Marketing and Advertising Donkeys

Shoot'em if You Got'em 


 

Shooting the Marketing and Advertising Donkeys in the Complex Sale

Steve Kayser interviews award-winning creative impresario, Ken Sutherland


Marketing.  Advertising. Creative Processes. Creative People. 

This is going to be fun. We’re going to travel into the weird creative world of marketing and advertising, get behind the processes, get into the thinking, and best of all see the screw-ups. We hope to also learn how to avoid or at least make some sense of the marketing and advertising side of the complex sales process.  

Marketing. Advertising.  Is there any more expensive way to throw away money with such arrogant disregard for common sense? Or, to do it with such condescending, confounding, disparate, creative personalities? 

Is there any more effective way to get people to scratch their heads with befuddled looks and say,

 “What idiot thought up that commercial?”

But, Steve, aren’t you in marketing?  

No … well, maybe. Sorta. Okay. 

I confess. I’m in marketing too. And yes, I lump myself in with the knuckleheads referenced above.  

But, recently I watched several commercials that absolutely floored me. Totally nonsensical, beyond even my warped sense of artistic marketing deficiencies. 

Has High IQ 

Now I consider myself quite the intellectual. My IQ is (let’s play hi-low, I have to show some discretion here so as not to embarrass fellow readers) between 50 and 75 (lower during work hours – higher during NCAA March Madness).  But when watching the aforementioned commercials: 

  1. I didn’t get the message. I wasn’t even sure it was in a language known to man.

  1. I couldn’t say what product was being sold, if any.

  1. I couldn’t decipher why, if I figured out number two, I would want to buy it anyway. No benefit, no Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

  1. And finally, I couldn’t figure out how anyone besides a lame-brain, half-witted, discombobulated imbecile with no fiscal responsibility to his employees, shareholder, investors or owners, would okay the budget to produce the commercial, let alone air it. (Though secretly I yearned to meet him. I have a cool marketing campaign designed to rollout a hypothetical, superluminal donkey-shaped quantum particle-powered car for the NASCAR circuit.)

Some World Class Marketing Screw-Ups –

(or … how to end your marketing career quickly without really trying.)

Now, every business discipline has its fair share of screw-ups. But, when marketing folks screw-up, it’s typically on a grand scale. Spectacular … and funny (unless you’re the one paying for it). 

For example, a beer company wondered why sales were close to non-existent in a European country they were trying to penetrate. They had a slogan that was remarkably similar to, if not identical, to “Turn it Loose.” Well, when translated into the native language it came out as,

“Suffer from Diarrhea.”

You think that might have been the problem? 

How about this one (one of my favorites)? The Scandinavian manufacturer Electrolux rolled out an American campaign that, when translated, caused a few titters.

          “Nothing Sucks Like an Electrolux.”

Nice rhyme and it grabs you, doesn’t it? I mean for a tagline … it’s a killer.

And who wouldn’t appreciate the bad taste (or more aptly … smell) of this campaign from a multi-national hair product company. The product was called “Mist Stick.”  Has certain elegance, certain chic, certain ambiance doesn’t it?

Sales in a foreign country were slightly hindered by the translation of “Mist Stick” into:

“Manure Stick.”

Surprisingly, not many people plopped down their hard-earned money for it. (However, the Marketing Director was rumored to have been repeatedly assaulted with a manure stick as he was run out of town.)

For you romantics out there, can you imagine the wooing possibilities?

Obviously, these marketing mistakes centered on cross-cultural vernacular and incorrect translations. So the obvious fix would to be more visual … don’t you think? 

Yes!

Pictures!

That’s it. Show. Don’t tell. Less is more!

An American baby food company tried that in Africa. They used the same packaging as used in the U.S., which includes a picture of a cuddly cute baby.

Ooops. Once again, the first indicator of a problem was … no sales.

African companies put pictures of what’s inside the jars (contents) on the outside of the jars. Apparently, in Africa, there was no taste (that was in bad taste wasn’t it?) or market for babies in a jar. Even if they were cute as can be.

Moving on – Illuminating the Black Hole

So, for my own intellectual edification, and to try to illuminate the black hole of marketing and advertising for the reader, with real-life stories and examples, I decided to find and interview someone that could help explain (in simple language, which later turned out to be quite colorful) the thought processes and business justifications that went into such campaigns (if it could be explained). Someone that could give real-life examples of marketing flops and successes, the reasons behind each and insights on how to avoid the flops, multiplying the chances for success in a complex sales environment.

Or, how to use the … Shoot the Donkey Key Principle.

The Shoot the Donkey key principle of “Taking decisive action to remove all obstacles to fulfill your mission” is based upon a real-life incident portrayed in the movie "Patton."  

Winners, Leaders, and Innovators Know How, Why, When and Where to "Shoot the Donkey."   

To shoot the marketing and advertising donkey, I knew I needed someone with years of experience – on both the creative and business side of the table. I was concerned there might not be one person that had experience in successfully working both sides of the table. Marketing, advertising, and business leaders have terribly siloed, dysfunctional relationships – neither working closely together, nor having a high opinion of the other.  

I wondered to myself, "Are there even people out there like that?" And, if so, I suspected they would be a strange breed. 

I was right.  

Very strange. 

Wonderfully strange in fact … and hilariously entertaining. But, I must warn the reader, this interview is a little spicy – a little dicey. I censored many of the interviewee’s comments but the language remains, at some points, colorful.  

Enter Ken Sutherland 

Ken Sutherland is that rare (Steve’s politically correct way of saying strange) personality type that can successfully work both the creative and business side of the table. He’s won numerous awards for marketing, advertising, and music, including: four Clios, more than 300 Gold Addys, two Gold Camera Awards, three Cine Golden Eagle Awards, two IBC Awards, and the London International Advertising Award.  He’s also been voted to Ad Week Magazine’s All-Star Creative Team. 

After an extended career in advertising and marketing, including tenure as a marketing executive with some of New York City’s largest advertising agencies, Ken crossed over to the creative side and began writing and producing commercial music for national and international clients and, eventually, motion picture and television scores in Hollywood. His award-winning composing and song-writing talents together with his marketing background and experience provide a unique combination of skills.  

