project. That kind of insight? Invaluable. Read More…

New Film Tech Client: Meet CineScout


Spectacle Creative Media is excited to work with the new kid in the filmmaking tech category, CineScout. With a mobile application and website, CineScout was created to connect creatives with their dream shoot locations. The app allows location owners to post their locale for free with an unlimited number of videos and photographs to show off what their venue has to offer. From there, creatives can connect to location owners through the app to reserve and pay for the location. Cool, right?

New Film Client: God Bless the Broken Road

Spectacle Creative client, God Bless the Broken Road, on
Video courtesy of wochit Entertainment.


Spectacle Creative Media is excited to officially announce our newest film client! From 10 West Studiosfounded by God’s Not Dead director Harold Cronkcomes the latest faith-based film God Bless the Broken Road. The film’s story follows the journey of still-grieving widow Amber Hill who finds herself angry at God after the loss of her husband who was killed during combat in Afghanistan.Our team is handling the film’s unit publicity and our first round of media outreach resulted in a number of big wins. After the deal and initial cast announcements, we were pleased to see the story picked up by many online and regional outlets as well as 3 top-tier media placements: Rolling Stone,, and Deadline.The video linked above and an overview write-up was posted on detailing the film’s deal announcement. Read More…

Congrats to Grand Rapids’ Joshua Burge on #TheRevenant premiere

We at Spectacle Creative Media would like to give a huge shout-out and congratulations to Joshua Burge as #TheRevenant Premieres (and as Oscar® season grows). We had the pleasure of working with Joshua during the 2014 SXSW premiere of Buzzard (now on DVD). To have played a part in helping a talented, Grand Rapids actor go from starring in a low-budget, critically acclaimed indie film to being a part of an Oscar®  nominated film is why Spectacle Creative Media exists, what we live for, and why we do what we do. Congrats again, Josh; this is so deserved! Check out more photos of Joshua on the red carpet here.

Playing by the rules: Is your PR or social marketing person putting you at risk?

unsplash photo, track race, by Matt lee

Did you know it is against Facebook’s contest rules to ask your audience to share a post/photo in exchange for a contest entry? It is.

That’s why it’s so troubling to us when we see indie filmmakers and brands who make this and other mistakes when running their social media giveaways and contests, perhaps around their crowdfunding campaign, a film festival, or a product launch. However, it’s really important that rules set forth by the respective platforms are followed when running social campaigns. Not doing so can put your film or your brand at risk of having your posts and pages temporarily or permanently removed from the platforms.

We get it; indie filmmakers might not always know what they do not know. That’s why we encourage indie filmmakers and startup brands to work with a knowledgeable PR or Marketing firm, like us at Spectacle Creative Media.

However, what has become increasingly troubling to us is when we see other PR and Marketing firms breaking the rules set forth by the social platforms. Not only does it demonstrate a novice understanding of the platforms’ operation rules and a lack of willingness to do the research, but it’s also negligent as these firms may be putting your brand or your film at risk. You don’t want that!

You want to work with a firm who will help craft social strategies that will not only help advance your goals but also create strategies that reduce your risk. Consider this: if a PR or Marketing firm isn’t up on Facebook or Instagram’s contest rules, how can you be sure they’re suggesting contests and giveaways practices which are compliant and legal with regard to the United States Federal and individual State laws?

If you’re going it alone, make sure you research the rules. If that sounds boring and difficult, then it’s best to not go it alone! And if you decide to bring on a PR or Marketing, make sure they have your back and are doing everything they can to help you take the proper precautions as well as staying up on all the rule changes.


Thoughts on Films: JEM was not so truly outrageous.

JEM and the Holograms © Universal
JEM and the Holograms © Universal

I debated whether or not to put this on my personal blog or here and ultimately decided that this was the right spot. I normally don’t offer up my views/reviews of films for public consumption. Primarily because as a publicist who works with indie filmmakers I know how difficult a process it is to get a film made. I know how hard it is to get people to watch films. And I know how critical (and mean) an audience can be. So publicly participating in that conversation has never felt right to me. Until now.

I’m in my 30s and my age group, is hella rabid for remakes and reboots of content we grew up with. We’re nostalgic. Maybe it’s a Millennial thing (I don’t identify as a Millennial). We’re also kinda jerks when the reboot/remake doesn’t go our way. (Just for the record: It is not ok to send filmmakers death threats on Twitter.) I think fans turn into jerks when a reboot gets it wrong because to some of us these characters are our friends—there’s a relationship between fans and the characters they love. Think about the psychology of being a fan, we grew up with them, they went to school with us, we had sleepovers with them.

And for some of us, whenever the world gets a little too—adult and we don’t feel like adulting—these characters and their worlds are a familiar, safe place we can escape to for a while. And so when other people, who maybe didn’t grow up with these characters the way fans did, mess around with beloved characters, fans get hella defensive about it.

Fans don’t care that you need/want make them relevant to a new, younger generation. They were ours. First. And that disconnect is what I see happening with JEM and the Holograms right now. Because Universal and John Chu are having to do big time damage control after the film tanked opening weekend.

I saw the film Friday with my retro-loving friend. (I still have my JEM and the Holograms cassette tapes.) I also stayed away from spoilers and basically most things to do with this film leading up to it. I wanted to keep as much of an open mind about it as I could. Unfortunately, the film didn’t live up to my expectations.

So what went wrong?

While the music was good, the movie itself was a mess. The script was all over the place and way off the mark. It was too formulaic. Too flat. No substance. Very little was believable. I don’t even care that the writers messed around with what’s canon. I get it, the filmmakers need to consolidate characters to come in on that $5 Million budget. That’s why there’s no gaggle of foster girls besides the band. And I even get making the characters a little bit younger. However, I don’t agree with the choice because doing so means losing a lot of who Jem/Jerrica is.

Fans of the original cartoon cared about Jem/Jerrica because for her the stakes were a lot higher. She was in charge of caring for foster girls. Her house burns down. Her sister is jealous of her rising fame and they’re fighting. Rio might not accept her if he finds out she’s living a double life. She was stressed out with being an adult and having to make a lot of adult decisions and figuring out life/work balance. Something the fans of the original show are experiencing now. The only real problem Jerrica of this movie has is that she’s introverted and struggles with social anxiety.

It seemed like the filmmakers didn’t know what kind of movie they were making. Was it a mystery film? Was it a love story? Was it a family drama? Was it a treasure hunt? Literally at one point I turned to my friend and said, “this is like a musical Goonies wannabe” (gotta save the family house, group of teens goes on a clue quest they don’t tell the adults about, etc.) and then 10 minutes later when JEM shouted from the stage “THIS IS OUR TIME” I just started laughing a sad, pity laugh.

