Why Work In Film?

Why try to break into film as a “behind-the-scenes” professional? Because the industry is experiencing dramatic growth. The film and video industry is a significant employer, both in California and other parts of the country, of professionals in any number of fields.

Recently, the American Film Marketing Association (AFMA) launched a study on the economic impact filmmakers have on the economy as a whole. Its findings are exciting ones for those eager to work in the entertainment industry – and particularly for people interested in work that does not involve the financial (and emotional) risks associated with such fields as acting. AFMA’s study paints a picture of a mature and growing industry in need of qualified professionals in a wide variety of disciplines.

Filmmakers – both independent and major studios – account for more than 408,000 “direct” jobs nationwide. (This includes people who work as consultants or freelancers.) There are also the motion pictures and visual effects companies involved. The film industry’s “total U.S. economic effect” is estimated at nearly $12.5 billion.

Total production costs of network prime-time television, first-run syndication programs, and cable and pay-TV offerings are estimated at $12.5 billion.

The study closes by acknowledging the “growing demand for content in the entertainment industry” and “the many new formats and opportunities provided by emerging telecommunications and computer technologies.” The industry is, in short, growing fast and likely to continue to do so.

As thought to underscore AFMA’s research, current news stories have pointed to continued strong growth in the entertainment sector. Among the most interesting recent signs of expansion:

In 1996, Disney reported a quarterly earnings increase of 22 percent.

Moviefone — the ubiquitous media company that provides movie listings for 12,000 movie screens in 30 cities nationwide, and advance ticket sales by phone — just reported a quarterly earnings increase of 16 percent.

To be sure, such figures rise and fall, and business shifts can come upon even large and successful companies with very little warning. The production of filmed entertainment clearly represents a major domestic economic success — and a huge export to international markets.

Film, Screenwriting, Directing, Producing

Success in the film industry, in the production or visual effects companies,  is 80 percent preparation and 20 percent practicing for the interview, so it’s essential that you go in to the interview completely prepared. Be ready. Know what’s expected of you before you go. Why? Because if you want to be successful, you’ll have to control the process as much as possible, and the only way to do that is to have knowledge—and knowledge is control. Knowing the correct information is key to a successful interview.

There are two types of information you’ll want to get before you go to the interview. The first is about the production company or studio and the second is about the person who will be interviewing you.

If you’re reading the trades and you better be you should have a pretty good idea of what any given production is about and what any given studio is involved in at the moment. If you don’t know, make it your business to find out. Interviews are impressed when job applicants exhibit knowledge of the company because it means the applicant is serious and willing to put in the effort required to learn. If you can, talk to someone who is already on the inside. There’s nothing like knowing the right people to get a job. If it’s a production company that has come to your town to shoot and manager about anything in particular you should know.

If the interview is at a studio, there are two ways of getting this kind of information. The first is to use your network of contacts. If the interview was the result of a network contact, call the contact to thank him for helping you set up the interview and then ask for whatever he can tell you about the interviewer or the studio. If you know someone who works at the studio, ask her.

If and when you do find someone who can provide you with information, call as far in advance of the interview as possible. Make sure you’ve done your homework so your contact doesn’t have to give you the basic information that you should already have. At this point you’ll want to ask for specifics about the company and the individual who’ll be interviewing you. You might, for example, ask if there’s anything particular about the company’s culture that you should know. You should ask what kind of person the interviewer is, what he likes or dislikes, and if he has any hot buttons (either good or bad). Remember, the more information you have, the better prepared you’ll be. The better prepared you are, the more likely you’ll get the job.

Believe in Yourself

Remember that before you can convince an interviewer that you’re right for the job, you have to believe it yourself. If you don’t believe it, maybe you should be thinking about doing something else for a living. If you do, you have to make sure to communicate it. Those applicants who are reluctant to express confidence in their abilities are, generally speaking, the ones who get the rejection letters. While it’s important that you don’ appear to be overly confident, no one is going to sell you if you don’t sell yourself. Once you’ve sold the interviewer on you he or she will sell you on the position and the company, but not until then. So, don’t expect the interviewer to tell you why you’re right for the job. That’s what you should do.

