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Do Our Christmas Practices Profane The Sacred?

Educational Value of Video Production: I wonder what kind of video production would I have to do to convey this simple point of view?

The Morality of Christmas Practices:

For decades I’ve wondered whether I belong to the majority or the minority by wishing that all of the commercialism that is attached to the Christmas Season could be left far behind us?  Given the way our world of commerce is generally dependent on this season of spending, or as I am temped to term it, a frenetic frenzy of commercial spending.  The reasons I feel we’d be better off for getting rid of this annual commercial spin and not all of them are of a religious origin.

Do Our Christmas Practices Profane The Sacred?

Do Our Christmas Practices Profane The Sacred?

The Christian Justification for a Pagan Christmas:

While I’m not a Seventh Day Adventist, I am, nonetheless in complete agreement with them on how the birth of the Christ Child has been mixed & mingled with the money changers thus profaning the sacred.  In all innocence, I assert, we’ve been taught and usually, what’s sung to the cradle travels with us all the way to the grave.

The way Christmas is celebrated today is a hodgepodge of Pagan practices cobbled to suit the market forces.  Including the tree dressing!  That on the table, I still love all the lights and the glitter.  Santa Clause, a character known today was once an historical figure whose origins are found in Turkey. The North Pole, the midnight ride with magical sleigh and mythical reindeer, are, as we all know, the stuff of children’s stories.  Lovely stories, I’d like to add.  But to overlay, this Santa who ‘knows if you’re naughty or nice’ and rewards you accordingly is a travesty when it replaces the sacred hour that Jesus of Nazareth was born, heralded as the Christ, only begotten son of God.

Video Production:  Interview With Jesus of Nazareth:

Don’t mean to undermine my serious point but would you agree with me that to have Jesus of Nazareth brought into a recording studio and interviewed, like any other video production; record that commentary of his on the current practices regarding the Christmas seasonal spending would you agree with me that he’d most probably find our ‘current’ Christmas practices repugnant? Would he even know what the heck we we’re talking about since everyone now knows that he was not even born in December, no matter what calendar you’re referencing!
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Does anyone doubt that once he figured out that this spending spree, was instigated to celebrate his birthday, by both those religious and secular types, does anyone actually think he’d say, “Gee, what a party!?!  All this for me?!”  I sincerely hope that no one would think he’d say that.

I can see all the emails and comments on this blog now! LOL  There are those who would love to give me a blast about the fairy tale of God impregnating a virgin with His only son to later kill him with the cruelest of deaths, in order to save what he already had – us, His Creation.  I also agree with that… thrown about as it is, peppered with disinformation or no historical underpinning at all, is equally full of myths and legends.  It seems we are prone to taking crumbs, a bit from here and a slice over there and whipping them into a loaf served at the last suppers from many a table!

So, endeavouring to stay clear of all known ‘facts’ including those that are spun into what could only be honestly called a ‘fable’ – I’d like to just discuss the damage this holiday often causes… especially to those that it is often intended for: the children.  Taking all the fact and fable into one bit arena… I’ll set everything aside except for the children.
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Christmas Message as it Communicates to Children:

For those of you who’ve not had to endure hardship, or very little of it, try to imagine you’re a child; let’s say, for the lack of argument, one under the age of 10.  Let’s suppose you and your family are enduring drastic hardship… the worst possible way to have to face this is if you’re living in an otherwise well heeled neighbourhood but if you’re poor, you’re probably going to live among others who are also poor.

Let’s say you all know about Santa Clause, who’s been working with his many Elves making toys all year long. Hopefully one of them in the very least is for you!   As a child, you probably would’ve been told that Santa Clause, Old Saint Nicolas is watching everything you do…and, he’s keeping score!

Just for a moment, think to yourself, ‘what the hell does this have to do with the Christian holiday celebrating the birth of God’s only son, the Christ?!  Even if you do not share in or practice a Christian faith, you still must wonder why our economy is so precariously poised on the now infamous, ‘Black Friday’ and the flurry of gift returns that subsequently follow on in the preceding 2 weeks following the December 25th affair!

