Archive for the ‘Career Changers TV’ Category

Mad Men, Letterman, Rupert Jee and Me...

May 21st, 2015
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Late Show signI stopped watching David Letterman's Late Show regularly a long time ago when he seemed to be falling back on stale bits and spending most of the show on digressive grumblings that went nowhere. He wasn't the quick-witted, anything-goes sardonic young host I grew up with while living in NYC as a bachelor in my mid-20s during the go-go 1980s. By "go-go," I mean there was lots of drinking and copious amounts of cocaine in the bars, jazz joints and after hours clubs I frequented from the Village to the Upper West Side. Bruce Willis, who I knew from Montclair State College, was still bartending at Cafe Central in 1985 -- the year I pulled a geographic and moved to Hawaii, in part, to avoid the fate of people like John Belushi and others who were part of that scene.

Generally speaking, I'm not the nostalgic type who likes to post a bunch of old photos on Facebook and tag people I hung out with way back when. Yet it's hard for me not to reflect on the passing of the Mad Men television series and Letterman show because of personal connections to both that remind me how far I've come or gone, literally thousands of miles away, and how old I am. Aging sucks -- unless you consider the alternative. Just surviving long enough to grow into a crusty, cynical curmudgeon like Dave, can be considered a success in itself. It's like that old song, "I'm Still Here" from Follies: Good times and bum times, I've seen them all.

The other day I had a business meeting with a former New Yorker and during our chat, this younger woman asked how old I was to compare notes about our respective time frames in the Big Apple. I hesitated, thought about fudging by saying "I'm in my 50s" or "mid-50s," then shrugged and admitted: "Fifty-eight. I'm old." Ugh. Why did I feel like I had to apologize for not being young any more?

She appeared to be caught off guard. Her New York and mine were decades apart. She only knew the Disney-tized Times Square version. My NYC was dirty, dangerous, dying from the AIDS epidemic, yet still retaining some of Don Draper's Mad Men business trappings from the 60s and 70s. I even interviewed at Grey Advertising, one of the biggest agencies in the world, rivaling the agency that swallowed up Don's firm. At the time, I was news editor of my college paper and a friend's dad at Grey introduced me to their head copywriter -- a woman, just like Peggy on Mad Men! She looked over sample commercials I wrote, liked a couple, suggested I write more, then get back to her after she returned from vacation. But I needed a job fast, so I never followed up with her and wound up stumbling down other career paths.

After I moved to Manhattan in the early 80s, I got a marketing job in publishing down in the Greenwich Village area. I ducked into a jazz club to get out of the rain one summer evening, and that's where I met musicians from the Late Show band and Saturday Night Live orchestra. It was named Seventh Avenue South and was owned by the Brecker Brothers, well-known jazz musicians in their own right. It became my pau hana hangout, where I held court with Hiram Bullock, the original Letterman band shoeless guitarist (played with David Sanborn often too); Sammy Figueroa, a percussionist (the conga player on David Bowie's "Let's Dance"); Will Lee, still playing bass with the Late Show band; Paul Shaffer would pop in; Jaco Pastorius, the late great electric bass player with Weather Report was a regular... plus a host of other young actors, musicians, artists and riffraff. Hiram told me how Belushi was at his place one night, found a box containing all of Hiram's tax info and receipts, and proceeded to throw them out the window. A few months later, Belushi would OD.

I also befriended David Murray of the World Saxophone Quartet, who I learned was related to Walter Murray -- the UH football receiver, best remembered for dropping a pass that would have given the 'Bows their first victory over vaunted nemesis, BYU. As it happened, on my final night in New York before getting on the long flight to Honolulu, a co-worker scored tickets to the Late Night show as a going away gift for me. I had always wanted to see it live, so it was a big deal. However, David Murray also offered to put me on his guest list for a gig he was doing with another jazz legend, Ron Carter, at the Lush Life that same night. I opted for the Lush Life instead of Dave. Sigh. That was New York in a nutshell -- too many choices, too much to do in too little time.

