Being Social Is Hard Work

"What do you want to be when you grow up? Doctor, lawyer, teacher, baseball player?"

"An influencer!"

That's the dream right now for young people (and some of us older folk too). About a dozen years ago, everyone and their mom (literally) wanted their own reality show. A lot of them got it. Then with the advent of social media people found out they could produce their own reality shows and social took on a life of its own... and what a glamorous life it's become.

The amount of time we spend each day consuming media is staggering and obviously that includes more than just sitting in front of the tv nowadays. Although we have the ability to watch tv shows and movies on our personal devices now, much of our screen time is dedicated to social media. Some say it's an addiction. We've become addicted to watching the lives of friends, family, and celebrities through photos and videos on social media but we've also become infatuated with the lives of self-made celebrities. They are Youtube, Instagram, Twitch, Twitter, and Snapchat celebrities. How have they been able to capture and command so much of our attention?

Influencers leveraged social media to build a brand and that brand is... themselves. Social media platforms have become a new medium for communication and marketing. It has its own set of rules, its own form, its own language. Influencers have come to understand (perhaps establish) the principles of effectively utilizing this platform to reach the masses.

It's a playbook that corporations and businesses are compelled to employ. It's become a standard. There are college courses, workshops, conferences, software and apps dedicated to strategically using social media. There are businesses built simply to give their customers, whether individuals or corporations, the illusion of having a following. Being an influencer isn't easy, but it's big business.

Influencers understand that their full-time job consists of consistent posting of fresh, quality content, two-way engagement, creating an aspirational lifestyle, being a knowledge expert (fashion, beauty, photography, filmmaking, science?), and in some cases being timely and topical and having an opinion on social issues. They leverage relationships and partnerships to extend their reach. Influencers know that by collaborating with friends and other influencers, their powers become greater than the sum. Companies have come to understand that leveraging the um, well influence of a bunch of influencers has a compound effect like forming an influencer Voltron.

A lot of these strategies can be employed by anyone but what often separates the truly successful from the rest of the pack is that something special. It's often hard to define. The most popular influencers have a talent, a style, a personality, a unique identity. They may seem familiar, relatable, approachable and yet have something that elevates them and makes their lives aspirational. They are the popular kids at school. Sometimes they're not... but that gives a particular group of kids someone to rally around.

Can anyone be an influencer? Perhaps. Certainly there's something special about everyone (individual, brand, corporation). It's important to embrace and develop an identity but it can be difficult to find what makes you unique or to discover what it is precisely you excel at. When you can definitively answer the question, "What makes you special," knowing that the answer is never "Nothing," then you can become an influencer... It just takes a little hard work.

Buy, Buy, Buy

So like, why can't we just buy anything anymore? It used to be just a few things that you expected to pay for over a lifetime - your house, school loans, and in some very troubling cases, medical bills.

Nowadays, it seems there are countless products and services that companies have us on the hook for... FOREVER! You have your Netflix, Spotify, New York Times, Amazon Prime... I can even join a club now for my razors. How do they know how much I shave or how much facial hair I have? Is it really that less convenient to just pick up some razors when I'm out doing my groceries and I need some? How many more things will I be taking off my grocery list thanks to subscription based businesses? Actually, come to think of it with Blue Apron I don't even have to put food on my grocery list anymore. Is there a monthly toilet paper subscription box service I can join? Something that offers up hand-woven, eco-friendly, hipster tp from featured tp craftsmen around the globe?

Personally, what's upsetting for me and many in my industry is that we can't even buy software anymore. A few years ago Adobe moved to a monthly, subscription-based business model. There are just a handful of video editing and motion graphics software out there but Adobe is the most widely used. Just think about how common Photoshop has become, not just for designers and editors but for everyday folks who take pictures. It's about as common as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint (which you also can no longer buy either). This is a problem because we are essentially being forced to rent something we used to be able to buy and use for as long as we wanted. What if the entire car industry suddenly decided that they wouldn't sell cars any longer but only lease them?

Principal aside, if we are perpetually paying for a product, what are we receiving in return? What is the benefit to the consumer? Can we expect the same level of innovation to the product? In the past, new products, new software meant new features. And they had to be big innovations. Otherwise, how could they convince customers to give up on the old product which may have been working perfectly fine for their needs, and buy the shiny, new product. This may be a bit cynical but if a business is guaranteed a steady stream of revenue, is there as much of an incentive or pressure to continue to innovate?

