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Posted: 12/31/2013 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Are you an INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR rather than an employee? Whether you are legally an independent contractor is not determined by any documents that may have been signed, but by standards promulgated by the IRS. This Department has the authority to assist only employees; we do not have jurisdiction over independent contractors.  You may wish to consult a private attorney to discuss your claim.
 

 

 
The IRS says the Following

It is critical that business owners correctly determine whether the individuals providing services are employees or independent contractors.

Generally, you must withhold income taxes, withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment tax on wages paid to an employee. You do not generally have to withhold or pay any taxes on payments to independent contractors.

Select the Scenario that Applies to You:

  • I am an independent contractor or in business for myself
    If you are a business owner or contractor who provides services to other businesses, then you are generally considered self-employed. For more information on your tax obligations if you are self-employed (an independent contractor), see our Self-Employed Tax Center.
  • I hire or contract with individuals to provide services to my business
    If you are a business owner hiring or contracting with other individuals to provide services, you must determine whether the individuals providing services are employees or independent contractors. Follow the rest of this page to find out more about this topic and what your responsibilities are.

Determining Whether the Individuals Providing Services are Employees or Independent Contractors

Before you can determine how to treat payments you make for services, you must first know the business relationship that exists between you and the person performing the services. The person performing the services may be -

In determining whether the person providing service is an employee or an independent contractor, all information that provides evidence of the degree of control and independence must be considered.

Common Law Rules

Facts that provide evidence of the degree of control and independence fall into three categories:

  1. Behavioral: Does the company control or have the right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his or her job?   http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Behavioral-Control
  2. Financial: Are the business aspects of the worker’s job controlled by the payer? (these include things like how worker is paid, whether expenses are reimbursed, who provides tools/supplies, etc.)   http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Financial-Control
  3. Type of Relationship: Are there written contracts or employee type benefits (i.e. pension plan, insurance, vacation pay, etc.)? Will the relationship continue and is the work performed a key aspect of the business?  http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Type-of-Relationship

Businesses must weigh all these factors when determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. Some factors may indicate that the worker is an employee, while other factors indicate that the worker is an independent contractor. There is no “magic” or set number of factors that “makes” the worker an employee or an independent contractor, and no one factor stands alone in making this determination. Also, factors which are relevant in one situation may not be relevant in another.

The keys are to look at the entire relationship, consider the degree or extent of the right to direct and control, and finally, to document each of the factors used in coming up with the determination.

Form SS-8

If, after reviewing the three categories of evidence, it is still unclear whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding (PDF) can be filed with the IRS. The form may be filed by either the business or the worker. The IRS will review the facts and circumstances and officially determine the worker’s status.  http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Type-of-Relationship

Be aware that it can take at least six months to get a determination, but a business that continually hires the same types of workers to perform particular services may want to consider filing the Form SS-8 (PDF).  http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss8.pdf

Employment Tax Obligations

Once a determination is made (whether by the business or by the IRS), the next step is filing the appropriate forms and paying the associated taxes.

Employment Tax Guidelines

There are specific employment tax guidelines that must be followed for certain industries.

Misclassification of Employees

Consequences of Treating an Employee as an Independent Contractor

If you classify an employee as an independent contractor and you have no reasonable basis for doing so, you may be held liable for employment taxes for that worker (the relief provisions, discussed below, will not apply). See Internal Revenue Code section 3509 for more information.

Relief Provisions

If you have a reasonable basis for not treating a worker as an employee, you may be relieved from having to pay employment taxes for that worker. To get this relief, you must file all required federal information returns on a basis consistent with your treatment of the worker. You (or your predecessor) must not have treated any worker holding a substantially similar position as an employee for any periods beginning after 1977. See Publication 1976, Section 530 Employment Tax Relief Requirements (PDF) for more information.

Misclassified Workers Can File Social Security Tax Form

Workers who believe they have been improperly classified as independent contractors by an employer can use Form 8919, Uncollected Social Security and Medicare Tax on Wages to figure and report the employee’s share of uncollected Social Security and Medicare taxes due on their compensation. See the full article Misclassified Workers to File New Social Security Tax Form for more information.

Voluntary Classification Settlement Program

The Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) is a new optional program that provides taxpayers with an opportunity to reclassify their workers as employees for future tax periods for employment tax purposes with partial relief from federal employment taxes for eligible taxpayers that agree to prospectively treat their workers (or a class or group of workers) as employees. To participate in this new voluntary program, the taxpayer must meet certain eligibility requirements, apply to participate in the VCSP by filing Form 8952, Application for Voluntary Classification Settlement Program, and enter into a closing agreement with the IRS.


 

 

Independent Contractor Defined  http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Independent-Contractor-Defined

People such as doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, accountants, contractors, subcontractors, public stenographers, or auctioneers who are in an independent trade, business, or profession in which they offer their services to the general public are generally independent contractors. However, whether these people are independent contractors or employees depends on the facts in each case. The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. The earnings of a person who is working as an independent contractor are subject to Self-Employment Tax.

If you are an independent contractor, you are self-employed. To find out what your tax obligations are, visit the Self-Employed Tax Center.

You are not an independent contractor if you perform services that can be controlled by an employer (what will be done and how it will be done). This applies even if you are given freedom of action. What matters is that the employer has the legal right to control the details of how the services are performed.

If an employer-employee relationship exists (regardless of what the relationship is called), you are not an independent contractor and your earnings are generally not subject to Self-Employment Tax.

However, your earnings as an employee may be subject to FICA (Social Security tax and Medicare) and income tax withholding.

For more information on determining whether you are an independent contractor or an employee, refer to the section on Independent Contractors or Employees


 

Employee (Common-Law Employee) 

Under common-law rules, anyone who performs services for you is your employee if you can control what will be done and how it will be done. This is so even when you give the employee freedom of action. What matters is that you have the right to control the details of how the services are performed.

Example: Donna Lee is a salesperson employed on a full-time basis by Bob Blue, an auto dealer. She works 6 days a week, and is on duty in Bob's showroom on certain assigned days and times. She appraises trade-ins, but her appraisals are subject to the sales manager's approval. Lists of prospective customers belong to the dealer. She has to develop leads and report results to the sales manager. Because of her experience, she requires only minimal assistance in closing and financing sales and in other phases of her work. She is paid a commission and is eligible for prizes and bonuses offered by Bob. Bob also pays the cost of health insurance and group-term life insurance for Donna. Donna is an employee of Bob Blue.


 

Statutory Employees  http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Statutory-Employees

If workers are independent contractors under the common law rules, such workers may nevertheless be treated as employees by statute (statutory employees) for certain employment tax purposes if they fall within any one of the following four categories and meet the three conditions described under Social Security and Medicare taxes, below.

  • A driver who distributes beverages (other than milk) or meat, vegetable, fruit, or bakery products; or who picks up and delivers laundry or dry cleaning, if the driver is your agent or is paid on commission.
  • A full-time life insurance sales agent whose principal business activity is selling life insurance or annuity contracts, or both, primarily for one life insurance company.
  • An individual who works at home on materials or goods that you supply and that must be returned to you or to a person you name, if you also furnish specifications for the work to be done.
  • A full-time traveling or city salesperson who works on your behalf and turns in orders to you from wholesalers, retailers, contractors, or operators of hotels, restaurants, or other similar establishments. The goods sold must be merchandise for resale or supplies for use in the buyer’s business operation. The work performed for you must be the salesperson's principal business activity.

Refer to the Salesperson section located in Publication 15-A, Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide (PDF) for additional information.

Social Security and Medicare Taxes 

Withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from the wages of statutory employees if all three of the following conditions apply.

  • The service contract states or implies that substantially all the services are to be performed personally by them.
  • They do not have a substantial investment in the equipment and property used to perform the services (other than an investment in transportation facilities).
  • The services are performed on a continuing basis for the same payer.

 

 

Statutory Nonemployees  http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Statutory-Nonemployees

There are three categories of statutory nonemployees: direct sellers, licensed real estate agents and certain companion sitters. Direct sellers and licensed real estate agents are treated as self-employed for all Federal tax purposes, including income and employment taxes, if:

  • Substantially all payments for their services as direct sellers or real estate agents are directly related to sales or other output, rather than to the number of hours worked, and
  • Their services are performed under a written contract providing that they will not be treated as employees for Federal tax purposes.

Companion sitters who are not employees of a companion sitting placement service are generally treated as self-employed for all federal tax purposes.

Refer to information on Statutory Nonemployees located in Publication 15-A, Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide (PDF) for additional information.


 

 
Behavioral Control  http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Behavioral-Control

Behavioral control refers to facts that show whether there is a right to direct or control how the worker does the work. A worker is an employee when the business has the right to direct and control the worker. The business does not have to actually direct or control the way the work is done – as long as the employer has the right to direct and control the work.

