Saturday, January 31, 2015

Eye of the Dragon

Vincent Chan is an actor from Devon, UK. He just completed his web series called Eye of the Dragon. We have conducted a short interview with him.


What are the challenges to be a director and actor in the web series?
The biggest problem I faced was acting and directing myself at the same time. The fight sequence in the final episode was the most difficult because I had to concentrate on my martial arts moves and at the same time picture how the fight would look on camera. This made me wary of my movement and positioning because I wanted to ensure the scene was filmed as I had imagined it. There were a number of times when I thought I executed a punch or a kick at the right angle, at the right speed etc. But when the footage was played back to me, I realised my positioning was all wrong or the move wasn't executed as well as I thought. So, we did have to do a lot of retakes.

How long did you take to produce and film your web series titled "Eye of the Dragon"?
This is going to be a long answer because you have to bear in mind that "Eye of the Dragon" began as a short film and was supposed to be a one-off. I went to Japan in the summer of 2012 to film the establishing shots in the opening titles. At that point, there wasn't a script yet, just ideas. I wrote the script at the beginning of 2013 and we shot the film shortly after. It was uploaded to YouTube in April and I received positive feedback but people wished there was a clear ending to the film. I wanted to give them a sequel but I didn't know how to continue the story at that time. It took over a year to finally get the script together for a sequel and I wrote a fight scene into it as part of the grand finale. However, I had laser eye surgery in June 2014 and was told I couldn't do contact martial arts for several months. I didn't really want to spend the summer not doing much so, I decided to turn the sequel from a short film into a short web series. That allowed us to split the story up into little episodes so I could film the fight scene towards the end of the production. The fight scene was shot in December 2014 and the final episode was uploaded in January 2015. Including the original short film that's over two and a half years.

Before the production of each movie, what/who inspire you in the content and concept of the films?
It can be anything. My early work was inspired by Jackie Chan and other Hong Kong martial arts actors from the 1980s and 1990s. Recently, I've taken real life experiences and incorporated them into my projects. "Bad Day" was based off my short-lived experience from working in a civil engineering company in Hong Kong. Some real life events inspired me to include similar situations in the "Eye of the Dragon" series. In the second episode "History Repeats" I used clips from a video I found in YouTube's Creative Commons section. It was a video of a pro-democracy riot with protesters, triads and police in Hong Kong. The script already depicted Hong Kong in chaos and the timing of the 2014 Hong Kong protests was so perfect, I was able to show a city of unrest. In the final episode, "The Tenth Dragon" features an island called Yim Tin Tsai which, is where my grandparents once lived. It was abandoned for a long time but tourists now frequently visit the island. Our ancestral home was basically left to rot but we then rented the place out and the occupier restored it. You can see the house before and after in the episode. In reality, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in 2013 to mark the revitalisation of the once abandoned salt pans. In "Eye of the Dragon" the same thing happens but it's because of a fantasy element unlike real life!

What are your motivations to create these kinds of YouYube movies?
My YouTube channel is currently partnered with the AwesomenessTV Network which is owned by DreamWorks. I feel good about being part of a large network especially as it's owned by a well-known film production company. That encourages me to keep making videos so, I try to upload at least one video a month.

Have you been trained in an acting school? What kind of reactions have you received from your audience?
Aside from the usual school plays and the drama classes, no, I was not trained in an acting school. I get good reactions from people who enjoy watching my fight scenes and some people like the short stories I tell. "Eye of the Dragon" wasn't originally conceived as a web series nor was it going have any martial arts. But still, people enjoyed the original short film because of the featured scenery and the storytelling. When the last episode of the series was released, some viewers were blown away by the fight sequence.

More information available at:

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vincentjhchan 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vincentjhchan 
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/CFGS98 
Google+ (for YouTube channel): https://plus.google.com/b/117715494602308162166


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Your Streamlined Life

Kerry Petsinger lives in the U.S.A. and runs Your Streamlined Life. The purpose of the business is to help people spend their time doing what they love. It's about getting rid of the junk in our lives that prevents us from doing what we love. We have conducted an interview with her:


What is the main purpose of your business 'Yourstreamlinedlife.com'?
Yourstreamlinedlife.com teaches you how to spend your time doing what you love. By living a streamlined life, you are able to focus your time on what matters most to you. You can become the Best You possible, truly feel alive and fulfilled, and build your legacy.

