Oh No – Where Did Social Media Go???

Lately I have been thinking a bit about “The Grid”…you know that thing that keeps us all connected! Imagine waking up one day and you are in Little House on the Prairie…no grid, no iPhone, no iPad, no Internet, no Twitter, no Facebook, no telephones, no television…NO ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY! What would we do as a society? Think for a second…the headlines in North Korea have been exposing us to that possibility…and E-Bomb. Something that could potentially knock out even the most un-assuming pieces of technology that we depend on…even fuel injection cars.

No this post is not a conspiracy theorist type of post..just one to think, what if all of this electronic technology was GONE? I think of the Allstate Commercial addressing the economy with the message about getting back to basics. But what if that message had a bigger meaning…basics beyond electronic technology.

What has Social Media taught us that could translate into the Little House on the Prairie scenerio? Think for a second…hmm, it has taught me how to use innovation to build relationships. It has taught us that communities are important for so many reasons..but most importantly how to communicate using new innovation.

So, if right this second someone took an eraser and starting erasing the laptop sitting infront of me, the iPhone in my hand, the telephone at my desk, the server in the closet, the electrcity in the walls…and on and on. I would want to know how my friends I have built connections with on Facebook, Twitter, email, blogs, etc. are doing. I would want to reconnect in a more basic manner. I would want to figure out how to communicate with my grandparents, my friends I established on Twitter who are all over the world, etc.

We would innovate and create new forms of communication or step back and rely on traditional forms of communication to find ways to gather, communicate, share ideas, have a drink, and so on. We might even start writing letters again, you know those good ole fashion hand written letters that might be delivered via a horse or a person driving a car that only uses a carburetor.

We would probably value face-to-face interaction because we cannot quickly get our fix on Twitter where we communicate like someone watching a tennis match. Do we depend too much on electronic communication and forget how to establish and maintain relationships outside of the grid? Have we evolved too much with the grid where we can only create a thought through a keyboard which restricts our critical communication skills necessary in a face to face interaction?

HMM…I wonder. I wonder where we are going? I wonder who will be able to evolve without the grid? Will I be able to or am I conditioned to depend on the iPhone?

When I left broadcast television news back in 2000 to return to graduate school, one thing I did was step back from the grid. I got rid of a cell phone and tried to re-evaluate how I communicate. It was nice not to depend on that device that followed me around… tying me to the grid.

Now…I am dependent upon the grid! This powerful pieces of connectivity that i get thoroughly pissed off when i drive through a “DEAD ZONE” or when my cable modem drops connectivity for ONLY A FEW MINUTES. Oh no, I can’t write a blog, I can’t tweet, I can’t upload a photo….I JUST CAN”T EXPRESS MYSELF…what has the world come to?

But hold on…I am breathing…I can talk…I can shake a hand…I can communicate with my mouth…with my handwriting. I can still express myself.

Have you ever caught yourself saying…what did we do before the Internet? What did we do? Really…what did you do? Maybe we did actually Tweet, maybe using a different method?

I have always explained my conversations in Twitter using this scenario. Imagine showing up for a big conference and you walk into a room filled with close to a thousand people. As you walk through the crowd, you ware walking in and out of conversations…listening to comments as you make you way through. You might stop for a second to chat…then keep on walking, in and out of conversations….until you reach a group you are ultimately there to see. You might still mingle after finding that group, walking in and out of conversations…but ultimately you are there to talk to certain groups…as you are listening to different conversations.

Did I just describe Twitter in a different context…a different paradigm…different physicality? Is Social Media just a technology or a communication method regardless of technology? What is the grid?

Video Editing is more than pushing buttons! Telling Stories!

The idea behind video editing is half passion and half technique. Video editing is more than just editing…it is creating a story, creating a vision that forces the audience to forget they have peripheral vision.

How do we do that…well, let me say that it has taken me years and years of editing tape-to-tape and non-linear editing. You have to understand the technical constraints in-order to manipulate the editor to make it produce what your mind is envisioning.

How do I edit…well, I work first with technique…then passion!

