Charlotte Sometimes

Writer-director Eric Byler has put together a quaint provocative gem that packs an emotional wallop. In the intriguing character study drama Charlotte Sometimes, Byler meticulously explores the dynamic intimacies of four intertwining relationships while serving up a first rate narrative. Fittingly probing, sensual, mysterious and raw, Charlotte Sometimes exudes passion and surprisingly is subtle in its approach at carnal deception and despair. As a filmmaker, Byler cleverly examines the isolation of his protagonists by placing them in an atmosphere of routine convenience where their psyches can be explored from an everyday perspective. Consequently, Byler’s exposition is vastly taut, revealing, and firmly perceptive. From the catchy and moody soundtrack to the flowingly crisp intuitive direction, Charlotte Sometimes radiates with invigorating absorption and clearly is one of the best films of the year.

 

Byler, a biracial individual with Chinese bloodlines, taps into a cultural pulse by having his main quartet of Asian performers balance this smart and amorous observational piece on their resilient shoulders. It’s quite refreshing to see people of color undergo the genuine complexities of human frailties while providing solid characterizations in what amounts to be a resourceful albeit low key psychosexual display. There are no stereotypical profiles nor are there any cliched caricatures to endure in Byler’s moviemaking mode. Thankfully, the characters are absorbing in their flawed skin and help bring about the feeling of tranquility and tension that propels this stimulating fable. Byler makes good use of his lighting and impromptu camera angles to highlight his compelling images and instill a sense of attitude, ambivalence, and vulnerability in his players’ fragile mindset.

 

Meet Michael (Michael Idemoto), a Los Angeles-based auto mechanic who toils away at the family-owned garage. Michael is quite reserved and set in his daily ways. When not trying to repair a greasy engine during the day, his leisurely pleasures consist of quiet evenings where he has his face in an interesting book or he may feel like frequenting the local nightclub for his adequate dosage of socializing. We can tell right off the bat that Michael is a decent guy. Heck, he even manages to make time for his Aunt Margie by occasionally dining with her. One cannot help but notice how alone Michael is but in his own words he would tell you that he prefers it this way. Now whether you believe him or not is entirely another story altogether.

 

Michael does get some company every once in a while from his petite and attractive female friend/tenant Lori (Eugenia Yuan) who lives next door. It’s plain to see that Michael desires Lori very much and had first befriended her at the same club he methodically attends a handful of years ago. Since then Lori has routinely slipped into Michael’s life and fancies herself his best buddy. Of course Michael would like to shake that “let’s just be great pals” mantra and seriously seek something romantic with the desirable Lori. Well, forget that notion because Lori already has a live-in boyfriend named Justin (Matt Westmore). Lori is certainly into her boytoy Justin and Michael realizes this fact and simply accepts it no matter how frustrating it feels to him.

 

Poor Michael is surrounded by awkward and pent up emotional baggage. He just cannot escape the situation of having his affection for Lori go unnoticed while she serves Justin the fleshy fantasy Michael wishes he could partake in with her. Whenever Michael is home and forced to cuddle up to a good book, he cannot drown out the boisterous lovemaking session that his beloved Lori and the lucky Justin engage in through those seemingly paper thin walls that separate their living quarters.

 

It’s pure anguish and quite insulting to see (or in this case hear) this couple burning up the bed sheets so passionately while Michael sits there listening to Lori groan and moan so approvingly. All this guy can do is be an unwilling observer to this fornicating festival that disrupts his true connection for Lori. And to top it all off, Lori cools down her erotic jets with Justin by seeking some in-front-of-the-television snuggle time with Michael like he’s some favorite uncle that’s innocently there to watch cartoons with her. It’s interesting how Lori uses her bodily charms to satisfy her two favorite men. With Justin, she can control him sexually and release her inhibitions on him without a moment’s notice. But with Michael, she can tease him innocuously with her curvy frame but still capture his attention through the platonic companionship to balance out her hot and heavy copulating sessions with Justin. Michael is such a non-threat in regards to Lori that Justin doesn’t even mind having his galpal use Michael’s place as a consoling pit stop to lay low and loose until she can refuel again and look for the sexual fireworks from him.