The filmmakers didn’t do a good job of targeting their fans. Rather than seek input from them they manipulated them and, as managing editor of indieWire Kate Erbland, writes the filmmakers went about exploiting them for their built in fanbase. Which is a big, big no-no.

More than that, I don’t think the filmmakers remembered how to make a film on a $5 Million budget. I applaud Universal for going the low budget route and keeping costs down. It’s smart moving making. And to be fair, the film looked good. But the film relied too much on a terrible premise of a teen being discovered on YouTube and thus relaying way too heavily on editing in fan testimonials. Also to keep cost down, I’d argue the whole film didn’t need to be filmed in LA. A lot of the locations, including the homes and malls, could have been shot for a lot less in say, Michigan.

Moral of the story:
If you’re in charge of making a reboot of a beloved franchise, no you can’t make every fan happy, but in the case of JEM and the Holograms, the filmmakers didn’t even try.


October 27 2015 5:31 pm

posted in Film Review, Tamaryn Tobian by Tamaryn Tobian

Is your indie film ready for Sundance?

Sundance Signage

The submissions deadline for 2016 Sundance Film Festival has passed and other top-tier film festival submissions deadlines are fast approaching. If you’re now playing the Sundance waiting game or are getting ready to submit to SXSW, now is as good a time as any to start planning your publicity. I know what you’re thinking, Hey we haven’t even been accepted yet. How can we start to plan publicity for something we don’t know will happen?

That’s the trap every filmmaker gets caught in. Don’t be that filmmaker.

The sooner you start planning, budgeting, and executing your publicity efforts, the better off you’ll be. If your film is selected, you won’t have time to waste coming up with a publicity plan on the fly. And trust us—one created on the fly won’t help your film. There will be 100 other films screening besides yours and the media will only have room to talk about 20 to 30 of them. No matter how great your film is, having your film accepted to a top tier film festival like Sundance means it’s up to you to make sure it’s not lost in the festival’s size.

Here are 5 things you can start to do right now to give your film its best chance of success.

1. Start talking to publicists now.
Start reaching out to indie film publicists. Most publicists will want to screen your film to make sure it’s a good fit for them and how it fits into their current workload as well as with the other films they’re working on. Additionally, this gives you a chance to find out how much they cost and which publicist’s personality and strategy best fits you and your film. Finding the right publicist takes time. Don’t wait until the last minute and be scrambling if Sundance or another major festival says yes to your film.

Most publicists who work with indies understand that budget can be an issue and will understand if you wait to sign an agreement until you know the fate of your film. The important thing is you’re not waiting to begin the selection process.

2. Choose your publicist at least 3 months out from the Festival.
If your budget allows, the sooner you can start raising your filmmaker profile the better. Sundance will contact filmmakers the first week of December. However, we know of filmmakers who find out they’ve been accepted into major festivals well before the festival’s published contact date. If that’s your film, you want your publicist working ahead of the festival to build buzz around your film and help keep it top-of-mind before the chaos hits.

If your film doesn’t make the early cuts, having some publicity might be just the thing that helps get your film noticed by programmers as they make their final selections. Your publicist should have a good idea what stories they can pitch and to which outlets in order to raise your filmmaking profile.

Also remember, late in the calendar year publicity strategies need to account for the Holiday release schedule and the lead-up to Oscars®. Therefore, it’s important to work with a publicist who understands this busy news cycle.

3. Realize you’re going to need help.
There are approximately 500 media passes given out at top-tier film festivals. You simply won’t have time to reach out to them all. A publicist’s job is to work with the media daily. You need a skilled publicist to prioritize the list as it makes sense for your film and pitch targeted stories that appeal to each outlet. Publicists also keep track of who’s writing what, which reporter moved to a new outlet, and what emerging outlets are right for your film. They’re staying on top of large outlets and smaller, genre outlets. They also have strategies for keeping track of all their efforts. The more time you can give your publicist to map out the plan, the more successful your efforts will be.

4. Know your plan b.
We all know it’s stiff competition to get into those top-tier festivals; what happens if your film doesn’t make the cut? Publicity can help close the awareness gap as you move onto second and third tier festivals. And a good publicist will know how to shift the plans just a bit to work for these smaller festivals. Second and third tier festivals don’t operate with the same marketing dollars as a Sundance or a SXSW. Not only do they look for great films but they’re also keenly aware of films who have a built in audience and will draw moviegoers. Having a publicist and press around you and your film will help over the long run as your film makes a go in this regional markets.

5. Have fun.
Whether your films does or doesn’t get into Sundance is out of your control. Enjoy the process because regardless of the outcome there’s things to learn and things to be excited about.

2015 Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival

Feminist Film Festival

Make sure to attend the Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival, a free event. As a women owned business, this event is dear to our hearts. The festival is presented by The Bandit Zine, a submission-based, social justice-focused zine that was founded in Michigan in 2009.

Our own Tamaryn will be speaking on a panel: SHOOTING THROUGH A FEMINIST LENS: How to Make Films That Matter

We encourage you to attend this event. Already in year two, the organizers of this free and inclusive film festival are doing everything right to create a positive, well organized experience. Can’t wait to see you there!


Announcing our First International Client:
Zombie Ninjas vs Black Ops

Grand Rapids Michigan

We’ve begun working with our first international client, the husband-wife team Rody and Kylie Claude, and we’re stoked! Just in time for Halloween, their new, ultra low budget, martial arts–action–horror film, Zombie Ninjas vs Black Opsis releasing on VOD platforms October 15th. Rody and Kylie have been gearing up for the release by teasing fans with a sweet web comic series. Being fans of action and martial arts comics ourselves, we were wowed by the film’s production values.

Shot entirely in Perth Australia, the film brings together an all Aussie cast including Adam T Perkins, who returned to Oz after a decade of theatre in New York City, popular UFC Heavy Weight Fighter, Soa ‘The Hulk’ Palelei, and the very talented Kira Lee Caine, along with newcomer actor Jason Britza.

Zombie Ninjas vs Black Ops takes place in the clandestine research tower of a ruthless Japanese security and arms company, Saisei Security. Scientist MALI (Kira Lee Caine) awakens employed mercenaries killed in combat, their death gives rise to a new, vicious breed of zombie. Trapped amongst unsuspecting civilians, including former tactical operative DILLON (Adam T Perkins), the zombie ninjas commanded by a ferocious leader (Soa ‘The Hulk’ Palelei) are unleashed in the inner city high-rise, resulting in a action-packed mayhem and a fight for survival.

