Sunday, January 31, 2016

Go Ahead, Back Up

As January's "Snowzilla" bore down on the Nation's Capital, the head of DC's Metro told The Washington Post it was wiser to shutter his incompetent agency during the storm than tread "a false floor that everybody knows is false.”

While candid, the exec's expression of foreboding " may not soothe the frustrations of stranded customers," The Post said.

It's easy for customers to blame failures of government on lack of drive (in fact, it's a hobby of mine).

But then you can't explain the shipwrecks of driven profiteers like Target, which last year lost $7 billion on its calamitous rollout of Target Canada.

Its also easy for customers to blame failures of government on "pointy-headed" government execs. 

But then you can't explain the blunders of smart CEOs like Carla Fiorina, who halved HP's stock value while she ran the company.

So what's to blame for systemic failures—both public and private?

As turnaround experts observe, it's leadership's refusal to abandon a strategy that simply doesn't work (like the one illustrated in this insightful video). 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

On-Demand Undermines Even Investors

In the 19th century, an enterprising forebear of mine owned a block of houses in the mining town of Franklin, New Jersey, that he leased to workers.

Unbeknownst to the workers, he also leased his mineral rights to the local mining company, which promptly dug a shaft beneath the houses.

According to family lore, my forbear had to skedaddle one dark night, when all the houses and their occupants vanished in a mine-shaft collapse.

Lesson learned.

When investors undermine workers, everyone gets the shaft.

The halo's fast falling from the Uberization of work, Caroline Fairchild writes on LinkedIn.

Millennial entrepreneurs are shifting workers from 1099 to W-2 status, because they're learning that, to succeed, they have to do things like train people and ask them to show up at 9.

You know, 19th century stuff.

As Fairchild shows, on-demand startups that want to appify black markets in everything from home delivery to hospitality face harsh critics.

"As these venture capital darlings walk the fine line between saving on labor costs and breaking the law, regulators and politicians are watching, and critiquing, their every move," she writes.

"The lines being drawn here raise critical questions: Should workers embrace the freedom the digital world offers? Or should they try to hold onto the rights that their predecessors fought over 100 years to win? Is this new economy moving us forward or backward?"

Forward or backward? What do you think?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Punching through the Mask

My horoscope was dead on yesterday.

"As soon as you start thinking that you might, indeed, know it all, circumstances will conspire to set you straight."

Circumstances conspire against us all.

Just count the bromides about "conquering adversity" on your LinkedIn home page this morning and you'll know.

When you produce creative work, you need to wear a creative's mask, as director Sidney Lumet says in Making Movies.

"Creative work is very hard, and some sort of self-deception is necessary simply in order to begin. To start, you have to believe that it's going to turn out well. And so often it doesn't. I've talked to novelists, conductors and painters about this. Unfailingly, they all admitted that self-deception was important to them. Perhaps a better word is 'belief.' But I tend to be a bit more cynical about it, so I use 'self-deception.' The dangers are obvious. All good work is self-revelation. When you've deceived yourself, you wind up feeling very foolish indeed."

Setbacks punch through the mask. They sting, because they scream Fraud!

Mama said there'll be days like this.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

3 Tips for Better Event Photography and Video

Michael J. Hatch contributed today's post. He is Director of Sales for Oscar & Associates, an event photography and video production company specialized in conferences, exhibitions and corporate events nationwide.

Pictures Will be Worth 10 Thousand Words… Tomorrow

Don’t just go through the motions of contracting a photographer and telling them you want "three days' of candids and posed photos." There’s more to it than that.

Provide the photographer answers to these questions: What is the theme of your event? What are its goals? And—most importantly—what are the goals of next year’s event? 
Promoting tomorrow's event may be the primary reason you're capturing images today.

Ask for Bold, Unique and Creative

Most photographers are creative people. It’s one reason they chose the profession. 
Your photographer will love you for asking for bold, unique and creative shots.

If you tell a photographer you simply want candids and posed shots, that’s all you’ll get. Your photos will look just like all the photos you'd ever find on any event organizer's website.

Ask in addition to candids and posed shots for close-ups, shots on angles, backlit shots, overhead shots, and foot-level shots.

Georgia O’Keefe said it best about her famous giant florals: “If I painted them like all the Old Masters' still-lifes, no one would have ever paid much attention.”

