A Hero Has Fallen

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Say what you will about cinematographers, but they’re literally responsible for what we see in movies. Ultimately, save for a few choice lines, it is these images we remember most from the classic films we cherish.

It was the cinematographer’s use of a soft lens in critical close-ups that told more of Ilsa Lund’s backstory in Casablanca than any flashback could. We see a hint of it when she first enters Rick’s Café Américain, a popular casino. There, she’s introduced to Captain Renault.

But it is the extended close-up when Ilsa asks Sam to “play it for me.” There, the lens embraces the wholesome beauty of Ingrid Bergman and the sweet alluring yet Continue Reading “A Hero Has Fallen”

You’ll Turn to Stone Once You Realize Your Sales Pitch Inadvertently Contains this Common Mistake

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You’re always selling. You may not consider it as “selling,” but you’re always trying to convince someone to do something.

It doesn’t have to be about trying to get someone to buy something from you or your company. It could be anything. Maybe it’s what to have for dinner. Maybe it’s what movie to watch? Maybe it’s swaying your boss to give you a raise.

Do you find your pitch is less persuasive than you hoped for? You could be making a common mistake without knowing it. What is that common mistake and how can you avoid it? Perhaps we should start with a metaphor.

Have you ever been to the Petrified Forest?

No, I’m not referring to the 1936 movie The Petrified Forest, starring Leslie Howard and Bette Davis, which also featured Humphrey Bogart when he was still cutting his chops playing the villain. Such was Bogey’s performance on the undercard that the American Film Continue Reading “You’ll Turn to Stone Once You Realize Your Sales Pitch Inadvertently Contains this Common Mistake”

The Night the Grand Old Party Died

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resting-elephant-1-1340299-1280x1156I was sitting in Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge at Union Station when it started. By the time I had already boarded the train, it was done.

On the evening of March 11, 2016, thousands of violent agitators marched their way towards downtown Chicago, intent on disrupting a scheduled campaign stop by Donald Trump, the leading candidate of a major American political party. Rumors swirled in advance of this event. It was believed various foreign funded Democrat operatives, along with the same Republican operatives that used this technique successfully in a 2014 Senatorial primary campaign, were working together to stop the Trump campaign appearance.

While it was never confirmed who organized the intimidating show of force, it worked. Large numbers of the Anti-Trump gang had maneuvered themselves into the University of Illinois’s Pavilion. Long before the speech was scheduled to begin, the troublemakers had Continue Reading “The Night the Grand Old Party Died”