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John Oliver Tackles Nuclear Waste with The Toxic Avenger on HBO’s Last Week Tonight

My monster mentor is going mainstream! Not only is Toxie the star of movies, cartoons, and an off-broadway show, but lately The Toxic Avenger has been a darling of late-night talk show hosts looking to make a convenient comic reference to a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength. First, it was Seth Meyers comparing our illustrious President to our favorite monster hero. Now, HBO star and host of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver, featured excerpts from the trailer for the original Toxic Avenger movie as the lead-in to his extended report on “Nuclear Waste.” So, I am not the only one who has been influenced and inspired by the first superhero from New Jersey. You can watch John Oliver invoke The Toxic Avenger in the video below, and of course, you can read about the many inspired business and marketing lessons I learned from Toxie in my book, Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER.


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Video Highlights from Book Promotion with the Troma Team at Florida Supercon

I had a blast reuniting with the Troma Team at Florida SuperCon to promote, sell and sign copies of my book, Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER. Every time I get together with Troma co-founder, Lloyd Kaufman, it is just like old times and we slip back into the rapid fire, Troma-esque, witty (if we do say so ourselves) banter that fueled our fun working relationship so many years ago. As much as it was fun to hang out with Lloyd and Toxie for a few days, the highlight of SuperCon was by far having the opportunity to talk about my book with true Troma fans – signing copies, posing for selfies, and even getting great feedback from folks who picked up a copy of the book on one day, and came back the next day to tell me how much they were enjoying reading it. Nothing could possibly be more rewarding for an author, so thanks to all of you who I was lucky enough to meet during Florida SuperCon. And if you missed it, Lloyd, Toxie and I hosted a live reading from the book during one of the SuperCon panel sessions. I was even awarded a long overdue “Troma Diploma” 23 years after my service. 🙂

I took a lot of fun pictures and at SuperCon and below is a short video of some of the highlights. Enjoy!

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Live Book Reading at Florida Supercon with Lloyd Kaufman and Toxie Himself!

At the recent FLORIDA SUPERCON, I had the chance to read a few chapters from my book accompanied by Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman, who wrote the Foreword for the book. Lloyd and I were joined by The Toxic Avenger himself. Needless to say, I was a little nervous to read from my book in front of the very monster – er, mentor, who inspired me to write it. Thankfully, the audience of Troma fans were very welcoming and it was a lot of fun to share a few chapters with them, along with some live commentary from Lloyd and Toxie. Below is a video of the session. Enjoy!

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See, Here’s the Thing: I was on “See, Here’s the Thing!”

 

My podcast tour to promote my book, “Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER” continues, and this latest trip to the podosphere was a blast. I had the pleasure of joining the dynamic duo, the podcasting purveyors of pop-culture, Kate, and Patrick, hosts of the high energy, fan-tastic “See, Here’s the Thing” podcast. We talk about my book, Game of Thrones, Kermit the Frog, the toughest Disney Princess, and much, much more.

I hope you enjoy listening, by clicking here or on the embed below.

 

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Florida Supercon, Here We Come! @Sass and @Troma (@LloydKaufman) United Again!

Greetings from Tromaville! It has been over 20 years since I was officially a member of the Troma Team, but since writing my book, “Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER,” I have been having a blast retelling my tales from Tromaville in interviews and on podcasts (and even on a few random street corners) to promote the book to anyone and everyone I can.

Later this week I’ll be rejoining the Troma Team at FLORIDA SUPERCON – the largest Comic Con in South Florida, where I’ll have a busy schedule signing copies of my book, hanging out with Lloyd, Toxie, Kabukiman and the Troma Team, and presenting my first live public book reading! If you are in South Florida I hope you can stop by and say hello. Besides my unknown self, there will be some amazing REAL celebrities at the Con, from your favorite movies, TV shows and comics including Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek, Dr. Who, The Walking Dead, The Karate Kid, plus world famous comic book artists, wrestlers, amazing CosPlay fans, and much, much more. I’ve been to FLORIDA SUPERCON before and it is an awesome event.

On Saturday, July 29th at 3:00 PM I’ll be reading from my book live in room 304, joined by Troma cofounder Lloyd Kaufman as we relive some of my adventures in Tromaville together in what I can guarantee will be a fun and funny session.

