Archive for July, 2011

Win a Harley from Cycle City!

July 29th, 2011
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When I wrote about Rapid Technology's 3D technology and their Captain America-inspired helmet project last week, I didn't know that Cycle City's General Manager (Dan Ryan, pictured above) was planning on giving away the Harley Cross Bones motorcycle they customized for promotional purposes. But while we were filming the completed helmet and bike, "Mad Man Dan" as he's known in his commercials, said it will be on display at the Dole Cannery theaters beginning today (July 29) and some lucky person might win it if the last six digits of their driver license number matches up with Cycle City's numbers.

The helmet and motorcycle can also be seen Saturday at the Wet'n'Wild water park in Kapolei, he said. Dan wasn't sure how long it will be on display, since it's possible someone could win it right away -- or maybe no one will have the matching numbers. So if you'd like a chance to win this special Captain America edition, your best bet is to visit the Dole theaters this weekend. According to Dan, the Cross Bones models retail for about $19K. He feels the special customized version is worth about $30K. The helmet designed by local artist, Sam Campos, and produced by Rapid Technology is included. Captain America shield optional (just kidding -- Dan says a flying shield weapon would have created liability issues).

You'll be able to see the segment on how the guys at Rapid Technology turned Sam's sketches into a full-sized helmet prototype, using a 3D printer, when the new Career Changers TV show premiers on Thurs., Aug. 4.

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For daily viewing times and other useful links, please visit www.CareerChangers.TV. Videos from past and current episodes can be seen on the CCTV YouTube Channel. Have a good weekend -- and all you bikers, stop by the Dole theaters to see if your license digits are a match!

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Egan Inoue Gets 5-0 Role

July 27th, 2011
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imagesAwhile back we featured feng shui/astrology consultant Alice Inoue on my Career Changers TV show. She suggested we do a story on her ex, Egan Inoue, who she is still close friends with. I'm glad she did -- turns out there was a lot I didn't know about him, other than the MMA titles and an ugly divorce he went through that resulted in claims of domestic abuse against him.

Egan was exonerated of all charges and won custody of his three daughters by that marriage. But it was a costly battle... and ironically, it was the domestic abuse allegations that led to his latest career in the fitness business.

During our interview, he recounted how he began researching domestic abuse cases because he wondered how many husbands were wrongfully accused, as he was. What he learned opened his eyes to how many women were being battered. Marcia, who he is married to now, suggested he do self-defense classes for women.

Egan says he came to realize that while self-defense techniques were important, many more women could benefit by working on their general fitness. As they got into better shape, they also became more confident and felt better about themselves. So that's why he began the bootcamps and classes for women, men and even children. The work-outs are different each day, incorporating a variety of sports training techniques that Egan has learned over the years. He started out as a professional racquetball player, then got into Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and eventually returned to UH on a swimming scholarship -- yes, he was a competitive swimmer! -- before he became a five-time MMA champ (also did a stint as a pharmaceutical sales rep).

By the end of the interview, I almost forgot to ask him about the Hawaii Five-0 job he landed. He was on set the past two weeks doing stunts for fight scenes and had a small speaking part. Egan said about two years ago he was hired as a trainer by one of the 5-0 staff writers, who asked if he'd be interested in being on the show. At the time, Egan said he was simply too busy to do it. But when the second season production started rolling, Egan made time to add another occupation to his resume: actor.

There was one more bit of irony. Egan said things have come full circle from his self-defense classes for women. In his Hawaii Five-0 appearance, he gets his butt kicked by a woman -- Kono (played by Grace Park). The segment we taped will probably not air until September, however, since we have a jam-packed episode for August.

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You can still catch the July show until next Thursday, which includes a segment about Michael Stiber, the former Aloha Airlines pilot turned children's story author... the Star-Advertiser ran an article about him in Saturday's paper. For daily viewing times, visit www.CareerChangers.TV or check out videos from past and present shows on the CCTV YouTube Channel.

Captain America Calling

July 22nd, 2011
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cap concept4As a kid, I was more into real science than sci-fi, comic books or super hero stuff. That remains true even today. But as a screenwriter, I've gotten to work with the co-creator of ROBOCOP, which is one of my favorite sci-fi movies because of its dead-on satire of privatizing public services... and now I'm collaborating with local artist Sam Campos (a big comic book/super hero fan) on film and book projects. He was recently mentioned in a Star-Advertiser article by Nadine Kam about a company that can convert 2-D art into 3-D models or sculptures, using a high tech printer. Instead of ink though, the devices "print" layers of plastic or plaster to create physical objects. Sounds like science fiction, huh?

Rapid Technology CEO Emil Reyes and 3-D artist Russ Ogi had worked with Sam in the past, turning his super hero sketches into costume gear for the DRAGONFLY television series pilot that Sam has been developing on his own with no studio backing at present. He used to do storyboards for Hollywood movies, in fact. Despite the great pay, he got tired of dealing with the Hollywood system and wanted to do his own thing in Hawaii. So when I asked Sam if he could introduce me to Emil and Russ for a Career Changers TV segment I wanted to shoot, he said it was good timing -- they just happened to be finishing up a new project that ties in with the CAPTAIN AMERICA movie release on July 22.