 

To dodge yet another evening where he has to eavesdrop on Lori and Justin doing the nasty for the umpteenth time, Michael decides to head over to the club where he spots a mysterious pretty woman who would later return a glance at him and eventually hook up with him. Later, she introduces herself as Darcy (Jacqueline Kim) and skillfully cozies up to Michael. They soon walk together in the busy dark streets and Michael gets up the nerve to invite the slightly acerbic and curious cutie pie Darcy back to his place where they share sketchy tidbits about themselves through drink and surface chit chatter. Darcy cuts to the chase and tests her new soft-spoken mate by throwing herself at him courtesy of a daring instant pass. Michael doesn’t bite the bait and insists that he doesn’t like “short cuts”; he wants to get to know Darcy thoroughly first. But the tempting brunette warns Michael that she doesn’t have much time to hang around and may be off once again. Regarding another late evening visit to house the couple seem to appear more at ease about what their expectations are with one another. Naturally, as Michael and Darcy continue to bond in the pitch black backyard their vibe is interrupted with the distracting screeching of Lori and Justin’s nightly sexual ritual.

 

It would be a matter of time before the foursome diligently seized the opportunity to pal around together. There’s Michael who’s the quiet and conscientious one; Darcy the brooding and indecisive beauty with the taunting aura about her; Lori the sexpot with the spontaneity; and Justin the indifferent cad who goes with the flow. Whether the crew crashes a neighborhood restaurant, playfully convene on the tennis courts or soak up the sun at a backyard cookout it is quite captivating to see this unit go through the motions while second guessing what their real intentions are toward each other. It’s a psychological chess game where this clique has to determine what moves to make in order to benefit their elusive motivation. Soon, everything begins to unfold and the audience begins to piece together a penetrating puzzle that Byler has manipulated into a challenging game of self-discovery. As the twists are revealed in terms of who is really who in this complicated yet fun web of tangled relationships we applaud the unexpected turn of Byler’s carefully crafted storyline.

 

Charlotte Sometimes is dutifully hypnotic and honest in its revelations. It’s obvious to see why this hailed project was nominated for two 2003 Independent Spirit Awards. Byler’s exceptional picture doesn’t cater to the flashiness of mainstream flicks that bombard the audience with overstated tactics as a means of pulling in the forced psychological suspense. On the contrary, Charlotte Sometimes is unassuming and doesn’t need to needlessly ruffle feathers so ruthlessly. Byler’s insightful feedback is profoundly evident and the shrewd gesture he incorporates in the film definitely sings volumes of creativity. The sparse dialogue accompanied by uncanny facial expressions, dark/light shadows to suggest angst or anxiety and hearty physical/sexual confrontations to extinguish the undefined numbness all contributes to this cohesive offering. This effectively works on the mind and the soul of both his on-screen creations and that of the movie-going audience there to witness the calculating emptiness.

 

No doubt that Eric Byler represents a welcomed new breed of filmmakers that usher in a unique perspective to appreciate movies that are properly perceived and constructed with personality, persistence and vitality. This is not just a major plus for the rise of Asian American moviemakers in contemporary cinema but a noted push for moviegoers of all dimensions to embrace the universal influence of a talented storyteller’s touch.

 

Did you like this review? To check out more entertainment news and movie reviews, visit Hollywood Insider.

 

 

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What is an– Actors’ Director?

A director who loves actors?

Well, … that, too…

Without thinking about it a whole lot; I’d say, it’s a director who is one or a combination of this list…

  • Makes the acting performances the priority, sometimes above their other directorial tasks 
  • Respects acting as an art form
  • Has a passion for acting; loves and trusts the process of acting 
  • The acting in his/her movies possesses depth, complexity, subtext
  • The story of the film, itself, often has subtext
  • Not only loves acting and actors, but treats them well; establishes trust from the actor 
  • Takes the acting to heights or complexity that even the actor may not have done before, or on his/her own,
  • He or she enables and facilitates a sense of  ”discovery”…that is clearly going on during filming; within the story, for the individual characters; this gives a feeling of being in the present.
  • The director may have had some acting experience of their own, or some theatre background 
  • Artistic-types, to varying degrees. ( the left brain types).  Like architects, they can work from both sides of the brain, simultaneously.
  • Independent thinkers, creative thinkers

 

Actors’ directors are not only confident, and comfortable, with the artistic process and discovery, as they work ; they depend on that process to be  ”the predominant compass”. (And they can deal with the accompanying ambiguity and ambivalence) 

That means that there are “parts unknown”, in the planning stage, and throughout the shooting schedule. So they do give up control, in certain areas…Not all aspects, of course. But, they value the things that they leave out of their control, far more.  

