Christmas Jammies, Thanksgiving Mashup, Elfed, Baby Got Class, Real Men Wear Spanx, Testing Pumpkin Everything, and a man in labor….
Any of these sound familiar?
If you have not heard of the Holderness family, do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to see them in the hilarious skits mentioned above.
Penn Holderness and his family, are inspiring individuals who love to have fun, and make life more exciting. Not only has Penn and his wife Kim had their fair share of time in the spotlight, (including being a news anchor for WNCN, and a role in Iron Man 3). They now have their own Digital Marketing Company, known as Greenroom Communications, which finds new creative ways to make companies “more human, and less corporate.”
As a college student, being able to watch someone as professional as Penn to still take the time to find and enjoy life has been an inspiration to me. Allow him to be an inspiration to you, and go see him in person.
So after 18 minutes of fame, this is what I learned about Mr. Penn Holderness….
Where are you from?
Durham, NC. My parents still live in same house they took me to straight from the hospital after I was born.
Have you always lived in Durham?
For the most part, but I was away traveling for some time when I first got my job as a sports broadcaster. I waited tables for a few years, went to college in 1992. Then eventually started working at a local news business. I traveled for my job until about 2007, mainly to small towns at first like Gran Junction Colorado, ya know places people never really heard of.
What were you like growing up? Rebellious? Shy? Class clown?
I was very involved in performing arts, show choir, etc. I was a total nerd.
Were you different on stage then you were in person?
No, I have always been extremely extroverted. Shy has never been my thing. Sometimes I wish I could be a little shyer though, think I may annoy people sometimes.
How did you meet your wife Kim?
At a bar, we were both working in local news. She thought my name was Ben. That was a joke for awhile. Then we were friends for several weeks and it went on from there.
Your kids are amazing in those videos, do they ever come up with any of the ideas you use?
Not always but ideas are actually starting to happen. In the past year or so my 6-year-old likes to try and make up parodies when we’re in the car. We haven’t used them yet, but we definitely have been writing them down.
What made you want to start making videos with your family?
We started in 2013, it was the year before the “big one.” Before that we use to do a “funny” Christmas card but the pictures were just terrible. I mean awful. We could never get them right, so Kim thought we should try a Christmas video. It ended turning out really well, and it was a lot of fun to do together.
Would you say it is a good bonding experience with the kids?
Oh yes most definitely. It’s kind of like a group project, and we do a big celebration when we’re done with it. We are actively working together, so it’s a source of enrichment. The kids aren’t on their iPad or phones or in front of the TV, ya know. We get to have fun and learn new things together. It’s pretty sweet.
When did you know you wanted to leave the spotlight and go behind the camera?
About 6 months before I decided to go. Being a news anchor, there are some things you can do but the creative side is kind of limited. Kim started a company with Sharon McCloud several years ago and I just started helping them edit things just for fun. I would be down in our basement editing, creating things and just fell in love with it. I got to see a lot more of my family too. We try hard to make sure of that at the office now.
What does a day at Green Room Communications look like?
“Like a Snowflake – no two are the same.”
For example, today we tried to figure out how to hide a string on a spinning box disappear. We worked on a family blog. We’re trying to do a kids version of Chopped. I jumped on a call from a guy with a new website who is trying to create a resource for family challenges. We also had a creative meeting. We do that about once a month, where we freely go over ideas together. It helps the creative juices flowing.
Check out the Greenroom crew’s Christmas video:
Your team seems so creative, and fun to be around. Does it ever feel like work to you?
Sometimes yes, just like any job can. Like maybe with clients when our work doesn’t match their vision? Mainly when problem solving is involved, it can get stressful as you can imagine. Everyone in the office has a great attitude though, and we work really well together.
What about sports, in any fantasy leagues?
Oh yes, for sure. In college my friends and I started a fantasy league where we kept score on paper and mailed it to each other by the end of each week. That was in 1998 before the actual app and everything. Now we get together and do trips for the draft, the whole deal. We went to Montreal this past draft. We take it very seriously.
Have any embarrassing moments on TV?
Of course, all of the time. With local news it would happen a lot. I would say something wrong, and then just go, “well that was awkward.” In the mid 90s when I first started, I didn’t know what I was doing, so it happened a whole lot.
This past Christmas NBC reached out to us and wanted to air one of our videos. The one with the wife forcing me to go into labor. Yeah, that got embarrassing.
Didn’t SNL do a skit about your Christmas jammies?
Yeah they did. It was super embarrassing but very cool at the same time. You know we were being made fun of, but it was extremely funny and really cool at the same time. I mean, it’s SNL.
Where was the last place you’ve traveled to?
Well, not including Florida for Christmas. We went to LA before that because our Youtube manager wanted to do a pilot for an experimental series. The boys ended up playing Donald Trump and the girls were Hilary Clinton. It turned out to be pretty funny.
Now is it true that you guys have your own show?
Kind of, a channel called UP*, did four different episodes of us but we haven’t made anything permanent. It’s an idea though.
And there ya have it folks. There is obviously a lot more to Penn Holderness.
That is exactly why you need to come see him on the 26TH! He will be talking about Video Marketing and going Viral. Two things Greenroom Communications seem to thrive in. As you can see with the video below, they know what they are doing.
There may be a fun side to Penn, but judging by his success, there are a lot of tips on how to survive in an ever-changing business world. Plus with his wife’s expertise, starting the company herself with Sharon McCloud, the Holderness team can bring a lot of insight into this new digital age.
As Bob Dylan liked to say, “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows,” but you might need Penn and Greenroom Communications if you want the type of marketing that gets to the heart of things.
*correction in network tv show airs