Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Secret to Social Media

Helping people design a useful Social Media internet strategy to generate interest and reach for their business is what I’m all about.  And since most of my clients weren’t born with a smartphone in their hands, there are usually a few key points to clear up about Social Media right from the beginning.  After all, Social Media is a relatively new topic.  Or is it?

If you step back and take a look how information moves in Social Media, it’s quite different than “Traditional Media.”   Back in the day, most people got their information from newspapers or magazines.  The direction of information is from the few (the writer or publisher) down to the many.  We’ve all seen this in action in our daily lives, maybe to the point of not even noticing it anymore.  Got a favorite newspaper columnist or TV show host?   One single person communicating to possibly millions of people with little interaction between the communicator and the listeners.

As we step into the Social Media arena, the direction and flow of information is between the readers and the writers.  The interaction (thanks to the internet) tends to be instant and the ripple effect from this sharing of information can spread far and wide.  With the users of Social Media able to contribute news and information to anyone willing to listen, we now have a conversation.  Just like the conversations you are already having at the local coffee shop or at work.

The recent buzzing and tittering by the media about Google + and Social Media in general, it’s no wonder business owners may feel forced into using these internet-based communication tools, or perhaps miss sales opportunities their competition is getting instead of them. Not being familiar with the landscape, many make that sometimes fatal error of confusing Social Media with traditional advertising. But remember: traditional advertising is the few pushing out information to the many. No matter how you dress it up, advertising never was and never will be the same thing as a conversation.  Advertising flows up and down, and conversations flow back and forth.  If you are blasting everyone you know on social media with your marketing or business message continuously, ask yourself:  who am I talking to?  If the answer is everyone at once, you might be advertising mode unintentionally.


Don’t get me wrong, it’s OK to let everyone know what you are doing in general.  You’ve gotten those letters at Christmas where a relative runs off a bunch of copies of the family “newsletter” and sends it to everyone?  I like reading those.  It’s just an update, a catch-up session.   But when 90% of the people connecting to me on Twitter are saying the same message (“Want to get 16,000 followers on Twitter?” sound familiar?), we’ve crossed over that thin line between conversing and advertising.

So what’s the secret to this Social Media thing?  It is faster than mailing a letter or a postcard.  More interactive than TV.   Cheap to boot!  Seems like the perfect advertising tool.   But to use Social Media as just another advertising channel misses the hidden power of Social Media.  What is that hidden power?  It’s so painfully visible, so obvious.  It’s something I call “Commonality.” It’s where you and I share a common interest, or have similar background.   It’s liking the same funny movie, or both growing up in the South with fried chicken, or having visited the same restaurant in Europe.  It boils down to this:  if you and I have something in common (no matter what it is), we understand each other better to that degree.


If you have a pet dog, and I have a pet dog, we instantly understand each other that much more, and, to the degree that we understand each other, we are enabled to create a personal, lasting, and genuine friendship.  Social Networks facilitate this instant understanding because you can share so many aspects of yourself in a quick glance. Ever get a friend request on Facebook from someone that doesn’t even have their picture posted and hardly anything listed on their profile?  Little hard to cozy up to, isn’t it? Kind of like getting a “friend” request from a statue. Cold.

Social Media is a breeze, really.  Express who you are.  Make it personal (but not TOO personal!).  The more you describe yourself, or rather, profile yourself, on these social networks, the more aspects there are to resonate with for someone who doesn’t yet know you.  I know I prefer to do business with someone I like and trust.   Would you like and trust someone you’d never met before, but who showed up on your door with a slick advertising message?  Didn’t think so.


Does all this seem hard?  It’s not, because if you have already been in business (and thus sales) in any capacity, you’ve already been using Social Media.  Ever strike up a conversation with someone at an after-hours party?  Did they eventually ask you what you do for a living?  If you have, you’ve already got practice in Social Media.  I’ll bet you’ve even gotten a few new customers that way.  Now it’s just a matter of moving that same conversation to an online platform like Facebook or MySpace. It’s the individual and friendly (another word for social) conversations that will forward your business message, because people will like you, and even more importantly, understand you on a level they aren’t even aware of themselves.  Powerful stuff.

Social Media Networks are a fun, useful way to share the individual that is you with the rest of the world.  The steps to participating are as follows:  Join, listen to the conversations  that are already happening, participate where you are interested or can be useful to others, give where you can, and be prepared to receive what others give you in return.   In this way you can organically build a genuine community of new friends, customers and goodwill that may last a lifetime, no matter what business you may find yourself in down the road.

