For a couple of years, Tim Ruffin thought it would be great if somebody produced a video that told out-of-towners about all the reasons that life is good in Reno.
But when somebody turned out to be nobody, Ruffin managing partner of the Colliers International office in Reno took on the job himself.
A 10-minute video produced by Ruffin out of his own pocket launched on YouTube about 10 days ago, and copies are on their way to be shown on the in-room television systems of hotel-resorts and other venues around town.
Hosted by newsman Joe Hart of KRNV News 4, the professionally produced video blends interviews with Reno residents with images ranging from the Truckee River as it flows through downtown to golf courses nestled against snow-covered mountains.
By the middle of last week, the video had drawn nearly 5,000 views on YouTube, and the number was growing by about 1,000 a day.
(It's at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQoCG5tN3dU.)
As the video began working its way out of Reno and into the outside world, Ruffin says one development surprised him.
"The unintended consequence is that people who live here watched it and felt good," he says.
But his hope is that people who don't live here will watch it, feel good and decide that Reno might be a good place to live.
And population growth, Ruffin says, would help cure some of the region's other economic ills such as low home prices and empty retail spaces.
"We don't tell our story well enough, often enough," he says.
To tell the story, he turned to the help of a couple of friends Bob Felten, an assistant professor at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and Dean Richard, a partner in Reno's Bighorn Productions.
Felten wasn't wildly supportive of the first script that Ruffin floated his way.
"That sounds dull," he told the commercial real estate broker, encouraging him to find others to tell the story of Reno through interviews.
Ruffin lined up a varied group of five interview subjects Rick Parr, general manager of the Reno Aces; Valerie Glenn of The Glenn Group marketing agency. Dr. Richard Ganchan, a cardiologist with Reno Heart; David Walker, executive director of the Nevada Museum of Art; and Melissa Molyneaux, a young broker at Colliers International.
Richard filmed hours of interviews in which the five talked about the reasons they love Reno open spaces, high-quality medical care, catching trout out of the Truckee River right across the street from Aces Ballpark and hours of high-definition video around the region.
He also worked with organizations such as Artown and the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority gather video that shows the best of life in northern Nevada.
"It was a labor of love over he past year," says Richard.
Time and again, the five interview subjects return to one theme about the reasons they love Reno: It's the people.
Although he paid for the production himself at a time that the commercial real estate business has been struggling, Ruffin says the video "wasn't outrageously expensive." Professionals involved in the production provided their services at free or reduced rates.
Felten says the new production works.
"It's 10 minutes, but it doesn't feel like 10 minutes," the journalism teacher says.
Still, he acknowledges the challenge that Ruffin faces is getting the video in front of the intended audience out-of-towners who want to know more about living in northern Nevada.
"This is really an extraordinary thing for Tim to do," Felten says. "I'm a big believer in the power of communications to have an impact on perceptions."
Ruffin hopes that the video will inspire others to take their own steps, large and small, to share their enthusiasm about Reno.
"What ideas," he asks, "do you have any?"