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.



Trying to Figure Your Social Media ROI

As a client attraction coach using social media and online marketing strategies, one of the biggest problems I see small business owners and entrepreneurs have is trying to measure their ROI… Return on Investment.

First: We have to understand that social media is a different type of marketing. It’s not the old traditional static style marketing that send sales messages to buy – buy – buy. Once the ad was printed, that was it for the duration of the time period the ad ran.

There wasn’t any connection or contact made with the person you were marketing to. Advertising companies controlled the marketing. Social media on the other hand is all done in real time and has leveled the playing field between the big guys with big advertising budgets and the little guys with little to no advertising budgets. For the first time, the consumer is in control.

Now your viewers want to talk with you, they want to interact and have conversations with you.

Social Media is all about people and taking the time to build relationships, it’s not about being salesy.

Second: People are not on social platforms looking for ways to spend money. They’re wanting to connect with likeminded people and people with like interests and to learn more about the things they want to spend money on. They aren’t there to actually buy.

Social Media ROI is not measured in Return on Investments, it’s measured more by Return on Impressions.

So how do you measure your Return on Impressions? By connecting and engaging in conversations with your viewers and:

  1. Building your online social media community consistently and persistently
  2. Your community in turn start talking about and promoting you to their communities
  3. Scheduling speaking engagements at live and online events and promote products or services
  4. You build your email list
  5. You’ve built brand recognition
  • These are just a few of the ways you can measure your Return on Impressions using social media. Again, it is not about sales, you’re building relationships which in turn leads to sales which in turn builds your business for traditional ROI.

Your Simple Action Step: Get the word out there and let your ideal clients know about you and what you do. Start searches on Facebook and your other social sites for your ideal clients and message them that you share a common interest (name the interest) and would like to connect with them. Careful though… on Facebook, do not send more than 25 personal friend requests a day or Facebook will shut you down for a few days.

Plus build your community, take the time to interact more on your social sites, it’s critical to your social media success. Post several times a day, using a post scheduler like Hootsuite (for posting across multiple sites) or the Facebook post scheduler (for Facebook business pages only). Ask questions, post pictures, use quotes, post blog posts, share other’s blog posts or information, and bring personal into your business page… it’s not all business.



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.



Twitter Complements Mainstream Media

Many people view Twitter as another agent to the destruction of mainstream media and journalism. However, in reality, Twitter works as more of an accessory, complementing traditional means of journalistic reporting. This form of social market enables more people to act as journalists, reporting breaking news the way that they see it. This, in turn, allows the news to spread more quickly than on television alone. But, Twitter does not replace a professional journalist’s job. Twitter not only acts as a venue for the every-day person to share their take on an issue, but it also serves as another tool for the media to use to spread credible and verified information on breaking news and important current events. The ability for people to connect over these common issues and happenings has increased exponentially with the use of Twitter, yet has not nullified the value of traditional news reporting. People may see information about something on Twitter, but still, more often than not, will verify these new ideas or facts through the use of mainstream media, such as television or newspapers. Twitter just enables information to travel faster, thus decreasing the time it takes the media to reach and inform the public. Twitter can also traffic larger audiences to news and journalistic reports. If people are tweeting about an upcoming presidential address, for example, people on Twitter who may have not been aware that this event was about to occur, will now be informed and intrigued, hence a larger audience will know to tune in to this report or show due to its presence on Twitter.

Look at Osama Bin Laden’s death, for instance. Many people learned about this news through Twitter before traditional credible media sources, but a large portion of these tweets actually stemmed from television networks and journalists. Twitter played the role of making the news go viral at a much greater rate than it would have before the days of social.

In the same way that Twitter increases audiences for special television reports and events, it can also be used as an extremely effective tool through which to inform potential customers about upcoming promotions, events, or developments of a specific business. In the field of social media marketing, Twitter provides companies with the crucial ability to connect with their clients, and allow their clients to connect with each other. While Twitter and other tools are not positioned to completely take over the marketing industry, businesses without social network outlets are missing out on reaching a large potential customer base.

