Tobias Entertainment Group

Marice Tobias

 

Point of View

Thoughts, Musings, Observations

  1. July 8, 2012

    How to Hover

    I recently received an irate email from someone who said he was interested in working with me. Well, that’s what he said.

    Without our having met or spoken, let alone my agreeing to work together, he described his career in excruciating detail, complete with cliff quotes and accolades.

    With such stunning levels of success, I wondered why he was contacting me.

    He finally said that with all he’d accomplished, he was sure, as I would be, that there was nothing lacking in his ability or talent, but his lack of work (not that he needed to work, by the way, but rather enjoyed working) was clearly a problem with the industry and he was charging me with finding a way to market him so that the industry would see the error of its ways.

    Yes, there’s all kinds of wrong with this, and while this man’s attitude may not represent the majority of talent or people out there, it also just might.

    There is a roiling level of resentment that has become institutionalized by social media. Blog after blog, chat after chat is rife with commentary making the producing community wrong and the acting community right.

    And does all that complaining change one thing? Has Mr. Fabulous stopped clinging to a read and sensibilities that have long since passed their sell-by date?

    Nope.

    All he did was identify one more person to shake his finger at. He didn’t want my help, he wanted my complicity or failing that, another target for his complaints.

    After reviewing his materials I sent him a brief note saying that while marketing is a key component of a career, there were other aspects of his work that needed to be addressed and aligned with the manner in which the culture and producers now speak to one another, and if he was open to such an exploration, to get in touch for a session.

    Are we surprised that what I got back was another novel, reiterating what he said in the first email, but with a more indignant froth? I did not respond lest I encourage further lobs.

    The issue is not about Right or Wrong, it’s about the willingness to evolve with the Game, as it evolves.

    If someone tried to qualify for the Olympics with the same program with which Dorothy Hamill won gold, they would not even make the team. Now, if you are not able to hover, mid-air, like a hummingbird, you won’t make the cut.

    As one voice talent manager said to me, “ Most people do not understand how good ‘good’ has to be.”

    Reinforcing a mindset that keeps you in place keeps you from playing the game the way the game is played now.

    All the time, money and opportunities won’t matter if you haven’t mastered the ability to hover and stop time in its tracks.


  2. May 31, 2012

    The Elephant in The Room

    Saw Death of a Salesman Sunday, in New York. One of the most memorable productions I’ve ever seen, it and Fences with Denzel Washington and Olivia Davis, are two of my all-time favorites.

    With Mike Nichol’s inspired* direction, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and an equally stellar cast  bring Arthur Miller’s seminal play into the 21st Century.

    At the root of both pieces is the timeless tale of a secret. varnished with layers of lies so thick, each member of the family is emotionally paralyzed with brooding rage that ultimately explodes. While altering the course of everyone’s life, the denouement frees them to live more authentically, if they so choose.

    The need to be seen and have one’s life seen in a certain way is universal. But when that need becomes the goal in and of itself, it is hollow. What we now call “the elephant in the room” keeps people, and those in the conspiracy with them, from achieving authenticity.

    As time goes by, those who hire performers (as well as our entire culture!) continue to ask for more and more authenticity.  Producers’ way of asking is to say “more conversational, non- announcer” or words to that effect. They and we want the true you, not the varnished version that makes you look and sound like who you want us to think you are.

    That motif harkens back to the Parental Culture that gave rise to the model of perfection that is impossible to achieve, keeping people guarded and fearful of being found out. In its early seasons, Mad Men showed us that model in exquisite contrast to the dark underbelly of each character’s all-too-human flaws.

    Ironically, it is now our flaws and imperfections, rather than the façade of perfection that makes us more appealing.

    There are a variety of vehicles and venues to market oneself and stay on the radar.

    The “elephant in the room,” to my mind, is not so much the investment, whether on a personal site or elsewhere, but if what’s being said lives up to its promise, instead of trying to look like it does.

    If it’s the latter and not the former, no one is fooling anyone, except perhaps, oneself.