Authored by: Trevor Eisenman

Premiere vs. Final Cut Pro Digital Editing Workshops

Adobe Premiere LogoFCPX Logo


It’s a crucial time for lot of filmmakers when it comes to editing software. Do you stay with Final Cut Pro 7?  Or do you embrace FCP X or Adobe Premiere Pro? For those having a hard time deciding, there’s only one reason for any indecision. Not enough data to MAKE a decision!

So for those having a hard time deciding, we’ve got some good news. The Association is going to lend it’s Boot Camp skills to the topic of digital film editing. Find out the pro’s and con’s in two back to back 4-hour workshops. None other than Larry Jordan, an expert on both softwares, is coming to shed light on the differences and pros and cons of both FCPX and Premiere Pro.

Larry Jordan on TWiT TV

Here’s some information about Larry from his website:

Larry Jordan is an internationally-renowned consultant and Apple-Certified trainer in digital media with over 35 years experience as a television producer, director and editor with national broadcast and corporate credits. His informative and entertaining teaching style provides video and film editors around the world with unique techniques, methods and resources to increase productivity and enhance their skills.

Based in Los Angeles, he’s a member of both the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America. In addition to his in-person training,  Jordan writes and edits the FREE, ‘Larry Jordan’s Final Cut Monthly Newsletter’ -, now in it’s seventh year of publishing, which provides essential news and tutorials on Final Cut Studio. He is the author of hundreds of hours of online training and five books on Final Cut Studio, published by Peachpit Press and Focal Press. He is the winner of multiple awards for his broadcast work, as well as his online training.

Jordan is also executive producer and host of the weekly interactive internet radio show and podcast, Digital Production BuZZ, providing everything you need to know about digital media, production, post-production and distribution now and in your digital future (

As far as dates go, this digital editing workshop will be occuring in July on a Saturday. WHICH Saturday EXACTLY is still being nailed down. Depending on feedback, we might set up future editing boot camps. But for now, this is a one-time only deal. The hands-on workshops will answer these DSLR workflow questions:

1)    How do I import DSLR footage?
2)    How do I save my project?
3)    Where are the project files stored?
4)    How is transcoding handled?
5)    What are the keyboard shortcuts for basic editing?
6)    What are the image stabilization controls all about?
7)    What is the magnetic timeline and how does it work?
8)    Do I need to import the DCIM folder?
9)    Is there a quality drop in Premiere?
10) How do I fade in and fade out, insert a title, pull a chroma key and adjust the black levels, tint, luminance and focus?
11) What export settings should I use?


One lucky attendee will win a raffle prize of $200 towards the purchase of either software!

We are very interested in feedback and questions from filmmakers. So please comment below, ask your questions and help us help you. Your input really is invaluable. Besides, it’s a lot easier than guessing what your questions are!

The class size will be limited to 20 students. We’ll either hold the workshop at EVS Studios in Glendale/Burbank, CA or at our headquarters (a few miles away) near Warner Bros Studios.

The three and a half hour Premiere Pro Workshop is $149.
The three and a half hour Final Cut X Workshop is $149.(Refreshments and lunch will be served.)

To secure a seat, register online using the links above, or call 818-841-9660 and ask to sign up for the Digital Editing Boot Camps.

It is possible we may have to reschedule the workshops due to situations beyond our control.  No refunds will be granted assuming the class is rescheduled. Of course, we will work to accommodate everyone’s schedule, in the event of an unforeseen reschedule.

Visibility Secrets Revealed: Why the Canon Boot Camp is Easy to Find Online

Is Your Website In Visibility Range Online?The Association’s Canon Boot Camp is very visible when searching on line using relevant keywords. I’ve been told on more than one occasion that our classes are very easy to find online, or even that we were the only class that showed up during a search.

Possibly there are some who wonder how we managed to show up online so well, and since I’m am the Chief Visibility Officer for The Association, I decided to share our story. That and because someone else already let the story out of the bag…but more on that later.

When I arrived at The Association a few years ago, we had a website. That was about it. Nothing wrong with having a website, it’s necessary. But it’s kind of like having a business card; you’re expected to have one, but what happens to business cards after you hand them out? Usually they make their way into a drawer, or maybe an envelope. After a few months, we forget why we had the card, and it lingers into obscurity, filling up small holes or perhaps used to level a potted plant to keep it from rocking slightly on an uneven surface during an earthquake. Those from California will know what I refer to…

The short version of the story is we used Content Marketing. I like to call it Topic Optimized Marketing. But the secret isn’t our content, it’s the tool we used to optimize our visibility online. That tool is called Compendium.

