Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Chasing the Draw"



FITmedia will be producing a 30 minute pilot episode for a crime-dramedy series entitled “Chasing the Draw.”

Based loosely on the town of Traverse City, Michigan, the story is set in the fictional resort town of Bayside, and follows Jack, a poker-obsessed property management agent who believes he’s the illegitimate son of a Chicago mobster whose ill-gotten gains built the town. Pursuing his birthright, Jack struggles to make ends meet as the tourist season begins while taking advice from a slew of nefarious characters.

Part of the humor stems from the idea of organized crime running a small town. This story imagines how an old-school gangster might run such a town. While Bayside presents itself as a friendly vacation spot in the Summer, the story is that many of the characters put their morals on hold in order to survive the Winter.

While showcasing the eccentricities of a seasonal location, the show will be presented in a way that has a national appeal. Filming will be primarily based in Traverse City, but both the casting call and additional location scouting reach out across the Midwest.

Casting Call for Independent TV Series "Chasing the Draw"

FITmedia is casting for the independent episodic TV series, "Chasing the Draw". Filming is set to take place this November in Northern Michigan (Grand Traverse area).

Synopsis: "Chasing the Draw" is a 30 min per episode, independent black comedy series set in the fictional resort town of Bayside. The story follows Jack, a poker-obsessed property management agent who believes he's the illegitimate son of a Chicago mobster whose ill-gotten gains built the town. Pursuing his birthright, Jack struggles to make ends meet while taking advice from a slew of nefarious characters.

Roles needed 

PILOT EPISODE:

Jack Hartini - Main Role
Property Management Agent, late 20's/early 30's

Albert Schmidt - Permanent character
Owner, Schmidt-Hapenz Property Management Co. Bastard, horrible boss, terrible father. 50's/60's

Eddie "Mousetrap" - Permanent character
Freelance hit man? Short-tempered, but he's working on it. 30's

Jimmy Schmidt - Permanent character
Security for Schmidt-Hapenz. Albert's enforcer and son, but otherwise unreliable. Late 20's/early 30's 

Anthony Padrone - Guest appearance
Regional Manager for Hattan Enterprises, "Kingpin" of Bayside underbelly. 50s/60s 

ADDITIONAL ROLES - Mixed scenes- Various supporting roles/background roles

Compensation: This production is crowd-funded, so compensation will depend upon the budget raised. If the pilot episode is received well, contracts may be extended to the cast and crew.

How to Apply: If you are interested in applying, please email your head-shot, resume, and/or video reel to: CTDcasting@thefitmedia.com as soon as possible.

Thank you! We are looking forward to your submission.

http://www.Facebook.com/ChasingTheDraw

Friday, November 2, 2012

4 Things Video Can Do for You

Communicate your Passion


Passion and personality are very important when relating a project, product, or service to your social media friends and clients. A dynamic interview video is the perfect way to capture your passion in a shareable way.



Boost Excitement


Whether you're taking part in an awesome charity event, or launching a new product or service, a simple video presentation or infographic can go a long way to get people interested.




Entertain and Inform


Whether edgy and humorous or straight and professional, documentaries (and mockumentaries) can be a fun way to share the personalities of a group of like-minded people. By intercutting your team's personal opinions, a documentary style viral video can best capture who your group is, how they work together, and why your prospects would want to connect with you.




Demonstrate!


Nothing sells a product like seeing it in action, especially if it's really unique! Thousands of people create awesome innovations all over the world, but sometimes they struggle with getting the word out to people about just how cool their product is.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Re-Educating for Zero Waste

While actually achieving zero waste in the physical sense is impossible, as an ideal it is a worthy goal to shoot for. The degree to which we use (and reuse) the items we buy is the degree to which they hold value for us. Whenever we buy an item, but do not explore all options for extracting value from it, we waste some of the money and time spent acquiring it. Multiply that by the millions of people worldwide who are doing the same, and you have a significant problem with global economics.