    When Bonnie finds Clyde not up to the mark in lovemaking, she says  “Yer advertisin’s just dandy, nobody’d ever guess you got nuthin’ to sell”.

    Marketing and advertising present ideas, images and identities in as favorable a light as possible, but if it is found out to be overreaching, the backlash can be ugly. People resent being misled.

    Make sure performance not only delivers on its promise, but (even better) outperforms, so that how it looks tells the truth about how it is, and then some.

    – –

    * Mike Nichols and The Graduate were the inspiration for my becoming a director.

     


  3. May 11, 2012

    The Game the Way the Game is Played

    The LA Times article that ran May 7, 2012 is the perfect springboard for this installment.

    When Joe Flint asked to interview me, I asked if he wanted to write the same article others had written or would he like to write the one that no one has? He said he wanted the former but had to submit several angles to his editor. As we saw, it ran with the celeb angle and that work-a-day actors resent them getting so much work.  Truth be told, those who are so inclined, resent anyone getting any work they aren’t getting, so celebs have plenty of company there. In any case, here’s the article I wish someone would write someday:

    “Voiceover, The Most Underestimated Career in Show Biz”

    It’s been called the Best Job in the World and when all the planets align, those who upon whom the Voiceover Gods smile are happy campers. But, for most, that alignment is like catching lightening in a bottle and the day-to -day getting in and then staying in is like scaling the Washington Monument with Vaseline on your fingertips.

    It’s not necessarily for lack of talent or drive but for the sheer numbers, the elusiveness of the work and the shifting tide of pop culture that renders Today obsolete with the click of keystroke.

    Shared in one of our seminars by a successful talent who did his research, this statistic is sobering:

    On any given day, there are 1.3 million people pursuing voiceover work. One point three million.

    Even if we eliminate less than stellar candidates, the amount of talent available outnumbers the amount of work a thousand fold, and the ability to build and maintain a healthy career becomes more challenging every day.

    Despite this reality, the training ground is a virtual border town, glutted with shingles luring prospectors to pan the gold of hitting it big with a minimum investment of time, money and due diligence.  There are almost as many land offices as there are prospectors, many with less interest in someone striking gold as they are in getting their filing fees.

    Then there is the elusiveness of the work. While many jobs can be pursued on one’s own, the preferred avenue for the richest veins is via representation.

    The ante on representation is higher than ever before. The gamble is higher, the turnaround time shorter and the number of people seeking representation vs. how few of them there are, make them as sought after as the work.

    Gone are the days of putting an ok demo together, meeting with an agent and being signed on the spot. Today, you have to already be awesome, have recognizable credits, be willing to date before you marry and  share the spoils of current strikes before you get access to the mother-lode.

    Do not expect to get anywhere with generic materials, standard reads or being a canvas upon which clients can paint. And, it’s at least a five year minimum build to a solid career, so don’t give up your day job until it’s totally in the way.

    Finally, there’s the need to know and embrace The Landscape of Pop Culture and Social Media.

    When Bob Lloyd, the original Voicecaster  suggested I have “my own thing” I was surprised. “But Bob, there are at least 10 workshops in town already.” (There are now over 100 in every market and zillions on the web) “True” he said, “but nothing for the working pro. Some people are still doing the same read they did when they got into the business.”

    “Why not”?

    “They don’t want to hurt feelings and/or risk losing them.”

    There’s always a way to say something in the spirit of enhancement and encouragement, so here’s mine:

    Stay current to remain relevant. Do your homework. Watch, listen and understand the Cultural Conversation. It’s why Betty White is still cool and why so many of her contemporaries are warming webbed chairs on the porch.

    The Game has changed and the Rules have been re-written. It doesn’t matter if how it was seems to be better than how it is. Making it wrong doesn’t make you right- it makes you irrelevant.

    PS: The rest of what I said about celebs in the interview is that each has a distinctive personae that gives products, ideas or services a place to live, there are a lot more celebs/people in the public eye than ever before, there’s no longer a stigma to voicing commercials and star voices in an animated film give the producers something to put on the marquee.

