Archive for March, 2010

iPad Innovation — Enhance This!

Want a peak at the future of publishing? So-called “enhanced E-books” have publishers running scared, and for good reason — if this is the kind of “living magazine” we can anticipate on our iPad’s, who is going to read a traditional magazine again?

This new form of media is bound to cause some ripples and help define “digital book” or “digital magazine.” These are, literally, moving pictures. (The content happens to be adult sex fears — go figure!)

And here’s how an article inside a “living magazine” might look.

Paper publishing may have something to fear, but the trees are sure smiling.


“It’s Not A Panic!”

Whenever my son hears me draw my breath in quickly or make a sound approximating alarm, he’ll look at me with the insouciant curiosity of a three year-old and ask, “What’s the panic?”

Precisely, my son. What IS the panic?

Can anyone tell me? Are movies dead? Have people stopped consuming entertainment? Has media gone down the tubes? Is this the death knell of our business?

As my boy is ever quick to remind me, “It’s not a panic.”

I’m here to pass along that sentiment. Panic is anxiety. And, as Seth Godin astutely observed, “Anxiety is nothing but repeatedly re-experiencing failure in advance.” The sky is not falling. The end is not near. So why panic? Remain calm. Prepare for what may be a turbulent ride, but one where we will certainly arrive at our destination, which, if we reprogram our thinking, is SUCCESS.

The turbulence we are experiencing is CHANGE. The nature of change has changed. The rate of change has changed. The rate of the nature of change changing has changed.

It’s coming fast and furious now; truly at the speed of thought. Some of us will be ahead of it. Some of us will BE the change. Some us will ride the crest of the wave. Others will be swallowed by it. Though, even if you’re swept under by the torrent, as long as you manage to hold your breath, you can kick to the surface.

Media is indestructible. Media is perennial. Media is omnipresent. So what’s the panic?

The way media is managed, monetized and marketed will metamorphose. Platforms will progress. Infrastructure will transmogrify. Content will still be King. Those adept, will adapt.

So let’s get an attitude adjustment about the way we approach the future of our work, our industry, our lives. Media will survive. And so will you. Better yet, you can choose to thrive.

So take a deep breath, hold it in for as long as you can and allow the soothing words of a sagacious three year-old wash over you…


Dennis Hopper’s Playmobil Doppelgänger

Dennis Hopper apparently has a Playmobil doppelgänger. My daughter perceptively pointed out the similarity between her brother’s new toy and Hopper’s picture, which appeared in today’s LA Times.

The resemblance is uncanny, right down to his mustache and herringbone driving cap.

Hopper was being awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Congratulations to him and good luck, as it also mentioned he’s fighting prostate cancer.

In case you’re wondering, Playmobil’s new EASY RIDER commemorative play set also includes Peter Fonda decked out in Stars & Stripes biker regalia and a small plastic rucksack filled with conspicuous substances.

Playmobil, which has always been cool, is clearly getting extremely progressive — or retro. Or both. Can’t wait to see their rendition of Jack Nicholson. I think it comes with a pair of floor seats to the Lakers.

What’s your Superpower?

Supa ManKids. So diminutive, and yet so powerful.

Something all kids have at their disposal, something all parents recognize, is the power of WHINING. It’s a mind-splitting, soul-piercing, stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks, rock-you-to-your-core Superpower that kids exercise with reckless abandon.

Like a giant who doesn’t know its own strength, kids often don’t even know they are doing it. It juuuust comes out that waaaaaaay.

It’s incredibly effective at eliciting another cookie, making Mom hang up the phone, getting to watch your favorite TV show, forcing Dad to intervene in a sibling dispute, and certainly as a drop-everything attention-grabber.

The point being… kids, despite their pint-sized statures, know that they need to use the resources available to them –– their special gifts –– namely, the Superpower of Whining. If they pour it on heavy enough and persist long enough, they’ll find success.

Their Superpower is simple. Their Superpower is creative. Their Superpower gets results.

What’s your Superpower?

Have you exercised it today to get you closer to what you want?

Doesn’t matter if you sing, dance, write, direct, act, philosophize, drive, paint, climb, produce, parent, teach, learn, read, cook, spin, heal, pray, imagine, communicate, negotiate, meditate, cogitate, calculate or prevaricate (ok, hopefully not prevaricate).

Every one of us has a special skill, a unique creative ability that we are supposed to share with the world that makes us feel complete, happy, and fulfilled. It’s our personal Superpower.

Like a good whine, our Superpower can bring us closer to our goals. Pretty quickly in fact, because really our ultimate goal (whether we know it or not) is happiness, and our Superpower should make us happy just to do it.

If you don’t think you have one, you’re wrong. Spend some time with a two year-old and you’ll quickly realize if something that small can bring an adult to his knees, then you must have a Superpower of your own.

So be sure to flex your Superpower today, whatever it may be. If you don’t, there’s a kid out there who is using theirs to get someone to give them an organic fruit-sweetened lollipop from the pantry while they stay up past their bedtime.

That late-night lollipop is yours if you want it.


Don’t Move the Goal Posts!

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

As in all businesses, there are many hurdles to accomplish what we’re after. A recipe for success is clear goal-setting and a sticktoitiveness that sees those goals accomplished.

When people in any organization run the gauntlet, they need to be clear what set of hurdles, tasks or obstacles must be overcome to achieve a certain goal. That’s how we measure success.

In Hollywood, we’ve been stricken with a serious case of Moving the Goalposts. It seems to be contagious, spreading rapidly and it just might be lethal.

So what the heck is it?

It means you’ve done all you can do as a producer –– developed a script the studio says it wants to make, packaged your project, gotten the actor and director the studio needed in order to get the green light and then once all that is accomplished are you rewarded with a green light? No. You get to rewrite the script once again.

The goal posts got moved.

It means when you’ve jumped through all the hoops as a writer on a writing assignment –– developed a great take on the material, pitched it to the producer, developed it some more, pitched it to the studio VP’s, integrated more notes and then finally pitched the studio head understanding this is a priority project for them. And the pitch goes well. Does the studio buy it? No. You need to go pitch the talent they were thinking of developing the script for, even though they may not be available a year from now when they want to make the movie.

The goal posts got moved.

It means when you’ve taken all the meetings as a director –– met with the producer, found a writer, worked up a great take on the material, pitched the producer, integrated his notes, then the studio’s and then shown everyone your new movie… do they make a directing deal for you? No. They ask you to think about which stars you can approach to attach to the project –– which isn’t even yours –– to make their project more legitimate.

The goal posts got moved.

It has happened to all of us. What’s concerning is the frequency with which it is happening now. And that it’s happening all over town.

It’s not a recipe for success. It’s not a way to minimize risk. It’s a way to burn people out and frustrate everyone in the process.

Set clear parameters to achieve goals. And stick to them.

Or it sends the message you weren’t really serious in the first place.

And that you don’t have your own measurable criteria for success.

It’s frustrating to be on the one yard line poised to score and find that as you are about to run the ball in for a touchdown that the goal posts have been moved another 10 to 15 yards down the field!

It’s like being assessed a penalty without doing anything wrong.

It signifies a breakdown of the system.

People work best when there are clearly defined parameters for achieving success: when they pass all the milestones necessary to achieve the goal, they are rewarded. That’s how things should work.

Don’t move the goal posts! Set ’em 10 yards further away at the start. But keep ’em planted in the ground and allow your team to score. It’s a way for everyone to get more points on the board and to create a win for home team.

Go, Hollywood! Rah, Rah!