Sam was contacted by Cycle City's Dan Ryan about creating a motorcycle helmet inspired by that movie. Seems "Mad Man Dan" as he's known in their commercials, had plans to promote their Harley-Davidson motorcycles by customizing one of their bikes. Dan said he's a huge fan of that comic book hero. (Must be, because they chopped up a perfectly good Harley and outfitted it with fake guns and other custom stuff to make it look like the C.A. motorcycle in posters he saw.) Sam then told Dan about the Rapid Tech guys, who showed him how they could turn Sam's drawings into a small plastic model before they made a life-sized one. Dan looked over the small model, made some changes, and now a machine shop is putting the finishing touches on the actual helmet.

I thought Dan just intended to use the helmet and bike in a new commercial. But Emil says that Dan wants to mass produce the helmets for sale to the public. They've made changes to avoid copyright problems and have also incorporated the Cycle City logo into the design. We'll be filming shots of the finished helmet and customized chopper next week when Dan returns from a Harley convention on the mainland, and you'll be able to see it on our August CCTV show.

The release of the movie reminded me of an old Kinks song that seems timely again. It came out in 1979 I think, and was an allusion to the recession back then and major troubles facing the U.S. The song title was, Catch Me Now I'm Falling -- but I remember it for the chorus: "This is Captain America calling..."

I remember, when you were down
And you needed a helping hand
I came to feed you
But now that I need you
You won't give me a second glance
Now I'm calling all citizens from all over the world
This is Captain America calling
I bailed you out when you were down on your knees
So will you catch me now I'm falling

Help me now I'm calling you
Catch me now I'm falling
I'm in your hands, it's up to you
Catch me now I'm falling

Here's a YouTube video link that compiles Kinks photos and other images with the recording. Ray Davies remains one of my favorite songwriters because of his wit and ability to make relevant social commentary in funny, touching ways. You can sense his admiration for this country in that song, and there's a playful "Jumping Jack Flash" riff that pops up in the song for some reason... was he saying America's decline was similar to what happened in the UK (Union Jack)?

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For daily viewing times of the current Career Changers TV show, please visit our website. You can also watch videos from past episodes on our CCTV YouTube Channel. Have a great weekend!

Interviews and Creative Follow-ups

July 13th, 2011
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When you least expect it, life throws you a curveball. For the past year, I've been posting links to articles that offered tips on interviews and follow-ups with prospective employers. Now I'm interviewing videographers to replace my current camera guy/editor because he's been offered full-time work and my Career Changers TV show is really a part-time gig.

I wasn't prepared for all the responses I got after I sent an email to the OC16 producers list and posted a help wanted notice on the Hawaii Filmmakers Yahoo Group site. Many of them are far more experienced in TV editing and production work than I am. Some have even won major advertising awards. There's no question they have the technical expertise and skills to do the job. The question is who do I want to work with and why?

Interestingly, only one sent an actual cover letter and resume. Most sent short emails with links to their websites and demo reels or video samples -- which is perfectly fine. One called, and that was okay too because it gave me an idea of what his personality was like. I also decided to interview the young woman who sent the letter/resume since she took the time to comment about the show, and had obviously done her homework. Some of the more experienced videographers didn't bother to check out the CCTV website or YouTube Channel, and expected me to tell them more about the program. Um, no. Part of the job is to help flesh out stories by doing research on the people and companies we feature. If they're not going to research the show they want to work for, what makes me think they're going to do that for a piece I hire them to produce?

The take-away is this: There is increased competition for even small part-time freelance jobs... which is great for me since I can improve the quality of the show without busting my budget. But it's tough too when you have to weigh invariables versus experience. So I'm going to "audition" two or three candidates and pay them to shoot/edit segments, then see how it goes. Actions speak louder than words on a resume or in an interview. That's also why you hear more employers say they "hire fast, fire faster" these days. There's no shortage of applicants waiting in the wings for a shot if the first choice doesn't fill the bill quickly.

It also means if you're applying for a position, you have to go the extra mile to make an employer want to set up an interview with you. Make an impression on them somehow -- show you really want the opportunity to meet with them, then follow up. If you don't hear back right away, don't assume it's a rejection. That's your chance to show how persistent you are.

In fact, that's how Theresa Tilley became our host. We had already settled on someone who had experience as a TV news reporter. But Theresa kept in touch and was so personable that when the original host was unavailable to shoot our introductions, Theresa was at the top of my list for emergency substitutes. Even though she knew it might be a one-time deal, Theresa was grateful for the opportunity. Eventually, I decided the show could use her enthusiasm and local connections. But had she not followed up, I probably would have forgotten about her.

Anyhow, my wife sent me an amusing follow-up letter that she got from a sales consultant who works with her company. Isabel was skeptical it would work, but tried it on a prospect who had not responded to her calls and emails.  Here's the form letter:

Dear ________

Chris, when we last spoke we agreed that---------------------.   I have made several attempts to contact you with no success.  Usually when that occurs it means one of three things has happened.

