Archive for June, 2019

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

June 28, 2019

If you’re creating web content that’ll be viewed in the European Union, particularly if your content is being used to gather data – any data – on viewers, you need to be aware of the new GDPR for regulating data protection and privacy for citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). Data collection can range from email subscription signups to tracking browser histories via cookies, to interactions with your brand, advertising, and associated digital media. A good rundown is here. But, super high level, the GDPR is designed to limit the kind of data “Hoovering” in which so many companies engage so the activity is lawful, accurate, and transparent; has limited purposes and a specific lifetime; and completely accountable.

You can find more information here.

ACTION ITEM: If any of your EU video productions are being used with the express purpose of gathering user data, be sure to review these new privacy regulations.

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I, Like You, Hate To Write

June 26, 2019

Most writers don’t really like to write. Sure, we wax eloquent about the power of the written word but we also have tons of other things we’d rather do – go hiking, shop for a shirt, or even just alphabetize the pantry. Plus every blank page is a new opportunity for paralysis and failure, so that’s awesome too! So we procrastinate. I do, too. Here are a few tricks I’ve come up with to help me turn delay… into delightful!

  1. Be clear on what the deliverable is, precisely. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer size and magnitude of a topic, but it’s almost always the case that the final deliverable is more limited and focused than you imagined. Be clear on what the client wants then deliver only that (display excess only in the speed and quality of your work).
  2. Break your writing deliverable into smaller bits. If you have 800 words due in a week, set your goal to write 200 words a day for 4 days, then reserve the final three days for editing. That way you’re only panicked about 200 words rather than 800. Big difference.
  3. PROTIP: Writing is re-writing. Don’t try to make it awesome in the first draft – just get something, anything down on paper, with the knowledge that you’ll go back and edit for clarity, brevity, and impact. No one has to see your first draft but yourself, so give yourself permission to be awful.
  4. Make writing pleasant. Choose a time of day to write when you’re most relaxed and productive (for me, it’s early morning while the day is young, the air is cool, and the coffee is fresh); find a place that is quiet and free of distractions; pour yourself a refreshing beverage, open a bag of pretzels or pistachios (if your premium time is later in the day, perhaps even a bracingly bitter IPA); and choose an inspiring Pandora radio station or some other music hosting site.

I don’t ever want to sugarcoat the process of writing and suggest it’s easier than it is. But by applying just a few strategies like these you can overcome inertia and get that writing job done.

ACTION ITEM: Add these new approaches to the mix when writing

Make Mine Scrambled

June 26, 2019

I’ve enjoyed Tokyo a number times, so I was especially intrigued to stumble onto this live stream from Hachikō Square, just outside Tokyo’s Shibuya Station. It shows what is reputed to be the world’s most heavily used pedestrian scramble, an intriguing  concept in pedestrian and traffic management. Neat to watch.

ACTION ITEM: Look at it. Look. At. It.

Table Read

June 21, 2019

I mentioned in one of my very recent posts that I’d auditioned for a minor role in a local film production (working title, “Shutdown”, part of the “Through The Lens” film series here in Nevada County). Here I am (second from left in the black ball cap) reading lines with the other actors. I think I did okay (still have the job ;-), but it was pretty intimidating to be working in the presence of gifted, real-life actors. If there’s anything I learned it’s that the more you rehearse the better you get – more relaxed, more nuanced, more convincing. I think the three lessons for anybody hopping up in front of the camera are 1. rehearse, 2. rehearse again, then 3. rehearse a bunch more

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ACTION ITEM: Take a risk today. Stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid… to be a little afraid.

TRAVEL TIP: You Look Familiar

June 19, 2019

Not actually a tip but maybe more of a pleasantly surprising discovery while on vacation with the family. We visited the Schloss Nymphenburg while visiting Munich. While exploring its lavish galleries and lush corridors we wandered into the Gallery of Beauties where we saw a lovely painting of “The Spanish Dancer” herself, Grass Valley’s own Lola Montez. She lived here for a while in the mid-nineteenth century, where we’re told she mentored actor Lotta Crabtree, another Grass Valley resident. Just a really remarkable experience to see a citizen of our little town suspended in King Ludwig I’s Gallery of Beauties!

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ACTION ITEM: What famous people are from your home town?

Watch It, Buster

June 17, 2019

I rarely get to see videos I’ve helped to create displayed in the their actual, for-realsies environment. But last month I got to watch 5 videos that I co-produced for client QAD displayed on a huge LED screen onstage at QAD’s premier customer event, “Explore” in New Orleans, LA. These Customer Showcase Videos were beautifully shot and edited by James Barnett and are always well-received by attendees. But what did the in-person experience teach me that I could apply to future productions? On the plus side, they’re well-received and appreciated (I’m trying to be objective here, but the entire audience seemed pretty engaged and attentive) so that’s helpful to know. But I did notice that for anyone in the audience behind the first row or two, anything on the screen under the lower quarter of the frame is pretty much lost, blocked by audience members’ heads and shoulders.

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ACTION ITEM: For the benefit of the entire live audience, keep important images and graphics above the bottom third of the screen.

Casting Call

June 14, 2019

I do like to try out different facets of the production process so I have a well-rounded appreciation for all of its constituent parts (I think it makes me a better producer/director to have experienced, first-hand, how nerve-wracking it can be to be on camera). This week I did something way out of my comfort zone – appeared at a casting call as part of a “Through The Lens” production here in Nevada County. The part is a small one, but I had to study a bit, read lines aloud, and even read with the lead actor to see how we worked together. The most suprrising part was, though I was doing this purely as an academic exercise, I discovered I really wanted the part. I mean it suddenly became important to me that I be selected. (I did, in the end, get the role. But in the spirit of full disclosure I was the only guy who auditioned for it 😉 I’ll let you know how the process proceeds right up to the day of filming (sometime in July).

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ACTION ITEM: If there isn’t some part of every job that scares you, you’re probably not taking enough risks. Is there a part of your job – corporate communications, for example – that you’ve never done personally but that you could experience, however frightening, to gain a better perspective on the overall function of your job?

Beats of Burden

June 12, 2019

When I travel for work I typically will schlep at least three large cases of gear with me plus whatever I roll onboard. As a frequent flyer, I do get an allowance of three free bags up to 70 pounds each, but that also means besides cases being large, they’re heavy. So every trip is accompanied by tears of self pity 😉 That is, until I met this guy who had to haul 32 of these gear bags onto his ski team’s flight, each one at least 30 pounds, each over 4 feet in length.

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ACTION ITEM: Be grateful – it can always be worse

TRAVEL TIP: Christmas in the Sky

June 10, 2019

Flying home from New Orleans last weekend; someone hung a chai spice-scented teabag in the restroom. I’m not saying we all should do this, but we all should do this 😉

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ACTION ITEM: Put the seat back down and wipe off the counter, too.


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