Videos Will be Worth a 100 Thousand Words

Look at YouTube, websites, blogs and emails: event organizers are using videos, because videos are infinitely more engaging, believable and shared.

Capture video testimonials with attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and speakers. Ask for videos of the live action on your show floor, keynote sessions, educational sessions, receptions and evening events. 

And if you want “bold, unique and creative” results, ask for aerial videos, both indoor and out. Drones make aerial videos more affordable than ever.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Going Virile

Ad exec Madonna Badger's new video We are #WomenNotObjects, which asks marketers to stop eroticizing females, is hot, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Ms. Badger's beef is only one among many voiced by women in advertising, including the 21,000 sister mad women who comprise the 3% Conference.

3% Conference founder Kat Gordon told Forbes the issues surround "lack of."

"Lack of support for motherhood, lack of mentorship, lack of awareness that femaleness is an asset to connecting to the consumer marketplace today, lack of celebration of female work due to gender bias of award juries, lack of women negotiating their first agency salary and every one thereafter," Badger said.

Female event marketers are also flexing their muscles.

AWE, the Association for Women in Events, has opened its doors in Washington, DC, according to

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Plan 9

Attention ad planners: 9 seconds is the perfect period to expose a digital ad, according to a study by Sled.

The ad-platform provider found customers' brand awareness increased twice as much as it did when they viewed an ad for other lengths of time.

But that may be an eternity, in Earthlings' time.

According to Sled, customers viewed ads run recently by BioPharmX a mere 4.1 seconds, on average. 

And according to MediaPost, customers viewed recent ads from the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau for only 4.8 seconds.

Back to the drawing board.

Monday, January 25, 2016

How to Write a Killer Abstract for Your Next Presentation

Marketer Tony Compton contributed today's post. He is the founder and managing director of communication coaching consultancy GettingPresence.

When you’re scheduled to give a presentation, chances are you’ll have to provide a session abstract that titles your talk and describes your session.

Session abstracts enable readers to evaluate an event in advance, playing a vital role in helping them determine if the event is worth the investment in attendance.

On site, abstracts compete for attendees, as they choose which sessions to attend when multiple presentations are being given.

Unfortunately, far too many session abstracts are poorly written. Writing one is an afterthought to most presenters, and is usually delegated to a marketing manager who isn’t the presenter and who's largely unfamiliar with the presenter's content.

Writing concise and compelling abstracts for your presentations will give you a clear competitive advantage.

My recommendation is to write your abstract as a condensed case study:
  • Title your session with the solution to a common business challenge; for example, “Increasing Customer Retention by 30% with Predictive Analytics." 
  • When writing the session description, state a common problem your audience faces; summarize your strategy behind solution-development; and itemize supporting tools you have used to help solve the problem.
  • Close by hinting at the payoff of the work, using several bullet points that quantitatively highlight results.
Remember, too, that audiences see through thinly-veiled sales pitches, and their session descriptions. Always keep in mind what the audience will learn from your presentation, and your session abstract will be a winner.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Chipotle Serves Up Nonsense

"I have a bluntness problem," says a character in Mozart in the Jungle.

I wish Chipotle had.

Fresh from rehab, the chain tells us it's cured, in a January 19 news release:

Chipotle’s enhanced food safety program is the product of a comprehensive reassessment of its food safety practices conducted with industry leading experts that included a farm-to-fork assessment of each ingredient Chipotle uses with an eye toward establishing the highest standards for safety.

Chipotle may now wash dirt off its tomatoes.

But it obviously won't scrub its announcements of corporatese.

Jargon destroys credibility, as journalist Phil Simon says.

Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein called quaggy statements like Chipotle's nonsense.

And as he insisted, there is no such thing as deep and important nonsense.

There is only one kind of nonsense, and it's fundamentally suspect.

PS: To be blunt, I would've advised Chipotle to say, We asked food-safety experts to help us improve both our own and our suppliers' procedures.

Storytelling Traced to Bronze Age

"Everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology," philosopher Martin Heidegger wrote in 1949.

Little did he realize the chains are made of 5,000-year-old bronze.

Two social scientists have discovered that storytelling began in the Bronze Age with "The Smith and the Devil," a tale of entrepreneurship, evil and technology (in this case, metallurgy).

