Keeping it real
It's a modern business model: Get noticed on the Internet and expand into other forms of media.
A team of young West Virginians hopes to follow that model all the way to a network contract for a hunting- and fishing-themed television show.
"Right now, we're putting our videos on Facebook and YouTube," said Zach Lucas, spokesman for Grunt, Gobble and Gills Outdoors. "We want to build a following, and we figured that was the best way to get our video footage in front of as many people as possible."
Lucas and 10 friends started making videos of their hunts and fishing trips this spring. He said the group of die-hard sporting enthusiasts simply wanted others to see the things they saw while in the woods or on the water.
"We wanted to share our experiences with as many people as possible," he said. "And we want to show how average guys do it. Most of the stuff we do is done on public land, or on private land where we've been given permission to hunt.
"We don't plan to focus on high-dollar 'fantasy' hunts and fishing trips you see on a lot of shows. Most of our shows will be shot in West Virginia and surrounding states."
So far this spring, the team has enjoyed pretty good success at capturing their adventures on video.
Lucas, of Clendenin, has caught seven muskies, killed a double-bearded gobbler and videotaped one of his friends killing a gobbler. Lewis Edens of Marmet called in and videotaped two gobblers this spring, and videotaped a hunt last fall in which he killed a trophy buck. Jimmy Brogan of Clay killed two gobblers on video this spring and a trophy buck last fall. Jake McLaughlin of Glenville has taken 13 muskies on video.
"We're all pretty good hunters and fishermen," Lucas said.
After each adventure gets recorded, Lucas edits the footage and posts the completed video on the Grunt, Gobble and Gills Facebook page or to the GGG Outdoors channel on YouTube.
"We're keeping it web-based for the time being," he said. "Sometime in the future, we'd like to get a TV show, but right now we're putting our stuff on the web."
An independent website is also in the works. Lucas' brother, a graphic designer, is working on that.
"Our plan is to have the website up and running by fall," Lucas said. "We want to update it weekly with footage from the week before."
Members of the team are gradually acquiring the high-definition video cameras needed to produce crisp, vivid images.
"We're using Sony and Canon HD cameras. They're pretty expensive, and we're buying them as we can afford to," Lucas said.
Rather than being tempted to try to do everything at once, Lucas and his team are determined to build the enterprise slowly but steadily.
"We're just in the starting stages right now. We figure we have a better chance at success if we work up slowly toward our goals," Lucas said.
The ultimate measure of success will be whether people push the "like" button when they watch one of the team's videos on Facebook or YouTube.
Lucas believes they will, mainly because he and his team want to record experiences that the average sportsman can relate to.
"We want it to be as real as it can be," he said. "We want to show how things really happen in the outdoors, and we want to show how folks can have fun while doing those things."
Reach John McCoy at email@example.com or 304-348-1231.