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gilchan

The 4 Things that will decide if you are mediocre or amazing in life.

By | Business, Life, Ramblings | No Comments

Lately, I have heard many complaints of two staff. One is a producer and the other is a camera person. Mr Producer and Mr Cameraman have very differing issues. Mr Producer is a pretty hard worker, but lacks the critical thinking and problem solving skills to be a good producer. Most of the times, he follows instructions well but when it comes to making decisions and problem solving, he very often makes the wrong decision. On top of that, I feel he lacks self awareness and people skills that is the foundation of a good producer.
Mr Cameraman on the other is pretty talented, has all the right people skills, but terrible work ethics. He comes late for work almost every day, makes basic errors during shoots such as wrong frame rates, and is generally lazy. He talks the talk but when it comes to action (doing the work), he just doesn’t match what he says.
It was becoming apparent to me that the rest of the employees are pretty pissed with these two. So it was time to have a conversation (deliver a warning) to them. And quite honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to that. I don’t like confrontations in general. But this was necessary. Their behavior was affecting the team. So it’s clear to me that it’s either they shape up or they got to be shipped out.
Before the dreaded meeting, I actually watched several videos of Gary Vaynerchuk to get some advice on how to deal with underperforming employees. I remembered him saying something about hiring fast and firing fast. But to be honest, I like these two and I think firing them would probably be too harsh. They should at least be given a chance.
Then in one of the videos, Gary mentioned that it’s all about giving. More than you receive. The 51–49 rule. So I begin to think how I can help these two to become better versions of themselves. Whether they continue to be in my company or not.
So for the next few days, I was thinking about these two guys and why they are basically struggling with mediocrity. And what are the qualities that the A players and the winners have that Mr Producer and Mr Cameraman are still not getting?
I think it all boils down to 4 things.

1. Talent

I think we are all born with different talents and we are good at different things. Lebron James is born with the natural talent to play basketball. Steven Spielberg the gift of storytelling through the lens. We need to figure out what we are good at and then go all in with it. During my meeting with Mr Producer, I asked him what he thought he was good at. What was his natural talent. He thought for a moment and said “I think I’m good at playing the stock market.” I told him perhaps that’s what he should be doing. Maybe he’s just not born with the natural talent of becoming a fantastic producer. Find your talent and Go all in. By the way, I actually think this talent thing is the least important of the four.

2. Work Ethics

For all the talent that Mr Cameraman might have, he is lazy, and has poor work ethics. I have no doubt that someone who is not as not talented, but works much harder than him, will be more successful than him. I asked him about what he is really passionate about. He told me he really wants to do more storytelling using the camera. My immediate response was “Why don’t you?” Then he started talking about needing a big crew and support to make the film that he wants. I stopped him half way. I told him straight in the face, whatever he’s saying is all excuses. I have shot online short films using my handphone and reached almost a million views when I uploaded it online. No lighting, no fanciful equipment, no famous actors. There is no excuse not to go shoot stuff if that’s what he really wants. The more likely scenario is that’s not what he’s genuinely passionate about. I have worked with world class director of photography that spends an insane amount of time researching, doing test shoots, studying color, composition and storytelling. Every successful Director of Photography has worked their fucking socks off. But unfortunately Mr Cameraman will always be a camera operator instead of a director of photography. Until he works his fucking socks off that is.

3. Humility and the thirst to learn

humility

The thing that I have been hearing about Mr Cameraman is that he enjoys telling people that he is a ‘director of photography’ instead of a Camera Operator which is his official position. On top of that, when he is on set, he comes late and he commands the freelance crew to work while he sits at the side barking orders. He is too fancy to even help do the slate when it’s needed. There are some geniuses that I have met that are truly good at what they do and they have this attitude problem that they are better than others. Those I would call ‘talented assholes’. But when someone is not even THAT talented and yet thinks that he has made it, I would call this person a straight up ASSHOLE. This lack of humility and a false sense of importance is killing him. Or rather, that’s the main reason why he is stuck in mediocrity. The winners in life will never settle. A thirst for knowledge and a curiosity to try things is what is a key different between winners and losers.

4. Action

taking action

Lastly, the world is made up of two types of people. The dreamers and the doers. The dreams spend a lot of time talking about their dreams and what they are going to accomplish and what they will do in the future. Most of the time, I find the dreamers actually talk a lot because there is a lack of confidence that they can actually achieve what they talk about. The doers on the other hand, talks little but man do they take action. I am amazed at how many people do not walk the talk. A friend just complained to me recently that he really hates his job which is to install dentist chair. I asked him what his passion is. And my definition of passion is the thing you wake up and do every day even if you are not paid. He thought for a while and then replied “It’s singing.” And almost immediately, he added “But I don’t think it’s possible.” I told him quite frankly that if his dream was to become a superstar singer well known throughout the world, maybe it’s improbable. But if he was busking and singing funny original songs in the streets to make a living, it is absolutely possible. But it’s all about whether that’s what you want and whether he has the balls to take action. Unfortunately, it’s more likely that he would remain a dentist chair installer for a large part of his life.

