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‘Or Die Trying’ Webseries Empowering Millennials

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Or Die Trying Series

Inspiring millennials across the nation, Or Die Trying is sharing a story about four women living in Hollywood pursuing their dreams in the entertainment industry. In this exclusive interview, they reveal the truth about LA, crowdfunding, and feminism. The passion behind the webseries stem from the lives of the creator Myah Hollis and producer Sarah Hawkins. They are the masterminds behind Or Die Trying, and this is how they’re doing it.

 

What is Or Die Trying about?

MH: Or Die Trying is about four millennial women living and working in Hollywood. When it comes to their careers in the entertainment industry, they know what they want and they have an idea of what it will take to get there, but they struggle with making all of the pieces of their lives mesh seamlessly. While they’re strong in one area, they’re lacking in another. It’s a story about their journeys as they develop as women and try to come to some type of equilibrium, while not compromising who they are in the process.

Tell me about the characters.

MH: Amelia Tinsley is a journalist, struggling with her identity and her sense of purpose, and trying to get herself back on track. Bailey Rosenberg is a comedian who is totally in tune with who she is and what she wants, but is having opposing expectations forced on her by her mother who wants her to live more traditionally. Ellie Hansen is an indie actress who is disinterested in the idea of fame at the expense of art, even though she’s constantly being pressured to “sell out.” Raegan Thomas is the creator and co-showrunner of a TV show who, although she’s doing very well professionally, is dealing with things in her personal life, and she doesn’t really have the ability to compartmentalize the two. Each character is trying to achieve a sense of balance between two dueling aspects of their lives.

How did you ladies meet?

SH: Myah and I met a few years ago in Philly where we both lived and worked. We both made the leap to LA within months of each other in 2013, Myah moving here for writing, and I sought to pursue acting. Being friends and fellow film industry ladies, we wanted to create something together that we could call our own, as if you wait for the perfect role or opportunity to come to you, you’re never going to find it. We’ve been work wives ever since!

Why LA?

SH: Los Angeles is like Mecca for artists and those striving to put one’s dreams into fruition. Most everyone is here with purpose, and that alone can be incredibly infectious. Who wouldn’t want to feed off that type of energy every day?

MH: If you’re seriously pursuing a career in TV or film, this is the heart of the industry. It’s where you need to be. It also helps that it’s sunny all year and there’s a ton of sushi.

What is your day to day like?

MH: Every day is hectic in its own way, but not extremely exciting to be honest. It’s just a marathon of checking things off of checklists, chugging gallons of caffeine and trying not to sink into the warm comfort of an unproductive Netflix binge.

SH: I’m not sure I can really echo Myah’s sentiments enough on the coffee bit. Coffee in an IV and an obscene mountain of emails.

What inspires you?

SH: My fellow women in film. I feel like there is such community within our little network that is just pure of heart and down to earth, so much that at times it can kick your own ego-butt every now and then. This industry can be just absolutely brutal, but when I see like-minded, passionate, badass women who just want to help level each other up, I get incredibly motivated to do the same and progress the conversation further.

MH: I think I’m most inspired by the statistical improbability that I should be successful as a writer in this industry. When I first decided that I would pursue this instead of going down one of the many roads that would lead me to a stable job, I was very aware of the fact this is something that I should fail at. More people fail than succeed, that’s just a fact. You know this going in but you do it anyway. The idea of being successful despite those odds is what drives me.

Or Die Trying Cast

Why a story about women?

MH: There aren’t enough stories about women told by women. There’s a unique perspective that’s missing in Hollywood because women are not telling our own stories, therefore the stories that are being told are not representing us properly. It’s a systemic problem that will only change if we make it our responsibility to create more complex, realistic female characters.

Who are some of your role models? Why?

MH: Shonda Rhimes is my main professional role model, for reasons that feel really obvious to me but I’ll just go ahead and lay them out. She has knocked down so many barriers and has become the epitome of a woman building her own empire and playing by her own rules. She has beat the odds in every way, and that’s really inspiring. My role models in my personal life are my parents and my family and close friends. I’m just surrounded by so many strong, resilient and talented people, it’s insane.

SH: Amy Sherman-Palladino for the creation of Gilmore Girls, which is probably some of the best feminist writing on TV and on a personal level, my dad. He has been a huge influence on my career as an actor and as a producer, and is a constant source of inspiration.

What advice can you give to people chasing their dreams in LA?

SH: Find your “person(s)”. LA can be extremely lonely and competitive if you let it. Surround yourself with people who push you to be better, to think outside of yourself, to keep the end goals in perspective when the day-to-day gets muddled and messy. That’s what I love most about Myah’s & I’s relationship. She keeps me in check and we push on together.

MH: Don’t listen to people, listen to your instincts. Listen to your gut. Succeeding in this city takes stamina. Only you know when you’ve had enough. Don’t stop going after what you want until you’re sure you don’t want it anymore.

How did crowdfunding through Seed & Spark help you?

SH: Seed&Spark was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. Crowdfunding is never easy, but the folks at Seed&Spark vet you and prepare you on a level that is incredibly empowering. Really cool filmmakers came out of the woodwork to support us, not only financially but with loans of goods, services, promotions, etc. Our project became a community through Seed&Spark, and we’re excited to continue to build that village through production this October.

How are you trying to make your audience feel?

MH: I don’t ever want to tell people what they should feel. I’m kind of a psych nerd, so I can get a little hippie-dippie at times, but I really think that everyone is at a different point in their lives and different things resonate with you depending on what you’re experiencing at the time. I just want people to be able to empathize on some level, but whatever feelings our show ignites is fine with me as long as they’re engaged.

What is your message to your audience?