Anyway, back to the way you’d reason about Christ & Christmas, Santa Clause & presents if you were a child. Rife confusion is introduced when the child is taken to church or plays a part in the annual Nativity school play.  Worse yet, and this is more and more found to be common place – the child knows nothing whatsoever about Jesus in the manger or Jesus on the cross!?

What the child, especially one born to poverty will know is this:  the lack of presents under the tree from Santa means they’ve done something wrong.  Suppose they have friends whose families are not quite as strapped for funds,  who they know are ‘bad’ and yet those kids return to school from the Christmas break, piled high with their Christmas gifts.  How would you balance, or perhaps, how did you balance all of this in your head?   When the jolly ole St. Nicolas wasn’t happy with you…how does a child process this?  How do they figure out why folks are giving presents to each other when the Three Wise Men gave them to the baby Jesus?
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Teach the Children:

Why not teach them Christian history which documents Saint Nicholas?

What are we teaching the children about Christmas?  With so few children these days  involved in any sort of liturgical calendar or Christian community,  then the only celebration is purely secular.  A festival of sharing and receiving presents.  Nothing wrong with that.  A seasonal holiday set aside to exchange gifts, eat, drink, and rush into the shopping malls for the customary discounts.

My Proposal:

Would be to set a clear definition between the sacred and the secular.  Mark them well and ensure that no child feel deprived or punished.  What about those who are more comfortable with the pure secular version of this festivity, reduce the spending in so doing remove some of the emotional weight that usually attaches itself to this practice.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if it were to be taken back to what it once was – the exchange of gifts that n individual actually makes themselves.  Sharing a meal, having the exchange of conversation about how we feel, what we think, conclusions that have developed throughout the year…wouldn’t that be an alternative and useful modification?  Since almost every smart phone, tablet and laptop computer have video recording capabilities, why not begin the creation of a family heirloom in the production of videos?

I would propose for those who do want to teach their children about the sacredness of remembering the birth of Jesus the Christ, that they have open conversations about this Christian celebration.  Discover what the child already knows about it, if anything and fill in the blanks or throw out the misconceptions.
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Reformation of New or Revival of an old Economy:

And finally, I’d say we need to get involved with the entire restructuring of our central economics.  What the hell happened?!  Shouldn’t we be asking of ourselves how the sacred was so grossly profaned?  Should’t we now be wondering how it is that only when individuals and corporations, going into debt is required to keep an economy ‘upwardly mobile’?

Part of the citizenship we enjoy in America was instigated in part by a very small sect of Puritans calling themselves Pilgrims.  They fled the mercenary foundations of European homeland believing it to be sinful and entirely contrary to their core values of their Christian faith.  They passionately sought a better life and risked life and limb to find it.  This is not a romantic fancy of mine  it’s history.  They documented it.

They knew far more about the primitive Christian church than most professing Christians do now. They had less archival discoveries drawn from the many archeological digs that we have and yet what they did know, they practiced.

They pooled everything they owned and shared from a common pool.  The original, you could say, of the oft quoted:

“From each according to his ability to each according to his need”

There was no shopping frenzy.  There was a self formed family who all agreed to share everything with each other and worship in the spirit.  No need for a shopping spree on the run up to December 25th or the stampede to return the unwanted gifts for the exchange of those preferred.
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I need to shut up now – its the season! LOL and I have to get on with some other video productions.  This is a first draft set out here and no doubt would have been seriously condensed were it to go through a rewrite.  And while I’ve yet again provided Hamlet with a no doubt  irresistible urge to say: “words, words, words”  I nonetheless stand by all that I’ve gone on about in this blog article.

I hope someone out there hears me and will enter into conversation about this with anyone who will give it the time of day- because this is more than a travesty to the sincere simplicity that generated the commonly agreed Christine beliefs.   This is a well engineered commercial fiasco.