What would happen to these two, I can’t say for sure. I shared with both these 4 principles. But what gets through to them and how they make use of these information would large depend on themselves. I am emphathetic enough to know that most people will find it hard to change unless it comes from deep within themselves. That’s the reason why most people do not take action. Because talk is always easier. And cheaper.

Creating Viral Content – How a little passion project turned into 340,000 video views, 5,900 shares, 2000 comments, and 2000 followers in two weeks.

By | Films and Movies, Ideas, Social Media marketing, Video Production | No Comments



Backstory

So a couple of weeks back, I decided to do a little experiment and something that I had always wanted to do. I wanted to see if low resolution short films shot on mobile phones can go ‘viral’ if the right content is created for the right target audience using the right social media marketing strategies.

I guess the reason for wanting to do this small passion project stemmed from my desire to just create. Too many times, we have to wait for the ‘right’ project with the ‘right’ investor or the ‘right’ client. And also, too many people around me keep talking about wanting to shoot this thing and that thing and it’s all TALK TALK TALK, and no action. So I just didn’t wanna just talk but would rather have some action to show.

location scouting

A side note to all creators: Truth of the matter is. You have a phone. You got friends. You got creativity. That’s really all you need. Don’t keep over thinking and stressing and trying to get the perfect scenario or the right amount of money. If you want to shoot a film, just do it. And don’t give me crap about how I always have a big crew, big equipment and many actor friends to help me. This time round, I did it with just a phone, almost zero budget, and with help from my friends who are equally passionate to create.

Just Do It

I think I literally had the idea to do this on a Saturday night while chilling out with a friend and in the next weekend, we were shooting at my house. That’s it. One bloody week. From the time the ideas were conceptualized to the shoot date was literally less than a week.

For me I thrive on momentum and deadlines, so by literally giving myself very little time, I force myself to be extra creative not just in thinking of the stories, but also in getting the right people to help out to execute the project. The videos didn’t have to be perfect, but they have to tell the story well. And I don’t mean that there is no place for stylish, very well lit and well shot video. Movies, branding videos or commercials that showcases beauty all require very high quality production. But don’t be crippled by it. Just cause you don’t have the best DSLR or a good sound recording device is not a good reason to procrastinate. Go and make your video or your film! NOW!

creating viral content

Creating content that fits the target audience / Evoke the right emotions

I wanted to create content that specifically target people who like horror. The game plan was to create 3 short videos, about 2 minutes long, with a sudden twist/jump scare at the end. For horror fans, it was important to evoke that sense of shock and fear which is best achieved by creating a jump scare.

People share something when a very strong feeling is elicited. Whether it is happiness (good comedy), or rage (real life bullying etc.), wonderment (those cute puppy videos) or shock/fear (horror films). If the right emotion is created, people will tend to share.

shooting with whatever equipment you have

So I wrote 3 short stories. 2 are originals and 1 is based on an urban legend circulating on the internet, but I gave it a twist. All the 3 stories were shot within a day.

You can watch the 3 horror short films here.

Horror Short Film 1 – Ghost Festival 

Horror Short Film 2 – Are you alone? 

Horror Short Film 3 – Ma! 

Shooting with whatever resources you have

I made a clear decision that I was going to shoot with a mobile phone and a relatively old one at that. I also made a conscious decision to not use any artificial lighting or rather use existing light. Basically I wanted to prove a point that if you have got good stories to tell, you don’t need fanciful equipment. You just need creativity and a relentless desire to tell stories. Oh, and a mobile phone.

So I literally shot with an iphone5, but I did purchase an app called filmic pro. This app allows me to control the focus, ISO, shutter speed etc. on the phone. Sound was also recorded on the camera in the phone. I tried to keep dialogue minimal but one of the shorts was in the open and had a lot more dialogue so I had to use a audio recording device, which my friend graciously loaned me.

The only thing that I spent on was on props for one of the scenes which involved burning ‘hell money’ for the ‘hungry ghosts’. I spent 60 dollars on that and oh, also on some drinks and a supper treat for all after the shoot. So all in, I spent probably about a hundred dollars.

Again, I want to stress. Don’t be hampered by a lack of resources. You are only limited by how resourceful you are.

shooting on budget

Buying fb ads with the right target audience

Facebook has changed its algorithm and it will continue to change to ensure that the most relevant content will appear in the user’s feed. As a result, a lot of pages are not getting their content shown in their fans’s newsfeed. There are a lot of fb pages out there and every single day, it just keeps increasing so it is close to impossible that all the pages will be able to reach their fans organically.

buying facebook ads

So what happens is that facebook ad buying is increasingly important and the truth is, the cost of buying facebook ads now is still heavily underpriced for the kind of reach that it gets. If you have not tried facebook ads, please get into it! I promise you in another 3-5 years, the prices will sky rocket. Now is a time to get into it and get your hands dirty and understand the medium.