Ken has created and produced commercial music for a multitude of major clients, including: American Airlines, Holiday Inn, Coors Beer, Frito Lay, Ford Motor Company, Exxon, Sports Illustrated, Quaker Oats, Gulf Oil, Radio Shack, Levi Strauss, 7-11 Corporation, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Zales Jewelers, and Pepsi Cola, to name just a few. Ken also composed the musical scores for dozens of documentaries and informational and sales films, working with clients such as Greyhound Bus Company, RCA, Chevrolet, The U.S. Navy, Xerox, Pizza Hut, Cadillac, Volkswagen, and Campbell Soup.

Just the right person to “Shoot the Marketing and Advertising Donkey.” 

But First … 

Ken was wonderfully gracious when asked to do the interview and invited me to Dallas so we could discuss the marketing and advertising business.  

I met him in the Dallas airport. Immediately, I knew it was going to be an experience. Ken is a big, burly, bearded Texan. He was smoking a titanic cigar, wearing a loud, neon, sequined cowboy shirt, alligator cowboy boots, a 1,000-gallon cowboy hat and … 

A dress. 

Yes. You read me right. A dress. A short one at that. Too short. And … 

It was ugly. (For you visual types out there – think Andre the Giant in a mini-dress smoking a cigar.) And, it was plaid, too (it offset nicely the neon sequined shirt … not that I’m a style avatar). 

Now, I’ve had the opportunity to travel this blessed beauteous globe, meeting all kinds of weird and wonderfully eclectic people. Nothing much bothers me … but a cigar-smoking, burly, bearded, Dallas cowboy in a dress made me gawk slightly. My mouth must have dropped quite low.  

Like to the floor. Because … 

          “What’s the matter … you never seen a Kilt?” asked Ken. 

          “A dress you mean?” 

          “No, a Kilt, Bozo. Where you from, Cincinnati?" 

I acknowledged the geographic heritage proudly. Cincinnati has an image to uphold, and, a stellar history of producing long-lines of distinguished intellectuals.   

It turns out Ken is a proud Scottish Dallas cowboy. Notwithstanding this fact, I still struggled with the ramifications of walking into any local Dallas eatery with a cigar smoking, kilt-wearing cowboy to discuss the marketing and advertising business. Call it a self-preservation instinct, call it stupid, but, despite the cost of living, it still remains a favorite endeavor of mine.  

I voiced my concern that perhaps real men – in Dallas specifically, wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a dress… errr kilt. 

“Anybody says anything I’ll knock’em upside the head. Besides, did you see Mel Gibson in Braveheart? Number one movie in Texas for close to a decade.” 

I hate to be out-movied by anyone. I mean, geez, Mel Gibson wore a kilt. He had a point. Still, not easily deterred, I couldn’t let it go. 

          Clint Eastwood never wore one.”         

“Ever seen his legs? He didn’t need the attention anyway. Got your attention didn’t I? Getting attention or awareness is what marketing is all about isn’t it?”  

I nodded my head. 

“You, Dufus. No! It’s not. Marketing and Advertising is only about one thing. ONE THING!” 

I waited, head slightly bowed, his voice had risen substantially and I was still uncomfortable about being seen with a burly, bearded, cigar smoking, kilt-wearing Dallas cowboy. 

“It’s only about making a sale! That’s it. That’s all that matters. Selling your product, your service, music, whatever. If what you’re doing wins an award for graphic design, or creative whatever, and it doesn’t make someone buy something, it sucks! Get rid of it.”  

Insight 1

Marketing is only about one thing. Making a sale. 

Money, which represents the prose of life, and which is hardly spoken of in parlors without an apology, is, in its effects and laws, as beautiful as roses.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Ken looked right at me. 

“I have a spare Kilt at home. Probably your size. You want to try one on?” 

The word “ no,” for the first time in human history broke the speed of sound and light. 

The Interview 

STEVE: Where did your creative journey begin? 

KEN:  I started my advertising career in Cleveland, Ohio and it was, in retrospect, a blessing, not an obstacle.  

STEVE: (For those of you unfamiliar with Cleveland, this is an incredibly audacious statement.) 

KEN: It gave me a chance to screw up away from the limelight in a smaller market, sort of an under-the-radar-thing.

Insight 2

With proper motivation, location is not an obstacle to vocation - even if it’s Cleveland. 

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."  

- Theodore Roosevelt

KEN: We used to say “shoot low, he’s riding a Shetland” to describe our visibility in the hurly burly world of advertising. Working in Cleveland also gave me a chance to learn and work with and for some truly magnificent mentors. Bob Baumgardner at the Griswold-Eshelman Agency was one of my early gurus. God . . . the screw ups I made there were graciously overlooked by a man who, I guess, thought there was some potential at work.  

Insight 3

Focus. And, find a truly magnificent mentor. One that gives you the chance to learn, make mistakes, move on to other things, and leaves the door open for your return. 

Shoot low if your target is riding a Shetland.” - Ken Sutherland 

“My main focus is on my game.”Tiger Woods

When I was offered a really cool job at Ogilvy & Mather in New York, Bob not only gave me advice on how to handle the job, he left the door wide open for me to return to Griswold-Eshelman should I fall flat on my face in NYC. 

STEVE: Ogilvy? Never heard of him. 

KEN: You are in marketing? 

STEVE: Yes. 

KEN: On what planet? 

STEVE: Cincinnati.  

KEN: Okay … Next question. 

STEVE: What are some of the obstacles you encountered in the marketing and advertising world? That struck you right away? 

KEN: Ah yes, the obstacles.  Sometimes arrogance, sometimes alcohol, sometimes attitude, sometimes all three … truly an amazing combination.  The arrogance – especially – existed in every department of the agency, from creative to accounting. I really saw it in New York and Houston. I’ve run into some pretty top-heavy egos in the entertainment biz but nothing like the arrogance that permeates the agency scene. Maybe I was just new at the game. I didn’t drink – at least not at lunch – and I was in a learning mode most of the time. As an account executive in New York with Ogilvy and later in Houston with McCann-Erickson, I learned that the best way to be productive was to stay low to the ground before lunch and stay sober during lunch. In the afternoon, I would soar upward and onward because it was easy getting approvals from the comatose.

