Extraordinary People - Ash Greyson
This week I am profiling Ash Greyson, who with his gorgeous wife Mindy has a beautiful family of 7 children whom they homeschool. Ash works in the movie industry promoting Faith and Family films.
Ash Greyson—Founder and Chief Evangelist, Ribbow Media Group.
1. Tell me a little bit about your childhood and where you grew up. How would you describe your family and your town?
I grew up in Tulsa, OK, for the most part. It was still booming from oil money in the 70s and 80s. I have a crazy family history! My father died in a car accident while my mother was pregnant; he actually didn’t even know she was pregnant. My grandparents stepped in to help raise me, which became especially important when my mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was 12. She had one of the worst cases ever documented, which led to many other terminal conditions. They told me and my half brother who is 4 years younger than me, that she would only live 6 months. She went on to live 18 more years, which was a huge blessing. The person in the world I was closest to was my sweet grandma Nette. I talked with her daily my entire life until she passed this March.
2. How did you start working for the band Hanson, and what was your position with them? Any fun stories to share?
Oh man, how much time do you have?! They were from Tulsa like me and we had a lot of mutual friends. I was at a local water park and saw them play and was pretty impressed. I had heard they were singers, but they were playing instruments. I walked up to their mom and asked when they got the instruments and she said YESTERDAY! They had taken piano lessons but decided to try to play instruments for the first time! At the beginning, I was really a math tutor for them before everything took off. From there I worked with management and did all their videos, etc. By the end of my time with them, I helped run their record label. Every day with them was a fun story.
I remember filming an interview in Europe and the reporter asked the brothers, “How did you guys meet?” They all laughed hysterically… They also learned to handle the question they got the most which was, “if you were stranded on a desert island, what one thing would you bring?” Zac would quip, “a gassed up boat so we could get off the island.”
Also, somewhere out in the suburbs of Milwaukee someone has a great story about how the band Hanson pulled up in front of their house in their tour bus and asked if Zac could come in and go #2. Hahaha...
They are great guys from a great family.
Ash with Hanson and their wives
3. Tell me about what you’re doing currently and what inspired you. How did you get started?
Several years back I got obsessed with Facebook and how it worked. I was working at Beliefnet at the time and most people in the industry were pretty dismissive of the power of social media. I figured a couple nerdy things out, and next thing I knew everybody was scrambling to figure out social media. I decided to start my own company and it went crazy. At first it was mainly internet companies that I worked with, but I worked on two movies that both did very well at the box office unexpectedly and it put me on the Hollywood radar. In the last 5 years we have worked on over 100 movies! We mainly do digital advertising, but we approach it with a pathological empathy for the audience. We used data to SERVE people and not to try and sell them. Think about it, even the hardware we use is called a “server” not a “seller.” We’ve had incredible results. I mainly credit my team. I’ve assembled some really smart people who are ARTISTS, not just nerds. I like to say that data is paint and we are artists.
Ash's company, Ribbow Media
4. What do you see as the future of the movie industry, and where do you see the Faith and Family segment heading?
The movie industry is going to move more to day and date movies. That means that most movies will be available at the theater, at home, on digital, etc. at the same time. As you are keenly aware, it’s really hard to get a family out to the movies, just due to schedules and managing all the drama. Imagine a world where Star Wars is available opening weekend at home; maybe it’s $200 but it’s your choice to pay to see it early. The big movies will be the last to go that route but I imagine more and more movies are going to be going to non-traditional distribution. This will be especially true for faith and family movies. It’s getting harder and harder to find movies and TV for the entire family. That market is going to get bigger and bigger.
5. What’s the coolest movie premiere you ever went to?
Oh man, I’ve been to so many! The Giver was really fun, One Republic played, Meryl Streep was there, Taylor Swift was there and it was in NYC not LA. Honestly, my favorite premiere is probably Moms Night Out. It was in Hollywood at Mann’s Chinese Theater and I got to bring my adorable wife Mindy who was almost 6 months pregnant. It’s a great memory and I was blessed to share it with her.
6. Tell me about your family. How many kids do you have and what’s the age range? How do you include your kids in your work?