Fun Fact: Tamaryn is actually terrified of zombies and never thought she’d be helping to launch a film full of them! However, she does love ninjas, action movies, and comics. Lucky for her, this film has all of that in abundance.

Guest Post: Rental Houses are a critical Small Business piece to the filmmaking puzzle

Dave Lowing Light & GripDave Lowing testing lighting equipment.
Photo courtesy of Lowing Light & Grip

For National Small Business week (all May long) our friend, Stephen M. Paulsen, at Lowing Light & Grip, put together this fantastic explanation of how independent, small businesses are the backbone to the filmmaking industry. Filmmaking, at its core, is a collaboration of small businesses working together to create a creative product.

You may have already read Why every Indie Film is a Small Business, and the beautiful thing about producing filmed entertainment is the depth of connections that are made to other Small Businesses. The making of any filmed project requires many cooperating small and virtual businesses that supply resources and specific skills that are not available in a Film Producer’s employee pool. The making of any feature length film requires dozens, or hundreds, of such cooperating businesses. For a Film Producer, an Equipment Rental House is one of the most important and essential cooperative businesses for his or her project.

Businesses of all sizes and types must often ponder the Make vs. Buy, or Buy vs. Rent, choices. In the standard business models for filmed entertainment, the Producer is, him or herself,  a business who exists to create the product from raw materials, then sell it to another business for distribution. A Producer has no interest in building up an inventory of the gear a production company will need to make a film. That is where The Rental Houses come in. These Small Businesses make their living by being the one-stop-shopping location for all the specialty (and expensive) equipment needed. The rental providers allow the Producer’s team to stay focused on the specialty items that differentiate the skills and talents of the team. The gear that supports them is, frankly, a commodity.

That is the challenge of the Rental House: Gear must be available, preferably local to the production, in good working order, and come with a team that will support the Producer throughout the project. As a Small Business, then, the Rental House takes on all the risk of procuring the equipment that a Producer will need, and maintain it for proper use at any time. The same challenges of knowing what the market (the Producers) will need, keeping up with developing trends, and maintaining a fair price are familiar to anyone who has run a Small Business.

In addition to the gear and staff who support the Producers, a Rental House also relies on its back office staff in the same ways any other Small Business does. Proper tracking of projects, support tickets, billing, and payment to the Rental House’s sub contractors bolster the reputation, and success, of this kind of Small Business. Add on to that the constant necessities of Marketing, Purchasing, and Payroll to Sales Processing, and you have all the elements of a vibrant, demanding, economically sound business moving money through the community.

Making films (or commercials) is a personnel-intensive business. Like all performing arts, there is almost no place where reduction and automation can improve inefficiencies. Any scene takes as long to shoot as it needs, and takes all the people in front, and behind, the camera to be successful. In addition, any piece of equipment on that set also has a team behind it making sure it is what the Producer wants, that it is properly maintained, and its movement and deployment is tracked for proper billing.

The Rental House is a critical Small Business in the creation of Filmed content and the industry that surrounds it.

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Lowing Light & Grip Summer Party
May 15, 2015 at 3:00pm
Click here for more details

If the shoe fits: Why we say yes to projects.

Alejandro Escamilla (On Unsplash)

We can’t think of anything more fun than grabbing a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and discussing creative ideas. Well, except for maybe talking to the media about exciting creative projects. So we will always find time to meet and talk with up-and-coming filmmakers who are looking for ways to increase visibility around their project. And not just filmmakers! We work with non-film clients too. And maybe you’re wondering, “How do you choose which projects to work on?” That’s a good question. Small businesses run lean and have to make a lot of tough business decisions. The biggest decisions we make here at Spectacle Creative Media are whether or not to take on a project or client.

What are we looking for when we’re considering doing publicity for a film or project?
We view our roles as problem solvers tasked with finding solutions for a unique set of challenges. When we meet with potential clients, we’re listening for subtle clues that help illuminate potential issues with the project or the strategy behind it. When we know what the challenges will be, we’re better equipped to develop and execute strategies and tactics that generate success for our clients. 
Whether it’s your first feature or your third, we’re ultimately looking for teams who work well with ours. Beyond that we typically like projects that:

  • Have an idea, script, or project that deeply resonates with us. Why this matters: No one enjoys working on projects they’re not passionate about. Least of all us. You want your publicists as excited about your project as you are, if not more so. In a way, publicists are your film’s first fans and their job is to get other people to be fans of your film too.
  • For projects in the pre-production or startup phases, having between 50% and 75% of their funding in place is important to us. We’ll still work with teams who don’t, but it’s important that there is a clear plan for raising the needed funds. Why this matters: This is especially important if we’re working with you on any type of crowdfunding campaign.
  • Have given considerable thought to distribution routes and channels. Why this matters: This greatly affects the lifecycle of your film or product. It’s important for us to know upfront so we can plan for it. That doesn’t mean it won’t change (it often does), but it’s easier to pivot from an existing plan than it is for us to create brand new ones on the fly. 

Do we ever pass on projects?
Yes. Whether or not to take on a project is something we always labor over. And we do our due diligence and research. We don’t like it, but sometimes in business we have to say no. The reasons are numerous for this, but the most common reason is that there are some differences or challenges we’re unable to resolve. Things like:

  • teams who undervalue the role well executed publicity adds to the success of the project
  • being too dismissive of our concerns when we raise them
  • having a timetable that doesn’t fit into our existing calendar
  • disagreement on key strategies that may affect our ability to achieve results
  • demonstrating an unwillingness to follow best practices on things we deem critical to the success of our efforts
  • the film/project conflicts with another film/project we’re already committed to

This is a team effort.
We’ve got our clients’ backs. We want them and their projects to succeed. We know that when we work to build a great business relationship with our clients, we will be fortunate enough to work with them over-and-over again. When we do this right, each client and each project we work with and work on builds on each other. That’s one of the many reasons we love working with with independent filmmakers and small businesses as much as we do. 

Why Every Indie Film is a Small Business

 Joseph Scott Anthony, Dan Irving, Burst Theory Film Set
On the set of Burst Theory

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “there’s no business like show business.” And while there tends to be more glitz and glamor making a movie than there is coding a website, in reality the principals of business between filming a movie or launching a startup are largely the same. For National Small Business Week, we thought we would dive into many of the ways each film is in its own right a business. Quite literally. Each film or production company has to file as a business entity. Just have a look at some of the creative (and boring) LLC names from some of the films that have worked with the Michigan Film office.

Just like in traditional bricks and mortar businesses, there are big ones and small ones. Indie films operate on leaner budgets and with less crew. Think of indie films as the the locally owned, home grown types of filmmakers. Studio films are then naturally the bigbox stores.