    You don’t have to be a star for people to think you are one. You just have to have something unique, special or different enough for them to think you are.

    To Be Continued.

     

     


  4. December 31, 2011

    Moving Forward

    This is the time of year when we take stock of where we are, where we’d like to be and the gap that might be in between.

    In our last blog, we noted that doing what you are doing will keep you in place.  Expanding on that concept,  doing what you are doing will also keep you from stepping up to the next level and beyond.

    When I decided to start directing commercials in New York, I shared my strategy with a producer at a well-known ad agency. I was going to be the first woman to direct at a production company.  I decided to focus on what I felt would be a good point of entry: i.e. commercials for shelf goods.

    There was a plethora of those spots being produced every year and as a script supervisior at the production company that shot over half of them, I knew the genre, the producers and the creative teams. He agreed and then offered some advice that still resonates today:

    “Just remember,  you can’t get into Compton (Advertising) with a Compton reel. We always want to feel we are going to best ourselves with our next campaign.”

    That advice informed the spots I wrote and directed for my sample reel. They broke the traditional “slice of life” model for shelf goods.

    Ironically, my first directing job turned out to be a very traditional slice of life campaign!

    Who cares?

    My reel said I’d bring something fresh and new to the same old, same old and I guess I did because I got to direct more spots for them after that.

    So, the big little secret in moving forward is not just being good at your current level of work, but also being good at the level on which you want to be..and good in a way that inspires people to risk choosing you. Yes, it’s a risk. Their jobs are on the line so help them help you. Give them something to cheer about because that first person now becomes your champion and has to convince others you will cover them all with glory.

    In terms of representation – reads, demos and marketing that stop people in their tracks are no longer enough.

    You also need marquee credits.

    These are gigs that impress and serve as talking points for those who will be singing your praises.

    The days of being automatically signed are disappearing. A honeymoon or test-drive is now quite common.  Don’t take it personally.  It’s a step in the right direction.

    On a purely personal note, when I see postings, it’s mostly because they’ve been forwarded to me.

    Good grief.

    Enough railing about the business. It is what it is.

    Concentrate on what you can actually do something about.

    Your delivery.

    Too many reads just don’t hit the mark. Make sure what you are turning in will indeed stop people in their tracks.

    Wishing all a Happy, Prosperous and Peace filled 2012!


  5. December 16, 2011

    The Training Effect

    The Good News is, doing what you are doing, keeps you doing what you are doing.

    The Bad News is, doing what you are doing, keeps you doing what you are doing.

    It’s why sports teams have a staff and individual atheletes have people who travel with them to keep them sharp.

    A win is as good as the game in which it was played but afterwards, there’s no slacking off on drills and practice unless there’s travel involved. Why? Because the more finely-tuned one is, the quicker rigor will dissipate if it’s not reinforced and enhanced.

    Whatever they did right will also be analysed by others, as well as where their flanks might be vulnerable.

    Established careers that want to cut through to the next level as well as  those at the top of the game cannot rest on laurels.  Being a pro, in anything, is as competitive as moving up the ranks. The medal jumps that athletes did in the Olympics a few short years ago would not even qualify them for the team today.

    So know that the level of play you are at today might not be enough, especially when trying to get the attention of those who are able to open bigger doors.

    The #1 issue for agents, managers, casting directors and producers is that auditions, especially self-directed ones, are not where they should be but there isn’t time to help get them where they need to go. That,  they feel, is your job.  They give you the shot, it’s up to you to hit the target and to keep hitting it, read after read after read.

     


  6. September 5, 2011

    Impression Management

    Years ago, I went to the mat with talent when they told me they did cold calling when looking to build up their client base or when business was slow.

    “So, when you’re busy, they don’t hear from you but when you aren’t, they do?”

    “Right. Oh, I see what you’re saying. My calling says I’m not busy.”

    “Yes.”

    For the most part, that put an end to a glaring error in impression management.  If, for some reason, cold calling is still a part of your marketing strategy, please hire someone to do it for you. I’m even against calling producers with whom you’ve worked. It still says you aren’t behind the mike and who knows what they are dealing with when they pick up their phone.

