Please Stop Using Your Phone To Shoot Video Vertically!

November 14, 2017

Here’s a quick tip for those of you who fancy yourselves budding film directors, as you traverse the world recording your video selfie history with your digital pocket bricks. I’m talking to YOU, you people who insist on shooting video while holding your phones standing tall at attention – leaving unsightly, amateurish black voids on either side of your film epics.

Let me be clear by asking you this question. When is it okay to hold your phone vertically when recording video? In a word … NEVER! Or better yet, here are two words. NEVER … EVER!

What follows is a visual dissertation to help you face your crimes, overcome your affliction, and move yourself closer to being a person of finer taste.

You’re welcome.

Imagine if some of your favorite movies had been filmed vertically! 

You might have missed seeing who Patrick Swayze was groping in Ghost.

ghost

 

You might have felt dumb, only to find out you were even dumber.

dumber

 

You might have been left feeling the blues, brother.

blues-bros

 

And you might have had to settle for just one usual suspect.

usual-suspects

 

If you find yourself too incapable or too lazy to turn your phone sideways, don’t worry, there’s an app for that:

Reading This Article Will Bring You To Tears

November 1, 2017

For many, it was the vision of Batboy in the newsstand of the grocery checkout line that was the precursor to the now ubiquitous clickbait headlines we all know from reading the web.

Clickbait (also known as Linkbait) is the art of coming up with teaser headlines you just can’t resist from clicking on. Usually leading you to worthless or nearly worthless information on the other end.

Clickbait headlines can be so compelling, they’ll drop your jaw. Or maybe even leave you speechless.

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They generally lead you to revealing information they don’t want you to know. A simple trick that’s sure to blow your mind. A picture that will leave you wondering which Kardashian’s dress left little to the imagination. Or how eating pancakes every day for 7 days can make you a millionaire.

These headlines will make you laugh. Cry. Even shock you. And there are sure to be 5, 8, … maybe even 10 reasons you’ll want to share them with everyone you know.

The end of journalism as we know it?

Not surprisingly, it looks like clickbait is taking its toll on traditional journalism, sucking the life out of mainstream newspapers along with profits, salaries, and morale.

According to the PBS NewsHour, “Click-bait is rarely newsworthy, but it does attract eyeballs. The assumption seems to be that audiences might stay for the ‘serious’ content after gorging on the fluff.”

Why you should wash your hands non-stop.

Among the tricks linkbaiters employ is to present a picture of something that looks oddly grotesque or in this case OMG REALLY DISGUSTINGLY GROSS!

clickbait gross

Just try to look away. Yep, this pic is probably in the clickbait hall of fame. What in the world can it possibly be? The special at Denny’s?

The decline of the dancing mortgage ads.

Somewhat of an off-shoot to pure clickbait headlines are the visually-arresting dancing mortgage ads. Who hasn’t seen these ads dancing in the sidebar of every major, and not-so-major, news website out there. Sadly, they seemed to have fallen out of favor lately. Or perhaps I’ve finally become immune to their existence. Either way, I’ll take it. But I must admit, this video has a groovy beat to it.

Did they laugh because he couldn’t play the piano or just because he sat down at the piano?

Oh, and if you think linkbait is the stuff of the internet age, check out this famous ad from 1927.

classic clickbait article example

Is there a technical explanation for all this?

Glad you asked. Here’s how TechCrunch describes clickbait:

“Clickbaiting is the intentional act of over-promising or otherwise misrepresenting — in a headline, on social media, in an image, or some combination — what you’re going to find when you read a story on the web.”

The art of a clickbait headline.

Okay, now that you have a general understanding of what click/linkbaiting is all about, it’s time for you to show the world you have the wherewithal to flood the web with the kind of break-the-internet prose that will stop the marauding masses in their tracks.

To show you how easy this is, I’ve taken three actual headlines from a CNN.com home page and transposed them into scintillating, can’t-avoid phrases that can distract and cause even the most diligent readers’ eyeballs to fly off topic.

REAL HEADLINE:
John Mayer Celebrates a Year of Sobriety

CLICKBAIT-ED:
What Pampered Celebrity Songster Can’t Find His Hooch?

