The Impact of Communications – Marketing, Business, Behavior and Culture

In order to comprehend the impact of communication within your organization, members must understand that this particular element of your marketing mix is used to deliver advertising messages and assist target audiences and customers to make purchases. Communication builds a relationship with current loyal customers, while increasing brand awareness and convincing targeted consumers to buy your brand over your competitors.

There are many factors that can have a major impact on your organization’s communication strategy, but here are four key attributes:

1. Marketing

Companies create databases through many ways, such as surveys and transactions for mass customization. Mass customization means to take products traditionally designed for mass markets and reshape them to appear to be personally designed for your targeted customer. The structure of communication starts with the source, which gets the attention of the receiver or end-user, by stimulating their interest of your message. The receiver or end-user interprets the message provided by the sender, in order to provide feedback of the message.

2. Business

Through product and service quality, customer satisfaction is achieved through the creation of increased brand loyalty and elevated repeat purchases. With changes in the environmental factors affecting traditional advertising spending, marketing managers are seeking new and innovative media avenues to reach their current and targeted audiences. We are continuing to witness a shift from traditional media methods (TV, radio, newspaper and magazines) to strategic product placement (Internet commerce, mobile commerce and buzz marketing or viral marketing). As we examine two major categories of communication channels, we discover that they are either personal or non-personal. Personal communication channels involve direct communications through professionals, salespeople, by phone or through email communications. Non-personal channels include attributes such as TV, newspaper, radio, direct mail, Internet, etc.

3. Behavior

When communicating with your current or potential customer, you are building and maintaining a rapport for continued and future business. Cultural and environmental changes affect social, technological, political and economic performances. Physical responses to advertisements will stimulate a shopping environment. These responses are based on awareness, attention-knowledge, desire, conviction, action, price, purchase, evaluation presentation, innovation, information, decision-making and behavioral responses. Regional differentiation (national or global) will have an impact on population, the perceived value of your products or services by customers, need segmentation and cultural preferences.

4. Culture

When marketing and communication managers are promoting their products and services to current and targeted audiences, cultural values and elements of culture are taken into consideration, in order to analyze the impact of their purchasing decision process. Behavioral and demographic attributes consist of values, language, religion, attitudes, population, age, social organizations, education, technology and geography. A common and advantageous concept occurring among many small businesses and large corporations is cultural diversity. Embracing differences and variety within a company and among their target consumers, includes age, ethnicity, education, sexual orientation, race and gender. These attributes are a part of the company’s culture. Cultural diversity is becoming an integral part in most companies today and drives economic development, marketing, employee development, vendor relationships and consumer loyalty and spending.

Brand equity communicates the value and quality, or other aspects of your products or services. Communications help customers make more informed decisions about their purchases. Marketing, business, behavior and culture not only impact an organization’s communication, but they build relationships.



How to Build Your Business With Radio, TV, and Print Interviews

One fast and easy business building strategy for solo professionals is to get interviewed on radio, the Internet, television, and in print media. It’s easier than ever to catch a request for an interview, what with YouTube, BlogTalk Radio, and Internet TV channels. With Webcam and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technologies, you might well get the chance to be on radio or TV anywhere in the world without leaving your office. This series of articles will cover everything you need to know to deliver an interview with ease and in a way that will make you welcome on shows and in print media, too. I’ll show you the five key steps of pro interviewing, along with these tips:

1) How you can “drive” the interview in a direction you want to go

2) What the people interviewing you REALLY want from you

3) How to create marketing opportunities right in the interview

4) How to recycle your interviews to build more presence for your business.

First, though, let’s talk about where giving interviews fits into your business. A successful entrepreneur has three things going that ensure business success. These components are a solid business plan with financial projections that take you where you want to go, a creative and low-cost marketing strategy for the business, and a willingness to remove any personal blocks that keep the business from succeeding. Each component is equally important to your business.

Interviewing is a part of your business’s marketing strategy. If you are unsure or resistant to thinking about interviewing as a way to showcase your expertise and experience, you more than likely have inner blocks that are in your way. Working to change that is a part of personal growth. For solo professionals who decide to do it, interviewing can be easy, fun, and help you build your business.

Before you begin to accept interview opportunities, you’ll need to put together a simple media kit or media page on your website. As a beginning, this should include:

1) A head shot of you (both black & white and color) that can be downloaded from your website or sent as a.jpg file in an e-mail

2) A brief (250 words) bio about you and what you do

3) A list of topics you can speak about

4) A list of your speaking and media experience (if you have any).

Pulling together this simple media kit will allow you to quickly respond to a request for an interview. You can refer the person to the media page on your website, or e-mail the information quickly.

There are five key steps to interviewing like a pro. Here they are, in the order you will probably use.

1) Know your goal.

2) Pick gigs based on your goal.

3) Prep the call.

4) Answer questions briefly but strategically.

5) Follow up diligently.

If you follow each step, you’ll find yourself quickly and easily handing interviews and benefiting from them in more ways than one. Each step helps ensure that your interview will be of benefit to the person interviewing you and to your business. Any time a solo professional can take an action that has a double benefit, it’s sure to be a winner!

Know Your Goal

Just as with anything else you do in business, being interviewed takes your time away from other things you could be doing. You won’t be getting paid, but you still do want a return on your investment of time and sharing of your expertise. Setting a goal for each interview you decide to give will help you get a return.

Ask yourself why you want to do this particular interview, and what you would like to get out of it. There are at least five ways to benefit, and you can probably hit two of them with each interview. The first goal is to build visibility for your business. Think about where and how much the interview will be publicized, the likely size of the listeners or audience, and how much introduction you are likely to receive.

Gaining credibility is a second goal. No one is going to ask you to be interviewed if they think you have nothing of value to offer their listeners or audience. Just by doing the interview, you gain credibility. It’s a good idea to keep a list of all the places you’ve done interviews, and add this to your media page. Reporters and others who are always looking for guests will be impressed that you’ve interviews and will be grateful to find someone who knows the ropes. Just like many other things in the business world, doing interviews can create its own energy. Word spreads that you are both interesting and willing, and you will get more opportunities once you break the ice.