The behavioral control factors fall into the categories of:

  • Type of instructions given
  • Degree of instruction
  • Evaluation systems
  • Training

Types of Instructions Given

An employee is generally subject to the business’s instructions about when, where, and how to work. All of the following are examples of types of instructions about how to do work.

  • When and where to do the work.
  • What tools or equipment to use.
  • What workers to hire or to assist with the work.
  • Where to purchase supplies and services.
  • What work must be performed by a specified individual.
  • What order or sequence to follow when performing the work.

Degree of Instruction

Degree of Instruction means that the more detailed the instructions, the more control the business exercises over the worker. More detailed instructions indicate that the worker is an employee.  Less detailed instructions reflects less control, indicating that the worker is more likely an independent contractor.

Note: The amount of instruction needed varies among different jobs. Even if no instructions are given, sufficient behavioral control may exist if the employer has the right to control how the work results are achieved. A business may lack the knowledge to instruct some highly specialized professionals; in other cases, the task may require little or no instruction. The key consideration is whether the business has retained the right to control the details of a worker's performance or instead has given up that right.

Evaluation System

If an evaluation system measures the details of how the work is performed, then these factors would point to an employee.

If the evaluation system measures just the end result, then this can point to either an independent contractor or an employee.

Training

If the business provides the worker with training on how to do the job, this indicates that the business wants the job done in a particular way.  This is strong evidence that the worker is an employee. Periodic or on-going training about procedures and methods is even stronger evidence of an employer-employee relationship. However, independent contractors ordinarily use their own methods.


 

Financial Control   http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Financial-Control

Financial control refers to facts that show whether or not the business has the right to control the economic aspects of the worker’s job.

The financial control factors fall into the categories of:

  • Significant investment
  • Unreimbursed expenses
  • Opportunity for profit or loss
  • Services available to the market
  • Method of payment

Significant investment

An independent contractor often has a significant investment in the equipment he or she uses in working for someone else.  However, in many occupations, such as construction, workers spend thousands of dollars on the tools and equipment they use and are still considered to be employees. There are no precise dollar limits that must be met in order to have a significant investment.  Furthermore, a significant investment is not necessary for independent contractor status as some types of work simply do not require large expenditures.

Unreimbursed expenses

Independent contractors are more likely to have unreimbursed expenses than are employees. Fixed ongoing costs that are incurred regardless of whether work is currently being performed are especially important. However, employees may also incur unreimbursed expenses in connection with the services that they perform for their business.

Opportunity for profit or loss

The opportunity to make a profit or loss is another important factor.  If a worker has a significant investment in the tools and equipment used and if the worker has unreimbursed expenses, the worker has a greater opportunity to lose money (i.e., their expenses will exceed their income from the work).  Having the possibility of incurring a loss indicates that the worker is an independent contractor.

Services available to the market

An independent contractor is generally free to seek out business opportunities. Independent contractors often advertise, maintain a visible business location, and are available to work in the relevant market.

Method of payment

An employee is generally guaranteed a regular wage amount for an hourly, weekly, or other period of time. This usually indicates that a worker is an employee, even when the wage or salary is supplemented by a commission. An independent contractor is usually paid by a flat fee for the job. However, it is common in some professions, such as law, to pay independent contractors hourly.
 

Type of Relationship  http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Type-of-Relationship

Type of relationship refers to facts that show how the worker and business perceive their relationship to each other.

The factors, for the type of relationship between two parties, generally fall into the categories of:

  • Written contracts
  • Employee benefits
  • Permanency of the relationship
  • Services provided as key activity of the business

Written Contracts

Although a contract may state that the worker is an employee or an independent contractor, this is not sufficient to determine the worker’s status.  The IRS is not required to follow a contract stating that the worker is an independent contractor, responsible for paying his or her own self employment tax.  How the parties work together determines whether the worker is an employee or an independent contractor.

Employee Benefits

Employee benefits include things like insurance, pension plans, paid vacation, sick days, and disability insurance.  Businesses generally do not grant these benefits to independent contractors.  However, the lack of these types of benefits does not necessarily mean the worker is an independent contractor.

Permanency of the Relationship

If you hire a worker with the expectation that the relationship will continue indefinitely, rather than for a specific project or period, this is generally considered evidence that the intent was to create an employer-employee relationship.

Services Provided as Key Activity of the Business

If a worker provides services that are a key aspect of the business, it is more likely that the business will have the right to direct and control his or her activities.  For example, if a law firm hires an attorney, it is likely that it will present the attorney’s work as its own and would have the right to control or direct that work.  This would indicate an employer-employee relationship

Posted: 5/27/2012 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

This Interview is a bit over a year old but the Info is good if you haven't seen it before

 


I was interviewed about My Acting Career and Talk about some 1st Year Decisions and their Effect on an 11 year Career.

I have also provided links to 2 TV Interviews I did for Fairfax Public TV.

 

Brian Mac Ian interviews Brian Dragonuk, actor, model, publisher of the e-newsletter "Dragonuk Connects

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7288396258683158046&hl=en

If you watch this interview you will see Clips of most of my 1st year Projects that I talk about in Eerie Digest. The NEUBAUERS EXXON Commercial is not just the 1st speaking part on a TV Commercial but My 1st Speaking part Ever, America's Most Wanted Clip, The Len Stoller Commercial played Multiple times a day on EVERY Baltimore TV Channel For Months, The Drunk Fan in my 1st Industrial, The 1st Time I Hosted a Talk Show, My 1st National Public Service Announcement, and The New Detectives Clip can all be seen.

 

Brian Mac Ian interviews Gale Nemec, actor and coach (Teaches a GREAT Background Acting class); Kimberly Skyrme, producer, Casting Director; and Brian Dragonuk, actor, about being an extra in a film, also known as background acting.

 

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5222998041125462554&hl=en

In this we discuss the Importance of doing Extra work, Why it is Needed ETC

 

I have also Included Links to my Website, My DragonukConnects.com Profile, Internet Movie Data Base Account (IMDB), if you want to take a look at them

Personal Website  www.bdragonuk.com

DragonukConnects.Com http://www.dragonukconnects.com/3/

Internet Movie Data Base
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1299096/
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1299096/#MiscellaneousCrew
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1299096/#CastingDepartment
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1299096/#CastingDirector
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1299096/board/nest/185253994
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1299096/otherworks

 You Might be interested in looking at my 3 main Resumes

Standard Film/Video Resume http://www.bdragonuk.com/uploads/Brian_Dragonuk_Resume_2009-2.pdf

Hospital Standardized Patient Work http://www.bdragonuk.com/uploads/Resume_Sp_work.pdf

Law Enforcement Practical Training Resume http://www.bdragonuk.com/uploads/Resume__Law_Enforcement.pdf

Best Brian

Interview with Actor Brian Dragonuk

 

Brian Dragonuk

ED- The Eerie Digest occasionally runs into an individual who has many venues that they work in, but not so many as actor Brian Dragonuk. Brian, you currently wear more hats than anyone that I have met to date. Since 1999, you have been in over five-hundred projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic States, on projects as varied as a Film/Video Actor, Print Model, Radio Personality, TV Show Host and as an Actor in the training of Federal Law Enforcement Agents, Medical Students, Lawyers, and Emergency 1st Responders.. Please tell us about these aspects of your career.

BD- I started my Acting career very late in life (47) as an Extra on the set of “The Replacements. I worked daily for 43 days with from 300-500 other Extras (daily- Over 15,000 Different people over the 43 days) and that collective pool of experience taught me something (Very Basic) that I believe is still true today – If you want to make a Living as an Actor here – You must make yourself VALUABLE to as Many Employers as you can.

Some of the People I met on “The Replacements” worked “Other Markets” – (Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC and Richmond are all different markets with their own Agents, Casting Directors, Production Companies and Projects), By the end of my 1st full year (2000), I had worked in and was “On File” with people in each of them.

Others on set felt the way to increase the Potential Employers (looking to hire you for Future projects) was to work different types of Venues in the Same Market. Each requires different Training & abilities, Different Resources and in most cases different Potential Employers. By the end of my 1st year, I had broadened my Resume to include – My 1st Commercial Modeling (Print) work, TV Commercials (Including my 1st Speaking part), Public Service Announcements, 1st Speaking part in a Film (a Student Film), and my 1st Live Practical Training jobs. Hosting a TV Show, Radio Broadcasts & Voice over/Narration jobs were added my 2nd year.

Live theatre has never interested me so I still have not added those opportunities to my Resume.

The Career Defining opportunity I “Fell into” that year was something new and almost Unheard of – The Live Practical training. Here you are hired by a Training Center to play a part while interacting with their students so Staff can evaluate how much training the Student retained and how they will react in various situations. Most is 1 on 1 Training (you and 1 student) but group Training is also done.