It's strange how things come full circle. Three years later, I was married, had gone through rehab for alcoholism, got sober and started growing up at the age of 31. That's when I began writing screenplays based on my wild nights in NYC and 28-day stay at Castle's treatment center in Kailua. Eventually, I would get to meet staff writers for Mad Men, who were doing a UH screenwriting workshop. They had worked on the Baywatch Hawaii series, along with former Star-Bulletin columnist, Charlie Memminger. He got that short-lived TV staff job as a result of winning the Maui Writers Conference screenwriting contest -- the same one I came in second place for a script that was set in NYC a year before 9/11 would change the skyline forever.

Me and Rupert JeeIn 2006, my wife and I stopped by the Late Show theater to see if we could get tickets but none were available. We did get to meet Rupert Jee, the Hello Deli owner and frequent guest on Letterman (often put in amusing, uncomfortable situations when Dave would fit him with an earpiece and instruct Rupert to do odd things to unsuspecting parties outside the theater).

I'm still searching for that illusive first big script sale. Heck, I'd settle for a small low budget straight-to-video deal. I used to snicker at shows like Baywatch Hawaii, but now that I'm older, wiser and less full of myself, I realize what it takes to be a professional screenwriter no matter what you or I may think of the quality of the show itself. The Mad Men writers I mentioned had gotten to know Matt Weiner long before he achieved critical acclaim with his series about a Manhattan advertising agency, and the characters we watched grow up (or not) before our eyes. Most don't know what a hard sell it was for the creator of that series to get it on the air. It's really an inspiring story for any writer, artist or entrepreneur. You can read the Fast Company piece by clicking here.

The last night I spent in New York, I remember coming back to my apartment on 14th Street, still intoxicated and high from the Lush Life show. Down on the corner, there was a lone sax player I could hear through the open window, blowing sad, sweet notes -- a serenade for no one in particular. But in my heart, I believed he was playing his song for me. I miss the city... I'll miss Mad Men and Dave too.

Hello Deli sign

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For daily viewing times of my Career Changers TV show, visit www.CareerChangers.TV. You can also watch segments from past and current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel... including commercials written and produced by this former NYC mad man.

 

 

Commercial Interruptions

May 14th, 2015
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Before the advent of DVRs, VCRs, and remote controls -- or "the clicker" as my wife still refers to it -- people had few TV programs to choose from, and would sit through commercials rather than get up and change the channel. Fast forward to modern viewing habits, and it's evident technology has not only altered the way we watch television -- it's physically transformed us into couch potatoes. Speaking of which, I found this interesting bit of etymology:

"Very few words have a birthday so precise, and so precisely known, as couch potato. It was on July 15, 1976, we are told, that couch potato came into being, uttered by Tom Iacino of Pasadena, California, during a telephone conversation. He was a member of a Southern California group humorously opposing the fads of exercise and healthy diet in favor of vegetating before the TV and eating junk food (1973). Because their lives centered on television--the boob tube (1966)--they called themselves boob tubers. Iacino apparently took the brilliant next step and substituted potato as a synonym for tuber. Thinking of where that potato sits to watch the tube, he came up with couch potato."

I digress though, which is typical of channel surfers with short attention spans who are loathe to sit through commercial interruptions while plopped down in front of our bigger and bigger high def widescreen TVs. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not pretentious about my television preferences or an anti-TV snob like some people I know, who equate television with lowest common denominator forms of entertainment. In fact, I'd say some of the best writing in the past decade can be found on today's flatscreen TVs.

But I don't like wasting time on commercials that are trying to sell me something I don't need for problems I don't have. So, like a lot of people, I DVR nearly everything and press the >> button to speed through the 3-4 minute commercial breaks on most network programs. As a local TV producer this puts me at odds with myself, since I rely on advertisers to keep my Career Changers  TV show on the air. To get around the problem of channel jumpers, I've tried to be more creative.

