Business professor uses student documentaries to teach lessons
TACOMA, Wash., March 22, 2007 – Each semester students in Professor Lynnette Claire’s class at University of Puget Sound’s School of Business and Leadership study entrepreneurship, but not by reading a dusty textbook. Instead, Claire requires her students “study” business owners by creating short documentary films about them.

Then toward the end of the semester, the students gather for their very own film festival, during which they watch the final versions of each others’ celluloid masterpieces, discuss what they learned, and snack on popcorn and soda pop.

“It’s fun for the students to learn a new skill—they already write a lot here.  The camera gives them an opportunity to explore the world of entrepreneurs in fine detail—over and over again as they edit.  They learn what makes their own entrepreneur unique, and they learn from each others’ experience as well,” said Claire. The 10-minute films profile area business owners, telling the stories of their daily lives as well as what inspired them to go into business for themselves.

Fun and informative, many people in the community attend the Entrepreneurial Film Festival, including other business owners, would-be entrepreneurs, and consumers interested in learning more about the people behind their favorite businesses.

The Entrepreneurial Film Festival opens at Rausch Auditorium at University of Puget Sound on Monday, March 19, from 7 to 9 p.m., and continues on Wednesday, March 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. Both showings are free and open to the public. Popcorn and soda are provided!

Some of the businesses featured in the most recent Entrepreneurial Film Festival include: 4 Evergreen Countertops; Chalet Bowl & 26th St. Café; Corey Macourek New Media Design; Inform Puget Sound; Small Business Accounting Solutions, LLC; Together We Can; Art on Center Gallery; CCECO Lab and Filtration; Dock St. Sandwich Co.; Puget Sound Sailing Institute; Forza Coffee Company; Identical Harmony; Nick’s Fix; Papa Giki Heart Healthy Cookies; Sonja Clothing for Women; Industry of Indulgence; and Garden Sphere.

To view a sampling of past documentaries, visit www.ups.edu/x9885.xml.

More information on University of Puget Sound’s School of Business and Leadership is available at www.ups.edu/sbl.xml. For details on the on the Entrepreneurial Film Festival, contact Professor Lynette Claire at 253.879.3153 or send an e-mail message to lclaire@ups.edu.

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March 23, 2007


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A History of the Music Video From the Beatles to the White Stripes

By Saul Austerlitz

CONTINUUM; 250 PAGES; $24.95


I watched many music videos in the ’80s, starting with “Video Killed the Radio Star,” the presciently titled Buggles one that launched MTV on Aug. 1, 1981. I stopped tuning into them in the mid-’90s, when family affairs shifted my interest from rock ‘n’ roll. Recently, however, that interest has revived, and I’m eager to take in fresh music videos, at least good ones like “Gone Daddy Gone,” from Gnarls Barkley. But the music videos I used to count on MTV for and, later, VH-1, are rarely found on those pioneering channels.Now, the outlet for them, as for everything else, is the Internet. That shift justifies Saul Austerlitz’s exhaustive, frequently entertaining but overly detailed “Money for Nothing.” Like rock itself, the music video is mature, though its history is relatively fresh. Praise is due Austerlitz for his diligence, open-mindedness and patience; watching as many videos as he has would have fried most others’ brains.

A New York critic who specializes in film and music, Austerlitz writes for publications mainstream, specialist and what started out alternative, like Spin. “Money for Nothing,” his first book, is a niche product. Its primary appeal will be to other critics; if it’s marketed effectively, it should also appeal to music, video and film fans, and those eager to break into those businesses. It’s a good book, though Austerlitz goes on too long; after a while, no matter how sharp and insightful his exegeses, one tires of them. Despite his regularly excellent interpretations and analyses, the mind freezes from reading one summary after another after another. The music video, after all, is a visual and aural experience, not a verbal one. And even watching them can become anesthetic.