My start as a Standardized Patient working with the Medical Students at Johns Hopkins University in 1999 and at The Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Academy (a joint Training Academy for 19 Virginia Law Enforcement Agencies in Ashburn VA) in 2000, led to a lot of work over the last 10 years as this type of training became a standard training practice.   This also boosted my Film/Video work because by paying attention and Learning what the students did for their end of the training practical, I gained the knowledge & resources to create believable characters.

I have been employed as a Standardized at 9 Universities including Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland – Baltimore, Howard University and Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. This led directly to 25 Film/Video Projects As Patients, Doctors or Nurses over the last 10 years.

I have assisted in the training of federal law enforcement agents at the United States (US) Secret Service training academy, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Capitol Police and Virginia Law Enforcement Officers at NVCJA in Ashburn VA.  This led to 30 Film/video Jobs as a Law Enforcement Officer over the same 10 years I have participated in mock trials to assist in the training and evaluation of trial lawyers

For a major training center in DC, Assisted in the training and evaluation of first responders in radiation disaster drills for the Department of Homeland Security And planned and executed Mock assassination attempts for The US Dept of State- Diplomatic Security (teaching Embassy Personnel How to avoid being a Target when out of the US) .

ED- You have also produced twelve cable talk shows, and you own DragonukConnects.com Please tell our readers about these projects.

BD- Producing the Talk shows was an outgrowth of hosting a few shows. I auditioned for a Hosting position with a Company that has Several Shows “On-Air”. After I Interviewed Several of the People they had Scheduled, I approached them about an idea about taking several Projects I had been part of and interviewing the people involved in from original idea to broadcast. I produced several Shows for them starting with the Original Concept, Writing Scripts, Hiring Talent and Production Crew, Shooting, and Editing to create the final project. I produced Shows on TV Commercials, Public Service Announcements, and Industrials then produced a few other shows for them and others.

The idea that evolved into DragonukConnects.com started in 1999 on ‘The Replacements”. While the other Actors on Set would talk about their other jobs, the Training they had and issues about making a living in this Market, They would not provide any of the Important Details, Agents & Casting Directors that hired them, Who Provided the Training, Where to get good Quality Headshots ETC.

I started trading any information I found out about with other Actors for any additional information they had. That led to a Yahoo Group to Send Casting Notices, Information on Training sessions & Networking Events to Hundreds of Actors at a time then to DragonukConnects.com. I wanted to be sure EVERYONE that wanted Information had FREE access to it.

DragonukConnects.com not only sends the casting notices, Training & Networking Information out to 5500 local Actors but allows Employers to view the Actors Headshots, Set Photo’s, Profile, up to 10 different Resumes, 10 Video Demo reels, and voice Reels – all as a FREE Service to the Actors. DragonukConnects.com also has a large membership of Freelance Production Crew.

ED- You have had a long acting career, and in 2001 you appeared in the television documentary, ‘The New Detectives’. Describe this TV Show and the role that you played.

BD- The complete name of the show was The New Detectives: Case Studies in Forensic Science, it was the 1st (starting in 1995) of the Forensic shows (CSI 2000, NCIS 2003, Bones 2005). It was my 1st speaking (Principal) part in a Nationally Broadcast TV Show (cable).

I played the Detective (Detective Doug Lake) investigating a missing person’s case that becomes a Murder Investigation. Paying attention to what the Police Academy Cadets did during the Live Training Practical’s I had worked on (Holding the Gun Properly, Handling Evidence, Getting person out of a Vehicle safely, handcuffing them ETC) gave me the resources to accurately play my part and directly led to many other Film/Video parts as a Law Enforcement Officer.

ED- In the year 2000 you had roles in several additional shows/movies. How did these projects add to your acting experience and what confidence did they give you towards your career?

BD- In 2000, I was still trying to piece together the process of Filmmaking – How all the pieces fit together. Extra work in Major Hollywood Productions like Unbreakable, & The Book of Shadows – Blair Witch II & TV Shows like The Young Americans gave me the Onset Experience I needed.

Blair Witch II was mostly crowd scenes but Unbreakable & Young Americans were Close-ups. In Unbreakable I filmed a 2 day scene as a Close-up with Bruce Willis. Willis Walks down a staircase in the Train Station – I walk up and Bump into him and walk away (Scene was Cut). It is a lot different even as an Extra to film that type of Close-up scene between you and a Major star. The timing of EVERYTHING you do must be exactly the same in every take – from every Camera angle. And I do mean EVERYTHING, a pause in your step, looking at your watch, adjusting your glasses, looking left or right ETC.

I learned more on filming that 1 scene than on 10 other Sets, but what I learned on those other sets is what got me on Unbreakable.

ED- For the next three years you played in such notable productions as ‘American’s Most Wanted’, ‘Hack’, ‘Shallow Deep’, ‘The District’, and ‘Line of Fire’. Tell us about these and the roles that you performed in them.

BD- Hack (Philadelphia PA) The District (Washington DC) and Line of Fire (Quantico & Richmond VA) were more Extra work – Mostly Crowd Scenes with a few more featured  shots mixed in. I worked multiple episodes of each.

Americas Most Wanted was my 1st speaking (Principal) role in a UNION (AFTRA) National Broadcast TV Show (The New Detectives was Non-Union and Cable).

My Scene is on 1 of my Video Demo Reels on my website. It’s only 3 Words “What the Hell??? Then I Chase the Bad guy in my car & on foot – But it’s a Career Milestone.

Shallow Deep was a Local Independent Film and my 1st fairly Major role (I had shot 10-12 Student or Low Budget Independent films by that time but ALL were 2-3-4 Lines shot in 1 day). In Shallow Deep I had Multiple Lines, in multiple scenes throughout the Film.

I Played the Main Characters Probation Officer.

ED- You had a role in ‘The Sorcerer of Stonehenge School in which you not only acted but assisted in the casting department. This is something that you also performed in the video ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde a few years before. What did this entail?

BD- At that time I was posting Auditions thru Yahoo Groups but what most actors did not know was that I also was involved in other casting opportunities and job selection with several Agents, Casting Directors, Production Companies or local Filmmakers outside the newsletters. Since they (not I) contacted the Actors, no one knew I had a small part in the hiring process.

I would get an e-mail or phone call asking Advice on who I felt could play a role or that these 2, 3, 4 Actors auditioned for a Part and did well, who did I think  would be best for the part.

These 2 Projects were developed by a good friend and I brought him a few Actors that he had not previously known for both projects. He gave me Credit for Assisting on the Project in the Rolling Credits & IMDB.

ED- You also had appearances in ‘Bones’, ‘Limits to Ambition’, ‘Twenty Questions’, ‘The Sentinel’, and twelve episodes of ‘The West Wing’. This was a remarkable series of productions that must have been exhausting for you. Please describe your work on these and how you managed so many acting roles during this period.

BD- Bones, Twenty Questions, & The Sentinel were Extra work – Mostly Featured In our market extra work keeps you working (and in the Casting Directors Mind) until the principal roles comes your way.

Limits to Ambition and West Wing are a Different story.

Picture This – I am an Overweight OLD man (True life Casting) in my underpants only, Face down in a bed with both hands and both feet tied to the 4 corners of the bed and Duct Tape over my mouth. (Beautiful picture isn’t it)

Now add an incredibly gorgeous 20 yr old Brunette, scantily (but fully – $%^& -it) clothed, sitting on my legs- spanking me.

Just then the door opens, My Mother walks in to see what the noise is, and faints – falling to the floor. A very powerful scene (and Funny) for the project but to this point non-speaking, the story was told in Facial Expressions & gestures – not words.

West Wing was Featured Extra work and a very prestigious set to work on. Many locals never got to work on 1 episode- to be cast (even as an extra) 12 different times told other potential Employers more about the quality of my work than anything else I could show them.

A trained extra knows when doing background, to keep their face from being clearly visible. Once you are “seen” or “established” you are usually not brought back for more work until the Production is sure you can’t be recognized. When you are “Featured” (given something to do when in focus and clearly visible) you have no choice but to follow directions and be seen. You might be a Bartender or Waitress (Non-Speaking) you can be seen again at that location, but once they leave to go to the ballgame (the next 3 days of shooting), you can’t be there as well.

Toward the end of the series I was “Featured” on the 1st day of a 3 day shoot. My being booked for the next 2 days had never been an issue because the Crew knew I would hide my face and stick to the crowd scenes for both as I had done in the past, but this time I got a call from the Casting Director asking if I would mind working as Crew the next 2 days instead of as an extra. I accepted and worked on the Production Crew as a Casting PA (Wrangler) the next 2 days. I was able to work as a Casting PA on 2 additional West Wing episodes and that work led directly to Production work on the feature films Breach & Step-Up.

One last West Wing story.