I am not going to go into the technical details of ad buying. Just understand that you need to write good copy, know how to target the right audience, and know what you want the user to do. Facebook is probably the best platform now with the best data on its users. You can laser target people based on their interests, hobbies, occupation or even their sexual orientation. The data is extremely powerful.

For the short films, I basically did a boosted post targeting horror fans. I spent about 50 dollars on each of the short films. So a total of 150 dollars. This paid reach will give your content the initial boost. Without it, you will need a much longer time and much more effort to promote it. If your content is very shareable, your paid reach will be totally eclipsed by the organic reach since people will start sharing and liking your content.

Such was the case with the film. The organic reach was almost five times more than the paid reach.

organic reach vs paid reach

organic reach vs paid reach

Understanding the psychology of the user and writing the right copy

The copy writing for your ad is extremely important. To write it well, you have to obviously have some talent in writing. But more than that, you must understand the psychology of the person reading or watching your content.

So in this case, I am obviously targeting horror fans. And what better way to get their attention that to use the idea of a ‘chain letter’? Or in this case ‘chain video’. The concept that you have to share and send the video, or the ghost will come after you was quite possibly the most appropriate title for this content and for this target audience. My title of the post basically reads “Share and Tag 3 Friends. If not, something TERRIBLE will happen. Oh, and watch till the end. I dare you.”

Do notice that I was quite deliberate not to ‘curse’ anyone cause I said something terrible will happen but not something terrible will happen to you. I varied another copy to say “Something will happen to you” instead of “Something terrible will happen to you”.

I also added a frame to the video with the title at the top which basically says “I dare you to watch till the end”.

copywriting for the facebook ad

Specify what you want the viewer to do

It is important that you know what you want the user to do. Whether it is to share your post, like it, sign up for something, go to your website, comment, or whatever. You must be clear and normally, you only want them to do one thing. Don’t over complicate and tell your audience to do too many things.

For my case, I wanted them to share and tag 3 friends. Very clear instructions. I made sure they are reminded at the end of the video as well.

share and tag

Responding and commenting with personality

One of the things that many page admin fails to do is to engage and interact with the fans on the page. And when they do, the comments or replies are boring and not engaging. As much as writing ‘thanks for the comment’ is a nice gesture, but it’s not going to get anyone excited or intrigued by your page or the brand.

In the case of the short films, within a day of posting, there were already hundreds of comments, ranging from “I got a shock” to “not scary at all”. But I made a decision to reply with the personality of a ‘ghost’. It was fun engaging and interacting with the comments. I even replied with pictures of the ghost that we took on set. Because of the high level of engagement, the fans were more willing to tell their friends about it and share the posts. Of course, a little scaring to make them share is kind of funny as well.

interacting with fans with personality

Patience and Hard Work

So after two weeks, for all the three shorts, I had a combined reach of 850,000 people. I had a total of 346,000 video views. The shares were pretty phenomenal. A total of close to 6,000 shares. A lot of people were commenting on the posts as well, generating a total of more than 2,000 comments. I also gained 2,000 followers during the two weeks’ window.

So what started as a small little experiment and a passion project taught me many valuable lessons. But the truth is, to grow a channel, or a page or your subscribers, you need patience and lot of hard work. You need to continue posting relevant and good content to engage your fans. Patience, hard work, and talent. If you have these 3, I guarantee you will succeed.

In the meantime, we are already planning a new series of videos which I feel will potentially be even more popular than the first. If you are a brand or a business and want to feature your products or services in the next series of video, drop me a DM. We are targeting a reach of at least one million and half a million views.

Or if you want to explore how we can help you with your digital and social media marketing, drop me an email as well. gil@redinkmedia.asia

Talk soon!

5 Important things to note before choosing a video production company

By | Business, Video Production | No Comments

Video is the new language of the internet. You can see what kind of impact video is making online just by looking at the major platforms. Instagram with Stories and Facebook with FB Live. Video will become the next language of the internet until something like VR comes along and replaces it.

So everyone with a phone basically can shoot a video. But not everyone knows how to do it right. What’s the right concept, the right equipment, the right angles, the right direction, the right lighting …. the list goes on and on. For your company to grow in terms of branding and also in terms of sales, it is vital that you look at video as a way to communicate with your clients and your potential clients.

And more often than not, working with a kick ass video production company will get you there. But what are the things to look out for while choosing a video production company to work with?

Here are five most important points.

