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E-Book Testimonials

"Thomas Clifford has made something useful here. This report will give you some really catchy, useful ideas.

It made me reconsider how I do what I do, so you might give it a look-see, too!" 

Chris Brogan, President, Human Business Works 

"Tom Clifford is by trade a filmmaker. For most of his life, he rarely wrote anything longer than a brief comment in the margin of a script. 

Now, though, he's producing tens of thousands of words a year, first as a Fast Company "Expert Blogger," and then as a writer for the Content Marketing Institute. 

How did Tom go from a non-writer to a prolific and much-read one? His eBook, '5 (Ridiculously Simple) Ways . . . , ' holds some of his secrets."

Mark Levy, Author of "Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content"

“Tom is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet—if you have the privilege to meet him. And he does sterling work as well. But don’t just take my word for it.

Read this free report and you’ll not just love its tone and content, but learn a lot as well.”

Sean D’Souza, Psychotactics.com

“Anyone who wants to improve their writing needs this e-book. A lot of ebooks are short because they just don’t have much substance to offer. They’re not worth your time (and so are many of the long ones, too, for that matter). Tom’s is short because he’s so good at giving you only what you need to know. 

‘5 (Ridiculously Simple) Ways to Write Faster, Better, Easier’ lives up to its promise by example as well as in the words themselves. Tom used the very same techniques he teaches you to write this book. 

And what’s in here is not just a rehash of the same tired ideas you find coming from people who have suddenly fancied themselves as writing gurus. There are tricks in here I never heard of (like the Writing Funnel) and some I had forgotten about and was glad to be reminded of (like Sporadic Writing).” 

Michael Martine, Blog Alchemist, Remarkablogger.com 


Tom's SpeedLink #4

Time for a little speedlinking...

1. An Incomplete Manifesto For Growth
I love reading and bookmarking inspiring manifestos. Design guru Bruce Mau's manifesto is one of my favorites. Print it out and put it on your fridge. :)

2. Cluetrain Manifesto
Speaking of manifestos, the Cluetrain Manifesto 10th Anniversary Editon is now available. First published in 1999, the manifesto "proclaimed an end of business as usual." If you don't want to read the whole book (somthing to reconsider!), check out the 95 Theses that frame the book's context. You can also read the entire Cluetrain Manifesto online.

3. Chris Brogan's "Best Of" Articles
A brilliant collection for anyone wishing to seek new ways to push their on-line presence to new levels. You're following, Chris, right?

4. "Dalai Lama Renaissance" Documentary
I haven't seen this yet but, hmmm...looks really interesting.

5. The National Film Board of Canada on YouTube
Being a fan of NFB's blog and films, I recently discovered their YouTube channel. There's tons of documentaries to keep you busy for quite a while.

6. "A Clearer Picture of 'What's at Stake?' in Job-Search Stories"
Kathy Hansen writes about my asking favorite question of all time, "What's at Stake?" and using it to drive stories during job interviews. I learned about the power of as "what's at stake?" in almost 20 years ago taking a "Director's Master Class" with Hollywood director Peter Werner. Almost every interview I ask my guest this critical question: the answers are always amazing! Kathy applies the question to job seekers- great stuff!



Corporate Videos Finally Find a Home 

So I’m on the phone with a fellow producer the other day and out of the blue I say…

“Finally, after all these years, videos now have a home on the web- they’re not homeless anymore.”

“What do you mean?” he says.

“Well, think about it. For so many years, videos- especially videos for most organizations- have never had a venue where the stories were integrated into the larger picture. Remember, videos went out on tapes and then discs. Those stories were islands unto themselves; they were rarely seen in a larger context. Oh, sure, sometimes they’d get seen at meetings, conferences, etc. But really, the majority of the stories weren’t seen in a larger context- they weren’t integrated into an organization’s larger brand or message.”

And so here we are.

Thanks to the web, videos are, indeed, finding a home.

If your organization wants to see how video stories can effectively be integrated into the larger story, take a look at these five examples- you’ll have a instant roadmap to discover how video stories can possibly be part of something larger than just a disc or file.

1. Sputnik Observatory for the Study of Contemporary Culture

If you believe ideas are a form of energy, you’re going to love this site. (A big hat tip to Mark Levy for pointing this site out to me!)

From Sputnik’s “About Us” page:
“Sputnik Observatory is a New York not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to the study of contemporary culture. We fulfill this mission by documenting, archiving, and disseminating ideas that are shaping modern thought by interviewing leading thinkers in the arts, sciences and technology from around the world. Our philosophy is that ideas are NOT selfish, ideas are NOT viruses. Ideas survive because they fit in with the rest of life. Our position is that ideas are energy, and should interconnect and re-connect continuously because by linking ideas together we learn, and new ideas emerge.”

2. Lance Armstrong’s “It’s About You” Campaign
You’re in for a treat with this one. Nike and Lance Armstrong teamed up to raise cancer awareness by launching “It’s About You.” Launched July 4th, the campaign integrates mixed media with the ability to share and tell our own stories. While you’re there, be sure to check out Evan Handlers’s video, “It’s About Telling Your Story.”

3. “The Soul of Athens”
The county of Athens in Southeast Ohio, is steeped in Appalachian culture.
From their “About” page: “Produced by students at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication and E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, the award-winning Soul of Athens has been placed in the same competitive arena as National Geographic, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.”

