Archive for March, 2010

New Show Premiers Thurs. Night

March 31st, 2010
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Our new show for April starts airing Thursday at 8:30 PM on OC16. You can find other viewing times throughout the week on our website -- but that's not all. If you haven't visited www.CareerChangers.tv, check it out. There's links to all kinds of stuff related to job-hunting and starting a small business.

Since I am technologically-challenged, I needed help creating a website from scratch. We turned to Mahlon Moore, who had built a site for The Pet Hui show, which is produced by my CCTV partner, Ron Darby. When I first spoke to Mahlon on the phone, I instantly recognized his voice from radio traffic reports.

It turns out he's a career changer himself. Some of you will remember he was a DJ for 101.9 Smooth Jazz, which later became Star 101.9. In addition to programming music, he was responsible for updating the station's website, and found that he enjoyed doing web design work. Friends and family asked him to do their websites (for free, of course).

After he left full-time radio, Mahlon needed to supplement his income from traffic reports and his Hawaii News Now announcer gig. In 2009, he launched Linkscreen and began looking for paying clients.

But business was slow at first, and when the economy went sour, Mahlon had to adapt to the market place. He changed his pricing and took on clients who couldn't afford big upfront fees, charging low monthly rates to spread out the cost for people on shoestring budgets. He says that approach has worked like a charm during the recession.

Nowadays, just about every business or organization needs to have an easy-to-navigate internet site. But if you don't want to get involved with having to set everything up yourself and figuring out how to register domains, etc., I highly recommend you give Mahlon a call or email him through his Linkscreen site.

You can also check out a CCTV video tips segment he did for our show:

Mahlon's YouTube Tips for Small Biz Owners.

Here's the link for his Linkscreen site. And don't forget, he's also got a great voice for commercials or radio/TV spots!

Disney Casting Call: No Fake Boobs!

March 29th, 2010
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If you're trying to break into the TV or movie biz here, I suggest you join the Hawaii Filmmakers Yahoo Group and FAVAH, which stands for the Film and Video Association of Hawaii (links at end of post). While both groups are pretty low key, occasionally someone will post job openings for projects being filmed in the islands. It might be a go-fer position, casting call for extras on a major film, or roles in no-budget projects by aspiring movie makers. You can also post questions to the groups, or ask for advice related to the entertainment biz.

Sometimes you'll see links to items of local interest, such as the recent New York Post article about Disney's latest Pirates of the Caribbean sequel. Michael Rivero posted this excerpt on the Hawaii Filmmakers group email list:

Disney is searching for real treasure chests for its upcoming shoot of the next "Pirates of the Caribbean" swashbuckler -- that is, women with natural breasts.

The movie studio has banned actresses with artificial enhancements for the fourth installment, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," directed by Rob Marshall and starring Johnny Depp as the drunken buccaneer Jack Sparrow.

The filmmakers sent out a casting call last week seeking "beautiful female fit models. Must be 5ft7in-5ft8in, size 4 or 6, no bigger or smaller. Age 18-25. Must have a lean dancer body. Must have real breasts. Do not submit if you have implants."

You might be wondering how they'll verify the authenticity of a woman's breasts. The article says there will be a jiggle test. Anyhow, I'd love to hear from any readers who are auditioning for parts in the Pirates movie to get the inside scoop!

Also, I've been seeing ads for jobs at the new Disney Aulani Resort at Ko Olina, which will be opening next year. They will be casting for a live Hawaii-themed show too (no idea who wrote it or what it's about), and we'd like to follow some local talent through the audition process. If you plan on trying out for the show and would like to be on Career Changers TV, please email me at richfigel@gmail.com.

I've tried to contact Disney directly to find out more about job openings and plans for the Aulani show, but the local PR firm hasn't responded to my emails, and the Disney website provides no Hawaii contact information for some reason. Kind of an odd way to make local kine connections, yeah?

Today's relevant links:

Hawaii Filmmakers Yahoo Group

FAVAH website. Site appears to have some bugs though. To get on their email list, please contact Stephanie Spangler (stephspang@mac.com).

N.Y. Post article on Pirates "Treasure Chests"

Career Changers TV show information and schedule.

Stage Fright

March 25th, 2010
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Interviews can be nerve-wracking -- especially when they're done on camera or in front of an audience. Although some think I relish the limelight, I've had stage fright ever since I was forced to sing in front of my fourth-grade classmates. It was humiliating. In college, I had to give a prepared speech and blanked out in front of the class when I had a flashback to that singing disaster.

Nowadays, I get to be the off-camera interviewer when we shoot segments for our OC16 TV show. But if the interviewee gets nervous or freezes up, I feel their angst right down to my sweaty armpits and knotted stomach. What's funny is the same people have no trouble talking when the camera is turned off, or if we tape them without advance notice while doing man-in-the-street type questions at events such as job fairs or business expos.

Fortunately, my producer partner -- Ron Darby -- is experienced at making people feel relaxed on camera. However, when a person knows they're going to be taped, they'll often write a script they want to read from. Ron discourages that approach, because he wants them to sound and look natural. It's fairly obvious when someone is reading cue cards or notes on their desk.

