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Creative Cow is a website filled with good advice from seasoned video professionals.  Generally it is aimed at technically supporting the video and film community but occasionally a bit of advice comes along which applies to everybody.

The world of video and film is always a tough one; contracts are nearly always verbal, jobs appear and disappear in the blink of an eye and payments can be very, very slow.

Check out this article entitled “It’s All Your Fault!!! and other business advice for tough times” for some no nonsense business advice.  Some of it won’t be relevant but it still makes for an entertaining read.

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I was recently asked to run an audition for a series of roleplays for a corporate client. The job would involve actors going into the workplace to play the part of difficult colleagues. There can be some confusion over what to do exactly in an audition so here is my top three tips for roleplay auditions.

One: Play fair
Don’t play games. People need to trust you. So don’t do things to trick auditionees like saying you are looking for one thing when you are really looking for something else. Say clearly and simply what you expect. Also ensure everyone is given the same treatment. It is tempting to refine your audition as the day progresses. However that means the people at the end of the day get a better chance. And the ones at the start of the day, less so.

Two: Film it
And watch it back. So many times now my initial response has been proven wrong by reviewing the performances again. 

Three: Do it in pairs
I’ll be working with Ian tomorrow. He will be doing the roleplay part and representing the client. I will be observing and aiding the actors. Again, following rule one, this will be made clear. You can’t fulfill both roles at once.

And enjoy it!

 

itranslate on iphone

itranslate on iphone

A quick bit of learning today which could help you not only learn a new language but also give you some immediate help when you are tongue-tied in a foreign country.

 

Check out this handy translation app for the iPhone – itranslate.

Best of all it’s free.

As you might have guessed I’ve just got myself an iPhone, so expect to see more useful iPhone stuff here as it turns up.

Mark Cuban has an offer to help businesses. Here are his ‘dragon’ rules…

1. It can be an existing business or a start up.
2. It can not be a business that generates any revenue from advertising. Why ? Because I want this to be a business where you sell something and get paid for it. Thats the only way to get and stay profitable in such a short period of time.
3. It MUST BE CASH FLOW BREAK EVEN within 60 days 
4. It must be profitable within 90 days.
5. Funding will be on a monthly basis. If you dont make your numbers, the funding stops
6. You must demonstrate as part of your plan that you sell your product or service for more than what it costs you to produce, fully encumbered
7. Everyone must work. The organization is completely flat. There are no employees reporting to managers. There is the founder/owners and everyone else
8.  You must post your business plan here, or you can post it on slideshare.com , scribd.com or google docs, all completely public for anyone to see and/or download
9. I make no promises that if your business is profitable, that I will invest more money. Once you get the initial funding you are on your own
10. I will make no promises that I will be available to offer help. If I want to , I will. If not, I wont.
11. If you do get money, it goes into a bank that I specify, and I have the ability to watch the funds flow and the opportunity to require that I cosign any outflows.
12. In your business plan , make sure to specify how much equity I will receive or how I will get a return on my money.
13. No multi-level marketing programs (added 2/10/09  1pm)

It is great to see an open and transparent offer on the table.

The economic world is in tatters, your business is failing and your bank manager is knocking on the door asking for the banks money back.

What do you do?

One entrepreneurial London restaurant owner thinks he has the answer, by asking his customers to pay what they feel the meal was worth.  His reasoning behind this is that like so many top London restaurants his own are very pricey and attracted accordingly top business execs, with their top all-expenses paid tabs.  In a recession company expenses are the first thing to get monitored and shelved and as a result lunch is now more likely to be a sandwich than lobster thermidor.

At the end of their meal Peter Ilic’s diners are now presented with a bill showing zero, and if they so desire they can get a free lunch.  Already though the idea seems to be paying off with many customers paying 10-20% over what would be the asking price.
Could this be because us Brits would be too embarrassed to pay to little?  Would this idea only work in England?

This business model has already been applied to films, theatre and music (Radiohead’s last album was Peter’s inspiration).  Could it be applied elsewhere?  If so are we really brave enough to ask million dollar customers to pay what they think a project or product is worth?

More importantly in a time of monetary desperation would your customers be honest enough to pay the right amount?

Full story here.

Yes it’s time again for one of those posts where I apologise profusely for the lack of new content here over recent weeks.  This time there is a twist though as I have photographic evidence to support our disappearance.

Three weeks back I was in Perth meeting people and filming interviews, although I have no photographic evidence to support that as we were filming using a green screen, a technique which allows us to put any background behind the interviewees.

More to the point 2 weeks back we had a project which required a lounge to be flooded.  As you can imagine this is a technically difficult thing to achieve and the only way to do it without actually damaging somebody’s home and contents is to build a set, which is exactly what we did.  

Then we flooded it.

Then we erected a green screen at the other end of the studio and created a call centre.

The final scene depicts a homeowner phoning an insurance call centre after a flood.

Here’s the evidence.  It was cold but fun.

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