4. “Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary”
My favorite site video/website ever. “Capturing Reality” seamlessly integrates “snack-sized” videos from worldclass documentary filmmakers along with educational material to inspire and educate filmmakers-to-be and film enthusiats.

5. David Lynch’s “Interview Project”
Think you need a big budget to produce corporate videos? Not so. David Lynch’s latest project proves simple video production values combined with interesting people and integrated seamlessly on a site can capture and holed the attention of viewers.

I'll be sharing more sites with you as I run across them. Feel free to add yours here.



The Fascination Method

Tom's note: As this blog enters it's fourth year of publication, I am incredibly delighted to introduce to you the first ever guest post by Mark Levy- a true creative genius and positioning guru. Thank you, Mark, for contributing!

One of the hats I wear is that of writing coach. I guide businesspeople in writing books.

During a typical first session, my client isn’t sure what their book will be about, but they take guesses. They tell me about what they think the marketplace wants, and what they think they can sell. They then start tossing around promising premises.

I stop them.

Rather than looking outside themselves, or prematurely playing with premises, I ask them to complete an assignment.

They’re to make a list.

I ask that they list anything that fascinates them. I’m talking facts, figures, insights, prejudices, anecdotes, pet philosophies, case studies, controversies, analogies, processes, memories, business models, role models, URLs, blogs, scenes, dreams, screwy notions, poems, jokes, myths, snippets of conversation, anything. Anything!

They’re not to wonder why a particular item fascinates them.

They’re not to worry if an item is original, or if it’s “book-worthy,” or if it has anything to do with their core business. Their task is to list items that, for whatever reason, have energy for them. Items that radiate.

What we’re doing is playing a game: We’re treating anything that appears in their mind as potentially valuable book material.

Only after they’ve made their list do we start thinking about their business goals and would-be readers.

We study the list, move items around, add to them, group them, and look for themes. Believe me, we find themes. It’s like what Edward Tufte meant when he wrote “the act of arranging information becomes an act of insight.”

From these places of energy, we find the book’s premise and much of its supporting material. This material comes from an honest place within the client. It comes from the spot in their brain where they keep things they can’t forget.

This production method isn’t only for book-writing. Any storyteller can use it no matter the medium. The key is to generate lots of material, so you can cut the filler and use the parts with juice.

Questions to Ask Yourself
• Have you used anything like the fascination method before?
• How might you use it in your next project?
• How might you use it in a collaborative project?

Mark Levy is the founder of Levy Innovation LLC, a marketing strategy firm that helps consultants and entrepreneurial companies increase their fees by up to 2,000%. David Meerman Scott calls him “a positioning guru extraordinaire.” Mark has written or co-created four books, including Accidental Genius: Revolutionize Your Thinking Through Private Writing.

Follow Mark on Twitter at @levyinnovation


Tom's SpeedLink #3

Here are some items that caught my eye and attention this past week.

1. Is the iPhone Killing Your Creativity? Mark McGuiness talks about losing creativity in a world with no downtime. Wow- a must read.

2. Wisdom Book is a project inspired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu's vision to share and pass on the wisdom of one generation to another. Features Clinte Eastwood, Graham Nash, Robert Redford, Dave Brubeck and many others. I love the simplicity of the videos: just a white background.

3. Behind the Camera: The ABCs of Documentary Cinema is another amazing site and resource from the National Film Board of Canada. "Behind the Camera" is a great learning tool for those interested in understanding more about documentary filmmaking. A great companion to "Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary."

4. The Sputnik Observatory for the Study of Contemporary Culture is another highly engaging site integrating video, social media and thought-leadership. It's best described through their "About" page:
"Sputnik Observatory is a New York not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to the study of contemporary culture. We fulfill this mission by documenting, archiving, and disseminating ideas that are shaping modern thought by interviewing leading thinkers in the arts, sciences and technology from around the world. Our philosophy is that ideas are NOT selfish, ideas are NOT viruses. Ideas survive because they fit in with the rest of life. Our position is that ideas are energy, and should interconnect and re-connect continuously because by linking ideas together we learn, and new ideas emerge."



Tom's SpeedLink #2

Here are some things that caught my attention this past week.

1. Nick Morgan's riff "Who's the most powerful person in the room?" points to a fascinating study. Nick writes, "Gregory and Webster found that in conversations and meetings, people rapidly match each other’s low-frequency sounds. In short, to have a productive conversation or meeting, we need to literally be on the same wavelength!" Hmmm...definitely thought-provoking!

2. Check out Lance Armstrong's "It's About You." Wow! This site is a storytelling powerhouse; includes short personal videos and soooo much more. Lance's site is another great framework for organizations to consider modeling their communication strategy after (video or no video).

3. Are you following the "free" debate? Chris Brogan's "I Believe Mark Cuban is Right" post and Mark Cuban's riff "Free vs Freely Distributed" riff is well worth the read.

4. Ever wonder what a "Producer" really does? Julie Matlin over at the National Film Board of Canada clears things up a bit with her latest post; "A working definition of the “producer” title."

5. The brain rules. I just stumbled on this older post by presentation guru, Garr Reynolds. "Brain rules for PowerPoint & Keynote presenters" makes some great points- even for those involved with corporate videos.

BONUS: Looking to following some cool folks on Twitter? "Twitter Power 150" has a listing of the top 150 twitter folks from the AdAge Power 150 List. (Yours truly just made it at #138.)