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Veteran Little Rock film and video maker Dan Waymack is busy these days despite the lingering pandemic, but he’s also aggressively going after new business.
His production company, Waymack & Crew, has three new business development specialists, and one is a former key member of the crew. Shane George, once director of production for Waymack, has rejoined as director of marketing and business development.
Natalie Gorman, a veteran broadcast commercial producer, has hired on as marketing manager and business development specialist. George and Gorman’s hirings came just weeks after Waymack announced the addition of film producer Kristin Mann as his new business developer focused on northwest Arkansas.
Waymack said he built a staff “well rounded in production knowledge” with intentional hirings to address “an unmet gap” for professional video production in the regional marketplace. “We want to bridge that gap by providing our services to local businesses and agencies,” he said. “We think Shane and Natalie are the perfect fit to help make that happen.”
George, who worked for Waymack in the early 2000s, has headed his own production company, George Creative, for the past 13 years. Both he and Waymack welcomed the reunion.
“I’m excited to be back with Dan,” George said. “He and I have done great work together and I’m ready to be part of his team again.”
Natalie Gorman has joined the company as Marketing Manager and Business Development Specialist. Since earning her BA in Marketing, Gorman has dedicated her time producing broadcast commercials, and is looking forward to expanding her talents at Waymack and Crew. “I was excited to come on board because they truly are the best in the business.”
The hirings were the backdrop for a wide-ranging phone conversation where Waymack marveled at this year’s 30th anniversary of the firm, and ruminated on longevity in general and Craig O’Neill’s in specific.
The KTHV news anchor, an old friend of Waymack’s, has pulled back from retirement plans three times in recent years, the latest flirtation coming just six weeks ago. At 71, O’Neill has signed on for another couple of years at Channel 11.
“It’s like the old Schuster’s Furniture going-out-of-business sales, but they’d never seem to go out of business,” said Waymack, who credits O’Neill for giving his career a kick-start. “Craig refuses to go out of business.”
Waymack, who directs beer commercials, tire ads and lavish spots for Arkansas Parks and other state tourism agencies, said O’Neill “is the reason I’m in business, but the last time I talked to him, he thought I’d forgotten.”
A filmmaker since age 19, Waymack was documenting local weddings long before he ever dreamed of shooting commercials for Miller Lite or Oaklawn.
It was 1986, and O’Neill was a guest at one of the weddings Waymack was working. O’Neill approached the teenager with the camera and asked Waymack to follow along, and to keep the tape rolling. “I was starstruck, so I followed him shooting as he interacted and joked with people, and it was hilarious. Videos didn’t go viral then, but this got passed around town and I started to get job offers.”
About that time, veteran Arkansas ad man John Hudgens asked Waymack to produce a commercial for Little Rock haberdasher Jimmy Karam. “Mr. Karam had just gotten in a bunch of shirts from Mexico at a dollar apiece, and he wanted to know if I’d trade the production work for a bunch of dress shirts.” Waymack said no, he’d prefer greenbacks, but he’s been producing commercials ever since.
“It’s all called content now; everything is content,” said Waymack, who has done and pitched a few high-end TikTok videos. “We’re figuring it out. But we’re still doing commercials that drive people, on TV and on the web and on social platforms. But there’s still room for the 30-second commercial. People are used to them, and I think they’re going to be around for a long time.”