And while i do so love the many pagan practices now infused into the commemoration of the Saviors birth, the glitz and sometimes glamour, I prefer the cooking and shared meals, the hymns, the romance of church candles, the scripture, and I abhor what its become and I think that to remain silent about it is to condone it.

Next time I write about this, I’ll do so more precisely as this part of our history is actually very interesting. That is to say, the way these pagan festivals were woven into the Christian’s practices is very revealing about who we are.

Maybe I should sign off – Bah humbug!  But then again, that’s another story! LOL
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Strategic Video Emails Sells Food

 

Tell me, is there anything more iconoclastic to the American menu than the hamburger? I don’t think so. While making this video we had fun featuring the ‘Drive In’ or the ‘Burger Joint’ that so brands America’s fast food cuisine. Look at the showing of classic cars, the neon blinking light, then imagine rock n’ roll blasting out from those car radios. This is a slice of Americana that has been featured in more movies than any other menu item. Burger, fries and a coke. Beginning, middle and the end of a meal that spanned the globe and still does. Who, in their wildest imaginings, would’ve ever imagined that McDonald’s Golden Arches’ would be in Red Square! AND, have queues wrapped around for a mile just waiting to go in and eat a burger. Why? It’s a good question, don’t you think?

AmericanBurger_Image#3

The answer is ‘branding’. The hamburger with all the trimmings… but don’t forget to throw in the fries and the coke…NOW you have American branding on a plate. More commercials for both TV broadcast as well as those that are showcased at the cinema….huge big full screen display of that iconic meal just when you are starving.

I recently saw a very effective burger commercial, picture this:

Red Pickup rolling along a dirt road…nothing else in sight;
trail of dust streams along from behind it… back drop, hills, before it, open road..above only vast open sky.
Pickup stops, radio playing some very male tune…
very good looking young buck climbs out of the pickup,
leans himself against the truck and unwraps his big, juicy, burger… we get a close up of it…it has all the trimmings –
and then this gravel baritone voice says… “don’t bother me – I’m eating here.”

It’s interesting to me that the hamburger has a decidedly male branding; no one would use a woman to sell a hamburger. How in the world did that happen? Who decided it was a male’s domain and not a female’s? Were you to look over all the older commercials that span the 1950’s and 60’s you’d discover that while the males were featured as ‘wolfing’ down burgers, the females were eating their french fries, one fry at a time,… and sipping their cokes through straws, while the men usually gulped at their cokes in between chomping on their burger.

Maybe it’s the size of the burger that defines it’s supposed masculinity. You almost need two hands to hold one…the gals do, but some guys just grab the honking burger and take a huge bite. Let’s see, maybe if we examine the other elements that make up a burger we’ll be able to figure out how this, basically American Sandwich, became the domain of the American Male… young, virile, male at that!
Okay, we have lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions, if you’re not on a date that is! Maybe mayonnaise, and almost always, ketchup and mustard. So what’s ‘male’ about those ingredients? Nothing that I can see.

AmericanBurger_Image#2

Now we know, it was all a part of an strategically executed advertising and marketing campaign. Someone, somewhere, decided that more men than women would eat this sandwich and that was where it was born. The American Burger for the American male. It stuck and it’s still here.

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Petrushka Cooks Up A Video Production!

Video: The Most Cost Effective Marketing Tool In The World.

Whatever you’re selling, video is an excellent way to navigate the process of marketing and advertising it right onto the waiting plate of your consumer.  Video ‘shows’ more, ‘tells’ less and accomplishes most.  It’s simple really; the use of narrative video production, leaves room for the prospect viewing the video to engage into a conversation ( or conversion ) that signals the impulse to buy your service or product. In other words, (sticking to our cuisine metaphor) – preparing & serving food, the appetite is first stimulated, satisfied, so that lovely, stress free conversation can occur while its being consumed.  Technically, there is a bit of pleasant stress that should happen between the seller and the buyer.  A gentle, pleasant experience of being coerced, knowing you are but enjoying it anyway!