Insight 4

Be productive. Stay low to the ground before lunch and stay sober during lunch … to soar upward and onward.

 “You must choose the thoughts and actions that will lead you on to success.”

 – R.C. Allen.

This was especially true in New York.  I was an account guy and account work was, at best, a balancing act.  You’re the agency when you’re with the client and the client when with the agency.  Having some creative ability served me well, too. A lot of ads got re-written on the way to the client’s office.  Of course I told the agency that the client insisted on the changes and the ads generally got produced as amended.  

Insight 5

 

Results are often obtained by impetuosity and daring which could never have been obtained by ordinary methods.

- Niccolo Machiavelli

I guess maintaining my cool and keeping the mood lighthearted was the key to my survival. There were times when the most amazing and incredibly funny things took place.  In the midst of those disasters, I tried to stay cheerful, in the moment, knowing full well that they would make great stories one day. 

Insight 6

In the midst of disaster, stay cheerful, light-hearted, in the moment; it’ll make a great story some day. 

“I went out to Charing Cross to see Major General Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could in that condition.”

- Samuel Pepys  (“Yes, that was a long time ago.” - Steve)

STEVE: How about examples of marketing or advertising campaigns that flopped? 

KEN: None. Not a one that I was involved with. 

STEVE: (Clears throat in disbelief.) 

KEN: Okay … There may have been a few … well, maybe more than a few. The two that immediately come to mind failed, really, because of product and/or the lack of client follow up. I worked on the General Cigar rollout of Tijuana Smalls cigars for three years. The agency created a terrific campaign, targeting the youth market, particularly young cigarette smokers. The commercials were loaded with post-Woodstock pop and rock icons (Janis Joplin, Mama Cass, B.B. King, Sonny and Cher, Ravi Shankar to name a few). Great music written by Steve Karman, and ongoing cameo appearances by Mike Meyers (not the SNL Mike Meyers).   

I was assigned to the account for two reasons: 

1) A reward for smoothing out the relationship between the agency and their blue chip client, International Nickel (the reason for which I was hired) and,  

2) I smoked cigars. 

STEVE: Sound qualified to me. What was the problem? 

KEN: The problem? They really weren’t cigars and they tasted like S$^t. 

STEVE:  They weren’t really cigars and they tasted like S$^t? I guess that would be a problem, but we may need to rephrase that.  I have an image to uphold. 

KEN: Oh. Yes. The donkey thing. How about they tasted like feces ... not my exact words but the meaning and context should readily be understandable. Nonetheless, those were the exact words I spoke to both David Ogilvy and the client. But the commercials were wonderful, a whole new anti-selling scheme that told the audience: 

“For you? Maybe. You know who you are.” 

Hardly over promise. The client had to drop-ship the product into the test markets because the product was selling so fast.

Insight 7

Anti-selling, under promising and selling product fast. Marketing and Advertising at its best. 

“Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.”

Stephen Leacock

The ads were working, they were generating trial! That’s what commercials are supposed to do. But, I repeat: the cigars tasted like S$^t, a fact voiced loud and clear by America.

Insight 8

Good marketing can initially sell bad product – even if it tastes like … (bad). 

“Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it’s the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless.”

 – Sinclair Lewis

 KEN: Result: complete failure.

Insight 9

Great Creativity + Poor Product = Complete Failure. 

“Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won't work."  

- Thomas A. Edison

KEN: Has anyone ever told you that you look like a cross between Don Imus, Mini-me, and Sponge Bob? 

STEVE: Hmm … yes. My 90-year-old grandmother, but she’s always been keen on Imus and Mini-me. She thinks they’re both hot. She actually nicknamed me “Maxi-me.” 

KEN: (looks strangely uncomfortable sitting next to me) Moving along … 

STEVE: Learning the craft. What actions did you take not only to learn, but also excel? 

KEN: Okay, for example, the ads I just referenced, the commercials were shot by our art director, Jack Beck. Jack, a union assistant and I traveled this great country shooting these spots. For the record, I did everything imaginable on these shoots: loaded film, ran interference with the talent, paid extras on location, made reservations, drove the car, and even held Jack securely on the top of a lock a hundred feet above the Columbia River in Oregon while he filmed a shot. Hell, I even changed a few lyrics in the jingle so it would be more on point and bought an umbrella to protect Ravi’s sitar from the sun in Boston. I was the line producer, jack-of-all-trades, idiot account guy on these shoots. The commercials won a Clio and everyone who even passed gas in a meeting about the cigars that tasted like S$^t were listed on the Clio certificate ... EXCEPT me.  Sometimes voicing your taste bud opinions come back to haunt you.

Insight 10

Learn. Excel. Do whatever it takes. Succeed. 

“What one has, one ought to use; and whatever he does, he should do with all his might.”

Cicero

KEN: But, here is the nugget I took away from that experience: The Tijuana Smalls commercials also won the first David Ogilvy Award, a $25,000 cash award David gave to the creative team that created the campaign creating the greatest increase in sales or measurable increase in product awareness.

Insight 11

 

Great Creativity + Poor Product can still result in measurable increases in product sales or awareness.

KEN: This award underscored the reason we were all in business: not to collect awards but to help our clients sell product.  It was a wonderful lesson and I never forgot that fact. 

Insight 12

Marketing only has ONE purpose.  To sell stuff. (Is this a repetitive message?)

 “A child of five could understand this. Someone fetch a child of five.”

 Groucho Marx

KEN: The other campaign that I thought was terrific was created by Richard Schiera of the then Bloom Advertising Agency (now Publicist, Inc.) in Dallas.  The commercials were for Anheuser-Busch’s new wine cooler, Dewey Stevens. I chimed in on this one through our music production company for I was now a “supplier” to the biz.  First of all, we beat out some pretty heavy hitters in New York and LA to win the account and that is always fun. Second, the ads were first class production effort.  Second. A major USP (unique selling proposition) of this beverage was that it contained 1/3 fewer calories than the competition (Bartles & James, Seagram’s, etc.)

STEVE:  What was the problem? 

KEN: The problem was the agency was told to focus the ads on the lifestyles of their target audience (women 25-45) and leave the calorie story to Anheuser-Busch’s PR department.  

The PR never happened and the brand failed.  

STEVE: So the marketing and PR campaigns were not aligned? 