Suggestions For Selling Your House in a Slow Market

It’s no secret that the housing market is horrible right now. Home owners are putting rock bottom prices on their houses and are still unable to sell them. Banks are foreclosing on homes, making the market even worse. If you are in a position where you need to sell your home, you are probably wondering what you can possibly do to attract prospective buyers.

The first step in selling your home is to get it into shape. When the market was booming you could sell a house that needed some work, but now that just isn’t going to happen. Now you are going to have to take some time and make those minor repairs you kept putting off. You should also think about repainting the entire house.If your electrical sockets, light switches, and cupboard doors are looking tired, you might as well replace them with something new. 

In addition to working on the inside of the house, you should also work on the outside. Curbside appeal is very important to people who are looking to buy a new house. Planting some flowers and keep you lawn neatly mowed will make a big difference in how fast your house sells.

Decide if you are going to use a realtor or if you are going to sell your house on your own. The advantage in using a realtor is that they have an extensive network of contacts. The advantage in selling your house on your own is that you don’t have to pay a commission on the sale which means that you can sell your house for less money, something that always appeals to prospective buyers.

If you are selling your house on your own you should run to your local hardware store and pick up a for sale sign. Without this sign no one will know that your house is for sale. Place the sign somewhere that it can be easily seen by people who are passing by. Make sure that your phone number is neatly printed on the sign.

When you are selling your house without the assistance of a realtor, it is extremely important that you get your house listed on as many websites as possible. Google homes for sale by owners and post a description of your home. Make sure that you include several attractive photos of your house.

Make use of the bulletin boards that are always in grocery stores. There is no rule that these bulletin boards can only be used by people that want to get rid of kittens and puppies. Put up fliers that have a nice picture of your house and your contact information. When someone comes to look at you house you need to be friendly and professional. If they decide that your home isn’t the one for them, be polite and wish them luck in their search. Don t get discouraged, the right buyer will come along sooner or later.

The current real estate market is ripe with investment opportunities. Remember that the only way to profit in a buyers market is by actually purchasing real estate. Sitting on the sidelines watching the opportunities pass by will only result in the ability to look back at some point and dream of what could have been.

After selling your house, you will probably face process of moving to a new place. Check Busy Beez Movers for some help on your move.

The Office – New Leads Review

The Sales Team Starts to Get Full of Themselves

In The Manager and the Salesman, Jim finds out that he can actually make more money as a salesman than as a manager. In New Leads, the sales team has had a few weeks to take advantage of this policy and it has gone straight to their heads.

They are given all kinds of gifts from Sabre and throwing their huge checks in Michael’s face. The accounting team, Darryl and Michael cannot handle the arrogance anymore.

Michael Hides the Leads

Michael Hides the leads in The Office

When the new leads finally come in, Michael decides to play a game with the salesman. He hides all of the leads in various parts of the office and the sales team must find them using the clues he has provided.

Of course, this only angers the sales team as these leads could give them even bigger checks. But what they are willing to do to get them provided some nice comic relief. Stanley sits with Ryan and Kelly as they argue about the Kardashians, Andy plays “hotter and colder” with Erin to try and find his lead and Jim goes on a scavenger hunt to find his.

However, Michael’s plan backfires (who didn’t see that coming?) when Kevin hides Dwight’s leads in the garbage and the garbage gets taken to the dump. Michael tries to enlist everyone to come help him, but of course only Dwight wants to go.

Sales Team Plan to Share Commissions

The sales team decides they are tired of the animosity and want to reward the rest of the office. They decide to give everyone 2% of their commissions. When the rest of the office awaits their proposal, they see the doughnuts and other snacks and think this is the proposal rather than the 2% commission.

New Leads The Office Sales Team

The sales team dodged a bullet with the snack offering. It will be interesting to see if the rest of the office hears about their other offer, or if the snacks will be enough to keep the peace.

Andy and Erin Kiss

Andy and Erin Kiss in The New Leads episode

At the very end of the episode, we see Andy and Erin kiss, at the dump. Not the most romantic of places, but Andy and Erin aren’t the most romantic of couples. It seems clear the writers want to separate the Andy/Erin relationship from the Jim/Pam relationship.