A blacksmith offers his soul to the devil, in exchange for the power to weld any materials together. The wily smith then uses his new-found power to weld the devil to a tree, reneging on his side of the bargain.

The scientists' findings confirm the suspicions of the Brothers Grimm, who claimed their stories were artifacts of a "great race which is commonly called Indo-Germanic."

With hard evidence of storytelling's Bronze Age-origins, it's time to consider renaming Bog Man.

You guessed it. 

Blog Man.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Where Have You Gone, Corporal Agarn?

When media were scarce—as they were when I was young—our states seemed united.

Nearly everyone, if not delighted, was at least familiar with Corporal Agarn, Samantha Stephens, Norman Mailer, Helen Gurley Brown, Perry Como, Chubby Checker and Walter Cronkite.

Today, no one knows who's who, or what’s happening.

You can no longer catch the pulse.

But we yearn to.

That's why Taylor Swift and Star Wars: The Force Awakens are blockbusters, while Vine and Snapchat aren't.

We long to consume and communicate as a nation.

Life in tribes can grow stultifying.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Marketers, You Have Work to Do

The second in a two-part series, today's post was contributed by Margit Weisgal, author of Show and Sell: 133 Business-Building Ways to Promote Your Trade Show Exhibit. She writes for The Baltimore Sun.

“If it weren’t for customers, we could get our work done.”

Adults indeed say the darndest things.

Don’t you wonder how some companies stay in business? They spout platitudes about how much they care about you and that customers are paramount. 

Then they go and do something incredibly stupid.

Here's an email I received recently (identifying information deleted):

Thank you for contacting us. As for as why our department does not receive incoming calls, there are many reasons. The greatest of these reasons is that if they were required to answer phone calls in addition to their paperwork that is sent to them every day, they would have a much more difficult time processing the requests they receive. Please be patient as our department looks into your request. Thank you and have a wonderful day.

In other words, paperwork trumps customers. 

It’s marketing’s job to make sure there is consistency in everything a company says and does.

Marketers, you have work to do!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Adults Say the Darndest Things

Today's post was contributed by Margit Weisgal, author of Show and Sell: 133 Business-Building Ways to Promote Your Trade Show Exhibit. Margit writes for The Baltimore Sun on Baby Boomers' issues and interests.

For 17 years, TV personality Art Linkletter hosted a segment on his daytime show called "Kids Say the Darndest Things. He'd interview children and watch them, wide eyed, as they spouted incredible responses to his questions.

Like Linkletter's kids, the adults who staff your trade show exhibits also say the darndest things. One of my favorites is, “Why do I have to be here, when I could be out meeting customers?”

Really? What do they think they’re doing at the show?

Sometimes—maybe too often—we don’t take the time to explain to staff our goals and objectives for a trade show. 

When they don't understand why you're participating, or what you hope to accomplish, they'll work like a team of horses pulling in different directions. Not a team at all.
Marketing is about more than what you say. It’s also about what you do. And actions speak louder than words. If the two don’t jibe, your credibility goes away. 

It’s the darndest thing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Concise writing achieves communication in pure form.

So it's considerate on his 207th birthday to celebrate Edgar Allen Poe's "one-sitting rule" of writing.

In "The Philosophy of Composition," Poe extols brevity for the effect it creates.

"If any literary work is too long to be read at one sitting, we must be content to dispense with the immensely important effect derivable from unity of impression—for, if two sittings be required, the affairs of the world interfere, and every thing like totality is at once destroyed."

Long-windedness deprives a piece "of the vastly important artistic element, totality, or unity, of effect," Poe says.

"It appears evident, then, that there is a distinct limit, as regards length, to all works of literary art—the limit of a single sitting."

Using the right tools are just as important, Poe insists in "How to Write a Blackwood Article."

"In the first place, your writer of intensities must have very black ink, and a very big pen, with a very blunt nib. No individual, of however great genius, ever wrote without a good pen a good article."

Monday, January 18, 2016

Farhenheit 1832

Last month, the members of the Internet Engineering Steering Group announced that websites blocked by governments will display the error message, "451 - Unavailable for Legal Reasons."

The jokers on the committee were, of course, alluding to Ray Bradbury's 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451.

The novel depicts an America devoted to biblioclasm, the ancient practice of suppressing objectionable ideas through book burning.

