Thursday, January 18, 2018

What Makes Must Watch TV

 
I was talking to some of FremantleMedia’s drama leaders and doing some reading / thinking about what makes compelling television nowadays – and there was lots of discussion around genre, format, location, style, story etc, but in the end it all came down (for me) to a great character.  Someone I couldn’t take my eyes off, someone I was intrigued by, mesmerised by – someone like Luther.

And business is like that too.  I love businesses with leaders who lead, who stimulate, challenge, who are flawed, human and generous.

Characters have Personality – as I figured out 50 years ago when the Headmaster expelled me from Lancaster Royal Grammar School – I explained it to Barbara, my best friend, that it was a personality problem.  I had one and he didn’t!!!

A TV character’s personality is based on:

·        Motivation:
They need / want / are hungry for something and spend their story trying to get that something.  We come to understand exactly what motivates them to be driven that way and understand that compulsion.

·        Vulnerability:
     They are human, worried, fearful of something.  And we feel for them.

·        Conflict:
     They must make hard choices.  We know what that’s like.

·        Connectivity:
     To us, to me, to the other characters.  Life is not an island.

·        Complexity:
     Layered, good, bad, and/and, multi-dimensional and multi-layered.

·        Strength:
     Big characters / leaders are impressively good at something – anything – that matters and sets them apart.

·        Weakness:
     And they must be flawed.  Just like all of us.

·        Emotion:
     They must feel and be seen to feel.

In fact, the more I thought about this, the more I thought a great TV character is developed the same way we develop a Brand to become a Lovemark.  By adding Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy to Respect and Trust.

A compelling character has a memorable name, a history with some mystery in it, some secrets, a look, a voice, a touch, and makes us want to know them, to feel for them and to join them.

Characters and Lovemarks are developed in the same way.  Who knew?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Must Watch TV in 2018


Here’s what I’ll be bingeing on this year.

Old Favourites / New Series:
-         Madame Secretary
-         Chicago PD
-         Blindspot
-         The Blacklist

New Series:
-         The Deuce:
o    Times Square in the 70’s
o    James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal
o    Raw and gritty.
-         Seal Team:
o    A breath of escapism, patriotism, family and teamwork in an increasingly cynical world.
-         Britannia:
o    The new Game of Thrones.  Mighty Rome takes on Britain – led by our own Boudicea-like hellraiser Kerra.  Lots of strong stuff.
-         Patrick Melrose:
o    Played by Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch), whom I find mesmerising on screen.
-         McMafia:
o    Not easy to get into.  Complex and slow-moving – but I think it’s got legs.
-         The Little Drummer Girl:
o    A great John Le Carré book I read years ago – developed by the team who put The Night Manager on air in 2017 – after Luther, my favourite 2017 series.
-         The Ballad of Buster Scruggs:
o    Netflix has announced this from the great Coen Brothers.  James Franco (Deuce) again.  Shades of Fargo.
-         Deutschland 86:
o    The sequel to the great Deutschand 83 series.  Shooting in CapeTown just finished.  I met with the writer in Berlin in December.  This’ll be great.
And my personal favourite:
-         Hard Sun:
o    Written by Luther mastermind and Wellington, New Zealand resident Neil Cross and produced by FremantleMedia.  Starring (bizarrely) Agyness Deyn and (not so bizarrely) Jim Sturgess.  The world is doomed five years from now they discover – whoops.  Unmissable.

And finally we await new series of:
-         Luther
-         Line of Duty
-         Suburra
-         Berlin Station
-         Billions
-         The Bureau.

Happy Viewing.

KR

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Two Thumbs Up

Mark Zuckerberg’s New Year Facebook post outlined his personal commitment to ‘fix’ how Facebook handles hate abuse and fake news.  “My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues.  We won’t prevent all mistakes or abuse, but we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and provoking misuse of our tools.”

No concrete plans yet.  But the Founder’s personal commitment.  His track record on personal commitment is high.  I believe him.

A great New Year’s lesson for leaders everywhere – to quote General Schwarzkopf “When given command, take charge and do what’s right”.

Well done Mark Z. for leading the way.

Two thumbs up.

Friday, January 5, 2018

A New Year – a new set of lists


 
As you know I love a list – and in the time honoured tradition I’ve made my resolutions for the New Year.  They are self-explanatory I think – any questions / comments, fire away.

1)  Stay fit and healthy.  (Have been on the 16.8 regime for seven months.  I love it.  It’s not a diet, it’s a life change.  A great way of living – energising, focused, effective, and metabolically sound.  No pain.  Oh, and I lost 5kg.)

2)  Fail Fast, Learn Fast, Fix Fast.  After almost 40 years in corporate life, my last 18 months as an independent entrepreneur, investor and consultant have completely re-energised me.  Lots of mistakes, new learnings, new challenges and personal growth.  I wish I’d have made the change a decade ago – but no regrets.  I’ll make the most of the next decade by following Tom Peters’ FF, LF, FF mantra.

3)  Make Happy Choices.  Don’t let life control you.  You are responsible for your own destiny, for your own happiness.  Be proactive.  Decisive.  Assess.  Decide.  Execute.  Choose.  And Follow Your Heart.  If you’re happy, you’ll inevitably make those around you happy.

4)  Build a lifetime partnership.  Trudy and I married in July.  A beautiful day.  Now I commit to work at making every day beautiful.

5)  Fight impatience, anger and the blues.  Enough said.

6)  Make time for Family, Friends and Me.  We had six grandchildren (plus the Bump), five children (and their partners) and two cousins for Christmas and New Year at our home in Carefree, Arizona.  Priceless memories created.