KEN: Einstein now are we? I attended some of the product focus groups on this one and every time the calorie issue was addressed, the women in the focus group went straight to Dewey Stevens as their beverage of choice, regardless of taste. A missed opportunity, I think. 

Insight 13

1/3 fewer calories, regardless of taste, can cause brand failure. 

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” 

 - Peter Drucker

STEVE: Examples of campaigns that succeeded in spite of themselves? 

KEN:   I guess the very first jingle I wrote once I left the agency business.  It was a riot. It was for Barney’s Boats in Houston, Texas.  The client showed up at my door expecting to hear his brand-new commercial music.  I thought he was coming a week later and, of course, had prepared nothing.  After an awkward “hello” at the door – and prior to confessing that I wasn’t really ready – I sat down at the piano and did my best "Johnny and Jack” routine. I shoveled out the lyrics and tune on the spot, perhaps putting into human consciousness the Worst Jingle Ever Sung Aloud and it runs for seven years 

Insight 14

No pressure. No diamonds. – Mary Case 

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

- Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

I have written literally thousands of commercials in my career since then but I still remember those God-awful lyrics. I was being funny, I thought. 

                        Barney’s has everything in boats

                             And more of everything than anyone around.

                             You supply the water, friend, we’ll make sure it floats.

                             Barney’s, the best boat store in town. 

I ducked thinking he was sure to take a swing at me. 

STEVE: You do live in Dallas. You weren’t wearing the Kilt were you? 

KEN: Wise$@#.  No. But Barney was ecstatic! Dazed and confused, I produced it. It ran for SEVEN YEARS and Barney’s, I presume, sold a bunch of boats. 

Insight 15

The worst jingle ever sung aloud can still be music to the right ears. 

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met."

- Abraham Lincoln

STEVE: How about marketing campaigns that turned into disasters? 

KEN: None of mine. 

STEVE: None? 

KEN: Not disasters. Maybe incidents, or the feedback was preposterous because of unintended meanings attributed to the messages.   

STEVE: Incidents? 

KEN: Okay, if you’re going to be a pain in the $#@ about it, here’s a couple of quickies.  But first of all, there are too many components to marketing to label any entire marketing effort as a disaster. At Ogilvy, we ran a campaign for Shell “No-Pest” Strips.  Remember them? 

STEVE: Yes. I used to stick them on toilet seats at my school for kicks.

KEN: You did? Cool! Anyway, the tagline said    

                        “Kills mosquitoes for three days.”   

A woman wrote us asking what happened to the mosquitoes after three days.  Talk about your ascension stories!  

Insight 16

Simplicity can be complex. 

“The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

- Mark Twain

STEVE: Next? 

KEN: How about the famous “singing coffeepot” commercials for Maxwell House coffee? The letters that came in on that campaign were hilarious: where do I buy a coffeepot that sings?  Can I get a coffeepot that sings something else?  And my personal favorite: "Maxwell House must have changed the way they process their coffee beans – my percolator has stopped singing”.  

STEVE: How about killer taglines, ones that immediately got your attention? 

KEN:  “Leroy’s Plumbing: The best place in town to take a leak." Is that a great one or what?

Insight 17

 

“Words are loaded pistols.”

- Jean-Paul Sartre

The Day the Condor Died  

STEVE: I understand some marketing mistakes can be life-threatening? 

KEN: Ah, yes, the infamous Condor tale. We were shooting a commercial for a new recreational vehicle called “The Condor."  So off we went to South America to get a shot of a giant condor gliding off a cliff, soaring out of the morning sun.  We secured the condor (and his bewildered handler) from the private zoo of the country’s reigning dictator and set up for the shot on a cliff high in the Andes Mountains.  The camera crew was in a truck below the cliff.  Upon the now infamous bullhorn cry of  

“Let the Condor go!” 

The confused handler thrust the bird into the air. Obviously, there were some translation problems because that bird had been raised in captivity and had no idea of how to fly. 

It nosed up and then over and plummeted straight into advertising history.

Insight 18

Make sure your donkey can fly before throwing it off the Andes Mountains. 

“You can observe a lot by just watching.”

 – Yogi Berra

The crew fled for their lives, with the dictator’s hit men hot on our trail. We were lucky to get out of the country alive.  

STEVE: How about marketing messages that just got totally confused? 

KEN: (thinks for a second then bends over with a belly-wrenching guffaw) 

STEVE: Uh, you may want to cover up a little … your kilt’s open. 

KEN: (adjusts kilt downward) In Cleveland, we tried to convince a rather long-in-the-tooth beer client to let us use music to attract college-aged folks to the brand.  I think the average age of the clients who came to our agency was about 80. After promising to keep it tame, we went off to New York to produce the music.  We made a “Four Aces” kind of spot (pretty white), a Kingston Trio type of spot (really white) and a James Taylor kind of spot (unbelievably white).  We also made an R&B spot.  Not so white.  Upon returning to Cleveland, we were told to never play that R&B music for this client.  As we anxiously gathered around the conference table, they wheeled in the client ... literally.  

After explaining how this soft, gentle “white” music would put their precious brew in front of thousands of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania college kids, we signaled the sound guy to play the first spot. Somehow the only spot he had on his reel was reel was … yep … the R&B spot.  

The client almost had a stroke and they wheeled him and his three-million-dollar budget out of the building as fast as they could. It was hilarious then, even funnier today.

Insight 19

Play the right message, at the right time, to the right person, or say goodbye to a three-million-dollar ad budget.

“Here is the rule to remember in the future, when anything tempts you to be bitter: not, ''This is a misfortune'' but ''To bear this worthily is good fortune.' "  

- Marcus Aurelius.

“Easy for Marcus to say, he never lost a three-million-dollar ad budget.”

 – Steve

STEVE: Okay: Moving right along. Awards. You’ve won a bunch of them. What’s a Clio? What’s an Addy? 

KEN: Clios are awarded nationally, internationally, and locally to honor campaigns and individual ads for broadcast, print, outdoor, and now, Internet advertising. Gold (and other metallic) Addys are awarded locally and regionally across the country by local ad clubs. 

STEVE: How did you go from a Marketing/Advertising career to musical composer? 

