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When directors Darren Craig, Jonathan Craven and Jeff Nicholas from integrated creative + production company The Uprising Creative got together with Rihanna earlier this year to discuss a music video for the artist’s new “American Oxygen” single, everyone came away with some very inspired ideas. “We wanted to showcase both the positive and the negative,” the directors explained when the video was finally released widely in mid-April. “The struggles within the country and the ones those outside the country face in coming here; the dark side of the positive and the light side of the negative.”

Well before then, the powerful images of Rihanna performing in front of a giant American flag received international attention when they were used by the NCAA as a central part of the organization’s high-profile on-air campaign promoting March Madness all across the country. The video was officially released exclusively on Tidal in early April, where it ran for a full week before hitting Vevo and YouTube.

With well over 100 million views between Vevo and YouTube alone, the project has obviously drawn in a massive audience. This weekend, it’s up for a coveted MTV Video Music Award, in the Video With a Social Message category. Read more

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Author and television producer Lee Goldberg is a two-time Edgar and Shamus Award nominee who has written and produced scores of highly successful TV series, as well as being the author of more than 40 novels and nonfiction books. An international TV consultant, Lee has advised networks and studios across North America, Europe and Asia on the creation, writing, and production of episodic series. While some references list him as an ex-Navy SEAL, freelance sexual surrogate and a professional impersonator of Pierce Brosnan, because I worked closely with Lee and his frequent writing partner William Rabkin during the production of “seaQuest 2032” at Universal Studios Florida back in 1996, I suspect those are just rumors (grin). My experience with him? He is a great guy… and that goes for Mr. Rabkin, too.

After seeing the video embedded here where Lee appears on-camera discussing the publishing success he’s achieving with Amazon KDP, I know it will be of major interest to established and aspiring authors. Here’s the introduction courtesy of Amazon: “Even with the success of Monk and Diagnosis: Murder, it wasn’t until author Lee Goldberg revived his backlist that he saw the potential in indie publishing.” Read more

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Great to know: Lee Goldberg

Posted on 08.25.15

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If you are a college student who’s 18 or older and a legal U.S. resident, Dr Pepper is offering you a chance to win up to $100,000 in tuition… all for submitting for its 2015 Tuition Giveaway contest. As you can see by visiting the STORIES tab on the official website, chances to win begin with applicants submitting their personal stories – and then generating votes. From the FAQ, “The five contestants with the most votes every month win $1,000 in tuition. And the five contestants with the most votes at the end of the season win $5,000 in tuition.”

From those submissions, Dr Pepper will select the finalists who will compete to win the $100,000 Grand Prize at one of four college football championship games this coming December. Read more

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I’m surprised that everyone who goes to college doesn’t decide to study show business in one way or another. Those niches of the world need all types of talents, and while people who aspire to be directors are semi-rare, for anyone wanting to do work that’s interesting, what’s more exciting than the entertainment industry? I completed the University of Central Florida’s BFA Film program 25 years ago. While the techical aspects of filmmaking are very different nowadays, in my experience, applying effort, time and focus to the school’s curriculum went a long way toward helping me achieve my dreams. Looking back, I view my personal decision to formally study film production through an accredited degree program as one of the best choices of my life.

If you can’t get your hands on the Aug. 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter, here is where to find the publication’s latest feature coverage Read more

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The phenomenal music video for this fantastic Basement Jaxx song came to my attention a couple of years ago, thanks to writer Emily Beber of It’s Nice That. In her story, Emily warned us that the presentation was very likely to induce us viewers into both dancing and smiling. To me, those are great achievements for “passion projects,” the typically non-commercial things we take-on as artists to feed our souls.

At the core of this heartfelt project are its celebratory rhythm and its lovely, emphatic sentiments. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote that love doesn’t make the world go round – it’s what makes the ride worthwhile. Writing and making music about requited love, Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Major Buxton (the duo behind the Grammy Award-winning Basement Jaxx) tapped into the type of joy we all aspire to know ourselves, to make our own rides through life worthwhile: “You make me happy, make me come alive, my running reason to survive…” The song also features vocalist Sam Brookes. Read more

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Featured Image: “Stardust Dusk” Las Vegas, Nevada, by imagemaker Tommy Ewasko.

Tommy writes: “When this image was created, I immediately knew it was a hero. Read more

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August 2015 desktop calendar

Posted on 07.30.15

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If you have the goal of becoming a successful guest speaker in the business world, I have some tips to share about getting started. These are based on my experiences working with some very talented people who are currently on-the-rise as star presenters, including Sarofsky Corporation’s Erin Sarofsky – and Chad Hutson and Jason White, the principals of Leviathan. Here are the preliminary tips (two more follow below):

. Start early
. Focus on these efforts as a key business activity
. Set your sights strategically to target the right opportunities
. Have a very specific vision for your proposed presentation and communicate it with the correct person before the deadline while also providing a well-organized summary of your speaking history Read more

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The Creators Project is a global celebration of creativity, arts and technology. Launched in 2009 with Intel as founding partner, the platform features the works of visionary artists across multiple disciplines who are using technology to push the boundaries of creative expression.

The Creators Project includes daily video and editorial content, an official YouTube Channel developed in partnership with Intel and VICE, original artwork commissions and global events. Read more

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It’s almost ESPY Day, friends! Benefitting The V Foundation for Cancer Research, this week’s ESPY Day festivities will once again feature integrated fundraising messaging across ESPN networks, culminating with a special simulcast of the ESPYS on ABC at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Wed., 15 July. The simulcast will include fundraising elements and heavy social media integration of the hashtag #DontEverGiveUp, inspired by Jim Valvano’s iconic speech at the inaugural ESPYS in 1993.

As a key part of this, The 11th Annual V Foundation Auction is now LIVE with many bids closing very soon! If you act quickly, you can still bid on hundreds of unique experiences and items, Read more

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A year ago, a story from Chris Trimble appeared in the Guardian proclaiming video as the future of content marketing, with this dire warning: “small businesses who ignore it do so at their peril.” As video usage continues to climb, we will see a lot more people and businesses trying to engage, entertain and educate us with their on-screen storytelling. Bearing this in mind, I wanted to share some videos I’ve collected over the past five years in the course of working beside some above-average storytellers.

For your reference and enlightenment, I have chosen 10 examples apiece for three well-established niches of corporate communications. While most of these videos were designed for business audiences, their creators invested some artistry to try to make them appeal to all of us. Read more

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Tommy Ewasko, Imagemaker Extraordinaire…

Posted on 12.14.09

Video: Trailer written, produced and edited by Roger Darnell. Imagery copyright Tommy Ewasko: All rights reserved. [watch video]

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