Good video production will always do the heavy lifting for you if you put it first into the process of locating your demographic (the domain of solid SEO as well as appropriate content, rich and easily accessed), discovering what they’re hungry for, getting it on the menu and to their plate.  Bon appetite & Voila’ all in one stroke!  That’s what makes video magical.  It does so much more than it seems to be doing.

Video: The Most Cost Effective Marketing Tool In The World.

The chemistry involved in good cuisine is kindred to the chemistry that happens when good film is produced.  Its about the mix of good story telling with the narrative of a single point well-illustrated… it’s about effective chemistry, when the mixing of the spices & ingredients combine to produce more than the sum of the parts; its a conversation with the viewer, a relationship, an interactive exchange that encourages engagement, ‘conversion’ and in the case of videos that are produced to sell products and services, then that conversion rate is higher and more likely to result in a sell!  Success! Mission accomplished. More than ‘dinner is served’, much more, here… we dine!  Think of it, you ‘eat lunch, sometimes alone’ but everyone should ‘dine for dinner’ & with good company.

So this video was produced with the idea that the viewer would get the salient point, that the ingredients need to be layered into the pot…timed, and when this happens a happy marriage occurs, blending deliciously into an irresistible idea, that should inform while it entertains. The buyer should be lured with both the ‘eye candy’ and be given something to chew on.  Something to savour…. a little something that lingers on the palate and lives long as a rewarding aftertaste.  So maybe my would be prospect is not in the market and video production is not quite on the menu (budget or preference) at the moment – but if I’ve done my job, this video production will stand apart from the pack and hopefully, when you are in the market for a video sales tool to advertise your business, this slightly edgy video production will bring me to mind!  Can’t blame a girl for some self-promotion, can you..?! LOL  Tell you what: if you can get yourself over here, I’ll even cook something up for you while I pitch you on hiring me!

Video: The Most Cost Effective Marketing Tool In The World.

Now, the real deal, or should I say reel deal, (sorry) is that, as stated in this mini-flick, you cannot produce a ‘Chicken Valentino’ from a pork chop and you shouldn’t be expected too!  This is one of the main issues that comes up during the discovery process that precedes the actual video production. Questions will be:

  • what’s for sale?
  • who’s buying it?
  • why are they buying it? and
  • where do they find it.

Those are the raw ingredients that need to get into the pot, and put there in order – not just thrown in…LOL

These questions must be simply answered and if these questions give rise to more questions in the mind of the viewing prospect, then they need to be ones that the would be customer wants to ask…. and you need to be able to answer them with what they want to hear.  No small order.  Put simply, they have a problem and you have the solution.  The reason I spelled it out in such detail is to further underscore the unconscious process that takes place when someone is shopping and the sales tool is video. It’s a concert in production.  It plays their tune, but that’s another subject! LOL

This process can sometimes be a less than elegant and here are a few of the reasons why;  a small business owner has an idea in his or her mind of what the video should look like that’s to represent their product or service. You could say this is a ‘good thing,’ right?   I’d agree with this were it not for the fact that most of us have far more sweat equity mingled in our decision making process than is good for our marketing purposes.

Video: The Most Cost Effective Marketing Tool In The World.

Add to this, most of us are too focused on what we do than we are on what the client does and how we can help supply their needs & solve some of their problems.  We sell to ourselves over and over again and what the buyer sees, needs to know, and wants is sometimes minimized. If I could count up for you the money that’s been spent by the small, medium and large business concerns, in producing video for themselves I could retire in considerable style!   The weight of the research needs to be put to the side of the would be client, what do they think they need and what to they really need.