Go Social Now, a social marketing company, works with businesses to create, modify, and constantly update customized Twitter accounts. Similarly to the way in which Twitter amplifies mainstream media outlets, Go Social Now uses Twitter, as one of their many social media marketing strategies, to drive greater traffic to company websites, increase company sales, and spread the company’s brand and products across the web.



The Event Organiser`s Social Media Software Feature List

The Event Organiser`s Social Media Software Feature List

Admin/Configuration

Organisers have the ability to enable or disable every feature (listed below), subject to certain dependencies

Custom Branding

Custom CSS and HTML fields allow the event organiser to apply the look and feel of your organisation/event including logo, colour scheme, layout and more. Most text fields are customisable as well

Static Pages

For events that do not already use their own CMS (e.g. Drupal, WordPress, Radiant, etc.), we provide a simple static page module that event organisers can use to create their home page, hotel/travel page(s), sponsor pages (not fan pages) etc.

I18N

Event organisers can configure the appropriate date, time and currency formats for the

event’s locale. Note: at this time, system strings are not exported. However, event organisers may opt to enter text in other languages into the configurable text fields

Custom Subdomain Integration

Every event gets its own unique IP, so most events choose to use our recommended custom DNS settings to create sensible site URLs

Delegate Profiles

Every delegate gets an editable page with contact info, bio, profile picture, etc. Organisers can apply a default privacy level and then delegates can customise who can see their information (everybody, only people I follow, or nobody)

Social Networking

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can follow and be followed, which opens up the ability to swap contact information, send private messages and set up one-on-one meetings

Messaging

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can send public messages to a conference-wide messaging area, on specific event pages and on sponsor fan pages. They can also send public (@) replies and private/direct messages to people who are following them. Messaging is optionally) integrated with Twitter; however, people who don’t use Twitter can still use our messaging

Groups

Organisers can create an unlimited number of groups and organise them into categories.

Delegates and sponsor/exhibitors can join these groups to converse on various subtopics of interest at your organisation/event

Sponsor/Exhibitor Fanpages

Sponsors/Exhibitors can create fan pages to showcase their brands. Fan pages can include a logo, description, a single-question poll/survey, a “become a fan button” and (optionally) a “request meeting” button. Delegates can add comments on the fan page, become fans, answer the question and (if enabled), request private meetings with sponsors/exhibitors

One-on-one Meetings

If enabled, every delegate’s profile page and every sponsor/exhibitor’s fan page will carry

a “request meeting” button which will notify the recipient that the delegate is requesting

a meeting via email and give the recipient the option to accept or decline, adding the private meeting to both parties’ personal schedules, if appropriate

Contact Export

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can export detailed contact information for mutual followers and fans, respectively, to CSV (Excel)

Schedule Export

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can export their personal schedules to iCal, gCal, RSS and Outlook. This also allows offline synchronization with most smartphones

Branded Accounts

Sponsors/exhibitors are allowed to create “branded” accounts, e.g. The Pepsi User, which can give them an official voice with which they can communicate with the community

RSS

All types of public messages and personal schedules are available via RSS feeds that are “secret” in the sense that they contain a long, very-hard-to-guess hash in the URLs. However, delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can choose to share their RSS feeds with

other people or post them publicly

Organiser Support

Wewill assist the event organizer with site setup, branding and customisation up to the number of hours specified in the pricing schedule. Additional support can be purchased

Delegate Support

We do not provide front-line support to delegates; rather, we rely on the organiser’s help desk to provide Tier 1 support. Any issues with delegates or sponsors/exhibitors can be escalated to our “always on” Tier 2+ support, which supports a 24-hour turnaround SLA on any issue

Full Schedule

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can browse (and search) the entire event schedule of

keynotes, breakouts, parties and other gatherings. Day-by-day listings, A-Z listings and a graphical grid view are available. All views clearly indicate which events delegates are attending and show mosaics of friends attending and, optionally, all people attending

Personal Schedule

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can add an unlimited number of sub-events to their

own personal schedules, which they can then choose to share with everybody, people they follow or nobody. Personal schedules can also be posted to various social sites, e.g. Facebook and Twitter and sync’d with most desktop and online calendaring software and smartphones.