It's hard to peg Adobe as a company that remains complacent. They seem to embody innovation. When Apple unceremoniously exited the film and tv post-production market, Adobe picked up where Apple left off. They issued a piece of software that built upon what Apple had done with their revolutionary Final Cut Pro and Adobe continued to innovate and improve with input and feedback from consumers.

Then they decided to forever rent their software. And they also decided that the updates and new versions of the software they publicly released could be as buggy as necessary. Yes, it seems that there are constant issues with each release and as a result we have seen an increase in the number and frequency of updates. Is this some kind of psychological ploy? Does the mindset become, "They fixed the problems in the previous version. They are providing us with better and better products. They are innovating!" I don't think if we were still purchasing software that this would be acceptable.

So what is the solution? What questions do we need to consider moving forward? What is the future of business? Will everything in the consumer market eventually move to some recurring payment type of model? Is this something we've just come to accept like long security lines at the airport? How and when will the pendulum swing back the other way? What's the point of this post even? I don't think there is one. I think it's just a rant. And how do you end those? </rant>

Sorry, I'm back. That seemed like an incredibly unsatisfying ending. I'm going to shift this post from software to society. The trend in business is to transition or transform to some kind of recurring payment model. It seems fine when there is competition and you have options. Many people have "cut the cord" because there are numerous streaming video options now available and we realized we don't need or want 1000 channels, thank you very much, cable tv. It seems many are starting to realize we don't need a lot of stuff period. There is a growing minimalist movement. People are finding they are perfectly happy with less. Tiny homes are charming, getting back to nature is alluring, and doing things by hand has become trendy (perhaps soon the norm?) That's pretty much why Pinterest exists. Youtube is the online video manual for everything. My parents and grandparents would buy something and when it broke, they fixed it.. and fixed it.. and patched it up until it was more patch than product. Then and only then would they consider buying a new one. I hope we do see a shift towards less consumerism (thank you very much, Tyler Durden). We have too much stuff. We create too much waste. And I don't need a society where my daily cup of coffee is acquired through some kind of club and my socks and underwear come with a service agreement. Ok, now </rant>

I Just Wanna Fly

Since the earliest times man has been fascinated by flight. There was the mythological Icarus, who with wings fashioned from feathers and wax flew too close to the sun and plummeted to his doom. There were also not-so-mythological folks who attempted to fly with man-made wings and also met rather unpleasant endings (if only one of them thought to invent the parachute first). From an early age we are simultaneously amused, frightened, and captivated by flight. Parents playfully lift their babies up in mock flight (infants' uncanny ability to plank at this age surely adds to the illusion); they push their children on the swings as they scream "Higher, higher"; and they don them with capes, the device surely by which they acquire the superhuman ability to fly (Even Batman can fly. He flies as much as a flying squirrel flies and more... he just needs his Batplane thing for the more part.)

Not too long ago when we dreamed of the future we imagined the greatest advances we would make would be in transportation. Hoverboards, jetpacks, flying cars... these things didn't happen. Instead we got the internet. Oh, and drones. But those two things bring us a little bit closer to our dreams of flying.

We can see what birds see and it's amazing. When I fly a drone I almost feel like I'm physically flying. I have a bit of a fear of heights and this tiny knot starts to tighten in my gut. It's thrilling and there's a feeling of freedom.

Perhaps that's why we're drawn to flying - the idea that we could be boundless if only we could learn to fly. Maybe we could reach the heavens if we flew high enough and fast enough. Maybe with the next wave of technological advances we will make that leap (Mr. Musk and Mr. Branson would have us think that we're far closer than we think).

I think early people believed that the answers to everything were in the skies and the stars. If I'm looking for answers, my camera may be pointing in the wrong direction. Good thing I'm just looking for a nice view.

Dear reader, I shall leave you with this - we, mere humans who are bound to this earth regard the majestic and graceful birds of the sky with so much admiration. But we are mistaken for in truth they are petty, territorial, bullies who ganged up and tried to attack my drone. I can’t wait until I get a jetpack so I can show these birds I mean business. In the meantime, I am going to figure out how to safely attach a cat to a drone (safe for the cat, not for the birds should they chose to launch another attack). Good day to you, sir!