Resources aren't scarce, we just waste them left and right. In fact, we have been educated to do just that. Any ongoing business model requires ongoing saleable products. The faster the market saturates, the sooner the business is out of business. So businesses have two options: continuously generate new and exciting products that people want or need, or use marketing to convince people that they want or need to re-purchase old products. The second is easier to accomplish, especially for a business that has enough money to launch a mass media marketing campaign.

To be successful in marketing required an increase in the volume of products to be sold, which on turn, required an increasing demand. However, numerous products were becoming mass-produced that were really not consumable—and so consumers were becoming satisfied. How many TVs does one family need? So mainstream marketing slowly evolved into a tool for re-educating the masses.

Media was used to create a culture where the newest and best was emotionally important to people, so they learned to disregard the rational idea of conserving waste ("I don't need a new one, yet.") and replace it with the irrational idea of status ("My stuff is my worth.")

All of this was fine as long as the economy was in a state of growth, but as soon as the problem with waste reached a critical mass and wages began to suffer, there simply was not enough money to continue on that path. Unfortunately, the consumer credit industry stepped in, allowing us to differ fate for more time and make the problem bigger.

The solution, of course, begins with a strategy to approach zero waste in our households, businesses, and communities. And I don't mean just recycling, but actually using every ounce of value from a product before it goes anywhere—even if it has to go to the dump—or using the waste to create something else of value. This goal presents many opportunities to enterprising individuals.

One of my favorite small businesses sells a product called "Turnadaisy." These lazy-susan style tabletops are made from repurposed power line spools, and are designed to be used in a number of applications, from greenhouse hydroponics to convenient serving trays. They keep trash out of the landfills, provide a useful product, and an income to their creators. I'd bet they could even pay the salaries of a few marketers as well!

Now that's what we need to found companies on.

[Republished from Jan 14, 2011]

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Your Job is (not) Important

There are two ways to look at the world of work. One says that your job is important, and the other says that it's not. By "job" I mean whatever activities you engage in on a regular basis which require you to perform tasks for which you are paid based upon the time you spent—one way or the other. For all but a fortunate few, this is something you would not do for free, because you do not necessarily enjoy it—being "work" and all.

We spend most of our waking hours engaged in these activities which earn us money to pay for the rest of our lives (the happiness parts). The question is whether our jobs are important or not. Either might be true, depending on your specific case. Without any real thought, it is easy for a person to assume his job is important simply because it is an important source of income for him. Or conversely, it is easy to assume that one's job is unimportant, simply because it does not come with a title or other recognition.

But whether your job is important or not depends greatly on its actual impact. You're either changing the world or you're not. You're either growing a future for yourself and your family, or your digging yourself into a rut. Strangely, these two views pretty much come from the same source. The actual importance of your job will be the long-term decider both for the impact you have on the world for good, and the future you will grow for yourself and your family.

Because we tend to see only what is most readily visible, the "gold bars," corner offices, and other symbols of rank can be used in large organizations to create the illusion of importance. A position might appear important, and everyone might believe it is important...however, consider whether the quality of work done in the position changes anything. If either a virtuoso or a buffoon fills to position, does it change the fate of the organization?

It should be noted that in many corporations (and other organizations of similar structure) that the answer to this question is designed to be a resounding "no!" The old school way of doing business is to assume you're a buffoon until proven otherwise. Therefore, most of the power is placed in central positions like the CEO, et al. In these positions, it matters, but only to the fate of the company. If the company isn't making a great deal of change in the world, than neither is the CEO.

Ultimately, it is important to remember that our jobs are only as important as we make them. Whether or not your company is keeping you down or lifting you up, it is up to you to do important work. If the powers that be don't like what you're doing, then perhaps its not the place for you. Don't marry the job, marry the work.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ob Petere

"Competition" is an interesting word. It's also a charged word. While it doesn't have a lot of definitions, it does have a lot of surface applications that can be confused with different meanings. It can also be used to justify actions or lack of actions, in certain contexts. It can be fun or it can be serious. It can build up an organization or tear it down.

Probably the most common usage of the word is in reference to the "friendly" competition of athletics and the like. The second, then, comes in describing a commercial concept. In both cases, competition implies that some person (or group) is winning and another is losing. To win a competition, one must simply rank better than the opposition during officially measured trials. Therefore, the goal of competition has become the defeat of the opposition.