1. Do they value add to your concept?

adding value

Many video production companies are technically sound. They know about lighting, what cameras to use, what constitutes a jump cut, etc. I mean technical knowledge is important but to create a really good video, it’s just not enough. A good video production company will be able to add value to the concept and story, which is really the foundation of any good videos. They should also be able to propose and suggest ideas on styles, even choices of actors.

For instance recently, a big agency that hired us as the production house was sharing with us their concept. It’s a cool concept about a mock food vlogger and it’s done to promote ready packed meals. The entire series will be done in a mock reality vlogging style.

I thought it was a really good idea but the agency also shared that they wanted to start the series with a backstory flashback video to show his motivation for becoming a food vlogger. I thought this would be a mismatch of the style as it went into some kind of hyper reality sequences. I suggested that the backstory can be told in the same reality based vlogging format so that it is in line with the style of the entire series.

The agency felt it was a good idea and suggested to client to change their concept. The client agreed and we created a video series that was more coherent and just much more engaging for the audience.

The bottomline is this: The video production house must have the experience and the understanding of the audience and story to provide more value to the agency or the client. It should never consider itself just as a technical production house.

2. Are they nice people?

nice people

Which brings me to my next point. I have met many producers and directors and even cinematographers who swing to the other extreme and would challenge the client or agency on their concepts. They are so fixed and preoccupied in their own vision that they fail to see the big picture. But most importantly, they fail to see that the client is the one engaging them and they do have the final say.

I guess it all boils down to whether the culture of the production house is one of culture and attitude. Some artistic people just tend to be more temperamental and stubborn, thus creating a more tense and aggressive working environment. I find such environment tends to be a bad place for creativity to breed. I always choose to work with nice people who can gel with me. I hate drama and I would rather hire a company that is perhaps not as talented but are nice people to work with than a bunch of talented people who are just basically assholes.

3. Is the Director top class?

film director

The director is often a very misunderstood professional. This is because technically anybody can be a director. And what does a director actually do? Most people think of a director as simply the guy who shouts “Action” and “Cut!”. Actually this is not even true since the Assistant Director is the one shouting the commands on set.

It is indeed true that anybody can be a director but to be a GOOD director, that is extremely difficult. A good director needs to know and understand many different facets of a shoot. The technical aspects of cinematography, the psychology of actors, what makes a good story and a good character, how to develop tension within a scene, how music and sound affects a scene, etc.

A good director will be the key deciding factor if your production does well. So never underestimate the importance of who is directing your video. And it’s always good to check out the director’s showreel to get a sense of his/her style, taste and talent.

4. Is the company hiring in-house or freelancers?

production crew

Many video production companies are actually small set ups and they hire freelancers when they have shoots. In house crew or freelancers both have their pros and cons. If the company have its own in house crew, the quality is generally consistent and they also do things a bit faster in general. They will probably also have greater flexibility in terms of shoot schedule and they can probably give you better rates in terms of shoot days and even over time pay.

For freelancers, the advantage is that you can choose the most suitable crew for each project. Different camera operators might be good at different types of shoots. For instance, some specialize in action cinematography, some are good at weddings, while some excel in drone videography. They in turn have their own crew that they like to work with.

Generally, I find that freelancers tend to produce better quality of work. But they are also much more expensive than in house crew. Additionally, timing and scheduling will be a bit more difficult with freelancers. So it’s really up to what is needed for the project to determine if in house or freelance crew work best.

5. Do they have passion and pride in their work?

passion

The last and probably the most important point is whether the people in the video production company have passion and pride in their work. Whatever the job or the project entails, the most important aspect is that the people working on it has a passion and pride in doing the job. Without that, the work will mostly be mediocre and it will be a dread in the whole production process as well. Passion and pride are hard to define. It all starts from a company culture and what type of people the company hires.

But it’s easy to detect passion and pride. The people speak with a twinkle in their eyes. They might even argue with you on certain aspects of the production. It shows they really care. I always look for passion first in hiring. Whether it’s hiring a new staff or hiring partners to work with. Without this ingredient, the end product can never be great. It might be good at times, but NEVER great.

And we all want to strive for greatness isn’t it?

Three Mistakes to avoid if you want to make a BRILLIANT short film

By | Films and Movies, Ramblings, Video Production | No Comments

Just last week, a former colleague of mine who was working as an editor in my company asked me to meet up for lunch. To give some context to this story, this guy was a junior editor in our company and had recently moved on to join another company for a slightly better pay package and a chance to work on more narrative type of video content. I had wished him well and told him to stay in contact and if I could help in any way in the future, I would.

This editor was also a short film maker and has directed several action short films and has dreams of becoming an action movie director. While I had always applauded his effort in trying to go for a genre that is not a conventional route for young film-makers to go, I had been telling him that ACTION is a tremendously difficult genre to do WELL. The keyword here is of course WELL. Anyone can be an action director, or for that matter, literally ANYONE could be a director, but to do it WELL is a whole different ball game altogether. But to do well in the action genre is many times harder than the conventional art house, drama, comedy or even the horror genre.