Still, Austerlitz is a gifted critic; he’s particularly OK in my book because he, too, can’t stand Creed front man Scott Stapp or Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst. Austerlitz likes the genre once known as alternative rock, shuns heavy metal and “nu metal,” disses many hip-hop videos (for reasons similar to his dislike of heavy metal videos), considers Eminem subversive and powerfully political, and proffers kind words not only about music video auteurs like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry (his faves) but also about various musical groups. When band and video come together well, his interpretation can be dense, warm and illuminating, spurring the reader to seek out the clip:

“Spanning a century of popular culture, Dayton and [wife/co-director Valerie] Faris went from [pioneering French film director Georges] Melies to the Beatles to ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ tapping into the dynamism of video games for the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Californication’ (2000). Dayton and Faris ape both the content and the style of a video game from the ‘Now Loading …’ graphic which begins the video to the Player Select screens, in which each of the Chili Peppers is a potential character. Because this is a music video, though, and not a game, the grounding rules of gaming coherence are not fully respected, and ‘Californication’ melds together four different adventures, one for each member of the band, cutting regularly between them.”

Austerlitz suggests that the music video is at an impasse, calls it an unrecognized subgenre of filmmaking and nails its draw: “Music-video outlets had to keep viewers returning for another fix, or another chance to crack the code, and with the necessity of repeat viewing built into the business model of MTV and its companions, it was necessary that the videos they played be ever-so-slightly beyond reach of total, immediate comprehension,” he writes.

Perhaps that explains the magic of videos like “Hey Ya!,” the great 2003 clip from Outkast in which Andre 2000 multiplies himself to fill out a band and evoke nostalgia for an era in which music meant community, or of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” a 1981 video in which chief Head David Byrne morphed numerous roles while remaining in character both incantatory and nerdy. Also, one can’t downplay the impact of Michael Jackson’s videos, particularly those that gave his 1983 album, “Thriller,” worldwide legs. Madonna and Bjork — even Britney Spears, for the fabulous “Toxic” — get their deserved props, too.

Now that the music video is old enough for history, it’s time to archive the field, Austerlitz says. The voraciousness and ubiquity of the Net, which has taken over the genre from TV, has reanimated it. That gives Austerlitz hope and tells us there are many music videos to look forward to — and back on.

Carlo Wolff is a writer in Cleveland and author of “Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories.”

Evanston, IL  60201 March 12 2007
Source: http://www.sarasotabusiness.info/Pages/hotstories/hotstories.asp?story=5642&month=11&year=6

Word of Mouth by Mary Catherine Coolidge
A Sarasota entrepreneur markets his innovative tongue brush through Wal-Mart and YouTube.

The first time Tom Oechslin, president of Peak Enterprises, Inc., a consumer products company that is marketing the TUNG Brush, met with Wal-Mart, he heard the word every entrepreneur dreads: “No.”

It was August 2005, and Oechslin and his marketing consultant, Joel Warady of the Joel Warady Group out of Chicago, thought they had nailed their marketing presentation of the TUNG Brush to the Wal-Mart buyer.

Oechslin and Warady were stunned. They replayed the presentation about their dental hygiene product—a black-and-neon-orange plastic tongue scraper that retails for between $3 and $4—in their heads. Hadn’t they presented reliable data about the bacteria build-up that causes bad breath in nearly every individual at some time or another, creating a consumer base that spends, according to Oechslin, “$700 million to $800 million a year on bad breath” remedies? Hadn’t they presented detailed information that proved the efficacy and salability of their product?

The buyer had seemed impressed, and Oechslin and Warady had left that first meeting elated, sure that Wal-Mart would make a buy.

What, they wondered, had gone wrong?

Oechslin called the buyer back and asked the big question—why?

The response was surprisingly simple. The buyer liked the product, but felt the packaging was too wide and would take up too many valuable inches in the highly competitive scramble for “real estate”—shelf space—in Wal-Mart aisles.