KEN: Boy, I have waited a long time for this question to be asked. I was an account guy at McCann-Erickson in Houston. I was there for the name change of Esso/Enco to Exxon. Pretty sizable project. The agency spent about $300,000 bucks in developing music demos for the campaign that would launch the new name of the then world’s largest company. None of those demos stuck. So I wrote a tune with a campaign line of “Exxon lends a helping hand.” The theme line was changed in New York to “Exxon Keeps Things Moving,” but my tune survived. Spencer Michelin – a wonderful New York writer/producer – produced the new lyric with my music and it went on the air with roughly $30 million dollars of airtime behind it.  

STEVE: $30 million dollars for airtime? 

KEN: Seemed reasonable at the time.

Insight 20

"Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy."

Albert Einstein 

“Even 30-million-dollar ad budgets seem reasonable.”

 - Steve

Now for a short history lesson: McCann-Erickson creatives in New York – Bill Backer and Billy Davis – had previously created the “Teach the World to Sing” campaign for Coca Cola. A couple of other guys actually wrote the tune but when the advertising turned into a pop song (generating millions in royalties to the writers), Backer and Davis – both agency employees – shared in the revenue stream form the pop tune’s success.  

I asked for the same thing. If we got a pop tune released based upon the commercial’s extensive airplay (and we had one lined up), I wanted to participate in the royalty stream. I was told no way. The music I wrote was the exclusive property of our client. I signed the same employment contract that Bill Backer and Bill Davis signed with the agency, but was refused the same courtesy that was extended to the New York guys. 

STEVE: I guess that’s what you get for moving to Dallas and wearing a Kilt. Now, how about, 

 “Nixon Now More Than Ever?”  

KEN: Hah. Funny. Shhhh! Quiet! I’m still trying to get over that one. Yes, I wrote it for Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign. But don’t tell anyone. Because of that tune, I couldn’t get a job during the Watergate years. But, I also, in that time frame wrote the campaign theme for the national United Way Campaign - "Thanks to You" so I figured I was better off out on my own and working for people who valued my efforts rather than working for the guys who didn't appreciate me. And, of course, the ever-popular “Barney’s Boats was about to launch my jingle career so I plunged headlong into SELF EMPLOYMENT!

Insight 21

  "Man is not the creature of circumstances; circumstances are the creatures of men. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter."

 – Benjamin Disraeli

STEVE: Barney’s Boats launched you into songwriting? 

KEN: No, self-employment, don’t you listen? Actually, the songwriting came before the jingle writing for me. The stuff I mentioned above got me labeled as a “command writer,” one who could write about and/or for a given theme or artist. Since I understood a bit about the agency game, I figured hustling up some jingle business would help support my songwriting career. It was an economic thing, really.

Insight 22

Learn. Work. Experience. Hustle = a musical progression for your career. 

"Hard work spotlights the character of people; some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all."

Sam Ewing

KEN:  I was headed back to New York to do that but stumbled into the wonderful Dallas recording talent pool and, preferring Texas insanity to New York insanity, settled in. 

I wrote a couple of songs that got recorded but not much happened with them. While building my commercial music company in Dallas I was spending five days a month hawking songs to LA labels and artists.  On a plane returning from LA to Texas, I sat next to a fellow named Mark Miller, former TV star of “Please Don’t Eat The Daisies." Mark immediately began telling me the story of this wonderful script (Film screenplay) he had written.  He never asked me what I did or asked for my name.  As we taxied to a halt I told him I was going to write the title song for his movie.

Insight 23

 

Boldness creates opportunity. 

“Boldness in business is the first, second, and third thing.”

H.G. Bohn

KEN: He wasn’t amused. Five days later I sent him the music demo for Savannah Smiles. He called me immediately and told me that I would get the soundtrack work once he had his funding in place. It took him 10 years to find the money. In those intervening years, I snagged two more film soundtracks and learned my trade, how to write and score for film.  

Some really weird stuff. A guy keeps his word (of course, Mark was a writer). 

STEVE: So he was persistent, determined, and kept his word? 

KEN: Yes. Mark got his money in 1982 and, true to his word, hired me to do the score and songs. In 1983 Savannah Smiles won family film of the year honors from MPAA and became a staple on HBO and Showtime.

Insight 24

Persistence. Determination. Honor. Success. 

"A man has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so."  

- Walter Lippman

KEN: I never did thank my travel agent for seating me next to Mark on that California-to-Texas flight. I do so now.

Insight 25

Synchronicity. Look for it. Opportunity waits. 

The problem of synchronicity has puzzled me for a long time, ever since the middle twenties, when I kept coming across connections which I simply could not explain as chance groupings or 'runs.' What I found were 'coincidences' which were connected so meaningfully that their 'chance' concurrence would represent a degree of improbability that would have to be expressed by an astronomical figure.”

- Carl Jung

STEVE: So your music career blossomed? 

KEN: Blossomed after years of hard work, sweat, and tears. Eventually I hooked up with legendary record producer Snuff Garrett in LA who gave me a writing contract and a ton of song-crafting experience. 

STEVE: Snuff is a common name in Texas? 

KEN: You got a problem with that? 

STEVE: No. I think I’ll name my next kid Snuff. Great name now that I think of it.  Who’s influenced you creatively and musically? Your favorites? 

KEN: These folks are favorites, I guess, because they liked and/or recorded my stuff.  Sammy Davis, Jr. cried openly when I played him the demo of a song I wrote for him called “Peace, Love Togetherness.” I wrote the lyrics to that song – based upon his closing catch phrase after each performance – after I saw him perform in Lake Tahoe. He promised to record it but became ill and died before he could. But his genuine approval of the song was tremendously validating to a young writer.  

Lee Greenwood, Sandi Patti, Gene Redding (Otis’ cousin), and Ray Stevens are neat people and were great fun to be around when they recorded my music. 

Western Music artist Red Steagall has become one of my dearest friends. In addition to writing for and producing album projects with Red, he hired me to write the score for Jimmy Dean’s film version of his 1960 hit, “Big Bad John.” Red was the producer of that film and fought for me when others did not. Can I add a Shoot the Donkey Insight? 

STEVE: Sure.

Insight 26

"Red Steagall is the best!"

