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June Edition I: Ultimate Events Happening Soon

With each new day, you can guarantee that some very bright people are planning get-togethers designed to have massive impacts for everyone involved. The settings can be musical, artistic, creative, academic or business-focused; these are events you hear about before saying, “that sounds awesome,” and “sign me up.” This actively researched and updated blog series is my answer to helping people learn about ultimate events on a timely basis.

Follow this link for even more details on events set for this year’s E3, kicking off 13 June in Los Angeles: http://www.sidequesting.com Read more

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Brand thyself

For years now, career counselors, management consultants, self-help gurus and many others have encouraged us to apply the concepts of brand management to ourselves. For anyone who is beginning this daunting process, just getting going can be a big challenge considering how much advice there is to be found. Bearing that in mind, I wanted to provide some guidance. First, I invite you to check-out the video playlist I’ve embedded above, which will help you get a handle on the main ideas at work here so you can begin applying them to yourself. The playlist also includes several more in-depth presentations, including a complete course in Personal Branding Education.

Below you’ll find several excellent articles that will allow you to get fully up-to-speed. Finally, for a couple of examples of how everything can add up once you’ve successfully applied these lessons, I invite you to check-out the web presence for author Bret Easton Ellis at http://BretEastonEllis.com. On a more personal note, you might also be interested to see http://RKDarnell.com. Read more

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MLK Day of Service 2017

The MLK Day of Service is an opportunity for Americans to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s legacy through service and volunteerism.

Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'”

Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities. To learn more, please visit http://www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday.

It’s also my pleasure to provide the following graphic illuminating the life and lasting legacy of Dr. King, courtesy of http://OnlineCollegeCourses.com. “People honor and celebrate the life of Dr. King for many reasons, but most importantly, for his role in working to achieve race equality in America. Dr. King had arguably the greatest impact of any single person during the fight for racial equality, and the fact that his life was cut short causes people to wonder what he may have gone on to achieve in his lifetime. Read more

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Promo video primer: 30 first-class examples

Back in 2014, 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.” Since then, video usage has continued to climb, and more and more people and businesses are trying to engage, entertain and educate us with their on-screen storytelling. Bearing this in mind, I’m very happy to share some of the videos I’ve collected over the past six years working beside some phenomenal 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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Olympic openers

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Danny Boyle’s 2012 Summer Olympics “large-canvas nation-themed spectacle” of an opening ceremony will always be remembered as one of the most eccentric and memorable Games’ kickoffs in history. Since NBC’s broadcast reportedly attracted nearly 41 million viewers, THR has also named it the highest rated Summer Olympics opening of all time.

My reaction: Read more

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Contribute Now to the Biggest Night in Sports: The ESPYS

This Wednesday, July 13, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, The 2016 ESPYS Presented by Capital One will once again unite the world’s premier athletes, its biggest stars and the very best sports stories of the year. Hosted by John Cena, this 24th annual celebration supporting ESPN’s ongoing commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research will be televised live from LA’s Microsoft Theater.

In the meantime, ESPN Radio’s 12th Annual ESPY Day Auction to benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research is officially underway on eBay, where it will run through July 13. This year’s auction of more than 100 items includes tickets to prime sporting events, autographed memorabilia, unique experiences with athletes, celebrities and behind-the-scenes experiences with ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike and sports-related experiences with ESPN personalities Stephen A. Smith, Jon Gruden, Julie Foudy and more. To date, the ESPN Radio ESPY Day Auction has raised more than $8.4 million. To participate in the Auction and/or donate to the Jimmy V Foundation, go to http://www.ebay.com/rpp/espn or call 1-800-4-jimmyV.

Another way for fans across America to participate in The ESPYS is to help determine exactly who will be selected for these and other ESPY Awards: Read more

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Sharing Secrets: 2016 Cannes Lions Live Sessions of the Day


It has been an exciting week for me, even though I am once again missing the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity currently underway in France. Fortunately for us non-attendees, the Festival running 18-25 June has teamed-up with global media agency network Mindshare and YouTube to provide two live-streamed sessions every day this week. I’m embedding a YouTube playlist here featuring every one of these sessions… new videos will continue to go live here over the days ahead. Hopefully these presentations – streamed in real-time for a global audience – will be rich with valuable secrets and insights.

Here is the complete rundown of the sessions that were chosen by almost 20,000 voters: Read more

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America’s national parks, part 5: Go!

Last Updated June 20, 2016.

Back on Sept. 27, 2009, Ken Burns and his colleagues began revealing the history and splendor of, and public passion for, America’s national parks. As you can see if you watch the videos in the embedded playlist, this six-part series by Burns and Dayton Duncan tells the story of a radical idea: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved for everyone. From Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades to the Gates of the Arctic, the series explores the stories of the people who devoted themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved.

You can buy the DVD here, and learn a lot more at www.pbs.org/nationalparks. Most importantly, I urge you once again to get out and explore these treasures first-hand, as soon as possible, to the greatest extent you are able.

universal positive: America’s National Parks
Ken Burns, Dayton Duncan and PBS: Thanks for the documentary
America’s national parks, part 2
America’s national parks, part 3
America’s national parks, part 4
America’s national parks, part 5: Go!

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Ken Burns, Dayton Duncan and PBS: Thanks for the documentary

Last Updated June 10, 2016.

In September, 2009, a new PBS opus from filmmaker Ken Burns arrived in the form of a 12-hour documentary series entitled “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” This fascinating 12-hour history of America’s national park system spans the pivotal era of 1851 to 1980; watching it over six consecutive nights, it affected me profoundly (just ask my family members and friends). Inspired by America’s glorious national parks, the film’s riveting, masterfully written and edited stories hooked me heart and soul. Dayton Duncan wrote and co-produced the series and co-wrote the Alfred A. Knopf companion book with Ken Burns, and he shares many memorable, inspirational contributions on screen, along with many other important interview subjects. Peter Coyote narrates, and my old friend Tom Hanks voices several central characters; you’ll also hear Adam Arkin, Philip Bosco, Kevin Conway, Andy Garcia, John Lithgow, Josh Lucas, Carolyn McCormick, Campbell Scott, George Takei, Eli Wallach and Sam Waterston. The complete DVD box set available from PBS Home Video features “making of” footage and an interview with Burns and others involved in the film.

Just before the film’s debut, Mike Hale wrote these words about it for The New York Times: In what feels very much like a thesis statement near the end of the 12 hours, an American Indian park superintendent says: “America is not sidewalks. America is not stores. America is not video games. America is not restaurants.” Read more

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Mark your calendar: Awesome events coming to NYC, LA, Montreal, Chicago and beyond

This week, 2016 has officially kicked into overdrive; I hope things are going your way! Here is the new 12x Learning Optimizer edition, providing timely information on upcoming, highly valuable and inspirational opportunities for thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives, producers and artists.

Upcoming Events Read more

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