Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Excerpted from The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design

In her book, The Nature of Economies, Jane Jacobs writes that economic development is not just expansion, but differentiation emerging from generality, much like evolutionary or embryological development in nature. Moreover, she says, differentiation depends on codevelopment—no entity, natural or economic, evolves in isolation.

Brands don’t develop in isolation, either. They result from the interaction of thousands of people over a long period of time. Branding requires not only the work of executives and marketing people who manage the brand, but an ever-changing roster of strategy consultants, design firms, advertising agencies, research companies, PR firms, industrial designers, environmental designers, and so on. It also requires the valuable contributions of employees, suppliers, distributors, partners, stockholders, and customers—an entire branding community.

It takes a village to build a brand.
Building a brand today is a little like building a cathedral during the Renaissance. It took hundreds of craftsmen scores of years, even generations, to complete a major edifice. Each craftsman added his own piece to the project—a carving, a window, a fresco, a dome—always keeping an eye on the total effect. Like yesterday’s cathedrals, many of today’s brands are too large and too complex to be managed by one person or one department. They require teams of specialists, sharing ideas and coordinating the efforts across a creative network.

Management guru Peter Drucker maintains that the most important shift in business today is from “ownership” to “partnership,” and from “individual tasks” to “collaboration.”
The successful company is not the one with the most brains, he suggests, but the most brains acting in concert. Brand managers and communication firms are responding to this new challenge in a number of interesting ways.

The new collaboratives.
Today there are three basic models for managing brand collaboration: 1) outsourcing the brand to a one-stop shop, 2) outsourcing it to a brand agency, and 3) stewarding the brand internally with an integrated marketing team. All three models are forward-thinking responses to the problem, because they recognize brand as a network activity. Let’s examine them one at a time.

The first model, the one-stop shop, has its roots in early 20th-century branding, when companies routinely consigned large portions of their communications to a single firm, typically an advertising agency. The advertising agency would conduct research, develop strategy, create campaigns, and measure the results. The main benefit was efficiency, since one person within the client company could direct the entire brand effort. As branding has grown more complex, so has the one-stop shop. Today’s one-stop is either a single multi-disciplinary firm, or a holding company with a collection of specialist firms. The advantages of the one-stop shop are an ability to unify a message across media, and ease of management for the client. The drawbacks are that the various disciplines are not usually the best of breed, and, in effect, the company cedes stewardship of the brand to the one-stop shop.

The second model, the brand agency, is a variation of the one-stop concept. With this model the client works with a lead agency (an advertising agency, design firm, PR firm, strategy firm, or other brand firm), which helps assemble a team
of specialist firms to work on the brand. The brand agency leads the project, and may even act as a contractor, paying the other firms as subcontractors. The advantages of this model are the ability to unify a message across media, and the freedom to work with best-of-breed specialists. A drawback is that stewardship of the brand still resides more with the brand agency than with the client company.

The third model, the integrated marketing team, bears little resemblance to the traditional outsourcing model. It sees branding as a continuous network activity that needs to be controlled from within the company. In this model, best-of-breed specialist firms are selected to work alongside internal marketing people on a virtual “superteam,” which is then “coached” by the company’s design manager. The advantages of this model are the ability to unify a message across media, the freedom to work with best-of-breed specialists, plus internal stewardship. This last benefit is important, because it means that brand knowledge can accrue to the company, instead of vanishing through a revolving door with the last firm to work on it. A drawback of an integrated marketing team is that it requires a strong internal team to run it.

Of course, while these three types of collaboratives seem tidy in print, they’re messier in practice. Companies are mixing and matching aspects of all three models as they grope their way to a new collaborative paradigm. Still others are behind the curve, unaware that there’s a revolution afoot.

Hooray for Hollywood.
According to a recent McKinsey report, the next economy will see a significant rise in network organizations—groups of “unbundled” companies cooperating across the value chain to deliver products and services to customers. By owning fewer assets and leveraging the resources of partner companies, these network orchestrators require less capital, return higher revenues per employee, and spread the risks of a volatile market across the network.

The network organization isn’t new; a successful model of unbundling has existed for years.
It’s called Hollywood.

A half-century ago, the major Hollywood studios not only owned the soundstages and backlots necessary for their movies, but also the producers, directors, writers, actors, cinematographers, musicians, PR specialists, and distributors. Some even built theater chains for the exclusive use of their own properties. As the dream machines cranked out hundreds of look-alike movies to feed their growing overhead, movie-making began to slide from craft to commodity. The independents soon learned how to end-run the mega-studios by producing high-quality “little” films and low-budget B-movies.

