A Filmmaker’s Experience in Cuba

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Now that the news media is slowing down their coverage of the life and death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, I thought I might post a few thoughts after filming in the country in early 2016. While most of the world seems to agree that he was a brutal dictator (according to CBS News, nearly 20% of the entire population of Cuba has fled the country since the revolution), it was surprising to see how laudatory many world leaders have been about his decades of rule. Some acted as if they were eulogizing a saint. So having traveling to Cuba to film earlier this year, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about what I encountered in the country.

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The Audience Churches and Ministries are Missing: Hispanics

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Every year, between September 15 and October 15, the United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. Government entities and businesses recognize the culture and contributions of those born in Latin American countries – particularly Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, Belize and Costa Rica, all of which celebrate their independence days during that time.  To understand why this should matter to churches and ministries in North America, I spoke with Ivan Leon, founder and chief strategist at the Kerux Group, a marketing firm that’s helping redefine how faith organizations interact with Hispanics. Here is his response:

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Creatives: Should You Discuss Your Project Before It’s Finished?

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I’m fortunate to be friends with a lot of highly creative writers, artists, musicians, and filmmakers. But a significant number never realize their full potential, and in fact, never actually finish many projects. It baffled me for awhile, but then after years of observing them, I discovered the problem:

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Globalizing Your Media Means Localizing Your Media

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Whenever I travel internationally, I’m always surprised to find that when watching American produced religious programming, the vast majority of programs do nothing related to local audiences.  In other words, the program open and close, structure, and even commercial spots were the exact same as the program that had been broadcast in Cleveland, Atlanta, or Tulsa.  It goes without saying that creating a commercial spot with an American phone number and a price in dollars is going to fail when its broadcast in Russia, South Africa, or Bolivia.  And yet,

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3 Rookie Mistakes Media Production Companies Make

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People have peculiar ideas about launching start ups. Before the Internet, I knew an inexperienced producer who was convinced that to be taken seriously, he had to deliver everything important (scripts, contracts, etc) via Federal Express. It didn’t take long to run up a $250,000 Fed-Ex bill and he eventually declared bankruptcy. Others have equally unproductive ideas about launching projects. So if you’re an investor in a media production company, or a major donor in a nonprofit media effort, here’s 3 of the biggest red flags you should be looking for:

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Why You Should Tell Your Story With Short Videos

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There’s a great deal of buzz about short videos these days, and there are good reasons. More video content is uploaded in 30 days than all three major U.S. T.V. networks combined have created in 30 years. So today, if your church, ministry, or nonprofit isn’t producing short videos regularly, then you’re missing an enormous opportunity to share you story with a growing audience. Here’s some key reasons why you should consider picking up a camera:

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How to Pitch Your Ideas Successfully

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How can you make your dream their dream?  It’s a great question if you’re a creative person.  In many ways, the ability to present or “pitch” your ideas is one of the most important things you can learn in business.   Whether you’re trying to produce a movie, publish a book, get a raise, launch a business, find donors,  or whatever, your ability to inspire others to your way of thinking is important.  So to make you better at presenting your brilliant ideas, here’s 10 important principles to keep in mind:

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How To Successfully Direct Child Actors

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Working with kids is one of the great challenges for beginning film and TV directors. After all, W.C. Fields said, “Never work with children or animals.” They’re both unpredictable and take real focus and skill. So I asked my friend Rafael Barreiro, a director and producer who’s worked internationally, and now teaches at the university level to give us some basic advice for novice directors. Here’s his thoughts:

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