1) I like to build sequences. What do I mean by sequences? Well, a series of shots that creates a series of visual images that shows the action. An example would be if you are getting out of a car and closing the door. The first shot would be a wide shot of the car as you get out of the car, to the tight shot of your hand opening the handle, leading to the next medium shot of the door opening, etc. One of the best directors I think uses sequences very well is M. Knight Shyamalan. He likes to use a series of shots brought together where they lead from wide shot to tight shots in sequences. This technique is allows the audience to engage with the visual story without even realizing it has happened.

2) I like to let sound drive the edit. I LOVE SOUND EDITING. I may not be the best technical sound editor, but I love to use sound to predispose the audience to what shot is about to come. If I am getting ready to show you the train is going by, I like to slowly bring the sound up from the train in the preceding shot to get you mind thinking train and then BAM…there is the train. An since I like to edit in sequences (wide to tight shots), and there is a “jump cut”, you can use sound to blend the edit to fake out the mind. You basically make the eye forget the visual mistake by nailing it with some sound that distracts the eyes. I also like crisp sound to edit. If the hammer is nailing the nail, I want to hear that crisp sound and make sure it matches!

3) WIDE, MEDIUM, TIGHT, SUPER TIGHT…TELL THE STORY! That is my motto…my mantra. I am somewhat a purest when it comes to my editing style. Now, I can get flashy with those fast, graphical edits…but I like to tell the story as I would visually see it with my eyes. Our eyes do not pan, they do not zoom…so why should we edit that way? You will not see me edit pans or zooms unless it reveals something. So, I search for the opportunity to edit from a wide to tights. Especially in interviews where I want to create pacing…start with a wide shot on a comment, then cut to the tight shot comment for emphasis. This creates pacing and visual interest!

4) I edit in a Non-Linear Paradigm (Final Cut & Avid) using Linear methods. I am in the zone when I have two BetaSP Decks side by side, manipulating the four channels of audio and one video track to tell a story. It is my opinion that most editor these days are sloppy allowing the non-linear editing software just create a dissolve or effect when there is nothing else to do. Linear editing is a tremendous exercise forcing one to think two shots ahead and three shots behind. You have to know what shots you are going to use next and how they blend with the previous shots. YOU ARE TELLING A VISUAL STORY…not just creating visual overload.

5) I like to evaluate a sequence or the final product in a couple ways…mainly to see if I gained success. I like to watch the video with my ears closed, eyes open; then watch again with eyes closed and ears open. This is to see of the sound and the visuals tell the same story. I also like to get others to watch the the final product and watch them as they watch the story. I like to see where they loose interest, where they have emotion, basically to see if the purpose matched the reaction.

6) I like telling stories! I like to be able to throw out all the rules and sacrifice the technique in order to achieve a better story. If there is a great moment captured and it needs to breathe…no fast edits, no sequences, no fancy effect…then let it breathe! Your audience will thank you for it and come back for more!!!!

Editing Food For Thought! Do you have any thoughts?

Social Media in Large Organizations & Motherships

Large organizations like universities, hospitals, and major businesses are trudging through how to deal with implementing an effective social media policy. This policy has become more than just how to communicate with a constituency base, but how to manage the many silos within the organization.

Take a hospital for example, especially one that is in a major metropolitan area. They are dealing with major branding, implementation, and a execution strategy. A typical large hospital will have the main branded image with sub brands that represent service lines of their vertical revenue streams. Beyond those service lines, they have departments, doctors offices, and smaller groups that need some treatment with respect to the social media branding guidelines and short/long term execution strategy.

Another issue a large organization deals with the fact there are so many people within these service lines and departments that have taken their own initiative to set-up their own accounts. Since many of these technologies like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Foursquare cost nothing to set-up; “brand ambassadors” take it upon themselves to start connecting. They are the front line touch points for the organization. They understand their community. But how does one “reel all of this in” and make this a manageable process.

Like any marketing group, there is a:

  1. Time to evaluate the organization, the brand, and what is already in place.
  2. Evaluate mission statements and audiences of the organization.
  3. What problem do you want to solve.
  4. How can social media provide a new tool for the tool box and reach/engage a whole new audience in a new way.
  5. Establishing the “mothership” for the organization as a whole and all the other sub-brands within the organization.

We are trying to engage with audiences and provide a clear path for those audiences to receive information about the organization…the “mothership”.

Definition of “Mothership” – An online property where all of the “information” flows to and from the organization, to one stop shop funnel of information. This can be an organization’s main website or can even be an organization’s Facebook page. This is the main communication distribution point where organizations want to drive audiences back to receive “the message.”