What is Compendium? A simplistic answer would be “a blogging platform.”

“Oh, you mean like WordPress?” No. Not like WordPress. More like 25-100 WordPress blogs. Well, in terms of showing up online it’s similar to having multiple blogs. But the effort to manage the whole system is less than one WordPress blog. Simplified content management with maximized visibility.

That’s our big secret. It’s why our Canon camera classes show up so well online. We devoted consistent effort to our content marketing AND put that content on the best (in our humble opinion) content marketing platform available. Our blog has already paid for itself many times over, and it was well worth the effort and cost required to set it up.

We are a Compendium agency partner because we successfully use and have experienced great results with Compendium. Any company can use Compendium to get visible online as well. Just click the link below and fill out the form to get more information.

Business Blogging Agency Partner for Compendium

How to Avoid a Million Dollar recall and Save your Job

Like any part going into a vehicle, the voice files have to be defect free.  Imagine if the voice file in your navigation system told you to “EXIT FREEWAY ON THE LEFT”, but there was no exit. And let’s say it is raining, and a storm has knocked out the lights on the freeway, and you turn your car not onto an exit ramp but just onto the median into oncoming traffic.
Defect-free voice files for navigation systems means job security
Oops. Lawsuit.
Oops. Recall.
Oops. You’re out of a job.
Even though the cause of the above error had nothing to do with you, you lost your job because you were supposed to deliver a perfect voice file set.  The error was made by some overworked sound person who mislabeled an audio file.  So when the computer program went to get the “exit freeway on the right” voice file, the file that it found was “exit freeway on the left”.
And the Evaluation Engineer who was supposed to check all these files just happened to get a text message right when he was checking the file set and he never noticed “exit freeway on the left” file was mislabeled.
And this is how disasters happen. Disasters for the driver, for the car company, for your company, and for your career.
We take all the worry off your shoulders.  Our Six Sigma quality, voice file production line has seven tiers of Quality Assurance to catch mistakes before they ever get to you.
  • Before the recordings are ever done, our voice coaches go through the script line by line checking for grammar, propriety, localization and language errors.
  • During recording our Quality Assurance Auditor makes sure every line is recorded as scripted.
  • During editing an editor’s assistant makes sure the final takes are selected and that the entire file is selected to be edited.
  • After recording and before the files are sent to you, three more people listen to each audio file and crosscheck it against the script for accuracy and correct filename.

This is how we maintain our six sigma levels of quality.  Basically we just looked at all the places an error could occur and put in a production checklist step to prevent it.

We worry about all this so you don’t have to worry about your job.  We’re in it for the long haul.  We’ve got your back.
Your career’s in good hands….with The Association.
(Proud supplier of voice files to Alpine, Honda, JCI, IBM, Cadillac, Raytheon and Hitachi)


What the Heck is the Alzo Transformer Rig and Why Would I Want It?

You’ve got the camera, now what accessories do you need? Director of Photography, Tom Myrdahl, tells us about his favorite DSLR rig, the Alzo Transformer Rig. He’s been a DP who has shot with about every camera out there, and has worked with the Canon DSLR 5D Mark II for 3 years. Tom is also one of the expert  instructors for our Canon camera classes.

When was the first time you used the Alzo Transformer Rig?

Tom Myrdahl: The first time I used the rig, which I like to call a “cage”, was as a demo at the Prague Canon Boot Camp. It was wonderful. The students got crazy about it. The last I heard, they were going to order some.

Tom Myrdahl in Prague with the Alzo Transformer.

What do you like about the rig? 

It’s very sturdy, lightweight, and affordable. There are so many heavy cages that are overkill on weight, and certainly overkill on expense. With the Alzo Transformer, I can mount my Canon DSLR 5D, put a Marshall 7” monitor on top, and it holds it very sturdy so I can hand hold it. It has a perfect balance. It helps eliminate jiggle when I do hand held shots; I’m more open to shooting hand-held now because I can do it a lot longer and a lot sturdier.

What was the last shoot where you used the rig?

Last week, I shot a PR video of a jazz band at a school sponsored by the Milken Foundation. I was below the stage but needed an establishing shot, so I used the Alzo monopod and pushed my camera up about 8 feet. It was like having a ladder shot from the floor. It was wonderful! I also shortened it to about 3 feet so I could pan and get in their faces. It was wonderful. It’s like having a hand-held jib. I get really happy when I see what I can do with the really simple pieces of technology.

Any last words?

Anybody who is going to buy a cage for documentaries or music videos, this is the thing to own.

For more information on Alzo and the Transformer Rig, click here.