Posts

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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!)

“One part memoir, one part marketing guide…” – Nice Review by @TheDaddyComplex

Toxie and @DavidVienna give my book a glowing review…  (via Giphy)

Getting a glowing review on Amazon is great (please leave one!) It is also great to get a review on a popular blog – in this case the witty and well regarded The Daddy Complex, written by David Vienna. Once upon a time, I too was a “dad blogger” and I first met David at the Dad2Summit back in 2013. When he learned that I had once worked for Troma, whereas most folks run away when they become aware of my illustrious past, David embraced it (and me). I knew at once I had met a true Troma fan. In David’s own words:

I was an awkward kid and not into things like “going outdoors” or “maintaining friendships.” So I spent literally every day watching movies—either rented from the local video store or whatever was on late-night TV. I was into cult films and low budget stuff, so one of my favorite movie studios was Troma.

With that in mind, I was happy to send David a copy of Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER. I was eager to get his feedback, and honored when he chose to write about the book.

Jeffrey took all of his absolutely batshit crazy experiences at Troma and turned them into a marketing how-to book with the best title ever… What’s great about the book is it actually serves a dual purpose. One part memoir, one part marketing guide—Everything I Know offers short digestible stories of the madness Jeffrey experienced while at Troma and pulls simple marketing lesson from the somewhat organized chaos.

You can read the full review at TheDaddyComplex.

By the way, David is not just a blogger, he’s the author of two books himself. Check them out:

And while you’re at it, don’t forget my book!

 

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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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Samurai Says #46: B-Movies are Serious Business

I’ve been doing a bunch of podcast interviews for my book, and given the nature of Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER, I’ve had the chance to appear on shows focused on business, marketing, and entrepreneurship, as well as shows with a more pop culture appeal, including shows covering comic books, movies, and more. I recently had the chance to talk with Joshua the Samurai and his sidekick Chris on the Samurai Says podcast. Here’s how they describe their show:

“Join the Samurai, a man who’s many adventures in geekdom have given him a thousand and one stories that are equal parts tragic and hilarious, and his partner in crime Chris Maverick, as they talk about weird criminals, geek news, and strange old video games. The obscure, morbid, and weird are an everyday part of this off the wall podcast where there are no rules. Oh, and the world comes to an end every single episode.”

It was a fun, wide-ranging interview, where I talk about Troma, .CLUB and domain names, and even reveal the secret ingredient to Troma’s “fake blood” recipe.

You can listen to the show here or below. My interview starts at 17:40 into the show.

Josh: The Podcast, Finding That One Thing – A Conversation with Jeffrey Sass (Plus Book Giveaway!)


According to his bio, Josh Shear is: a Writer, Podcaster, Thinker, Work-in-progress, Freemason, Husband, Doggy Daddy, Web Designer, Social media consultant, Conversationalist, Motivational aspirationalist, Accountability partner, Connector, Self-experimenter, Awesome human. I’d add that he is also an excellent interviewer and host!

I was happy to appear on episode 63 of Josh: The Podcast. Josh asked a lot of great questions and led our discussion well beyond just talking about my book. Don’t worry, I plugged the book plenty, but we also talked about careers, technology, inspiration, passion, domain names, self-publishing, the future, and more. And to top it off, Josh is giving away a copy of the book.

You can read Josh’s Blog Post about the interview here. And you can listen directly to the podcast below.

Enjoy listening and feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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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.

•••

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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DNJournal: New Book Reveals .CLUB Superhero Jeff Sass Owes His Marketing Powers to The Toxic Avenger!

Ron Jackson is a former TV News Reporter and station Sports Director. He is a consummate journalist that today serves as Editor and Publisher of Domain Name Journal (DNJournal.com) the highly regarded online Trade Publication for the Domain Name industry. I recently gave Ron a copy of my book when we were both at the Domaining Europe conference in Berlin. Ron must have had a boring flight back to the U.S. because he had the time to read the book along the way. He also seemed to like it and wrote a great and fun article about it in his popular “The Lowdown” column.

What Sass can do is spin some fascinating yarns about his days in the late 80s and early 90s with legendary New York City-based cult movie production house Troma Entertainment where he spent more than seven and half years in film production, marketing, acting and assorted mayhem… Jeff learned many valuable and timeless business and marketing lessons from his experiences at Troma and he shares the best of those in his new book – in each case noting how the specific lesson learned can be applied in any business or marketing campaign today.

I mentioned that Ron is the consummate journalist. As such, it seems he could not read my tales of movie mayhem without getting a firsthand taste of Tromaville himself. So after returning from Berlin, it seems Ron did a bit of B-movie binge-watching, turning to Tromatizing his Netflix account by watching The Toxic Avenger, Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD, Rabid Grannies, and more. And Ron still wrote a great article about Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER.

Thanks, Ron!

You can click here to read his complete article on The Lowdown.

 

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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. 🙂

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A Domain Name Marketing Tip from The Toxic Avenger

Here is a marketing tip that is not in the book, but is something that I am doing to help market the book. While by night I am the author of the toxic tales told in Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER, by day I am the CMO of .CLUB Domains. We are the operator of the new domain name extension .CLUB, an alternative to having a web address that ends in .com, .net, etc.

As you may know, there are over 1,000 new domain name extension choices now, and many of them, like .CLUB, .Design, .blog, .shop, and others, have actual meaning. They are not just generic. Using a domain name that has meaning and relevance on both sides of the dot can be a powerful marketing tool. And to take advantage of the power of a relevant, easy to remember, domain name you don’t necessarily have to switch from your primary web address. There are many ways a clever, memorable domain name can act as an easily marketable shortcut to an existing online destination. A memorable domain can easily point to a deep link within an existing website, or even be used as a shortcut to a Facebook page or other social platform.

Here’s how I am leveraging a custom domain name as a shortcut to my book on Amazon.com. As a marketer, my primary goal is to get you to go to Amazon.com and buy my book, and I want that process to be as easy and seamless as possible. Sure, you can go to Amazon and search for my book by the title or by my name as the author, but I want to save you that step. But, the link to my book on Amazon is not something I can easily tell you about. It is:

https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Business-Marketing-Learned-AVENGER/dp/1544219245/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493773080&sr=1-1

Try saying that out loud in a podcast interview… Not very user-friendly or memorable. As noted above, the title of my book is Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER. A shorter, logical nickname for the book could easily be “Toxic Avenger Marketing” so I registered the domain name www.ToxicAvenger.marketing and set it to re-direct to the book’s page on Amazon. Now, if you type in “ToxicAvenger.marketing” in a web browser, in one click you end up here:

www.ToxicAvenger.marketing >>> https://www.amazon.com/Everything-Business-Marketing-Learned-AVENGER/dp/1544219245/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1493773080&sr=1-1

So, for a modest investment of only $10.17 per year (thanks to GoDaddy‘s discount domain club), I now have an easy, relevant and memorable way to send folks right to my book’s page on Amazon.com.

With all the great domain extension choices now, what clever domains could you be using as marketing shortcuts?