Along with creating an effective social media strategy, there needs to be a new media strategy in place. What I mean by this, these large organizations need to have there “mothership” (web presence) positioned so it clearly displays the message and audiences can find information easily. Also, permalinks are crucial so audiences can find information on a defined URL and the social media’s can point back to a specific URL. Most large organizations use video messaging on a regular basis, so a consistent workflow with video email blasts and newsletters need to come into the conversation. Then away from just technology implementation, establishing a team that coordinates marketing efforts so the online presence coordinates with “traditional marketing efforts.”

Implementation of social media accounts for a large organization has to happen in stages and establish a tier system…basically, the brand treatments for each part of the organization.

Tier One – The Over Arching Brand for the organization (hopsital name, university name, company name)
Tier Two – Sub Brands in the organization (service lines, colleges, etc.)
Tier Three – Tertiary Brands (Individuals within the organization)

Here is where you think aesthetically with graphical treatment and naming conventions, creating a since of consistency across the brand organization so that if the audience is connecting with an individual, they would know that they represent the organization. This is where it gets fun, deciding whether individuals within a large organization want to use their name and face to represent the organization. This is part of that strategy conversation. This is both a personal and business conversation to have with people you want to represent the organization.

Honestly…this is only the beginning of a Social Media and Communication Strategy Assessment. Social Media Strategy integration into a large scale organization takes time, patience, and willingness to listen to not only the organization but also the “Brand Ambassadors” of the organization.

Working On and/or In Your Business – The Crucial Distinction!

As a small business owner and an entrepreneur, one of the hardest challenges faced is how to balance time between working in the business and working on the business. That in lies a critical distinction. For a business like mine here in the Upstate of South Carolina, I have to consistently looks for ways to refine and strengthen my business model. I am a Storyteller and I make money off of telling others’s stories using video, digital media, and social media.

If you are self-employeed or own a small business, you have probably started at day one doing both. It goes in cycles, you spend lots of time growing your business and when you take on clients, you then focus on serving those commitments. This is a good business cycle to have, so we should maximize our time and remember that when are not racking up billable hours, we need to grow our business.

Defining our terms:

Working On Your Business
This is when you are spending time and energy away from those billable hours to do the following:

  1. Business Development – seeking out new business opportunities, partnerships, or forging relationships and creating a plan.
  2. Working the Numbers – spending time not only servicing the books (finances) but also thinking strategically how to grow your business financially. Creating budgets for growth areas and contrast them with what is necessary to operate your business.
  3. Marketing – spending time working on your business message and delivering that message to the right audiences, using the right mediums. Creating and evolving your marketing plan and budget.
  4. Seminars/Conferences – spending time to grow as a business owner. Seeking out venues for you to meet like minded people and those who can help you grow.
  5. Rest – spending time away from your business to enjoy family and friends…the things that make you smile. ROR is crucial for reflection and critical for ROI.

Working In Your Business

  1. Generating billable hours – working with your clients to serve or satisfy your contractual obligations
  2. Business Development – executing time to pitch those clients, meeting prospects, generating proposals for your next set of billable hours.
  3. Servicing the Numbers – making sure that you are keeping up with your invoicing, liabilities, expenses, and operating costs. This is crucial to do weekly, monthly, then quarterly to get ready for Uncle Sam and his state friends.
  4. Servicing your relationships – writing thank you notes, taking a client to lunch, making follow-up phone calls, things necessary to be considered your clients “go-to” person.
  5. Marketing – executing daily, weekly, and monthly your marketing strategy.

It is my belief that a small business owner should spend the same amount of time on Working On Your Business as the billable hours your generate when you are working in your business. For every hour you bill a client, you should spend that same amount of time growing your business.

Brand Ambassadors Leading the Brand

The more and more I work with large hospitals working to integrate a social media strategy, educate the organization, and build a community of social media communicators…the more I am learning that the only way you can eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Not as social media communicator, but as a practitioner.

The next task on my agenda, work with a department outside within a “service line”. I had an appointment and met the director and a nurse. What I realized, they had already built a solid strategy for this department’s social media approach: build a community. They just used technology to connect and share branded information that allowed the patients to trust and learn more about the organization.

