Blog

Blog

TDN

The Kentucky Derby is less than four weeks away and I’m as excited as I have ever been. We started working again with the Thoroughbred Daily News (TDN) again this past year which lands us in the middle of the owners, trainers, jockeys, exercise riders, hot walkers and grooms all prepping for the pinnacle first Saturday in May. (Our work with NYRA [New York Racing Association] has ramped up too (another blog), and put us at tracks on race days.)

E5 Racing burst on the thoroughbred scene just over than two years ago. They've already won a couple Breeders' Cup Championships and are now in contention for the Kentucky Derby with Good Magic.

The TDN has always been special to me because it is owned by two friends and former work colleagues of mine who took the paper from a daily one sheet informational fax to the expansive and most reputable media source in thoroughbred racing and breeding today. I worked at the TDN 15 years ago marketing special thoroughbred ventures. I watched with my own eyes how great leadership can foster productivity and excellence.

My life moved me around quite a bit and I left horse racing, the sport I loved covering more than all others since 1986. I kept my terrific memories. Occasionally I would produce a show or feature for TVG or NYRA, but I didn’t see myself coming back.

Sue Finley saw things differently. Sue is the publisher/co-owner of the TDN and the TDN Weekend Magazine. When, a year and a half ago, doctors found a cancerous tumor in my stomach, Sue spearheaded a plan to get me into surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering with the top GI cancer doctor in the world. Two weeks later I was cancer free and Sue and I started discussing our future and how we may work together again.

We are two people who don’t spend too much time looking back at the past (oh, there are a few stories from our days at ABC Sports we can’t forget as hard as we try!). I imagine us as old ladies sitting on a porch still talking about the future of media and racing and politics. We’ll throw in a few stories about our fathers who deserve the all the hero worship we can heap on their beloved memories, but mostly we love the concept of “what’s next.”

‘Next’ currently is expanding the media at TDN to give readers everything they need to stay informed on the business of racing and breeding, to make the streaming present and in real time and to build the video assets as rich as the current TDN text and photography libraries.

We started in baby steps with regular features like “The Last Word” and “The Big Interview” and now we are equipping writers with cameras to catch sound bites to accompany their stories. TDN features are becoming multi-media spreads layering information, insights and perspectives to the stories. A well-timed partnership with XBTV is providing video of morning workouts and as well as race coverage on featured days. We are setting up for coverage all over the country and world to keep the TDN as the only source a professional in racing needs to run their business. The future is limitless as we expand into video ads and profile features.

The TDN Weekend is a thoroughbred lifestyle magazine. I'm honored to host the monthly overviews.

The TDN Weekend is Sue’s brainchild digital magazine expansion piece that showcases the unique corners of the world that people in racing find themselves. Hotels, restaurants, chefs, personalities, travel tips and much more are all fleshed out with glorious images and film. I feel as if I have taken a vacation every time I read the TDN Weekend. I host the monthly overview because my passion for the TDN Weekend is unbridled. PWMG contributes photos, videos and ads. I went a little off my gourd when one of my photos made the cover for the first time.

The May TDN Weekend will feature Kentucky Derby recipe segments that we filmed in Orlando. Everyone pitched in. The Kentucky bourbon flowed. The food was so outstanding we made it again the next week just for eating.

Acacia Courtney, host of the simulcast show from Gulfstream Park, is one of the smartest and hardest working people in the business. We are featuring her in an upcoming issue of the TDN Weekend.

Charlotte Weber, one of the most respected owners in the business, keeps it old school and races what she breeds. We've been lucky enough to do several features with Mrs. Weber.

We aim to grow in our partnership with the TDN as the digital playground continues to spread across all genres. Even the sport most steeped in history and tradition is finding new life -- and fans -- in the new media order.

Video is Key to Social Marketing

Facebook has 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users. That is daily! Put another way, Facebook sees 100 million hours of daily video watch time!  YouTube alone receives more than 4 millions daily views a day and more than one billion unique views each month! So it really isn’t surprising that 64% of marketers expect video to dominate their marketing strategies in the near future according to Nielsen.