All films hire staff and face issues of scale. At first it may be one or two people putting the business plan together, choosing or writing the script, going through rounds of funding, etc. But by the time production kicks into full gear, there may be hundreds of people putting in 14-hour days. Look at the list of credits. Every name in that list had a job—no matter how some government entity’s metrics are used to measure job numbers. When the production ends, most of the crew moves onto another film. However, the same core team as in the beginning +/- a few people will work to get the film sold and in front of audiences.

Just like milk or car parts, films are a product that gets distributed. Independent films often sell their films to distributors who then resell that film to an audience. Studios make and distribute the films from start to finish themselves. And when it makes sense, indies and studios alike are looking for ways to repackage their film’s content and create a brand that allows them to sell other products: books, toys, video games, clothes, keychains, bumperstickers—whatever.

Like any tech start up, films are risky. Successful films do everything they can to mitigate that risk, but they’re often spending hundreds of thousands or hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on the budget. When that much is on the line, you’re doing market research to choose (or write) the best script. You’re choosing the most skilled team you can find. You’re picking filming locations that are stable with a lot of amenities. You’re looking at all the ways you can most effectively spend your dollars. It’s no different than how a flower shop owner might choose the best delivery truck or find the most reliable supplier of roses.

Films are consumable. Bakers sell cakes and other delicious things and they get repeat business because people like eating cakes. Films do the same thing. Only unlike cake, you can actually consume the same film more than once. Once in a theatre and again on your tv and then again on your iPad, in the back seat of a car on a long and boring road trip.

Films have to find an audience—its customers. And like brands trying to sell you clothes, in order to find their audience, films must spend money on publicity, marketing, co-marketing, advertising, screenings, film festivals, conferences and trade shows.

Some businesses fail and some films flop. The ones that succeed are the ones that touch our lives. Whether you’re growing a flower shop, a new tech start up, or hustlin’ your film at festivals, growing a small business is tough work. Regardless of industry, what can we do to help each other and help make the road to success less bumpy?

Ask yourself this question to keep moving forward.

What held you back today?
I ask myself that question every day. I’ve learned that regardless of whether or not you’re the one running the show, there will be things that get in our way. Some are obvious: your hard drive crashed. But more often, the things holding us back are less obvious because they’re things we’re doing unintentionally. Procrastinating. Losing track of time. Having doubts.

I’m not going to tell you the five things you should do before bed to remove stress from your life. Those posts exists. What I am going to share with you is something I’ve learned during my small business journey thus far: if you want your business to grow you must be willing to change. And you will not change unless you know what needs to change. That means getting real with yourself as much as it means getting real about the bottom line.

So every day, I ask myself: “What held me back?” And every day, I write them down—trying to keep that list under 10 items. At around 10 items you not only have a pretty clear picture for how the day went and a patterns starts to emerge. Was the day mostly external factors or internal factors? Was there one big thing that if it had not happened would have changed the entire day’s flow? Or was it a bunch of little things that piled up?

If I’m being honest with myself, and with you, here’s what my list looks like for today:

  • Did not wake up early enough
  • Was too distracted
  • Did not stick to my plan
  • Felt overwhelmed

Now usually, I can point to one or two things that happened as a result of each of these bullet points. And because I’ve been making theses lists with enough consistency, I know that for me at least, the last bullet played the most important role in shaping my day. Was today completely derailed? No it wasn’t. Did I do most of the things I wanted to get done? I did. But I didn’t do as much as I wanted nor did I do the things I did get done as efficiently as I could have.

So I have two choices: beat myself up for the way the day went or work to make the rest of the week better. It turns out the shift this week is a rather simple one: I’ve been burning the midnight oil a little too much lately. So for the rest of this week, I’ll shift my priorities ever so slightly. Because if I keep running full speed I’m going to make mistakes I can’t easily fix.

What holds me back tomorrow will be different than today. And what holds me back on Thursday will be different than on Sunday. But knowing each day means I can reset my priorities, my thinking and my strategies so that the overall momentum is forward. Like a lot of entrepreneurs, I’m too hard on myself, so this is also a great way to reset the clock and forgive myself when things don’t go as planned.



National Small Business Week—all throughout May.

national small business week

Dreaming big, starting small—that’s good stuff. But let’s get real with each other; owning, operating, and growing a small business is no walk in the park. It’s more like running a marathon backwards, during rush hour traffic in NYC, while juggling bowling balls. We think we can all benefit from sharing each other’s experiences.

And come on! One week is hardly enough time to cover all the things we can say about starting and growing a small business. That’s why, all throughout May we’ll be doing a Small Business blog series. Guest posts, book reviews, waxing poetic about the challenges we encounter—really good stuff. So bookmark it right now and check back frequently.

We invite you to add your voice to the conversation. If you have a topic you think we should cover or you’d like to submit a guest post reach out to us.

The West Michigan Film Scene

Grand Rapids Magazine Filmmakers

Filmmaking is collaborative and few do it better than the filmmakers in West Michigan. An article in the May issue of Grand Rapids Magazine, on stands now, is a great look into what’s happening. I had the great pleasure of being featured along with some of West Michigan’s amazingly talented filmmakers including: Joel Potrykus, Chris Randall, Dan Falicki, Liz Merriman, Joseph Scott Anthony, Jason Roth, Charley VanPortfiet and other business owners and crew like Dave Lowing. A special shoutout to Nick Hartman at UICA and Erin Wilson at Wealthy Theater and Kerri VanderHoff at GRAM. (And special thanks to Dan Irving for being willing to help capture some of the BTS).

Why we do what we do in Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids Michigan
Grand Rapids, MI (on Flickr)

Some ask us if it would be easier to attract film publicity clients if we lived in Los Angeles or New York. Or at this rate, Georgia. And maybe it would. But we don’t. We live in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Well, most of the time. As it is, Kellen currently calls Melbourne Australia his part-time home. (And before that Taiwan). And lately, Tamaryn has been jumping around here-and-there too. So while we may one day expand into deeper waters—we’ve made a choice to call the Freshwater Coast home. We don’t believe we have to live on the east or west cost to do what we love, work with who we want and get amazing results. So why Grand Rapids?

Grand Rapids is kind of weird, like in the way your kid brother or sister is. Which makes sense. It’s often thought of as both Chicago and Detroit’s little sibling, as it sits nearly equidistant between both. And, like all younger siblings, We learn from the big kids. We take all their hard earned life lessons and experiment with them.

Grand Rapids is a place you just can’t quite define. Because like our rapids-less river, it is a city full of irony and of paradoxes too numerous to list. And the sum result of all that experimentation is a genetic mutation written so deeply into the DNA of our city that it produces hard work, connectivity, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship in excess.