Instead of running a lot of short-form commercials (15 to 30 seconds) I run longer info-tainment style segments that are paid for by sponsors, but tell interesting stories about the companies, organizations, or people behind that business. When we do run conventional advertising, I limit my breaks to no more than two 30-second spots or a single minute-long commercial to reduce the likelihood of viewers switching channels. With other network programs, I can basically watch most of two shows in the same half hour because they pack so many commercials into each break. Which is bad for the advertisers who pay for those time slots. The ad sales people tell clients they'll be running the spot dozens of times in a short period -- what they don't say is that commercial is going to be buried in a string of 7 to 8 other ad messages that probably have no relevance whatsoever to the client's target market.

I'm not sure when 30-second spots became the norm, but I decided to go old school on new commercials I produced for Waimea Valley and Remington College, two of my long-time show sponsors. For them, I did one-minute commercials because I felt the extra time would help sell the upcoming Summer Concert Series at Waimea Valley (here's a link -- great summer line-up and great deal!) and the new Remington campaign features Augie T, so we wanted to take advantage of his comedic talents. What's more, Augie has a talent for connecting with local folks, so I wanted to let him interact with actual students (which was a lot of fun too).

Here's one of the Augie T commercials that showcases his comedy skills, while this one displays a more serious side of Augie.

So, let me ask you: How long are you willing to watch commercials before changing channels? Or do you DVR most of your programs too?

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For daily viewing times -- subject to change due to high school sports lately -- please visit www. CareerChangers.TV. You can also watch segments from past and current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel, now closing in on one million total views... which is great for our paid sponsors, and another way conventional television viewing has changed!

TV, Film Startups Help

March 18th, 2015
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As producer of the Career Changers TV show, I've been following the startup movement the past four years, which has mainly been driven by high tech applications for computers and mobile devices. First, there were incubators to help nascent companies develop their business plan. Then accelerators sprouted up around the country that offered seed money, office space and mentoring, in exchange for equity in startups they hand-picked (usually a 5 to 10 percent stake). Events such as Startup Weekend brought together like-minded entrepreneurs who would pitch their ideas to actual venture capitalists, angel investors and business consultants.

While filming segments on Blue Startups and Henk Rogers of Tetris empire fame, I saw similarities to what writers and filmmakers must go through to sell their TV or movie projects to producers. Many of the same principles apply, like the attention-getting premise or "elevator pitch" that succinctly sets up the concept and the synopsis that spells out what makes this project different or better than similar ideas. But in the TV and movie biz, the script was pretty much the entire franchise plan for the writer. Tech startups live or die based on "proof of concept" and demonstrations of their new product, service or app.

However, with the explosion of multimedia options -- or "transmedia" -- writers and filmmakers suddenly had plenty of other means to get their projects noticed in Hollywood: short films shot on high def video cameras, movie trailer style pitches for unproduced projects, YouTube, webisodes that can transition to mainstream TV, crowdfunding sites, etc. So it was only a matter of time before there were accelerators specifically created to nurture entertainment franchises. We now have one in Kona called Global Virtual Studio Transmedia, which had its first accelerator cohort last year. I learned about it after the application deadline had passed, but was invited to pitch a project for their GVS Boardroom panel event on Feb. 27.

I've been writing scripts for a long time, and had some minor success. Yet I haven't been able to get over the hump. I've often felt the missing ingredient was that to sell my scripts, you had to "see" it because they were written for the big screen and incorporated spectacular visual images -- such as locations in Hawaii related to the legends of the Menehune. Anyhow, I decided to submit a proposal for a franchise based on my feature screenplay, "Stinky Feet and the Secret of Menehune Gulch."

Since I had gotten good responses to prior email pitches I wrote for that script, I adapted my e-queries for the GVS submission and fleshed it out with images of Kauai's lush valleys, dramatic cliffs, underground lava tubes, and what might pass for a Menehune village. The GVS accelerator offers $50K over a six month period to each of the six teams they will select for the next cohort in the fall, which is a very nice incentive for fledgling screenwriters and filmmakers. In exchange for providing funding, facilities in their Kona studio, plus mentors with lots of experience and Hollywood connections, the project creator gives 10 percent equity in the franchise to GVS... which is a strong incentive for GVS to make it work too.

