Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Creating the Women of Vision Videos

We're on Day 6 of our Women of Vision Video creation.  By Day 6 I mean that this is the 6th dayI have spent sitting in a small editing studio in South San Francisco with the video editor.  The editor and our producer have actually spent even more time doing this since in between they implement all the changes, adjust the soundtrack, etc.  And I spent my time interviewing winners, writing scripts, getting approvals and gathering photos from our winners.

So why do I love making videos?  There is something about literally having nothing and creating a fully rendered piece that will be shown to an audience that I find thrilling. It's also a little anxiety inducing since you have so many different people in the audience:  the winner, her family members, members of her organization, my co-workers and the general audience members.  And there are high expectations of the videos - that they will inspire the students to go on to amazing technical careers, that it will refresh and inspire the women in the audience to pursue their technical careers; that the men in the audience will be reminded once again how valuable the women's contributions are to technology and that the family and that they will please the winner.

With the creation of the videos themselves - it's all about the details.  As those who know me are aware - I'm all about the details.  We are constantly making edits to the video script to make the words flow with the photographs we use.  We endlessly debate what photos to incorporate and hunt for disconnects between the text and the image.  And occasionally we put in a photo that doesn't fit but is needed to help tell the story when the words do not.   And we call the winners when we have doubts about how names and places are pronounced.  And we're always looking for ways to enhance the visual image.  I've posted on facebook about our challenges with some of the Universities who have not been responsive to our requests for logos and photographs.  I find myself stymied when that happens since in this case - all the publicity is good.

The videos will be up on Youtube after the event in May.  I'll post links then so you can see them.  Back to editing.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sympathy Letter to a Celebrity Flack

Dear Celebrity PR Flack;

I wanted to extend my great sympathies to you in this time of great turmoil. The endless spewing of celebrity scandal has certainly made life difficult for all the PR people in the celebrity world. My sympathy goes out to both the reps of the good and the twisted.

To those who do PR for the good, the celebrities who have stable loving faithful marriages who are perhaps just trying to promote a new movie or tv show, I sympathize with your struggles. Read the cover of any and all celebrity magazines and all you see is Sandra and Jesse or Elin and Tiger. Two People magazines in a row featured such similar photos of Sandra that I thought I'd been sent the same magazine twice. Pity the poor PR person who is out representing someone who is organizing a big fundraiser. You have to compete with the celebrity mistresses of the world - whose PR people are doing an excellent job of parlaying their scandals into fortunes by the way. And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse Larry King and Tiki Barber jumped into the mix. While certainly not worthy of A-list caliber coverage they are sucking up all the B roll time on E and Entertainment Tonight. All I can say is keep on trying, eventually you'll catch a break. Perhaps they'll all end up in rehab together so they can be covered in a single story and you can catch a break with your pitch on whatever sequel your client is starring in this summer.

To the PR flacks of the twisted, my goodness you do have your hands full. It's hard to imagine what life must be like when your client is caught then keeps trying to lie to cover the truth. Hard to believe that one of the worst cheaters, David Letterman, is actually doing quite well. He cheated for years, with his employees no less, yet because he told the truth and took his lumps he's doing just fine. Seems he got good PR advice and actually listened and implemented it. And he didn't even have to go to rehab. Not like Jesse James who seems very upset about his marriage being destroyed but unaware that he is the one who is responsible for the whole mess. Run Sandra Run.

The saddest thing of all is that you know more scandals are coming. The PR folks can't stop it because of course they are being kept in the dark. I can virtually guarantee that none of the celebs are saying to their PR person - you know I think I'm going to cheat on my wife this week. And even if they did, none of them would listen when the PR person tries to point out that nobody gets away with that behavior these days.

Nope, the PR people find out months later - usually about 10 minutes before the story breaks. Then they scramble to help their client weather the storm as best they can, knowing that most of the time the client will ignore their advice anyway. Celebs pay 1000's of dollars to experts that they then ignore. It's sad really.

So good luck all you celebrity PR folks. Maybe George Clooney will change girlfriends again and take the heat off everyone.