My wife and I always wanted a big family. We waited 5 years to have children after we were married, waiting for the right time. I realized there would never be a "right time", and we just went for it. in the last 11 years we have had SEVEN kids! 11, 9, 8, 6, 4, 2, and 1. We had 3 boys, then 3 girls and now a baby boy. We have a full on nursery and kids' room at our office, and when we work on family movies I always include them in watching the commercials we do, screening the movie and giving feedback, and even informing the marketing campaign. We are working on "The Nutjob 2", which is out in August, and the kids got to see an early edit and already gave me some ideas for the marketing. I also travel with at least one of them on every trip. I made the decision to do that a few year back and it changed my life in the best way. Bless all the clients for the grace they provide me to be able to do it but it’s become part of my DNA. On the rare trip when I don’t have a kiddo, people are generally bummed. It’s super fun to get one on one time with them on the road and it really helps those lonely nights away from home.
Lulabelle at work with Daddy at the Sony Lot in LA
7. What’s "Dadurday"?
Oh man! That’s the best day of the week. For the last several years, probably since we had 4 kids, I take them all out on Saturday on an adventure we call Dadurday. This gives my wife a chance to have a break, and it gives me awesome bonding time with the kids. We go to events or places around Nashville, explore historic forts, see movies and we always try a new place to eat. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do. It’s sometimes total chaos, but the goal is to make that one memory in the middle of the mess. It’s hard but there is nothing more rewarding. Time is something you can’t get back, you just can’t, and all the drama and chaos is worth it for those tiny moments we’ll remember forever.
Dadurday - the best day of the week!
Another fun Dadurday outing.
8. What keeps you motivated and inspired?
My wife and the kids. I do everything for them. I also love serving all my clients too, I consider them partners, not just clients. As a person of faith, I’m also motivated to do things that build up people and affect the world in a positive way.
Ash and his wife Mindy with their children and extended family at Disney World.
9. I love that! Anything else?
People often ask me, what’s next? I’m going to continue serving the entertainment industry but I’m super interested in the VR and AI space (Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence). It’s crazy to think that my children will likely never drive a car! I think it’s epically important for people of a proper moral compass to be involved in the VR, AR (Augmented Reality) and AI space. So much good can be done but, even unintentionally, so much bad can be done. A computer will always optimize for your sinful nature (or if you are not a faith person, your reptilian brain) because it thinks that is what pleases you. We have to get ahead of that, especial in my field of marketing, we have to get away from the click bait mentality and try to really serve people what is good for them as defined by how they feel AFTER their decisions, sometimes, long after. It goes back to my philosophy, how can we teach computers to SERVE us, not SELL us.
Ash Greyson excels at creating innovative ways to turn fans into fanatics. With more than 20 years of multimedia experience Ash is an expert at eliminating waste, reaching consumers, building fan bases, and creating digital and social strategies for businesses of all types.
His film and TV clients have included Lionsgate, Sony Pictures, Focus Features, Paramount, Roadside Attractions, Syfy Channel, Nat Geo Network, TBN, Walden Media, and Pure Flix. Ash’s marketing campaigns have played an integral part in the success of many films including “God’s Not Dead” that produced over 60 million dollars in the box office and “2016: Obama’s America”, the second highest grossing film in its genre. His most recent projects include the record-setting Fathom event “To Joey, With Love”, the Mel Gibson directed WWII film “Hacksaw Ridge”, and “Patriots Day” starring Mark Wahlberg.
As Editor-in-Chief for beliefnet.com, Ash guided the website to a more than 400% increase of monthly visitors through strategic social media relationships and SEO optimization. As a director/producer, Ash has collaborated on music videos with artists such as Grammy Award winner “Weird” Al Yankovic and Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant. He started BrightBulb Entertainment with Logan Sekulow in 2008. They produced and directed countless videos for contemporary Christian bands. In 2003, Ash served as Vice President of the Indie record label, 3CG Records, launching the most successful self-release in Soundscan history at the time. He also produced the best-selling music video in Soundscan history and three documentaries on the Hanson brothers, including one nominated for Best Documentary at the 2006 Hollywood Film Festival.
You can find Ash's company, Ribbow Media, at http://www.ribbowmediagroup.com/
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