Last year a good friend (She played my daughter in my 1st Commercial Modeling (Print) job back in 2000) e-mailed me saying she was In LA and had landed an Intern job as the assistant to Director Thomas Schlamme on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. She wanted to know if I ever heard of Thomas Schlamme.

My reply was simply a Photo of Brad Whitford, Tommy and myself, standing in front of the White House in a West Wing Episode.

When she showed Tommy the photo he remembered several other scenes I was in on other episodes. You have to remember Tommy only came to DC 1 weekend at a time 2-3 times a year and I had not seen him in 3 years, yet, he can describe what I did on set.

ED- You followed these up with a role in the television documentary, ‘Countdown to Ground Zero’ 2006. Please tell our readers all about that.

BD- Countdown to Ground Zero is a 9/11 documentary and I Played Rick Rescorla Vice President of Security for Morgan-Stanley/Dean-Witter and Safety officer for Tower II. Rick had been trying to get Morgan Stanley to move since the 1st bombing in 1993 but to no avail. On 9/11 he evacuated the entire building successfully when the 1st plane hit the other tower only to have people on the ground send them back up. Once the 2nd plane hit his building he got everyone below the plane out a 2nd time but no one above the plane hit got out the 2nd time.

One of my favorite career principal roles.

ED- Please tell us of your role in 2008?s ‘One-Eyed Horse’.

BD- One-Eyed Horse is a Western set in the 1880?s and filmed in Jessup MD. I had a very small principal part where a group of riders stop at my farm looking for directions to town. I give them directions, offer them food and water and send them on their way not knowing they intend to attack an event going on there.

One-Eyed Horse, as an 1880?s Western created challenges for character development because of having to deliver my lines as an 1880?s rural farmer / Amish Church Deacon.

ED- 2009 saw you in two projects, ‘The Color of Rain is Red’, and ‘Sealed Fates’. Can you describe these to us, and what were the themes behind them?

BD- Both of these projects offered some unique challenges to expand my skills as an actor.

In “The Color of Rain is Red’ I played to OLD Overweight (real life typecasting again)

Indiana Jones character out to save the world from an Invasion from Outer Space.

The challenging thing was the scene where I takeoff and Pilot my ship into space to head off the Alien Fleet. It’s set up as a scene from Star Wars where Han takes off in the Millennium Falcon; I’m actually setting in the back of a panel truck (like a UPS Truck)

With the back door open looking out into the darkness of night (not a studio with a Green screen). All of the controls I am using, monitors I’m watching are not there but are Computer Generated Graphics added later in editing. Much more challenging than the Green screen work I had done earlier.

In Sealed Fates I Faced a different Challenge, Films use Changing scenery, Background Extras moving through the shots and a large revolving pool of principal actors interacting to keep a movie moving forward and interesting. 90% of Sealed Fates (the 90% I’m in) takes place in an Elevator with only 1 or 2 other actor’s total.

We had to totally rely on the interaction between ourselves, our facial expressions & body language, and attitude keep things interesting and moving forward. Everything is a Close-up.

ED- We understand that you are currently developing and writing several movie scripts and a book. Can you give us a sneak-preview of them?

BD- The 3 Scripts are as varied as my Career – A Family based movie about a Group of 12-15 year olds bonding as Friends while learning to ride horses and help the main character deal with very adult issues in “Teenager” ways.

The other 2 are a Courtroom Drama (Mock trials for Lawyer Training) and a Political Satire.

The book is what I’m really excited about right now. It’s about making the right choices in order for actors to be considered for more of the available jobs. While I am trying to keep positive and uplifting, I focus on the everyday things Actors do in order to stop anyone from hiring them.

A lot of things are simple to correct like giving out Business cards with contact information so small or in a font that is unreadable that they are tossed out by the very people you are trying to build a relationship with.

Other things are HUGE and 99 1/2% of you will think I’m making this up but it happens more than you think.

I Equate the Actor getting a job from an Employer as the same Process as getting a date with “THE ONE” in the following manor.

Have you ever walked into a crowded room, and Gasped “Oh my Gosh – That’s “THE ONE”.

You have 2 very different choices:

Go comb your hair, Check your clothes, pop in a mint and walk over and say HI.

Guzzle a few beers, run over Belching and yelling “Pull my Finger – Pull my finger” so you can pass Gas and Smile.

How often do you think Actors run over to Employers Belching and yelling “Pull my Finger – Pull my Finger?” And why do you think they still expect to get hired.

A few years ago (before DragonukConnects.com) I sent out the following request for Headshots:

This is Brian

I’m looking for new headshots to update my home files that I use to assist others in Hiring actors for their Projects.

I use Binders with 8 X 10 Plastic sleeves for my files so ALL headshots must be the proper size.

Resumes must be printed on the back of the headshot or printed on paper, trimmed to 8 X 10 and attached to the back of the headshots. Untrimmed Resumes will not be saved because they will not fit the 8 x 10 plastic sleeves in my binders. Do not send e-mailed files – I’m Computer Illiterate, Have no way to store them. They will be deleted without being opened. I must have printed paper headshots. So, I stopped counting at 500- the number of unopened e-mailed Headshots & Resumes I deleted over the next week.

One guy Federal Expressed (so that is $15) a beautiful Expensive Folder (I still use it) knowing I was taking the headshots out and putting them in my binder but the folder contained 5 copies of 5 different headshots with 1 8 ½ X 11 resume and a cover letter that said he “Only sends Headshots out LA Style”. I have not found any LA source saying to do this.

That’s right- he spent $15 to send me a folder as a gift and 26 pieces of trash I had to carry down 2 flights of stairs and out to the curb.

I actually had 2 FULL trashcans of oversize (8 ½ x 11) headshots, headshots without resumes attached, ETC to carry out to the curb that week.

Between the 500 plus e-mailed replies and the sending of useless paper about 75% of those that submitted Ran up Belching, yelling “Pull my Finger – Pull my Finger? And only 25% were Professional and sent the proper tools to get work.

2). One of those that sent things in properly was an Actor I had never met but had done some great work on a few projects I was involved in.

He is dark skinned African American, wearing a dark shirt, with a dark backdrop and the photographer did not use any front lighting. His skin, hair, Shirt and the backdrop all looked like blended shadows – Nothing in the Photo could be recognized.

I knew of a TV Commercial shooting soon that he could be perfect for, so I e-mail him asking for better photos so I could show them to the People casting and their client.

I received back a Scathing e-mail telling me I didn’t have a clue what I was doing because those headshots were the hottest things in LA. (Do you see a pattern here – IF it is really -really stupid – It has to be hot in LA.  I can’t find any headshots anyplace in LA where you can’t see the person in them.)

Several days later I received a 2nd e-mail from him telling me I was disorganized and incompetent because he still did not have the date, time & location of the Audition.

Do I have to tell you that the job is a $1200 paycheck he will never see?  He Ran up Belching, yelling “Pull my Finger – Pull my Finger?

ED- Brian, You most definitely have been busy, and have spanned a career that most actors would be envious of. We want to thank you for sharing your experiences with our legions of readers, and just know that there are many more good things in the cards for you. We wish you much luck and hope that you will keep in contact with all of us at The Eerie Digest magazine.

Posted: 11/1/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

 

These are general; common sense things that should help you tell if you are being dealt with fairly or not by a potential Employer, as well as a Few things that while legal or even normal in other parts of the USA could hurt your career here. Each of you has different career paths in front of you, and need different things to achieve your goals so you should evaluate each of these items and how they affect you and your chosen path.
Also Please Remember that State law Governs what is Legal and Illegal in your state - so something illegal in the state next to you could be legal in your state. Just because something is legal in your state does not make it RIGHT - it just means you have to hire a higher quality State Representative in the next Election.
1). This is the Dream Industry and Scam Artists are Professionals at telling you what you want to hear / Giving you answers "That Make Sense"  to steal your money. They can only STEAL your money IF YOU GIVE IT TO THEM.
2). There are "NO FEE'S" in our Industry NONE, NEVER - It does not matter what they call it or how they Explain it to you. We are a Commission Based Industry PERIOD. People earn their pay by finding you Paid work - Period
If they have not found you PAID work - There is NOTHING you have to pay them for. Find another Potential Employer
3). Websites - In the last few years a Vast majority of Agents and Casting Directors have created websites to replace filing cabinets in their offices (and there are also a few Independent websites like DragonukConnects.com)
These Websites often cost Thousands of Dollars to Develop and Thousands more to Operate over a year - so Costs are passed on to the Talent that have Joined them and Benefit from the usage of the site.
These sites should not be mandatory - that you as Talent have to pay in order to receive Auditions or Job offers. There are 2 ways to overcome the Mandatory Issue:
A). Offer a free profile and a Paid Profile with added benefits (DragonukConnects.com and Agency Pro both do this)
B). Maintain paper files in the office for those that do not pay to join the Website (Several Agents & Casting Directors do this)
 Costs for Paid Membership Profiles should be Fair and Reasonable. You the talent should choose those sites you have the best chances of getting the most value from (Paid work) and pay for those sites. You cannot be expected to pay for ALL the sites out there so get the best return for your money.
4). It is not Right for any Potential Employer to require you to pay for any classes or training from their office or any other Individual or Company.
They can tell you that you need to get training before they send you on Auditions or on Jobs.
They can require you to take training from their office or some other Individual or Company if it is at no cost to you.
They can provide you with a list with multiple options and tell you these are known High quality Training Classes but again cannot require you to use anyone from the list IF you are paying.
They can offer you optional training classes
It is your money and only you get to decide who you want to give it to. If any potential Employer tries to tell you something different - RUN - Find a different Potential Employer.
 