A third goal for doing interviews is to build your list of prospects. Especially if you are an Internet-based business (or have an Internet-based component to your business) constantly building your list is a key concern for you. For Internet businesses, a list of potential customers is the goose that lays the golden egg. For businesses that are not Internet-based, their database of contacts and prospects is also important.

How does interviewing help you build your list? Many times, the person interviewing you will require people who want to listen in on the call or radio show to register ahead of time, even if the call is free. The interviewer may be building his own list using this strategy. He may need to know roughly how many people to expect on a telephone interview so that he can reserve enough phone lines through his conference call provider. He may want to collect information about the industry his listeners are coming from. Whatever the reason, there is often an opportunity to share this information and build your own list, too. If you do this, make sure that when a prospect registers for the event she is told that registering means she will receive the call-in access information and that she will receive a free subscription to your own electronic newsletter (e-zine). Make sure that you operate within the Federal laws regarding e-mails and SPAM.

Even if the person interviewing you doesn’t require a registration to listen in on the event, you can still build your list right on the call. Your bio should include information about your website’s URL. Include a statement something like, “Be sure to go to my website and subscribe to my e-zine, for you’ll receive valuable marketing tips several times a month.”

Product development is the fourth goal you can meet by doing interviews. Once the interview is done, there will likely be a recording of it. Viola! You have a product, a half-hour or hour-long interview about a particular topic that you can give away as an MP3 file, burn to a CD and sell, or have transcribed and make part of a product bundle. Interviewing is a quick and easy way to build up a library of low-cost products that can create a passive income stream for you. Agree ahead of time that you will get to share the audio file of the interview with the person who interviews you. The majority of times, this is understood at the outset – that both of you can use that resource in any way you want. Having the file is useful, for you can create audio clips from it to use in advertising or presentations along with using it as a product to give away or sell.

Finally, you may have a goal to make a special offer to the audience during an interview. Most hosts will be more than willing to take a brief time during the interview to let you offer something special to their listeners. This helps the host become known as someone who offers special deals or surprises, which in turn builds their audience. For you, it can be a way to test out a new product or service with an audience, or to raise some quick cash by offering one of your services with a special add-on for the same price. To make special offers effective, limit the time it is available (usually that day or 24 hours only) and/or the quantity offered. Build a special link in your website for this special offer, and announce it on the call, leading the audience to browse to your website, purchase the offer, and perhaps browse the rest of your website, too.

My next article will explore more of the five key steps to interviewing like a pro. Stay tuned!

(c) Sue Painter



Regulatory Challenges and the Media

There is definitely a culture clash in the world, and I’m not talking about the Western World and the Middle East, rather I’m talking about in the media such as television, radio, and newspapers and the new paradigm of social media, the Internet, and all the combination variations in between. Not only that, we also note that there have been lots of regulatory changes propping up the old, and preventing the new from making headway. Let’s go ahead and talk about this for a moment if we shall.

You see, the Internet is rising so quickly along with e-commerce, and social networks that the media can’t keep up. In fact the old media is trying to find new ways to use social networks and the Internet to blend the content so they don’t lose the next generation of readers, and can keep from losing current subscribers who are migrating to electronic formats for their intake of news. Consider if you will all the apps on the iPad for all the major news outlets, and all of the industry association trade journals.

The old media is also very upset because it is being plagiarized at such a high rate that as soon as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or any other publication puts out an article, that article is copied, or parts of it are copied and syndicated across the Internet within minutes, and redistributed to the whole world. Those that are consolidators or syndicators of news often make quite a bit of money off their advertising on their websites, but the old media still has to pay to create the content. Obviously it’s easy to make a lot of money grabbing other company’s work when all there is; is revenue, and someone else is generating all of the articles, videos, and news.

You can see how upsetting this is – especially considering that the new media is competing with the old media, and the old media is paying for all the content that the new media is stealing. Because of this we are noticing new regulatory challenges in the online venues. This culture clash, of the new versus the old will continue. It appears that everyone in the new media believes that all the information should be free. But the old media is trying to stand on the integrity of the reporting, often flying reporters halfway around the world doing stories in places off the beaten path.

If they are not paying for that content, they can no longer send the actual reporter there to collect the information first hand. Further if they collect the information through social media, tweets, and cell phone videos of people who are actually there, then obviously the news will be jaded, and favoring the opinions of those taking the pictures. This might seem like an okay thing, because we are getting information in real time, but we aren’t necessarily getting nonbiased news.

Government regulations to try to protect the old media aren’t working, attempts to shut off ISPs of those who allow the posting of plagiarized information isn’t going to fly with Internet users, and it’s a bad idea anyway. Nevertheless, you can expect these controversies to continue throughout 2012 and more regulations to come. Please consider all this and think on it.



Online Advertising: Remnant Traffic

What is “remnant traffic”, and why it is good for advertising?

‘Remnant traffic’ myths.
There are a multitude of myths and misconceptions concerning different aspects of online advertising which are still misleading for both Internet users and advertisers alike. One of these misconceptions is the definition of ‘remnant traffic’. Some advertising networks and agencies have their own glossary open for public use, where remnant traffic is often defined as “the most inexpensive ad inventory traffic by disreputable sites or empty ‘parked domains’ advertising inappropriate content”. Is remnant traffic really as bad as we are led to believe?

In order to understand what remnant traffic truly is let’s look more closely at what the traffic is the remnant of.

Premium traffic: The easiest way to understand is to imagine the banner of a famous brand on a top website’s homepage. In fact premium traffic is the “cream” of a website’s audience. Websites that provide premium traffic are guaranteeing to the advertiser that the audience will note the ad. They will primarily display the banner at notable places so ALL visitors to the site will see it.

This gives us our opposing definition of ‘remnant traffic’. First of all this term had been considered as the unsold inventory of our big brand advertiser above. Another stereotype is that historically remnant traffic was thought of as sold by low traffic ‘unpopular’ websites only, as they have no hope of attracting big name brands as advertisers. In the absence of alternatives these low traffic sites place banners from blind networks, which offer inexpensive ads often of doubtful content and quality.