In the short one hour meeting with The EDITOR, in which he showed me his action short film, I very quickly identified 3 main issues, which I thought would be the same issues for any short film makers. That’s why I decided to write the learnings in this post. So here we are. Three Mistakes to avoid while making your short film. Enjoy!

#1 Mistake : Care about everything else except STORY!

story

Way too many film makers worry about the aesthetics and not enough about the story. This is a recurring theme in all my dealings with many film-makers. They spend time researching on the aesthetics, on the latest technology, cameras, lights, toys, but not enough time devoted to studying story, story arcs, turns in stories, how to build characters, how to create tension, etc. The list goes on. While many film makers do not write their own script, (for instance David Fincher) but all good film makers have a deep knowledge about STORY and about CHARACTER and about the human condition.

If the story is not good, no amount of beautiful shots or brilliant cinematography is going to save it. But people can generally forgive a badly shot film with a good story. Now am I saying that you must be a great writer before becoming a great director? No! You can work with a great writer if you are not good at writing. But you must have enough self awareness to know that you are not a good writer to begin with. Then you can actively seek to learn more about how to tell a good story, or you could just partner with a good writer. There are tons of resources out there on the internet which teach good screen writing. Copies of academy award winning scripts are also there to be read and studied.

There is no excuse. Get your story right! It’s like the foundation of a house. If it’s not done right, rest assured that the house will crumble in due time.

#2 Mistake : Spend money on the all the wrong things!

spend money

When The Editor told me that he spent close to 25,000 dollars for his short film and actually went into debt, my mouth opened wide in amazement. What the hell was he thinking? Let me clarify why my jaw dropped. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t spend money to make a good short film. But I was shocked at where he spent his money on.

His film was peppered with nice aerial drone shots, some nice cinematography, a rain scene which was unnecessary and make up with some blood on the actor’s faces which was not even evident. I asked him what he was trying to achieve in this short film. He thought for a while and then remarked “I hope that after watching this short film, investors or sponsors will give him money to make his next short film.” I immediately smiled and asked him matter-of-factly “Why would someone do that?” Unless you impress an investor so much in your short that they want to invest in a movie that you direct. It has happened before. Lights Out is a good example where the film maker went from an online horror viral short to a box office sensation movie.

But it was clear that the director had chosen horror as the genre to showcase his talent in doing horror scenes. But The Editor had spent money in all sorts of things that are not even related to action.

For instance, much money was spent on the rain scene to build drama for an unwarranted love story. Drones were spent for nice interesting shots of the city. But how does any of these relate to ACTION? Shouldn’t he be spending money on the stunts, on stunt choreography, on art direction to break stuff to showcase the action?

And you know what’s the worse thing? He ended up in debt cause he insisted on shooting another day for scenes that were totally unnecessary in the storytelling. On a side note, please don’t go into debt just to make a short film. If you have to spend money, work in all kinds of jobs and save money! Don’t EVER go into debt just to make your short. I have seen to many film makers go down that rabbit hole and has never met one that has come out of it.

#3 Mistake : Worrying that people will steal your ideas!

steal ideas

This is a personal pet peeve of mine. You know what I’ll do when someone writes me an email claiming they have written a fantastic screenplay and asking me if I am interested to read it? Oh and by the way, before he sends me the script, please sign an NDA. I’ll immediately delete the email and if I could, I will reach into the computer and then bitch slap the fellow who sent me the bloody email.

There are two aspects to why this is my pet peeve.

Firstly, ideas are worth shit! It’s the execution. Ideas are everywhere. Everyone from the toilet cleaner in my office, to my wife, to the top director in the country has a bloody idea. So what? Ideas are worth shit until they are executed upon. And if your idea is really so brilliant, trust me, people will PAY you. Which brings me to my next point.

Making a movie is a bloody expensive business. And I am not referring to those student projects or home video projects where a guy scraps together a story and asks his friends to film and then churn out a 90 minute video footage of epic horrible proportions. I am referring to an actual movie which has a distribution and which will hit the cinemas and generate real money. Because of the fact that movie making is a really expensive investment and business, investors and film makers are more than willing to pay you if you have a brilliant idea. Why would they steal your idea or screenplay so that they can start looking for millions of dollars to invest in the project and NOT pay you? Does it even make any sense?

Lastly, if you possess a negative mindset where you are worried that people around you are going to steal all your brilliant ideas, then how are you going to share your work? In today’s world of youtube and FREE stuff on the internet, the only differentiating factor is your talent. You got to produce as much content as possible and then share it freely with the world. And if you are truly talented, trust me, someone will spot it. Someone who might just change your life. But if you are so scared that people will steal your ideas and don’t even dare to share any of your works, then you can quit right now. Don’t become a film maker. Be a copyright lawyer instead.

