friends on t.v.

Last night my husband told me that the lead character of a cartoon watched when we were younger, Rugrats’ “Tommy”, was based upon the writer’s favourite sci-fi character, Dr. Who. This blew my mind. For those of you that don’t know, Tommy also has his own trusty screwdriver wherever he wanders off to. Pure genius now that I can see the connection.

What’s striking to me is that both Dr. Who and Rugrats are so relatable for the very same things. The content —not the lead character and a screwdriver— but of a leader amongst a pack of oddballs and familiar faces. A leader all admire that’s full of compassion, passion, and guts. —And if you’re Matt Smith, quite fetching as well.

The other and more obvious topic I wanted to discuss from my week was the show “Friends” itself. Recently I watched Oprah’s interview with them. You know, The one where Oprah and the cast tell us that there will never be another interview or reunion of them all together for a camera crew. It’s The One where we realize how incredibly talented the writers are for inviting us to coffee weekly, with six unique yet completely relatable characters, for a decade stretch. Not only that, but they made life into entertainment with class and comedy, with tears and frustrations. In real life, off the screen, any addictions or struggles were dealt with responsibly and tackled as a team that really did turn into a family of friends walking through life together beyond the t.v. series.

What struck me most watching this thing was that today we desperately need this high level of commitment from both writers and the cast and crew that support those words and bring them to life. We desperately need real people that pick up their humanity and embrace IT rather than their celebrity. We need creatives and creativity that breed more originality and less recycled, half-hearted garbage.

Back in the industry when Friends had it’s series finale, ad spots for commercials were running as high as two million dollars. (Higher than the superbowl spots at the time). The problem? Today it’s as if the ads are the product running the entertainment, rather than being supported by the product of a great show. Truly, many entertainers make so much money from perfume or their ugly attempt at fashion design, or press popularity they set up and sought after by jumping off wrecking balls and egging houses with drug-faced friends in their off time. Right? Honestly. Where did everyone’s real friends go?

If the core of entertainment is enjoyment, then where the heck is it? Because at this rate, at this standard, it’s no wonder many of the talented entertainers (and decent human beings) are increasingly seeking higher standards within the environments of live theatre, Broadway, TIFF and other self or collaborated projects. Heck, even Anchorman 2 was funded mainly by Mr. Ron Burgundy himself.

It takes great talents and commitment from a team of people to make a show run for ten years, or for a movie to make it beyond the first story. Money can force the same, but with far less positive results on the audience and industry long term. Great teams and works that kept going? M.A.S.H. did it. The Cosby show and Saved By The Bell did it. We really need to come to a point where we let the classics of the content inspire us, and rise above the empty ideas and capitalist opportunistic greed. If we do that, then maybe the real talent could keep creating; then the viewer could get back to decent cable t.v. or netflix seasons where we have the basics of humanity (and our stories) being played out for us as the Friends we know, as the Community we need, and as the Scrubs we all are.
-six seasons and a movie.

Movies in Theatres: from skills to sucksville

Last night I was watching the Dark Knight as a primer for the final of the Batman movie series coming out some date some time soon. I couldn’t help thinking about how many incredibly moral lines there are in the script. We all know the basic Vigilante story line. It covers everything from the hope of a people
“What good does Gotham have when the good people do nothing” to the fragility of the fight between those who do for good and those who do to corrupt
“he wanted to prove that even someone as good as you could fall”.

Words that have meaning are quite valuable, just as the movies these words find themselves in. It’s the stories of people that inspire and reach us to the core,  which is why I can’t for the life of me understand the future of film. So many in the industry are struggling to grasp a market that has many likes and dislikes, many interests that are always changing, and many influential factors for all of these. What solidly sells are the stories in which people learn about people, moral issues, daily decisions and their lifetime effects. Sure, they may involve a dash of magical rings, the handing down of curses or fighting crime downtown; but stripped away it’s all about the choices we make and the roles we play at the odds of some hypothetical fate.

A friend and I went into the closing Blockbuster’s down the road, only to find a lack of recently released movies that were worthy of our five dollar bill. Between the box office flops and poorly structured plots of many films over the past year or so, we went home and watched some oldies.