Thus there formed a situation where premium traffic is considered as top websites traffic and remnant traffic is the traffic of the other less popular resources online. That would sound quite reasonable if it wasn’t found to be largely untrue under detailed consideration. In order to sort out the fact from the fiction let’s look at the nearest relation of online ads – advertising on TV, radio and traditional print media.

As it turns out there was already a very close definition of ‘remnant advertising’ in TV, radio and print media.

Is there ‘remnant advertising’ in the other media?
TV remnant advertising is advertising at any time except prime-time. The further from prime-time an advert is shown, the more discounts a channel offers to advertisers. Discounts on TV may reach 90% for unsold inventory. Discounts on radio are also prevalent and depend on time of broadcast and usual audience listening figures. These discounts may range from 25% to 75%.

Another rule operates for printed media as they are selling physical advertising space. Advertising space nearer the middle of the newspaper is priced vastly differently from a front page advert cost. In this case a direct comparison can be made between advertising on the front page of a newspaper with a banner on the homepage of a popular website.

The win-win nature of remnant advertising was accepted long ago in traditional media advertising and so the approach to premium and remnant ads was formed as the market matured. It is obvious and logical that those media may offer discounts up to 90% for unsold time or space. This is called remnant advertising. In this case both the channel and the advertiser are gaining. The channel covers 100% of scheduled advertising inventory; the advertiser is placing his advert with resources required with a great discount. So as we can see the place for remnant advertising was found in traditional media. Further remnant advertising is working effectively and not giving rise to the rejection of potential participants whether they be advertisers, advertising agencies or publishers.

‘Remnant traffic’ as it is.
Now let’s return to the Internet. If you look through the homepage of any top website, you will usually see only big-brand advertising in all the most notable places. Obviously this is premium traffic, somewhat analogous of prime-time on TV or magazines’ or newspapers’ front pages. If however you leave the page and return to it once or twice, the displayed advertising begins to change before your very eyes from a big brand to smaller or less well known advertisers or brands.

It turns out that as well as TV channels sell their prime-time, large websites sell impressions with a ‘first demonstration’ privilege. By refreshing a page several times we leafed through the big brand premium ad traffic and may now in fact see true ‘remnant advertising’ on a popular website. So that means top sites also have remnant traffic don’t they? Undoubtedly they do and they monetize it as well as traditional media do with their remnant advertising through great discounts. Separately it should be noted that this is the same mythical remnant traffic, which some networks and agencies associate with something inexpensive, negative and full of inappropriate content. These terms are obviously mismatched with the reality of remnant ads on top websites. On these top websites, remnant inventory may still be very expensive and high quality both for ad placement and ad content. Thus we have dispelled this particular myth.

But what should small low-traffic sites do? They do not attract huge site traffic numbers and thus cannot place premium class brand advertising. Are there any alternatives except the placement of inexpensive ad of sometimes very doubtful content, as described at the beginning of this article’s?

Can we benefit from using ‘remnant traffic’?
There are currently four main alternatives each with different pros and cons:

(a)You may place contextual advertising from one of the big search engines. Such services offer banner display advertising too. Among the advantages we should mention flexibility and adaptability of ad settings, rotations, localization etc. The disadvantages include delays with site verification and authorization to collaborate this program and delays with revenue payouts for displayed ads. Example: Google AdSense

(b)You may place a banner from one of the ‘blind’ ad networks. The principal advantages are that it is fast, simple and will generate money for anybody without exception. The disadvantages are lower revenues and the very real possibility of the appearance of inappropriate or shocking advertising content. Example: Clicksor

(c)You may register at a specialized remnant traffic ad network. These networks specialize in monetization of remnant traffic only. Both medium and high traffic sites use their services to fill their remnant ad inventory. The principal advantages are a generally high return in comparison with the alternatives and guaranteed clear and appropriate ad content. The main disadvantage is the current inability to monetize Chinese, Korean or Indian traffic sufficiently using these ad networks. Thus this alternative should be chosen in the case of sites with predominantly European or US traffic. Example: Fidelity Media

(d)You may place social (or philanthropic) advertising. The advantages are worthwhile ads, wholly appropriate content and you can improve your karma by doing social good. Disadvantage: it is generally free and thus not for profit. Example: Ad Council

Hopefully after considering these options there will be an obvious conclusion so do not hesitate to experiment. Earn money from your website and don’t get fooled by pseudo-authoritative statements that your traffic is worthless to advertisers. In most cases it is simply not true.



12 Amazing Bluetooth Facts

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows personal computers, laptops, cell phones and other electronic enables devices to communicate with each other over short distances of about 10 meters to transfer information/files from one device to another. It uses radio waves and is designed to be a secure and inexpensive way of connecting and exchanging information between devices wirelessly.

Following are a few of the most informative Bluetooth facts from the arsenal of thousands.

Fact # 1: “Bluetooth” refers to Harold Blatand who was the tenth century Danish king and unified the Norwegians and Danes.

Fact # 2: The renowned Andretti Green Racing team communicated during the race using Bluetooth devices

Fact # 3: According to a research the, this device users was expected to rise more than one billion by the year 2006.

Fact # 4: Analysts predict that one third of all new cars in the world will have built-in wireless Bluetooth connections.

Fact # 5: A lot of latest Bluetooth medical equipment, are being manufactures and deployed by hospitals to enhance the patient care.

Fact # 6: Latest wireless communication enabled devices let you watch images on your TV screen. This can be achieved using laptop or mobile phone over a wireless connection to a media viewer.

Fact # 7: Printing can be done wirelessly now! One can send files to print from Bluetooth enabled computer or mobile gadget directly to printer. There are also small home use printers that just print out color pictures by taking wireless input from cell phone or computer.

Fact # 8: The latest Multi point pairing Bluetooth enabled interface lets you connect with more than one Bluetooth devices, for example your cell phone can be connected to Stereo Bluetooth headset and your computer at a time

Fact # 9: One of the fastest growing devices in “Bluetooth hands free” and the second largest overall application, just behind the hands free is “stereo audio”.