I’m only kidding. Be a safety box designer.

Doing this will crush ALL your competition

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Recently, there seems to be a tremendous increase in the number of people selling manual shavers near the train stations. They would be wearing black t shirts, rather youthful looking and always ‘breaking the ice’ by asking “Do you use manual shavers or electric shavers?”

I happen to bump into them again yesterday. So this guy in black t shirt was walking with me and literally ‘chased’ me down to get me to answer his question and to get me interested in the shaver that he was trying to sell. First and foremost, much respect to this guy for the hustle. I mean it takes balls to approach people in the street and try to sell them stuff. You literally need balls of steel and a face as thick as a bible, because you are GUARANTEED to be rejected over and over and over again.

sales rejection

This sets me thinking. Are these people doing something right or something wrong? And what’s the best sales tactic that will not only crush all your competitors but annihilate them into oblivion? Does such a tactic even exist?

First, let’s look at what Mr Razor guy or the company is doing wrong. It boils down to one word. Context. People generally have a very poor impression of people approaching them randomly in the street. Firstly, it’s because you are stopping people from doing what they really want to do (most likely traveling to some other place). It’s similar to those annoying pop up ads that keep popping up when you are trying to watch a freaking youtube video. And people just tune out. They don’t even care if your ad is the most brilliant ad made in the history of men. The context of interrupting people is just extremely negatively frowned upon.

Next problem. Sales pitch in a matter of seconds. Most people are not going to stop for you. So when selling in such a setting, you have to let the person know the sales pitch in a matter of SECONDS. I would say the first sentence that comes out of your mouth has to be so enticing that it grabs someone’s attention immediately. In this case, the black shirt fellow has to probably convince me why the manual shaver that he is selling is the most brilliant shaver of all time and that it’s going to revolutionize shaving for me. Or basically give me the shaver for FREE to try it out. And truth be told, even if given for FREE, he might still have a hard time finding people to give to because people are also hard wired to believe that there is no free lunch in the world and a free gift in the street generally means a trade off in time and your contact details.

people in street rejecting selling tactics

So the odds are heavily stacked against Mr Shaver even before he opens his mouth. But is there something he is doing right?

Yes. Summarized in one word. Hustle. The way he approached and chased down potential clients, day in, day out, facing hundreds of rejection. That is fantastic. If he was to combine it with the two other things, he would be able to CRUSH all his competition. And the two things are: Context and Value.

The problem with approaching random strangers in the street about a manual shaver is that there is literally no context. Does the stranger need a shaver? Does he have a shaving problem? Is he dealing with financial difficulty? Is he rushing off for a business meeting that he is already fifteen minutes late? All these are questions that Mr Shaver won’t be able to answer.

context

Now let’s imagine if Mr Shaver set up his little shaving booth inside an electronics stall selling shavers. Now he knows that anyone who comes to this part of the shop is at the very least interested in looking at all kinds of shavers. There is already a context of the potential buyer being interested. His chances of making a sale if he is a good sales person sky rockets immediately.

Now imagine this. If he was to set up a website to sell his razors. And if he was to either buy google ads or facebook ads targetting people who are interested in shavers. Again, the context is set. Anyone who goes to his website is at the very least interested in the purchase of a shaver. Again, his chances of making a sale sky rockets and in today’s digital space, he can literally reach out not just in Singapore but all over the world.

If you get the context right, you have won half the battle. The other half lies in the sales pitch. I attend many sales pitches in a given week. People looking for investment, people looking for a job in the company, people trying to sell me their products and services. The list goes on. But let me tell you the people that ultimately will get a deal. Those are the people that comes into the meeting with the answer to this question. “What’s in it for me?”

value

Too many people or companies are trying to tell me how good they are. They have serviced big clients, they have won this and that award, they are the first in class, blah blah blah. It all comes across as bullshit boasting. You need to answer a simple question. “What’s in it for me?” which is translated to : What value are you bringing to the table? VALUE. You got to think of giving more than receiving.

If the case of Mr Shaver, he has got to convince me that his produce is the best in the market and only for today, it is sold at a super discounted price or even for FREE. Bring me the value before you try to sell me. Or better still, don’t try to sell me. Just tell me why your product or service will improve my life and bring me tremendous value.

Combine context with value. This is called working smart.

Then you got to have amazing work ethics which translate to hard work and hustling. That is called working hard.

Combine these two and I guarantee you will CRUSH and annihilate ALL your competition.

 

people who complain are losers

By | Life, Ramblings | No Comments

negative mind will never give you a positive life

The thing I don’t understand are people who like to complain. Why spend the time to complain and be negative and make yourself be unhappy when you CAN do something about it?