By 2017, 69% of all consumer traffic on the internet will be watching video.

I included a little video here that I did for our company as an example. This is a direct message though often we tell stories or create narratives for our clients to communicate with customers or engage audiences.

 

 
I remember when television was exclusive and also exclusionary to a large degree. I was there. I worked for one of the networks. We worked very hard and knew we were lucky. But, I can tell you this revolution excites me so much more. Anyone with talent can get their videos watched — widely! Talent!!! Any company with a good message can reach their customers without exorbitant fees. This is a HUGE tool for the average small to medium sized companies; enabling them to compete with larger corporations in getting their dynamic messages to customers. The internet and the visual media it streams is a tremendous equalizer if it is used effectively!!

Businesses who use video report 72% increased website conversions rates. Are you using video? Are you communicating professionally? Effectively?

And lastly, are you working efficiently? You can afford to incorporate video into your media marketing plan. Can you afford not to?

I’ll be talking on this topic a lot in the coming weeks!

Wanzie’s Ladies of Eola High Seas

I love when my work includes photography. My favorite projects are shows that Michael Wanzie, Kenny Howard and Chris Yakubchik write, produce and direct and star Beth Marshall, Peg O’Keefe, Sam Singhaus & Blue Star. Okay, okay, okay, I’m a nut for Wanzie’s Ladies of Eola Heights series.

This summer’s show is Wanzie’s Ladies of Eola High Seas. It is playing at the Abbey now. (Click on any picture for tickets) I’ve seen it twice and counting. Wanzie can get me laughing and crying and back again in under 5 minutes. His writing is a kind of magic I couldn’t not begin to dissect or understand. But it touches everyone.

The comedy and timing of these shows just slay me. The emotion always surprises me. I can watch them over and over and still feel all the feels just as strongly.

I am forever awed by Sam Singhaus. He plays Miss Sammy as if overtly. There she is in all her drama. Nobody is going to look away when MIss Sammy is on the stage. But what I love is the small things. The little insecurities that a woman her age would have but try to mask. It’s the tiniest gestures that get to me. With all the make-up, wigs and costumes, it is Miss Sammy’s eyes that are telling the story.

Speaking of costumes, the amazing Marcie Singhaus knocks another one out of the park here. Marcie knows these Ladies inside and out! She makes sure to convey it all to the audience.

Go see this show! Orlando needed the Ladies and they came through again!!!!

Orlando Memorials

June 12, 2016 marked the darkest day on record for Orlando. And nobody I know is okay. But the community remains determined to poke holes in the dark cloud for rays of light. I’m awed by this.

For me walking the memorials is still super painful. I can’t lie about that. Watching little children sign posters and letters to the innocent victims who should be on the streets right now along side us is not okay. Little children shouldn’t have to live through times like these. I didn’t. It’s not fair. I got to be a child without knowing this kind of thing could possibly exist. But they can’t avoid knowing. It isn’t fair.

Seeing photos of the victims who are so bright faced and vibrant sitting amidst flowers that are dead and gone just like them infuriates me. The dead flowers have become emblematic to me and trigger tears each time I see them.

My dad’s funeral was one week before the massacre. I was still very raw from the pain. Seeing the families right here in my neighborhood suffering the same pain — but worse — was overwhelming to me. Mothers burying children? No. This is not the natural order. My father suffered for a long time. We knew we would have to say good bye. His body could no longer function properly. He did not die at the hands of a hateful man. I could not reconcile these families’ pain. Their loved ones should not be gone. Yet there they were, convening at the senior center on my block — with memorials growing up all around. Not okay. Not at all.

But the love of this community….

it does not end.

The angels appear at memorials, churches, vigils and events. You’ve seen them on TV. You’ve seen them on social media. I know them.  These people are resolute to love and not hate. They are affecting change. And they are melting some of my anger. They are special.