Fact # 10: Extensive Bluetooth usage is hazardous for health. Blue tooth uses microware radio waves with the frequency range of 2.4 GHz to 2.4835 GHz and the power output from a Blue tooth radio is 100 mW, 2.5 mW, and 1 mW for class 1, class 2 and class 3 devices respectively. The class 1 is almost at the same level as cell phones are, whereas class2 and class 3 are much lower than class 1 and considered less of potential hazard then cell phones.

Fact # 11: Future of Blue tooth is expected to have information points for broadcasting channels, this will start the real usage of wireless connections inside the mobiles and enable advertising models based around users pulling information from the info points, and not based on current limited object push model. One of the best Bluetooth stereo headset companies which is expected to excel in this field is Motorola and Blackberry

Fact # 12: The latest wireless communication devices can now play a role of the “master” and can communicate with up to a maximum of 7 devices as “slave”. This group of 8 devices (1 master + 7 slaves) is called a Piconet. At any given time, data can be transferred between the master and 1 slave; but the master switches rapidly from slave to slave in a round-robin fashion to see for any further file transfer request.



Home Theater Room Design – Get Professional Help

Do you want to design a home theater, but have no clue on where to start? If this sounds like you, you are definitely not alone. There are hundreds of people that want to have a home theater, but are at a loss when it comes to the proper design features. This is where professional interior designers come into play. Home theater room design professionals have seen a boom in business over the past couple of years. Today more than ever before, there are a large number of people that are interested in updating their home.

The room design for your home theater or media room is a lot more important than you may think. Sure, you want it to look good, but in order to take full advantage of the investment you have made in home theater equipment, you need to design it to sound good too.

The placement of your speakers, television and furniture all add to your home theater experience. Sure you want comfy chairs and sofas, but if they are too big to situate them properly, your media experience will suffer. You also need to take into consideration where the speakers will be placed. It is ideal to have a center speaker located in front center of where the “audience” will be sitting, a speaker on the front right and front left as well as speakers behind the seating area. As far as visuals go, you want all the seats in the house to have a great view of your TV so you should design the room with these things in mind.

Even though you do not need a professional to help you design your home theater, you may be better off getting their help; at least during the beginning stages. Many people that try to design their own home theater end up wasting a lot of money on things that they do not need, or things that they could have found somewhere else for less money. When you are working with a professional interior designer, they will supply you with a couple of different ideas, and then you can work with them in order to ensure that you get exactly what you want. The only downside to hiring a professional is that you have to pay for their services. But even though you may have to put out a bit of extra money, you will be ensured of getting a room that is professionally designed.

If you are in need of a top notch home theater room design, you will definitely want to consider hiring a professional. There are hundreds of these professionals just waiting for your business. All you have to do is locate one in your area, and then tell them what you need. In no time at all, you will have a customized home theater that all of your guests will envy.



Making Assumptions

As I woke up this morning, I was reflecting on a phenomenon I’ve been noticing, which is that I receive far more comments on my articles that are not tools-oriented but more information and thoughts to ponder, than I do on my offerings that have specific steps attached, designed to help you achieve your goals.

I lay there, reflecting on this pattern and noticed that I began to feel a little unsettled, “the niggle” was up! As I asked myself what needs I had that weren’t being met that were triggering that niggle, the answer became clear: I want my readers to be successful in their healing. I don’t want them to stay stuck in the use of food to cope when they don’t have to. I want my writing to inspire them and motivate them to try doing something differently. Okay, so my needs were for purpose and significance and connection for me and ease, freedom and peace for you.

1. I was making assumptions about you! I was lying there in my ultra-comfy bed telling myself stories about you and those stories were causing me distress. I was telling myself that the lack of comments on tools-related articles was because I wasn’t a motivating writer and/or because I had failed to teach the tool in a way that was easy to understand and use. In other words, I was making big assumptions, telling myself harmful stories, and those stories were making me feel that niggly, anxious feeling because I was telling myself, based on those assumptions, that I had needs that weren’t being met. And I wasn’t telling myself that “maybe” I needed to change my teaching style I had bought into that story as “the truth.” That’s why I felt the niggle.

That sense of dis-tress or dis-ease never arises when we’re still open to any possibility, it only arises when, consciously or unconsciously we’ve attached to one story as “the truth.” And usually, it’s not the truth, or certainly not all of the truth. As soon as I realized what I had been doing, I laughed and asked myself if I wanted to continue to make those assumptions, or did I want to check them out, or did I want to just let them go. I let them go, and decided to check them out also, but from a place of genuine inquiry and openness and not from a place of wanting to confirm or refute my assumption. Anything could be true, myriad explanations exist. Why would I want to harm myself by fixating on one story when there were so many possible ones?

2. The other thing I was reminded of when I recognized my niggle, my needs and the assumptions that triggered them both was that I have no right to have needs for you, or of you. As Byron Katie, a teacher whose work I greatly appreciate would say: It’s either your business, their business, or God’s business, and you have no business being in anyone else’s business! (okay, she’s more eloquent than that, but you get the drift?) I was in your business, telling myself stories about what you should be doing, how you should be using the tools (assuming that you weren’t), what I should be hearing and how often, etc. All of this was happening semi-consciously in a split second, and the only indicator I had that any of this was going on was my little niggle.

That’s my cue, and yours too, that one of 2 things is happening:

1. You really do have needs in the present that are not being met (i.e. you are hungry, you have to go to the bathroom, you’ve misplaced your keys and you’re late)

or

2. You’re hooked into a harmful story that has you fixated on a worst-case-scenario outcome and, rather than telling yourself it’s one of myriad possibilities, you’re telling yourself it’s going to happen and you need to steel yourself and prepare, hence, up comes the niggle that represents all the needs you’re telling yourself won’t be met when that worst-case-scenario thing happens. Once I realized that I was getting hooked into stories about how you, my readers, “should” be using the tools, and that you weren’t, I could laugh at myself and let it go. I really do trust you to know what you need, when you need it and to make use of my offerings in the way that feels like the best fit at the right time for you. I just needed to remind myself of that!

