Router Rejuvenator

May 1, 2019

I‘m a huge fan of life hacks though sometimes they can be silly and impractical. Here’s one that seems to work pretty well: we live in an area of unpredictable and intermittent Internet service, and one of our coping mechanisms, when speeds slow to a crawl, is to reset the router (in a lot of ways, even your household router is a kind of computer, with an OS and memory – just like your personal PC, a hard restart can solve a lot of annoying problems). To make it a preemptive practice, I placed a timer between the router and power source that automatically cuts power at 4:00 am then restores it 60 seconds later. Seems, so far, to be effective – and as the cost and complexity is pretty low, may be worth a shot 😉

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ACTION ITEM: Consider scheduled router restarts to keep Internet service zippy and crisp

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TRAVEL TIPS: Slippies

May 1, 2019

I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned this before, but most hotel rooms will leave these cheap, disposable slippers (here’s a 12-pack on Amazon) in your room – I save ‘em and use ‘em when I’m on a long flight and don’t want to wear shoes but absolutely am not stepping into that plane’s bathroom in socks or bare feet.

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ACTION ITEM: Take nice comfortable slippers with you on those long plane trips

TRAVEL TIPS: “How Can This Be A Thing” Part the Infinity

April 27, 2019

International flights sometimes means booking a redeye. Returning from a flight last week from London and, out of the entire aircraft, this person had their window open the entire 11-hour flight keeping at least eight other passengers from sleeping (I always bring a sleep mask but not everyone does).

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ACTION ITEM: Please close the shades when everyone – I mean everyone – is trying to sleep

Get Some Long Straws

April 5, 2019

This came up on a shoot recently in the SF Bay Area: everyone on your shoot has some basic physical needs that you need to prepare for in your planning, scheduling, and execution. I know this sounds silly, but I can’t tell you how many times a day has been planned with no time for breaks to use the bathroom; no periods, however short, to catch a breath between set or location changes; or to spend 30 minutes contemplating a tuna sandwich and an apple. These are not nice-to-haves – they’re critical for the effective functioning of your crew (I had the DP mention to me, specifically, as we rounded 4:00 pm with no lunch break, that he was getting concerned about making errors). Plan for having humans on your shoot and accommodating their very-human needs.

Protip: have extra-long straws available for your female speakers to use (I snatch one or two from Starbucks when I grab that morning’s cappuccino) when drinking from a water bottle – they’ll appreciate that their lip gloss doesn’t smear while they sip.

ACTION ITEM: Be sure to incorporate the physical requirements of talent and crew in your production schedule

Your Giggle Reel ≠ Your Whole Life

April 4, 2019

Despite my contributions to this blog (and other social media platforms), I’m not generally a big fan of social media for reasons best described a couple of weeks ago by a SF Bay Area-based producer friend. She’s used the example of making corporate videos: our real lives are like the entirety of a videotaped interview with all the glitches and outtakes, hemming and hawing, and derailed trains of thought. Whereas the bits our friends and associates post are their best clips, free of hesitancy, awkwardness, and doubt. I think the real injury is, sometimes, comparing our raw footage with others’ “best-of” clips when the two are not really comparable at all.

ACTION ITEM: Keep your perspective

Just Say Yes

April 4, 2019

When I started in this business like eleventy billion years ago, I worked on a design project where the graphic designer acted tired and super annoyed at any and every suggestion. He just seemed unmotivated and predisposed to negativity, and I vowed to Not Be That Guy; rather, to approach every job with enthusiasm and a you-betcha attitude and, when practical, never say No. Now I often find myself challenged by clients who sometimes ask for work that’s not likely to happen due, usually, to time or budgetary constraints (BTW, you should know that enough time and enough budget can make the impossible possible ;-), and I hate – HATE – having to say no. To Be That Guy. Generally, my strategy is to say “no, but…” so I can at least provide more practical options. But I’m eager to know: how do you handle a client who – almost always coming from a position of inexperience – asks for something that can’t or shouldn’t be done within the constraints they’ve set? Any thoughts? When has your approach been the most creative or helpful?

ACTION ITEM: Try to find creative ways to say “yes” when a customer asks for something

Only 100% Cheese

March 22, 2019

Saw this yesterday. I know I need to stop dunking on Moon Cheese but this “Only 100% Cheese” button got me a-gigglin’ hard. If you can figure out the difference between “only” and “100%”, let me know.

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ACTION ITEM: Do not taunt the Moon Cheese

Alarming

March 20, 2019

Travel tip – unplug the clock in your room. You probably have an alarm on your phone plus the hotel will be thrilled to set a wake up call for you (I do this as a redundant system). These in-room clocks just make the room brighter while you’re trying to sleep plus the previous occupant almost certainly set the alarm for 4:00 am and the housekeeper didn’t reset it.

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ACTION ITEM: Unplug. Now.

Coffee as Social Lubricant and Occupier of Time

March 18, 2019

In more than one of the offices in which I worked I was offered coffee flavored with cardamom called qahwa (hoping I remember this name correctly; the flavors are complex and intense). It was a way for the host to extend a welcome courtesy upon arrival and provide a warm-up to meetings or planned activities. It took me awhile to become accustomed to framing time as an Arab might – schedules are not necessarily fixed and rigid, and business engagements are as much about strengthening relationships as they are about resolving matters at hand. BTW, my local contact Husam Atout gave me a substantial quantity of instant qahwa that I’m happy to share – just reach out to me (quantities are limited!)

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ACTION ITEM: I’ve encountered this critical importance placed on social relationships in places other than the Middle East – in Asia, for example. When you plan business meeting in places like these, be sure to factor in plenty of additional time for social pleasantries; you’ll not only be more successful but you’ll also have a better time.

Finger Food

March 15, 2019

My local hosts exposed me to dining experiences that were just this side of sublime: ample quantities of some of the finest food I’ve ever enjoyed. But I think my favorite was reclining on soft cushions while dipping into a shared platter of tender lamb and rice. I learned there’s a specific way to cup my fingers to contain the food and thumb it into my mouth.

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ACTION ITEM: Wash your hands


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