5). It is not Right for any Potential Employer to require you to pay for any Headshots, Modeling shots, Reprints or Comp Cards from their office or any other Individual or Company.
They can tell you that you need to get Better Headshots, Modeling shots, Reprints or Comp Cards before they send you on Auditions or on Jobs.
They can require you to get Headshots, Modeling shots, Reprints or Comp Cards from their office or some other Individual or Company if it is at no cost to you. They will probably not allow you to use those Headshots, Modeling shots, Reprints or Comp Cards outside of their office but if they pay - that is OK.
They can provide you with a list with multiple options and tell you these are known High quality Headshot Photographers, Modeling Photographers, Reprint Houses or Comp Card Printers but again cannot require you to use anyone from the list IF you are paying.
They can offer you optional Headshots or Modeling shots sessions.
It is your money and only you get to decide who you want to give it to. If any potential Employer tries to tell you something different - RUN - Find a different Potential Employer.
 
6). CONTRACTS in most of the Larger Markets it is Normal to have a Contract with your Agent - Most are Exclusive contracts. The Mid-Atlantic States operates differently from them. Here we are a Freelance Market - Most Agent/Agency's do not Contract Talent or have Non-Exclusive Contracts.
Be Very Careful of anyone with an Exclusive Contract. What happens is you have by contract agreed to pay that person/Company for NOT GETTING YOU WORK.
If you find a Job from DragonukConnects.com, WIFV MD, TIVA DC, WIFV DC, VA FILM OFFICE ETC that is Direct with the Filmmaker, Production Company, Advertising Agency, or even the Client - You still have to pay that person/ Company for NOT GETTING YOU WORK because you signed a contract saying you would.
If you find a Job from DragonukConnects.com, WIFV MD, TIVA DC, WIFV DC, VA FILM OFFICE ETC that is thru an Agent you have to pay the Agent that got you the job their commission (because they earned it) But You still have to pay that person/ Company for NOT GETTING YOU WORK because you signed a contract saying you would.
 
7). Contracts Part 2 NEVER EVER go to a meeting and sign a Contract - PERIOD.  No matter what the person you are meeting with says, you want to take a copy of the contract home to read over and show your Lawyer (even if you don't have a Lawyer to show it to - They do not know that). If anyone tries to pressure you / Force you to sign now or refuses to let you take a copy of the Contract home to read - RUN- Find a Different potential Employer.
Posted: 8/26/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

U.S. Department of Labor  Wage and Hour Division

 
Here is the fact sheet from the Dept. of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf

 Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act

 This fact sheet provides general information to help determine whether interns must be paid the minimum wage
and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act for the services that they provide to “for-profit” private sector
employers.

 Background

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines the term “employ” very broadly as including to “suffer or permit
to work.” Covered and non-exempt individuals who are “suffered or permitted” to work must be compensated
under the law for the services they perform for an employer. Internships in the “for-profit” private sector will
most often be viewed as employment, unless the test described below relating to trainees is met. Interns in the
“for-profit” private sector who qualify as employees rather than trainees typically must be paid at least the
minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over forty in a workweek..

 

The Test For Unpaid Interns

There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in “for-profit” private sector internships
or training programs may do so without compensation. The Supreme Court has held that the term "suffer or
permit to work" cannot be interpreted so as to make a person whose work serves only his or her own interest an
employee of another who provides aid or instruction. This may apply to interns who receive training for their
own educational benefit if the training meets certain criteria. The determination of whether an internship or
training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program.

 

The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:

 

1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to
training which would be given in an educational environment;


2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;


3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;


4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern;
and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;


5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and


6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the
internship.

 

If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the
Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern. This exclusion from the definition of
employment is necessarily quite narrow because the FLSA’s definition of “employ” is very broad. Some of the
most commonly discussed factors for “for-profit” private sector internship programs are considered below.

DOL WHD logo

Similar To An Education Environment And The Primary Beneficiary Of The Activity

In general, the more an internship program is structured around a classroom or academic experience as opposed
to the employer’s actual operations, the more likely the internship will be viewed as an extension of the
individual’s educational experience (this often occurs where a college or university exercises oversight over the
internship program and provides educational credit). The more the internship provides the individual with skills
that can be used in multiple employment settings, as opposed to skills particular to one employer’s operation,
the more likely the intern would be viewed as receiving training. Under these circumstances the intern does not
perform the routine work of the business on a regular and recurring basis, and the business is not dependent
upon the work of the intern. On the other hand, if the interns are engaged in the operations of the employer or
are performing productive work (for example, filing, performing other clerical work, or assisting customers),
then the fact that they may be receiving some benefits in the form of a new skill or improved work habits will
not exclude them from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements because the employer benefits
from the interns’ work.

 

Displacement And Supervision Issues

If an employer uses interns as substitutes for regular workers or to augment its existing workforce during
specific time periods, these interns should be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for
hours worked over forty in a workweek. If the employer would have hired additional employees or required
existing staff to work additional hours had the interns not performed the work, then the interns will be viewed as
employees and entitled compensation under the FLSA. Conversely, if the employer is providing job shadowing
opportunities that allow an intern to learn certain functions under the close and constant supervision of regular
employees, but the intern performs no or minimal work, the activity is more likely to be viewed as a bona fide
education experience. On the other hand, if the intern receives the same level of supervision as the employer’s
regular workforce, this would suggest an employment relationship, rather than training.

 

Job Entitlement

The internship should be of a fixed duration, established prior to the outset of the internship. Further, unpaid
internships generally should not be used by the employer as a trial period for individuals seeking employment at
the conclusion of the internship period. If an intern is placed with the employer for a trial period with the
expectation that he or she will then be hired on a permanent basis, that individual generally would be considered
an employee under the FLSA.

 Where to Obtain Additional Information

This publication is for general information and is not to be considered in the same light as official statements of
position contained in the regulations.

 For additional information, visit our Wage and Hour Division Website: http://www.wagehour.dol.gov
and/or call our toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-
4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).

 U.S. Department of Labor
Frances Perkins Building
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20210

1-866-4-USWAGE

 TTY: 1-866-487-9243Contact Us

. The FLSA makes a special exception under certain circumstances for individuals who volunteer to perform services for a state or local government agency and for individuals who volunteer for humanitarian purposes for private non-profit food banks. WHD also recognizes an exception for individuals who volunteer their time, freely and without anticipation of compensation for religious, charitable, civic, or humanitarian purposes to non-profit organizations. Unpaid internships in the public sector and for non-profit charitable organizations, where the intern volunteers without expectation of compensation, are generally permissible. WHD is reviewing the need for additional guidance on internships in the public and non-profit sectors.

 

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

Wege Family Welcomes Wildlife Filmmaker to Aquinas

Two generations of Peter Wege’s family turned out in April for the 15th annual Wege Lecture at Aquinas College given by Chris Palmer, the renowned wildlife film producer. Pictured above being recognized in Aquinas’s Performing Arts Center from left to right are: Patrick Goodwillie, Mary Nelson, Jim Nelson, Jonathan Wege, Peter Wege II, Caitlin Wiener, Jessica McLear, Christopher Carter, and Rachel Wege-Lack, Peter Wege II’s daughter, who is shown introducing Chris Palmer to the full auditorium.

Chris Palmer, whose wildlife documentaries have appeared on IMAX, Disney Channel, and Animal Planet, among others, showed clips from his films, including up-close encounters with Southern Right Whales and a wolf pack making a den. In his elegant British accent, Chris Palmer captivated the audience with his animated style and passionate commitment to protecting wildlife.

“I want the world to be preserved,” he told the crowd, “and wildlife films are one way to tackle the problems of the environment. All the films I make are part of a conservation campaign.”

To Read More go to http://www.wegefoundation.com/news/chrispalmerlecture.html

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

Ask An Expert: Is Shark Week Good for Sharks?