Oechslin immediately offered to change the packaging. He had no problem reconfiguring the size of the packaging if that would solve the problem.

But Wal-Mart insisted there was no way the TUNG Brush packaging could be redesigned in a time-frame acceptable to their schedule; they wanted it turned around within 48 hours.

Oechslin knew that only 2 percent of the thousands of suppliers who pitch Wal-Mart actually land on the giant retailer’s shelves, but he wasn’t going to come this close and slink away because of a couple of lousy inches. Getting on Wal-Mart shelves was an absolutely essential step in building the product’s prestige—and he believed in his product.

“If you’ve got a tongue, it applies,” says Oeschlin. And Oeschlin felt his timing was right. Even though Wal-Mart historically hasn’t attracted the TUNG brush demographic—educated women who prefer more upscale shopping—the company is trying to change its image and draw higher-income customers through better-quality products.

The pair started dialing numbers and found a Chicago design team that would make the changes and create a mock-up of the new packaging in 24 hours. The next day Oechslin and Warady went back to Wal-Mart with a sleeker, slimmer package.

And the final answer—yes!

Within 90 days, Wal-Mart had placed its first order for 20,000 TUNG Brushes. Manufacturing began in China, Chicago, New York, Tennessee and Ohio. By March 2006, the brush debuted in limited distribution in 1,280 stores across the country.

In retrospect, Warady says, the packaging drama was really “a test.” The big retailers, he explains, are practically “daring you to do business with them.” Whether it’s Walgreen’s or Wal-Mart, he says, they’re going to “throw up obstacles” to see if an entrepreneur can play in the big leagues.

Oechslin concurs. National retailers “have to believe in the people behind the product,” he says. “They don’t care how good your product is,” they care about whether it will sell, and whether you can deliver on your promises, he adds.

It’s also absolutely essential to have enough capital to ramp up production and deliver quickly when opportunity finally does come knocking.

Oechslin has been marketing TUNG Brush since 1996, when he and Sarasota dentist Steve Wieder came up with the concept. The TUNG Brush has been in Rite Aid drugstores since 2000 and other drugstore chains throughout the country such as Duane Reade, Long’s and Meijer. With Wal-Mart under his belt, Oechslin hopes to launch the TUNG Brush in Publix supermarkets and Walgreen’s as well as other large chains in 2007.

But that’s not all. Oechslin and Warady are intent on delivering the message to the prime TUNG Brush target audience—18 to 45 year olds, Oechslin says, an audience that lives online.

“Gen X and Gen Y groups,” Warady explains, “want to be entertained and they don’t want to be sold to,” especially on the Internet.

So in his quest to make the TUNG Brush as ubiquitous as dental floss and as hip as the latest MP3-playing cell phones, Oechslin turned to video viral marketing, a tactic that uses online sharing of video clips, often homemade, mostly through e-mails and blogs. In June 2006, Oechslin launched his viral initiative through YouTube, a wildly popular new Web site that contains millions of videos—everything from wacky homemade videos of pets doing backflips to clips of politicians’ speeches.

Oechlin forged an alliance with YouTube impresario Billy Presley, who has a penchant for videotaping himself as he travels around licking things like bridges and statues. Presley documents his antics on video and posts them on YouTube.com, http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=billypresley, which has become one of the Web’s most popular video sites. The TUNG Brush Web site is tagged to the end of every video Presley posts.

To drive visitors to the Presley videos and subsequently to the TUNG Brush Web site, Oechslin and Warady hired college students and recent college graduates, some with master’s degrees in marketing, to “get the word out about these videos through social networking sites” such as myspace.com, iambored.com and friendster.com.

Marketing via viral video is a relatively unproven arena, and videomakers such as Presley aren’t easily managed, causing many marketers to shy away from such online strategies. Warady, however, says the strategy enabled them to build the brand cheaply. Presley’s expenses are paid, along with a “very modest fee,” Warady says, and “all the TUNG Brushes he wants.”

