film loglineI wasn’t sure how a film industry practice would translate to a business marketing technique; but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  And the more I believe, now, that this is the future of networking, on- and off-line.

Last week I sat in a conference room with my networking group comrades, same as I do every Wednesday morning.  I look forward to this weekly gathering; a few laughs and some referrals are shared.  We’re a motley crue of professionals from different industries, ranging from financial services to law to health care and everything in between.  One of the things I love about this group is the members’ passion for improving their business skills and, thus, building their businesses.  We seem to instinctively gravitate during each meeting to a conversation about best practices or new trends that we can take away and use that day in our own work. It’s stimulating and fun and an hour of my week that I value very much.  So back to last week. Last week, we were sitting in Mark’s conference room and he brings out copies of an exercise he’d recently done during a workshop recently; he felt it was valuable to share with the group. The exercise centered around loglines.

When I first heard the term, the only thing that came to mind was a bunch of Brawny paper towel-esque lumberjacks in a row, wearing plaid flanel shirts and knitted skull-caps.  Apparently, I was wrong.  A logline is a short description of a movie or television show that provides a brief summary and emotional hook to stimulate interest in that work.  It’s a crucial element in the TV and film industry used to pitch new ideas to execs considering green-lighting a project.  Once I understood what a logline was (thank you, Google!), I saw the value in this logline exercise that Mark provided for us.

If a logline is a quick (25 words or less) description of a project intended to entice a buyer (the executive) to purchase the product (the show or movie), why can’t we, as professionals, have our own loglines to encourage our own potential clients and referral sources to purchase our product?  We can! Duh.

The New Elevator Speech

For others, it might be an “a-ha!” moment; for me it was a “duh” moment.  It seems so simple. It’s better and quicker than the traditional “elevator speech.”  In an era where attention spans are shortened to 140 characters or less, the logline is a good way to convey your brand- company or personal- to an audience of potential buyers, and entice them to act.  Short and attention-getting.

Like Ye Olde Elevator Speech, it’s tough to concisely and effectively “sell” in such a small span of time or space.  Consider the following questions used to create a film logline, from Scriptologist.com (with business/marketing “subtitles” a la Jess):

1. Who is your main character (audience) and what do they want (goals/wants/needs)?

2. What challenges or villains does your main character face (obstacles)?

3. What makes this story unique (why are you THE person/company to help the audience achieve their goal?)

Remember, your logline should be short, easy to say and easy to remember.  Try to keep it to 25 words or less, like the movie pros do.  Be patient, take your time.  This won’t come quickly or easily; like your elevator speech, your logline can/should be fluid so you can constantly improve it.  Give your new logline a premiere at your next in-person networking meeting, or consider an online launch for your social media profiles. Make your logline memorable, and make yourself the hero of your movie- because they’ll be buying from you!

When I finalize my logline, I’ll share it with you.  Share your logline with me in the “comments” section!  We can help each other develop a perfect pitch.

Here are a couple of other media industry blog posts to help inspire you in your logline development:

Cracking Yarns
The Write Practice

mac ipad phone

My Digital Ball and Chain

mac ipad phoneThe concept of digital dependence is nothing new. To me. And probably to you. I know I am tethered to my laptop, iPad and especially my iPhone more than I’d care to admit.  In fact, I just had a conversation with someone recently about how my phone has literally become an appendage.  But I always said I could put it down when I need to.  This morning it became glaringly apparent to me that I am probably one of the worst of the digital dependence offenders. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt- I could no longer look the other way and pretend my digital addiction is not as bad as it is.

Yesterday, I upgraded to a new iPhone.  My old 4S had become less-than-reliable, and given my (frightening) level of dependence, I needed a device that wouldn’t crash all the time.  My shiny new 5S is much the same in form and function, and I was able to transfer my apps, e-mails, etc. over to the new phone with little difficulty, making me feel nearly whole again.  But one thing that I had did have trouble transferring was my Photo Stream.  Yes, I back up my phone to iCloud.  I double back-up to Drop Box or Google Drive, too.  And the fellow digital dependent I spoke with on the phone from Apple also suggested that I back-up onto DVD– that’s what he does.

But the idea of not having my Photo Stream on my new phone was unbearable.  I felt like a child who’d lost her favorite teddy bear, her security blanket.  I called Apple to resolve the problem as soon as I got out of bed (note: wait time is very short at 8 am).  I spoke to Isaiah and he was so helpful; he took the time to research the best solution for me, and walked me through every step.  I could feel the stress and frustration at this situation start to lift off my shoulders as we took each step towards freeing my Photo Stream from the confines of my old phone and uploading them onto my new one (with a few steps in the middle).  His halo grew brighter with each photo that transferred over.  As we waited for my Photo Stream to finish uploading, we chatted about the increase in number and importance of these photos with the proliferation of the smartphone camera.  It allows us to capture moments we’d otherwise have to store in our own memories, rather than our digital ones.  We are so dependent on preserving these images on devices; when those images weren’t available to me, I felt a true loss.  When part of my digital memory was missing, part of my own memory felt lost.

Needless to say, I have backed-up and re-backed-up my photos again today.  And one day, I will print them all out so I have a tangible photo collection (Just like back in the “olden days”.  This is a rant for another day– that my kids won’t have the volumes of photos to peruse as I did when I was a child.)  For now, they are safe.  Safe on my Mac, Drop Box and Google Drive.  And now on my 5S, where I can relive my memories on-the-go.

And my digital dependence a-ha moment also made me think about a couple of articles I recently read by Claire Diaz-Ortiz about taking a digital break and digital detox.  I’m thinking I need to take her advice.  Who’s with me?

2014 Olympic Norwegian Curling Team uniforms

The Proliferation of (Useless) Information?

2014 Olympic Norwegian Curling Team uniforms

As a student of social media, I’m always on the look-out for fun, new and/or exciting information.  While these venues are a digital life-force for many of us, it’s always interesting to analyze the trends to see where our digital society might be going next.  And what makes us tick.  In this case, it’s crazy curling pants made me tick.

Recently, my friend shared an article about the Olympics on Facebook.  It’s not about the aerial skiers or outstanding figure skaters, often the media darlings of the Games.  In this case, she posted an article about the Norwegian Curling Team– or at least their pants.  The photo that accompanied this article was certainly eye-catching: the team decked out in their national colors, sporting blinding suits that bring to mind a barber shop quartet with a visually-impaired clothing stylist.  This article got me thinking (always a dangerous thing to occur)…

On the surface, it’s a few words about the Olympics’ quiet little underdog competition (at least as far as the US audience is concerned) and some guys who wear crazy, groovy pants while they curl.  It’s a fun, quirky, entertaining story.  And certainly a PR push for the Norwegian curling team, and the sport in general, as the Olympics take front and center media placement for the next few weeks.  And it’s also a great sales booster, as demand for the pants by consumers is soaring.  I love it.  Perfect PR.

And then I thought more about how I’d never have found this article, nor enjoyed the mind-bending nature of these pants, if my friend hadn’t posted it.  Was reading this article life-changing?  Not really.  But in some small way, I have acquired a broader view of the world; learned something about the planet on which I live, and the humanity that occupies it.  Something I wouldn’t have learned otherwise, if Facebook hadn’t been there to provide a venue to share it.

So in a digital universe riddled with funny cat videos, (sometimes ridiculous) political commentary, food photos and other (seemingly) useless information, I ask you in my first blog post here, to consider how sharing these things connects you with others and even (just a litle bit) opens your eyes.  Or makes you want to shut them, in the case of the Norwegian curling team’s attire.