It’s no coincidence that the first super center AND the first movie theater megaplex were invented here, Meijer and Studio 28, respectively. It’s no coincidence that we are the home of not one, but TWO of the largest art Festivals in the United States, Festival of the Arts and ArtPrize. It’s no coincidence that the most iconic chairs (and dreaded cubicles) were both designed and invented in Grand Rapids. And now we brew designer beer. Designer beer so good, that on his many, worldly travels Kellen can attest to expats sitting in damp, crowded bars in Japan raving about Grand Rapids beer.

We’re completely bias, we know. But there’s a sexy, creative and largely untapped magic bubbling here.(Maybe those bubbles are how we’ll get our rapids back.) Some have called it Paris in the 20s. Others say, not to label it. Tamaryn likes to say GR is the Austin of the North—with better beaches.

But whatever you call it, however you try to define it, Grand Rapids is at the core of who we are and how we do what we do.

Thinking back on 4 years: Happy Birthday Spectacle

happy birthday spectacle creative media

Wow. 4 years.

I’ll be honest with you. When I started this journey, building Spectacle, I had no clue what I was doing. I jumped in without any plan. Not even one written on the back of a napkin. I never fancied myself a small business owner. I never thought I had the chops to be an entrepreneur. Could I really make a living, all on my own, in Public Relations? I mean, I graduated college before Facebook or Twitter or any of web 2.0 had been invented. So it’s still a shock for me to reflect on how we’ve gotten to this milestone.

At the end of 2010, I needed change. I was burned out on corporate culture. I wanted to use my creativity and talents in new, more interesting ways. That’s no disrespect to my then employer or its people; I just needed to move on.

I took a solid two weeks off before taking my next professional steps and I began working at a 3-person creative shop in Grand Rapids. I rarely talk about it because I wasn’t there long enough. Just 30 days. The transition from big-box corporate to the tiny creative shop wasn’t one I made quickly.

I think one of the reasons that blink-and-you’d-miss-it stint didn’t work out is that I hadn’t taken enough time to recalibrate myself. Before I made any more career decisions, I needed to slow down and figure out what the hell I wanted. So I started picking up more freelance writing and PR clients.

I didn’t think about then, but that tiny 3-person creative shop left an impression on me. By February, I began thinking: “Maybe I could have that one day.” But I also knew if I were going to do it, it would have to be on my terms. Terms like work/life balance, only taking on projects I was truly passionate about, and creating an environment in which I and others could grow and thrive.

The early days were rough. I burned through a good deal of what I call “social capital.” And Benjamin Franklins; I went through those too.

The first thing I did was invest in the tools I needed: a business license, a brand, a website, the usual stuff. The second thing I did was position my company so that I would be less likely to compete with the big, more established agencies. I didn’t want to compete against them. I began focusing on a growing but overlooked industry in Michigan. Independent Film. I’d grown up in entertainment. Content creators—they where who I wanted to focus on.

When Gov. Rick Snyder cut the incentives budget, I leveraged it as a way to get active in the film community. Something that corporate job hadn’t given me the time to do. Doing so, I learned a valuable lesson: sometimes the best time to get involved in a cause or with an organization is right when it’s about to fall apart.

The next thing I did was dip my toes back into the corporate waters. I started working part-time with Zondervan’s The Story product. Steady paycheck. But more importantly, enough time had passed to allow for a personal recharge that being near cubicles didn’t make me itch. I spent a year there, learning from the best and working with some of the most amazing people on a project that was truly satisfying. Publishing dovetails into entertainment publicity quite nicely—especially now that content creation is one of the US’s top three exports.

The last thing I did was reshape my team to include the amazing Mr. Kellen Parker. His expert design and web skills and our shared passion for art, content, and independent doers helped me to focus our company vision and its goals. Going forward: we’d only focus on attracting clients that made sense with our vision.

So now. Here we are! 4 years later. We are profitable. And to date, we’ve spent $0 on marketing or advertising. Everything we’ve attracted thus far is because we do a great job, our clients love us, and they tell others. That’s because we’re attracting clients that align with us. We’re hyper focused on delivering results. It will continue to evolve, as small businesses do, but what we do know is that what we are best at, generating publicity around our clients, works.

And personally, I’m working on giving back to the creative community that has given me so much. It’s important to me that I do this. I now give hours with organizations like AAF West Michigan and The Media Arts Coalition. Additionally, we’ve begun testing innovating new ideas, like developing a service grant program. Looking back on how far we’ve come, I can only be excited for what we’ll do this year and after.

Dear Everybody…

In January, we started working with the Acton Institute on the film series For The Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles. It stars Evan Koons and his friends—Stephen Grabill, Amy Sherman, Anthony Bradley, Makoto Fujimura, John M. Perkins,Tim Royer and Dwight Gibson—as they explore a new perspective, the bigger picture of what it means to be “in the world, not of it.” What excited and drew us to this project most of all is that it’s for anyone familiar with the Christian faith—regardless of denomination—madly in love with church or just about to walk out its doors. And it’s pretty funny too.

Shining a spotlight on West Michigan Filmmaking.
Buzzard accepted into 2014 Locarno Film Festival

BUZZARD Official Poster

Spectacle Creative Media team would like to congratulate Joel Potrykus and everyone at Sob Noisse on their very prestigious acceptance into this year’s Locarno Film Festival where Buzzard will have it’s International Premiere.

This is the second time Potrykus has been accepted into Locarno; in 2012 Joel won best emerging director. We’re proud of the part we played early on in hyping Buzzard at this year’s SXSW. As this film continues to succeed, we’re grateful to the many talents of Joel and the Sob Noisse crew as they continue to shining a bright light on West Michigan Filmmaking.

June 25 2014 4:19 pm

posted in Client News, Clients by Tamaryn Tobian

Curious how we get things done?
Here’s some of our collaborative organization tools.

Spectacle Creative Media has been buzzing lately. And more than ever, we’re making project management and collaborative organization a priority. Not that we weren’t before, but sometimes it’s good to go through and evaluate if there are things you could be doing to make things more efficient or better tools you could be using that weren’t available a year ago.

1. Google Apps for Business
While we’re still not over the death of Google Reader, and we often write public “Dear Google” letters on how they could be improving Gmail, Drive, and their other apps, as collaborative tools go, Google for Business is still at the top. Gmail is fully organizable with Labs (e.g., canned responses, nesting folders, etc.) and it integrates really well with our Apple products. Plus, Drive files like documents, spreadsheets, and forms has gone through a recent overhaul. For collaboration on documents and file sharing, Google has really stepped up its game.

Also, Google Hangout has earned our loyalty over Skype with free features like multiple people in the same Hangout and screen sharing. Also, the Hangout mobile app just works. And that’s really important for our team.