For you, if you’re still using food to cope, this process of stories being pitched to you by your Drill Sgt. and then being logged as truth is probably happening 24/7. Those stories trigger you to feel anxious/niggly because that anxiety is an appropriately occurring in response to the needs you’re telling yourself aren’t being, or won’t be met because of that story. The anxiety/niggly feeling triggers you to feel overwhelmed because you don’t know where it’s coming from and the overall story you slip into is “something bad is going to happen, it’s going to be my fault, and there’s nothing I can do about it, time to check-out!” And out come the food and body focus, the alcohol, the procrastination, the isolation….whatever your drug of choice.

The solution really is simple. As you can see in my sharing above, we can’t stop our minds from ever telling us stories but we can quite easily get to a place where those stories hardly ever arise, and when they do, we notice them right away, assess their validity and move on from a place of peace and self-awareness. Once you realize the connection between thoughts and your use of food to cope, and start using some tools to attend to your thoughts more effectively, you will cease to use food to cope, guaranteed!



Breaking Into Hollywood – How Do I Sell My Own Reality TV Show?

How do you sell your own reality TV show? If you’re like most people who work in reality TV, you sell a show by working for some years in reality television, amassing good credits and production experience, building strong relationships with production companies, networks and vendors, running someone else’s shows for trench education, then pitching your concepts and your solid reputation to make your first sale(s). If that doesn’t sound like you, or even if it does, please read on.

If you’re like most people who don’t work in reality TV, you sell a show by coming up with an entertaining concept and find a personal “in” to a network exec or a production company where you can pitch. If a network exec likes the idea, s/he will partner you with a production company or show runner s/he already knows and trusts, and they will execute your concept. You will turn all of the control of your show, as well as most of whatever initial fees come in, over to the show runner or production company.

The same process happens if you approach a production company yourself to bring your idea to a network for you. Your attorney will work with the production companies to hammer out a “deal memo” that spells out what involvement, if any, you will have in the show. The company will do their best to remove you from any control over the process…because you have no idea how to run a television show. They also will take most of the money involved…because you are bringing nothing to the table but an idea that they will have to do all of the work to develop then execute, as well as use their hard-earned contacts to sell. In their eyes, you are bringing nothing to the table.

If you are still reading this blog after that stunning statement, you are ready for the road ahead as you try to pitch a show. You understand now how the industry will perceive you, and you accept your own limitations as someone who knows nothing about making a show but has an entertaining spin on a popular concept. You also understand, because I’m about to tell you, that you are not going to become rich when the show is sold.

Don’t confuse non-fiction TV with selling a movie or a sit-com or drama. “Back-end” and “created-by” fees and “residuals” are rare in this world. On your very first sale, be ready for some serious compromise if all you have is an idea. Your attorney is going to work hard enough just to keep you from being removed from the show entirely.

I’m going to write that again. YOUR ATTORNEY IS GOING TO WORK HARD ENOUGH JUST TO KEEP YOU FROM BEING REMOVED FROM THE SHOW ENTIRELY.

So how exactly do you sell your own show?

The smart way is to work in the biz and know that you are selling yourself and your experience and your reputation and your contacts far more than any concept itself. In fact, networks who have come to know you will call you and ask you to do a show for them! And you will be able control the production process and make the fees from it, because you’ve learned and earned you way into that position. Your agent is your best friend here because s/he is pitching you non-stop to the nets, setting up meet-and-greets with execs and keeping you up-to-date on how the net calls for content are shifting (and they always are shifting).

The fast way is to have a terrific concept and partner with someone else who can get it executed. You will have researched similar shows, checked out imdb.com for company and network information and approached the right people to match your genre and audience. If all goes well, you, indeed, will have sold a show, but often with limited involvement or reward! Your attorney will be your best friend here because s/he will need to be determined and creative to keep you a part of the process after the sale.

The back-door way is to know a person or property (like a popular book) that people want a piece of, develop a show with them attached to it, and have a written “option” that binds them to any sale. This is where having Paris Hilton as a close friend actually is a good thing. A hypothetical: Yes, she stole your boyfriend, but she felt so bad that she signed an option agreement allowing you to shop a makeover show with her as the host. Pretty much anyone will talk to you now, and you’ll have a lot more power keeping yourself attached since you are, at last, bringing something bankable to the table!

Whatever way you try to sell your show, remember, as always, to do an “entitlement” check before you start the process. If you are not Tyra Banks, do not expect to get a deal like Tyra Banks. If your talent is not Donald Trump, don’t expect to get a budget like Donald Trump’s. And if you have never run a television show (I didn’t say never written, produced, edited or shot, I said RUN), then don’t expect to run even your own. Not the first season, at least.

And please don’t go into reality TV to get rich. (Where are all of these Discovery Health- and Food Network-producing millionaires people think they’re joining the ranks of?) If you want to get rich, please go back for your MBA and head to Wall Street and build and protect your stock options like everyone else does. There’s way more chance you’ll get a return on your investment – and in a far shorter period of time! If you want to get rich quickly, with minimal effort, keep buying scratchers and hope for the best. But if you really want to make reality TV, while there’s no money at the start in this world, like almost everything else, working hard in this business ultimately has its own personal, professional and, yes, financial rewards. Plus sometimes, you get to make people eat bugs.



How Much Do You Know About Satellite TV?

If you drive around your village or if you are able to get the chance to go around a rural area, you will find a couple of houses with those satellite dishes that are installed in their roofs or concrete walls. At the sight of this familiar equipment, you can immediately tell that these homes have their own satellite TV system. However, do you have any idea what this technology really is, how it works and why more and more people are signing up for their own subscription? If you don’t have this system yet in your own home and are not at the slightest instance even intrigued about this amazing breakthrough in the TV network broadcasting technology, then you should read further.

Satellite TV is a type of broadcasting system where it makes use of satellites to send signals to the subscribers. Unlike the cable system where subscribers are connected to the broadcast center through cables in receiving signals, in a satellite TV system, the subscriber’s satellite dish receive the signals directly from the satellites located above the earth. For this reason, the satellite is always installed on the roofs or concrete walls so it can receive the signals from the satellites.