    If you want to keep the personal touch a componant of your business, there are lots of college kids looking to make extra money. With a succinct script and plenty of rehearsal, they can come off as fresh and enthusiastic member of your team and  keep you off the front line of your own marketing.

    The image we want them to have of you is that you are either in session, in a meeting or in transit.

    Now, how do we reconcile that philosophy with the extremely seductive and addictive nature of social media?

    It’s the same principle. Too much is too much.

    The time you spend in chat rooms and/or creating materials for various sites and postings should be kept to an absolute minimum. Too many posts, too much information and being on too many venues says one thing and one thing only: You have the time to do it. That is not the statement you want to be making about your career. A cogent comment now and then is sufficient. If they want more of you, let them hire you.

    And, while we’re on the subject of marketing, sending out notices for the sake of reminding people to think of you  is in the same category.

    Time is all we have. If you are going to ask someone to spend a scrap of time paying attention to something you’ve sent them, make sure it contains some content that will help them put you on their radar. If you are launching a new site or have updates, great. New credits and their links are best. Everyone wants to work with players. Make sure you are showing up like one. And, be sure to pick and choose what you spotlight judiciously. Making a big deal out of every booking and showing up too often wears out your welcome.

    Rule of thumb:  Become a bit scarce and let them wonder if you’ll even have time to work with them!

     


  7. June 6, 2011

    LOCATION FOR PRE-PROMAX SEMINAR ANNOUNCED!

    Tobias Entertainment Group is pleased to announce

    STAR TRAX

    {Our new New York Studio}

    Conveniently located in Midtown, right off Fifth Avenue at 32 West 39th St. – 14th Floor, this hotbed of voiceover action in the Big Apple, is our new site for seminars and recording beginning with this

    NEW PROMO WEEKEND INTENSIVE JUNE 25th AND 26th

    which launches

    PROMAXBDA & BOOT CAMP WEEK

    If you’re serious about Promo, this is the weekend, the week, the city and the place to be. Contact Creative Entertainment Management for further details at stacey@creativeentertainmentmanagement.com.


  8. April 15, 2011

    Trailer Talk

    Have wanted to weigh in on this for a long time now.

    There is a consideration missing from the trailer conversation.
    It’s called The Audience.

    I know, every new group that comes along wants to make their mark on the cultural landscape and define their time distinct from all others. Aside from whatever financial considerations there are to using or not using a narrator for theatrical trailers, there is the idea that not using a voice “lets the film speak for itself.”

    Yeah, no. That’s not a trailer. That’s a cut-down version of the film that does not immediately grab our attention from looking for seats, texting, asking what everyone wants to eat, catching up on gossip.

    A trailer is a series of strategically orchestrated scenes narrated by a skilled storyteller who tells us how to feel about what we are seeing. It’s a time-honored contract that is being broken and depriving us of a treasured aspect of going to “the movies.”  It’s also giving the audience permission not to pay attention to what’s on the screen because it’s not cashing in on the subconscious need we have to be instantly transported from our own lives and dropped in to “a world” other than our own.

    No matter when producers, editors and filmmakers showed up on the planet, they still grew up going to theaters, buying popcorn, sodas, candy, etc. and settling down to watch trailers before the Main Attraction came on the screen. In that darkened enclave, a voice came on, enveloping them and the rest of the audience in the world of the Coming Attractions.

    Without The Voice, we are not hypnotically pulled to the screen with the almost pavlovian response to pay attention that was ingrained into our psyches since childhood.

    When the odd and random, disembodied voice does suddenly shows up on a few lines here and there or suddenly drops in at the end to announce the title, it startles us and not in a good way.  The rule in writing is called ‘playing fair with the audience.”  If you are going to introduce an element, it should be there from the  beginning and be a part of the story or it attracts attention to itself and is frankly, just plain bad writing. The reaction is “ Who’s that and where’d they come from?” It often gets a laugh and again, not in a good way.