Ken Sutherland 

“In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. The young they keep out of mischief; to the old they are a comfort and aid in their weakness, and those in the prime of life they incite to noble deeds.”

- Aristotle

STEVE: How about on the creative side, communicating a message? Whether it is marketing, advertising or storytelling, the principles are very similar, aren’t they? To communicate a clearly unique message? 

KEN: Absolutely. Hey, you said something that made sense!  

STEVE: Thanks. It happens occasionally. Any other people come to mind that have influenced you? 

KEN: There has been no one more friendly to and supportive of my career than award-winning film producer, Martin Jurow

Marty hired me to score a film called Papa Was a Preacher for him in 1985. Martin is the ultimate class act. Among his producing credentials are films such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Great Race, The Pink Panther, and Terms Of Endearment.   

STEVE: That’s a pretty impressive array of films.  

KEN: Wait. Another Insight! 

STEVE: Okay. Last one. I’m supposed to be writing this. You’re getting too involved.

Insight 27

 

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”

STEVE: How about mistakes, bad ideas, let’s talk about them and how you overcame them in your career.  

KEN: Okay, well, writing the songs and score for the movie The Life and Time of Xaviera Hollander: The Happy Hooker was a bad idea. I wanted to do a movie score and a friend presented this one to me. But I should have passed. Again, there are some hilarious stories that came out of this ill-fated project, but I would just as soon forget them. Everybody has to start someplace, I guess. The music was clean ... the movie wasn’t.

Insight 28

Learn to learn what to learn when. 

“For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

- H.L. Mencken

STEVE: Is it true the government attempted to make you pay for this work experience?

KEN: Yes, in Federal Court. At the time, even though it would be considered an “R” movie today (and a tame one at that), back then it was considered worthy of physically requesting my personal presence in Federal Court.  

STEVE: And? 

KEN: It was interesting. The judge recognized my name.

          He asked, Aren’t you the guy that wrote Nixon Now More Than Ever? 

 I acknowledged I was. 

          How did you retrogress to this? asked the Judge. 

Well Judge, I was trying to learn the craft of film-scoring. And … look, I wrote the music, I confess. But, I never really looked at the film, I just sorta listened and figured out the storyline (wasn’t all that hard). And … well, you know, the music was clean even if the movie wasn’t.

Insight 29

There are times to look. There are times to listen. There are times to shut up. 

"We are not retreating - we are advancing in another direction."

- General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)

STEVE: He threw you in jail then?

KEN: No. Once he stopped laughing and the bailiff picked him off the floor, he said one of the sweetest words I’ve ever heard, “Dismissed.”

Insight 30

 

Truth and humor cannot be dismissed. 

“The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple."

– Oscar Wilde

STEVE: I know you’ve traversed the gamut of the creative world. But, recently you’ve gravitated to financing entertainment projects. How difficult is that? To go from the creative to the business side? 

KEN: How much time do we have? Some day I’m going to write a book about raising independent-film funding. It took Mark Miller ten years to find 2.7 million dollars to make a movie that grossed from all sources about 45 million dollars. I’m working at it right now with a great script and two bankable veteran Hollywood partners on the production side. I was chosen to put the business plan together because I have the MBA and my partners, frankly, are busy making great movies and television shows for other people. I’ll say this: chasing independent film money makes you older and tougher. 

STEVE: How? 

KEN: The clowns and the schemes are everywhere. One guy wanted US to give him $25,000 so he could buy shoes, haul them to Africa and turn the $25 large into five million. We chased him out of the restaurant and down the street. He lives. But only because I’m not as fast as I used to be. 

STEVE: The kilt may have slowed you down. 

KEN: You are a bonehead. Anyone that knows anything knows that a kilt adds to your speed. Your legs are much freer.  

STEVE: I wouldn’t know. But, isn’t raising money very similar to marketing a product or service? You have to offer a compelling message with a unique benefit to the buyer/investor? 

KEN: True. But mostly, it requires doing your homework, getting the information accurately stated and presenting it in a cogent, articulate fashion. It helps to have skins on the wall, too, and we do. We’ve done it for others, now we’re going to do it for our investors and ourselves.  

You have to provide numbers that are defensible and realistic, based upon industry averages. For the most part, we have been presenting our plan to investors who, while successful in other areas, have little or no film financing experience. They’ve heard all of the horror stories about the creative accounting that goes on at the major studio/distribution companies. They know about the “floating breakeven” that permeates the studio system. So, most of the time, we’re teaching investors ABOUT the industry rather than enrolling them IN the industry. Truth is, with all of the income streams available to producers through the ancillary markets – particularly the very lucrative foreign market – making the right “gross participation” deal with domestic distribution minimizes the risk and makes the upside even more attainable.

Insight 31

Know the business. Speak the language. Educate when you have to. 

“Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering, and providing tremendous service to customers. Finally, business is a cobweb of human relationships.” 

- H. Ross Perot

I was at many of the presentations to potential investors that Mark and Don Williams (producer) gave to secure the funding for Savannah Smiles. I watched Mark tap dance too many times and thanked God I was only in the deal for the music. Now, I’m involved in the whole enchilada and my admiration for what Mark went through has grown immensely. No matter how much you believe you are involved with the right project and the right people, asking for funding is a humbling experience. 

STEVE: What was the biggest surprise when you started getting your market numbers? 

KEN: The growth of the lucrative foreign marketplace for American-made films has been the saving grace for both studio and independent filmmakers. American-made films can now expect to make fully two-thirds of their money in Europe, South America, and the Far East. The game plan now is to spend the domestic marketing money on your film to do three things: tell domestic movie-goers about your film, alert the video companies that you’re in the game, and inform the foreign sales agents that you’re ready to go. Most films try to make their production costs back in the US and their profits overseas. Most do.

Insight 32

 

Think global. Talk global. Work global. Make more money global.

STEVE: You’ve traveled extensively in your career, even recorded overseas?

KEN: Yes. I used the same orchestra that many of the American and British composers use when we worked abroad, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra. I recorded two projects over there, both documentaries. We had about 75 musicians at the scoring sessions. Organizing these sessions is always pretty easy – regardless of the time restraints – when you’re working in a major music market. As long as the music preparation is accurate, good musicians can get through it pretty quickly. And, they have marvelous players in London. Great studios, too. The most important hire is what we call a contractor in the states and they call a “fixer” in London. The fixer knows who to call for every instrument, who to hire as concertmaster, the right cartage and music copying services, etc. They give you all the 411 on the best restaurants, clubs, etc., too. As for respect, if the check clears you get plenty of it!