How is it possible for people to actually make the necessary changes desired in their lives?
Once you have defined your priorities, make a list of all the other weekly obligations that get in your way. Get rid of whatever you can that doesn’t actually improve your life. Then, focus on one area of your life at a time to streamline.

For example, if you decide that you want to streamline your home life, plan to tackle one room at a time, and really focus on the habits you have that make the room messy, cluttered, and inefficient. Do you throw your mail on the kitchen table when you arrive home from work? Can you designate a spot for incoming/outgoing mail, and choose a time to sort/open/respond to mail? Once you have designed a system for this task, make sure everyone in the family knows how the system works. Try it for one week, and then make adjustments if needed.

Do you provide advice to someone with a problem of being fixed on their habits? What are your tips?
Choose one habit you want to change and begin taking tiny steps toward your goal. If you want to exercise regularly, having a starting plan of 45 minutes per day is intimidating. Instead, start exercising 3 minutes per day. Three minutes is doable and will build your confidence. Seemingly small victories are very important and should be celebrated. Sharing your goals with supportive people is imperative to success – having encouraging people in your life is extremely important!

In your opinion, how effective are 'New Year's resolutions'? Why do you think so?
According to a study by British psychologist Richard Wiseman, 88% of New Year's resolutions are broken. Resolutions frequently fail because they are not specific enough, they do not include the habits a person needs to actually achieve the goal, they aren’t personal enough, and they don’t require people to be all in. Visit www.yourstreamlinedlife.com to read more about New Year’s resolutions and how to reach your goals for this year.

How to help someone identify what they love doing?
It can be hard for people to figure out what they love doing, especially if they have felt “stuck” for quite some time and feel burdened by obligations and financial stress. I ask people, “Is there something you do that causes you to lose track of time?” Also, I advise them to get away somewhere peaceful and inspiring, and write about their ideal imaginary life – how they would spend time if finances, daily chores, and current obligations were not an issue. If they can define their ideal life, they can start streamlining their life so they can spend time on their priorities.

Friday, January 9, 2015

ProcessPolicy



Adam Deane is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at ProcessPolicy.com, an online software company that specialises in company task analysis. We have conducted a short interview with him.


What is ProcessPolicy.com about?
Our online software solution enables companies to boost employee performance through workflows, task and time management, escalations and alerts. It enables companies to automate their internal procedures using the built-in workflow processes, analyze employee performance through performance analytics, and enforce internal company policies through the policy wizards.

Most of my work is focused on the technological advancements and innovations within the organisation, overseeing development of new technologies to improve business performance. I'm the guy responsible for designing and implementing the software solution, but I'm still a techie at heart...

While designing the online solution, What were the challenges you encountered?
The main challenge was marketing - getting the attention of companies and managers that needed our software solution. It required skill, experience, discipline, attention, concentration and the investment of money and time. Persistence and patience is a virtue needed by every start-up company.

The other challenge was technology. How do you bring business intelligence and analysis into a company environment and keep it simple enough to be used by non-technical users. It's simple to develop software technology. The hard part is making the technology simple to use...

Which do you consider the most important factor in task analysis?
Task Analysis is a business methodology of analysing employee tasks to improve the way core business processes are being run within a company, helping companies to become more efficient.

It helps cut out mistakes and common procedural errors that can be made by employees, totally unaware of their consequences. It helps develop employee skills, ensuring that they start to find their own mistakes and develop genuine initiative. Task Analysis ensures tasks get done on time and properly, finds the underperformers in the company, locates work bottlenecks, and reduces the administrative burden.

What is your competitive advantage?
Our goal was to create a software solution that is easy to use, simple to understand, and effective in boosting employee productivity.

Task Management has been around for some years now. Task Analysis is a new trend in Task Management that focuses on analysis, priorization, and optimisation. If Task Management is the process of managing a task through its lifecycle, then Task Analysis is the process of optimising those tasks. We've solved a crucial business problem companies have, by bringing business intelligence and analysis reports into employee task management.

Our online software solution enables organisations to boost employee performance through workflows, task and time management, checklist, escalations and alerts. It enables companies to automate their internal procedures using the built-in workflow processes, analysing employee performance through performance analytics, and enforcing internal company policies through the policy wizards.