I sat back and thought…large organizations have so many tentacles, so many messages, so many “brand ambassadors.” We as practitioners need to be careful when implementing a social media strategy before evaluating a the communication strategy. A communication strategy with the organization’s audiences and with the organization’s “brand ambassadors.”

More and more large organizations are talking about a huge social media issue, they have tons of “brand ambassadors”! This is a good thing and can also pose a challenge. If you take a large hospital that has lots of service lines, departments, and thousands of employees that represent the face of the organization…there are probably lots of active social media accounts that are not a part of the strategy.

We are social creatures and we are also technology creatures as well. We want to use something that will connect us with other people that share the same ideas and conversations. It may be a receptionist in a doctors office of a major medical university. The front line relationship for that office because they are the ones who meets the patients on a daily basis. they might think, hey…start a Facebook group to connect with patients and offer them some information that might help them. Connect with them daily and build a relationship with them. The reality, they are one of many people out there doing the same thing, inside an organization.

What comes of this can lead to some interesting conversations. Right now, hospitals across the country are scrambling as fast as they can (especially in marketing departments) to not only understand the social media’s but also create repository of all the accounts and set-up some best practices. Their is a brand identity conversation and for hospitals, a HIPPA conversation.

So…what to do? COMMUNICATE!

You now have “brand ambassadors” within your organization that you can work with to build a Social Media strategy for the whole organization. They are the front line people meeting with those who use the organization’s services. Empower and engage the “brand ambassadors.”

First step…build a team! Empower those “brand ambassadors” in your organization and engage those who are the tentacles to all of the service lines and departments. Build an advisory team and meet regularly.

Second…do a social media assessment of the organization. Spend time finding all of the social media accounts that have been created and identify those who are managing these accounts.

Third…after you have built a list of all the social media accounts within the organization (or someway represent part or whole of the organization), do a message analysis of these account. Learn what messages they are transmitting, what conversations are taking place, and the frequency of these messages.

Fourth…identify the audiences each one of these social media accounts are engaging. Be as specific as possible, drilling down to the very core of this group.

Fifth..compare notes between the messages of the “brand ambassadors” and the organization’s brand. Find the consistencies and the discrepancies.

Sixth…write a social media mission statement for the organization and all the tentacles that fall under the brand. Engage your “brand ambassadors”.

Engage, Communicate, and Tell the Stories.

Building a Social Media Presence around Video

Using video is one of those mediums that can really enhance your social media presence and can add so much to your campaign. BUT, you gotta think through this little bag of tricks. If done incorrectly, this integrated marketing tool can make you look like a dummy! (I almost just typed a bad word).

I am not going to talk about message development, that is a whole other ball of wax. I am going to talk about how using video online can help generate traffic, relationships, and enhance your SEO.

First…create a series of short messages around a campaign, event, and idea.  When I mean series, I mean more than 3 different video messages. These need to be targeted at a specific audience and a specific topic. This over-arching theme will bring these messages together.

Second…have a home-base for these video messages.  Whether it is a blog, a video section of your site, or the homepage; these video messages need a home so people can find them within one consistent place.

Third…these video messages need to have a equal treatment in production quality as the message itself. If it is meant to be shaky and  dark…your message better represent the reason why it is shaky and dark. But, be controlled in the delivery of the production quality. The person watching needs to understand your message, the production quality needs to enhance the message not detract.

Fourth…create a channel on YouTube, Blip.tv, or Vimeo to host all of these video messages. Once the messages are created, upload them to these channel and spend time developing the title for each video, the description, and the tags/key words. I sometimes use the URL of the homebase for these messages in the title.

Fifth…schedule a release of these messages. If you have produced 5 of these and you want to share all of them…maybe release them once a week. Use the embed code provided by YouTube, Blip.tv, or Vimeo and place them within the site. Once placed…tell the world!

Sixth…tell the world that they are updated on your home-base. Use TweetDeck and/Hootsuite to regually tell the world that a new video has been updated. Use email marketing and even LinkedIn to tell your spheer of influence that is it live and people can go watch it. Ohh…when you tell them, use the URL where it is located at the home-base and shorten the URL using TweetDeck or Hootsuite. This will allow you to track the clicks. This works well in a blog where you have a specific URL for each blog post.

Seventh…create a discussion around the video that was just updated. Get on your social networks and tell people about the video and ask their opinion about the content, create a discussion.