Backing this accelerator, is the State Dept. of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, which also has a major stake in seeing winners emerge from the program. Two of the top DBED&T officials -- Georja Skinner and Karl Fooks -- are taking a hands on approach, as I found out when I was selected as one of the eight presenters. Although our pitches were NOT being judged as part of the application process for the next cohort, we were told the feedback should be used to hone our franchise concepts to address questions that would be brought up by the specially-assembled panel. Besides Georja and Karl, there was a former Disney and Pepsico exec, a former marketing exec for Sony Pictures, and people with major movie experience sitting in the audience of about 50 people.

To say I was nervous is a bit of an understatement. I hate speaking in front of groups, and have never been comfortable pitching my TV or movie projects to industry people. But I felt confident in my Menehune concept, and I thought the Power Point I put together right before the event was good.

There was just one problem. When the presenters were gathered to do our run-through, we had to use their system to show whatever media we had. Instead of a laptop with the Presenter's View mode for my Power Point slides (which includes "Notes" at bottom you can use as a cheat sheet) all I had was a keyboard and a big monitor screen slightly behind me on my right side. They gave me a clicker to advance the slides... which had a slight delay. I had printed out my "Notes" text to consult, i.e. read from, if I got nervous and forgot the scripted lines. On top of that, we were limited to exactly five minutes for our spiels, and there was a GVS staffer to my left holding a digital clock.

So I'm trying to remember my lines, checking my printed-out notes, glancing back at the slide on the screen to my right -- crap, that's not the right slide! -- looking back at the clock ticking down to my left, clicking the clicker back a slide, then another... and I realize I'm not even halfway through before my time is up. This is why I hate public speaking. I could feel the pity from the other presenters. All of them did their run-throughs in one shot with not much problem. Me, I was asked to stay behind and do it again. Ugh. How embarrassing.

The second run-through was slightly better after I switched to using the keyboard to advance my slides. It was still running long though, so I knew I had to ditch the scripted "Notes" text and refer directly to the outline or visual images on my Power Point slides when we did it in front of a live audience -- and cameras. Which is another thing that gives me stage fright.

Minutes before show time, I considered bailing. Rather than stand in front of a crowded room and make a sputtering fool of myself, I could just say I felt sick and wouldn't be doing my presentation. The other seven projects were very impressive, and those people had better credentials than me -- or so I told myself. "Stinky Feet"? What was I thinking! Yet part of me knew years of rejections, failures, and even ridicule as a kid, had prepared me for this moment. I started off a little shaky, relying too much on reading my notes. Then when I had to refer back to my outlined thoughts on the screen behind me, I loosened up and got through it okay.

The panel then spent 12 minutes asking questions and commenting on my pitch. The former Disney exec immediately said he had never heard about Menehune, and was so fascinated by the myths that he felt it could be a TV series. The former Sony Pictures guy said he loved the concept. After I explained why the lead kid character is nicknamed "Stinky Feet" by a local bully, I confessed that it got left out because I was terrible at pitching. "I disagree," the Sony guy interjected. "When you stopped reading your notes, your passion and knowledge of your subject really came through!"

Later, Big Island Film Commissioner Ilihia Gionson and his significant other came up to me. He said he really liked my Menehune project even though it's set on Kauai. She said she voted for mine as her favorite of the eight presentations (I didn't win that vote -- a martial arts movie project by a Big Island filmmaker got the audience choice award). But there was one more twist after I returned home to the other Kailua...

The next day, I got an email that said, "Great Pitch!" in the subject line. In my Power Point, I included my email address on the last slide that said, "Pau." You never know, right? It turned out an audience member with contacts in the movie and TV business loved my concept and disagreed with panelists who said it should be a $10 million dollar movie, not the $100 million budget I guess-timated. She wrote that I should stick to my vision of a big movie about little people, and not make it a smaller project just to fit the accelerator's business model. They know it's almost impossible to sell a $100 million project even if I was able to use the accelerator to create a dynamite movie trailer or short film to promote it. But a $10 million film is something they could realistically help set up, and their 10 percent stake would pay dividends.