Thinkstock

Is Shark Week Good for Sharks?
Discovery Channel's Shark Week 2011 starts Sunday, July 31st

Shark Week is entertainment by exploitation By Chris Palmer
Chris Palmer is the director of American university’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking and author of the new Sierra Club book, Shooting in the Wild: An Insider’s Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom.

Teeth of Death. The Worst Shark Attack Ever. It’s that time of year again, when the Discovery Channel brings out shows like these as part of its annual Shark Week. This week of bloody feeding frenzies and vicious shark attacks is part of a larger trend in nature programming. Instead of seeking to educate or promote environmental conservation, these shows focus only on presenting graphic, sensationalized animal violence. While they might garner high ratings and attract advertiser dollars, these shows all too often mislead the audience, exploit animals and fail to promote conservation.
 

     It’s easy to understand why Shark Week would attract viewers. The subject matter is riveting, the editing is flashy, and the shows are thrilling and suspenseful. This brand of mayhem and mutilation has an eager audience and has turned the nature-film genre into an entertainment juggernaut. However, even worse than these programs’ shameless appeals to the viewer’s basest instincts is their impact on the wildlife they show. In a time when sharks face increased threat from shark finning, overfishing and pollution, programs that depict sharks as vicious, man-eating killers only make it more difficult to convince the public of the need to protect them.
   

  In reality, wild creatures spend most of their time resting or finding food. Obviously, a feeding frenzy makes for more exciting footage, but showing such a disproportionate amount of violence gives a dangerously skewed view of animals. While it would be just as mis- leading to suggest that animals never hunt and kill, there’s a major difference between showing the dispassionate reality of nature, and creating whole programming out of only the most gory and gruesome details.
 

To Read More go To  http://www.scubadiving.com/training/ask-expert/ask-expert-shark-week-good-sharks

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

Into the Wild, Ethically: Nature Filmmakers Need a Code of Conduct
 
 

As an 11-year old in 1958, I watched the Disney film White Wilderness. We see a cute little bear cub lose its footing on a steep, snow-covered mountainside and fall faster and faster until it's tumbling down totally out of control. It eventually stops falling after banging hard into rocks. The audience laughs because we assume it is totally natural and authentic and it's funny in a slapstick kind of way--at least at first. In fact, it is totally staged top to bottom, including the use of a man-made artificial mountain and captive bear cubs.

When I was a teenager growing up in England, Life Magazine carried a prize-winning sequence of photographs showing a leopard hunting a baboon. It was dramatic and thrilling. The final picture showed the leopard crushing the baboon's skull in its jaws. Later it was shown to be all staged with a captive leopard and a captive and terrified baboon.

When I first got into television in my early 30s, I brought home a film I had just completed to show my wife, Gail. She especially liked a close-up scene of a grizzly bear splashing through a stream and asked me how we were able to record the sound of water dripping off the grizzly's paws. I had to admit that my talented sound guy had filled a basin full of water and recorded the thrashings he made with his hands and elbows. He then matched the video of the bear walking in the stream with the sounds he had recorded. Gail was shocked, offended and outraged--and called me "a big fake" and a "big phony-baloney." I had made a documentary after all, which led her to expect authenticity and truth.

What ethical issues do these three stories illustrate? First, audience deception through staging and manipulation. Second, cruelty to animals. And third, a more subtle ethical issue but a vital one nonetheless: Do wildlife films encourage conservation?

To Read More go TO

http://www.documentary.org/magazine/wild-ethically-nature-filmmakers-need-code-conduct

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

 

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

Keynote Speech for the National Annual Meeting of the ARCS Foundation At Amelia Island in Florida

 SCIENCE AND COMMUNICATION:  FRIENDS OR ENEMIES?

 By Chris Palmer

Distinguished Film Producer in Residence

Director, Center for Environmental Filmmaking

School of Communication, American University

palmer@american.edu; (202) 885-3408

www.environmentalfilm.org

 June 3, 2011

 It’s a great honor to be invited to give this keynote speech. The ARCS Foundation is a vibrant
organization. In this academic year, you’ll award $4 million to over 400 graduate and
undergraduate scholars. I commend all of you for your dedication to passionately pursuing the
vital goal of keeping America strong in engineering, science, and medical research. It doesn’t
surprise me at all that the ARCS Foundation was selected for the distinguished CASE Award in
2009 based on the commitment and engagement of ARCS members to its scholars.

 This morning I’d like to speak about working with scientists, communicating science, and finally
about the ARCS Foundation itself.

 I. Working with Scientists

In 1986, marine scientist Greg Marshall invented the crittercam. Attached to an animal, this little
camera enables biologists to gather new information, such as feeding patterns, mating behavior,
and migration routes.

 Greg Marshall hired Nick Caloyianis, a veteran filmmaker specializing in sharks, to go to the
east coast of Mexico to shoot underwater scenes of Greg attaching a crittercam to a shark.

 A few weeks later, out at sea, the team hooked a bull shark. These sharks are aggressive and
dangerous even when they are calm and free, but this one was stressed and confined.

 While Greg Marshall was attempting to attach the crittercam to the shark, its handlers,
mistakenly thinking Greg was done, released the creature prematurely. A producer asked Nick
Caloyianis to get shots of the free-swimming shark, and though Nick knew it was a risky
situation, he agreed, resolving to keep his distance. He dove in and began filming. But what Nick
didn’t know was that shark handlers in another expedition boat had decided to recapture the
agitated bull shark and finish attaching the crittercam.

As he was peering through his lens, Nick suddenly noticed a dark shadow in the upper right
corner of the viewfinder. He didn’t realize that this was the shadow of a shark handler diving in,
hooking the bull shark in its mouth, and hightailing it back to the surface.

 The shark, now extremely agitated, lashed out at the nearest creature, which happened to be
Nick. He turned the camera toward the shark to push it away, and as the animal thrashed and bit
at the camera, Nick’s hand went into its mouth. Reflexively, he pulled it out, splitting his thumb
and forefinger to the bone. He dropped the camera. As he continued to pound and push the shark
away with his hands, it lashed out at his legs. He could feel the shark’s teeth sinking into his
flesh, tearing it open and crushing his anklebone.

 Nick somehow got his leg out of the shark’s jaws, but the angry animal charged at him again and
again as they both headed for the surface. Nick was now badly injured. He and the shark
surfaced right next to the shark handlers’ small skiff, and Nick was pulled into the boat, his silver
wetsuit streaked bright red with blood. Nick spent weeks in the hospital and months more
recuperating. He still has nightmares about the incident and suffers chronic pain from his
injuries.

 This tragic accident happened because of poor communication between scientist and filmmaker.
Often such communications are highly effective, so that both filmmaker and scientist mutually
benefit. The filmmaker can make an exciting film, and the scientist can get his or her research
conveyed successfully to the general public. Take these examples. The first is a clip from an
IMAX film on whales.

 Show clip from Whales. We couldn’t have made this film without whale biologist Dr. Roger
Payne whose work we feature in the film. He told us where the whales were, when they were
likely to breach, sing, tail-slap, and perform many other intriguing behaviors. He taught us how
to interact with the whales to ensure mutual safety and minimal disturbance.

 Here’s another clip from an IMAX film on wolves. Show clip from Wolves. We couldn’t have
made this film without wolf biologist Dr. Steve Torbit. He told us where to find wolves, what
behavior to look for, how wolf packs function, the vital role of play, how wolves mentor their
young, and how wolves collaborate when hunting.

To Read More Go to

http://www.arcsfoundation.org/national/Keynote.pdf

 

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

Best Practices: How to run an effective meeting

We have all been there: stuck in boring, pointless meetings that seem to last forever and get nothing done. Now, however, it’s up to you to run the meeting and you desperately want to avoid it turning into one of those. You’re ready to go to almost any length to keep it interesting – should you incorporate music? Or visual aids? Or clowns and jugglers?

Running an effective meeting can be extremely intimidating but there are several key considerations that will help you get the most out of it while keeping your colleagues not only awake but involved and invested in the meeting.

The first question you should ask when planning a meeting is: what are the goals of this meeting? Ideally, there should be a general goal for the organization that everyone can contribute toward, as well as specific goals for the individuals. By identifying beforehand what the goal of the meeting is, you can shape and direct the meeting to maximize its effectiveness. Avoid trying to cram too many goals into one meeting; this can easily turn into a confusing, directionless meeting where everyone leaves not knowing what they got out of it. Conversely, make sure that there is a definite goal.

Once you know the goals of the meeting, be sure to communicate them to everyone involved and give them the chance to prepare. Let everyone know what the meeting is going to cover and what level of contribution is expected from the attendees.