What are your plans for 2015?
Task Analysis is the next big thing in the business world. The ability to bring business intelligence and developing predictive analytics using statistical analysis and data mining to provide behaviour predictions and help drive the decision-making process. Only through the analysis of the employee tasks can you begin to understand employee behaviour, identify working trends and discover where the workload can be made more efficient.

Analysing employee behaviour lays a important foundation for improving business performance.
Napoleon once said: "War is ninety percent information"

His military success was attributed to having the right information at the right time. When you’re battling for a competitive advantage in business, task analysis is crucial to your success.
It's going to be a very interesting year.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Clever Books


Clever Books is a creative startup that makes children's story personal. Kids themselves can be the main character in their high quality printed book. We have conducted an interview with the founders of this great idea.


Where did you get your inspirations in this startup about personalised books?
The inspiration for this startup is coming from my husband Thorsten. He is a born teacher as he invents educative and really nice tales on the go for our daughter. I was listening for him telling those stories about how is it important to eat vegetables or brush teeth, be nice with people and listen to parents and the idea about creating books with stories came to my mind. I wanted always to make these stories and books special and attractive to kids and therefore we made them personalized in the sense that kids can see their pictures in the books and also read stories about themselves! The stories are very helpful for parents in first place as they are helping kids through positive attitude to understand the importance of keeping room clean, helping parents or going to school and many other things that parents keep on struggling with and sometimes without any result. The inspirations are coming obviously from my daughter who is a live example of the story topics :) I have also noticed that personalised books motivate kids for reading which is great for them as well!

What is your own startup story?
After having the idea it’s important to implement and I can’t obviously have all the necessary skills for that. Here comes networking in play. I knew who I would need to start the ball rolling and I just needed to make those people interested in doing business with me. This way I discovered that Alexandra, our book designer and professional photographer, was happy to get involved. She is creating great book designs that help to dive into the story and feel comfortable with the book. We are also having people with pedagogical and linguistic education who are creating great stories and also illustrator who is making stories bright and live. The story was that I needed to make efforts to organizes those people and make the whole though small now mechanism work to bring digital books to a publishing company and then have the first order published. That was the fantastic feeling to see the books and have great quality goods you can deliver to customers now.

In your opinion, what does the owl symbolises?
The owl is sacred to the Greek goddess of learning, Athena and is even depicted on some Greco-Roman currency as symbol intelligence. Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom had a companion Owl on her shoulder, which revealed unseen truths to her. Owl had the ability to light up Athena's blind side, enabling her to speak the whole truth, as opposed to only a half truth.

Why was it chosen as Clever Books' logo?
The symbol of owl is wisdom and therefore we have selected this bird as our company logo as we create awesome books for clever kids and smart parents.

Which are the top 5 main characters presented in your books that helps children in their development?
The main characters of the books are the kids for who we make those books. The kid is a positive character in each story. He or she is trying to understand things, makes mistakes however understands and realises, apologizes when feels guilty and always becomes smarter and learns from his mistakes if any. We have a lot of different stories that appear in different books sets, covering many topics to help parents (for example, importance of brushing teeth, helping parents, eating vegetables, keeping room clean and in order, being honest, sharing with friends, danger of eating too many sweets etc, etc.)

How does fairy tales help children to work through their anxieties?
Albert Einstein once said: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” This is where we are coming from. Fairy tales in general help kids to understand the world and adapt. So why not to use the fairy tales where the kids are the main characters? This helps them to get more involved in the story, realise their own behaviour in some way and also see the positive outcome of doing things differently like being less stubborn or helping mom to keep toys in order. This is the idea and as we get positive feedback we are extremely happy to keep on doing this good thing!

Which are the most engaging book titles published by Clever Books?
The feedback we receive basically says that the stories on their own are quite engaging as kid is the main character and he is reading about himself and yes, that is quite interesting that kids, that have reading skills, get more motivated to read those stories on their own. Thus books we create have become also a motivation for kids to read. We obviously haven’t thought about this effect in advance however quite happy with the outcome now.

What books are currently available?
Currently we have Blue book set, Yellow book set (with photo personalizations and popular nursery rhymes) available and getting ready with other sets. We offer as well 100% customisable book set where parents choose the topics of the stories they what to be in the book.

Here you can have a look at the book from our Blue Book Set:

Visit our website to discover book sets we offer: http://www.cleverbooks.eu/

Join us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/CleverBooksPage

And also have support owl products here in our partnering shop.
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