If you hate your boss, quit your job! IF you hate what you are doing, change it. If you are unhappy that you are not spending enough time with your family, CHANGE it. I’ve come to realize the people who complain the most actually secretly enjoy complaining. They get a kick out of people nodding their heads and sympathizing with them, and agreeing about how ‘loserish’ their lives are.

I have met people that have worked at the same job for ten years and they are complaining on a daily basis how shitty their job is. That is something I feel fascinated by. Instead of making plans to change to get out of this job they hate, they take pleasure in the complaints of fellow workers. So they gather together during lunch every day and they spread this negativity.

And truth be told, I don’t think it’s something they consciously seek to do. To breed and spread negativity. But such is the habit that has been accumulated over many years. Change is a scary thing. Whether it’s changing a job, quitting a failing relationship, even taking up a new course or changing a lifestyle. Most people are scared of change.

But most people also don’t think too much about life. Increasingly, over the years, as I grow older, time becomes more and more valuable. Or rather, my perception of time becomes more valuable. Much more so than money. Which is why I don’t really understand people who spend hours queuing for hours only to get a freebie worth five dollars. People who do that obviously put very little value in their time. And that inevitably becomes a value of themselves. Do they believe they are worth more than five dollars per 2 hours of time? People who think and value themselves highly would never engage in such pointless activities.

But I digress.

complaining sucks

The way I look at it. There are three terrible things that happen when one complains.

Firstly, it’s simply a waste of time. What does complaining actually achieve? Very little. That’s just true. Nothing changes with any types of complaining. Unless you actively find a solution to the source of your complaints, it really will not change anything. Only time wasted that you can easily use to do something about your situation. Hate your job? Find time to build your resume and look for a better one.

Secondly, complaining creates a negative mindset. And negativity will attract even more negativity. I was just chatting with a colleague the other day. We were talking about luck. He was saying that some people are just born lucky. I actually disagree. I strictly believe in the concept of ‘you make your own luck’. What do I mean by that? Have you ever notice that people who are generally more positive, and who are more open to opportunities, and with a good attitude, tends to have better luck than say Complainers?

Everywhere I go, the people I’ve met that seem to do well are positive people. They look at a glass that is half full. The complainers are usually people who look at things that are half empty.

Lastly, complainers drag people around them down. Not only does complainers affect themselves, it actually affects the people that they are complaining to. Most of us are polite people and we tend to nod politely and agree when we hear someone complain. Some of us might even have a good laugh. It basically creates a group of people that are feeding off each other’s negativity. We really don’t need that in this world. There’s enough negativity as it is.

So please. Next time when you feel an urge to complain. Shut your mouth and think what can be done instead. And trust me. You are better off doing that.

interactive video rocks

Why Interactive Video can either be a hero or a zero

By | Business, Social Media marketing, Video Production | No Comments

Many companies have started jumping on the interactive video bandwagon. There are many statistics to show the  benefits of interactive video. High on the list of benefits are more engagement, higher retention, longer viewing time and the ability to track and understand consumer behaviour. It’s all nicely summed up in this graphic.

why interactive video

The question we have to ask is not whether interactive video is beneficial. But what type of interactive video? And is interactive video merely a gimmick or is it actually a game changer? How do we even distinguish the difference? And lastly, how do we ensure success by using the right type of interactive video, whether it is in the training and education space or the marketing space?

To go in depth into this, we must first understand the origins of interactive video and why it has become popular. Interactive video was actually born in the marketing space, where new, cool and shiny things are valued because they get people talking. But you see, as with all gimmicks, they’re cool because they’re new, and in the short term, can definitely drive user engagement because we all love new and shiny things. But over time, will the users continue to interact with the technology as the initial novelty wears off?

Interactive Video has many types

There are many different types of interactive video. For instance, one of the hottest interactive video in the market right now is the 360 video. Even youtube and facebook has embraced it and have updated their platforms for the 360 interactive video. However, whether the interactive video is a hero or a zero boils down to a few questions. Does the technology actually solve a real problem and does the technology creates an experience that is inherently better?

I think this really depends on how the interactive video is being used. Take for instance the 360 interactive video. I have seen some companies shoot an interview using the 360 interactive video. Although the user can look around and kind of feel like he or she is present in the room, I see little value in the 360 interactive video for a simple interview shoot. Why would the user want to know what else is inside the room? I mean it’s kind of a novelty if it’s the user is watching the 360 interactive video for the first time. But this type of novelty will surely wear off.

360 interactive video 2

360 interactive video 2

But what if you were to use the 360 interactive video in another way? What if we used the interactive 360 video of a room to ask the user the look around to look for clues. This could be part of a psychology course training program or a police officer induction program. Now the user has a reason to look around. Or what if it was something entertaining like this 360 interactive video trailer done for the movie promotion for the Conjuring 2. In the video, the user explores the room using sound cues, and gets freakingly scared by the different things happening in the room.