Granted, Jim and Pam got engaged at a truck stop off the highway, but most everything else in their relationship has been pretty perfect. Andy and Erin’s relationship has been in the making for about a season and it’s good to see it finally coming together.

How long it will last is anybody’s guess. However, fans will no doubt be outraged if it just fizzles out like Darryl and Kelly’s relationship.

DVD Review: Paranormal Activity 2

There has been a hell of a lot of secrecy around the release of ‘Paranormal Activity 2’ – firstly no Media Screenings available for reviewers back then and trying to search the Internet for any information about the cast usually ends up with a big fat nothing – well except for the fact that Katie Featherstone reprises her role from the first. So what does that mean for the film? Well I have to say it’s a bit disappointing considering there was so much hype for the first film and this is one of those rare occasions where the second film (can’t say sequel because it’s actually a prequel) is actually better than the original.

Things That Go Bump In The Night Again – The Story Of ‘Paranormal Activity 2’

This time round we follow Katie’s sister, Catherine and her family – husband, Frank, step-daughter Ally and son, Hunter. They are a happy family until shortly after the arrival of baby, Hunter things start to go seriously bump in the night something that their dog, Ally and Catherine are quick to accept but seriously de-bunked by Frank who is the typical skeptic. Katie warns Catherine to just ignore what is happening however the events begin to be too big to ignore and soon the whole family is under threat.

Tod Williams – New Director At The Helm

All I can say is thank goodness that Oren Peli (‘Paranormal Activity’) handed the directional reigns to Tod Williams (‘Wings Over The Rockies’, ‘The Door In The Floor’) this time around because while many raved about how scary the original in this series was it did nothing for me, however this time round was a very different story. Firstly the characters were a lot more rounded – which meant I actually cared what happened to them and secondly Williams obviously knows that the first rule of making a horror film is that it should be scary.

While I admit that ‘Paranormal Activity 2’ didn’t exactly freak me out it did make me jump a couple of times. Williams masters the idea of creating suspense and then shocking his audience with sudden movements (or sounds in some cases), and certainly made the film realistic with just enough supernatural-goings-on to make it damn scary. Williams also doesn’t hold back like so many horror directors do these days – it doesn’t matter whether you’re an adult character, a baby or even a dog… you’re fair game – the way it should be.

Weak Ending Lets Down ‘Paranormal Activity 2’

My only major fault with ‘Paranormal Activity 2’ was that the ending seemed severely rushed, a shame because it was cruising along quite nicely before then. It did leave me a little disappointed and I’m sure the problem could have been fixed with a script re-working as it seemed the writer was more determined to set up the Third film than he did to finish off this one with a satisfactory ending.

Summing Up ‘Paranormal Activity 2’

However, despite this bad ending ‘Paranormal Activity 2’ was a lot better than the original. It may not be the best horror film going around but at least it provided some suspense and a few jumps.

Rating: 3/5

The value of training for startups

If you are starting or running a startup what type of training is most valuable, and for that matter, is the training of any value at all?

Software and computer system training

There’s no doubt that training on software packages can be very useful, whether it be accounting software to help you run your businesses or presentation software like PowerPoint to help you pitch your services to potential customers. Software training can save you time in trying to figure out how to do various things and even let you know about things you didn’t know the software did. There was an interesting story a  while ago about how Microsoft had done a survey asking customers what functionality they would like in forthcoming releases. It turned out that most of the things requested were already available in the current version and users were completely unaware of this.

Marketing training

One of the biggest challenges that are facing the new startup owners, is how to implement the best startup marketing strategy in today’s digital revolution. Usually for small business, choosing the right marketing tactics can be very intimidating.

However, using the services from a marketing-oriented agency can help you make an impact in this very competitive world. The agency’s team will help you in creating a marketing strategy that will help you in growing your customer base and attracting new customers by taking a set of actions that can bring your business the most exposure without spending too much of your valuable time and money.