I want to believe this person who contacted me has the connections that can move my Menehune project forward as a big budget film. If not though, I'd be happy to see it made even if we have to dress up little people like Polynesian Munchkins instead of the expensive CGI "Lord of the Rings" type dwarves, trolls and elves I originally pictured for my Menehune village scenes. And maybe that's the best thing about the GVS Transmedia accelerator... it gives writers like me a chance to dream of seeing our work be brought to life, even if it's not exactly what we hoped for.

Kailua Beach Gate Redux

March 12th, 2015
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Eight years ago, I co-founded Beach Access Hawaii when residents on L'Orange Place put up a gate to keep others from using the beach path at the end of their privately owned road. I soon learned that at least 17 Kailua beach-side lanes were gated or had put up "No Beach Access" signs. Upon further investigation, I found that the State law pertaining to beach rights of way wasn't actually an enforceable law. The attorney representing the City and County of Honolulu contended it was only a guideline because it said there "should" be public access every quarter mile in urban areas or every half mile in rural sections. "Should," not "shall."

Despite standing room only crowds testifying for the need to preserve beach access at Kailua Neighborhood Board meetings, and having thousands of people sign petitions supporting our cause, ultimately the State Legislature and City Council chose to do nothing. We also organized a state-wide Groundhog Day rally in 2008 that brought together over 20 organizations on every island -- there was even a Surfrider protest in Florida that same day, which was inspired by our efforts. For all our lobbying, calls to State and county officials, media attention, sign waving, proposed bills that got multiple hearings and lip service from elected reps, in the end, the status quo prevailed. Forcing property owners to allow public access on privately-owned land would amount to "takings" or require condemnation proceedings by the State, which would be costly and probably fail in court.

I bring this up because once again in Kailua there's talk about another gate going up on Ka'apuni Drive. The difference this time around is that the rumors spread faster thanks to Facebook. Back when my neighbors and I began Beach Access Hawaii in 2007, our chief form of communication was going door to door and handing out flyers. We then built an email list, which became our main tool to spread the word about what we were trying to accomplish through our meetings with State and county government people.

But social media is a different animal. Anyone can post anything, and often no one bothers to check the facts or research an issue. On the "My Kailua" Facebook page, which is presumably meant for a wide range of ages, comments took on an ugly tone, resorting to slinging the "F" bomb or "sh*t" every other word . Unfortunately, it's the rude commenters that give fuel to the arguments put forth by the Gate Keepers, who point their fingers at miscreants for trashing their streets and beach paths or disturbing them at all hours of the night when the rude idiots are out partying, defacing property with graffiti and so on. There is no defense for rudeness, online or elsewhere.

As some noted in the thread comments, there are good neighbors too who have taken the time to help clean up the Ka'apuni Drive access. Killing them with kindness is a far better strategy than threatening to make their lives miserable if they put up a gate. The one positive outcome we had from the L'Orange Gate controversy was that State Rep. Cynthia Thielen convinced residents on her beach-side lane to unlock their gate. But many of the other oceanfront properties in Kailua aren't even occupied by local owners. Some have been bought by investors that rent them out as vacation homes or B&Bs with their own private beach access.

So what can be done? Here's my suggestion: if homeowners on "private" roads want to deny beach access to the public, then treat those roads as private and require them to pay for all public services they currently enjoy at the taxpayers' expense. Let them pay for trash pick-up at their homes, or else they can cart it out to the public road adjoining their private lanes. Ditto for mail delivery. And make them pay for any public utility work that must be done beneath or bordering their private roads. They can't have it both ways -- their roads shouldn't be used for public services when it suits them, but kept off limits to the public when it doesn't.