I am only a novice when it comes to linguistics, but a quick search of the word "competition" reveals that it comes from the Latin, "competere," which means "to strive for"—from "com-" meaning "together" and "petere" meaning "aim at, seek." While the word came to mean "rivalry" in late Latin before entering the English vocabulary, its early meaning did not include the concept of opposition. As you can see, it included a prefix which means "together."

The idea of striving for something together seems rather alien in our contemporary culture. More commonly we think in terms of striving against someone or something. This mentality about competition has shown itself historically to motivate improvement on all sides. There hardly seems like any point to playing sports if it isn't to defeat the other teams. To do so, the players must improve themselves—both as individuals and as a team.

The same advantage applies to the commercial sense of the word. Historically, nations that allow businesses to complete generate more innovation and subsequent prosperity than those that either do not allow free enterprise, or highly regulate it. The reason is the same as it is in athletic competition: for anyone who wishes to run a successful business (win the competition), there is pressure to improve the quality of the goods and services he provides.

Unfortunately, the mentality of striving against (or "obpetere" with "ob-" meaning "against") the competition tends to promote practices which are not conducive to prosperity, even if they technically count as winning. Basically, I mean endeavoring in any pursuit—legal or illegal—which handicaps the competition. This ranges from outright sabotage to lobbying for laws that favor your business other others.

It's cheating. It's destructive, degenerative, and wrong.

Instead of focusing on beating the competition, people who endeavor for success should focus on creating value, ignoring the competition. It may be that looking back at the competition periodically is important for success, but confusing success with simply being better than the next guy will never allow you to reach your full potential. It is far more important to the world that you (or anyone seeking success) develop the mentality of "striving together."

In other words, competition serves the primary function of democratic growth, wherein the participating populace is collectively inspired and motivated to improve the whole. It is not because we are forced or brainwashed into improving the whole, but because we stand to gain both recognition and monetary reward for ourselves from winning an honest competition. The operative word here is "honest."

If the primary focus is on creating value, then rewards are given for reaching this goal, not cheating others out of it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Emergency Leadership

As with anything, the topic of leadership can be split and subdivided any any number of ways, but if we look at the multitude of environments which catalyze leaders, there are basically two types of leadership. The first, is emergency leadership, and the second is—drum roll please!—non-emergency leadership.

Emergency leadership is whenever a person stands up in the face of disaster and says, "Let's do this." I use the word "disaster" loosely here because the most obvious examples—in news media and fiction, say—are disasters. Whenever there is an earthquake, a flood, a fire, a plane crash, a train crash, a terrorist bomb, etc, certain people stand up and say, "Let's roll!" However, less public examples include late bills, traffic jams, broken copy machines, and marital spats.

Emergency leadership so often takes center stage in media because, for one, leadership of any kind is rare, and two, fixing a disaster looks so heroic. Tales of heroism have long been an important mainstay to the storytelling tradition. Stories of disaster and the brave men and women who led the people out of the darkness are as easy to relate for the teller as they are to envision by the listener. And they pass along portable lessons which are inspirational and valuable in less obvious crises.

The trouble with focusing solely on emergencies, as mainstream media tends to do, is that it teaches to—and therefore re-enforces—a reactionary paradigm. Many, if not most, emergencies are the result of too little proactive leadership—or non-emergency leadership. As Stephen Covey says in "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," most people focus on tasks that are "urgent"—whether or not they are important.

Proactive leadership is preventative maintenance. Many of the tasks performed are not heroic or glamorous, even though they are important.

In their quest for success, many ambitious people fall short of their potential because they seek the recognition that comes with heroically putting out fires. While putting out fires is certainly important, fires (even figurative ones) cause permanent damage which stunts growth long-term. Fires also take more time and energy to put out than sparks, and so reactionary leaders tend to waste valuable resources needed to prevent fires in the first place.