Something inside of me is afraid that once the Batman series, Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter leave the theatres and movie stores, so too will high quality entertainment and the creative vision behind the development of a film.
I’m afraid that talented actors and crews will begin to hit Broadway ne’er to return to a film role out of a lack of something meaningful to work at constructing or portraying. There’s already quite a few key actors that have been standing on the stage rather than left of screen as of lately.
We’re slowly —maybe rapidly actually— running out of recycled and original ideas to generate to the public for entertainment, culture value and dollar value. “Let’s get a huge budget, blow up some cars and post-produce the thing for 3D. Yeah, that would work.”

Yet there’s no value, no story being told or character to connect with. What happens when the last movie of a book series is filmed and sold? Will Harry Potter have a “Hobbit” equivalent? What happens when Michael Bay isn’t granted another Transformers gig because of budget?

It’s not like making an incredible series is easy or predictable to create and promote. I’m slightly amused that Captain America was forced to sign a 6 movie contract. How far it goes should be interesting. Unfortunately crappy movies tend to have huge budgets, just like incredible movies do. At the end of the day you’ve got to rely on all the pieces involved in the production to get you to the theatre. Casting, score, script, Directing; it’s all got to be good. It’s also got to be solid entertainment value, showing us something we actually want to see.

Just a few thoughts I found worth sharing today. Nothing too enlightening I don’t think, but something to reflect on the next time we see a Pirate’s of the Caribbean 14 trailer and consider the quality that comes from a sucksville reproduction rather than an incredibly skilled recreation or new story.

Gen Y, entrepreneurism and the changing culture of business.

Yes, I happen to be a part of the Facebook generation. I grew up making fun of the “myspace angled” pictures we took, forgetting my myspace login and building communities of friends and one-time meet-ups on facebook before it let non-university students use it.

It’s interesting to think that many cringe at our generation, GenY, assuming we have a strong dislike for hard work and an attitude that wants things now rather than later.

Care for a translation?
We like work that’s rewarding, and we aren’t going to waste our time dealing with the logistical bureaucracies that management before us have emphasized.
We create quick and easy systems, clear communication and an attitude that getting things done means fixing the things that went wrong before we came along.

Canada’s Profit 200 recently published an article featuring Grail Noble and Yellow House Events Inc. Based out of Toronto, this business is headed by Gen Y workers that get the gigs done fast and friendly. Noble touches on the fact that Gen Y isn’t about to drop it’s personal priorities and values for a work related role when she mentioned the firing of a client because of the stress it caused her staff, something that causes a double cringe from many a management afraid of passing down the ropes.

So what can we learn from our differences? Granted, we speak very different languages and walk the walk while we text, not just talk. The media based origin we are derived from is based on community and team-work, so while we find it in a job ad it’s harder to actually locate it in the physical work environment. This growing entrepreneurship wave is happening our of a love that us Gen Y’s have to do things differently. We’re sorry that some of you may not have the patience to talk and work with us.

It’s just that we have so much to offer. Like you are skilled and have things to teach us, we’re filled with information and natural giftings that come from our social media and youtube habitation. Quite possibly, you will have more luck hiring a social media expert without filling in the job description. We know what needs to be done. We know the limits. While we know a lot and aren’t afraid to say it, we also aren’t afraid to share our knowledge with others and build up those around us. We’re great at sharing, really!

How else can you explain the fact that we come from a time when we gave away music for free, or let people subscribe to things for free without advertisements or commitments?

Some have mentioned that Gen Y speaks in movie quotes and song lyrics. I’m sorry but, there’s a bit more to it than that. See, like the Gen X’ers completely done with the trashy jean ads ( KC you make me ill) and rebelling from advertisements with their Arsenio Hall, Gen Y only speaks in quotations from movies that are good!

Between the Michael Bay sequels and disappointing predicted political outcomes in the world around us, Gen Y actually remembers and lives by the important things. We know trash when we see it, which is why we don’t understand half of the advertisements out there and ignore 3-D television completely. We have our values and our habits, and money isn’t often among the top three.

