What am I going to tell my boss?

Every now and then, it’s healthy to pause and reflect on the work that you want to do. I’m embarking on a set of exercises to re-think and focus, and am sharing it with you. Join in if you’d like and we can journey together.


What is your client afraid their boss will think if they say yes?
  • Why didn’t you find somebody cheaper?
  • Why didn’t you hire someone with a more established and bigger company?
What would your client tell their boss to explain why they bought from you?
  • She has first-hand experience with our industry and understands the challenges we face
  • She has worked with us before and knows our needs
  • She has experience making the type of video we are looking for and her past work is good
  • She has dedicated her career to doing social good – she cares / has a heart
  • She has worked with an award-winning documentary production company / filmmakers.
  • She graduated with a degree in film from Northwestern University
  • She will go the extra mile to deliver excellence and make sure we have nothing to worry about
  • We will be able to communicate to our audience the impact of the work we do far better through video storytelling than through print or verbal description, and hence encourage them to start / continue making donations to us.
  • By utilizing the power of video, we will be way ahead of majority of others in our field
What would you like them to tell their boss?
  • If we don’t hire her, we will be making a serious mistake
  • She is undoubtedly the top choice for our needs
  • Hiring her will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make for our organization
  • There is no one else I would rather work with


I’m doing this as part of Seth Godin’s Udemy course for freelancers. Feel free to embark on this discovery for yourself too.

Rank Yourself

Every now and then, it’s healthy to pause and reflect on the work that you want to do. I’m embarking on a set of exercises to re-think and focus, and am sharing it with you. Join in if you’d like and we can journey together. EXERCISE 4: Rank Yourself

Compared to others who do what you do, rank yourself on: reputation, knowledge, expertise, tools, handiness.
My scale:
1 = much less than others who do what I do,
5 = on par with others who do what I do,
10 = much more than others who do what I do
  • Reputation: 7 out of 10
  • Knowledge: 7 out of 10
  • Expertise: 6 out of 10
  • Tools: 5 out of 10
  • Handiness: 7 out of 10
  • Connections: 6 out of 10
Which will you invest in developing?
  1. Reputation
  2. Knowledge
  3. Connections

—– I’m doing this as part of Seth Godin’s Udemy course for freelancers. Feel free to embark on this discovery for yourself too.

Film Club: Mini Assignment 1

So the last time I talked about the Cabrini Connections Video and Filmmakers Club, it was when Karl and I guest taught a lesson when Michael was away. 2 months later, Karl and I, along with another volunteer Mae, were asked to co-lead the club with Michael permanently. I’ve since learned to understand that changing lives takes time, and that I don’t have to strive to do it within 90 minutes. Baby steps, baby steps.

The first few sessions with all 4 of us leading brought some interesting dynamics. Good that there were more resources between the 4 of us to deliver a better lesson. Thanks to Mae’s projector and screen, we were able to show the students great video examples. But now that Mae’s left Chicago to further her studies in Texas, we’ve had to get creative. More people in the equation also means a bigger variety of mindsets. Each of us has very different styles of doing things. I’m a planner and a big fan of being well-prepared and well-researched before the time comes to teach. Some others are just better at doing things on the fly. We’re still working to find a middle ground, but at least we all know we’ve got one goal in common… to give the students the best.

This week, we kicked off our first lesson of 2010 with something different. I wanted to put the big horror movie on the backburner for now, and have them focus on mini assignments instead. The plan is to teach a different aspect of filmmaking each week and have them do an in-class activity related to what they’ve been taught.

Since we spent a number of weeks going through storyboarding, we asked the students to come up with a short story on the spot and tell that story within 6 shots. To add some challenge, we said they had to include 1 pan and 1 tilt.

In previous weeks, we sat at the table with the students to walk them through the creative process. Progress was slow. We constantly had to poke and prod for creative input from them. It seemed to me that because we were there hand-holding so much, the students didn’t feel as involved or challenged in the process. Many ended up texting on their phones, sleeping, or watching videos on the nearby computers.

This time, we experimented with a more hands-off approach. We gave them 25 minutes to complete the storyboards for the 6 shots and left the table.  A few peeks across the room revealed that the group was engaged in discussion together. 15 minutes later, they came over to tell us they were done. Brilliant! So lesson learned. Students sometimes just wanna do things on their own. Since we had time to spare, we decided to teach them how to do up some overhead diagrams to match their storyboards and explained why overheads are so useful.

By the end of the 90 minutes, we’d finished our 6 shots. Still kinda rough, but it’s good progress. We’ll let them do an exercise on editing next week with the footage that they shot. :)

Check out the video below to see how things went! Read the official Cabrini Connections Video and Filmmakers Club blog to see previous entries too!

[Vimeo http://vimeo.com/8580667%5D

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Oprah… 2011’s too soon…

So it’s official. After months of speculation that Oprah was going to move her show out of Chicago to join the rest of big time TV in LA, the word is out that it’s not a move she’s planning. The Oprah Winfrey Show will record its last episode in Sep 2011.

While this will mean a huge loss to Chicago, it’s the bigger loss I shall mourn: The loss of what I believe is the most influential and life-changing show on television. 25 seasons of touching peoples’ hearts. Wow. She’s the earliest influence I’ve had that’s fueled my belief the powerful world of media can indeed be used for positive social change.

I have shed many a tear watching her show. And I’ve laughed out loud in front of the telly, from halfway around the world in Singapore. I often joked with friends that my reason for choosing to study in Chicago was because i harbored a secret desire to be a part of her live studio audience! By a stroke of luck, that dream was fulfilled. Being in that studio was tremendously exciting. It fascinated me how huge the place was and how much crazy action was going on outside of what we often see within the frame on TV. Oh life is funny that way. The more we learn, the more we realize we don’t know.

But when one door closes, one more always opens. I’m thankful that she’s not leaving the media completely. Just look forward to what she does with the Oprah Winfrey Network. Afterall, change can be created in more ways than one. And based on her track record, the most influential woman in media is bound to move mountains there.