In addition, I’ll be signing copies of my book in the official CELEBRITY AUTOGRAPH AREA at the following times:

Thursday, July 27th:  1:30 pm
Friday, July 28th:  10:30 am
Saturday, July 29th:  10:30 am
Sunday, July 30th:  10:30 am

The rest of the time you’ll find me at the Troma Booth. If you’re at FLORIDA SUPERCON, you’ll be able to spot me, as I’ll be wearing this awesome T-shirt I had made just for SUPERCON…  🙂  (And no, I won’t be wearing the same smelly shirt four days in a row… I had a few of them made!)

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My Mentor was a Monster! (Video)

Here’s a short promotional video for the book:

In business, it is important to have a mentor… Watch the video (and please share!)

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Introduction: Lights, Camera, Action!


Greetings from Tromaville! Here is the Introduction to my book, Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER. If you haven’t done so already, you can read the Foreword by Troma co-founder, Lloyd Kaufman. Stay tuned for additional chapters to be published here. If you like what you read and can’t wait for more, please don’t be shy. You can buy the book now on Amazon (and also please don’t be shy about sharing, and reviewing the book when you do read it.) Both Toxie and I greatly appreciate your support! – Jeff Sass

INTRODUCTION: Lights, Camera, Action!

There are a lot of similarities between making movies and starting companies. Film producers and directors are as much entrepreneurs as anyone who might create or aspire to create a Silicon Valley start-up. The purpose of this book is to draw valuable lessons in business and marketing from my experiences making movies—not in Hollywood, mind you, but rather in Tromaville. Since my filmmaking days, I’ve been a start-up cofounder, COO, CEO, and currently a CMO, and I don’t think I ever could have survived the C-suite if I hadn’t had the experience of making B-movies.

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Early in my career, I spent seven and a half years working for Troma, the low-budget film studio probably best known for the cult-classic action/horror film The Toxic Avenger. As I am sure you must know, The Toxic Avenger is the heartwarming story of Melvin Junko, a lowly mop boy who, teased and taunted, falls into a vat of radioactive waste and emerges as…the Toxic Avenger—the First Superhero from New Jersey!

As a movie, The Toxic Avenger was sloppy, gory, cheesy, tasteless, and perhaps even unsavory. But as a character, the Toxic Avenger (now affectionately known as “Toxie”) was remarkably endearing, especially for a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength. In his 1986 review of the film, Stephen Holden of the New York Times said The Toxic Avenger “may be trash, but it has a maniacally farcical sense of humor, and Tromaville’s evildoers are dispatched in ingenious ways.”

The oft-warped brainchild of two Yale graduates, Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, Troma has indeed been ingenious in creating a world outside the Hollywood norm, their own Tromaville, where the filmmakers are beholden to no force other than their own off-kilter creative muse. The proof of their ingenuity? Today Troma Entertainment still lives on, over forty years old and arguably the world’s oldest independent film studio. That monstrous creature Toxie? He’s gone on to survive three sequels and a Saturday-morning cartoon spin-off, along with the requisite comic books, toys, games, and apparel. A rumored “big studio” remake even threatened to star Arnold Schwarzenegger as Toxie.

The Troma Team is notorious for giving young, inexperienced aspiring filmmakers a chance to work, often way over their heads and always way under their expected minimum wage. But the experience, as they say, is priceless. It was for me. And as I hope this book will expose, my lessons from Tromaville extended far beyond my celluloid dreams. While many former Tromites went on to impressive (and more traditional) Hollywood careers (including the likes of actor Kevin Costner and director James Gunn), my own post-Tromatic career led me down the path of a marketer and tech entrepreneur. I think I am pretty good at what I do. I’ve had many great experiences in the business world since I emigrated from Tromaville in 1994. But if I am truly honest with myself, I must admit that I couldn’t have done it without Toxie.

Making movies is hard work, especially making movies on a shoestring budget. Actually, we couldn’t even afford shoestrings—we had Velcro budgets! But I learned a lot: how to mix theatrical blood, how to make a ripe cantaloupe substitute for a head being crushed…but making movies also taught me a lot about business and entrepreneurship.