 

Sales training

Another challenge facing new and established business owners is how to sell their products and services. I used to think that there must be some magic formula that could be used to produce great sales results and I read quite a few books on sales and selling in order to discover what it was. A lot of sales books take you through various “closes” that they say will turn you into a super-salesperson overnight. For example, “would you like that in red or blue?”, I can’t remember the name of this close, but they do all have names. The trouble with this is that most people have heard this type of thing before and it turns them right off.  That said, they can be very powerful in the hands of a skillful salesperson who builds these closes (if we have to call them that) into their general presentation. So there would seem to be an answer; get sales training by all means, but think about what you are learning and practice ways to make it fit naturally into your conversations with customers.

Networking training

The easiest people to do business with are those who know, like and trust you, and it is very difficult to achieve this if you are sending letters or making cold calls to try and get appointments with prospective customers. When you turn up for these appointments with “strangers” you are often viewed as a vendor of products or services rather than a prospective partner in a business relationship. Doing business with people you know through networking or people to whom you have been referred by friends and associates is much more effective. These prospective customers will already trust you by association and will be looking forward to their business discussions with you. Since this approach to new business generation is so powerful it is surprising that so few people undertake training to become effective networkers. Networking training enables business people to cultivate business contacts and not see everyone as a prospect to be sold to. One business networking organization calls this the difference between farming and hunting, where the farming approach produces the best long-term results. Some business networking organizations provide this networking training free as a part of their services to members so look out for this when (not if) you consider joining one of these organizations. Also, don’t forget that training sessions are great networking opportunities in themselves.

Time management training

One of the questions often asked as part of the greeting when business people meet is, “are you busy?”, and the implication is that the busier you are, the better. However, is this always the case? You can be really busy but all of your time is taken up with tasks that, although they may be necessary, your limited time would be better spent on something more beneficial to your business. We all have only 24 hours in a day and some people clearly use this time more effectively than others, so this is a skill that can be learned and put into practice. Therefore, time management training could be one of the most valuable types of training that business people can undertake. One tip I picked up at a time management training session concerned making lists. A lot of people make lists of what they need to do, and the really effective list makers even prioritize the items on the list so they do the tasks in the most effective order. The tip I picked up was to always make your list the night before. This achieves two things. Firstly, making the to-do list the night before means that in the morning you can get right on with the tasks on your list. Secondly, the night before you know you don’t have to carry out the tasks until the next day so you won’t leave tasks off that you don’t fancy doing, and in the morning the list is written and you have to get on with it.

Business training can be very useful, then?

I’m a big believer in training for business. So many people try to muddle through and they could save themselves a lot of lost time and opportunities by learning about the right things.

Contact Lens Fitting Specialists

If you have ever wondered whether contact lenses are right for you, a one-day contact lens trial may provide the answer.

If you have had a recent eye examination, and your prescription is suitable, contact lenses can be fitted for a full-day trial.
Contact Eyecatchers and make an appointment for a free trial fitting now.

Eyecatchers Optometrists provide this no obligation, free trial fitting, that allows you to:

  • feel how comfortable modern silicone hydrogel soft contact lenses are to wear.
  • see how clear your vision can be with contact lenses.
  • experience and enjoy the freedom of perfect vision without the hindrance of spectacles.
  • find out whether contact lenses are for you, no cost, risk-free, following your recent eye examination.

At Eyecatchers our optometrists keep up to date with the latest contact lens prescribing trends worldwide.
We utilize lenses manufactured from modern silicone hydrogel materials, and incorporating the very latest designs.

Hi-tech silicon hydrogel lenses allow atmospheric oxygen to pass freely through the lens material. This enables your eyes to breathe better and results in much healthier eyes and a much more comfortable, and extended contact lens wearing experience.
Silicon hydrogel lenses also significantly reduce the risk of corneal infection, especially when these lenses are worn for extended periods of time, or for overnight wear.

Other Contact Lens Specialties and Services:

  • Toric contact lenses for the correction of astigmatism
  • Multifocal contact lenses and monovision correction so there is no need to wear reading glasses over the top of your contact lenses.
  • Lenses for extended wear and overnight wear and lenses for patients where continuous wear is a requirement.
  • Rigid gas permeable (RGP) hard contact lens fitting
  • A specialist KERATOCONUS fitting service which includes the latest Medmont corneal mapping equipment for accurate diagnosis and monitoring of changes in corneal shape, and state-of-the-art contact lens design and fitting utilizing digital slit-lamp photography.

Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost – a DVD Review

Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost DVD Review

A Warner Home Video feature-length animated movie, Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost, that was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions premiered on DVD in 1999. 8/10

During a scheme to catch museum thieves, Scooby and the Gang are upstaged by the famous horror novelist, Ben Ravencroft. Velma is a huge fan of his and he invites the gang to the town where he was born. Once there, the gang and Ravencroft discover that the once quiet New England town is now a busy tourist attraction due to a legend of witches and has a concert scheduled with the punk/Goth band, “The Hex Girls.” Ravencroft tells the gang about his old and long-deceased descendant, Sarah Ravencroft, who was shunned by the townspeople for being a Wiccan witch. Ben is determined to locate Sarah’s grave to find the book that she was buried alongside. In the meantime, a ghost witch has been terrorizing everyone. Join the Scooby gang and the horror author as they try to find out the truth behind the witch and find his book. As usual, nothing is as it first appears.

“Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost” is another newer Scooby feature-length animated movie distributed by Warner Home Video. This movie is produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and released in 1999.

The story is perfect for a Scooby movie. “Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost” is reminiscent of the original series in story, acting, art, and atmosphere. What better for the Scooby gang and for viewing around the Halloween holiday, than a story involving a horror author, a Goth vampire band, and a ghost witch? This movie will take you back to the Scooby episodes of yesteryear, while incorporating updated technology. The story is also easy to follow for children.

The voice actors are great again. This time, Frank Welker only does his role as Fred and not as Scooby. Casey Kasem, who made the voice of Shaggy his own, does not return to voice the quivering, shaky voice of Shaggy. Scott Innes pulls double duty as the voice of Scooby and Shaggy. Innes does so well that it is difficult not to think that it is actually Welker and Kasem.

Tim Curry guest stars as the voice of the horror author, Ben Ravencroft. Curry gives the author an air of high society, but one must be wondering where a New England-born native acquired his slight British accent. One interesting aspect of this character is that he is a horror author from New England, just like Stephen King. The character’s facial appearance bares a striking resemblance to King; he even wears glasses.

The setting of an old New England town offers the perfect backdrop for a spooky story about witches. Perfect for hot chocolate or popcorn on a cool autumn night.

The artwork is just a tad crisper than the 1960s series, but still offers a nostalgic appearance with a slightly faded image.

Love the music. It fits every scene perfectly and with great rhyming lyrics, but not rap. Billy Ray Cyrus stays true to the original Scooby theme with his own rendition. The Hex Girls’ music is not very heavy at all, which parents might be glad to hear.

The DVD menu art is very fun and colorful. There are also several entertaining Special Features that children will enjoy including, Mystery, Inc. Bios, The Scooby-Doo Dare, Making of Special, Music Video, Trailer, and Sneak Peeks of Scooby Videos.

If you are a Scooby fan or need something to keep young kids entertained for 70 minutes, this is the perfect answer. As always, be careful with younger viewers because some aspects of the movie may frighten them. I recommend screening it before allowing them to view it. Below is the Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost trailer:

How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Cost?

One day any of us may feel fed up with glasses or contact lenses. This very moment we start thinking about laser surgery that is advertised and praised everywhere. Any operation is not an easy solution. And not a cheap one, as well. There are lots of factors that may affect laser eye surgery cost. The first thing for you to do is to compare its prices in different clinics. Still, note, that when comparing the prices you should compare like for like. Sometimes it is not entirely clear what is included in the cost of surgery.

First of all, let’s mention the main factors that can affect your laser surgery cost:

Laser Technology You Choose

This is the principal factor influencing your surgery cost. For example, if you add such options as Wavefront and Intralase to your standard procedure, the price will be considerably increased. It is important to mention that some clinics offer such procedures as Intralase and Wavefront as standard ones.

Generally, there are several basic types of eye laser surgery (here we list them by price ascending):

  • Standard Lasik
  • Wavefront
  • Intralase
  • Monovision
  • Laser-blended vision

Laser Eye Surgery Consultation

You should find out if some clinic offers a free laser surgery consultation. Some clinics ask for a small deposit and refund it. This is used as some sort of guarantee that you will turn up for your consultation. They may also charge a fee that will be taken off your surgery price (of course, if you choose them).

