R.A.P. Interview: Ty Ford

JV: Congratulations! That’s great.
Ty: It was a surprise to me. I have learned that there are forces that we are not in control of, but we would probably do well to pay attention to. In January, I had begun video recording a documentary on kidney stones. I had serious kidney stone issues last year. I got curious about it during the process, and as it turns out the kidney stone museum is about 20 miles from my house. So I thought, “You know, I gotta go down and talk to the curator,” and I did that. Even within the last 12 years, the medicine has changed so drastically that it’s gotten so much better and so much less painful to deal with all of this stuff. So if you know somebody who has had kidney stone issues and starts talking to you about the severity of the pain during the whatever processes they are required to go through to get rid of them, it’s not like that anymore.

I woke up one morning in January and was searching for some sort of direction -- I do this and I suggest people do this in whatever way they wish; I find my bedroom ceiling works really well -- I asked the bedroom ceiling for help that morning, and inside of me I heard this voice say, “You have everything you need. What are you waiting for? Go do it.” It was a little spooky and it caused me to say, “What do you mean I have everything?”

I had all these tools. I had all these capabilities. I had all this knowledge. And from that came the chakra CD and the now-in-progress video documentary about kidney stones, which I may find some funding for.

January and February were very slow for me, and that allowed me to get this CD recorded, mastered, and find some local guys who were friends of mine who do print work to get the insert, the printed material for the CD up and out.

The guy I needed to talk to for the kidney stone museum thing wasn’t in town until May, but now I’ve got a two-hour conversation with him. I had to wait to talk to him to get the whole drift of the documentary, to find out what he knew so that I could then kind of formulate what direction that piece was going to go in.

So this is not unlike guys and gals at radio stations who have to go out and talk to a client to find out a little bit about the business so they can write copy and make a commercial. These are the same kind of skills. These skills are definitely transferrable.

JV: Any other irons in the fire?
Ty: There is one new thing, and I didn’t have anything to do with this either -- which goes to show you that when you start to open yourself up, stuff starts to happen. About a month ago I get a call from two casting women that I know here in town, and they sometimes work for Pat Moran, who’s the big-time casting gal here in town. They said, “Look, we have a friend who has come to us with a movie script and we think what we need is a way to sell this to somebody. What we need is what’s called a pre-vis.”

 A pre-vis is like a trailer for a movie, except of course you’ve already shot the movie and you’re just taking pieces of it out to make basically a long commercial. The pre-vis concept is, people don’t seem to be able to read scripts and see anything anymore in this culture, so you’ve got to show them something.Anyway, Pat Moran’s comment was, “Get Ty Ford to do this.” This is what they tell me. And I’m like, “Really?” I don’t know that Pat’s ever seen anything I’ve ever shot but okay. Now I’m curious. How would you do this? Well, it’s a sex farce about a woman who goes through early menopause because she needs to have a hysterectomy. And then merriment ensues. It’s a nutty, crazy thing. The pre-vis can’t be much more than about three minutes. We got about 20 scenes in it.

I read the script. I pulled the scenes and called in a friend of mine who writes well. He’s a performer. He’s an AFTRA-SAG guy. He’s also a director and has produced. I thought, because it’s comedy, you need a good director for comedy. So he’s in. And just this week we are nailing down three shooters and a guy who does lighting that makes video look like film.

So we’re going to make this pre-vis and make a little money making it. We don’t know where it’s going to go after that, but it’s going to be probably four days of shooting, and then I’ll do the edit and then we’ll kick it around out there. So again, I’m being pulled over into this video field without any control whatsoever, and I’m just happy to be there.

JV: I think radio people that are just getting in are probably wanting to stay in radio, at least for a while. People that have been in for 20 plus years might be thinking, “I need to find something else,” What advice would you give to both these groups?
Ty: To the new hires at radio stations that are into production, and want to stay in radio, there are a couple of books. The one that comes to mind most rapidly is an old one. How To Win Friends and Influence People. Make this your Bible. I think early on, new hires are grappling with how to get up to speed, how to please everybody, and they can be intimidated, and there’s just stuff that they don’t know about how to communicate. How To Win Friends and Influence People is a masterful book in explaining human relations and where you need to be coming from in order to communicate effectively with people. There are probably other books that would be similar to it, but that would certainly be one of them.

And for that matter, this is good reading if you’ve been in the trenches for a long time, especially if you are suffering from the kicked dog syndrome. I’ve talked to guys and gals like this. They’ve been in it a while. They’re bitter. They hate it. And this oozes out of them and it poisons the work that they do with the people with whom they work.

You need to deal with ways of getting rid of that poison for your own health, thank you very much, but also for your career. Getting back to the chakra thing, the people who know this stuff will tell you that blocked chakras, chakras that aren’t working well or that have a block between them, are in evidence 18 to 24 months before a significant disease of that area occurs. So the blocked chakras are kind of like the canary in the coal mine. And I’m not saying that you have to get into that stuff; what I’m saying is if you’ve got the kicked dog syndrome and you’re working in production, or in any other part of radio for that matter, and you love it but there’s also a very big hate side of it because of how you may have been treated or how you took how you have been treated, then you need to address that because it’ll poison you and you will be spat out unless you can deal with those things.

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