In truth, a film production is like a start-up on steroids. You go from screenplay (business plan) to product completion in a matter of months. You have to hire, fire, build up, tear down, raise money, spend money, rally the troops, fight deadlines and external forces, and make constant compromises, all the while fighting to stay the course and make the best film (i.e., product) you can. Teamwork and camaraderie, on and off the set, make a big difference (culture), and in the end, success or failure comes from ultimately finding an audience (satisfied customers).

Nobody sets out to make a bad film, just like nobody starts a company with the intention of failing.

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That’s the book’s introduction. Hope you enjoyed it. Next, “Chapter 1: Welcome to Tromaville.”

 

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Talking Business, Marketing & Toxie on the #ChansLogic Podcast

Chandler Walker is a walking example of motivation. He runs the successful StoneAgeFuel School of Fitness in Reno Nevada, as well as the StoneAgeFuel Barbell Club and StoneAgeFuel Youth Weightlifting and Sports Performance. He is also the host of the ChansLogic Podcast, where Chandler talks about marketing, motivation, management and more.

I enjoyed chatting with Chandler about my book, Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER, and how the lessons I learned making mixed up movies are applicable to all businesses. We also share some valuable tips on leadership, management, and culture. I think it was a good interview and hope you’ll check it out.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to #ChansLogic EP 20 – Jeffrey Sass and The Toxic Avenger

 

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CMO and Author Jeff Sass on The Domain Name Wire Podcast

Once again my world’s collide as I am interviewed on the popular Domain Name Wire podcast hosted by Andrew Alleman. I have appeared on Andrew’s show several times before, but always to discuss my role as CMO of .CLUB Domains and other aspects of the domain name industry. This time I was invited on the show to discuss my book, which Andrew read and liked enough to still want to talk with me. 😉

Andrew is a great interviewer and we had a fun conversation which I hope will give you some good marketing tips and inspire you (and maybe even inspire you to pick up a copy of the book or download it to your Kindle).

Click here or below to listen to Episode #138 of the DNW Podcast – “The Toxic Avenger”

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And the Reviews are in!

As you can imagine, when publishing a book, the reviews it receives carry a lot of weight in helping others decide whether they want to purchase and read it. I can remember in the good old moviemaking days how we waited with baited breath for the reviews to hit for our films. Even in Tromaville, reviews mattered and we were always thrilled when one of our meager movies got noticed by a mainstream reviewer. Like when Stephen Holden of the NY Times said Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD, “…is funny in a Mad Magazine-manque sort of way…” That was a great review (and compliment). Even the late, great, Roger Ebert was often kind with his thumbs when it came to Troma’s fare.

As for my book, while it has only been a few weeks since Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER has been published, the initial reviews on Amazon.com have been very positive. It is great to hear from people who have spent a few bucks and taken the time to read my words, especially to hear that they found value and inspiration from the stories and lessons I share in the book.

Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed the book so far. Here are a few highlights:

What can be learned from the B-movie industry? A lot, as it turns out. Brand consistency and predictability is important there as it is for Louis Vuiton. Jeff’s stories of the Hell’s Kitchen low budget studio are not only funny, they are highly transferable to other industries and environments… I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and I would put it up there with books like “Positioning” by Reiss and Trout if you want to really understand how marketers think.
– Fred K.

If you like movies, super heroes or have ever wondered what the real business of the independent film industry is like, you’ll enjoy this book and have great takeaway points about how to build and promote your products and services.
– Jennifer Wolfe

I’ve read a lot of business and marketing books that include banal examples from Corporate America. This book is very different; it brings life to business lessons such as the importance of teams through colorful stories from the author’s personal experience at B-movie studio Troma. Several of the business lessons are ones I haven’t heard anywhere else and make a lot of sense. I highly recommend picking up this book.
– Andrew

A delightful read! Engaging and educational at once. Jeff has a colorful and extensive background and I had numerous take-aways that I will apply in business and life – highly recommended.
– Montagne

If you have read my book and enjoyed it, I hope you will also consider leaving a review. It really does help. And, of course, please tell others about the book if you enjoyed it. 🙂