    So please, restore our movie-going experience as we knew and loved it and in the process, cash in on the equity trailers have built up over the years to pull us in, settle us down and help us not only get ready for the Main Event but make a mental note to make sure we see all those others, as well.

    Play fair with us and we might just come back more than we have been lately!


  9. March 25, 2011

    A Pinecone in the Desert

    It had been one of the toughest years of my life. My mother’s illness took all her resources and mine.  Flying back and forth from California to Florida after my father’s death to set up her new life whittled my life down to the nubs.

    A friend suggested I attend a weekend retreat she’d just completed. It became my first step towards living an examined life.

    Our last process was to pair up, go off into the high desert and find a token that would remind us of the work we’d done that weekend.

    My partner found his token right away and trudged around with me, pointing out rocks, feathers and assorted desert debris as possibilities. Nothing felt like a fit.

    He was cold and wanted to get back to the compound.

    ”Are you looking for something special?” he asked.

    I nodded.

    “What?”

    “A pinecone.”

    “ A pinecone” he said flatly.  “You’re looking for a pinecone in the desert.”

    I nodded again. He shook his head.

    When I was a kid, we lived next to a forest for a while. I would wander around under the canopy of trees. They made me feel secure.  After that, whenever I ran across a pinecone that wasn’t where it should be, like in a city or on the beach, I brought it home.

    I saw it as a sign that all would be well.

    “Right, he said, shivering, “ but you know that’s probably not going to happen.”

    A few steps later, I saw what looked like a pinecone. I raced over but it turned out to be a parched sunflower. “Ok, I said, “if I don’t find what I’m looking for, I’ll take this.”

    He threw up his hands and said he was heading back.

    Just as I too was about to give up and go back to the sunflower, there it was – a real, honest to goodness pinecone! I scooped it up and held it against my heart.

    “Thank you“ I whispered “I knew you were out there somewhere.”

    When it was time for me to tell why a pinecone meant something to me I said: “I’m going home with a renewed belief and trust in myself. I learned that whatever it is you seek, don’t settle, because what you really want just might be a few steps away. And, that no matter what, if I can find a pinecone in the desert, I can do anything.”

    I still bring pinecones home when I find them in an unlikely place.

    You’d be surprised how many there are out there.


  10. November 28, 2010

    Toasting the Law of Attraction

    I’m walking down Madison Avenue and see a spectacular display of fabulous martini glasses in the window of an equally fabulous shop.

    I’ve been looking for martini glasses to grace the shelves of my teacart, an item I use about as much I will be using the glasses. No matter, they look great and for true Girly Girls, that’s the barometer of what gets to come live with us.

    I stroll into the shop and am greeted with studied civility by a wan gentleman who floats over to speak with me.

    “Yes Madam” he says, “May I be of some assistance?”

    “Yes,” I say, cheerily gesturing to the window display, “how much are the etched martini glasses in the window?”

    He rises up on demi-point and glides over to the display, taking one rare jewel of a glass off the gleaming pyramid and placing it in my hand. He then launches into the entire lineage of the glass, each charming detail elevating the cost by ten percent.

    I dutifully admire the glass as he beams at it like a newborn. I sigh and look up at him.

    “And how much would this little treasure be?”

    He proudly declares that each is a numbered, one of a kind, hand-blown gem with the distinctive artisan’s mark on the underside of the curve, at the melding of the stem and the foot and sells for a mere $250.

    “Each?” I query, trying not to appear apoplectic.
    He nods evenly as he reaches to take it back.
    “They are quite something, aren’t they?”
    I agree, ask for his card and assure him I’ll be in touch.
    We both know better.

    Back on terra firma, I am still without stunningly useless glasses for my equally useless teacart. But a true Girly Girl is not without her guile.
    I am visualizing glasses on the cart and a bevy of admiring friends gathered around, cooing over my fabulous finds as we settle in for one of those equally fabulous salons I want to host in great costumes reminiscent of Rosalind Russell in “Auntie Mame.”
    The movie, not the musical. The “real“ Auntie Mame, darling.