They allow their movie to be like theatre in the experience;  in the elements that only will occur when the scenes are shot… this kind of director allows those elements to evolve, to create themselves. With trust, they relish these areas.

Because they know that, there, in that unknown, is when the most compelling parts of the film are created…and that when they give up control; they allow art to occur, instead. 

When I hear the term “actors’ director”… I think of Elia Kazan, the prototype.

Elia Kazan was, as an actor, a member of the famous Group Theatre.  Later, he was one of the founding members of the Actors’ Studio…

Kazan, clearly, had a deep passion for the art of acting.  Is that a necessity, in order to make a great movie?  For that answer, just watch one or two.  (I do mean watch the entire movie, to really see what I am referring to; here’s a few clips for now.)                     

Before coming to Hollywood for films, Kazan directed plays for the New York stage.

In the 1950′s, he directed William Inge’s “The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs”, which ran on Broadway. This is an excerpt from an interview with actress, Teresa Wright, a lead in that play.

She refers to Kazan by his nickname, “Gadg”… 

“There is absolutely no one who can come anywhere near Gadg. I felt, in a way, that I’d never been directed before. He’s the first person that ever really directed me. By directed, I don’t mean he told me what to do. 

Again, it’s a question of bringing out something from you, but he doesn’t just sit back and wait for something, the right thing, to come out of you — as, for instance, Willie Wyler does.

He guides or talks or analyzes the character with you so much that you begin to see insights into both yourself and the character that you just weren’t aware of. I have never known anyone who had the knowledge of people that he has.

I never knew anyone in my life who is as keenly aware, as articulate in talking about it, and he’s so spontaneous in his talking. It isn’t a set “this is what I’ve learned about people” sort of thing. He approaches each character, and each situation that that character might have to face, and sort of opens himself up to it completely — and as he opens himself up to it, he shares with you this tremendous insight and knowledge and compassion that he has for people, and excitement.

I can’t help feeling that there are an awful lot of people who tried to copy the outward signs of Gadg’s approach — they sort of go at each part, open it, examine it — but always you feel it’s kind of studied. “This is what I’m going to say about this part,” or — with Gadg you don’t feel that.

You always feel that he is absolutely experiencing his discovery with you, this knowledge. He really opens himself up, and forces you to open yourself, which is his great gift. It isn’t this coldly sitting back and analyzing.

I think the key is, it’s done with that great really caring. It makes a difference. Creatively, at the moment, experiencing something with you.

You never once feel his theatrical knowledge imposed on you. You never once feel that you’re doing something for some theatrical effect, and yet certainly he is the most effective theatrically. I heard nothing but praise of Kazan, but not what I saw. I used to sit and listen, as he told things to each character in the play. Each little thing that came up, he’d explore it so, with such enthusiasm. He is the most creative person I have ever met, ever worked with, ever heard about.

“I was standing next to him for the whole thing. It was a unique opportunity to see the business of directing from a ringside seat,” he says of working as a writer on the set. “(Directing) is like tennis, you learn by playing with people who are better than you.”

“He really likes actors. He’s not faking it,” says Fellowes, who studied acting at London’s prestigious Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, which produced Terence Stamp and Julia Ormond, among others. “He wants to hear their opinions. As an actor, it was what I always craved. You really want as an actor to be treated as one of the grown-ups. Half the time, you are treated as a demented child who has wandered onto the set.”

“I’m a big believer in listening to actors,” he says. “There’s a reason why they are successful. They have good instincts, and they made good choices.”

In fact, he says there is no greater compliment than to be called an actor’s director.”

A prime example of how an actors’ director can get the most out of his cast is Inception, a cinematic masterpiece and box office hit.