STEVE: What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it when working outside the United States? 

Mother of All Recording Session Challenges

KEN: My biggest overseas challenge wasn’t London (at least they spoke a language with which I had a passing familiarity). Saudi Arabia was the mother of all recording sessions for me. Well, we actually recorded back here. But, I had to go there to learn about their music for a couple of TV shows I was hired to score. The experience was amazing and the Saudi people who were brought in to teach me were wonderful.  Among them was a man named General Tarik Abdul Akhim, who wrote the Saudi national anthem. The Saudi marches and military music were pretty easy to understand. Their traditional ancient folk music was not so easy to grasp. Added to that was the fact that we could not purchase any of the traditional musical instruments with which they played those folk tunes. The digital sampling technologies we have now didn’t exist then. So, to replicate the sound of Ganoons and Rebabas, we pitch bended piano, guitar and harp strings. Did it pretty well, too, because we convinced the Saudis that we had the instruments and knew how to play them. The shows were a big hit and we got letters from General Akhim that we were welcome to come back anytime we wanted. 

Insight 33

Do whatever it takes. Improvise. If you can make your Ganoons and Rebabas sound right, you’re probably on to something. 

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

- George S. Patton, Jr.

STEVE: Differences between marketing, advertising, songwriting, storytelling?

KEN: Except for marketing, it’s all the same, isn’t it? It is one entity trying to seduce another. Marketing is a bit more intricate and less emotional: it includes pricing, packaging, purchasing, advertising, and distribution (see I did pay attention in grad school!). The rest of it is all a call for love. They are all right-brain creative processes in search of an audience. And, when you fully participate in any of these disciplines and detach yourself from the outcome, the reward is IN the doing. Sounds corny, I know, but I’ve made a living doing each of these at one time or another and each is a great way to make a living. Even better when you feel like you’re making a contribution to society.

STEVE: Common link?

KEN: The common link would be, I guess, some grasp of what moves and motivates people and/or societies. To be commercially successful, one has to find the theme that – be it musically or in words – touches the heart of the masses.

Insight 34

Move, motivate, and touch the heart of the masses. Succeed. 

The heart has reasons that reason does not understand.

- Jacques Bénigne Bossuel

KEN: I’ve never pandered to the elite. I don’t care if they like my music at the Cricket Club in Philadelphia. I do care if they like it in Nebraska or Iowa or Kentucky or even Cleveland. That’s where America is. There has to be heart ... lots of it. You cannot be afraid to let your softer side show.

STEVE: That message ties in nicely with the kilt wardrobe.

KEN: It does, doesn’t it? I just wrote and produced a song for the city of Ft. Worth. The client who hired me got the demo yesterday. She was so excited about the song she went from office to office grabbing people to listen to it. That’s the reward: acceptance. 

Insight 35

 

“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

STEVE: Who are some of the people or companies that influenced you along the way … and why?

KEN: Marketing: Richard Sears (Sears and Roebuck) and Texas Instruments companies. Pretty gritty stuff from both. These were classic marketing people. What they did then still works today. Delivery systems have changed (Internet, etc.) but the thinking is intact.

Advertising: David Ogilvy, Mike Turner, Bob Baumgardner, and Richard Schiera.

Storytelling: Joseph Campbell.

Music: My father, Vince Hall (my pop piano teacher), the “A list”’ greats (Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmoninov, etc.), Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Charmichael, a ton of people (The Beatles, Stones, etc.)

STEVE: Who do you think is the best storyteller you’ve ever run across?

KEN: You’re pretty good ...

STEVE: That’s what the IRS says too.

KEN: My partner, Steve Feke would be right up there. Did you ever see When a Stranger Calls? It’ll scare the crap out of you, but you never see anything scary. It’s visceral, smart.

STEVE: Yes. I did see that. A high school girl was terrorized over a night of unknown calls on a phone while babysitting. She realizes the caller was in the house all the time and had murdered the children. I took a date to that and she never spoke to me again. Terrible date movie.

KEN: Why? What did she say?

STEVE: She said, "You’re supposed to be the guy. Get off my lap! You’re more scared than me … that’s not right!"

KEN: She had a point.

STEVE: What are you working on now?

KEN: Right now I’m multi-tasking. Two projects. One’s art, one’s film. I’m working on an art project called “Community in Harmony” for the city of Fort Worth, Texas. It’s a 356-feet-long by 25-feet-high mural and is the largest work of public art in North Texas.

STEVE: Size does count?

KEN: In murals, yes. And cigars.

STEVE: You’re an artist too?

KEN: Take a look at the mural. You tell me.

STEVE: What’s the mural called?

KEN: The mural.

STEVE: Killer name - tagline. Short. Sweet. Descriptive. Moves. Motivates. Touches the heart … You’re kidding, right?

KEN: Bet?

STEVE: (I accepted the bet…results noted at the end of this article… I hate winning no-brainers from no-brainers, but I do it nonetheless.) The film project?

KEN: An unpublished novel, Reckoning, was put on my desk by a session musician some years ago. The musician (Jay Saunders) knew the author, a Denton, Texas surgeon named Arvin Short. Took me two years to get to it but when I did, I went nuts over the story. It was great movie ... maybe not a great novel ... but a hell of a story. It touched me at a core level and did so to virtually everyone I showed it to. The original story was set in the '50s and told about some incredible events experienced one summer by a 14-year-old boy and his friends/contemporaries. I was that boy in the '50s. I didn’t go through what he did ... but I understood him. Funny thing was, so did my 70-year-old mother, my 30-year-old wife, my daughters, and the readers at Paramount, Warner Bothers, and New Line Films. Teen-aged boys – the target audience – went crazy for this story.

I immediately sent the novel off to Martin Jurow who knew a thing or two about good film stories. Marty had identified the story to film value in the last third of a book called Terms of Endearment and won an Oscar with the film. He knew. Marty told me, “Make this film ... it is the best story I have seen in years ... and it will change your life.” He recommended that I get Steve Feke to write the screenplay and Marty came on board as an advisor. I bought the rights to the story then I found the money to hire both of these guys with one timely phone call. Remember my comment about the lifelong friends I made in Cleveland? Bingo!