    Sometime later:

    I am looking for my vegetable peeler.
    I look and look and then realize the problem.
    I don’t own one.
    Spending as little time in the kitchen as I do, it’s not unusual for me to lose track of the inventory.

    Something possessed me to download a recipe that requires peeled potatoes. With potatoes scrubbed and awaiting their fate, I accept mine. I have to go get a peeler.

    Not wanting to spend a whole lot of money, I go to one of those stores I vowed to never enter again unless being pursued by a pack of wolves.

    Just as I’d remembered: unattended carts with shrieking infants, cavorting siblings from embattled, multi-generational families, fighting over a mountain of purchases in overflowing carts, a blaring intercom and the buzz of garish neon lighting. This is what I get for thinking I should cook.

    I round kitchenware and see an assortment of chef’s tools. There are several kinds of potato peelers. I select one that will match my décor and look lovely in the drawer. Leaving the aisle, almost past giftware, my heart skips a beat and I come to a screeching halt. What?!

    There, nestled between a multi-colored, cross-eyed chicken vase and a ceramic lamp in the shape of an outhouse, is one lone, achingly fabulous martini glass just like the ones I’d seen on Madison Avenue!

    I carefully remove the glittering glass from its rude surroundings and examine it like a coroner on CSI. It’s not a knockoff! I see the delicate artisan’s mark etched on the curve between the stem and the foot, verifying its lineage. And, wait for it… it’s only five dollars and ninety-nine cents? From $250 to $5.99!

    Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Right into my trembling hands!
    I hold it up like the trophy that it is, imagining myself receiving a Gold Medal at the Shopping Olympics!

    My revelry is short-lived. I realize there’s only one. Oh, cruel Fate, to put this lovely treasure within my grasp and not provide just one more to at least make a set?

    This is where Law of Attraction kicks in.

    Gazing ever so quietly at the glass, I hear my Inner Voice whisper:
    “If there’s one, there are two.”

    I scour the shelves. Zip. I‘m crushed. Then, the Voice whispers: “Turn around”.

    There, behind a miss-matched jumble of pots and pans, is another!

    I now have a set.

    So, do I go home and gloat over my two or go for a Personal Best?

    The risk is that if I do find one more, three would drive me as batty as only having one.

    The Voice assures me “There’s yet another”.

    Up and down the aisles I go, scouring unrelated items for the crazy-making third, deciding that if I do find it, I’ll start a Trend of Three.

    I spot a nice set of sheets marked down from $199 to $39.95.
    C’mon, who can’t use a nice set of sheets at a great price?
    I take the package off the shelf and ponder purchasing it.

    I gasp. Hiding behind the sheet set was…you guessed it, the third martini glass. I slowly slide the glass out of its linen cave and into my welcoming arms.

    I am at a crossroads. Do I accept this odd bounty of three martini glasses knowing I will now spend an inordinate amount of time online, trying to track down a fourth, at any price, or do I trust the Law of Attraction, my Inner Voice and the Cheese Sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary and see if there’s a fourth?

    I wait for a message.

    “If there’s three, there’s four.”

    I’m on it, plowing through parts of the store I’ve never visited before:
    Men’s Underwear. Yes, it’s come to that.

    And there it was!
    Snuggled coyly between Beefy Tees and Tidy Whitees was… The Fourth!

    Standing in the check-out line, I didn’t care that all cashiers, except one, were on a lunch break and the sole one working was a trainee from the planet Zoid. I was about to make Retail History!

    So, whether it’s Law of Attraction, your Inner Voice, or the Virgin Mary on a cheese sandwich, believe that if it’s meant to be, whatever you seek is out there, waiting for you, and allow the Universe do the rest.

    Martini’s anyone?


  11. October 26, 2010

    Ryan Drean Releases New Podcast Featuring Marice Tobias

    Pull up a chair and have a listen to Ryan Drean’s podcast interview posted earlier today.
    Marice chats with Ryan all about the world of voiceover.

    http://www.ryanontheradio.com/2010/10/episode-29-part-1-marice-tobias/


  12. September 11, 2010

    “Getting The Read You Want And Need”

    John McGrath interviews Marice in the September 2010 issue of Broadcast Dialogue.