Schedule Notifications

The system will send schedule update and change notifications to delegates (only those

who have opted-in) if events they have added to their personal schedules

Social Notifications

The system will send “you’ve been followed” type messages to delegates and sponsors/

exhibitors (social notifications) to those who have opted-in to this feature

Friend Sync

Delegates and sponsors/exhibitors can click buttons to easily import their existing friends from Facebook, Twitter and (soon) LinkedIn who are also attending the event

Cross-posting to Social Sites

Embedded AddThis widgets allow delegates and sponsors/exhibitors to share various

parts of their conference experience (event-specific comments, public messages, personal schedules, etc.) with hundreds of different social sites, e.g. Facebook and Twitter

Content Aggregation

For a richer site experience and better SEO, We poll the web, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube for content relevant to the event and post outbound links to this content along with summary information on the event site, similar to the way trackback pings work on many popular blogging platforms

Crowdsourcing (via Crowd Campaign)

Purchasing grants event organisers a free enterprise-level license to create a single Crowd Campaign. This allows the organiser to create and manage a Twitter-powered contest of any nature. Examples include opening a conference call for speakers, soliciting questions for popular keynote speakers or even suggesting what food or speciality drink to serve at the opening night party

Site-wide Search

Most of the site’s content is indexed into a fast and scalable search engine, allowing

delegates and sponsors/exhibitors to enter free-form queries and get back results categorised into people/events/venues/messages/fan pages

Site Analytics

We offer built-in integration with Google Analytics for overall site traffic and page-specific metrics. Event organisers also have access to a rich site analytics console that shows exactly how various features of the platform were used, e.g. average number of friends per delegate, average number of fans per sponsor, total message counts (private and public), average number of events added to personal schedules

Sub-event Capacity Planning

Event organisers have access to a reporting tool that shows how many people are attending each breakout session, party, etc. Targeted messages can be sent to all delegates of a given sub-event, e.g. “Breakout A has been moved to Room 101 to accommodate the large delegate list” or “Overflow Room 202 has been added for Keynote B.”

Profile and Schedule Callback APIs

We optionally provide two “callback” mechanisms to make sure that delegate data stays in-sync with the organisation’s system of record for personal and schedule data, if such a system is in use. For example, if a delegate updates his or her profile, the changes are posted back to a configurable URL to allow those updates to propagate back into the appropriate system of record. Similarly, each time an event is added or removed to an delegate’s or sponsor/exhibitor’s personal schedule, we post this action to a configurable URL. This allows an external system of record to track breakout attendance for capacity planning purposes or other reasons

Mass Email

Event organisers can send mass emails to the entire community or to selective subsections. Email templates can be customised in “mail-merge” fashion

Public and Private RESTful APIs

Event organisers have access to dozens of different public and private (login required)

APIs to allow external applications to automate the platform. Some examples are running searches, getting lists of friends, getting and modifying personal schedules, adding and removing friends, etc. For a complete list, visit http:// <your_conference_site_url>/api (admin account access required)

Mobile Web

Most of the features described above are available on a generic mobile web UI that is tuned to look best on iPhone and Andriod handsets, but that also works well on Blackberry, Palm and Windows Mobile. This part of the site is included even if the event organiser opts NOT to purchase mobile app integration

Mobile Application Integration

Via a partnership with mobile application provider DUB, we offer a full-featured native application for the iPhone and iPod touch that includes, among many other features, very fast offline access to the complete event schedule and personal schedules. When the handset comes back online, schedule updates and changes are two way sync’d back with the conference web site. Note: applications for other platforms,starting with Blackberry and Andriod, are due out in late 2010

QR Codes

Our platform includes hooks into various endpoints that can easily be integrated with QR Codes. Some examples include automatic following when snapping pictures of QR codes on delegates’ badges, lead generation by sponsors/exhibitors and even breakout event “check-in” by delegates

Registration Integration

Integrate with REGIS online delegate management software via a simple RESTful web service API. Delegates can also be forced to create their own accounts if registration integration is disabled

http://event-master.com & http://blog.event-master.com



Interactive TV Services for IPTV

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) is a method of distributing television content over broadband that enables a more customised and interactive user experience. IPTV will mean a fundamental change in viewing habits. Viewers will be able to watch what they want, when they want to. Interactive TV services will be a key differentiator for the multitude of IPTV offerings that are emerging. Interactivity via a fast two-way connection will lift IPTV ahead of today’s television.