 

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DEAD SILENCE, THE CONSEQUENCE OF LIVING NOISE

There should be a name for the spooky phenomenon that occurs after staring at a doll’s face for several minutes. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? After a while, you half-expect the lifeless face to blink, twitch, or otherwise move. What do we call it Dead Silence since it’s so downright disturbing? Ah, no, that’s actually the title of a movie about staring at creepy ventriloquist dummies. Rather, the dummies in Dead Silence stare at you before making you die in a terrible, jaw-dropping way. James Wan, the director of the movie Saw, continues to express his passion for horror with this tale of a vengeful spirit and her creepy, doll-centric haunting.

“Beware the stare of Mary Shaw. She had no children; only dolls. And if you see her in your dreams, be sure you never, ever scream.” In Ravens Fair in the 1940s, there was an aged ventriloquist by the name of Mary Shaw, who supposedly went mad and kidnapped the boy who had called her a fraud during one of her performances. Enraged, the townsfolk cut her tongue out and killed her, burying her with each and every one of her dummies as per her will. Curiously, the families of those who had killed her began to suffer mysterious deaths in the years following…

Jamie (Ryan Kwanten) and Lisa (Laura Regan) Ashen are a happily newlywed couple, content save for the fact that Lisa dies and has her tongue ripped out in the opening scene. What an odd coincidence! One could assign the blame to Billy, the haunted ventriloquist dummy that Jamie received in a package not minutes earlier, but that would be a lot of superstitious nonsense. At least, that’s what Detective Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg) thinks, and lets Jamie know that he’s the top suspect in his wife’s murder investigation. Eager to be proven innocent (or to remove the spiritual executioner’s axe from his neck), Jamie-boy sets off for Ravens Fair.

Only, the closer he gets to his solution, the stronger the haunting becomes. Billy seems to follow him everywhere, and he can’t seem to enjoy alone time without some tongueless apparition appearing to him. Before long, the people who have helped him on his way suffer the same horrific deaths, and Jamie finds himself in a perilous struggle with the spirit of Mary Shaw. If only defeating her was as easy as not screaming; the long-dead ventriloquist’s got quite a few tricks up her sleeves.

As far as horror movies go, Dead Silence is above average in all fronts despite being particularly orthodox within the paradigm of the genre. Jump scares galore, of course, yet this is made more tolerable by remembering that little precautionary poem. You’ll even be pleased to notice that Jamie does not scream. At least, not until- Oh, I wouldn’t spoil it for you.

Josh Green of FirstShowing thoroughly enjoyed Dead Silence’s gimmick, and I can see why. Building tension is a crucial aspect of the horror genre, and the one employed here is both creative and effective. Of course, as Mr. Green says in his review here, telling you any more about it would ruin the fun. So, happy watching, and remember not to scream!

If you need more movie reviews, Hollywood news, latest films and more, check out Hollywood Insider.

 

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Online Film Editing

Once you have completed your mix, deliver your camera original negative and your cut workprint to a negative cutter. Leave this important step to a pro. Any mistakes here will alter your film forever. The negative cutter matches the workprint “final cut” to the camera original and precisely cuts your negative to match. The 16mm negative will be A/B rolled (checker boarded) to hide the splices and make dissolves possible.

Be sure to mark your workprint clearly and properly; showing fades and dissolves. It is important that you mark unintentional splices well. The negative cutter is only as good as your marks. If the cutter blows it, it’s likely due to poor marks.

Once the negative is cut into A/B Rolls send them with your Master Mix 1/4″ or Magstock with your color correction notes to the lab for your first trial composite answer print.

first trial composite answer print

The answer print is sometimes referred to as an A/B Answer Print. It is the lab timer’s first attempt (first trial) at combining the elements from the negative A/B rolls and sound mix into a single (composite) answer print. You will check this print for color corrections, how fades and dissolves look, and correct sound sync. Most answer prints will be about 95% right on.

After screening the answer print you will note any needed corrections and send these notes to the lab. They will be incorporated and a second answer print will be struck. The second answer print does not cost as much as the first.

A 16mm Optical Negative Track will be made from your Master Mix, which will print with the A/B Rolls while the lab is making your answer print. Be sure to budget for this, there is an additional charge.