Prescription You Have

Some clinics show their laser surgery prices as total price regardless of your personal prescription, whereas others will price their laser eye surgery depending on your prescription. Higher prescriptions are usually more expensive.  They are the same for both longsighted and short-sighted or astigmatic prescriptions though there are few clinics that do not charge more for higher prescriptions. This is the fact you will need to pay attention to when choosing a clinic. Please also remember that eye laser surgery cost is quoted per eye. Each eye may need its own treatment.

Average Cost of Lasik Eye Surgery in 2018Surgery “Package”

The price may vary depending on the services included in the basic surgery. You should check with the clinic you’ve chosen whether your post operational medications and any kind of possible re-treatments are covered in the fee.

Surgeon

The level of professionalism and skills, personal experience and reputation of your laser surgeon are the basic factors that influence the surgery cost.  A more experienced eye surgeon that has good visual outcomes and lower rates of complications is more likely to charge a higher price.

Clinic

Respectable clinics with perfect laser eye surgery results usually list higher prices. Still, they may offer a lifetime guarantee for laser re-enhancements that sounds very attractive and worth paying for.

Now, the last thing to mention is discounts and bargain prices. When you find such an offer, please be wise enough to ask some questions first. You will need a written quote including all the details of the surgery. There are some unscrupulous clinics that use such bait to attract more patients. In fact, the price they advertise does not include lots of necessary things that will be later added to the total cost. So, please find out how much does laser eye surgery cost before deciding to choose some clinic. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Please choose wisely when it comes to vision correction surgery, and the cost of laser eye surgery should not be your only consideration.

Ponyo – Blu-Ray/DVD Review

Hand-drawn animation is the hallmark of Hayao Miyazaki, and his film, Ponyo, is colorful and filled with delightful characters. A mixture of The Little Mermaid and Splash, this film tells the story of a young fish who desires to be human.

Ponyo and SosukePonyo and Sosuke

Ponyo’s mother is a powerful sea goddess, and her father is a wizard. Ponyo, much like Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, is enamored by life above the ocean. One day she travels to the surface and is rescued by a five-year-old boy. Sosuke names the little goldfish Ponyo. Sosuke and Ponyo become close friends, even though she is a fish. Then, through circumstances of nature, she returns to the sea, and Sosuke holds out hope that he will see his little Ponyo again.

Sosuke’s mother works at a senior center, and his father is a captain on a ship, so the little boy does not have many friends to play with. The feelings he had for Ponyo go deeper than simply a boy and his pet fish. They formed an instantaneous bond that will determine their destiny.

Meanwhile, under the sea, Ponyo’s father keeps her in a bubble so she cannot escape again. However, she is developing powers he is unable to control. Little by little Ponyo becomes human. With the help of her sisters and her underwater friends, Ponyo races to the surface to find her friend Sosuke. When Sosuke sees her, he is amazed that his beloved goldfish is now a little girl.

While Ponyo’s father is causing havoc and trying to get his little girl back, her powerful mother decides that if she truly wants to be a human, then she should be able to follow her heart, provided Sosuke really does love her.

This is a beautiful story and probably Miyazaki’s best film to date. It boasts a star-studded cast of voice talent which includes Noah Lindsey Cyrus (Ponyo), and Frankie Jonas (Sosuke), Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Chloris Leachman, and Betty White. The character of Ponyo is adorable, both as a fish and a little girl.

Ponyo is a sweet movie with wonderful animation. It’s something suitable for the entire family.

Hayao Miyazaki’s DVD Releases

Hayao Miyazaki has created several classic animated films. Besides the release of Ponyo, which is available in a set containing both a DVD and a Blu-ray disc, three other Miyazaki films have been re-released, each in two-disc special editions and with new bonus features: My Neighbor Totoro boasts the voice talents of Tim Daly, Dakota Fanning, and Elle Fanning, Kiki’s Delivery Service with the voices of Kirsten Dunst, Janeane Garofalo, and Debbie Reynolds, and Castle in the Sky, with James Van Der Beek, Anna Paquin, Chloris Leachman, and Mark Hamill.

These are all wonderful family films with beautifully drawn animation and all feature A-list voice talents.