Oechslin says that so far, promoting the TUNG Brush alongside Presley’s funny, slightly subversive videos has resulted in “tens of thousands of hits” to the TUNG Brush Web site. Even though TUNG Brush is not sold via tungbrush.com, there is a store locator feature and a link to drugstore.com, where sales “have doubled in the last six months,” he says. Although Oechslin wouldn’t release revenues for the last year, he says more than 100,000 TUNG Brushes have been sold and sales are in the “seven figures.”

“I have no doubt that the TUNG Brush will become a staple in dental care,” states Oechslin, with the true entrepreneur’s boundless faith. “We’re grateful that we’ve had the success we’ve had. But can we do better? Of course we can. The key is never quit.”

Joel Warady (joel@joelwarady.com)
Principal
Joel Warady Group
1010 Davis Street
Evanston, IL   60201
Phone : 847-859-1800
Joel Warady - Branding & Marketing Expert Contact Joel Warady

“The Rise from Music Videocrity” Music Video Contest.

By Benjamin Pinkhasik

MyMovieNetwork, the filmmaker community dedicated to all filmmakers launches their first music video contest – “The Rise from Music Videocrity”. The contest is open to all filmmakers, actors, musicians, directors and individuals who love music and videos.

To enter the contest, which runs from March 4 to May 1, go to www.mymovienetwork.com

Because there are so many formula music videos, MyMovieNetwork is rising above the crowd to find the best of the best, according to Clint Mazur, CEO of MyMovieNetwork. “Our system allows us to recognize all who worked on the video, not just the singer or the director. This is a very exciting competition for us especially since the public is doing the judging.”

MyMovieNetwork wants amateur film makers to present music videos for their favorite songs. The music in the video can be their own or not, but filmmakers must give credit to artists and writers.

Filmmakers are free to choose the genre. Mazur says “feel free to rock our socks off or drop some hot beats. The most important thing is quality so put in the time.”

Selection of winners is based on comments left by viewers, the highest quality films and overall rating. The winner of the contest receives cash and prizes.

Launched in 2006, MyMovieNetwork is a unique online community that provides tools for filmmakers to showcase their work around the world by posting their films and portfolios, In addition, members learn from, network and collaborate with fellow movie makers.

MyMovieNetwork runs contests to find the best filmmakers, provides tools for scouting, blogging and linking to personal film archives. Each member can create a studio where all their films, cast and crew are associated with the studio.

Videocrity Contest

Vietnam Revisited

March 10, 2007

An antiwar son, a Marine father. Family quagmire, anyone?

By DANIEL FORD
March 10, 2007; Page P6

The Father of All Things
By Tom Bissell
Pantheon, 407 pages, $25

[The Father of All Things]

When Tom Bissell pondered his father’s war, having heard about it in family conversation over the years, the Vietnam conflict seemed the stuff of poetry: “For all its dreads,” as the younger man imagines service there, “in Vietnam you never lost the simple human awareness of being alive. It was a young man’s land, covered in a dew of terrifying possibility.”

But when Mr. Bissell and his father, John, actually tour Vietnam in 2003 at the behest of Harper’s magazine, poetry gives way to outrage. The war was an atrocity! Bissell Jr. simply cannot get over the crimes of his own country, especially as he has gleaned them from his pre-trip research and a searing visit to the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. Since he shares some of his father’s genes, he seems to worry that he shares some of the guilt as well.

“The Father of All Things” purports to be a meditative travelogue and a portrait of father-son bonding. But politics is nearly everywhere in the book, intruding on the past. One of the rare unpolitical moments comes when Tom asks his father if he had a Marine Corps nickname. Yes: “Nice Guy.” It was earned when Bissell Sr. stopped to compensate a Vietnam peasant for a water buffalo, accidentally killed by his patrol, while a general overhead in a helicopter demanded that the Marines keep moving. His son seems astonished by the paradox of kindness in the killing fields. Yet such moments are part of every war, including Vietnam’s, as I saw during my own months as a reporter there. For the most part, American soldiers are kind.