I have also suggested to State reps and City Council members that they could offer positive inducements for allowing public access, such as tax breaks on their "private" roads and easements. Sometimes a carrot is better than a stick. For what it's worth, here's the post from the My Kailua Facebook page that elicited a strong reaction:

KA'APUNI TO BECOME GATED
Area Resident Local Reports In...
The "residents" of Kaapuni Drive have voted to put gates up and restrict beach access. This after only a few months ago they denied claims that this was happening nor would it ever. After local news was about to release the story, the Kaapuni association president called the news denying any validity to the accusations and dismissing it as baseless rumors. Now that one of the long time residents that has always opposed putting up gates has passed and her property is for sale, the "residents" (several of which live on the mainland and vote by proxy at the board meetings) now have the votes to pass the motion. Meanwhile the neighboring community that takes care of the beach accesses through community cleanups and beautification projects will be the ones most affected by this restriction. The next nearest public accesses are over a HALF MILE APART. We need to let the Kaapuni board and residents know that this is a horrible idea and will not decrease crime, vandalism, and littering. Those punks will just jump the gate or come down from another access. It is the families that grew up using these accesses and actually take care of the beach and accesses that they will be punishing. Beach access needs to be protected and opened, not limited! If anyone has contacts with the residents or board members, please share. Or contacts at local news outlets. Help spread the word before another beach access is restricted. Anyone happen to know the minimum distance between public beach accesses? Or an ordinance/law/etc regarding public trash and mail access on private roads?

Looking back, there was another positive result from the Beach Access Hawaii campaign... a lasting one. We got to know a lot of our neighbors by going door to door, and meeting in person to make our signs for the rallies and protests. That's one thing you can't do online. Putting names to faces, sharing stories of growing up in Kailua or elsewhere, spending real time together for a concerted purpose will always mean more than sitting in front of a computer, typing out pithy Tweets or snarky Facebook retorts. But at least grumbling online is a start. The question is, will any of them follow through and attempt to do something about it?

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SEED RESTAURANT UPDATE: In my prior post, I mentioned Seed had closed its doors indefinitely for repairs. Well, you can help them reopen by contributing to their IndieGoGo crowd-funding campaign to raise $50K. Here's the link. It's been less than a week and they've already raised about 45 percent of their goal! For all my grumbling about the superficiality of social media, this is an example of the upside for worthy causes like Seed. Please help them reopen so they can continue their mission of rebuilding lives.

For daily viewing times of my Career Changers TV show, please visit out website. You can also watch video segments from past and current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel by clicking here.

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Game Theory: 'Stupid' Calls

February 6th, 2015
By



It's first and goal inside the opponent's five yard line, and your running back has been virtually unstoppable in short yardage situations. The game is on the line. I turn to my wife and predict: "Iosefa jump pass." UH fullback Joey Iosefa takes the hand-off, stops and lobs a perfect TD pass that the UNLV defense wasn't anticipating. The only reason I saw it coming was Coach Chow had called it in the last game of the prior season in their win against Army. I'm not a coach, but I did play defensive back in high school and still tend to think like a DB or coach, whose brains have to process a bunch of scenarios in seconds before each snap.

Yet I'm also a sports fan who reacts on a gut level when I watch a game, regardless of which team I'm rooting for. My wife, Isabel, is from Tacoma, went to UW and has been a longtime Seattle Seahawks fan (more so when they are winning). Me, I'm not a New England fan, but I was hoping for a good game and told Isabel to watch out for their giant receiver Rob Gronkowski (perfect name for the huge lug!) and big-time playmaker Julian Edelman. Most of all though, I respected their QB, Tom Brady.

So after the "miracle" catch by Jermaine Kearse while lying on his back, I was feeling a bit deflated -- pun intended -- about the Patriots' prospects of holding on to win the Super Bowl. Lost in all the talk about the subsequent play call on second and goal from the one-yard line to pass instead of run, was the fact that Seattle was lucky Kearse even caught the ball. It should have been kicked or batted away by the second Patriot defensive back when the ball popped up. Instead, the DB hopped over Kearse as if to avoid "unnecessary" contact that might result in a penalty. When I played years ago, DBs were taught to "finish off" by laying a hit on a ball carrier who was being held up by another defensive player, or putting a lick on any receiver in the vicinity of a live ball once it had been tipped.