7)  Live Life Slow.  Don’t do less, but do everything more intensely and deeply.  No multi-tasking.  No regrets.  No guilt.  No navel-gazing.  No worrying.  Live life, Love life.  Live purposefully and mindfully in the moment.  Make every hour count.

Happy New Year.

KR

Saturday, December 23, 2017

An underrated skill – the ability to learn from success and go to the next level

Last month I was in Victoria British Columbia, talking to 50-60 entrepreneurs / freedom fighters from this beautiful Edge community. During a spirited Q&A, a bright young outlaw told me about the F*ckUp session he’d recently attended and asked what I thought about them. I explained my Tom Peters inspired ‘Fail Fast, Learn Fast, Fix Fast’ approach and that I believed the F*ckUp wasn’t the important takeaway; it was the learning and fixing that should be shared.

I also banged on about an underrated skill – the ability to learn from success and go to the next level from there (reference Steve Hansen and the All Blacks, and Pep Guardiola at Manchester City).

Robin Dyke – poet, philosopher and truth seeker was my host in Victoria, and this morning following an energetic early morning winter bike ride, he sent me the following which I thought was great advice to close out 2017 and start 2018 with eyes wide open.

To You of Little Faith (or Too Much), by Robin Dyke

Ah, the words of faith, brought home for me recently at a service I attended at the invitation of a friend (a mentee actually, enacting the subtle role reversal so prevalent in such relationships).

Going in, I had no idea of the extent to which the belief god is angry with us, with me, is so prevalent. That impending sense of doom was half the message, the flip side being god is with us (Immanuel), perfection has arrived to save us. Delivered affirmation was the repetition, all taken in with much enthusiasm, the congregation enraptured, standing and swaying to the musically accompanied message. Who are these people I wondered of the youthful skewed audience, what is the appeal, the quest being answered?

In my thoughts I was reminded of my impressions of a recent F*ckUp session sponsored by our local Tech Association, where the attendees proselytized each other with glee over the confessions of errors and omissions of the f*ckees – now claimed a “world movement”, no less by this type of hype:

Everyone's favourite night. Nothing like watching accomplished, confident people share their still-raw, professional disasters with a crowd of 200+ colleagues who have been drinking beer. Better than crying. Cheaper than therapy.

All in all, a “confident”, the-gods-aren’t angry-with-you tell it all, delivered to beer guzzling gawkers (learners might be a bit more charitable). Now, you might think, I am of too little faith. What is faith – possibly belief in who you are and what you offer. Belief in how you succeed, not how you f*ckup.

You may make it a practice to learn from your mistakes. Whether you do, or not, there are always those quick and willing to tell you how you screwed up and just how badly. Some of it actually useful! Engage with those ones, but why turn it into a staged production!

In the haste to celebrate mistakes (emphasis on others’), might we be missing the more significant opportunity - learning from our success (yes, we learn usefully from other success models, gain inspiration, but this also deflects from time and effort spent on self-understanding). Do you fathom what you did to bring about your last brilliant success or astute decision, or your very first of either for that matter? I’m asking, do you really understand what combination of capabilities you apply to succeed. This takes a lot of thought. Too quickly we bask in our success and the illusion of stability and miss the inherent meaning. Many, like athletes are prone to reply blandly, I was fortunate to score, etc. Of course there is always the possibility it was just plain luck! But this suggests one might want to fully understand the why of it all. Therein is your art.

Mandela has talked about the fear of our own success being the hurdle challenge to our humanness. That’s the fear in the closet, that faced more productively would cloth us in our own radiance. Sure, the fear of failure is important to overcome as a defensive maneuver, and the gambits like F*ckUp sessions can move us on. The danger is in the cult-ness of the confessionals that make us feel better about our deficits without understanding our true and unique capabilities. Perhaps rather than the misplaced apprehension that god is angry with us, our concern is better directed to appease his frustration - over our fear of our own potential. That’s what makes us squirm, or should

So, why not start with a tinniest of successes - understand what went in to it, what did you do, in what sequence, with what application. What did you bring, call on, to pull off what you did. Herein lies the gold of your unique capabilities and awareness of what you have or has potential for further development and dream accomplishment. Note the dream word, its at the heart of all who we really are and are capable of pulling off. Be angry with yourself if that is not your star. Have faith. Make it so! And BQ!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

No Regrets

A personal life philosophy in my more seasoned days is to focus on making happy choices.

It follows naturally from a core piece of counsel I have always given young people, which is to make the big decisions with your heart, the little ones with your head. You might call it the 'joy maximization framework,' given how the man who made Amazon looks at it.

Jeff Bezos shares a smart approach. In the zone of what I would call ‘making happy choices’ is what Jeff calls a 'regret minimisation framework.' In a 1999 interview in which he spoke about his decision to leave his well-paid Wall Street job to start Amazon, he said he wanted to live his life in a way that minimized the number of regrets he would hold when he’s older.

Not doing something because of fear of regret or failure is kind of ironic considering that it’s the things we haven’t done that we usually regret. Overthinking, and worrying, just uses up your bandwidth for happiness and getting ahead in life quicker. Stop thinking, start doing, and make stuff happen. Take a chance, run some risks. Be excessive in a good way. Be active, and when you try and fail as all do, fail fast, learn fast and fix fast.

In 2018, make happy choices, the ones that feel right in the core of your gut, true at the time in your heart. They are the ones that you will always smile about.

Happy New Year.

KR.


Video: The Voice Kids 2017, Édith Piaf's Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, by Sofie