REAL HEADLINE:
Why You Should Wash Apples

CLICKBAIT-ED:
3 Ways Apples are Out to Get You

REAL HEADLINE:
Jeff Glor Named Anchor of CBS Evening News

CLICKBAIT-ED:
Who the Hell is Jeff Glor? <— Sorry, that was more of a personal statement than a rewrite.

Okay, by now you’re impressed with how effortlessly and flawlessly I was able to transform otherwise ordinary headlines into the pantheon of Batboy-worthy, sensationalist rubbish.

Now you try!

You too can be an expert in clickbait authorship. And you can do it without even thinking! That’s right. Instead of massaging your grey matter, you can simply enter a topic to exploit using the online Linkbait Generator! Just click here to enter a term and the Linkbait Generator will do the rest.

In my test, I entered “Lady Gaga” and generated a few of these interesting morsels:

  • 8 deadly uses for Lady Gaga
  • 9 reasons you can blame the recession on Lady Gaga
  • 7 things Lady Gaga has in common with Lady Gaga

(That last one sounds like an algorithmic error.)

This concludes all the information about clickbait they don’t want you to know about.

And now, the video no one wants you to see again.

A Gentle Reminder of What Graduation Commencements are All About

June 2, 2017

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I took a trip to the northeast to witness … get this … three different college graduations in one week. That’s right. Three. ON PURPOSE! Daunting? If you consider the possibility of sitting through 8-10 hours of graduation ceremonies stretched across three states challenging, yeah, I guess you could say it was daunting. Sure, we love and are super proud of our nieces and nephews. And we love to travel. But THREE graduations? Couldn’t you just record it on your iPhones, upload it to YouTube, and tell us the good parts to watch?

The first commencement was at the University of Connecticut (UConn – Go, Huskies!) in Gampel Pavilion, where all women’s college basketball teams go to automatically lose to Geno Auriemma’s women Huskies.

Uconn Class of 2017

Olivia with her parents (Sharon and Dan) at UConn graduation.

The second was in Boston for the Berklee School of Music (Go, Trebel Clefs! – actually I don’t know if they have a mascot or not). And finally, Duke University in Durham, North Carolina (Go Blue Devils!). Personally, I thought all devils were red. But, hey, I guess it’s their school, their rules.

Berklee School of Music Class of 2017

The second commencement was in Boston. Dyami (the graduate) with his sister Lena and brother Kirby. We watched Kirby graduate from Duke the following day to finish our commencement marathon.

That’s quite a bit of traipsing around considering all the travel that went with it. UConn’s graduation was first on a Sunday, followed by five days off for us to wander around New England in 40-50 degree weather (don’t they know it’s May?), then followed by the next weekend with back-to-back commencements at Berklee and Duke.

On paper, it appeared to be a challenging a trip.

Stereotypical commencement imagery rattled around in my conscious. Endless speeches with platitudes about future success and then the interminable march of students grabbing their well-earned diplomas. But a funny thing happened on the the way to the dais. Like the Grinch, our hearts grew three times those days. We heard words of hope. Of excitement. Of possibilities. Of enthusiasm. And of parents crying over the relief of not racking up any more tuition bills.

We heard from people of major accomplishment. At Duke, it was Craig Venter, a man who led a team that sequenced the human genome. At Berklee, we heard from musicians Lionel Richie and Todd Rundgren, along with Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (i.e. the people who award the Grammys). At Duke, Loretta Lynch, former U.S. Attorney General, made an appearance – as well as the guy who invented CAPTCHA (that’s the thing you see on websites when you leave a comment to prove you’re a real person – not a spammer or a robot).

Imagine this guy at a bar, trying to impress the ladies:

Woman: (TWIRLING HER HAIR) So, what do you do?

Guy: (SMUGLY) I invented CAPTCHA!

Woman: Gesundheit!

Lionel Richie speaks to the Berklee Class of 2017. Pardon the bad cell phone video. Apparently no official video was offered.

In each case, following the handing out of diplomas (which usually ends with someone named Zeke Zachary Zimmerman IV receiving the biggest applause of the day), …

…a proclamation was made, the newly minted graduates moved their tassels from left to right, camera flashes popped, mortarboards flew, hearts swelled with pride, and legions of parents scrambled to the restrooms simultaneously for desperately needed potty breaks.