2. Dropbox
We recently had a setback with Dropbox, so we put this on the list with some hesitation. In May they decided to kill all public links. It was a mess, some of our VERY IMPORTANT links have been lost – forever- and we’re still not happy about that. And Dropbox’s customer service has been awful during this debocle. We still have yet to speak to a human about the possiblitly of restoring our lost links (not creating new ones) exactly as they were. But, the link snafu aside, up until then, we’d been really happy with Dropbox. It’s a big tool for us because it really does allow us the functionality to work remotely and still allow access to files between teams and clients.

UPDATE: As of 6/18 we’ve received communication from Dropbox that’s considerably more clear. While we’re not happy with their answer or the results, we’re at least happy to have gotten a forthright reply.

3. Asana
While it would be great if Google had a project management system in its Business Apps that allowed tasks to be assigned across an organization and email reminders for due dates, we’re fully onboard with Asana. Because it’s the next best thing. It takes a little while to get used to how to best organize your projects, teams, and which project and task views are the best, but once you figure that out – you won’t use any other cloud based project management system. And we’ve tried them all. Hands down, Asana is better than Basecamp. Plus, it integrates with both Google Dropbox APIs flawlessly. The best thing though? It’s structured for startups and small business. It’s pricing is the best for small and growing companies such as ours. You can have up to 15!! people from the same organization FOR FREE – and unlimited collaborators (clients). As for privacy, again it’s great. Everyone in the organization has access to all projects (at the free level) but by assigning teams you can keep client projects separate from one another.

4. Cision (and soon to be Cision/Vocus)
Right now, we’re using Cision which is a media data base. It’s not cheap. Actually, it’s our biggest expense. But it’s worth it to us (and to our clients) to have a pretty comprehensive database of media folks – news producers, reporters, publishers, publications, bloggers, social influencers, the whole bit. We’re a little nervous about the announcement that the two biggest media database companies will merge at the end of this year – especially with respect to new pricing. But for now, we’re happy.

An online photo editing platform that’s great. It’s not for intricate design. And don’t you dare hit refresh in your browser. But when you need a quick graphic (like the feature image for this post) and you don’t feel like waiting for Photoshop or Indesign to boot up, PicMonkey works in a pinch. Their fonts and textures are great and the paid extras are super affordable.



Tamaryn appointed to the AAF West Michigan Board of Directors.

It’s important to stay connected through leadership and our own Tamaryn is doing just that. In May, the members of the AAF West Michigan voted our own Tamaryn to serve a three year commitment on its Board of Directors.

On her appointment Tamaryn said, “I’m honored have the opportunity to serve on the Board of this wonderful, impactful organization. As creative content continues to be a driving force in advertising, I hope to be a collaborative voice for our growing, indigenous filmmaking industry, a niche Spectacle Creative Media serves.”

For more information about AAF West Michigan, visit their website:

June 12 2014 10:30 am

tags: , , , ,

Spectacle Creative Media Announces Recipients
of Their First Ever Matching Service Grant

It’s important to stay connected through leadership and our own Tamaryn is doing just that. In May, the members of the AAF West Michigan voted our own Tamaryn to serve a three year commitment on its Board of Directors.

Spectacle Creative Media is pleased to announce the recipients of our first ever Matching Service Grant. Spectacle Creative Media awarded two grants, one in each of the following categories: Women or Minority Owned Business and Arts & Entertainment.

“We’re excited to be working with these two amazing women and help their projects achieve new milestones,” said Spectacle Creative Media Owner & Publicist, Tamaryn Tobian. “We’re passionate about creating new opportunities for organizations and emerging businesses. The hard work of these entrepreneurs, non-profits, content creators, and small business owners is at the core of thriving communities.”

Women or Minority Owned Business Category

 Triad Resource Group received a total Matched Service Grant Award valued at $2,400. These efforts will be dedicated to helping Triad Resource Group further their marketing and public relations efforts.

Triad Resource Group is a Chicago based, non-profit and social enterprise fund development & implementation firm. Lauren Dillon formed Triad Resource Group in 2012. Before starting Triad Resource Group, Dillon had served faith-based & social enterprise organizations in their fundraising efforts for over 8 years. She started Triad Resource Group to meet the specific fundraising needs of organizations. She is both a strategic partner and collaborator while surprising organizations with Triad Resource Group’s innovative, getting-into-the-trenches approach.

On being a grant recipient Dillon said, “We are passionate about resourcing the emergent non-profit and social enterprise. All our operations, methodologies, and thinking are focused on this market segment. We recently experienced some company-wide ‘wins’ that reinforce our belief that there is still a long way to go in properly resourcing this market segment and that indicate it’s time to take our services to the masses. We believe Spectacle Creative Media can assist us in getting to that point.”

Arts & Entertainment Category

 Mary Brodbeck received a total Service Grand valued at $5,200. These efforts will be divided between building her a new website as well as developing strategic marketing and publicity efforts around both her brand as an artist and her upcoming documentary, Becoming Made.

Mary Brodbeck specializes in Japanese Woodblock Printmaking. Since learning this ancient art in Tokyo, from with Yoshisuke Funasaka in 1998, Brodbeck has earned international accolades for her woodblock prints depicting scenes of the Great Lakes. In 2011, Brodbeck embarked on something completely new – making her first film. Filmed in both Michigan and Japan, the documentary will feature demonstrations of Mary’s artistic process as well as conversations with her mentor, Funasaka.

“I am very excited to be a recipient of this grant,” said Brodbeck. I really love Japanese woodblock printmaking and can’t wait for my new film to be released so that I can share my passion with a larger audience. This grant, along with the Spectacle Creative Media team, will go a long way toward reaching my goals.”

On the future of this Matched Service Grant program Tobian said, “We’re pleased with the initial first steps in making these Matched Service Grants available. We’ll be evaluating the process as we work with these first grantees, but overall we’re very hopeful that this is something we can continue to offer in the future.”

More about Spectacle Creative Media’s Matched Service Grant

These grants are not cash grants. Rather, they are matching, in-kind service grants. Grants are awarded based on a number of factors and the Award Amount is based in part on the free market value of the services provided.

Applicants could apply under one of three categories: Women or Minority Owned Business, Arts and Entertainment (Business or Nonprofit)or a Nonprofit (501(c)3 designation). Qualifying businesses or organizations could be awarded up to $60,000 in matched, in-kind services. The maximum amount for each category was capped at $20,000.

Submissions are closed, but full rules can be read at

What your publicist thinks about luck.