Going back to interview clients who have hired us to produce video is a very sobering experience; I’ve often found that though they clung to their ideas that they wanted to frame out their video production, and passionately in love with them, when asked how often they viewed the final production, they usually say only a few times…meaning, on closer examination, 1-3 times!  So then you get a bit of sweat on the brow, hold your breath and ask, ‘do you like the video?‘ and they exclaim, ‘yes, we do’!  Deal is, most of those corporate styled videos are way out of vogue and positively boring to most of us.

It motors straight ahead, like a walking base in a jazz band…always a delight when there’s something significant riding over it…a solo here or there, a song bird who can sing the lyrics and sell them to you…instead we don’t even get a talking base, just walking in time.
A few videos (at least a library of 3)  produced with just one idea each, and delivered in an entertaining & informative manner would have justified the thousands they spend. 
After all, isn’t the big idea to please the palate of the consumer?!  By the way, yes you can conjure a 7 course meal and all of it represent just one selling idea.

Video: The Most Cost Effective Marketing Tool In The World.

Buyers don’t want to be in the ‘kitchen’ while you’re cooking anymore than the diners who patronize their favourite upgrade restaurant want to join you at the cooker.  The discovery process is a fine balance between getting the business owner to view their offering thru the eyes, of not only the consumer, but the industry standard that’s been established for that product or service within the current market trends and expectations.

I am very fond of the commercial that is so minimalist, it’s often reduced to a single, simple statement..sometimes one word or well-crafted sentence, stated in text or well timed and executed voice over.  In essence, the understatement that says it all by leaving the most important statement unspoken, that way its heard loudly in the mind of the viewer.

Think here – good acting.  If you can see it, it doesn’t need to be said. Video delivers by virtue of well-chosen imagery…. narration sometimes, but not always works here, but it always delivers over the radio! LOL

That is, in my opinion the most successful marketing & advertising tactic ever. THEN, if that magical formula is fueled with the steroids that good, solid, well-researched, SEO can surely provide…well, let’s just say, we’re talking 10 Star, Cordon Bleu Cuisine in the hottest dinning spot  uptown. Up-city in cyberspace. We can do that too!  SEO on Steroids, guaranteed!   (will soon be doing some blogs on that – that’s where the Cyber-Action is.

Video: The Most Cost Effective Marketing Tool In The World.

So,…if you’re still wondering – ‘what’s with the food metaphor?’ then you may not know that the biggest percentage of the sales process is accomplished with the eyes. Call it ‘curb appeal’.  Its not unheard of that those selling property can add thousands to the value by putting in flowers..lots of them. Eye Candy curb appeal. Food, displayed and well- plated, somehow tastes so much better than slopped onto the plate for the kitchen crew.

Of course when someone is buying a service..then the  pictures that good text and narrative summon to conscious mind, are more universal in nature. Marketing & advertising is an art form; its very subtle.  Its as sophisticated as you want to make it providing you cling to the one salient reason someone will want to buy what you’re selling.  It sometimes surprises a person that the one reason is nearly always hung on an emotion of some sort.  The customer must be moved with the sales pitch towards the sale.

The idea of freedom, wealth, health and happiness to take a broad sweep of these universally shared desires.  Its a ‘set-up a promise’ & a ‘delivery’ on that promise commonly called, supply & demand.  And the savvy business owner, especially the struggling small business owner, knows that the internet is the shopping mall of our time (lovely – one market, online, all day, all night, & everywhere) and in that arena, ‘content is king’ and ‘king of content is video.’

In my next blog entry you will find a good bullet pointed list of what to do to prepare for the process of video production, be it one you intend to accomplish yourself or a concept for a video production that you want to hire someone to produce for you.

bon appetite! whatever you have on your plate.

Video: The Most Cost Effective Marketing Tool In The World.

 

 

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Jake’s Mobile Horseshoeing

Jake is probably the most respected ‘Farrier’ in the Pacific Northwest. He’s taken the top awards away from farriers who shoe for the Queen of England,… no small boast. I’ve done my share of documentary video work on horses and the only other time I saw horses so quiet and calm around a man was the ‘Horse Whisperer’. Continue reading