The Change RevolutionTweet
Posted 3/7/14 at 2:56 PM | Phil Cooke
Many people have been asking to see more than the trailer, so I asked Paramount to let me post this video feature on the movie. It’s not very long, but it will give you more information on the film:
Posted 3/6/14 at 9:36 AM | Phil Cooke
Email drives us all nuts, but the fact is, it’s not going away anytime soon. So if we’re trying to get an important message across, it’s important our emails connect and make an impact. My advice?
Keep them short and to the point. Alexis Kleinman wrote a terrific story in The Huffington Post on how to write shorter emails that makes a lot of sense. Here’s a short summary of her story. Read it, because it will dramatically impact your effectiveness online. Here’s her 3 key ideas:
1. People don’t need as much background information as you think they do. It might seem essential to you, but it actually seems superfluous to the email recipient. They’d rather you get to the information and request more quickly, and then they can ask you to fill in any holes in their knowledge later. FULL POST
Posted 3/5/14 at 10:29 AM | Phil Cooke |
Over the years I’ve worked with literally hundreds of churches, ministries, and nonprofits. As part of that process, I’ve sat in more fundraising, donor development, and marketing meetings than I can count. After all those years and all that experience, I know two things:
1. Creating an enemy helps raise money.
2. Creating an enemy doesn’t necessarily help the cause.
Criticizing a community, industry, business, project, or idea will rally the troops. Protesting at abortion clinics will get people riled up. Boycotting a movie or business will build a mailing list. Launching a petition drive against something political will mobilize your people.
People rally against a perceived enemy. The question is, while it can raise money, as Christians, does it ultimately help the cause? Does being known as “The people who are against everything” help our long term goal of reaching the culture with the gospel? Does criticism really make people stop and take our message to heart?
I didn’t come up with it, but on this blog I’ve often used the example of missionaries. If criticism, petition drives, or boycotts worked to reach people, then why don’t missionaries do it? Let’s surround a local village, criticize their beliefs, and threaten to not buy anything from them until they convert. Will that win them to Christ? FULL POST
Posted 3/4/14 at 10:16 AM | Phil Cooke
It seems like every time a well-known pastor does a major news interview, or other visible Christian discusses their faith, appears in the secular press, or releases a controversial book, the Internet lights up with critics from the Christian community. We’re remarkably quick to “defend the faith” and point out why other believers have got it wrong or don’t see things as well as we do. (I especially like the online critics who do it behind a fake name.) I’m all for in-house discussions and debates – and even calling each other to account – but thanks to the Internet, the volume has risen so high, it wouldn’t be surprising if the secular world assumed we were splintering and falling apart. I honestly think our stand for Biblical truth would ring far louder if we showed more grace to those out there sharing their faith in difficult places. FULL POST
Posted 3/3/14 at 11:05 AM | Phil Cooke |
You’ve probably heard the controversy about the upcoming Paramount Pictures movie “Noah.” In the last few weeks, I’ve seen numerous blogs, social media posts, and commentaries on the movie – usually criticizing it and detailing how far it strays from an accurate Biblical portrayal. But as of this writing I’m one of only a handful of people who’ve actually seen the movie. Which is probably why I’m a bit bothered at the condemnations and protests from Christians who have never actually watched it. That’s why I felt compelled to write this post. Is the story an exact Biblical representation? No. For one thing, the Noah story in the Bible is remarkably short. We don’t know what happened inside the ark during the voyage. We don’t know what Noah was thinking. We don’t know the family dynamic. So the filmmakers added to the story. And honestly, there are “extra-Biblical” elements in the film. These are things that don’t line up with the Biblical account at all. If I had directed the film, I wouldn’t have added them, but this isn’t my film. FULL POST
Posted 2/25/14 at 10:24 AM | Phil Cooke
If you’re working on a career in the media or entertainment industry, but feel like you’ve hit a wall, I can relate. In nearly 3 decades working in Los Angeles, I’ve seen plenty of people zoom to the top, and others crash to the bottom. I’m not an “expert,” I’m an “observer,” so after all these years watching, here’s 3 things that just might help you make the leap:
1. Focus more on your skills, and less on the industry you’re involved in. I recently met a screenwriter here in Hollywood. She’s quite good and has been writing screenplays for ten years. She’s a very skilled writer, but up to this point hasn’t sold anything. For the last ten years she’s worked at Starbucks to support her writing, and continues, determined to eventually build a career. The issue is, she’s a really good writer, and I believe would do well writing books, working as a journalist, writing a blog, or working on staff somewhere as a professional writer. But she’s not interested. Because she’s so focused on a single industry (movies), she refuses to use her remarkable skills anywhere else. The lesson? Don’t wear blinders. Sure, keep working toward your dream, but focus less on a single industry, and explore how you could use your gifts and talents in other areas as well. FULL POST
Posted 2/24/14 at 10:29 AM | Phil Cooke
Hundreds of nonprofit organizations and religious ministries use fundraising videos to tell their story. It’s a powerful medium, and along with other projects, our team at Cooke Pictures produces fundraising and donor development videos for some of the largest nonprofits and ministries in the country. After years of producing these around the world, we’ve discovered some important keys to creating an impact with the audience. The next time your organization considers a promotional or donor video for your website or to show at a live event, here’s some important principles to remember:
1. Keep it short. Some studies indicate as many as 66% of viewers stop watching a video after the 2 minute mark. For a live presentation you have a captive audience, but even then I rarely produce anything longer than 4-6 minutes. Leave the audience wanting more. As a famous opera singer once said, “You need to stop singing before the audience has stopped listening.” FULL POST
Posted 2/20/14 at 3:34 PM | Phil Cooke |
Craig Detweiler, Ph.D. and Director of the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture at Pepperdine University spoke at the recent Lausanne Consultation on Media and Evangelism. He talked about the fact that social media platforms have created a generation of people who are experts at “underbragging.” In other words, bragging indirectly. In the church or ministry world you see it like this:
"Wow! 5,000 cars for today’s Sunday service. Praise God!" (Without the pastor posting how great he is or how awesome his service was, this is a good way to communicate it indirectly.)
"My publisher just told me my book is selling out! #shocked." (Good sales plug.)
"You guys rocked Pastor Appreciation Day. I was humbled." (Not quite humbled enough apparently.) FULL POST
Posted 2/19/14 at 7:57 PM | Phil Cooke
One of my favorite books from last year was Mason Curry’s Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. In the book he details the daily schedule of 161 artists, writers painters, thinkers, inventors, and all-around creative people. It features their quirks (Ben Franklin liked to be naked, Maya Angelou can only write in motels, and more). It’s a fascinating read, and will definitely impact your own daily creative schedule. While there’s a wealth of information in the book (I highly recommend it), here’s two critically important things I learned:
1. Seriously creative people don’t work at random. They’re slaves to routine. The vast majority of artists, writers, and other creatives featured in the book had a set schedule EVERY DAY and they kept to it. Some didn’t even deviate from the schedule on weekends or holidays. The routine was so important to their creative process, they rarely let anything interrupt. FULL POST
Posted 2/19/14 at 12:52 PM | Phil Cooke |
There are many churches today that are shooting their worship services, concerts, and other events with multiple cameras. Whether you have a broadcast media ministry or not, it’s not unusual to use multiple cameras and switch them live for the IMAG screens, DVD sales, or eventual TV broadcasts. But in more and more churches and ministries, I’m seeing a disturbing trend that devalues the multi-camera director. Sometimes it’s the lowest paid employee, other times it’s a volunteer, and too often, it’s the guy who just shows up. Unless your volunteer is experienced, works in TV during the week, or knows his stuff, any one of those choices is a huge mistake.
The director in multi-camera shooting is an extremely critical component of the program. Here’s why:
1. The director makes the decisions on camera angles, zoom lengths, and framing. Once that’s captured, that can’t be changed, so it’s critical that those decisions are made live in the moment. FULL POST