Eighth…repeat this process. Olivier Blanchard (@thebrandbuilder) talks about consistency and frequency when using new media and social media combined. It is smart thinking.

Video in Blogs: more than the brain dump!

Video production is one of the most time consuming efforts one can take on when trying to create content for online media. It is not only one of the most time consuming but can be one of the most labor intensive and cost prohibited methods to engage an audience via a message. Now, I know that it has become easier to take that small video camera, shoot some video, upload it to YouTube, and post it to the site. But there is a balance: when to use professional based services/equipment and consumer based services/equipment.

As this is one of my areas of offering…I understand the market is shifting with online video content being created and offered by more consumer based models. But, with that said…this leads me to my argument. There are times and places when to use video content for the blog. There are times and places when to use consumer based equipment and when to use more professional based services. Bottomline…it comes down to MESSAGE. Yep!

Regardless of how and why you approach the production, video for the blog can be POWERFUL…Yes, if used the right way! Now, I am not an expert, just a person that understands user-centered applications of video content. I did get my graduate level education based in user-centered design and audience analysis and I been working behind the camera since 1992 with numerous awards for broadcast television excellence. That was the credibility spin for you…but it was to let you know I am not just shooting you a line of bull.

Here are some thoughts to consider when creating video content for your blog:

  1. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket. Basically, no need to feel like you have to record an eight minute video about your thoughts when you can spread out the topics to multipurpose the content.
  2. Multipurpose the content. You are going to invest in time in setting up the equipment to shoot the video, shot lots of short video segments that can be used not only in the blog but in other areas.
  3. Keep the video content to around a minute, and no more than minute and a half. Remember, the attention span of a quick clicking web browser can only engage in video content so long.
  4. Create multiple short video segments within one shoot. I worked with a client and we shot a whole years worth of content in one day, enough to release one video on his blog once a week.
  5. Know that the video content for the blog must either take the complimentary position to the written content or the reverse. Know which is the most important content and shape the post based on this concept.
  6. Research a good technical set-up for the shoot, if you are a one man show. DO NOT sit in front of a mirror or window…the camera will not like that. You can also use a household standing light as your “key light” filling your face to make you not look so dark.
  7. Make sure you have a good audio set-up. This means invest in a microphone that can record you; so you not sound like you are standing across the room.
  8. Consider hiring a video producer/message creator/videographer for this production. This person will help you formulate your message and keep you on task with the message and delivery. They will also help you with the technical side so you can focus on the delivery and not if the camera is going to tip over.
  9. Use the power of YouTube. It helps you with SEO and also with that big homogenous linkage system that powers Google. Plus, it can play on almost all the mobile devices so anyone can view your message within your blog.
  10. If you want to consider private hosting, consider someone that deliver to mobile devices via HTML5 or other javascript based applications. I use Sorenson360 and it has great user analytics from viewership to length of video watched.

So…take with a grain of salt. Give me your thoughts and ask questions.

Remembering A Fallen Hero from Iraq: Memorial Day

When I was working in Special Projects for WCNC-TV back in 2006, we were putting together a special show for fallen heros during the Iraq Conflict. A story came across our radar, one that was done for the News Department on a nightly turn around. This story touched my boss Allison Andrews and she came to me to see if I could re-edit the story, add some touches to it for a special show she wanted to put together.

Some of you do not realize, but in larger television markets; some stations have Special Project/Investigative Units staffed specifically to take stories that had more layers to investigate and invest for in-depth review and production. These stories had a little something different that was worth the extra time and effort. The News Department was tasked to find stories to find and produce within the same day. Sometimes they needed more attention. This story caught our eyes, ears, and hearts. This takes a lot!

You see, I have visited more houses during my time as a journalist, interviewing families who have lost loved ones serving our country. I have conducted more interviews, edited more stories about loved ones lost during their service. More stories than I choose to remember. But I should remember, because it is their service that provides the mere freedom and luxuries that I take for granted during my daily life. I am the only male on my father’s side of the family that did not serve his country. I was a mathematics major at Clemson and should have been in the Navy flying jets. But, I had asthma and the armed services threw up a red flag. Because of this…I try to find some way to honor those who have served in my place.