Still a weapon of choice for thugs like ISIS, biblioclasm is beginning to show signs of age.

With 94% of mankind's knowledge digitized, tyrants need to embrace technoclasm.

That's a word I've coined to describe the burning of computers to quash dangerous thoughts.

The fires they ignite will have to burn hotter, too, because silicone only combusts at temperatures above Fahrenheit 1832.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

All Marketing Rules are Stupid

We love simple rules.

They make our worklives easier, by absolving us of judgement.

Simple rules, in fact, form the bedrock of business strategy.

But I've heard in my time lots of rules purporting to assure marketing success that are simply stupid. 

For example:

Latinos hate purple.

Content needs to be sincere.

Infographics are out.

Avoid pastel colors.

Product names must be literal.

Innovate or die.

Your average skeptic would insist, for simple rules like these to be effective, they'd have to be verifiable. These examples aren't.

A hardline skeptic would go farther, insisting there are no effective rules.

No course of action can be determined by a rule, because any course of action can be understood to obey that rule.

I might, for example, avoid pastels in my web pages. Great, I've obeyed that rule! 

Then another, colorblind marketer comes along and publishes web pages full of pastels.

He's also obeyed the rule.

Stupid marketing rules abound.

It's smart to be skeptical of them, especially when facts aren't handy to back them up.

HAT TIP: Greg Satell inspired much of this post. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Should You Ever Talk Turkey?

According to ex-"cast members," a terminated Disney employee is never told, "You're fired." 

The employee is told instead to "find your happiness elsewhere."

Certain subjects—tough ones like death, poverty, addiction, insanity, intolerance, financial risk and job loss—are magnets for euphemisms.

Grammarian Jane Strauss detests them.

"A euphemism is a lullaby, a sedative, a velvet glove enfolding reality’s iron fist," she says.

But euphemisms don't merely function as kindly cop-outs, Strauss says.

"A euphemism can transform a narcissist into a temperamental perfectionist, a bigot into a traditionalist, or an unhinged demagogue into a passionate idealist."

Ain't it the truth, ladies and gentlemen.

So should business communicators ever talk turkey?

To my way of thinking, 99% of the time.

Audiences prefer candor to cant. Even the targets prefer it.

And you need not be ruthless to be straightforward.

Harry Truman was once accused of giving his political foes hell.

"I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."

PS: In case you're wondering, Native Americans coined the phrase "talking turkey."

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Web is Too Much with Us

Our Tower of Babel has been under siege for well over 500 years.

Peeved about the patchwork of books in Renaissance libraries, bibliographer Konrad von Gesner complained in 1545 of "the silliness of useless writings of our time."

Annoyed by the algorithms that drive content-streams, blogger Hossein Derakhshan complained last month that, while homely people's brilliance is ignored, "the silly ramblings of a celebrity gain instant internet presence."

Griping about TMI in fact began with the birth of literacy, each generation thereafter seeing hobgoblins on the horizon.

But maybe, just maybe, the web is too much with us.

So before you release more pap, ask yourself if it's on strategy.

Because, as writer Arjun Basu says, "Without strategy, content is just stuff, and the world has enough stuff."

HAT TIP: Mark Schaefer's blog {grow} brought Hossein Derakshan to my attention. I urge you to listen to Mr. Schaefer's recent podcast.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Why Facebook Disappoints

While your Facebook friends enjoy Kardashian-esque lives, you plod like a player in Samuel Beckett.

But don't worry: a University of Missouri study shows "Facebook envy" is normal (although too much of it causes depression).

Lead researcher Margaret Duffy thinks using Facebook to connect with friends is healthy.

"However, if Facebook is used to see how well an acquaintance is doing financially or how happy an old friend is in his relationship—things that cause envy among users—use of the site can lead to feelings of depression,” Duffy says.

For the rest of us, Facebook merely disappoints.

That's because, by pasteurizing lives, it sacrifices storytelling—our only source of catharsis.

"A storyteller must publicly display him- or herself as flawed," says screenwriter Neil Landau in 101 Things I Learned in Film School.

"Telling the story you are most afraid to tell—taking real, personal risks, dramatizing taboo events, pushing the protagonist to the edge of reason, showing things that seem too confrontational or emotionally raw for the audience—is most likely to translate into a provocative, memorable film experience."