[Illustration]
Tom and John Bissell in Vietnam in 2003. Inset: Bissell Sr., Marine officer candidate, in Quantico, Va., 1964.

Mr. Bissell has less difficulty believing his own country’s crimes, of course: They were, by his reckoning, continual, awful and unforgivable — and we’re repeating them today in Iraq! He doesn’t make the connection explicitly; instead, when he tallies Lyndon Johnson’s mendacities, for instance, Mr. Bissell likens them to those of “another president,” not named. For the sins of Vietnam he especially blames LBJ adviser Walt Rostow and Nixon adviser Henry Kissinger — largely, it seems, because they never apologized for their crimes. “A disgustingly evasive book,” the bibliography says of Mr. Kissinger’s “Ending the Vietnam War,” “by a thoroughly disgusting statesman.” Well, at least we know where our chronicler stands.

Mr. Bissell blames fools as well as criminals for Vietnam, such as the Washington bureaucrat who said that he believed himself better off without military experience, since the omission freed him to think creatively. I take Mr. Bissell’s point. But what is true for bureaucrats is also true for reporters: Some first-hand knowledge really does come in handy. The lack of it leads, for instance, to Mr. Bissell’s thinking that U.S. Special Forces conducted “unconditional warfare” in Vietnam, when their specialty was unconventional warfare. Does it make a difference? I think so.

In the end, I found myself liking the father more and the son less. Mr. Bissell writes well, and he has read widely, from Bernard Fall’s prescient “Street Without Joy” to David Butler’s affecting “The Fall of Saigon.” And he did go to the trouble of walking the ground, even if it was long after the shooting stopped. But Mr. Bissell’s disgust is so pervasive that I wearied of it. Wasn’t there one decent human being in the U.S. war effort — military or civilian, Democrat or Republican, in Saigon or Washington? Was every motive sinister? Was nobody ever simply mistaken? Most important: Was there no cause worth fighting for? Mr. Bissell could have spoken to a few of the Vietnamese boat people who fled the communists after the war. They might have shown him a different perspective.

The Bissells’ visit to Hue — the city near the Demilitarized Zone where, during the 1968 Tet offensive, the U.S. Marines won the battle but lost their country’s support — captures the flavor of “The Father of All Things.” When the two men arrive at the Citadel, an imperial palace complex, Bissell Sr. pronounces the enclave “neat.” That’s not good enough for Bissell Jr., who prods his father throughout the trip for therapeutic exchanges that never come.

At Hue, Bissell Jr. chides his father (“Come on, ‘Neat’?”) and then launches into a description of how the French, who once ruled Vietnam, found it “humbling” that Vietnamese culture was “hundreds of years older than French culture.” Thus, Bissell Jr. says, the French were willing to negotiate once war started. He asks his father repeatedly whether he is “bitter” that the Marines didn’t train him in cultural sensitivity. Bissell Sr. won’t confess to bitterness on that score, but after sucking his teeth and thinking a bit, he allows that the U.S. could have accomplished a lot with humanitarian aid in rural areas if we had understood the country better.

The author might want to improve his own grasp of Vietnamese culture: He tells us that the Citadel is “ancient,” but in fact construction on it started in 1804. Besotted with the setting’s beauty and supposed antiquity, he finds himself envying the simple pride shown by Hien, their guide. “Soon Hien was no longer leading us. Instead he seemed pleased simply to stand amid the astonishments of such a storied place.” Mr. Bissell himself, he confesses, has never felt a similar awe at any of his own country’s cultural monuments — the Lincoln Memorial, say. He asks his father: “Why is that?”

“Because you’re an ungrateful little prick,” replies John (Nice Guy) Bissell.

Mr. Ford is the author of “Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942,” forthcoming from HarperCollins.