Promoting the community can sometimes feel like a thankless job. It requires hard work, a sweeping understanding of the area, discerning what makes the area appealing locally and to visitors, and an ability to connect with readers and viewers in interesting ways. Jim Terr continues to be a light in the tunnel that leads folks to visit – and helps those who live here appreciate – the sweetest little town around. He does it in creative and often quirky ways, always positive and lighthearted. What you may not know about Jim is how very talented and creative he is. He has produced countless YouTube videos that highlight Las Vegas positives, and many that celebrate life. He is a satirist with a liberal bent, a song writer, and a tongue-in-cheek commentator on the fractured political landscape. This Q&A is about his consistent dedication to promoting Las Vegas, the original.
Watch Jim show off his talent in Over the Edge Part 8 at Sala de Madrid, Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m., and in a matinee performance on Sunday at 3 p.m. He will be performing as an opening act featuring a couple of his songs, including his most recent video Road Show Rejects. (A disclaimer here, Bob and I have our 10 plus/minus seconds of fame in the video.)
ORP: Talk about yourself and Blue Canyon Productions.
Jim: Blue Canyon Productions, a name I don’t use much anymore, was originally coined after a canyon near here, to go with my first production, an album I did with Sweetgrass (1972), a bluegrass band I was in. I’ve used the name to cover a lot of my music and other productions, which transitioned into a lot of video work starting in 1993 with Las Vegas, New Mexico – America’s Oldest Film Location, which has gotten almost 3,800 views on YouTube since I first posted it, and hopefully some good publicity for Las Vegas.
I’m participating in the upcoming CCHP Places With a Past Film Tour of Las Vegas on Saturday, Aug. 6, as a docent at the Plaza Hotel, speaking as an expert on Las Vegas film history – which I’m actually not – but I’ll brush up on the subject. I also have a long-running website on film at www.lasvegasnmfilm.com. And I’m trying to promote some future film and TV productions, hopefully in Las Vegas, with a “Romaine Fielding” series of vignettes at www.TentaclesFilm.com
ORP: You’ve had success writing jingles. Talk about that and how it inspired your creativity.
Jim: I think my first jingle was a song I did on an album around 1983, called Is Your Mama Behind You?, about littering (wondering if your mama is following behind you to clean up your litter). The jingle was distributed nationally by the Sierra Club. When I returned to Las Vegas in about 1985, I did quite a string of radio jingles for local businesses, banks and Murphy’s Drug Store to name a couple. I have done many since then, including a national jingle for Snapple, which I was told was the most popular of that series. It was called Sing a Song of Snapple. My little niece and nephew accompanied me on vocals and saxophone respectively. I found out later that the kids made much more in royalties from it than I did! Anyhow, I have a foundation-funded documentary in progress looking at jingles in a larger perspective historically www.jinglingfilm.com, a realization that came to me while listening to an old-time brass band in Plaza Park one day.
ORP: At what point did you burst into the digital arena with your very active Facebook page, and what have you gained or realized from this effort.
Jim: I was resistant to Facebook (like everything else), until a friend signed me up, and the rest is history. I spend half my day on Facebook. I always say I learn a lot about other people, and have made a lot of real friends and business connections. It’s a great playground for me, and educational in a million ways. Facebook has gotten my videos and other content out there. Although I’ve gotten more than 1.5 million views of my videos on YouTube, I get many more views per video on Facebook, so maybe I’ll surpass that total on Facebook videos someday. Here’s one about Jimmy Carter that amazingly got over 140,000 views on Facebook, and almost 6,000 shares (reposts). So Facebook has been a great gift for me.
ORP: Talk about your website.
Jim: I have so many websites I wouldn’t know where to start. Way too many, mostly momentary inspirations that have not been productive; I’m “website poor.” You may be referring to the New Mexico Vegas website, www.NewMexicoVegas.com. That was an idea to incorporate the many Vegas-related websites and projects and videos under one umbrella. Several folks and businesses in Las Vegas pitched in for me to put that together and make some new videos specifically for that site, some of which have gotten quite a few views already. So, it’s an effort to sort of consolidate a lot of my local promotional efforts in one place. I’m expecting that the Road Show Rejects video will get quite a few views over time. Like some of the other videos I’ve done at Charlie’s (Spic & Span, Bakery and Cafe), and around Las Vegas, I think it features some of the “good spirit” that makes Las Vegas unique. An occasional resident once told me it was the friendliest town he had ever been in. I had never thought about it, until then. I try to promote that generosity, which I think is extraordinary, as well as the physical and historical beauty.
ORP: I’ve thought about uploading videos, but it seems a bit daunting. Talk about how you became such an active producer on YouTube.
Jim: Before YouTube came along (or before I got onto it), it was quite a deal to upload a video to a website. YouTube made it much easier. Once you get familiar with the procedure it’s pretty simple. It’s even easier to “embed” a YouTube video into your website. I’ve become rather compulsive about producing videos – it is great fun and has produced some income and some visibility for issues I care about. I now have more than one thousand videos on YouTube. Facebook is where my new videos get the most views, and that’s equally easy to upload once you understand the procedure.
ORP: Why do you work at promoting the community when your only compensation is an occasional, “Thank you?”
Jim: I enjoy it for some reason, and enjoy sharing and seeing beautiful pictures of nature and architecture and people in general. I hope some of it generates tourist business for Las Vegas as well as additional pride and appreciation among residents. And I do get compensated – sponsorships – for some of my videos, occasionally.
ORP: What do you most want people to know about the area?
Jim: I’ve covered a lot of that in the videos and comments above, but here’s one that’s been very popular on YouTube (almost 20,000 views!), Las Vegas New Mexico – the Real Las Vegas, featuring our superstar, Brenda Ortega. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever put that video on Facebook…
ORP: Talk about some of the songs about Las Vegas – serious and parody – you’ve.
Jim: Here’s a funny one about Las Vegas – or Northern NM in general – with more than 5,000 views on YouTube), though probably not everyone will think it’s funny. I would hope we all agree that Las Vegas is absolutely unique in about a million ways – including its history and culture and architecture.
On a more serious note, I did a series of videos about some of the “elders” in our area, if you search for “NEW MEXICO SURVIVORS” on YouTube you can find them.
ORP: What is your goal in producing/creating your many Las Vegas-related YouTube videos?
Jim: It’s just been some sort of itch to appreciate Las Vegas and to share that appreciation and hopefully promote tourism, and of course to keep myself afloat with sponsorships for videos and websites when I can.