IPTV brings together the television, internet and telephone. Much like cable or satellite television, IPTV uses a set-top box (STB) that allows viewers to watch hundreds of channels and order movies through video-on-demand (VOD). IPTV uses broadband ADSL, the same technology that delivers high-speed Internet to the computer. This opens the door to much more interactivity and the potential for thousands, as opposed to hundreds, of channels.

Find What’s On

All IPTV services will offer basic interactivity to support navigation and search of the vast amounts of content. An electronic programme guide (EPG) will allow viewers to browse the linear and on-demand content that is available.

EPGs are likely to allow viewers to look at programme listings up to two weeks in advance, and also look back over programmes from the previous seven days broadcast schedule. A powerful search facility will allow viewers to look for programmes by title, genre and keywords. Filters will allow viewers to display lists of movies, music, pay-per-view events and high definition programmes.

The EPG will be customisable by viewers, who will be able to create their own line-up of favourite channels and content. As well as full-screen layouts, EPGs will have a mini-overlay mode which will allow the viewer to keep watching the current programme while browsing the schedule.

Personal Video Recorder

Many IPTV set top boxes will incorporate a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) that will allow programmes and interactive content to be recorded. Viewers will be able to watch one programme while recording another. They’ll also be able to use interactive services or video on demand while recording in the background. While watching linear TV programming, viewers will be able to pause and rewind live television.

The PVR will be programmed via the Electronic Programme Guide. Intelligent series linking will allow programme episodes to be recorded based on preferences; first-runs, repeats, or all occurrences. Programme and movie trailers will contain interactive links that can be selected to schedule a recording. Remote scheduling of recording will also be possible using a mobile phone or the web.

Enhanced TV

With IPTV, viewers will be able to watch a lot more television at the same time. Sports fans will be able to keep an eye on six games at once, on the same screen, or study one game from multiple camera angles. Viewer involvement will be encouraged through voting, competitions and messaging services.

Advertising

Interactive advertising will extend traditional linear advertising. It will allow advertisers to give product information in the form of an on-screen interactive brochure. This will re-enforce the brand messages and encourage viewer involvement with the product. It will also allow a direct element to be added to any TV campaign, with responses being captured from viewers.

Communication Services

The two-way nature of an IPTV connection makes it ideal for providing person-to-person communication services. Instant messaging services will allow viewers to ‘chat’ via text messages while continuing to watch TV. Video conferencing over television will allow virtual family gatherings when family members are spread across the world.

Services will be used both as stand-alone applications, and as add-ons to programming. Friends will be able to chat while watching a programme ‘together’ in different locations. Phone-in shows will be able to display callers, linked directly from their home.

Community Services

IPTV will provide many feeds of news, entertainment and information. Viewers will be able to personalise their ‘feed reader’ to match their particular interests. This will then collect up-to-date information such as news headlines, sports results, share prices and travel updates in a single place.

Dating services will allow subscribers to set up a profile and find compatible ‘matches’ to communicate with. Messages will be exchanged quickly, cheaply and safely, without the security concerns of meeting in the real world.

Betting & Gaming

IPTV will offer a range of betting and gaming on demand services. These will include sports betting services, where bets are placed on both live and virtual sports. The betting will be closely linked to the TV coverage, and will include in-running betting. There will also be a range of casino style games including roulette, blackjack, slots and poker. Some of these will be stand-alone games, others will be linked to programming with either live or virtual presenters.

Personal Content

IPTV will enable the secure sharing of video recordings, photos and music. Users with a home network will be able to share digital content with other devices such as PCs and portable media players. IPTV will be a key component in the connected home.

Users will also be able to share content with family and friends across the Internet. Effective digital content protection with consumer flexibility will be essential for such sharing to flourish. IPTV could even allow users to have their own television channel where they could share their views, photos and videos with the rest of the world as a video podcast.

Conclusion

Interactive television will provide genuinely useful applications that enhance the overall user experience of IPTV. Interactive services must be seen as part of the overall infrastructure of delivering television – not just a bolt on.