What happened next? The big studios learned from the small ones, and began unbundling their vertically integrated companies. By switching to a network model, the studios could avail themselves of the best talent for each project, thereby creating unique products and shedding unnecessary overhead. In reversing the trend toward commoditization, they encouraged the growth of an artisan community, not unlike those that grew up around the cathedrals of Europe. Like the cathedral-builders, Hollywood specialists don’t see themselves as technicians, but as craftspeople working in a creative network.

Hollywood isn’t unique, just more evolved than other industries. In the 1980s, Silicon Valley faced a similar challenge when Japan threatened to walk away with its franchise in microchips, duplicating their features and undercutting prices. Valley companies quickly discovered the value of open collaboration, producing ever-more-advanced systems and components that kept them one step ahead of the copycats.

In the mid-1990s I was privileged to be a member of the superteam that launched Netscape Navigator, along with related products and services. My firm developed the Navigator icon and the retail package, while other firms, including an advertising agency, a web design firm, a PR group, and an exhibit design firm, worked on their own pieces
to help launch the product at warp speed. This example of “parallel processing” showed how collaboration can yield not only quality but quickness.

Netscape was formed in 1994, went public in 1995, and was absorbed into AOL by 1999. During this short period, it launched more than a dozen products and changed the direction of computing. Thanks to the Hollywood model, design managers are now learning how to assemble top-notch teams of specialists, inspire them to work together productively—even joyfully—then disband them when the project’s over, only to reassemble them in a different configuration for the next project. The lesson hasn’t been lost on other industries. Soon every knowledge-based business will adopt some version of the Hollywood model, and, years from now, many will undoubtedly agree with Noel Coward’s statement that “work was more fun than fun.

Here is a very successful presentation from slideshare inspired by this book.

The Brand Gap
View more presentations from coolstuff.

Talent of the day: Simon Christen

Simon Christen grew up in Bern, Switzerland. He is currently an animator at Pixar.

"As humans we have the urge to design everything. Once something becomes forgotten and nature starts claiming it back, a very interesting mix of human design and decay happens. I am fascinated by this mix of intricate shapes, unique patterns and colors."

Visit his wonderland @

My favourite Simon's vison : UNSEEN SEA - A collection of time lapses that he took around the San Francisco Bay Area roughly shot over the period of one year.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tarantino vs Coen Brothers



Dir.: Joel and Ethan Coen:
Blood Simple (1984)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Barton Fink (1991)
Fargo (1996)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Burn After Reading (2008)
A Serious Man (2009)

Dir.: Quentin Tarantino:
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Jackie Brown (1997)
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
Death Proof (2007)
Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Audio Copyright Notices:

These Boots Are Made for Walkin'by Nancy Sinatra remains courtesy Warner Music Group Corp, ® 1966.
'Surfin' Bird' by The Trashmen remains courtesy Garrett Records, Apex, ® 1963.
'Coconut' by Harry Nilsson remains courtesy RCA Records, ® 1971
'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood' by Santa Esmeralda remains courtesy of Universal Music Group, ® 1964.
'Paint in Black' by The Rolling Stones remains courtesy of Warner Music Group Corp, ® 1966.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Story 2.0, the Evolution of Organizational Storytelling

Kubrick vs Scorsese

25 days, 34 films, and 1 tribute.

Editor's note: Many friends after seeing my video "Tarantino vs Coen Brothers" requested me to do a new video duel of directors, so I decided to do now a tribute to my two favorite directors, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese, were 25 days re-watching 34 films, selected more than 500 scenes, and a hard work editing. Leave a comment, tell me who your favorite, suggest new duels.

This video was purely non-profit and not Aimed at breaking copyright laws.

Editor's note #2: I know that they are different in many ways, this is not necessarily a comparison or "fight". It's just a tribute for two of my favorite directors.)

Lists of films used ...

