A friendly pooch named Coop, (a.k.a. Cooper Seiden) has invaded our workplace and has created a welcoming atmosphere for all who wish to enter. On selected days you can follow his swaggering tail around the office usually at the heels of his beloved master. This golden presence is playful, smart and creative much like the other employees working cheek by jowl with him. Coop knows good creative work is happening here…Purina tweet us (@SeidenNYC) if you are interested – Coop is!
In a semi-crowded theatre on East 12th Street, an audience comprised of the young, the old, and the older still, sit together in anticipation of Michel Hazanavicius’ award winning film, The Artist. While most of us have been lured to the theatre to watch what promises to be an artistic masterpiece, I’m initially hesitant to award it a gold star based solely on hearsay. After all, can a movie really be entertaining without dialogue? Color? Violence?? Indeed it can—Hazanavicius’ film was not only entertaining, but it was thought provoking, challenging, and a breath of fresh air in today’s world of mediocre, overproduced, cinema.
The story, despite its unique wrapping, is one that we’re all vaguely familiar with. A young ingénue (Bérénice Bejo), has a chance encounter with a dashing movie star and follows her heart into the world of show business. Lovely and wildly charming, she quickly rises to the top of her industry as a leading lady—complete with glitter, tap dancing and a parade of handsome suitors. In a parallel path, the once-famous actor she met and instantly fell in love with (Jean Dujardin), sees his stardom quickly slipping from his grasp. Unable to evolve in tandem with the film industry of the 1930s, the silent film actor finds himself out of work, without a home, and irrelevant. Dujardin, along with his adorable side kick Jack the dog (played by Uggie), enchants in this role—he is charming and wildly expressive, drawing us into the scene with little more than a smile and a wink (But, oh what a wink it is). Supported by a cast of equally talented actors, The Artist proves to showcase Hollywood talent in unique and unexpected ways.
Both a narrative about love and tenderness between two almost-strangers/almost-friends, the film also provides an interesting commentary on a technological revolution as the silent film gives way to the “talkies,” a modern breed of cinema. Set in Hollywood during the Jazz Age, The Artist is as much a commentary on losing sight of simpler times, as it is an artistic exploration of black and white film. Above all, one might argue that this film is an aesthetic experiment on twenty-first century audiences—are we so trained in the way we absorb the world around us that we can even take in a silent film? With black and white footage, set to the playful and sometimes dramatic score of Ludovic Bourse, The Artist returns us to a time when motion pictures used only facial cues, body language, or nuance to tell a story. Unused to focusing so intensely on these unspoken gestures, I found myself engaged more deeply in the story unfolding before my eyes. And just when I had accepted that my eyes (and not my ears) would be doing the work over the next two hours, I was startled by the introduction of sound. The unexpected moments of artistic experimentation emerge sporadically throughout the narrative—arbitrary sounds like the tipping of a cup or the landing of a feather seem to reverberate all the more, if only magnified by their absence throughout the rest of the film. By the end of the film, this weaving of the modern and historical, artistic and slapstick leave the viewer feeling stretched in a multiplicity of directions, tired, yet exuberant.
Gustave Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel Tower, enjoyed a successful career as an architect despite having dyslexia and a paralyzing fear of heights.
That’s right—every time you sit down to play a game of War or Poker, you could actually be getting a history lesson. For a period, starting in the 15th century, French playing-card manufacturers assigned to each of the court cards names taken from history or mythology:
Spades: King David
Clubs: Alexander the Great
Diamonds: Julius Caesar
This practice unfortunately had largely disappeared by the 19th century…
Today, we know April 1st as April Fool’s Day, a time to play pranks on your friends & celebrate silliness around the world. But it wasn’t always so. When the holiday was changed from April 1 to January 1, officially through the Edict of Rousillon in 1564, those caught celebrating the New Year in April, were mocked as “fools”.
The ice cubes in beverage advertisements are typically made of acrylic so they won’t melt under hot photography lights or move around. Bubbles are made by adding detergent, and water is added so light will filter through better.
Source: Egendorf, Laura, ed. 2006. Advertising. New York, NY: Greenhaven Press.
Whoopie pies, those cakes with frosted cream in the middle, come out of an Amish tradition. When farmers went out for work, Amish women wanted to give them a treat; therefore, they baked these pies and sent them in the lunchbox. These men were surprised to see a pie in their lunchbox and cried “Whoopie!”
Isn’t that adorable? Yes, it is.
McDonald’s, the #1 ranking fast food restaurant with 26,000 stores in 119 countries, serves billions of hamburgers worldwide. In fact, they’ve sold 12 hamburgers for every person in the world. In celebration of National Burger Month, congratulations McDonalds! We seem to love your burgers!
Well, they say it never pays to boast—and Sketchers is learning that lesson very quickly. Sketchers, the maker of “Shape-Ups,” has agreed to pay a hefty settlement of $40,000,000 for aggrandizing their claims that their line of toning shoes would help consumer tone their legs, get better butts, and lose weight, all without going to a gym. While the company continues to stand by their product, it appears that we all might just have to bite the bullet and head to the gym for a pair of shapely calves.
On May 29, MTV opened up the voting poles on Twitter for their annual awards show, which will take place live on June 3rd 9/8c. Aware that their audience has become more likely to use social media (texting, tweeting, facebooking) to engage with their network, MTV has made the plunge into the realm of tweet-voting. For the first time ever, fans can vote for the “Best Hero” via Twitter.
Just when we thought Facebook was taking over the world, low and behold, it appears that Google may be more user friendly (or ad-friendly). When the average click-through rate for an ad on the internet is generally just 0.1%, the ads on Facebook only have a click-through rate of 0.051%, while those featured on Google have a 0.4%. Point Google.
Yesterday, our Chief Creative Director took time out of his busy schedule to lead the 2nd in a series of “Presentation Training” sessions. Our assignment—prepare a 1 minute wedding toast (to the person of our choosing). Oh, and watch Al Pacino’s heart-wrenching, tear jerking, want-to-shout-from-the-top-of-a-mountain (and perhaps join a professional football team) speech from Any Given Sunday. Needless to say, I laughed, I cried (yes, actually tears), I cheered. But what did we learn?
As we went around the conference table, each of us standing to give our speech, we began to discuss the mechanics of giving a compelling speech. By dissecting each person’s “performance”, it was easy to see what we were doing right (naturally), and those places where we might need to improve a little. Basically, be S.U.P.E.R:
- Speak slowly - if you think you’re speaking too slowly, you’re probably going at a normal pace (when we get nervous, we tend to speed up).
- Use Your Environment - You don’t have to stand in one place! This will force your audience to pay attention and follow you (with their eyes) around the room.
- Prepare – Rehearse what you’re going to say. And try to do it without note cards. Note Cards immediately let the audience know that you’re unsure of what you’re about to say—if you don’t know, why should they care?
- Enjoy silence – A powerful speech speeds up and slows down. Putting pauses in between sentences (at appropriate moments, of course) can make for a dynamic speech.
- Relax – Be confident in yourself & let your body language be accessible. The audience doesn’t know what you’re about to say, so just breath and speak naturally.
Simple. Just be SUPER.