To get the right interactive services to meet consumer demands will require experimentation. Content providers, broadcasters and network owners need to develop, trial, refine and roll-out interactive services. A lot has been learnt over the past ten years about interactive TV. This knowledge can help inform the design of interactive services for IPTV.



Whose Reality Is This?

There are hundreds of reality television shows on today and it seems like everyone is tuning in to watch. Ordinary people, just like you and me, are elevated to celebrity status. The secret thrill of thinking next time, this could be me. We could be lucky enough to receive the next makeover, be the next celebrity, or instantly become a millionaire.

Many of us are inexplicably drawn to these shows. Have you ever considered the reason we might be attracted to watching reality TV? Or examined the type of reality television we watch on a weekly basis?

Why Do We Watch Reality Television?

It may be illuminating to look at what kinds of reality TV shows we’re drawn to.

A few reasons we watch the different types of reality television could include:

· To Educate

Many shows depict weight loss methods like The Biggest Loser, or cooking demonstrations and competitions like Master Chef. Although at times the information presented can be unhealthy and promote unrealistic expectations, causing us to become disheartened when we can’t replicate the results.

· To Entertain

Reality television can provide a voice to the normal, everyday person. Someone we might be able to relate to or easily identify with. We are provided with the opportunity to cheer for the Average Joe on shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo or Duck Dynasty. Although the voice of the “normal” everyday person portrayed on reality television don’t always represent ordinary well.

· To Inspire

Shows like Extreme Home Makeover or Three Wishes can provide a vehicle to fantasize about something we might want for ourselves. We can dream that all of our problems could be eliminated in one televised hour.

· To Escape

Tuning out everyday life and immersing ourselves in the life of a celebrity, or a spirited competition like Survivor, or The Apprentice can provide an escape from focusing on issues in our own lives. A little escape might be beneficial for stress relief, but too much could prevent us from facing our own issues and feelings.

How Much is too Much?

If we notice we are watching a variety of reality shows on an ongoing basis, that these shows make up a significant proportion of the types of shows found appealing, then we may want to consider some self reflection around this activity.

Watching a few shows doesn’t mean you have a problem. “Being hardworking and self-disciplined in my own live, I enjoy the escape into fantasy and melodrama at the end of the day as well as the rags to riches stories, over the top diva antics, glamorous lifestyles and mean girls (and boys) shenanigans.”~ Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D, Clinical Psychologist, Author, Speaker

There is a difference between a person who watches one or two shows occasionally and just enjoys the show for entertainment, versus someone who really is drawn to, or attracted to-some people go as far to claim they are addicted to-reality TV.

My wish for you today is that you may find enough joy and happiness in your own reality everyday that you never need an escape.



Moving to the New Windows Media Player, How and Why

If you own a PC that uses the Windows operating system then you should consider using the great, and free Windows Media Player to play all your media files, and if you need convincing the latest versions of this multi-purpose media software can offer you all the features you need to enjoy virtually any type of media you have on your PC!

Windows XP and Vista Users

If you are a Windows XP or Vista user, then the latest version of Windows Media Player that you can run on your PC is WMP 11. This version offers a number of great features that its biggest competitor cannot, and has a much more attractive and intuitive interface. Here are some of the best features of Windows Media Player 11

  • Intuitive Windows Design

If you are use to the Windows interface then using Windows Media Player is simple. You can find options like settings, tool and shortcuts in all the usual places. The best features in this area are the improved playback bar, and the status area that can be minimized to your tool bar keeping it out of the way, but still accessible.

  • Great Options for Music Lovers

Media Player 11 gives you access to the Microsoft online Music Store so you can download your favourite music and new tunes directly to your PC. It also comes with easy to use software to rip CD’s so you can listen to your music in the car, and has improved library settings to make organizing your music easier and more customizable.

  • Stores all your Media in One Place and is Accessible from Anywhere

Windows Media Player 11 can store all your media files including your movies and pictures in one place and organizes them so they are easy to find, view and share. It can also be easily downloaded to many m3p devices as well as cell phones so you can enjoy your media anywhere. It even has a handy sync function so that it is always up to date.

