Sunday, January 30, 2011

I’m Sorry to Tell You, but Your Shoot Has Been Eliminated [Video]

Outside the Princeton Public Library
on Thursday, January 27, 2011
We've had a bit of a snow thing going on lately.  This means I get to spend some extra time with the kids and experience the full joy of living in a street parking neighborhood.

Snow is also the reason I'm not writing to you about the awesomeness that would have been the Classroom Close-up, NJ shoot for Making Stuff at Princeton University. This enormous event for nearly 1000 middle school students tied to the 4-Part Nova series of the same name was canceled due to weather.

I can't tell you what would have happened at Making Stuff, but I can tell you I was looking forward to it because the taping agenda reminded me of one of my all-time favorite assignments, Envirothon.

The NJ Envirothon was also a big event with hundreds of participants where rather than try to document everything, we decided to follow a small group of students from start to finish (this was the same plan I had for last week's non-shoot).

Not me.
However, Envirothon also had the added bonus of being a science competition, so I decided to take a crack at editing it Amazing Race style. And while I'm definitely no Elise Doganieri, Bertram van Munster or Phil Keoghan, I could not have cast a more entertaining group of students to follow. I don't think their team even came close to winning, but they totally made the segment work.

Another added bonus was that it was really warm the day we shot Envirothon.

And it didn't snow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It’s Not Me, It’s We [Video]

I recently produced some promotional videos for the new book, We: How to Increase Performance and Profits through Full Engagement by Rudy Karsan and Kevin Kruse.

What's the book about? I'll let Kevin tell you himself:

Along with loads of data, research, and stories, We highlights the philosophy of Growth, Recognition, and Trust.

From the inside flap:
For managers and all professionals, We details the leadership behaviors that generate emotional buy-in and commitment from team members. Karsan and Kruse highlight the three factors that drive one's level of engagement the most:
Growth: Team members feel they are growing in their careers and learning new things.
Recognition: Team members feel that their ideas and accomplishments are appreciated.
Trust: Team members trust senior leadership and feel confident about the future.

I fully expect this book to become the definitive guide to employee engagement. 

Why am I so certain? Well, before I struck out on my own, I worked with Kevin and Rudy at Kenexa where I experienced the GrowthRecognition, and Trust philosophy first-hand. It changed the way I thought about work, life, business, and the people I work with. It made Kenexa a successful, profitable company. And I've seen Kevin and the people that have learned from him replicate that success in other companies.

Plus it's already in the top five best-sellers on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Learning to Be Fearless

Back in November I met a group of students from Absegami High School at the NJEA Convention in Atlantic City. They were there to do an interview with CNN's Soledad O'Brien for their school's news program, Gami TV. You may recall that I was really impressed with their work.

Well, one of the things I've learned in this business is that one thing always seems to lead to another.

Wanda, the executive producer of Classroom Close-up, NJ was just as impressed as I was and decided we should do a story about Absegami's Media program for our show.

So yesterday, I got up bright and early to make the 80 mile trek down to South Jersey in time to catch Gami TV's morning newscast, hang out in some classes, and talk to these students and teachers about their media program. It's impressive. Three levels of elective classes being taught to nearly 200 students. A 14-minute live daily newscast — the real deal — not just the announcements. More editing stations than they have at NJN. And an advanced course in filmmaking to top it off. No wonder the group I met in AC were so sharp, they're in a college-level media program.

But the best part about the program is that it's not about teaching kids how to succeed in the TV business. Sure, they walk out of high school with more hands-on experience than some college grads, but they also gain skills to help them succeed in anything. Things like public speaking, interviewing, and experience working in teams on complex projects. Not to mention the ability to handle the pressure of a deadline-driven environment. They learn to be fearless.

The Classroom Close-up, NJ episode with the Gami TV story will air Monday at 7 pm and on Saturday at 9 am on April 11, 16 and May 9, 14 on NJN