I haven’t had a job in four months. I’m a recent graduate from SFU with a degree in Communications and an emphasis in Political Science. I could tell Sears three things that would make their investors, and customers, come running back. But would it make me happy? Since my former Manager at Sears didn’t know what a communications degree was, I thought it made more sense to quit trying to help people with deaf ears and I quit. Don’t worry, I was nice about it. That was last summer, when I was just starting my 4th year in uni.

Today I’m helping two businesses with their visions, both personal and professional. It’s challenging them, and their stories challenge me. All of us are achieving our personal and career goals, they coincide. I’m not getting paid a dime to do it, but I love it. I don’t even have an income right now, but one of the companies I’m working with has more than doubled their income in less than 9 months of me saying “I just need you to trust me”. That’s the return on my investment. ( You say ROI and you just might lose people who either don’t understand or simply head to Lord Google to find out what you mean in plain english).

The perfect conclusion is just that, you’re going to have to trust us Gen Y folks.
Hopefully you haven’t been bitten by any of us, not all of us are self-absorbed know-it-all fire-breathing interns and incoming staff.

Next time you’re trying to help us improve our sales, just try telling us how to be better rather than threatening a decrease in our hours. Really, we love learning and doing things that are worthwhile for the company. Give us something that motivates though.
—Because as I stated earlier, our values are different that yours. It’s not just about the pay. It’s about the culture of the office and the attitude of our co-workers, whether upper-management or lower pay grade. That’s just how we are, and that’s just the way we like things. So it’s how we’re building, testing, failing and improving the work-force, with or without the traditional idea of an office.

*That article in Canada’s Profit 200 can be found in:
the Summer 2011/Volume 30/ Issue 3 edition

Why faux-mericials don’t work. The Old Spice Aftermath/Tragedy.

It’s always interesting when I see a good idea get taken by someone else, and see how it transforms once a new person or company takes on that idea that wasn’t there’s. It’s morphology. You can’t take something incredible, change it, and expect something still incredible.

It’s even more interesting to try and analyze why a company would pay a creative marketing team to come up with nothing more than someone else’s idea, and attempt to apply it to their own company.

Creative marketing can’t be snatched up and turned into a spin off if it’s really going to lean people from whatever was being sold by the originating company, to whatever it is you happen to be selling.

Allow me to explain why radio ads in a tall dark and handsome tone, and Dairy Queen spoof ads on t.v. do absolutely nothing to increase sales or reach the D.Q. target market.

Any junior writer or creative consultant will tell you that a good place to begin the publicity and promotion process is by trying to understand their audience.  Whether you make up a person you’re trying to reach and understand their likes and dislikes, or simply lump your target into a general stereotype ( because sometimes ad campaigns get a wee bit lazy).

This makes perfect sense, right? Know your audience. . . Know your market. . . find your niche and so forth.  What immediately strikes me with Old Spice attempts from  the D.Q. marketing team is that they assume the Old Spice purchaser is the same as the Dairy Queen consumer.

That’s the first problem.

Now on to Dairy Queen specifically. One can’t help but wonder how long it will take for Dairy Queen to be in the same boat as a Mc.Donald’s ad campaigns, random with fish in bowls and slogans that arn’t always slogans.

The greater pain for me is to know that Dairy Queen is trying to push fast food and burgers with their commercials during the summer months rather than promoting the heck out of the fact that they’re the only ones to have chocolate dipped cones and multiple flavoured blizzards.

There is generally no competition for this, but with an absent voice from Dairy Queen failing to call out to consumers, their main buyers are heading to the local ice-cream stand . . . or maybe even Mc.Donald’s for a McFlurry. Ouch. There’s something to be said for the pain pinching in Dairy Queen’s pockets while they ignore the people interested in them,  and what truly makes them  timeless and great.

I’d love to see (and get paid to head up?) something for Dairy Queen involving young adults packed into a car, cooler and beach towels in tow. What’s that? Time to stop for a “cool treat?” Something more along those lines makes sense. I’m sure I could think harder if I wanted to about it, especially if I was getting paid to think about it. Anyways…

Instead of heading in this way, we see the company heading in the following direction:

 

I’m a hiking tall dark and handsome, pillow-fighting, water ski-ing boxer. . . and I have burgers.