Read more: http://realscreen.com/2011/05/25/best-practices-how-to-run-an-effective-meeting/#ixzz1W6V40xDj

 

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

 

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

Best practices: Fundraising 

By Chris Palmer & Peter Kimball

Fundraising can be one of the most daunting and intimidating parts of the filmmaking process. Filmmakers tend to be passionate, creative people who want to express their stories or shed light on important issues, but they may have no experience in sales and no desire to become slick salesmen. The good news is that it is that same creativity and passion - not deceptive sales techniques - that will make you successful at fundraising. Raising money depends on building relationships based on integrity, sincerity, high standards, entrepreneurial zest, unflagging enthusiasm, and a passionate commitment to your film.

The first step in fundraising is finding and identifying potential donors. In some ways, this first step can seem the most difficult. However, if you start with friends, family, and business contacts, and then are always on the lookout for potential donors, you will find them. Be alert at all times; constantly seek out potential donors. Ask your existing donors to introduce you to their friends who might want to donate to your cause or project.

It is absolutely essential that you not only believe in your project but that you are able to express what makes it compelling. Donors do not respond to neediness – you are not begging for charity. Instead, you must present an exciting, challenging vision and invite them to join you. How will your film make a difference in the world? Why are you uniquely qualified to undertake this film? If you think about fundraising in these terms, you will not only feel more comfortable with the process of appealing for money but you will also be more successful at it.



Read more: http://realscreen.com/2011/01/01/best-practices-fundraising/#ixzz1W6UNdSNl

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

Best Practices: business tips from the pros

By Professor Chris Palmer, American University

With so much business conducted virtually, it is important for your career success to use e-mail effectively and efficiently. Follow these 14 rules and colleagues will notice the difference, and your future career prospects will blossom:

1. At the start of each day, check your emails quickly for key messages if you feel you really have to, and then turn your email off. Select the most important and valuable strategic task you are facing in your career and work on that until it is finished. Resist the temptation to begin your day by wandering around on Facebook or YouTube.

2. Turn off your email while working on other tasks. Allocate certain hours to read and respond to emails. Don’t keep your email on constantly or read emails as they arrive.

3. Clear your in-box within eight hours or sooner. Don’t keep people waiting. Try to respond in the same business day. Delete all unimportant emails and also delete those you have dealt with. Only keep those in your in-box that serve as a reminder of something important to you.

4. Your goal is to respond so effectively that you end the exchange of emails. Be succinct and don’t ramble. To the extent possible, respond immediately when you read an email so it is dealt with and done.



Read more: http://realscreen.com/2008/01/01/page58-20080101/#ixzz1W6TkfV1N

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

How to network effectively

1) Seek long-term connections, not short-term gains. Networking is about being authentic, unselfish, genuine and honest. The key to successful networking is to be a decent and honorable person even when you’re not networking.

2) Act with confidence even if you feel shy and intimidated. You may feel understandably self-conscious and uncomfortable when meeting people more powerful than yourself, but successful networking requires you do it anyway. Do your best to appear self-confident. Try to ignore any negative self-talk.

3) Reach out to people in a warm and sincere way. Risk rejection. Be friendly and generous. Smile, shake hands firmly, make eye contact and ask open-ended questions (questions which require more than a yes or no). Resist the urge to dominate the conversation. Listen intently. Be present. Focus on their concerns, not yours. Learn their name and use it so you begin to associate the name with the face.

4) At meetings or conferences, go out of your way to meet people. Physically move around and work the room. Don’t get stuck talking to one person just to be polite. (Say to the person, ‘I enjoyed meeting you and learning about your work. Let’s both meet some of the other people here. I hope to run into you again later,’ then shake hands and leave.) Show genuine interest in everyone you meet and form relationships that are meaningful. Exchange business cards. Find out about other people’s interests and concerns.



Read more: http://realscreen.com/2008/09/01/networking-20080901/#ixzz1W6SZ08o3

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

Best practices: Managing time effectively

We all understand the concept of time management. So why aren’t we better at it? Why do we continue to waste our time on unimportant things and fail to accomplish everything we set out to do?

One of the major mistakes people make is neglecting to take the time to determine in advance and with great clarity what their goals are. There will always be distractions at work, but if you don’t have a clear plan, it’s too easy to end up spending more time on the distractions than your actual work.

Set major, long-term goals for what you want to accomplish. This is true not just for work but also for your personal life. Spending time with family and friends and pursuing rewarding hobbies is essential for living a happy, balanced life. Just as with work, you want to get the most possible out of that time.

Once you have your long-range goals, subdivide them into more manageable, shorter-range goals. These shorter-term goals must be expressed in such a way as to meet the SMART test. They must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive. For example, if one of your long-range goals is to write a book on your family history, then a few commitments could be: interview your mom and dad by June 1, find a coach who can help you by July 1, find all the photos in your parents’ home relating to your grandparents and their parents by August 1, and so on.



Read more: http://realscreen.com/2010/05/01/chrispalmerbest-20100501/#ixzz1W6Rv4QBi

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

How to be a star speaker

1. Start preparing at least a month in advance.
2. Make one of your goals to create good theater that has a motivating and magical effect on your audience. Your goal is to speak compellingly from your deepest convictions. Make a commitment not to be boring, mediocre or colorless.
3. List the desired outcomes from your presentation. Establish clear goals (e.g. advance an agenda, produce some action, or build a stronger relationship). Write these goals with emotional juice. For example, instead of writing ‘Give a good speech,’ write ‘Give an electrifying speech that moves the audience to feel passionate about joining our campaign.’
4. Don’t begin by drafting an outline. Instead, act like a madman and free up the creative idea-generator within you by brainstorming. Only after that non-judgmental brainstorming should you produce an outline.
5. Write out the whole speech word for word based on the outline. Never let anyone write it for you. Use simple, vivid and conversational language.
6. Revise it relentlessly. Then revise it again. (Ed: then again…)


Read more: http://realscreen.com/2008/03/01/page66-20080301/#ixzz1W6RHHwoQ

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

Best Business Practices: Business tips from the pros


There is no secret trick that will make an executive or commissioning editor want to buy your idea. However, there are a few essential principles that will set you apart from the crowd and increase your chances of success. And those principles come into play even before the big pitch; in fact, without them, you might not get that (potentially) golden opportunity.

The first and most important thing you need to sell your show is enthusiasm. The pitching process is never going to be easy and if you don’t believe in your idea, then trying to get someone else to believe in it is virtually impossible. No one is ever going to make your film just to be nice to you. However, once you believe in your idea and develop that enthusiasm for it, you realize that all you’re doing is inviting this other person into a creative partnership. You’re not begging for anything. You know that your idea is so good it will benefit your partner just as much it will you.

When you meet with an executive or buyer for the first time, it might well be someone you’ve never met before. Whatever the circumstance, you now only have a couple minutes to capture the buyer’s interest. How do you do that?

First, shake hands, make eye contact and introduce yourself. Be confident. Remember that this person needs you and your idea. Tell the exec the project’s genre and what you are pitching. Then get his or her attention by asking a question, and then giving time for an answer. Remember that a good pitch is never a hard sell. It’s a conversation in which you get the prospective buyer emotionally involved in your idea. You need to get the buyer focused on you.

Second, tell your audience how you came up with the idea. Recount a personal story. Then move on to the pitch itself but remember that no one has time to hear the whole story at this juncture. Just pitch the aspect of your film which is unique and which makes your proposal different from anything else.



Read more: http://realscreen.com/2010/03/01/biz2marapr10-20100301/#ixzz1W6Q4fP1w
 

 

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

Best Practices: creating a personal mission statement

Many of us go through our lives without taking the time to focus on what is most important to us. Our lives can seem chaotic, overly busy and adrift. The key, however, to having a happy and successful life is finding out who you really want to be and what you really want to do, and then aligning that with your daily activities. One of the most important tools in achieving this is the personal mission statement.

You will not have time to accomplish everything and you can’t afford to waste your time on issues that don’t fulfill you or get you closer to accomplishing your long-term goals. If you take the time to craft a personal mission statement, you will always be able to refer back to it and make sure that you are still on track, still effectively using your time to become the person you want to be.

There is no single, ‘correct’ way of writing a personal mission statement. It can be as short as one sentence and you can revise it as often as you want. It often takes time to find the words for a statement that inspires and excites you.

The first step in leading a successful life is deciding what matters most to you. Ask yourself the following questions: What gives your life meaning? Who are you? Who do you want to become? What do you stand for? What matters deeply to you? Write down the answers to these questions. This is the story of your life, or the story of the life you want to have



Read more: http://realscreen.com/2010/10/01/biz3-20101001/#ixzz1W6PIxh8U

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

Best practices: Acing a job interview

 

By Chris Palmer and Peter Kimball

In this tough economy, even getting called in for a job interview can feel like a major victory. And it is – it means your resumé was impressive enough to put you in the running and that you’re now that much closer to getting the job. Now all you have to do is confidently and concisely demonstrate that you would be the perfect candidate – exceptionally experienced and skilled, committed to the company, and a pleasure to work with. All in just a few minutes. Doesn’t sound too hard, right?