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

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Remember borrowing a cup of sugar? No? Too far back? What about saying good morning to your neighbor as you both pick up your newspapers that the paperboy just tossed onto your front porch (or into a bush)? Borrowing some hedge trimmers? Remember when someone would show up at your house just to say hi without calling or texting first? Remember grilling burgers and hotdogs, having a beer with the neighbors while everyone’s kids ran around the yard? Remember when all the kids in the neighborhood would get together to ride bikes and it felt safe because there was always at least one parent keeping an eye out for them? Remember welcoming the new family to the neighborhood with a freshly baked cake?

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Maybe some things are the same. But it certainly does seem that in the era of social media, we have become strangely anti-social. Our towns aren’t as tightly knit as they once were. We have the ability to connect with people on the other side of the globe, others who may share similar interests or points of views. Yet, we fail to connect with those geographically closest to us, our neighbors. We may have far less in common with someone a few houses down than someone we connect with via a Facebook group. However, having dialogue with and developing a relationship with someone with differing perspectives can certainly have a positive effect on how we collectively function in society.

It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to do a lot of things. Our villages have become fragmented. Perhaps the tool that has contributed, in part to the decrease in face to face interactions can be used to reconnect people on a local level. It’s definitely worth a shot. We know that people want and need that connection back. See how Nextdoor has taken on that task in the video below.

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The Value In Cramming

The Value In Cramming

Back in school more often than not, I would be pulling an all-nighter to cram for a test or finish a 20-page history paper. And by finishing a 20-page paper I mean writing the last 19 pages of that paper that was assigned to us 2 months ago. My high school history teacher claimed that he was preparing us for college where 20-page papers would be the norm. I don’t know what college he went to but I didn’t write one 20-page paper in my illustrious 5 year college career (yes, it took me 5 years to get my Bachelor’s because cramming isn’t as effective in college as it is in high school history which I was not informed of). Actually, I do know what college he went to. It was Yale. I think the History guys at Yale have a different curriculum than the I Don’t Know What I Want to Major In guys at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. At any rate, what my high school cramming experiences prepared me for was pulling all-nighters at work but instead of writing 20-page papers I’m editing 20 second videos. A lot of them. Sometimes longer than 20 seconds. Gasp! And believe me it does take all night. Let me tell the why and how.. and what, as in what's this all about anyway?

"Through Her Lens" Supports Women Filmmakers

Inspired by all these talented women at the 3rd Annual Through Her Lens: The Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program Luncheon at Locanda Verde!

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Via THROUGH HER LENS: THE TRIBECA CHANEL WOMEN'S FILMMAKER PROGRAM LUNCHEON Media Alert - 

On Tuesday October 17th, Jane Rosenthal, Paula Weinstein, Tribeca and CHANEL hosted the 3rd annual THROUGH HER LENS: THE TRIBECA CHANEL WOMEN'S FILMMAKER PROGRAM kickoff luncheon at Locanda Verde in New York. They brought together a hundred women in entertainment - leading women actors, directors, writers, producers, casting directors and costume designers - to support one another and celebrate the emerging female filmmakers selected for the program.

During the luncheon, Tribeca Enterprises EVP, Paula Weinstein and Executive Chair of Tribeca Enterprises, Jane Rosenthal spoke to the importance of supporting both the current and next generation of female filmmakers and how it’s essential.

The three-day workshop from October 17– 19th aims to balance industry support, artistic development and funding for new and emerging U.S-based female writers and directors of short-form narrative films. At the end of the program each of the five projects will be pitched by the filmmakers to a jury of industry experts. One filmmaker will be awarded full financing to produce her short film, along with support of Tribeca Studios to make the project. The four other projects will each be awarded grant funds to continue the development of their films.

Jane Rosenthal commented during her remarks: “When you hit success, when you take another step forward it's not enough, make sure you pull another woman up with you. Women producers, select women directors.  Women directors hire more women designers and crew.  Produce and direct the work of women writers. Women in power, commit to mentoring the next generation of women.”