What you can get from the satellite TV system?

You may be currently enjoying the benefits of your cable TV in providing you with different local and foreign channels. You can get this from satellite TV, too but way much better. This is because you can get a greater selection of local and foreign channels, in different varieties. Whether you are into sports, movies, lifestyle, education, news, and much more, you will surely have a lot of options in any of these categories.

The viewing experience is very much unlike with the cable TV because and you can view the programs in digital format. You also get channels in high definition picture and sound which makes you feel like you are in a movie house when viewing these channels.

After reading these amazing features, you may think the cost of getting a satellite system is expensive. If that is so, you will be delighted to know that subscribing to it is getting more and more affordable. With all the providers trying to compete with each other in getting consumers to sign up, even the leading companies have special offers, discounts and affordable monthly plans that even an average working employee will find reasonable.

What are the conditions that I should meet?

While location is not a problem in getting a satellite TV system because even consumers in the rural and remote area can sign up, there are other conditions that you should have to make sure that you can make the most out of this technology.

Be sure that you can get a clear view of the sky from your home. If you live near tall trees or buildings, you need to examine thoroughly if there is a way that the satellite dish can still get a clear reception. If you are living in an apartment building, check first if you are on the side where the satellite dish can get a good reception from your balcony.



No Animals Were Harmed – All About Animal Actors

ANIMAL ACTORS: Interview with Sandi Buck, American Humane, Certified Animal Safety Representative

Q: What is the American Humane Film & TV Unit?

A: American Humane (AH) Film & TV Unit is based in Los Angeles and we monitor the use of animals in media. American Humane is a national organization with headquarters based in Denver, Colorado. I’m one of the Certified Animal Safety Representatives who go on set and monitor the use of animals in film and television. We award the “No Animals Were Harmed® in the Making of this Movie” disclaimer seen at the end of the credits in a movie.

Q: How did the American Film & TV Unit start?

A: Back in 1926, AH set up a committee to investigate abuses of animals in the movie industry. At that time, horses were the most at-risk animal actors. But, then, as now, animals have no inherent legal rights, so we couldn’t mandate the safety of the animal actors. In 1939, for the film “Jesse James,” a horse and rider were sent hurling over a 70-foot cliff into a raging river for an action shot. The stuntman was fine, but the horse’s back was broken in the fall and it died. Outrage over this sparked a new relationship between AH and some motion picture directors and producers and caused the Hays Office to include humane treatment of animals in the Motion Picture Code. The following year, AH received authorization to monitor the production of movies using animals. We worked on set for quite a while after that until the Hays Office was disbanded in 1966, ending our jurisdiction and excluding us from sets. This was a pretty dismal time for animal actors who were being used in some brutal ways. Then, in the early 1980s, another incident caused another public outcry and American Humane was added to the agreement with SAG that mandated that union films contact us if they were using animals. This agreement now includes any filmed media form, including television, commercials, direct-to-video projects, and music videos. A more detailed history is on our website. Right now, we monitor about 900 films a year, maybe more. That’s not counting commercials.

Q: Did you say animal actors no have legal rights?

A: That’s correct. Animals have no “legal” rights in the sense that humans have. But because of our SAG agreement, animal actors in SAG films have “contractual” rights because the AH office must be contacted by productions using animals and an AH Film & TV Unit representative be on set during the filming.

Q: What about nonunion productions?

A: Nonunion productions are not contractually bound to contact us, but we find that a lot of people want us there anyway. I’ve worked with several productions that say – “We want you here. We want that rating at the end of our film and we want people to know what we had you on set.”

Q: So people on set are happy to see you?

A: Generally yes, but sometimes no. Actors always love seeing us there. They look at the AH patches on my jacket and come up to me constantly on set and say – “Oh, you’re here for the animals. That’s so great, I’m so happy you’re here.” That’s what we want. We want people to look for us, to know we’re there, and why we’re there. As for production, it depends on their perception of us and if they’ve worked with us in the past. People we’ve worked with before love having us there. The ones who haven’t worked with us before sometimes think “oh, no, here comes the animal police to patrol us,” like I’m going to stand there with my hands on my hips telling them what they can and can’t do. It’s not like that. We’re not there to criticize. We’re there to work with filmmakers, not against them. If we see a problem, we’ll address it and work it out together. In Florida, for instance, one of the big concerns is heat. During one production, the producer wanted a dog to walk back and forth across the pavement. I told the director there was a problem with this. I already knew he didn’t like having me on set, but I told him anyway, “You take off your shoes and walk across that street.” He went out to the street, put his hand on the pavement, and said – “Yeah, you’re right.” He wasn’t trying to harm the animal, he just wasn’t thinking about the animal, the heat, and the pavement. That’s part of the reason we’re on set. We don’t expect filmmakers to also be animal experts. Even producers who personally don’t care about animals usually realize it makes sense for them to have us there. Many people say they won’t watch a movie in which they think or have heard that an animal was injured or killed. People look for the AH disclaimer at the end of movies saying – “No Animals Were Harmed® in the Making of this Film.”

Q: How do filmmakers get a “No Harm” disclaimer for their movies?

A: The process starts when production contacts our Los Angeles office to let us know that they plan to use animals. We direct them to our Guidelines which are available on the internet and we request their script. We review the script and arrange to come in and observe the animal action to ensure that the conditions in which the animals are working and kept is safe and comfortable. This doesn’t cost the union production anything – that’s part of the arrangement with the SAG office.

Q: What about nonunion productions? Can they get this “No Animals were Harmed®” disclaimer?

A: The process to get the disclaimer is the same, only there’s a $30 an hour fee for the hours we’re on set. The time we spend in pre-production script evaluation and then screening the films and writing up reviews is included in that $30 an hour on set fee.

Q: Can student and independent filmmakers get your disclaimer?