© Flickr User kaibara87

Today is a great day to reflect on luck. According to this CNN article, your chances of finding a 4-leaf clover are 1 in 10,000. That’s a lot like trying to earn publicity without a strong media plan.

Seneca wrote, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” In publicity, we make our own luck. There’s a lot of planning that goes into creating opportunities for our clients. To the outside observer, a well planned campaign looks a lot like luck. And while sometimes serendipitous opportunities can happen,we don’t hope for it – we plan for it. The more planning you and your publicity team do means the more luck you’ll eventually have.

Sob Noisse inks distribution deal with Oscilloscope Laboratories

Congratulations are in order for our clients writer/director Joel Potrykus and the crew at Sob Noisse. Today, Oscilloscope Laboratories announced it acquired North American rights to distribute BUZZARD. This announcement comes ahead of SXSW, where the film will have its world premiere. Read more about it at Deadline Hollywood.

Photo by Adam J. Minnick

Photo by Adam J. Minnick

Q: Should I send out my own press release?

For Immediate ReleaseAnswer: If you have a list of good press contacts and a well written press release, then yes you can send out your own press release.

But, before you do, remember that it’s critical for you to be available. The press will not wait for you.

In other words, you need to be available at all times to answer your phone or check your email; just in case press needs to get a hold of you. We mean it. At all times. So if you can’t be available, make sure someone is. Even if it’s for an hour or 20 minutes.

We speak from experience, it’s inevitable, a reporter who’s in the middle of writing their article  will need a quote, want to clarify a talking point, or find out if you have a high-res photo they can use – whatever it may be.

It’s also a really, really good idea to have your website updated and address common questions before they’re asked.

If you can’t make that kind of commitment, then think carefully about sending out your release. Or, seriously consider hiring a professional PR firm, like Spectacle Creative Media, who can be available at all times. (You might even be surprised at how affordable it can be.)

Remember, Public Relations is all about managing your reputation; you don’t want to appear unprofessional.

February 17 2014 5:30 pm

posted in Advice, Spectacle Creative Media by Tamaryn Tobian

Announcing New Service Grant Program

Spectacle Creative Media Announces

New Service Grant Program

(Feb 11, 2014 Grand Rapids, MI) – There’s good news for nonprofits and qualifying businesses who are looking to increase their publicity and marketing budgets. Boutique publicity and marketing firm, Spectacle Creative Media, is launching a new matched, Service Grant Program.

Spectacle Creative Media will award grants in the following 3 categories:

• Arts and Entertainment (Business or Nonprofit)
• Women or Minority Owned Business
• Nonprofit
(501(c)3 designation)

“The main goal of our new Service Grant Program is to support organizations and causes that are close to our hearts,” explains owner, publicist and strategist, Tamaryn Tobian. “We want to partner with organizations and causes who need to enhance their message, create visibility, and extend their reach through marketing and publicity tactics. Developing this unique program allows us to do just that.”   

Spectacle Creative Media will provide up to $60,000 in matched, service grants to qualifying organizations and businesses. The maximum amount for each category is $20,000.

These are not cash awards,” explains Tobian. “Instead, each service grant is awarded as a matching, in-kind donation or expense to the selected organizations or businesses.” For every $1 the grantee spends on the approved project, Spectacle Creative Media will contribute up to $2 with in-kind services towards the project.

Despite not being a cash grant, Tobian expects it will be competitive. “We’ve seen a real need for a program like this in our community. We’ve heard a great deal of positive feedback from organizations and businesses who are looking to work with a firm like ours. It’s especially rare for a program like this to be open to for-profit businesses; an opportunity like this would have a positive impact on the work they’re doing.”

Most of Spectacle Creative Media’s services are available under this Service Grant Program. Tobian suggests, “Organizations and Businesses that may qualify can maximize a potential service grant award by submitting a thoughtful, integrated approach that combines several services and tactics.”

Organizations or businesses looking to apply should read the full list of Rules and Guidelines and email their application to by April 20th 2014.


February 11 2014 7:30 am

posted in Press Releases, Spectacle Creative Media, Spectacle News by Tamaryn Tobian

Sob Noisse’s Buzzard Accepted to SXSW Film Festival 2014

BUZZARD Official Poster

BUZZARD Official Poster

We’re excited to announce that our client, West Michigan writer and director Joel Potrykus, second feature film,  BUZZARD, will have its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival this March in Austin Texas.

The film will be shown as part of the Visions category. The Festival describes filmmakers in this category as, “audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema landscape. They demonstrate raw innovation & creativity in documentary & narrative filmmaking.”

BUZZARD was shot on location across Michigan including: Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Allegan. The film also features local cast and crew from West Michigan.

It tells the story of temp worker, Marty, and his schemes to cash third party checks. A Robin Hood, who steals from the rich to give to himself, Marty’s plots and temper eventually catch up with him with disastrous results.

BUZZARD is a follow-up to Potrykus’ first feature film, APE which recently inked a distribution deal with distributor Factory25APE will release on all major digital platforms beginning February 25.

Congratulations to Joel and everyone at Sob Noisse!

On the set of BUZZARD. Photo by Jon Clay

On the set of BUZZARD. Photo by Jon Clay

January 30 2014 3:35 pm

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posted in Client News by admin

Joseph Scott Anthony Talks Michigan Film Resurgence

Joseph Scott Anthony on Take Five & Company

Joseph Scott Anthony on Take Five & Company

Our client, Joseph Scott Anthony, recently sat down with Take Five & Company’s Stephanie Webb to talk about why 2014 may be the Michigan Film Industry’s biggest year yet.

In addition to securing the interview opportunity, we also worked with Joe to make sure he was well prepared for anything she might ask him. The goal was to begin to reframe the debate around the Michigan Film Industry. We believe the best way to do that is to promote all the great things, large and small, happening right now. Watch the full interview at the link below.

January 27 2014 4:00 pm

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posted in Client News by admin

FitKim Joins Spectacle’s Client List

FitKim Logo_CroppedWe’re welcoming Kimberly Olson of FitKim to our client list. Kimberly is a nationally renowned nutrition and fitness expert and the author ofThe FitKim Lifestyle: Food & Fitness to Get YOU Fit!, a complete guide to living a healthier, more active lifestyle. We’re helping her reach more people who are ready to take on a healthier lifestyle.

November 1 2013 10:00 am

posted in Clients, Spectacle News by admin

Revell Books Joins Spectacle’s Client List

Revell-Publishing_Block LogoWe’re welcoming Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, to our client list. We’re taking the lead on two public relations campaigns for books that are releasing in January 2014.

“This is actually the second time we’ve worked with Revell Books, and we’re excited to be working with their amazing team once again,” explains Tamaryn.