Mentorship was the focus of the lunch and before introducing Paula Weinstein, Jane Rosenthal commented: “People ask me who my mentor is, and I have to say Paula Weinstein is, I always looked up to her when I got to work with her on movies like Analyze This and Analyze That. I am mentored by her every day and also get to have someone I call a friend and a colleague.”

During remarks Paula Weinstein commended the women in the room for their support of one another, noting that “in the 70’s my generation of women in Hollywood used to look at each with envy over their jobs, there was no sisterhood. Slowly that has changed. Today women are committed to each other. They wouldn’t consider a day without reaching behind to pull someone up or to hold a sister by her hand and encourage her to do well and not see her success as less success for them but rather that it is success for all of us. If we don’t approach it this way, our stories won’t be told.”

In our Calvins in Cannes!

Calvin Klein has been a big supporter of film and for several years maintained a presence at the Cannes Film Festival. There they host exclusive soirées at grand hillside villas overlooking the French Riviera. It’s always a star-studded event and for the past several years we’ve been fortunate enough to tag along and capture it all.

Our first day of shooting typically involves capturing beauty and atmosphere of Cannes, the French Riviera, and the Croisette fully decked out in Cannes Film Festival adornment. 

Our second shoot day is focused on covering the red carpet and party, interviewing celebrities, and capturing the musical performance. Following the event we edit down the footage to create a media package that must be delivered to networks, shows, and outlets early the next morning for them to run on their shows that day. As you can imagine, it ends up being a very long night. But the adrenaline of being in Cannes during one of the most exciting events of the year is enough to power you through to the wee hours of morning, with the sun peaking over the French Riviera and lighting up the hills and boulevards.

A pro-tip for anyone covering this type of event - have some type of mobile wifi hotspot. We usually end up with a 10 minute package that clocks in somewhere around 800mb, and trying to get that thing online at 5 am on hotel wifi or event space wifi can be a daunting task.

Cannes is a beautiful place and so are the stars that come out for the film festival and it’s been a lot of fun to be a part of the experience.

Tiffany & Co Unveils Their Masterpiece Collection In Grand Fashion

Following our coverage of the Tiffany Blue Book gala earlier this year, we were invited to cover Tiffany’s release of their Tiffany Masterpiece Collection at their location on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The event itself was no more than an hour and a half, but it included a number of intricate elements and details happening in that short timeframe. This required us to really explore and know the location, get our team’s coverage down pat, and execute with precision and coordinated timing. We were fortunate to have a walk-through and pre-production meeting the day before the event.

The event space itself was quite impressive as they cordoned off the Rodeo Drive sidewalk in front of Tiffany as well as the Via Rodeo plaza and the grand steps leading up to it. Tiffany Blue carpet covered the sidewalk, steps, and plaza.

Our team consisted of 1 producer, 2 camera ops, 1 sound, 1 pa, 1 editors, and 1 shooter/editor. Our deliverables that evening were a media b-roll package to be delivered to outlets and shows by early morning and an online sizzle.

The event started with blue carpet arrivals of the celebrities and posing in front of the step and repeat for the photogs. Our producer interviewed each celebrity as they came down the carpet. We had a camera with the producer, a camera covering arrivals, a camera across the street on the balcony of the famed Beverly Wilshire hotel for a high angle view of Rodeo Drive, and a camera tracking celebrities as they ascended the grand staircase.

 

Shortly after the reception the program began with a dance performance coupled with an astounding light show that projected imagery onto the entire facade of the Tiffany store. A surprise performance by Ariana Grande capped off the program. 

Throughout the evening we had our editor ingesting footage and prepping the media b-roll package. After the program I switched from camera to editor. We had a lot of work to do in the edit as some of the celebrities requested to approve their footage fairly quickly. And of course with 4 cameras worth of red carpet, party, and performance footage, we had our work cut out for us. We also shot environmentals prior to the event starting.

Running on coffee and pizza and in spite of jet lag for some of us, we were able to finish our edits by the time the sun came up. At 5 AM a link to the media b-roll was in the inboxes of the entertainment shows and by 7 AM the first cut of the sizzle was with the client.

It was a long night and by the end of it we were pretty exhausted. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. The event Tiffany put on was a grand one. We felt privileged to be able to cover it and wanted our product to represent the experience Tiffany & Co created that evening.