This Memorial Day, I remember a story from 2006. Marine Staff Sergeant Jason Ramseyer from Lenoir, North Carolina lost his life in a road side bomb in Iraq. It was April 20, 2006 to be exact when his mother and wife received the news that he had past away. He had two girls. I remember you Staff Sergeant Jason Ramseyer, and I am forever grateful for your service to this great nation. You have laid down your life in front of this altar of freedom, more than I could ever do for this great nation.

Here is the story we produced in his honor.
Marine Killed

Here are some links to learn more about Staff Sergeant Jason Ramseyer:
Arlington National Cemetery
Fallen Heros Memorial
Military Times
Black Five
Palm Beach Post

As they stand…this Memorial Day

As they stand…
As we sit in services across this great nation
and we ask them to stand
they stand for us
to remind us
how many who stand for us.

We sit and wonder who are these people that stand around us
Each has a story
Each has a plan
Each has a time they have served.

We have asked in so many services
across this land of vast liberty
in churches
in schools
in meetings
in our homes
to ask those who have served to stand
to be recognized.

We asked them to stand and serve
to serve what for what they believe
to serve for what others believe
for what we as a nation believe.

As they stand…
We remember those who are not with us
thankful for those who still stand with us
reminded of what they stand for
reminded for what they stood for
proud of their time served.

As I sit…
I wonder
what have I done today
to serve this great nation
that provides this fertile ground I call home.

As I sit…
I look at those who stand
honored to be among great leaders
those who stood strong
and carried the altar of freedom
in their hands
holding firmly to protect
lightly enough to not to shatter.

As I  sit…
honored
thankful
humble
I remember to recognize
those who stand!

As they stand!

——————-
I wrote this in the middle of church service today, the day before Memorial Day 2010. I was struck when the preacher asked for those who have served this nation, stand to be recognized. Men and women of all ages stood, hundreds of them from all walks of life, those with different ethnicities, ideologies, ages, branches of service, and times served. I was struck by the visual of those standing, as I sit in the pew wondering the true definition of Memorial Day. So my pen took over and I filled up every white space possible on my bulletin. But as I wrote, I was inspired three times in the service: when they stood, a passage from the litany*, and the chorus of the hymn**.

* From the Litany of Psalm 90
“People: May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.”

** From “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me!

I memorialize those who faithfully served this great nation, to provided the very freedom I enjoy daily!

I leave you with this letter by President Abraham Lincoln to a Mrs. Bixby, one I think of all the time. So eloquent the words I feel explains the true blessing this nation has been afforded by those who we memorialize.

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln

What does it really mean to tell a story? Finding the Zone!

What does it mean to really tell a story? What does it mean to be in the zone? To feel totally connected with the idea you are trying to reach into, understand, taste, smell, iterate? What is the zone…that common place that we feel extremely connected to something not beyond our reach, but beyond our discourse, the language that describes.

Telling rich stories is finding the zone of understanding, comprehension, imagination…and turning that realization into pieces translated so others with like minds comprehend and give language. Language is symbolic. Opposing arguments create connected drama.

I am always in search of a good story. One that puts me in the zone. I am in search of people that want to tell their story, regardless if they admit it or not. I am in search of people and organizations that have a story to tell but yet have no discourse by which to translate so others can see their viewpoint through their lens.

I am looking for layers. Stories with layers engage and are memorable. It is easy to tell the beginning, middle, and end…but what about the stories that are not that simple. Stories, layers, richness that require thought, context, and multiple viewpoints to bring the audience into the zone of complete and utter comprehension. Connection.

What is the zone…the true commonplace. The space that is closed between your idea of comprehension and the place where the orator brings you to see his/her viewpoint. You know that place. It is the place similar to the movie theatre when slowly but surely you loose your peripheral vision and you are totally and completely engaged with the storyline. You forget your surroundings so much that you can almost smell the flowers in the screen, you can feel the water around you. Have you been there before. What does it take to create you own theater? An emotional connection.

The zone is the place where the author/orator meet the audience and they dance to this merry little song where you can recite the words just the way the writer meant for you to sing. That moment at a concert where the singer on the stage pauses during a common part of the song and the audience sings without skipping a beat…you know the zone. The place where audience and author/writer/orator are in complete cadence.

What does it mean to tell a story? Well…it is helping the audience find your zone, their zone and see the same red-string, the same theme in complete agreement.

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