Facebook just isn't a platform for storytelling.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Don't Just Do Trade Shows. Do Trade Shows Right.

Today's post was contributed by Margit Weisgal, author of Show and Sell: 133 Business-Building Ways to Promote Your Trade Show Exhibit. Margit writes for The Baltimore Sun on Baby Boomers' issues and interests.

When it comes to finding and interacting with a qualified audience, trade shows continue to be at the top of the list. 

Trade shows are the only place where you can customize your marketing message to fit the person in front of you (all the technologies out there still put prospects in groups); and the only place where you can create impressions that last longer than a few seconds.

But (and there’s always a "but"), trade shows have to be done right. 

Doing it "right" means training your staff to ask questions. Why? Because how they interact with visitors is very different from any other conversation they have.

Booth staff should always ask visitors questions before pitching them. Who are you? What do you do for your company? What brought you to the show? To our booth? What’s your agenda for the show?

Only when you understand what’s in it for them, can you be memorable, by positioning your response in terms of visitors' needs.

We do business with people we like, trust, and respect. That only happens when you listen first and talk later. And that’s doing it right.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Events, One. Robots, Nothing.

Robots will ruin content marketing in coming years and make events the top channel for B2B content sharing.

With 71% of B2B executives already down on marketers' content, it won't be long before 99% of them shut their eyes to it.

Marketing automation users are to blame. 

In their frenzied efforts to target personas, they've forgotten persons.

The persons least targeted are, in fact, the folks who share the content that most influences buyers.

As salespeople know, sales result from speaking and sharing the right content with the worker bees who forage at trade shows.

That's why the event industry has been forever able to tout its channel as B2B's Number 1 "sales accelerator;" and why events have perennially been B2B companies' Number 1 choice among media for lead generation and relationship management.

The demise of content marketing will soon make events the top medium for content sharing, too.

DISCLOSURE: My employer serves the event industry.

Friday, January 8, 2016

B2B Marketers: Help Customers Browse Your Content

When will B2B marketers get the memo?

Minimalism is back.

The style's all the rage with runners, designers, gastronomers, photographerseven white guys.

But B2B marketers keep pushing bloated content.

When will they get it? When you subtract, you attract.  

Tight copy encourages browsing.

In their writer's guide Clear and Simple as the Truth, Francis-Noël Thomas and Mark Turner implore writers to write in the "classic style," cutting the excess and making every word count.

Making words count boosts your content's value. 

And that discourages skimming.

"It is possible to skim certain styles," Thomas and Turner write. "Most after-dinner speeches are presented in styles that claim only part of our attention. Many textbooks and news articles are written in styles that allow us to bounce over words and phrases and still feel that we have extracted the sense accurately."

By making words count, you encourage readers to browse.

"Classic style allows browsing but not skimming. We may turn to just one paragraph, say, in an essay, or even to one sentence, and focus on just that. But once we focus on a unit in classic style, and intend to understand it, then we must pay attention to every detail. Writer and reader assume that every word counts. If the reader skips a single word or phrase or sentence, the sense of the unit may be lost. Classic style contains crucial nuances, which can be lost in skimming."

Skim-reading is mindless; browsing's another thing. Browsing is considerate. Browsing is window-shopping.

Customers love to window-shop.

So help them.

"Perfection is achieved, novelist Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, "not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Why Monkey with Your Brand?

Mathematician Émile Borel said a century ago, if you provided an infinite number of monkeys typewriters, eventually they'd produce Hamlet.

Today he might say, if you provided them smartphones, eventually they'd produce The Godfather.

Despite having limited time and money, marketers seem convinced amateurs can produce broadcast-quality videos.

Why do they monkey with their brands?

In his blog, Prathap Suthan, chief creative officer at agency Bang In The Middle, warns marketers of their folly.

"There are billions of sadly made films finding their way into the great social sewer. They comprise all kinds of trash. Including films made by big brands which they conveniently call web films. 

"Hello, your audience doesn’t realize the difference between a film made for the web versus television. For people, including all of us reading us, it’s a film. Most are badly made. Some are downright ugly. Very few are beautiful, and therefore shareable. 

"Now the thing is, take your eyes off quality and finesse, and you have a sad film representing your company, product, or brand. A social film has to be equivalent to a regular TV film. It’s not just a web film anymore. 