    Check it out!

    Article


  13. September 8, 2010

    A Piano From Above

    Chances are you’ve heard of The Law of Attraction and the process of manifestation. We’re going to take a look at that Law in action in the next couple of installments.

    The Law says “whatever we give our attention to grows larger in our life”.  Lab experiments prove our brain is a broadcast tower emitting positive and negative impulses that either attract or repel.

    There are many names for these impulses, like directed energy, prayer, wishes, dreams, or just plain magic.  Whatever works for the believer, the result is the same. We either attract what we want or  (bummer) what we don’t want with our thoughts, feelings and emotions.

    So right now I am hearing “ You mean to say I desire a negative outcome?”.  No, but if you get one, chances are your desire to be right about the possibility of a negative outcome was stronger than your desire to receive a positive one.

    We’ll talk more on the need to be right in a later installment. For now, just go with me on this.

    Every proponent of The Law has a slightly different list of steps. For the sake of brevity, let’s say there are three:

    1. Desire
    2. Release
    3. Allow

    Here’s an example of this process and the Law itself, in action.

    I‘m getting ready to conduct a seminar. Gathering up my materials I come across an unmarked, recordable DVD. Popped it into the DVR.  It’s the PBS show with Scott Houston on how to play piano without having to learn notation.  Hmm?

    I didn’t record it but realized my friend Steve must have done so since I said that learning to play was on my Life List.  But first, I’d have to get a piano.

    I’d actually explored and bookmarked some sites a while back, then got distracted and moved on to other things.

    I labeled the DVD “Piano!”, put it on a shelf and went downstairs to bring my car around from the garage.

    As I approached the elevator bank, there on the message board, between the two lifts, was a hand scrawled notice:

    “Free Piano on seventh floor fire escape. Needs tuning. Come and get it!”.

    I looked around to see if I was being punk’d.

    Nope, no one around any corners with cameras. This was the real deal.

    Weirder yet, I was still holding the marker I’d used to label the DVD.

    I wrote  “Sold” on the notice and heart racing, I bolted like a crazy person, up seven double flights of stairs and raced out to the fire escape.

    Lo and behold, the piano was still there it  was black!  Just what I’d been looking for!

    Down to my sixth floor apartment, called Security, assuring them the piano was now mine. They said I had to remove it ASAP. I begged for time.  They begrudgingly gave me an hour.

    Back down to Six, into my apartment, calling everyone I could think of for the name of a piano mover. Agh, Voice Mails. Phone book: “Piano Mover: Same Day Service”.

    Pounded out the number on my phone, got a lovely woman who was charmed by my story. She called her truck, which was out in Santa Monica.  She called back saying they’d be there in 20 minutes.

    They were.

    Time elapsed from scrawling the word “Piano!” on the DVD to having one in my living room?

    55 minutes.

    More  Tales of The Law  of Attraction in action to come.


  14. June 18, 2010

    Why Be A Brand?

    Why do we tend to give nicknames, slogans & monikers to people, events & phenomena?

    Ideas & images are more readily remembered than words & statements. Like modern art, images may not follow a traditional form, but our intuition—which is what modern art accesses—gets it, even if the literal brain takes longer to do so.

    When people are given a way of describing a distinction or a point of difference, it becomes a Container in which all other information is placed.

    Containers help us anchor Content. Another word for Container is Brand.

    Branding gives us a way to first remember something & then the embodiment of why we should keep remembering it.

    This is why so much time, energy & money is spent on advertising.

    Advertising introduces branded images & helps place them on our radar. Keeping them there for a nice long time, reminding us that an idea is there & is still there, keeps us all employed.  There are & will be many with the same first name, but when we say “Don” we all know who and what we mean.  When your name & your brand merge, they become a measure or set a standard by which others are compared.  You & your image then belong to the culture, transcending personhood & becoming an icon.

    That’s not something you can plan.  It just happens.