That's one reason former pro football DBs had nicknames like "The Assasin" (Jack Tatum) and Fred "The Hammer" Williamson. Due to serious career-ending injuries and concussions from blind side hits, the NFL now flags those type of finishing-off plays... which is by and large a good thing. Still, the New England defensive back should have gone for the deflected ball.

Anyhow, my first reaction was Seattle would hand off the ball to Marshawn Lynch two or three times and pound it in for a game-winning TD. When he's in "Beast Mode" as they call it -- he's trademarked that phrase, apparently -- he does seem unstoppable. Everyone who follows pro football expected Lynch to get the ball. Except defensive backs and defensive coaches maybe. As a DB, I was taught my number one priority was ALWAYS to play for the pass first. Let the linemen and linebackers do their jobs. Cornerbacks and safeties have to look for the QB pulling a bootleg or play action pass.

With Russell Wilson at quarterback for the Seahawks, I have to think New England was half-expecting to see that on at least one of the four downs they had to work with. What shocked me though was New England Coach Bill Belichick didn't call any timeouts to preserve precious seconds in case Seattle did score a go-ahead TD. I also considered he might tell his defense to let Seattle score on second and one, which would give Tom Brady one more chance to win or tie the game with about 50 seconds left on the clock. It's been done before and worked.

Mind you, all these options and strategies, counter-strategies, gut feelings are going through the minds of two head coaches that have decades of real time game experience. Of course, we fans know better than they, right? I'll tell you this -- when Wilson threw on second down, my jaw dropped. I blurted out, "I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY DIDN'T GIVE IT TO LYNCH! WHAT A STUPID CALL!" I mean, I was sort of happy for Brady and New England. Still, the thing that dumbfounded me was not calling a pass play -- it was the specific pass pattern. A quick slant into the middle of the defense, which is already in a tight formation to stop the expected running play?

Had it been a fake hand-off to Lynch with Wilson having an option to bootleg or pass to a receiver on the outside, I would have said, good call. At worst, if the play isn't there, Wilson is smart enough and skilled enough to throw the ball out of bounds or eat it and call time out. Yeah, I know, I know... there are still people who will say no matter what, the smarter move would have been just to give Marshawn Lynch the ball and not overthink things.

Yet the reason Lynch and Seattle -- and New England -- had such great seasons, is precisely because their head coaches do a lot of  creative thinking and play-calling. Some of the loopholes Belichick exploited in past games with tricky offensive formations were considered "cheating" by some. Heck, when Coach Chow called Iosefa's trick jump pass play, did anyone in Aloha Stadium feel like it was a cheat? Fans want results, and how many times did UH fans grumble about our offense being too predictable (myself included) or giving it to Iosefa too many times.

Speaking of UH offensive play calls, I wish they would steal this one from New England: down inside the five-yard line, Edelman ran a pattern that is a nightmare for defensive backs to cover -- he made it look like a slant to the inside, then pivoted and broke outside. When I played in high school, we called it a button hook. Would love to see UH employ it with the QB rolling out to the same side. Tough to stop.

Getting back to Game Theory, the Star-Advertiser ran a New York Times article about the Seattle play call and how it made sense when you compare it to a game of Rock, Scissors, Paper or Jan Ken Po as locals refer to it. Here's a link to that piece. The Economist followed up with an interesting take on that piece, pointing out that it gets more complicated when you factor in how many "rounds" are being played -- or downs in this case -- and the time remaining in the game. It points out that in multiple rounds or downs, one play can be "signaling" what you may intend to do next -- or could be meant to deceive the opponent. You can read that article by clicking here.

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Due to high school sports, the weekend schedule for my Career Changers TV show is a bit out of whack. However,  you can watch the special segments we did on the CabaRAE show and cast by visiting the CCTV YouTube Channel. To get the optimum viewing experience, click on the icon that looks like a gear and make sure it's set to 720 -- it's not quite as good as high def TV, but better than the lower settings YouTube automatically uses.

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