Y or N     1) You won the lottery recently and now you are being bombarded by relatives you never knew you had, all trying to claim a piece of the winnings!!

Y or N     2) Other, major priorities came up and ________________ and _______________ has dropped off your list.

Y or N     3) You just simply decided we are not a good fit and decided you do not want to work with me at _______ (and didn't want to hurt my feelings by telling me).

Please highlight Y or N next to either 1, 2 or 3, email it back to me, or give me a call to let me know and we can talk. You won’t hurt my feelings if it’s # 3 by the way. I will simply put away your file and not bother you anymore.

Respectfully, ________

Guess what? She got an immediate reply and the prospect apparently thought it was a clever enough follow-up that he owed her an explanation. Turned out he was just swamped at the time, but was still very much interested in their services.  So it pays to be persistent and have a sense of humor as well.

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TV alert: The Sand Masters episode that features the Royal Hawaiian Hotel will air again on Sun., July 17 on the Travel Channel.

Don't forget to check out the current Career Changers TV episode! For daily viewing times and links to the CCTV YouTube Channel, please visit www.CareerChangers.TV.

The Name Game

July 8th, 2011
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What do Makana, Ashley Lelie, Sig Zane and the motorized cooler thing above have in common? Answer: they're all mentioned in our new July show, and each involves a "brand name" of sorts. A good name can make a huge difference in a product's success. Likewise, our individual names often say a lot about who we are or what we aspire to be. More on that in a bit.

But first, the salient news: the winning name chosen for the cooler scooter is... the Cooler Scooter! I know, I know -- it's not very original or local sounding, but the distributor of the product (Mark Bell) opted for a practical moniker that was easy to remember and tells what it is without having to explain it. Personally, I liked "Da Holoholo" and "Cool Rider." You can see all the submissions, and what they won by visiting our website.

Getting back to the name theme, when we filmed the Sig Zane ohana at their temporary pop-up boutique/exhibit at the Waikiki Parc Hotel last month, all I really new about him was that his label was synonymous with high end Hawaiian designer apparel. I was vaguely aware it was an exclusive line, but I didn't know you could only buy their clothes in Hilo -- or Japan, where they make frequent trips to. I also wasn't aware of the Zane family connection to hula, and how it influenced every element of their designs and business.

My co-producer, Rob "Aukai" Reynolds, belongs to a hula halau and explained that owning a Sig Zane shirt or dress used to mean the wearer had probably been to Hilo... and if they were in Hilo, there was a good chance that person went to the Merrie Monarch Festival. However, that's changing due to the internet and Kuha'o Zane -- a.k.a. "The Son" as he refers to himself. He's using social media and selling their products online now at www.SigZane.com. You can watch the segment this weekend on OC16 to hear other insights from Sig, his wife/partner and The Son.

If you listen to Hawaiian music even casually, you're likely to recognize the name, Makana. He's in the category of local musicians who don't need to add their surname because they have such strong branding in the islands. Which is why it was a big coup for Michael Stiber to get Makana to compose and record original music for Michael's iPad app for children, "The Icicle Story." That feature is also in the current show.

As for Ashley Lelie, any UH football fan can tell you he was simply one of the best-ever receivers to play in Hawaii. I got to personally witness a number of amazing catches he made in clutch situations under the lights at Aloha Stadium. He went on to play in the NFL, and last year returned to coach at the UH. His name came up while we were shooting a piece on Argosy University's graduate psychology program. I was interviewing a very attractive woman, who appeared to be Middle Eastern or Persian. (She said her family came from a former Soviet Union country that I can't pronounce or spell.) Initially, Noza was quite camera shy and hesitant to talk about what brought her to Hawaii. Then she told me the reason was she's engaged to marry Ashley Lelie. She met him while her family was living in Denver, and he was playing for the Broncos. After she saw the rough cut of the Argosy piece, she told me it was fine to mention she was Ashley's fiancee. Anyhow, you can see Noza in this month's program or on our CCTV YouTube Channel.

The name we choose to call ourselves can speak volumes for who we think we are -- or who we want to be. Sure, we're all given names by parents at birth. But we don't have to be stuck with those labels. Look at movie and music stars. Often, when they adopt a stage name, those individuals develop an alter ego to fit their self-chosen (or manufactured) image. Marilyn Monroe. Rappers. Lady Gaga. However, most of us want a name that conveys individuality, yet doesn't stand out too much. Ergo, the unusual spellings of commonplace names, which can be kind of irksome: Look at me -- I'm uKneeque!

My parents called me "Ricky" when I was growing up. In the 7th grade, some kid stuck the "Fuji" nickname on me, which came from the obsequious Japanese character on the McHale's Navy 60s sitcom. I had to live with that through high school. By college though, when I assumed my writer/journalist persona, I became Rich Figel in my newspaper bylines and columns. To my folks and siblings though, unless they pause to think about it, I'm still Ricky. Some names just never go away.

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For weekend viewing times and other useful links, please visit www.CareerChangers.TV. Enjoy the weekend!