A: Definitely, if they meet the guidelines for it. If they have questions, all they need to do is call our LA office and ask. Our LA office is happy to help young and aspiring filmmakers with guidance and information on safely using animals in their films. If they’re in the process of writing a script, they can call us and ask if certain scenes are feasible and for advice on how to get the scenes and action they want. Productions who can’t get an AH representative on set because of cost or scheduling conflicts can write down what it is they plan to do, document the filming of the animal action with a little video, a behind the scenes – this is how we did it, kind of thing – and send it in. We review it and though we can’t say we were actually there, we can say that through our review, it looks like the production followed the Guidelines. That rating is called: “Not Monitored: Production Compliant.”

Q: How many ratings are there?

A: We have several ratings which range from our highest “Monitored: Outstanding” and receiving the “No Animals Were Harmed”® disclaimer which appears in the end credits of the film, to “Not Monitored,” to our lowest rating which is “Monitored Unacceptable” – where our guidelines and animal safety were disregarded and or negligence caused the injury or death of an animal. Striving for a good rating helps ensure that the production will go well. If a production is half way through shooting and an animal that is key to the movie gets spooked and gets loose or injured, it’s like losing a lead human actor. What’s the producer going to do? Re-shoot the animal scenes with another animal actor? Rewrite the script? Scrap the movie? Professional trainers have several different dogs with different talents that look alike. One’s a really good barking dog, one’s a really good jumping dog, another does something else. That helps in the event one dog gets sick or injured, it won’t halt filming. A lot of the worst scenarios can be avoided with planning. I look for potential problems and to keep everything as safe as possible for everyone. There can always be accidents, there’s no way to prevent that. That happens in life. You can work to make things as safe as possible, but there can still be accidents. We understand that. The bottom line is at that any time filmmakers plan to use animals, even their own pets, they should contact our LA office.

Whether or not one of us comes out to your set, they should refer to our Guidelines For the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media so they know what they need to prepare for, to say to themselves – this is what I need to prepare for if I’m going to use an animal on my production. Am I prepared to do what I need to do to make sure that everything is safe for my animal? Having us involved benefits the production in that if there’s ever any question as to how a stunt was done the filmmaker can say – call AH. Filmmakers with the reputation of abusing animals for the sake of producing a film or commercial won’t get hired and people won’t want to watch their movies. We are the only organization authorized to make and uphold these standards and people look for it. When people see animals in films, they look to see that no animals were harmed. If they have any questions on how things were done, they can go to our website and read about it. They can see that this stunt that looks absolutely horrible was actually done with computer graphics, a real animal wasn’t even involved.

Q: Are personal pets allowed to be in movies?

A: Our Guidelines recommend that filmmakers use professional animal actors obtained through trainers, but we know that filmmakers, especially small independent and student filmmakers are going to use their own pets or the pets of friends and family in their movies. We understand that, that’s a reality in this business. But even if it’s no more than filming their own pet cat or dog sitting in a chair or walking across the room, filmmakers should get in the habit of contacting our office. When producers choose dogs, for instance, they should look for dogs with outgoing personalities, dogs that aren’t afraid of people. Fear can cause a disaster. The dog can bite someone out of fear if they get in a situation in which they’re not comfortable. If more than one dog is to be used on set, the dogs should be used to being around other dogs. If one dog shows aggression toward another dog on set, the aggressive dog must be removed. Dogs that live together and are accustomed to being with each other are good choices.

Q: You mentioned education as being part of the goal of AH. Would you talk some about that?

A: We’d like to work more with film schools developing programs where as part of the curriculum, students take a course or attend a seminar held by an AH representative about using animals in film. If the school can’t put us into their program yet, just having our Guidelines available at the school or distributed to students will help educate them. The earlier we reach the students, the better. These filmmakers will grow in their careers and will eventually be involved in large productions where they might end up working on films with large animals. That’s the point where you really worry about safety, so the earlier we can educate students, the better.

Q: What can you advise students or aspiring filmmakers wanting to use pets? Your Guidelines can look daunting.

A: If filmmakers choose to use a pet instead of trained animal, we have no control over that but we still recommend they review and adhere to our Guidelines. If the Guidelines seem overwhelming, call our LA office with questions, say – “All I want is for my dog to sit in a chair or walk across the room while we’re doing our filming, what are the guidelines?” Most of it is just common sense. Know that the animal you’re using is friendly and completely safe to be around people and other animals. You don’t want an animal on set that’s aggressive, skittish, or snaps. Think about what you’re going to do with this animal while you’re setting up shots. How many times do you actually need the real animal? Can you use a stuffed animal if there’s any concern about using a real animal? You don’t want a real dog sitting under hot lights while you’re setting up. Go to a toy store and get a stuffie look-alike of whatever animal you’re using. Make sure the animal won’t be in the way of a moving dolly and that she won’t be in area in which she can get stepped on. When she’s not being used on set have a suitable place for her to hang out, that she’s not running around loose. There needs to be a safe area like a crate or separate room for the animal. Make sure the pet has breaks and gets to lie down and rest or get something to eat and drink. If the pet isn’t kept in a crate, make sure it’s on a harness or leash so that should she get spooked by a loud noise or quick movement, she can’t jump down and run away. Plan ahead and prepare for all possible scenarios. That’s critical. If an animal won’t do what you want, what are your options? Have back up plans. How far should you go to try to get an animal to do something? If the animal won’t or can’t do what you want him to do, forcing him is inviting disaster. Even if the animal normally does something, an animal is an animal. You can never predict what it’s going to do or not do. It’s like working with a child. The producer has to be prepared.

Q: Who is responsible for the safety of a pet during filming?

A: The ultimate responsibility lies with the owners as they will suffer the anguish and grief if something happens to their pet. I recommend that pets not be passed around to people on set to play with. That can be overstimulating to animals, and if they’re all excited, they may not be able to perform the action you want them to perform. Many trainers make a general announcement on set – don’t touch animals while they’re working. Obviously, with the exotics, people are pretty good about asking before touching them but a lot of times, with dogs and cats, people just walk up and pet them without asking.

Q: Does AH have a problem with certain action shots?

A: If filmmakers wonder if a certain action shot can be obtained safely, call and ask us. If a filmmaker wants a dog to run off the end of the dock and jump into a lake to get an exciting shot, they should make the obvious choice. Pick a Labrador Retriever who loves to swim and run and jump off the dock and has actually practiced this. They shouldn’t choose a little Chihuahua that’s never been in the water.