November 1 2013 10:00 am

posted in Clients, Spectacle News by admin

We’re Supporting Movember!

Movember LogoWhat the heck is Movember?

It started as a tradition of male facial hair growth in Australia and has grown into an international way to raise both awareness and funds for prostate cancer research. It’s kind of like the male equivalent of Breast Cancer month in October. You know but instead of pink…it’s facial hair.

When caught early, prostate cancer can be very curable. Unfortunately, a lot of men do not get screened.

“As a lady, I’m exempt.” jokes Tamaryn, “But some of the Spectacle Creative Media men will be growing out their face hairs this month.”

Tamaryn’s father, Terry, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011. Fortunately, thanks to early detection and awesome doctors, he is currently cancer free.

Please join us in supporting Team Alpha Wolves this Movember.

Click here: to learn more about Movember.

October 28 2013 7:30 am

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posted in Spectacle News by Tamaryn Tobian

Our own Kellen Parker featured in The Atlantic!

Our own Kellen Parker was featured in The Atlantic! Kellen is one of the Co-Founders of, an active social community helping to preserve dying Chinese languages. We’re proud of the work he’s doing and the amazing community he’s helping to build. This is yet one more reason we’re happy he’s a part of our leadership team.

Image curtsey of Kellen Parker

Image courtesy of Kellen Parker

Here’s a small excerpt:

What would you describe as the objectives of Phonemica?

Basically, we’re trying to document the way Chinese people actually speak at home. We’re then going in and analyzing the recordings of them speaking, eventually building up a database of linguistic features that will be able to be displayed dynamically. So, for example, you could go in and see all the different words used for “wok” in different dialects, or see variations in how Mandarin dialects pronounce ránhòu (nahou in Taiwan, zãho in Shanghai).

Make sure to click through to read the full interview.

June 19 2013 12:30 pm

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posted in Spectacle News by admin

Can you benefit from sending a Press Release?

In this age of new media, you may think that some of the old school tools, like the press release, are a thing of the past. We’re here to tell you press releases continue to be an important tool. Press Releases are still a valuable tool for individuals and businesses who need to generate publicity and foster good public relations. While the press release has adapted in format in recent years, they’re still effective in getting your message out.

Regardless of how small or how large your company is, you can benefit from press release distribution. Your stories can earn you placement in traditional media such as print magazines and trade journals, on radio or television, and in online media such as online magazines, blogs, web shows,  in podcasts, and other outlets. When paired with effective targeting, you can reach your customers where they are. Here’s how sending a press release can help:

Read More…

That’s a wrap! Grand Rapids Film Festival

Grand Rapids Film Festival Founder, Corey Niemchick, (left) and our own Tamaryn Tobian (right).
Photo Credit: Philo Photography

This year’s Grand Rapids Film Festival was no small event. It’s five days full of films sourced from all over the United States and the world. There was no shortage of films to see: Feature, Short Narrative, Documentary, Animation, and Student Categories. There was also no shortage of things to do, including panel discussions and a production workshop for people interested in learning more about film. There was even an outdoor film screening Friday night. Networking events such as the Producer’s brunch kept the discussion going and help to make the Festival a well rounded event.

The Spectacle Team had a wonderful time. While at the Festival we attended some fun events, spoke to amazing young filmmakers, and we worked with some great students from Compass College of Cinematic Arts, Kendall College of Art and Design.


May 23 2013 3:08 pm

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posted in Clients, Spectacle Creative Media by admin

GRFF Passes Give Away

Grand Rapids Film Festival

Grand Rapids Film Festival

We’re giving away 2 Free Day Passes to the Grand Rapids Film Festival on our Facebook Page.

Edit: Contest now closed.  Thanks to everyone who entered!

May 14 2013 3:08 pm

posted in Clients, Spectacle Creative Media by Spectacle Creative Media

Music That Sparks: Meet Bello Spark.

Bello Spark Live

This talented indie group formed with the realization that distance doesn’t matter. Members Rob Jordan and Tory Peterson are based in Chicago and Grand Rapids respectively and songwriting happens in the Cloud. Recorded in Peterson’s studio, they released their debut, self-titled album this past March. We helped give them their look and are continuing to work with them on their Public Relations.

May 8 2013 5:19 pm

posted in Clients, Spectacle Creative Media by Spectacle Creative Media

Are you going to the the Grand Rapids Film Festival?

The Grand Rapids Film Festival Poster

The Grand Rapids Film Festival Poster

We Are!

We’re thrilled to be working with the Grand Rapids Film Festival this year. The Festival is from May 15 – May 19th. The Spectacle Creative Media Team provided all of the graphics including this year’s poster (right), development brochure, lanyards, and the 40 page program! Whew!

Additionally, we’re also handling all of the Public Relations for the Festival. We can’t wait to sit down with filmmakers learn more about their films. There is such an amazing buzz attending these events, and we’re so excited to be a part of this great one. We hope to see you there.

Buy your tickets or sign up for the Production Workshop at


A special thanks to Mark Bolek, Kellen Parker and Brad Stall for all their hard work. 

Think Tables Launch

Think Tables product shot.

Think Tables product shot.

Think Tables are a great collaborative tool. We’re pleased to help this brand launch. Check out this feature article about them in MLive.

April 3 2013 4:23 pm

babyQ Featured as Pregnancy & Newborn App of the Month


The cover of the January, 2013 Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine

The cover of the January, 2013 Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine

The Spectacle Creative team is happy to share that our client babyQ is featured in the January, 2013 Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine as their mobile app of the month. You can find P&N on the shelves at Barnes & Noble and Babies”R”Us as well as at select grocers and drugstores.

We are so excited to see this great website and mobile app for expectant mothers receiving much deserved national attention. The Spectacle Creative team will be continuing to work with Infusion Marketing on this great project, getting the word out on this amazing tool for mothers.

January 16 2013 10:12 am

tags: ,

posted in Client News, Spectacle Creative Media by admin

What’s Your BabyQ?

babyQ logo

babyQ logo

Everyone here at Spectacle is very happy to announce our partnership with Infusion Marketing as we work together to get the word out on BabyQ, a website and mobile app for pregnant women.

BabyQ helps busy mothers-to-be make the best choices during pregnancy—in order to enhance fetal development.  Developed by Dr Gareth Forde and Dr Mark Gostine, using their knowledge of nutrition and obstetric to develop a comprehensive program for pregnant women.  The app and website offer timely and customized messaging for mothers to help them make better choices with the constantly changing needs of their baby.

We are excited to be lending our public relations and social media expertise in support of Infusion Marketing as we help grow the BabyQ brand.

September 18 2012 5:38 pm

posted in Clients, Spectacle Creative Media by admin

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