Not only should a creative team consider what’s memorable and worth pushing onto it’s audience, they should consider that their audience demands a little more respect than re-using someone else’s genius idea to sell Old Spice. Because really, every time I see a Dairy Queen attempt at the Old Spice approach all I can think about is that other guy, the one on a darn horse offering my man some aftershave.

It’s so powerful that even when you try to use it, it gets your attention onto the original ad itself, aftershave. Not burgers.

There’s a team that did well. The team that uses a Dairy Queen commercial and ends up sending my mind into Old Spice rather than cool treats?

—A Creative Sales tragedy in need of a strategy.

Show a Little Respect, Chilliwack Times Opinion Piece from Dec.30,2010

While I agree 16-year-olds should not be able to vote so young, it is not because of the ill-informed comment that these teenagers are more irresponsible than past teens, or assuming that youth consistently get politics wrong. After all, we’re the ones complaining about our own vote results.

The majority of today’s youth aren’t scarfing down Doritos and hiding in bedrooms with video-games until the age of 27. Many youth 16 and up are having a hard time finding work, and those of us in our late 20s too, because of the economic priorities and definitions of progress set forth in those hard-working 1970s you speak of, Mr. Martin. That’s why I find it absurd that you would put forth an idea to raise the voting age to 27 and up, because I’m really sure that doing so would help acknowledge the mess we’re leaving behind for those age groups ignored. Not.

Techniques in technology and advertising have taught older generations to curb community with consumption, and purchase popular tech items ahead of proper parenting. This is certainly not the case of every parent or family, but it sure places a struggle on many parents, whether it’s peer pressure from other children, or keeping up with the Joneses.

Teenagers get advertising, they understand it to the point that it isn’t nearly as effective on them. It’s the same with politics. Youth have a waning interest because they see it: a) as we do, a giant fail where the promises aren’t enough to curb the lack of progress that gets made, or b) they are just barely being introduced to the political structure in Canada and the U.S, because our education system teaches these important issues in the final grades.

In my research of the application of media amongst youth today, I have seen that they are more determined than ever to engage as members in the civic community, both online and offline. Slactivism (clicking online but not engaging with the issues offline) and spending too much time on Facebook are examples of weaknesses in technology. But technology also provides youth with the opportunity to be encouraged and supported, with the right resources and community online, to engage beyond such media and involve themselves as citizens outside of virtual reality.

I know youth that began planning their own companies before graduating high school, had foundations built for organizations, orphanages, and professional careers before the age of 18, and today are changing the world around them. They’re also “lovin’ it” more than working in a mundane environment that limits their passions and potential, both economically and socially. Do not ignore the potentialof youth in our community today. They’re doing a fascinating job of applying their gadgets to the real world, even if some of them are playing video-games and hiding out in the dark on C.O.D 4 or Halo.

We can’t disregard the culture we have built for youth, or undermine the skills and maturity they have today. “So many gadgets” can also foster youth with the ability to become engaged in the world around them outside of those gadgets. “So few brains” can also be the brains of those leaving us with no work and a shoddy economic growth plan. Youth have been left to make their own opportunity, I’d say they deserve some respect–from their elders, if they too wish to be respected.

Nicole Kornelson,

Chilliwack

Read more: http://www.chilliwacktimes.com/Show+little+respect/4045194/story.html#ixzz1A0y2axdQ

 