Dir.: Stanley Kubrick

Day of the Fight (1951)
Fear and Desire (1953)
Killer's Kiss (1955)
The Killing (1956)
Paths of Glory (1957)
Spartacus (1960)
Lolita (1962)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Barry Lyndon (1975)
The Shining (1980)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Dir.: Martin Scorsese

Mean Streets (1973)
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
Taxi Driver (1976)
New York, New York (1977)
Raging Bull (1980)
The King of Comedy (1982)
After Hours (1985)
The Color of Money (1986)
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
Goodfellas (1990)
Cape Fear (1991)
The Age of Innocence (1993)
Casino (1995)
Kundun (1997)
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
Gangs of New York (2002)
The Aviator (2004)
The Departed (2006)
Shutter Island (2010)

Audio Copyright Notices:

'I'm Shipping Up to Boston' performed by band Dropkick Murphys remains courtesy Hellcat Records, ® 2005
'Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing' by Chris Isaak remains courtesy Warner Music Group Corp, ® 1996
'Nude' by Radiohead remains courtesy XL Recordings, ® 2008

Epstein: Studios Can't Exist Without Film Libraries

Edward Jay Epstein, author of The Hollywood Economist: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies, talks with Bloombergs Betty Liu about the role of film libraries in the financial health of movie studios and the outlook for independent filmmakers.

Epstein: Studios Can't Exist Without Film Libraries from McGuffin on Vimeo.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Missing Link : What if "The Road" continues with "Cave of Forgotten Dreams."

Three weeks ago I saw The Road, a movie that pushed me to the edge of my emotional state of being. That's because prior to watch this movie I've had so many conversations with my friends about how we should react in case of disaster, when your ultimate goal in life is to survive...years, months, days, seconds .


The Road shares the premise of the novel on which it is based: a father (Mortensen) and his young son (Smit-McPhee) struggle to survive a number of years after an unspecified, devastating cataclysm has destroyed civilization, killed all plant and animal life, and obscured the sun; only remnants of mankind remain alive, reduced to scavenging or cannibalism. Man and boy are traveling southward, in the hope that it will be warmer. Along the way, they search for shelter, food, and fuel, and avoid bands of cannibals while trying to maintain their own sense of humanity. The man carries a revolver, but has only two bullets which he wants to keep in case they need to commit suicide. Flashback and dream sequences spaced throughout the narrative show how the man's wife, who has a much more expanded role in the film than in the book, committed suicide after delivering the child and losing the will to go on in a seemingly doomed world.

Events occur along the way that add additional stresses to the man and his son. After shooting a member of a cannibal gang, the man is left with only one round in his gun. Later, the pair enter a large house, and discover it to be inhabited by cannibals who are keeping live victims in the basement and farming their limbs; believing they will be caught, the man prepares to shoot his son, to spare him the torments, but the cannibals are distracted and they escape. Further down the road they find a house with an underground shelter full of canned food, which they feast on, but the man is too nervous to stay in one spot for long. They later encounter an old, dying man (Duvall), and the son encourages his initially reluctant father to converse with the man and feed him. Arriving at the coast, they are robbed; they catch the thief and the man forces him to strip, leaving him naked by the road. As they pass through a ruined town, the man is shot with an arrow and he kills his attacker.

The father suffers from persistent coughing during the film eventually coughing up blood. After they reach the coast his condition deteriorates and he realizes he is likely to die soon. On his death bed he again emphasizes to his son the values of self-preservation and humanity. After the father dies, the son is approached by another family—a father (Pearce), mother, two children and a dog—who, it is revealed, have been following the man and his son for some time out of concern for the boy. The Boy agrees to join them.

And ?

How this film should continue ? How the modern mankind would survive ?

Today ROGER EBERT has posted a new blog entry about Werner Herzog's latest film "Cave of Forgotten Dreams " and suddenly I had a revelation ...

"About 32,000 years ago, in a limestone cave above the Ard├Ęche River in Southern France, humans created the oldest cave paintings known to exist. They spring from the walls with boldness and confidence, as if the artists were already sure what they wanted to paint and how to paint it. Perhaps 25,000 years ago, a child visited the cave and left a footprint, the oldest human footprint that can be accurately dated. "


What if the beginning of the world as we know it was in fact just another epic tale of survival, love and sacrifice ? What if The Boy was The Child of The Cave ?

This vison of the last scene from The Road and Ebert's first words about " Cave of Forgotten Dreams " is now for me a missing link of my primordial cinematographic memory.

" In times of utter devastation, memories are what we cling to." Roger Ebert , The Road


29.12.2010 - BBC update

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Agent Nick Reed Talks About Film Producing

If you wanna be a film producer, than you should definitely watch Nick Reed talk about making movies. Straight to the point, clear, realistic and inspirational .

Who is Nick Reed ?

In my opinion, one of the most visionary Hollywood people. Meeting Nick Reed can be a turning point in your career. This is not a presumption, it is something that I've experienced four years ago when I met Nick in Bucharest.

