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02-29-2008, 08:02 PM   #1
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some potentially incredible news!!?? (sponsorship!!!)

Everyone,

You may have already the post about the upcoming photo competition:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/everything-else/21353-great-news-bad-news-great-news.html

I created a draft letter this AM for the purpose of trying to generate interest and possible fund raising for the photo competition. The summary of the 1 page letter was to explain the situation, why and what I was doing, links to the website, and the financial burden I was preparing to endure to do this competition.

Any naysayers to this not being a financially taxing situation: please cough up $550 for the entry fee, buy the $4000 lens, and pay approx. $300-$500 per week for the 24-36 days that I will be there! I am also taking two weeks of unpaid time off to leave myself some paid vacation for the rest of the year, so that is more financial loss.

Round 1: I went to one of the regional banks, looking for a VP I’ve known for a while. JP had relocated to another branch, so I asked to speak to the VP at the branch. Jeff was very courteous and brought me into his office when I indicated I had a business proposal.

I explained what I was doing, and looking to raise money for the cost of the competition, which will run me in excess of $6000 if I bought everything I needed. Basically a scale range of monetary donation(s) would guarantee an enlargement, up to a max. of $1250 – this would result in three 24x36 images, matted and framed for that business. I also brought in my Images of the Ozarks calendar as a sample set. I’ve always preferred to stand behind my work instead of in front of it – if I cannot let it speak for itself, then I shall sell my gear! (Basically another way to say "I am aware of importance of the business side of things and you can be a very good photographer, but if your business acumen is not there, it’s unlikely that you will succeed".)

Anyway, he listened carefully while I gave my short presentation, basically only taking his eyes off the calendar twice during the entire time I spoke (2-3 minutes), and the fact that I was the only photographer from Arkansas in the competition. Jeff was very impressed with the images and he confirmed all the necessary information was on the hard copy that I gave him. He requested a business card and was very grateful for the calendar I gave him as a sample of my work. He looked me straight in the eye and said "I will talk to the president of the bank about this – thank you for coming to see me." Time will tell…

Round 2: I decided to stop by Bedfords to speak with the store manager (Chris) about upcoming classes I could teach, and briefly covered the bank encounter, including my 1 page draft letter. I indicated to Chris that I would bring the printing to Bedfords, and they could also do the matting and framing in the custom frame shop they own next door.

Chris said "Well, you are in luck – Steve is here." Steve is the VP of the company, and directly oversees the day-to-day operations for the 5 or 6 stores in Arkansas. I’ve only met Steve once before, at another store. He still remembers my enlargements from the exhibits, etc. I did in 2007.

Why? Simply because I am the "Pentax shooter". He loves the fact that I shoot with Pentax and the image qualities of my shots have always stood out in his mind. Chris handed Steve the draft letter and he read perhaps the first paragraph and the last paragraph. Steve indicated that he loved the idea that I would bring business to Bedfords and asked me why I wanted to raise the money. I told him I would really like to buy a Sigma 500/4.5 if I cannot get a Pentax super-telephoto lens.

Immediately Steve stopped everything, flipped open his cell phone, and dialed a number. He looked at me and said – "I’m calling my Sigma rep. right now. We’ll get you a lens on loan from them if I can do anything about it." Steve started talking to his rep. and "I need a loaner 500/4.5 for 90 days. Pentax mount. He is a Pentax shooter doing a similar event to Patrick’s (a local pro) eco-challenge a couple of years ago. Yes, Pentax mount. Uh, hold on… Marc, what if we cannot get a Pentax mount for you? Canon or Nikon?"

Holy cr@p I thought… "Uh, Nikon please." I said. ('ve handled them and find them easier to use than Canon)

"If you cannot obtain a Pentax mount, then I’d like a Nikon mount please. Thank you – let me know." <call ends>

"Marc, we’ll get you a one for the competition even if no Pentax mount is available."

HOLY CR@P!!!!

"OK, you call me on Monday afternoon – here’s my cell number. Which Pentax do you shoot with now? The K10D?"

"Yes" I said.