For us, it was watching a nephew graduating from Berklee, one of the toughest music schools in the country. It was a niece graduating from UConn, landing on her feet, with a psychology research position waiting for her at Yale University (Go Bulldogs!). And for our Duke graduate, after finishing his internship in Austin, Texas this summer, has a job waiting for him here at home with the digital division of The Tampa Bay Times writing about politics. It’s just too bad our humble President hasn’t said too much lately worth writing about.

Everywhere we went, there were hugs and cheers and the promise of tomorrow.

The vibe of possibilities. What these kids are so excited about experiencing is a reminder of what has been made available to all of us. Not just to graduating seniors. And what that is is an opportunity to leave our stamp on the world. It’s something we all take for granted, and it takes something like a graduation ceremony (maybe even three graduation ceremonies) to get it through our thickening heads that the opportunity we seek is always with us. You just have to reach out and grab it.

To Dyami (Berklee), Olivia (UConn), Kirb (Duke), and Lena (who’s graduation at Smith College I unfortunately had to miss last year), and last year graduate Kat Wilson (University of Tampa), the world awaits you to make this a better place.

University of Tampa Class of 2016

Kat Wilson graduating laster year from University of Tampa, pictured with her proud Aunt Cheryl.

Yours and fellow graduates’ excitement for the future has refilled our buckets and has us ready to take on the world again. To which I humbly say, “Go Graduates!”

 

P.S. Finally, Cheryl and I can rest from our graduation tour. That is, until leaving for Atlanta this weekend for a high school graduation. “Go Kyle!”

kyle

“Yes, and …”

March 21, 2017

No … But … I don’t think so … Fuhgeddaboudit! These are words that can turn a brainstorm into a light drizzle in an instant. How many such sessions have you been in with the best of intentions, only to quickly find yourselves in a blankly-staring, navel-gazing, slack-jaw-a-thon, because your habits of communication are all about editing ideas before they ever see the light of day? There can be lots of reasons why you can’t agree on an idea or come to an agreed-upon decision. But don’t let saying “no” be one of them.

Learn From Improv: Yes, and…

Yes, and… is a mantra, long used by comedy improv groups to unleash their creative juices. The general rule is this. The first person in a group starts a conversation. It can be as straightforward or outrageous as he/she wants. The next person has to accept what the first person says at face value and build on it. In other words “Yes” is an agreeable response (no matter what the other person says) and “And” allows you to build on the original statement. For example: Person #1: (Holding his hands wide) Have you ever seen a hot dog this big? Person #2: Yes, and… it was made of chocolate. You can actually get it in a number of flavors. Person #1:Yes, and… They can also be used as a cushion for your day bed. Person #2: Yes, and… There are plenty of styles and colors you can choose from. Including a mustard yellow, of course.

Create A Free Flow of Information

Well, you get the idea. It’s a way to create a free flow of information. Without judgment. Without editing. Without borders. You start a conversation and just go with it. The above exchange was my lame attempt at humor, with more of a conversation than you might expect from a comedy troupe. But what we’re really talking about here is applying this concept to your business brainstorming sessions. In this video, we see a man and a woman demonstrate the process of “Yes, and…”

Here’s another video about the concept describing the “Yes, and…” philosophy as divergent versus convergent thinking.

Instead of taking one idea at a time and beating it to a pulp, improv your way to an avalanche of ideas. You never know where it will lead you. And once you feel you’ve exhausted the flow, THEN take some time to shed the non-starter ideas, thus revealing your gems. Yes, and… have fun while you’re doing it!

Need Ideas for New Year Resolutions?

January 25, 2017

2016 saw the launch of a new venture by Marketing In Color. It’s called Evergreen Wellness. A resource designed for the 55-and-over crowd to find inspirational ways to lead happier, healthier lives – whether it’s through resources found on our website or by attending our live events.

Being the season for New Year resolutions (as you can tell by all the weight loss commercials filling up the TV schedule), we’ve borrowed a few videos from the Evergreen Wellness website to jumpstart your year with some resolution ideas that won’t cost you a cent. So, let’s get started! 

Don’t Smoke

 

Try Yoga To Reduce Stress

 

Break Some Bad Eating Habits

 

Try Meditating

 

Get Back To The Gym

 

Get Some Quality Sleep