Insight 36

Mentors. Lifelong friends. Money with one phone call. That’s what it’s about. 

“Make new friends but keep the old ones; one is silver and the other's gold.”

– Anonymous

KEN: I sent the novel to Steve Feke, who was, at the time, in Chicago polishing the script, Poltergeist III. Steve agreed immediately to write the script. He moved the story from the '50s to today and made a few other changes but otherwise left Arvin’s amazing story in tact. We’ve raised half the budget, but half won’t get it done. Steve Feke brought in a wonderful, gifted, experienced film producer (who shall remain nameless because he has, at present, a high-profile job at a major studio) and the three of us formed BFS Entertainment with the express purpose of making this film. We have since acquired five other scripts and a great TV mini-series but Reckoning is the project we will do first. It just makes economic sense to do so.

Insight 37

 

Economic sense still makes sense. Even in the creative business.

STEVE: Wouldn’t a business plan be necessary? I mean, it is a creative endeavor but don’t business rules and logic still play? Did you whip one out in a couple days?

KEN: Yes, yes, and no. I spent over a year developing the business plan because I wanted to make absolutely sure it was accurate, that the projections reflected real-world expectations based upon the story, the amount of marketing money expended and the current industry conditions and trends. We took a long look at how we’d market this film as well. Reckoning requires established actors only in support roles. The story spins around three teenagers. It is a smart, intense, action drama with a huge mystical/spiritual theme. Lots of teen humor, but it’s full-throttle intense. We believe, in addition to the revenue streams from theatrical, video/DVD and foreign markets, the spin-off video game, soundtrack, and obvious opportunity for a sequel make this a franchise movie, one that keeps on giving.

Martin Jurow said go for it ... it will change your life. Well, my life has been pretty amazing as it is, but I’ve always been open to change and growth. And Marty was clearly suggesting that the real financial rewards in music and in film were ownership. So, we’re pressing hard to find the other half of the six million dollar budget. We have distribution interest from three of the major studio distribution arms. 

Insight 38

If you’re ever going to grow, to change your life … you have to go for it. 

“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

– Peter Drucker

STEVE: What role are you going to play?

KEN: While my initial role in all of this will be to work with the studio marketing people to help develop the ad campaign, the real pearl for me will be the opportunity to put together a great song soundtrack and what we hope will be a killer film score. 

Insight 39

 

“If you can run one business well, you can run any business well.”

- Richard Branson

STEVE: What’s the key? The key, not only to make your next project successful, but what’s the key to success, to winning this deal and the many complex deals that follow you through your life’s journey?

KEN: Simple, for me anyway. I’m determined to do whatever it takes, however long it takes, screw-up as many times as it takes, kiss as many frogs as it takes to succeed, to win. Everything I’ve done in my life, every skill I’ve developed, every hard lesson I’ve had to learn, every mistake I’ve made has prepared me for this project ... and the next … and the next.

Insight 40

Determination, plus everything you ever do in your life, every skill you ever develop, every hard lesson you ever learn, every mistake you ever make, prepares you to soar onward, upward. To success. To victory. 

“After the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser and all the pomp and fanfare has faded, the enduring things that are left are: the dedication to excellence, the dedication to victory, and the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.”

Vince Lombardi

END OF INTERVIEW

EPILOGUE: THE BET

While doing this interview with Ken, I made a bet with him on the naming of his mural. I assumed he was kidding about naming it “the mural.” I mean what kind of uncreative, linear, inane and completely boring name is that? Especially from a creative impresario?

Right? You do agree, don’t you?

I mean … a no-brainer. Right?

Okay. It’s a descriptive name. No doubt what it means. But c’mon. “The mural?”

I lost. That really is the name.

But …

I propose that, in a way, I won and was correct. It’s technically called “The Mural,” with caps and italicized. However, after an intellectual discussion of the various nuances and technical implications with Ken (which included a scene very much similar to this link), I, in the spirit of magnanimity, agreed that, indeed, he had won the bet (although, as stated earlier, technically I think capitalized and italicized letters do change the context of the name, therefore the essence of the name).

The bet?

Me wearing a kilt.

I took it like a man ... if real men do wear kilts. I wore the revolting thing.

Interestingly enough, a size six kilt fits me just dandy, the plaid design makes me look a little thinner … I’m keen on them now.

But … that was only one part of the bet. The second part entailed me … riding a mechanical bull. It was a stellar learning experience in marketing and advertising.

The sight touched the heart of the assembled masses at Billy Bob’s Bronco Bull Riding Bar and Grille … so much so that I was motivated to move as quickly as I have ever done to assure my lifelong success, which was, at that point ... getting out of Dallas alive.

THE END


About Ken Sutherland: After a ten-year career in advertising and marketing, including tenure as a marketing executive with some of New York City's largest advertising agencies, Mr. Sutherland crossed over to the creative side and began writing and producing commercial music for national and international clients and, eventually, motion picture and television scores in Hollywood.  His award-winning composing and songwriting talents together with his marketing background and experience provide BFS Entertainment with a rather unique combination of skills.  

Ken Sutherland is currently writing and producing record album projects while directing the development of the new Entertainment Company. In addition, Sutherland is currently writing and orchestrating an original oratorio scheduled for debut at Easter 2003, commissioned by Unity Church of Dallas and a "Community in Harmony" mural project, one of the largest murals ever created in the United States for an economically disadvantaged municipal area. 

Ken is also the lead Principal in BFS Entertainment, a company being formed by three experienced, successful Los Angeles, California-based filmmakers who have nearly 60 years of combined history and over 100 film credits in the entertainment industry.  Individually these filmmakers have worked with some of the most prestigious film, television and music people in the United States and abroad and on some of the most memorable films and television shows created in the past twenty years. 

Ken Sutherland graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and from Case/Western University with an MBA in marketing. 

If you'd like to contact Ken, he can be reached at 214-321-7002 or e-mail at BFScine@swbell.net


About Steve Kayser: After that story ... do you need to know anymore? skayser@gmail.com