"BTW, if I can get stock of the K20D before you leave (he was on the list to receive), then you’re taking a loaner K20D for the event. I will be talking to my Pentax rep. on Wednesday next week. This is wonderful PR for selling Pentax in my stores. I clearly want to show people what it (K20D) can do. If we cannot get you a Pentax mount Sigma 500/4.5, then I do my best to get you a Nikon version of the Sigma 500/4.5 and a Nikon camera body."

HOLY CR@P!!!! (x2)

Steve then discussed his belief that the price point for the K20D (in his mind) should go down to $999 for the body, or hopefully soon. It would sell much better. He indicated that he loves the existing shorter lens lineup and the optical quality of those lenses.

I told him that I had no intention of soliciting Bedfords, only to show them how I was planning to raise some money. "I know that" he said.

Steve then started discussing filters with me, because I highly recommended to the students they buy a circular polarizing filters for outdoor/landscape work. "Here, take this two Helipan 67 and 77mm UV slim filters. One for your 200/4 macro (67mm) and the other for your ultra-wide angle..." He just handed me over $200 in filters...

I was so humbled (and almost moved to tears) by Steve’s absolute faith and trust in me. What started out as a simple visit just blew me away… I know nothing is certain, but he knows that I now teach at the store and felt it was important to do what he could. Steve clearly indicated that he wants to sell product, and Pentax has the best profit margins, double that of Canon or Nikon. "This competition would be a perfect fit to show people what Pentax could really do."

Regards,
Marc


Last edited by Marc Langille; 02-29-2008 at 08:08 PM.
02-29-2008, 08:09 PM   #2
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Too kewl Marc!!!

Good luck!
02-29-2008, 08:10 PM   #3
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very cool, good luck !!!
02-29-2008, 08:22 PM   #4
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Wow that rocks Marc -
Holy Crap is right! 8)

Good luck from me as well.

02-29-2008, 08:28 PM   #5
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That's freakin' awesome - no pressure
Let's hope the Pentax mount comes through.
02-29-2008, 08:47 PM   #6
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I think your sponsors know a good thing when they see it. It's a win win situation.
Congratulations and good luck on the competition. Top 2 in each category OK!
02-29-2008, 10:39 PM   #7
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That is fantastic news Marc. Wow things are moving fast for this. Fingers x'd on the Pentax Mount.

Just a thought for those interested in chipping in. I bought 2 of Marc's calendars that he used for the bank presentation (he's too humble to push them here). Both are great, very nice images and well printed. You can see them on his web site. Given the situation, I think a worth while cause.
02-29-2008, 11:27 PM   #8
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Great news Marc, except the $999 part...

03-01-2008, 01:31 AM   #9
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Congrats Marc, you deserve it after all the work and teaching that you've done.
03-01-2008, 02:52 AM   #10
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Sounds like he's a good business person and knows to back a winner when he sees one!

I'd almost suggest it'd be better to shoot with the K10D you know like the back of your hand, than the K20D that you cannot trust 100%. But me giving you advice would be so backwards! All the best!
03-01-2008, 04:55 AM   #11
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All the best, Marc. I would use the trustworthy and predictable k10d instead of k20d. There are quite a few unknown with this camera til using it for some time. Keeper rate is important with the competitions
03-01-2008, 06:31 AM   #12
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wow! good luck! and congratulations on the new gear.
03-01-2008, 06:47 AM   #13
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Congratulations on the sponsorship. This should ease your mind a lot. Knew the lens was expensive but didn't realize the entry fee was so much.
If the lens is a Nikon you will be using two different systems at a time. Wow, that can get interesting - fast. Double chargers, different memory cards, etc. Which Nikon would you pick?
Its nice to know that Bedfords actually deserved the award given them by PTN magazine. Never know if winners are just politically chosen or if they actually do stand out from the crowd. Makes me wish there was a Bedfords where I live. Sounds like as good a place to work as the story said.
Maybe people here could buy some things from them and mention the sponsorship. Always good to reward above and beyond behavior. Need a few Arca QR plates myself. If they don't have those will try something else. Marc, whats the phone number of the store you were in?
thanks
barondla
03-01-2008, 06:48 AM   #14
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Congrats, Marc! Well deserved and the very Best to you.

Nick
03-01-2008, 07:11 AM   #15
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Good things come to good people!
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