"Save yourself from the gutter and the clutter. Bad content is arsenic. It will eat your brand from inside."

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

It's 2016. How Do You Make Customers Click?

Powerful headlines grab customers' attention, as David Ogilvy insisted.

But that was in 1963. Only basements, barns and cartoons had mice.

What makes customers click in 2016?


Eye-tracking studies show customers dwell longer on headlines than any other part of a web page. (Ogilvy nailed it.)

But, even when you care to say the very best, headlines can't say it all.

Their smaller, wordier siblings, subheads can. 

Subheads expand and inspire. They let you telegraph additional benefits and urge customers to act.

Headlines hook customers. 

Subheads reel them in.

Want examples of effective subheads?

Here's a baker's dozen, courtesy of Hubspot.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Blowing in the Wind

An inveterate blowhard, Warren G. Harding popularized the term bloviation to describe his public speaking style.

Bloviation, Harding said, is "the art of speaking for as long as the occasion warrants, and saying nothing."

While contemporary office-seekers vie for his seat in the Valhalla of the vacuous, few can bloviate like Harding.

H.L. Menken thought Harding's appeal to audiences reflected their IQ. 

 "Bosh is the right medicine for boobs," he wrote.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Dirty Little Secrets of a Technical Writer

Technology journalist Michelle Bruno contributed today's post. She covers technology and face-to-face meetings in her weekly newsletter, Event Tech Brief.

One might marvel at how I, someone who literally cannot navigate the remote controls of the television set, can write about computer networks and software. It’s really very simple.

The first thing I do when confronted with a particularly complex project is avoid panic. I know now there will be a point at which everything makes sense. It’s just a matter of time.

If the client has not given me source materials, which is rare, I create my own library of research—pulling from Google Scholar or scientific journals and magazines accessed from the library of a local college (a benefit of being an adjunct faculty member).

Almost always, I print the resource materials out on paper and highlight them with a colored marker. As I scan, I begin to formulate an outline in my head.

If I become blocked or overwhelmed, I take a nap.

No writer, even the most experienced, can know everything about everything. That’s why subject matter experts are my best friends. Most software engineers or network administrators are interested that I’m interested and indulge my curiosity.

No matter what I write, every word on the page is still a part of speech: noun, adjective, verb, adverb and so on. 

For example, network, cloud, and machine are nouns. Virtualize, orchestrate, and provision are verbs. It’s critical to get everything in the correct slot.

Structure is very important to me. Even in technical writing, I try to make sure every opening paragraph gives the reader a clue about what they will learn as they read on. 

Every paragraph I write has a topic sentence. If I start out with a list in the first paragraph, I make sure the explanatory paragraphs in the body are in the same order as the items in the list. 

While attempts to be humorous or ironic are normally ill advised in technical writing, I still try to be elegant and clever. Words are still my children and I try to present them in the best light possible.

When I’m not writing, I read. I look for structure and elegance even in the most technical of articles. It’s a blessing and a curse.

I edit as I write. Most of the time I spend more time on the opening paragraph than I do on the entire article. I can’t get comfortable until my direction for the piece is set.

When I finish a project, I deliver it to the client and never read it again for fear I might find a comma out of place or begin agonizing over a word choice.

Technical writers receive exactly zero feedback. Most of the time, my efforts aren’t even acknowledged (one reason I blog). So, to get some warm fuzzy, I share the paper with my husband, who always says, “How the hell do you write stuff like this? You can’t even turn on the TV set.” I just smile.

Postscript by Bob James: Want a weekly dose of wicked good insight?

Subscribe to Event Tech BriefIt's free, and nobody covers the beat better


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Are You Making the Same Movie?

In 101 Things I Learned in Film School, Neil Landau quotes Sidney Lumet's description of the director's job: to "make sure everyone is making the same movie."

Successful movies aren't the handiwork of artists, but of practical visionaries, Landau says.

"Production staff need to get to the set on time, work hard, and take disciplined breaks. 

"Staff can't work at cross purposes, and must always understand the bigger picture into which their work fits. Where interpretation is called for, it must be performed within the context of the larger vision."

How are things going at your studio? 

Are your marketing team members "making the same movie?" 

Or is each preoccupied with budget, power and career?

If the latter, the team's probably not being held accountable.

Your top executives think of you as artists, and don't expect box office results.
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