If your film could be considered experimental (ie Color footage combined with black and white, or extremely short cuts, etc.) as opposed to a so-called “normal” film, additional printing rolls (“C” and “D” Rolls) will have to be prepared, which means there will be additional printing charges for answer prints.

Release Print

Release prints are the additional prints intended for release and screening made after your answer prints. The charge for these is substantially lower than answer prints because the time-consuming start and stop/ trial and error timing process is over and they can simply turn the machines on and let it run.

If you want to save time and also guarantee a professional result for your film, contact VFX LA.

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Senior Living Communities Make Convenient Living Arrangement

It is never too early to plan for the future; you don’t have to wait until there you are old and frail before making arrangements for your retirement. It is always good if you know almost all there is to know about the senior living communities; when you know the facilities that are handy for you there you can then decide the best senior living community that will suit you.

 

Senior Living Communities

Something you will observe in most of the senior living communities is that they are located mostly in warm regions. Another striking resemblance is the fact that they are all made up of apartments that constitute a multi family facilities. You find that the communities are either made of the independent ones or the assisted ones.

 

Not minding the one you choose, you will find living conditions that are very appropriate, healthy and comfortable for you. You find some senior living communities that have both the dependent and the independent staying there. The independent community is appropriate for you if you seek solitude and do not want much of interference from other people. This community is usually filled with individuals who do not require much medical attention. The senior citizens here are those who are not interested in having to tackle the hurdle that comes from taking care of their own home.

 

We find in the assisted senior living communities those who require a little nursing attention but not severe that they cannot handle the basic necessity of life on their own. In some situations if they can’t even do the basic necessities like showering, there are products like portable showers that can help the seniors. In this community you will find staffs that are available to help with the things that the residents of this community might find difficult in handling by themselves. All these assistance are rendered without the staff getting in the way of the residents. They try to give the resident as much independence as possible.

 

The primary aim of the senior living communities is to help the residents that live there live a life that is normal. They have made it handy with every necessary thing that will be required to make their life comfortable; all their basic needs are also met. There are various types of senior living communities available and if you have always dreamt of retiring and playing golf; you will find senior living communities that have golf included in the facilities they run.

 

When you are seeking, you will find communities that have all that you will need and sometimes you will find more than you bargained for. It is advisable that you choose a community before you have a need for it.

 

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Partner with Human Resources Outsourcing Services

With the countless options and competition that companies face nowadays, it is not difficult to consider outsourcing as a resort to remain competitive. As evident in the number of companies taking on this strategy, outsourcing is definitely the trend in the global business market. In fact, many services or processes are being accommodated by the outsourcing industry each day, including in the Human Resources industry. In essence, human resources outsourcing is the process by which a company finds a third-party firm that will take care of the human resources and related functions of the organization.

 

The human resources aspect has long been counted as one of the, if not the most, important lifeline of any company. It is undoubtedly one of the most tedious and essential parts of conducting business since the human resources group is also taken as an entry or exit point of the people constituting a business. But due to the emergence of human resources outsourcing services, much of the human resource department’s tasks can now be segmented, managed, and taken care of more efficiently and easily by third-party companies abroad.

 

Outsourcing firms are not exactly pioneers when it comes to handling human resource functions since some large companies want to have their human resource departments in-house and placed in one large area where the functions are further divided or shared by the operating or revenue-generating bodies of the company. However, Human Resources outsourcing services free companies from the various and often frustrating human resources and administrative issues. This gives a company the advantage to focus on the core aspects of their business that are geared towards an increased level of productivity and revenues.

 

Just as their labels indicate, human resources outsource firms provide a complete range of human resources services and programs. But unlike most of their traditional human resources counterparts, these outsourcing service providers have the flexibility that companies are looking for. In Human Resources outsourcing firms, programs and services can be customized to every client’s specifications, according to its respective place in the industry. These services include but are not limited to regular functions like organizational structure and development, talent acquisition, training and development, performance management, compensation and benefits administration, labor cost management, employee relations, and employee benefits programs.