A man shows up several times a day at the Dr. Phillips Center memorial site to allow people to release white doves.

Mayor Dyer promises a permanent memorial to the victims in Orlando. They will never be forgotten.

Signs inform us that all of the gifts and posters will be saved and curated for future display.

People are singing. Money is being raised. Survivors are being cared for.

Even the dead flowers will be composted into soil for the beautiful gardens all around Orlando.

I’m still reluctant to admit that anything good can come from a tragedy like this, but thank you Orlando and our LGBTQ community for providing such a perfect blueprint for healing. I love you.

My Orlando

I couldn’t write much yesterday. I’m still feeling both physically and emotionally paralyzed. I am far from home, but I’m seeing the pictures. There is a blood bus on my street and later today families of more than 100 families will be convening and the senior center down the block to learn what they can about a madman with an assault weapon who reigned terror and blood over our once beautiful and innocent city.

My love for Orlando is no secret. I am no shy about it. I moved here a little more than 2 years ago just a shell of my former self. I like to say I dropped out of the sky because it was almost an accident that brought me here. But there I was a broken winged bird in a free fall.

I expected a hard landing. But that didn’t happen. I expected a lot of alone time to sort through my feelings. That didn’t happen either.

By some magic I had landed softly on a cushion held by the dearest community I could have imagined. Kind and super creative folks welcomed me as one of their own. And make no mistake Orlando is one unified community. Gender, color, sexual orientation borders have no place here. Nobody tried to size me up. All souls are excepted so it doesn’t matter in what category you may fall. How would one describe a “gay bar” in Orlando? I’m not even sure. Our clubs are all — everything. Nobody is excluded. Every time I go to a “gay” club, I am treated like a welcomed and special guest. Because in Orlando, that is all the people know how to do. So, are they “gay” bars? Sure! Heck yes, in every meaning of the word. But don’t mistake that for exclusion on either side.

I am certain beyond any doubt that the man who reigned terror at the Pulse in the early hours of yesterday was welcomed with open arms. I am sure everyone he encountered on his way in gave him a big and happy smile. The Pulse is in my neighborhood. It has a wonderful reputation for entertainment. It is unheard of that anyone went to the Pulse, the PH, the Venue… or countless other fun clubs downtown without having a great time or feeling welcomed.

I feel as if a canon ball took a swift path through my chest and now there is nothing but a huge hole. What has happened to my beautiful city? How do we begin to support the families of these smiling children? They were children. (old and tired folks like me are home by 2am) These kids were young and energetic. Each one with great promise for a future. All with smiles to bring the light and energy our world greatly needs. They were taken from us all. We all feel the pain, but we must find strength to be strong for their moms, dads, siblings and loved ones. How do we do that?

And what of Orlando? Our city beautiful. What remains of the innocent joy I landed in 2 years ago? Do we find this ever again? Are we still going to greet every stranger with a smile and a hug?

This community only weeks ago was bonding together over missing baby swans. There is love and caring here. Please let it be enough to heal all those that need healing.

The thing that will not change in Orlando: the LGBT community is the Orlando community. We are one. There is pride but there are no lines. This will never change. #onelove #onepulse

Capturing Alicia Moon

When I first met Alicia Moon, I was already a fan of hers. As a golfer, I was following her golf fashion & lifestyle blogs. And as a photographer, I was drawn to her appearance. I saw a unique blend of elegance and raw athleticism that I admired. But through her writing, I knew that there was more depth to Alicia than what meets the eye.

“Golf is more than a sport. It’s a lifestyle.”

I wanted to meet her myself, so a mutual friend put us in touch. When we finally got together, she confirmed everything I suspected. She was beautiful from the inside out. I knew instantly that I wanted to do a shoot with her. I didn’t know the context yet. But I knew I wanted to do something unique. Something that captured her essence in a more personal way than what the public got to see through her golf fashion blogs.