"Nicholas Reed, Advisor is the Head of the Motion picture Literary Department at International Creative Management, Inc., a talent and literary agency, specializing in creators of intellectual properties. After leaving school he pursued a career in Aviation when he joined the British Royal Navy as a pilot. He then joined a marketing company, Belou Communications- which after its first twelve months in operation was voted the runner-up Best New Business of the Year by The Independent newspaper. During his time there he worked in strategic marketing for clients such as Kodak, Fed-Ex, and several government organizations. After moving to the United States in 1992, he was cast by Steven Spielberg to play Robin Williams’ father in the film HOOK and then later cast by Francis Ford Coppola to play a small role in DRACULA. Intrigued by Hollywood, he joined ICM in an effort to understand the making of movies. Working with writers, directors, and actors, he has been involved with such movies as AUSTIN POWERS I, II and ELIZABETH, HILARY AND JACKIE, TRAINING DAY, BRIDGET JONES DIARY. MOULIN ROUGE, BOURNE IDENTITY, AGENT CODY BANKS, MONSTER’S BALL, MEET THE PARENTS, UNDERWORLD, WHITE NOISE. And MEET THE FOCKERS. He presently serves on the Los Angeles British Film Board advising the government on film policies and is often a guest speaker for UCLA’s graduate film program. "

Nick Reed's interview by Ruth Vitale for

" What’s he done?
British Navy pilot, aerobatic airplane builder, strategic marketing executive, sports management and, then, discovered by Spielberg to play Robin Williams’ father in Hook! After this foray into acting, the business side of Hollywood beckoned, appealing to his marketing expertise, and the rest is history: Reed is now ICM agent extraordinaire to top film directors

What’s next?
“I want to find the next Hello Kitty. The dream project is to find something like Hello Kitty or Star Wars, where the idea encompasses almost every aspect of our lives. An idea that is so universally embraced that a brand can be created from the ground up.”

Dream project?
“Being able to realise clients’ dream projects completely,packaging and financing projects with no obstacles.”

Unrealistic dream project?
“To be a pilot just before World War I"

Why does he love Hollywood?
“I have met some of the most amazing people. Hollywood is the gateway to some of the most talented artists in the world – a place where talent intersects with money.”

Ruth on Nick
“Nick is the last of the Renaissance men. Who do you know that can go from British navy pilot, to building airplanes, to representing some of the most talented film directors in the world? When you are told as a child that you can do anything, that ‘the sky’s the limit’, well, Nick embodies this saying heart and soul! His intelligence combined with his sense of adventure are a rare mix and commodity.”

Nick on Nick
“Balance. To fight for balance between my competitive desire to be a great agent, to be a fantastic father, and to work on myself personally to make me a better human being.”

As far as I know Nick has become a producer. He will spark the film industry even more from now on and sooner or later he will discover a film where " the idea encompasses almost every aspect of our lives."

Probably he would be a great TED speaker, too.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Shaded View on Fashion Film 3

ASVOFF is the visual statement of fashion film, an ethereal, surrealistic, visionary new genre of cinema.

ASVOFF 3, the fashion film festival created by Diane Pernet (one of the most fabulous persons I've ever met in my life ) and co-produced by Antoine Assraf & David Herman will be soon in Paris, hosted by Centre Pompidou on September 24-26th 2010.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Above & Beyond . NOSTALGIA

I always have a nostalgia watching these breathtaking views ....
I want to believe that millions of years ago , in a prehistorical time of the time, I was flying above and beyond heavens .

Nostalgia ....I remember the sound of this word in the end of The Fall's making of documentary entitled ...Nostalgia.

" The haunting sentiment that one can never go home again plays a key role in the concept
of nostalgia. The longing to return home resonates with every individual. The desire for a home that is no more, whether because of changes in time, space, or essence, causes pain and often affects and produces the certain identity of each person. This painful longing for home is encompassed in the word nostalgia, which comes from the Greek nostos for “return home” and algia for “pain.” A characteristic of nostalgia is that one who feels the painful yearning for home is displaced and disoriented, searching for the orientation one receives from the place of origin. The notion of nostalgia is connected to memory and experience. The memory of home entails childhood, innocence, and comfort derived from the place where one felt unmediated experience with life, which then becomes transposed into memory for some lost paradise where we no longer belong. We are wanderers, alienated in our own lives, searching in all places (whether it is in another person, place, or object) for the sense of home sweet home. "
The Garden as Original Home: Nostalgia in Paradise Lost
Elizabeth Healy, Thomas More College

Nostalgia is a consequence of the Fall.