 

Aside from the aforementioned functions, human resources outsourcing service providers may also prove to be beneficial in independently carrying out micro-tasks or seasonal human resources details. They may help in specific projects such as the implementation of the human resources information system, formulation of policies and procedures, development and implementation of compensation and benefits program, evaluation of employee performance, formulation of human resources action plan, and provision of given target training.

 

In performing these roles and responsibilities, human resources outsourcing service providers have access and can house a superior talent pool at a cost-effective rate. For example, for an outsourced business process, the human resources outsourcing firm is able to fill in the positions or vacancies needed for the operation of that particular business process by recruiting and training competent professionals. The direct link between the outsourcing firm and the hired people makes the entire outsourced operations easy to monitor, run, and support administratively.

 

Indeed, human resources outsourcing services work towards streamlining processes, maximizing manpower, and creating a strategy for employee resources, all the while maintaining transparency. Thus, it is no surprise that human resources outsourcing plays a vital role in the industry today. On the other hand, companies now have options when it comes to managing their human resources needs.

 

To get more information about HR outsourcing and remote offshore staff leasing, visit Solvo Global.

 

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How to find the right Financial Planner for you?

A financial planner plays an important role owing to the fact that he is the key individual who deals with the capital of a family, an organization or a business group.

Their role is of prime importance as they determine how a client would be able to reach the long-term financial goals through effective management of available resources. A good planner not only studies the current status of the client’s assets but scans the past history to suggest the precise steps that are needed to be taken so as to achieve the goals.

 

What differentiates a financial planner from financial advisors is the focus area; while financial advisors merely concentrate on only one aspect of a client’s financial life; financial planners have a more broad approach towards financial guidance. You can in certain ways describe them as jack of all trades. But you can’t expect them to be a one-man army. They prefer to take assistance needed in the form of getting details from the other advisors of the client including – attorneys, accountants, trust officers and investment bankers.The financial planner would never ever chalk out a plan that is out of synchronization with the investments that the client would have made already with the bankers.

 

It is a tough- duty profession, prone to stress and one that requires rigorous research. A planner’s role is no cake walk as he is actually dealing with other people’s money. The profession is very corporate and requires formulating all-inclusive financial plans. The way in which the planner usually crafts the plan is by the method of conducting questionnaires and personal interviews. These methods help in devising the details like financial objectives, the present income, the investment plans, tolerable risk levels, expenditures and other such financial agendas. The plan really needs to be sound because the client is in every way going to question the integrity of the plan. That is the reason why these plans require constant updates based upon the market trends.

 

Here is a small check-list, which if followed would aid in finding the right financial planner for you:

  1. Do not ever compromise on quality. When you are assigning a person the responsibility to deal with your hard-earned money, you ought to be judicious. Look for someone with rich experience and great track records.

 

  1. Make sure you hire a financial planner with whom you can communicate at ease and at different levels. You need to have a planner who can understand your financial needs in the best possible manner and can be available each time to answer when you have a question or a doubt.

 

  1. Choose a planner who values principles more than money. If you choose one who is ready to make you big money in small time but with unjustified risks, the trust levels are going to be hampered in the long run. Assure that you have a planner on similar pages with you.

The critical task of a financial planner is likely to be all the more justified if you are wise enough to invest time in selecting the right one. If you find you need assistance to do this, click here.

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Improving your Public Speaking Skills

I once shared with a wise guy my lofty ambition in life.

Idealistic me: I want to change the world! But where should I begin?

Wise person: It starts with yourself, my young Padawan.

This – my friends – is the first lesson I would like to share with you as well. Awareness (of self). The big “A”. The most important “A” I would say. And it is as applicable to life as it is to public speaking. Unsurprisingly, it has been emphasized through the history and mouths of numerous sages and normal people (like myself). Your ability to see yourself as how others see you increase your success in life and in this case, your public speaking skills.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses. But the question is do you know ALL your strengths and weaknesses? Here’s how I look at it.

  1. A known weakness is useful as it gives you an opportunity to improve or compensate.
  2. An unknown strength goes unexploited is way too unfair to you and your audience. And it prevents you from taking your speech to another level (unless you prefer to be a mediocre speaker) And if so, I suggest you skip this blog.
  3. An unknown weakness (or a blindspot) can kill your audience’s interests immediately and trust me, you will feel like killing yourself too.