Orality and Literature

Just a few hours ago, I found myself reading a reminder. Today I deal with my monthly event, writing on my blog.
Posting ideas or poetry, arguments or theological debates is a great pass time many of us bloggers are a part of; however,
a recent discussion with a friend had me thinking about online writing in general.
In a manner of typing, all is relative. The only difference when comparing the outside world and the world of writing is that, how one
communicates in words can often be misleading, or, misunderstood. Think about it.
Facebook notes are used for so many things: events, top tens, poems or daily thoughts. Yet these can all be harshly misinterpreted.
Internet has done something to these last two generations. Where a writer could never escape from a strict essay format or poetry with a specific form, the internet and it’s convenience and quick sending *send* or *publish* buttons have turned us all into professional writers. Write?
Not right, we’ve come face to face with an inconvenience truth about online posting and literature. We’ve forgotten formula, we’ve left behind the style techniques and concrete understandings of how to write with purpose. So much so that bloggers and self-proclaimed professionals have failed to realize that much of their writing is not understood by the audience.
This isn’t to say the writing is wrong, it’s just poorly constructed. For instance, how often does one consider the audience and the task of communicating a point with purpose when using a blog or Facebook note? Do we even pay attention to who comments, who cares or what
we meant to say but failed to speak with the words written? I guess editors have been replaced with red underlining of words and quick thesaurus look ups for variety in writing, but that doesn’t mean you are a) an editor or b) your work has been edited.
We’ve got to pay attention to what the content is, and what the context is. People have forgotten to set these up for an audience.
There are many oral cultural practices that those of us in the literate-meets-internet world have tossed to the rubbish bin. Unfortunately, many of the orality techniques are required if the speaker (or writer) wants to get their point across.
You see, in an oral culture the material was constructed and changeable based on audience. Speakers had the gift of being agonistic and empathetic. No matter what the crowd, they were capable of debating with them, moving the audience to react to the material. In the end,
the audience took the story, understood it, learned from it and passed it down for years and generations to follow. Can we say that about many Facebook notes or half of the books for sale in Coles today? Literacy has slightly missed the mark. The mark being the audience and skills of reaching them.
Now take the example of word editing or that little underlining of words in red that pops up when you miss-spell a word. According to that
build in, automated machine brain of my laptops, my name is an error. I clearly don’t exist. I really should come up with a more electronically approved name or spelling. Also, many canadian words are *wrong*. Luckily, some of us out there still remember that neighbour is not neighbor, and that colour is not color. So letter by letter, literacy is removing culture. In this case, canadian culture.
I’m not saying orality is better, or that literacy is failing us. Though for the record, I prefer the skills of rhetoric and interchangeable memory of the oral cultures. John Havelock is quoted as saying “there is no way back” from modernity. Once literate, there is no going back to the times of orality. In the 1300’s when William of Baskerville stood up against the Benedictines and the Roman Catholic Inquisition, there was no going back to the times of church censorship or institutional guidance in the literate world. There were no longer people in place telling you what one could and could not read or learn, access or believe.
History is a beautiful thing which, if you all knew the entirety of The David sculpture, would make you realize just how closely power, literacy, art and speech have been entangled for hundreds of years before us. Time will tell us how our writing turned out. If it was successful rather than professional. If it was remembered or placed on a shelf, used or burnt by rebellion. But one thing, one subject that must never be forgotten, is man himself. All feminist comments aside, we are one. We are mankind. Humanity need to be expressive, but also effective in what we set out to do in this life, no matter how lengthly it may be.
The story of man has been both written and spoken. But given the content constantly being written in Facebook, blogs or other networked neighbourhoods, we are reaching a point where we speak or write for ourselves rather than each other. How do we use words today? Who are we addressing? I’ll bet to gamble that online writing, for the most part, will be forgotten.
In all it’s effectiveness of efficiency and convenient searchable engine sites, important ideas and stories are being lost. After all, what good is literature if it cannot even be found. What value does it truly have if the eyes of the beholder fail to see the audiences’ personal lives in the content they are creating. That we may find ourselves forgetting how to spell Neitzchse or C.S. Lewis, and therefore fail to find them in an online search, is fruitless. To have their names underlined by the red rages of my computer editor is disgraceful.
I truly wonder about what people store in their “memory palaces”, knowledge of trees and berries for survival, or of the name of the children that made your outfit in a third world country? Perhaps literacy has stolen the voices of many, natures’ as well as mans’; and technology is making it harder to hear them.

a bit of my Jesus

“Somewhere along the way, we decided that being a Christian wasn’t a life of serving but a life of being served. I can’t change anything with 400 words.but you can change the world. God is real and is waiting for a few real Christians to step up and let him work through them the way he worked through the disciples. But it will cost everything.” – Underoath