Q: How did you get into the field?

A: I grew up in Michigan in a very animal-oriented family. We had the house with the invisible sucker sign hanging on the front of it – animals could see the sign, but we couldn’t. Animals constantly showed up at our door and people dumped their puppies and kittens off in our barn. We had dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, and hamsters, and just about everything else. As a teenager, I raised and trained a working Seeing Eye dog. After that, I raised a wonderful Doberman for obedience. After college, I tried a few careers, but didn’t really care for any of them. In the early 1990s, I moved to Key West, Florida. That was about the time the series “Key West” with Fisher Stevens and Jennifer Tilly was being filmed as a pilot. I accidentally met the medic on set and we started talking. He learned that I was a dive master with dive master medical training and said they’d been looking for someone else to work on set when they went to series. He asked if I was interested and I was. So, I went and got EMT certification and worked on that series as the medic when the other medic wasn’t available. After the series ended, I worked fulltime as an EMT paramedic and part time as paramedic in film. I also volunteered with my dog in the education department at the Humane Society of Broward County. We went around to schools and taught pet education to the kids. Through that, I began working as a surgical assistant for the shelter. I was basically done the same things for animals that I was doing for humans. It was hard working for the shelter, for obvious reasons, but it was also very rewarding and I loved it. One day I was watching a movie through the credits and saw the “No Animals Were Harmed® in the Making of this Film” disclaimer and that a representative was on set to monitor all animal action. A light went off in my head – “Hey, that’s a job. If somebody was on set that means it’s an actual job.” I sent my resume to the recruiting office in LA and got an interview. My background with horses and dogs, and dog training, and medical and film experience worked well together for the position. I then went through the AH training which basically teaches film and set etiquette, which I already knew from my experience on set, and learning report writing and the Guidelines. Right now, I live in Virginia. As my husband is in the military, we move around a bit, but as my job requires a lot of travel, I can do it from wherever we’re based. Though most of my work is in this area, I’ve traveled all over the country. I’ve been to Mexico, Canada, Wyoming.

Q: What films have you worked on locally?

A: Susan Jackson, our representative based in Richmond, and I have worked independently and, in the case of large films such as “Dreamer,” we’ve worked together. During the filming of “Dreamer,” producers wanted something that looked like ointment to slather on an animal and they didn’t know what to use. Susan suggested a solution of milk and water. So they mixed the milk and water and said – “oh, that’s looks really good.” Another instance on “Dreamer” was a barn scene. The crew needed the barn cats out before they could start filming. Susan came up with and organized a plan to catch the cats and send them off to be spayed and neutered. By the time filming was done, the cats could come back. It helped everybody. These are simple solutions that have helped producers get the scenes they want. We don’t expect filmmakers to be animal experts; that’s why we’re there. We’ve been in this business a long time and have a lot of training behind us. A lot can be done with camera tricks, computer graphics, stuffie stunt and photo doubles and some creative solutions. Most recently I was one of the Safety Reps on “Evan Almighty.” “Birds and Animals,” a huge animal company for the film business supplied the animal talent. They have offices in Florida, California, New York, overseas and have all kinds of animals and I’ve worked with them for years since I started at AH seven years ago. They’re great to work with and have excellent trainers who very concerned about the safety and welfare of their animals. Another huge part of our job is perception. It’s often the perception of actors who aren’t familiar with animal training. For example, when I was on “Evan Almighty” there was a scene with all these different small animals. One way to lure small animals like skunks, rats, and porcupines from point A to point B is with a buzzer. These little animals can’t be trained to come like dog or even a cat. These little animals are taught that when they walk across the room to the buzzer, they get a food reward. One of the actors watching this came over and asked – “Are these animals being shocked?” I said, no, and explained the whole buzzer thing. Without someone like myself being there to ask, this actor could have walked off set thinking that the animals on set were being shocked. It was amazing to watch the whole process on “Evan Almighty.” A huge ark was built in Charlottesville, VA, and they had a special camera that exactly replicated every single move of the animals. Animal were brought in one at a time, so if there were forty animals in a scene, they did that take forty different times at least, each time with each different animal. Sometimes there were pairs of animals, sometimes there was only one – the same animal walked across the room twice. It was all put together by computer to look like all these pairs of animals were in the same room, even though they weren’t. That was a lot of fun to work on.

I also do the “Puppy Bowl” in Silver Spring, Maryland, at the Discovery Channel which airs on the Animal Planet at the same time as the Super Bowl. A little stage is built that looks like a football field and puppies go out there and play. They have “Kitty Half Time” and a “Tail Gate Party” for the dogs that didn’t get into the game. It’s hilarious. Initially, they were a little wary of me, but now we have a great relationship. It’s nice when you walk off the set and the people you met when you first came in were looking at you like – “here she comes,” then say – “thank you so much for being here, we want you back next year.”

American Humane was founded in 1877. It is the oldest national organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Through a network of child and animal protection agencies and individuals, the American Humane Association develops policies, legislation, curricula and training programs to protect children and animals from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The nonprofit membership organization, headquartered in Denver, raises awareness about The Link® between animal abuse and other forms of violence, as well as the benefits derived from the human-animal bond. American Humane’s regional office in Los Angeles is the authority behind the “No Animals Were Harmed”® End Credit Disclaimer on film and TV productions, and American Humane’s office in Washington is an advocate for child and animal protection at the federal and state levels. American Humane is endorsed by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and has been awarded the Independent Charities Seal of Excellence.

Animal actor “Angus,” Actor Ken Kline’s black Labrador Retriever was cast as “Dog with Man” in “Capitol Law,” an ABC Pilot filmed in Washington, D.C., and also on “Shooter” as a quadedestrian in Baltimore’s Federal Hill. Ken met American Humane Film & TV Unit representative Sandi Buck on the set of “Evan Almighty” in Richmond, Virginia, where she was overseeing the use of wild animals like bears, wolves, and mountain lions on set. Angus decided stay to home for that particular film.