Yet most of the time, we just prefer to pride ourselves with our sweet sweet known strengths. Don’t you?

Until you know your own speaking capabilities, you will never be able to figure out how to improve. That explains why the billions of speaking resources out there aren’t exactly useful to you (I believe). It is like giving you access to a room full of world best armory without the knowledge of using them. The techniques great public speakers like Richard Jadick use may work for you, and may not. You have to adjust it to your reality.

Imagine yourself being lost. What will be the first question your friend will ask you when you ask for directions? That’s right – it is WHERE ARE YOU NOW? I can give you the most accurate compass and the most detailed map ever, but if you do not know where you are, you will NEVER figure out how to find your way. And the same goes for improving your public speaking skills. Know thyself – know what your strengths are and how they work for you. Know what your weaknesses are and how they work against you. Know what your audience likes and dislikes about your speech. That’s the starting point I invite you to take!

 

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Market yourself at the correct level!

When we look at the basic corporate structure we see a pyramid. The President, CEO or Chairman of the board usually at the top; there is only one at the peak of the pyramid. Below there are VPs, directors, managers, logistics services, supervisors and workers. At each level there are generally more of each, so that the structure looks like a pyramid.

However, when we look at the scope of responsibilities we find that the opposite is true. The President has the most responsibility (for the entire company). The workers have the least (usually only one task). The pyramid is therefore reversed.

When a job seeker looks at the “corporate pyramid” he may see more opportunities for employment if he lowers his expectations (level) because of the increased quantity of positions. This approach is doomed to failure! The job seeker is now marketing their skills and abilities at a level where they will not be recognized. There may be more jobs in quantity but they have less scope of responsibility and will be more specific and single task oriented. The job seeker will be seen as “over qualified” and will be competing with more individuals and younger individuals.

The proper approach is to market your total capabilities to the right level of responsibility. There may be fewer positions in number but they will be a better fit.

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Where’s the Real Risk?

As dot-com has metamorphosed into “dot-gone,” marketers and media planners worldwide have been reducing the portion of their budgets invested in “alternative” media in favor of “safe” media arrangements.

In Northern Europe alone, the top 100 brands have moved expenditure away from online media and increased their investments in television advertising by 60 percent. The reasoning expressed by most marketers is that stronger branding is achieved via traditional media, such as television. But perhaps the whole story — the complete and honest reason why we are seeing marketers move their branding initiatives away from online channels to broadcast media — is that using online media is perceived by brand builders as being unfashionable and, generally, risky. Most marketers are no longer prepared to undertake dangerous strategies.

I’m not writing this article to express any opinion about whether it’s right to select media channels based on assumptions about how comparatively safe they are. I’m writing to promote a consideration of all the facts.

For example, did you know that online media costs have, in most countries, decreased by more than 50 percent since this time last year? Did you know that, at the same time, the click-through rate has increased in most countries? Did you realize that there’s no clear sign that people are using the Internet less now than they did last year, and that the contrary may actually be the case? In fact, recent world events have increased global Internet usage substantially faster than anticipated.

The reality is that if you want to do a good deal, you’ll do it online. I’m not saying that old media should be deleted from your media plans — far from it. But I am saying that you’re likely to get a good deal if combining on- and offline media is appropriate for your brand’s marketing plan. And here’s why:

  • Because the number of online advertisers has decreased dramatically, you’re likely to achieve better online visibility than in the past. There is simply less noise out there.
  • The online media picture has been significantly cleaned up since last year. There are fewer portals fighting for the same consumer and advertiser attention, making it easier for you to reach your audience than it would have been last year.
  • The costs of online advertising have decreased greatly. Not only can you now forge a good online deal, you can often make an even better deal that combines on- and offline channels and gives you free online space.
  • Last but not least, users haven’t left the Internet at all. Net usage is still growing. Usage isn’t rising at the same speed as it was, but nowhere in the world has there been a report of a decrease in Internet access and usage. All figures report growth.

So, if your media plan included the Internet last year, there’s absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t do so this year. That is, unless you believe that playing it safe means playing according to some popular perception rather than in response to clear reality. If you want to know more about online marketing and branding, check SMA for great advices.

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