Interactive Video like ‘choose your own adventure’ style game

choose your own adventure video

choose your own adventure video

Another type of interactive video lets you choose your own story by answering questions posed to you. This type of interactive video allows the user to be much more involved in the story as he/she is no longer just a passive participant. When a user makes conscious decisions to progress the story, the engagement level will be much higher. This also applies to the retention level. Additionally, we can also capture the decision points as a form of data. This is extremely useful data for educators and marketers. So choice based interactive video provides a better, faster and easier user experience and it fulfils a need. This makes such types of interactive video, when used in the right way, an absolute hero.

Interactive Video for Training

The way employees respond to training content has evolved. I’ve met my fair share of educators and HR managers who think that training content does not need to be as interesting, fun or relevant as media or marketing content. They claim that they already have a captive content who will give them the attention because attending is compulsory.

But if employees or students are simply doing something because it’s compulsory, they may well go through the motion to complete the training but they are not necessarily learning or absorbing anything. This defeats the whole purpose of training in the first place.

interactive video

interactive video

On the flip side, if you provide students or employees with compelling and relevant interactive content, it enhances the experience. They look forward to more training instead of dreading it. They even begin to talk about and share their learning experience. In the long run, the dividends or ROI for creative interactive video content will definitely be high.

And creating interactive video content may not be that difficult or expensive that one might imagine. Talk to us today for a FREE consultation on how interactive video content will help you.

doing something for free

Why doing something for free for a client will benefit YOU

By | Business, Life, Ramblings | No Comments

I know many freelancers or business owners have this thing against doing work for free for a potential client. Some common arguments that I hear include “Why should we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of?”, “We should be paid well for our professionalism and expertise”, and “even prostitutes get paid. We are worse than prostitutes.”

Let me start by saying that clearly there is no right and wrong answer to this. Of course we should all be paid for our talent, skills, hardwork, etc. I think it’s quite clear the reasons WHY we should be paid. So I am not going to spend much time talking about that. Also, there will be people in this world that will try to make use of us and get a freebie from us. I have heard them all. “You can use this as your portfolio in future.” “This can lead to much bigger projects if the upper management likes this”. “We don’t have much budget this year but next year we will definitely pay you.”

There WILL always be people out to scam us. But let me tell you this. They will always be in the minority.

who benefits

So why will doing something for free for a client bring benefit to you?

The answer is simple. In the long run, because of a mentality of always constantly finding ways to give and to provide value, you will definitely reap the benefits. But most people are impatient and they want to close the deal and to earn money, even at heavily discounted prices up front. You see the difference between charging a low price and giving something away free is this. Charging a low price cheapens your product or service. But giving something away free gives you so much more leverage. When you keep giving, you can always guilt the people who receive into giving back. Not the next day. Or even the next month. But somehow, some time, I promise you. You will reap the benefits.

From my own experience, those big clients of mine had always started with something free I do for them. A prototype that they can show their bosses. Something simple to show that we deliver good quality service. Or even an urgent job and they are unable to get the finance to sign off. I’ve done them all and those jobs that I do for FREE, almost always result in bigger projects later on. Of course you got to deliver a good product or service cause nothing can ever substitute that. But if you are good at what you do and can provide a quality service or product, then I urge you. Go out there and try to find companies and offer to do something to them for FREE.

If you want more business, do it for free. Keep giving. Don’t expect anything in return. Don’t start having a bad attitude when the potential new client did not give you anymore jobs after your free service. Smile and look for another new potential client. Then give again.

smile for me baby

Of course I understand that we all have expenses and responsibilities in life. I am not suggesting that you quit everything and only start doing FREE things for people. You can take up a job and do FREE things for people on the side. What you have is TIME. And please don’t tell me that phrase that I hate the most. “I don’t have time.” EVERYBODY has time. It’s only a priority of time. If you prioritise watching TV, sleeping late, going to clubs to hook up with chicks, going for a holiday, etc. Then it’s YOUR CHOICE. Don’t complain that you don’t have time or that you are not killing it in life. And let me get this straight. If you are perfectly happy with your 9 to 5 job, and your family and work life balance, then it’s awesome. No one’s judging. But today, if you are not satisfied in your business or the money you are bringing in, then this is what you can do.

In your FREE time, offer to do something FREE for potential clients.

When you do this, three things will happen. 1. You train your mind to start thinking about giving and being more selfless. Giving is an extremely powerful mentality and action. 2. You will also be expanding your list of contacts and potential clients. Even if there is no further business from the company or client that you offer your FREE service to, your good work can easily get a good word of mouth and someone else could be alighted to your talent. 3. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, when you give to someone unconditionally, it’s most likely from a human psychology that they will feel they owe you a favor. So naturally, they will consider giving something back to you.

And again, I stress that there will always be people who will try to take advantage of you. But trust me. Doing the right thing is always the right thing. Thing far. Think bigger. Go further.