To Download Windows Media Player 11 for Windows XP or Vista, simply follow this link!

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/11/Default.aspx

Windows 7 Users

If you use the new Windows 7 operating system then you can access the latest version of the Windows Media Player, version 12, and there are some improved functions that you are definitely going to want to check out!

  • Supports more Media Formats

The new Windows Media 12 can support even more media formats which means that you can still store all your latest media in one place. It includes 3GP, AAC, AVCHD, MPEG-4, WMV, and WMA formats, as well as most AVI, DivX, MOV, and Xvid files.

  • Offers Remote Media Streaming

This is a great feature for those of you who enjoy taking your movies and music on the road, but don’t travel with your PC. This feature allows you to play media to other devices from your home PC using the Play To feature, including your mp3 player, car stereo or cell phone.

  • Improved Playback Features for Music and Movies

The new playback features offer you greater customization and control over your music and movie playback options including song previews and jump lists.

To get the latest version of Windows Media Player, just follow this link to start downloading your copy now!

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/windows-media-player-12



Your TV Is Born Again: It’s Now A Radio!

The Oxford Advance Learners’ Dictionary defines Television as a process of transmitting a view of events, plays, etc (while these are taking place, or from films or tapes on which records have been made) by radio to a distant television receiving set with synchronized sound. The word Television is a combination of two Latin words, “Tele” (far), and “vision” (seeing); representing a medium of communication whose duty is to transfer information from one source to another.

Television with its superior visual effect makes information memorable, convincing and appealing by breaking down the pictorial information into easily recognizable symbols. Television provides us with a regular communication channel through which we keep up with the latest news, discover what the weather is likely to be, enjoy game shows, movies, talks and discussions and learn more about the world in which we live.

Just like the television, radio is also another medium of communication. Before its arrival, especially in Nigeria, people communicate and send messages across through the word of mouth or person to person. Unlike the television, radio broadcast is very easy and cheap to produce. It also has a wider coverage, more penetrating than the television; hence transistor radios are portable; very easy to carry along anywhere. In other words, people are more who listen to radio broadcasts than they do to televisions. Another added advantage the radio has over television is that its messages are translated into various international languages.

Having revolutionized a world of mass communications which was then dominated by print and until recently an upstart offspring, television, radio is looked upon as a dead means of mass communication especially in a modern media world that is dominated by images, where the visual seems to mute the aural. Radio, the marvel of the age, has a special place in people’s lives. It has helped in no small measure in the times of disaster, war and economic depression in holding the nations together through its unbiased reports. For so many years, before the advent of television, radio has remained a companion that kept people informed about world and local events without asking for anything in return.

Radio seems to have lost credibility simply because of its omnipresent nature. People took it for granted because they wake up every morning with radio, and do so many other things with radio. The perception that television’s birth meant radio’s death is false. Seeing that radio which is only limited to sound forcing the audience to always listen before they could hear and understand, its audience is still in the increase with people listening to its news – in the car, at home, in offices, on the street, in restaurants and stores, etc. No matter the claim that television has an added advantage over radio broadcast it still remains the dependable modern-day town-crier of society’s news in good times and bad due to its fast, easy and user-friendly nature.

Though television has the ability to combine sound, motion and colour in its broadcast, radio with its audio effect occupies a corner chair at the media family’s gatherings. Because of the high importance of radio, people of various nationalities believe that television can do better if it becomes transforms into a radio (born again), having the key components of a radio and the ability to get essential, breaking information out to people fast, when it happens and the people need it. It is undeniable that when disasters happen, or anything that makes news, it takes radio only few minutes and then the world will be reached with the news.

In Christianity where the word “born again” originated, it simply means leaving behind old, but bad lifestyles, and picking up new and better ones. Television producers should be able to understand that the world is moving and changing fast, and as a result, attention must be paid to the areas of carrying people along as the world moves on. Despite the high improvement in technology today, the whole world looks for a better means of reaching the general public faster than it is known today. Moreover, like radio news broadcast, the television has a long way to go in terms of accessibility to the commoners no matter how remote. Transistor radios will continue to topple the lead as the most penetrating medium until television becomes born again!