At the other extreme, we've had folks who figure they can wing it. I also saw that happen during early rounds of the Hawaii entrepreneur pitch contest we taped. And many job applicants walk into interviews without having thought much about what they want to say. Very few can ad lib good answers without stumbling -- even on basic questions about yourself or your company.

As a screenwriter, I've had to learn how to verbally pitch my scripts and movie ideas. I hate pitching. But I found that if I memorized my logline -- a pithy one or two-line synopsis -- and kept just a few notes handy, I could blurt out a somewhat coherent pitch even when my mind went totally blank.

In one of our YouTube clips, Judy Bishop says job seekers should bring a pen and pad to interviews. She suggests writing down questions to ask the employer (they like candidates who show interest in the company) and to also list things you want to say about yourself, in case the interviewer doesn't touch on areas that might play to your strengths.

Another idea: join the local Toastmasters chapter or some other small group related to interests -- book clubs, for example -- where you can practice speaking in front of others. If you want to move up to managerial or executive positions, public speaking is an important skill to have.

You might even learn to enjoy it. Remember that old "Stage Fright" song by the Band? That was me. In college, I actually wound up playing slide guitar in a group that performed before decent-sized audiences. I wore a hat so they couldn't see the fear in my eyes... but when we got to the end, and I heard the applause, I wanted to do it all over again.

Today's relevant links:

Judy Bishop's interview tips on the CCTV YouTube Channel.

U.S. News piece on adding "drama" to your job interview to score points.

Toastmasters International: find the nearest local chapter here.

Viewing schedule for this month's Career Changers TV show (next new show airs April 1).

Are You Cut Out for Sales?

March 22nd, 2010
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Recently, one of my five semi-regular readers (Scott) posted a comment in which he said he felt his communications degree was valuable because it gave him sales skills -- and selling is important in just about any profession. Coincidentally, in a NY Times piece that ran on March 19, former Apple evangelist and high tech guru Guy Kawasaki says selling was the most important thing he learned when he was in the jewelry business.

Today I was running around making sales calls for the Career Changers TV show I co-produce, and I was thinking about what makes a good salesperson. Even in this lousy economy, pick up the classified ads or check Craigslist, and you will find listings for sales jobs. In part, that's because there's such a high turnover rate. Getting rejected for a living requires a very thick skin. One reason I'm a writer is that I don't like hearing "no" over and over. I tend to take it personally, which good sales people don't do.

The best salesmen and saleswomen are also great listeners, I think. They get prospects to open up and tell them what they want to be sold on. I'll never forget a timeshare sales pitch my wife and I listened to years ago when the Kona Coast Resort first opened. Halfway through, I told the young sales lady that we wanted to buy a week. But she kept talking and wanted to show us the rest of the tour! Good sales people know when to ask for the order, and when to shut up.

I have to agree with Scott that my broad liberal arts college education did help when I pursued careers in real estate and financial investments (i.e., legalized gambling in the form of commodities options trading). In both cases, I had to take courses and cram for exams to get licensed. But I hated cold calling prospects and using hard sell tactics, so I didn't last long in those jobs.

Anyone out there who tried sales work and hated it? Conversely, any of you love selling? If so, what do you sell -- and are things picking up?

Today's relevant links:

NY Times interview with Guy Kawasaki. He also talks about the importance of being able to write concise emails and get to the point quickly.

Another interesting NYT interview, in which Spreadshirt CEO Jana Eggers says something every good sales person knows: make friends with the receptionist or office assistant, because their boss often asks them what they think of job candidates!

And for sales jobs leads, you can go to our CareerChangers.tv site and click on the YouTube Channel link for our Hawaii Job Openings video... or if you're lazy, just click here.

Dress for Success Clothing Drive

March 17th, 2010
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Networking and giving back are two recurring themes I've come across while interviewing successful business people for the Career Changers TV show. Theresa Tilley is combining both for a clothing drive she's organizing in conjunction with the Meeting Professionals International Aloha Chapter luncheon on Weds., March 24 (details at end of post). Their special guest speaker will be talking about Cultural and Business Etiquette, which sounds like an interesting topic in itself.

Even if you're not planning on attending the event, you can help a good cause by dropping off slightly-worn men's or women's business attire at the Outrigger Reef Hotel Diamond Head Terrace, where the luncheon will be held from 11 AM to 1 PM. The clothing donations will go to the YWCA's Dress for Success program and the Institute for Human Services.

In addition, Theresa is hoping to stage a Dress for Success fashion show, with the modeled clothes being donated to the drive. The Wedding Cafe at Ward Centers has already stepped up to the plate, but she would love to have more boutiques and retail stores help out. For many women in need, having the right outfit can make a big difference in getting hired and improving their self-esteem.

Besides her involvement with the Meeting Professionals group, Theresa's name and face may be familiar to you from TV commercials and ads she's appeared in. She also did a great job filling in for our regular CCTV host, Deb McGuire, on this month's show while Deb was off island. In fact, she did so well we're looking to do our own Dress for Success features on CCTV, so if you know of any shops or stores that cater to professional men and women, drop me an email!

Today's relevant links:

Details on the MPI Cultural and Business Etiquette luncheon.

More info on the Meeting Professionals International Aloha Chapter.

Link to The Wedding Cafe website.

See Theresa Tilley in our segment about Chaminade's interior design program.

And here's our viewing schedule for the rest of the Career Changers TV episode!