The City of North Little Rock has debuted a new video, “My City,” featuring North Little Rock small businesses and the local community. Local poet and entrepreneur, Chris James (The Roots Art Connection, Arkansas Theatre Festival, House of Art), narrates the video with an original poem about his love for North Little Rock as familiar North Little Rock community members hold up “Support Local, Support…My Business”, “Support Local, Support…My School” or “Support Local, Support…My City” signs. The video is a love poem to North Little Rock but also has a strong call to action, especially now when times are tough on the local economy: support local.
Robert Birch, North Little Rock’s Director of Development, produced the video and shared with us the process behind it.
- Why did the City of North Little Rock put together this video? It came out of meetings with the North Little Rock Small Business Council. We wanted to reach all parts of the community. Parts that feel left out sometimes. I presented them with a baseline idea to promote small businesses and it morphed into what you see. Which is still small business oriented, but community as well.
- What was the process? The process started when I called Brandon Campbell at the Little Rock Regional Chamber. We threw ideas around for a good hour and he led me to Chris [James]. I reached out to Chris and Chris Jones at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. Donnie Lindsey [owner of Lindsey’s Hospitality House] had input too. Chris and I discussed an idea and he went to work. His first draft was awesome and we added a few things like the notable NLRHS [North Little Rock High School] grads. But it was 99% his original draft. From there we contacted Brent Walker (2002 NLRHS grad) to film it. We gave him Chris’ poem and he shot the drone footage. Then Brent and I surprised businesses throughout the city and filmed the people shots.
- What have the initial reactions been to the video? Outstanding. It has raised questions about where it came from. People recognize Chris James’s work and love the poem. I gave him an idea and let him do his thing. We made a tweak or two, but that was it. He’s great.
The “My City” video is a project of the North Little Rock Small Business Council, which was formed to assist local business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council is responsible for developing the North Little Rock COVID-19 Small Business Economic Support Fund.