The most important thing you can do in preparing for an interview is not to freak out. An interview can be extremely stressful and it can feel like your whole life depends on how you perform. However, it is essential that you go into the interview with enthusiasm and a smile on your face. Sit up straight, dress well, and speak with confidence. It doesn’t matter who else is applying for the job; all that matters is whether you can confidently and clearly describe who you are and why that’s a perfect fit for the position.

In order to convey your confidence effectively, you must first of all know exactly what the company does and what its needs are. For instance, someone interviewing for a job as a camera operator for a production company would be wise to know what kind of projects this company normally does, what kind of clients they work with, what kind of equipment they generally use, etc. If your experience is in reality television and this company makes videos for museums, you might still be the perfect person for the job, but it will be important to explain why your experience will help you meet their needs.



Read more: http://realscreen.com/2011/03/01/best-practices-acing-a-job-interview/#ixzz1W6OY1uLC

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

Posted: 8/25/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]

Reprinted by Permission of Professor Chris Palmer - School of Communication, American University

Successful people tend to lead highly productive lives. They don’t waste time on television, gossip or other activities unrelated to their chief goals. They know what they want to achieve and they manage their time and organize their schedules to make it happen. To boost your own productivity, try these 12 suggestions:

Focus on what matters most to you in your professional and personal life. Your goal is to achieve congruence between how you spend your day and what matters most to you.

Be ambitious. Don’t let time, money and fear stop you. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Create your own unique Personal Mission Statement (PMS). Your PMS describes what kind of person you want to be and what you want to achieve in life. It will give you a sense of purpose and meaning. In creating your PMS, you are beginning to write the story of your life. Who do you want to become? What do you stand for? What matters deeply to you?

Put your goals in writing. Without written goals, your life is essentially drifting without focus. Goals turn your dreams into reality.



Read more: http://realscreen.com/2008/06/01/page12-20080601/#ixzz1W6MnmFGk

Professor Chris PalmerAuthor of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)Distinguished Film Producer in ResidenceDirector, Center for Environmental FilmmakingSchool of Communication, American Universitycell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408Center website: www.environmentalfilm.org SOC profile: http://www.american.edu/soc/faculty/palmer.cfm Shooting in the Wild on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/gOTUlc Shooting in the Wild website: http://bit.ly/a4L3LU Chris’s Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/#!/chrispalmer47 Follow me on Twitter @chrispalmer_au Chris’s blog: http://soc-palmer.blogs.american.edu/  President, One World One Ocean FoundationPresident, MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundationcpalmer@mffeducation.orgwww.mffeducation.org Chief Executive Officer, VideoTakes, Inc.chris@videotakes.comwww.videotakes.com

Posted: 8/2/2011 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Interviews

 

1. What made you go into film or video production?
 
I Started an Acting Career Very late in life (Age 47). After Several years as a Full time Actor/Model Several Production Jobs came my way, I jumped on them to extend my Value to Potential Employers and Create possible new income streams.
On West Wing I was working as an Extra with 3 days Booked, was On Set the 1st night and Received a phone call from Casting Asking If I wanted to work on the Production Crew as a Casting PA/Wrangler for the Next 2 days instead of as an Extra - I Accepted the Casting PA position. This led to being a Casting PA on 2 additional Episodes of West Wing and on the Sets of Feature Films Breach & Step-Up.
I was Hosting a Talk/Interview Show for a local Production Company and discussed with them an Idea about a few Shows I wanted to produce. They liked my Ideas and Let me Produce (and Host) those shows for them- That led me to Producing 12 Shows and 2 Pilots.
 2. How many years have you been doing film or video?
I Started in August of 1999 so I'm in my 11 th Year But I did not go Full time until 2000.
 
3. What school did you attend?
None - I was a below average High School Student and Managing a Fast Food Restaurant. After Graduation Work was all that was on my mind, I Never went back to School/College except to Teach.
4. Who were some of your earlier influences?
My 1st movie set was as an Extra in "The Replacements". On set I spent a lot of time around Gene Hackman. Since it was my 1st project ever EVERYTHING was new to me and intriguing as well. Whenever Allan Graf (Former Pro Football player and 2nd Unit Director for the Football scenes) yelled "CUT" Hackman ran for "Video Village" to watch the replay and talk about "Changes to Improve the Scene" with Graf. Now this was August/September/October 1999 but I remember each time being the same - They would watch the clip together, Hackman would then talk about what he liked- Didn't like and the changes he would like to make, Graf listened. Then both would be talking - discussing the Scene, Hackman's Thoughts and Graf's Vision for the Scene. Then I would notice that Graf was doing all the talking - with Hackman listening.  A Time to talk, a time to discuss and a time to listen to what you were going to do. Two incredible Professionals working towards a common goal. What struck me as odd in this was that neither man needed to be Loud or Authoritative - Each respected the other - Each had their say, But Hackman never lost sight of the fact that EVERYTHING was Graf's decision.
I was also impressed with the fact that I stood about 5-10 Feet from Hackman and Graf (They even nodded to me several times) and I was never asked to leave - No other "Extras" were there.
My 2nd Production (October 1999) was the opening scenes of John Waters, Cecil B. DeMented Filmed at Baltimore's Senator Theatre. Working that Scene on Waters Set IS what made me Decide "This was the Industry for me". Watching the Video Replay of what Waters camera "Saw" VS what I "Saw" standing in the Theatre. Crumpled Orange Cellophane being blown by a small fan in front of a light creating a Flickering Image around the room, a huge gas "Stove' (about 12 ft X 12 FT and 9-10 Inches high) shooting flames in the air, A Flaming bottle flying through the air - landing in a trash can full of water, 2 wooden flower boxes (about 4 Ft high X 4 Ft wide x 2 ft deep) Exploding up on stage, Gunfire, Kidnapping, Terror and we only shot 2 minutes of Film. What an Industry
Working those 2 sets and with those men taught me a lot about the industry and the Work ethics needed to succeed.
 5. What type of projects do you do?
I do a bit of everything - As an Actor I've been a Drunk, loud abusive fan at a stadium, a Hero on 9/11, an Overweight, Old Indiana Jones saving the world from a Space Alien Invasion, The Specter of Death, A Fireman, Policeman, Detective, Parole Officer & much , much more.
The 3 movie scripts I have developed are a Children's/Family Drama, A Courtroom Drama, and a Romantic Chick Flick Written as an Action Picture.
6. What are some things that keep you focused in the field during adversity?
I'm my own worst critic, and a Perfectionist. Just doing the best job I can keeps me focused.
7. Do you have your own unique style?
Not really- I have to bring my interpretation into my performance but I also have to keep to the Directors vision as well.
8. If you didn't pick Video or Film as a field, what field do you think you would have go in?
As I said earlier - I started THIS CAREER at age 47 so this isn't my 1st field. I started out as a Child - and many believe I have never left that position.
There has always been vast difference between my "Job Description" and the work I did. My 1st Career was in "Restaurant Management" Starting at McDonalds, Burger King, Hardees's and Ponderosa Steak Houses. After 6 Months at Hardees's, My job was going into Underperforming Sites Cleaning them up, Replacing Broken Equipment, Retraining/Replacing staff and turning a Money loser into a Profit Center.
After 6 Months at Ponderosa it was going to a dirt lot and leaving an open Restaurant.
My 2nd real Career was 25 years as Vice President - Marketing for 3 different Insurance Groups. My "Marketing Career" included Designing new Insurance Programs, Writing Policy Terms, Creating Underwriting Rules, Setting Rates, Making rate Filings with State Insurance Departments, And Then Marketing the Programs to Agents.
My 3rd Career was in the Art Department of a Book & Greeting card Publisher
Now I'm a Full time Actor, Model, T V Show Host, Radio Personality, Casting PA, Casting Director, Producer, Scriptwriter, Author and Owner of the Mid-Atlantic Regions Largest Actor/Model? Freelance Production Crew Database (www.DragonukConnects.com).
9. Do you encourage new filmmakers to stay in this area or relocate?
I tell them to follow their Heart. LA & NYC are the US Mega Centers - That’s why the other 500,000 Filmmakers are there. 1 Break and you are Set - Until your next project. There are many things Filmmakers can do locally and make a Great Living doing them, but they are Not Transformers, Star Wars, ETC
So do you want to be a Minnow in the Ocean or a Whale in the Pond? You need to figure that out on your own and Follow your Dreams.  
10. What is some advice you would give student going into this field?
PAY ATTENTION - This is the Dream Industry and there are people out there that are EXPERTS in telling you your Dream while bleeding you dry.  I'm not just talking about money, but your Creative Juices, Integrity, your Very being.
TAKE YOUR TIME even those OVERNIGHT SUCCESSES took years to be an overnight success.

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