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Thursday
Nov102016

"We really got a hold on ya!"

motown


Yes, we do. The "stick to your ribs" musical excellence that spawned from my generation, from a tiny room in Detroit, is still alive and kicking. Everywhere. I swear my dentist bought the entire Hitsville, USA catalogue. If "Smokey" Robinson doesn't get in your eyes, I fear there's no hope for you. I hear young people, (who weren't even an impure thought when I was a kid) singing along and sharing where they were when they first heard The Temptations, The Four Tops, Marvin, Diana and Stevie. Does a body good. Takes a bit of the edge off of Vietnam. I can't imagine a grunge band playing at a supermarket, an elevator or a doctor's office, although it has its place. In the dentist chair this morning my eyes started to well up at the sounds and elegance of a time gone by. Its still here though, for us to romanticize, fantasize and even politicize. If the blues had a baby and called it rock & roll, then I'm one proud papa. Can I get a witness?

Sunday
Nov062016

What's In Your Back Pack?

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I pulled this little piece out of "Up In The Air" with George Clooney, because it rang true to me. It always has. Clooney's character plays an HR consultant that flies around the country firing people. He also sidelines as a motivational speaker. What you'll see here. What got me about the movie was the employee's reaction to being let go. The shock. The disbelief. The " what am I gonna do?" I never believed I "gave up" something for a company. I was always on the receiving end in my mind. It was a contract we both entered into like, " a day's pay for a day's work." I was never under any illusions. It was always, "all good but tentative." The metaphorical backpack serves to illustrate a very good point. I'm traveling a lot lighter these days, myself.
Sunday
Nov062016

When The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game

Welcome jungle


Let 'em chase you until you catch 'em.


Subtle is not a word I am usually associated with, but there are exceptions. If I am looking for something gig-wise that I can sink my teeth into, I usually try and let my work do the talking. Blogs, podcasts, self promotional videos, etc. More often than not, I will have conversations with someone well meaning, who will offer me advice on how to secure that next gig.


Obvious is a word I definitely don't want to be associated with and I expend a lot of energy not to appear so. As they say in the rules of negotiation, the first person to name a price, loses. I believe that.


My theory is this: If you are putting your work out there and you know it's being seen and heard by people that can make something happen, that's all you can do. That's all you should do. According to me.


I was told a long time ago that blue collar workers get paid to do what they're told, (been there) and white collar workers (executives and the like) get paid to think and create. (Make stuff up.)


So my rationale is this: If they don't get a "eureka" moment from what they see coming from you, you probably wouldn't want to work there anyway. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.


But you can't use that type of logic with people close to you and are trying to help. As the Marvelettes lyrics to "Too Many Fish In The Sea" goes, "I don't want nobody that don't want me, there's too many fish in the sea"


Is it a game? Fo' sho'. But one worth playing and staying awake through. Every worthwhile gig I ever got, came from the left field and right field, never right down the center.


We, today, have all the tools at our disposal to help us get noticed in this very busy world, so put yourself out there and "Shop Around."


I mean, if you have to ask?


Saturday
Nov052016

When Write Goes Wrong

prescription-pad


Nine years ago, after my annual physical, my doctor told me everything was fine. Excellent, actually. Then she asked me if I had anything going on in my life she should know about. I told her that my business was booming but it seemed to be taking a toll. I wasn't sleeping well, I was a bit moody and agitated at times, and I seemed to have lost my filter. Success is not without its shortcomings.


As I was speaking, she was writing. When I was through, she turned to me and said, "take one of these three times a day, but be careful, this stuff can be addictive." She wrote me for alprazolam, which also goes under the trade name, Xanax. The Xanax I might have caught, but the alprazolam got by me.


Not that it would have changed anything. Such was the measure of my anxiety. Now, what makes this little journey interesting, is that, right there in front of her, in my medical history, for all to see, was the unvarnished truth about yours truly.


Having barely survived the wretched excesses of the 70's and with three decades of sobriety under my belt, no one knew better than the both of us what I was capable of when it came to any type of addictive abuse. Being in the restaurant business, the music business and comedy, breeding grounds for destructive behavior, I was well versed in the language of irresponsibility.


I must admit my complicity, after all, it takes two to tangle but I must plead ignorance to its severity. I did not know that in six months I would be singing " I love you baby, can I have some more?" In a couple of years I was beyond that "nice" feeling and just trying to stay ahead of my "Jones."


The pleasure was gone but the misery kept on. I had to start planning my day around adverse side effects. It felt like the early stages of the flu at different times of the day.


It got to the point where my wife booked an appointment with my doctor just to tell her off. (I found out about this recently) She told her, "What the hell is wrong with you, giving a person with his history such an addictive medication?" The doc was silent through the whole barrage.


Once, in frustration, I tried to kick by myself. I got through twelve of the worst days of my life. When their office called me to ask why I hadn't refilled, I told them what I was doing. The nurse told me my doc wanted to see me...now.


I sat in an exam room with two nurses, each holding one of my hands, and my doctor. She proceeded to tell me what a foolhardy thing I was doing and she thought I could stroke out at any time. Now I'm pissed, nervous and confused. "What the hell are you doing to me?" I yelled. She said, "You have to go back on or you could die." WTF?


So much for "First, do no harm."


With that amount of fear and pressure, I relented. In a few weeks I was back at the races with a bullet. Now I'm hurtin' in a big way. I have no choice but to get over myself and play the game.


Soon, I cut her out of the picture and went someplace where dosing might not (would not) be an issue. I'll leave this part blank and jump to the finale. You don't need a gypsy to tell you how the next act went.


In frustration, on Mother's Day this year, I picked up a drink after 37 years of sobriety. My walls were closing in me, my life was changing rapidly and on August 20, of this year I was admitted to the VA Hospital detox unit in Bedford Ma. I spent seven days in rehab where they walked me down and off of alcohol and benzodiazepine.


This to me, was my bottom of my bottom. I was back in a barracks culture with everything I hated about lack of privacy and open bathrooms, (ugh) while all strings, belts and shoe laces were confiscated.


There was screaming at night from enemy captured P.O.W's ( those poor bastards, I thought) along with bi-polar victims still suffering the ravages of war, past and present. The echoes of "Oh my God, what have I done myself'?" got louder as the fog lifted. I was feeling the real me for once. The one I was trying to stuff down a hole all these years.


Seven days later, wobbly, like a new born calf, this little "dogie" was ready to "git" along. I will write more in the future about my experiences with the VA, which was (and still is) nothing short of wonderful.


Life is full of chills and spills and I can only say that your doctor and his or her decisions should be helpful....but not too helpful.


Thursday
Nov032016

Compared To What?

Imagination


Using the RFP (Request For Proposal) process to solicit new business can be a tricky endeavor. You don’t know who else is in the pool with you. Video projects can run the gamut from a few hundred, to tens of thousands of dollars.

An RFP is used where the request requires technical expertise, specialized capability, or where the product or service being requested does not yet exist and the proposal may require research and development to create whatever is being requested.

Not only are you supplying the price quote, you are sharing your approach, what I call in military terms, TO&E, Total Ordinance and Equipment. This is very valuable information. In essence, you are giving them a blueprint.

On the day the award is to be announced, you might not even get a phone call.

Some companies will use this process as a ruse to nail down an approach so they can take the project in-house or farm it out to a less qualified outfit for shorter money.

Sadly, I’ve seen both of these scenarios play out.

They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose – Steely Dan
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