Despite popular opinion, the problem is not caused solely by "greedy hotrods." Many people simply lack the mental ability to recognize tasks that are important, but not urgent. It's not that they are stupid, just unlearned. Abstract concepts start with concrete examples, which is why stories of emergency leadership is so pervasive. It is important to grab a hold of an example, such as Jack Shepherd, from my favorite TV show, LOST.

Being a doctor, he reacted to the plane crash with the use of his expertise, and gained the position of leader, even though he didn't want it. However, his reactionary style continued long after the crash, when the survivors had settled into a sort of lifestyle—or "normalcy." Jack goes on to orchestrate acts of defiance against the other people on the Island who presented themselves as a threat.

Though he eventually learns to bide his time, he never really learns to be proactive. Interestingly, it is Sawyer, the "bad boy" of the survivors' camp who goes on to learn about being proactive. In a memorable scene, he tells Jack about Winston Churchill, who he says "read a book every night, even during the Blitz." His point is not far from Covey's 7th Habit, "Sharpening the Saw." Or in other words, preparing for the unknown.

Once you understand the principles behind the first type of leadership, it is important to dig deeper in order to get better at preventing the disasters that are within your area of influence. Once the disaster is over, the war brought to peace, and the fires put out, it is imperative to understand what went wrong so we can change our habits before they lead to another disaster. In so doing, we save a lot of time, energy, and even lives.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Big Comfortable Tree

Personal development media is about pushing your limits and expanding your capacity and abilities. By identifying weak points and blind spots, then learning to work with or around them, we maximize our potential for success in whatever area of life we choose to focus. Inherently, this process requires that you "get out of your comfort zone." In other words, it is impossible to grow if you seek comfort over growth.

However, when dealing with people outside oneself, it is very important to be likeable. Fundamental to likeability is being comfortable to be around. If you're uncomfortable with yourself, it shows. Worse, it has a tendency to make other people uncomfortable, too. When this happens too often, you destroy your ability to be likeable.

So the first question you should ask yourself about success (after "what is success to me?") is "how do I remain comfortable outside my comfort zone?" Fortunately, there is a difference between the internal comfort that makes you easy to like, and the external discomfort you have to endure in order to expand your capacity. The only challenge remains in learning to identify that difference.

Internal comfort comes from understanding yourself, then channelling your strengths. Learning which projects to tackle—and which to ignore—based upon your own personal passions and weaknesses is empowering. When you start to make headway with this process, you will naturally increase your self-confidence. When you increase your self-confidence, you become more comfortable with yourself—and more comfortable to be around.

Once you understand your unique State of FITness (or FITstate), you will be better able to manage the frustration created by pushing your external comfort zone. As I have illustrated before, a FITstate is the naturally defined balance of relevant elements, which are combined in harmony to enable the highest climb with the most stability. Like a healthy tree, the higher the reach, the broader its expanse can be—based upon the given nature of that particular tree. The broader the expanse of "branches" fed by strong "roots", the greater the possibilities for a fulfilling life.

Like a tree, our expanse of possibilities is stunted by an insufficient root system or poor soil, as well as by the available space in the canopy. However, unlike the tree, we can change our root situation, and in doing so, fairly negotiate for more canopy space and resources by which to fuel that new potential growth. This process is inherently painful because we naturally draw the boundaries of our comfort zones at the point where we decide the pain is "unbearable." Roots are not easy to replant, nor is it easy to push new branches into unexplored territory.

However, when something you passionately want requires actions that are outside of your comfort zone (your existing expanse in the canopy), the pain can become more bearable. This is because things you are passionate about carry their own reward in the journey. You are more willing to fail—a necessity for learning—along a path to what you feel is a worthy goal, than you are along a path to something you are lukewarm about.

Once you know what you're passionate about, you will know what to invest your time in. You never "spend" time on your passions, you "invest" time in your passions. If you are truly passionate about something, then even the failures are blessings, because you are interested enough in the project to find the lesson in the failure and try again. This perspective eliminates much of the frustration that comes from falling short of a goal on a path you're simply lukewarm about. When you avoid frustration, you remain comfortable with yourself. When you avoid external discomfort (pushing limits), you become frustrated and uncomfortable with yourself.

So how about it? Would you like to be a big, comfortable tree?