Posts Tagged ‘tips’

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

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.

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

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

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

This Sounds New: Sennheiser® MKH 416

December 1, 2017

Picked this up a few months ago, and despite the cost (name brands like Sennheiser generally command a premium, but are even sometimes worth it. In the trade, we call it the “Sony Tax”), have loved working with it.

ACTION ITEM: Pay for the best equipment you can afford and you’ll only have to buy it once

Phillips 66’s Aimee Lohr On The Ease Of Working With Bill Rolland

November 29, 2017

One of my favorite clients (very professional but also funny and thoughtful), Aimee always appreciates that I look out for her interests, mostly by attending to every detail.

ACTION ITEM: I try to keep notes on every project, while it’s in progress, on what I may have missed or could do better. I find it keeps me on the track to steady improvement. Now you try it 😉

Customary

November 3, 2017

My clients (Kristin Poulton and Jim Barnett, both of QAD, Inc.) patiently waiting at the customs counter at Birmingham Airport (BHX).

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Our gear was left on the tarmac for an hour, then another 30 minutes waiting for an agent to appear. Traveling with gear means being an exporter/importer, with all the preparation and paperwork you can imagine that entails. I’ve done it about a dozen times; Kristin and Jim have both become experts.

 

ACTION ITEM: Do not travel overseas with gear without full documentation, usually in the form of an ATA Carnet.


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