When Alicia talks about subjects that matter to her, she lights up the room. Her life is intertwined with her work, and her passion shows through it. Everything about her is genuine. So when Alicia said to me one day, “Golf is more than a sport. It’s a lifestyle.”, I thought, “That’s it!!”

On the surface, Alicia is Playful, Charming, and Easy to talk to. On a personal level, Alicia is Introspective, Worldly, and Ambitious. I wanted to capture both sides of her personality. And I wanted to do so in the way I knew best. Let’s make it personal.

At first, it took some encouragement to convince Alicia to shoot the bedroom and bathtub scenes. Although with her dance and acting background, she is confident, sassy, and outgoing, she was surprisingly hesitant when it came to shooting anything that could be seen as purely provocative content.

While most women today would jump at the opportunity to bare more skin than the public asked for, Alicia was worried about being taken seriously. For her, being recognized for her intelligence, integrity, and artistic sensibilities is what matters most. After some persuasion, however, she agreed to do the shoot.

My goal was not to make her the poster girl for a “sex sells” magazine. My goal was to draw out her personality and passion for golf in a series of photos that showcase her raw beauty. There would be no hiding behind promoting a product in this shoot for a change. Instead, she would have to get over the fact that this was all about HER.

Alicia is a photographer’s dream. She is so naturally photogenic and easy to shoot. It was impossible to take a bad picture of Alicia, and even harder to select a handful of “the best” ones. But these are a few of my favorites, as they capture pieces of her personality.

Alicia is more than a golf journalist. She is a role model. Her fearless drive and acceptance of herself is empowering, and the fact that she is making a less than popular sport look enticing is a credit to her contagious personality. One doesn’t have to be a golfer to appreciate her sense of humor and style. Alicia also treats every person that she meets, regardless of age or circumstance, with an equal amount of respect and compassion. I am proud to call Alicia my friend. She just happens to be a seriously good golfer as well!

For more on Alicia Moon, follow her blogs at aliciamoon.com, or her Instagram page @alicia6moon.

To view more pictures from my shoot with Alicia Moon, scroll through the gallery bellow (all images copyright of Patty Wolfe Media Group):

SLIDER

Jessica is Perfect

I wanted to share this photo of Jessica Hanley and her adorable family. On Sunday, after a long weekend of work, we decided to take Jessica’s holiday card photo. What you need to know about Jessica is that everything she touches is perfect. Her work is always impeccable. She often brings me a lot of luck with her positive attitude. Well, this image was the first click of the camera on Sunday. I usually shoot off 2 or 3 shots until I am happy with the exposure ratios. And then, of course, there is editing. But this was the first image and it is right out of the camera – no editing whatsoever. Seriously Jessica?!?!?

Preferred Behavioral Health

An upsetting thing happened when I was editing this piece. I looked to buy stock photos of mental hospitals in the US. I saw the most frightening and darkly “comical” images of people in straight jackets making insane faces. And that is all. Not a single normal image of a mental health care facility out of thousands. This can’t be how we view mental illness, is it??? Mental illness is the most common illness there is. Why do we attach ridiculous stigmas to it? We will never be close to curing something that we do not accept!

I am writing because I can’t get the good people at Preferred Behavioral Health out of my head. I shot this piece in May 2015. I spent the week with the devoted staff and their clients. The experience will never leave me. These are people helping their neighbors to get back on their feet again. They have programs for anyone dealing with mental health or addictions. If it is not under roof, they will find the help. They turn no single person away. They also make a big investment in preventing addictions and bullying through their Prevention First organization.

Please watch if you have 5 minutes. We all can make a difference just by changing our perspectives.

 

Economic Development

 

Here is the piece we just finished for Highlands County Economic Development Commission. This piece aims to attract large business to the beautiful and centrally located county in south Florida. The Avon Park Air Force Range procured the grant to fund the video. They are a big part of the community and go to great lengths to keep it pristine. I enjoyed my time with the folks down there. They are a great group of people. I wish them much success.