MH: You have to trust your instincts, regardless of the backlash that may cause. You also have to be willing to put in the work to become whoever it is you want to be, both professionally and personally. Those are the main things that I want people to walk away with. Other than that, I just hope people take what they need from it and that they’re both inspired and entertained.

What sort of person is going to love the show?

SH: We sought to really hone in on our fellow millennial women in film, because they are our community, our niche; the ambitious, driven women who know what they want and are actively doing everything they can to make it happen. I know ODT echoes universal truths far beyond that demographic, that dreams are worth fighting for, and given by the reaction to our trailer, our Seed&Spark Campaign, and other press, I can’t wait to see who latches on to it, as both men and women alike have been extremely anxious and excited for us to get it out there.

Or Die Trying Myah Hollis

What was the happiest moment?

MH: Finishing the scripts was a huge relief. I tend to pick at them compulsively until they’re exactly the way I see it in my head, so when they were officially locked in and ready to go I felt like I could finally breathe.

SH: For me, it’s the seeing the community we are beginning to build with Or Die Trying. A distinct moment was at our ODT Networking Party, and looking out into the crowd to see all the amazing people who not only came out to support our series, but came out to connect with fellow filmmakers and level each other up by networking with one another. It was so cool to witness!

How has pursuing Or Die Trying affected your lives?

MH: It’s completely dominated the past year and a half of my life. Everything has revolved around this project for so long, that I don’t really remember what I was doing with my days before. It’s also made me really confident in my abilities as a writer and producer, and very thankful to be surrounded by such talented and creative people every day.

SH: Same! ODT on the brain 24/7.

What struggles are women facing today?

SH: I’m going to chunk this down to women in film because there are some pretty wild problems outside of this industry women have been and are currently fighting against. To put it plainly, there is unequal opportunity for women behind and infront of the camera, unequal pay above and below the line, and very little movement to illuminate the female perspective onscreen.

Would you consider yourselves feminists?

SH:  Yes. Men and women are equals, it’s time our society reflects it. Feminism shouldn’t be a dirty word.

MH: I honestly don’t understand how you can not be a feminist. There are negative implications about what feminism is, but it’s very simply the belief that women are equal to men in every capacity. I can’t believe that’s something that we’re still debating as a society.

How do you feel about the film industry today?

SH: I think we are in a unique time where collaboration and creation is becoming increasingly more welcome than competition. So much of this industry is cut-throat, but when it comes down to actually bringing a project into fruition on the indie level, I believe most people are in it for the right reasons. Maybe that’s naive of me to say, but at the very least, that’s been our experience with ODT. Everyone just wants to be apart of something bigger than themselves, and I believe our series speaks to that.

What obstacles have you faced?

SH: The proverbial “no,” and learning that it has no real merit on you or what you’re capable of achieving.

MH: The great thing about building your own projects and creating your own opportunities is that you don’t face many obstacles that you can’t overcome. There are always logistics that need to be figured out, but the fact that you’re not waiting for someone to tell you what you can or can’t do eliminates a lot of that hesitation and stress that can hinder you in this industry.

Who would you like to work with in the future?

MH: Shonda.

SH: Jill Soloway.

Is there anything you want to highlight?

SH: We’re headed into production of Or Die Trying this October, but you can stay tuned on our progress at odtseries.com and on social media @ODT_series and at #odtseries

 

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Business

170 Questions to Ask A Client Before You Begin Your Campaign

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Confused about what type of questions to a prospect in the crazy world of tech?

Well, worry no more! We decided to give you our 170 questions that we ask our clients, before we begin working with them. Now, we don’t ask every question, because let’s be honest, we would be here for several hours before we get all of the answers. Choose your questions wisely and add your company’s culture into how you ask your questions!

If you’d like to add more onto this list, feel free to comment below or email us your additions.

 

Current Website Questions

– What is the purpose of your current website?

– Are there any aspects of your current website that you love?

– Are there any aspects of your current website that you hate?

– Is there anything on the current website that needs to be removed entirely?

– Is there anything on the current website that must absolutely stay?

– Do you have multiple locations?

– Where are they located?

– Do you offer different products or services per location?

– What is your business’s unique value proposition (UVP)?

– What are the services you want to highlight on your website?

– Why do visitors currently come to my website?

– Is your website easy to navigate and is it easy to find information?

– Are your current website visitors being converted into sales?

– Are competitors’ websites more functional and have they recently been redesigned?

– Does the content on my website deliver the right message?

– Is your website a good representation of your business?

– Does your current website instill trust and confidence?

– Is it easy to update your website?

– Are visitors who come to your website being tracked and analyzed?

– Does your current website make it easy for website visitors to contact you?

– What tools and apps do you use to run your business?

 

Website Redesign Questions

– Why do you want a new website?

– Do you have a proposed sitemap prepared?

– In an ideal world, what do you want your website to become?

– What are your specific goals for your new website that will help indicate if your investment is profitable?

– How quickly do you want to achieve these goals?

– Is there anything that you would like to have included in the new website that you lack currently?

– Will your copy need to be reviewed and approved by legal and compliance?

– Will your legal team need to create the privacy policy for the site?

– At the end of this project, how do you qualify it as a success?

 

Competitive Analysis Questions

– Who are your top seven competitors?

– What about these companies makes then stand apart from others?

– What elements of these companies and/or their online activity would you like to model after

in your redesign?

– What do you currently like about your competitors websites?

– What do you hate about your competitors websites?

– What are some sites that you like the style of, features, and functionality of?

 

Branding Questions

– Do you have brand guidelines?

– If not, do you need help putting this together?

– What are the brand guidelines?

– Are there any color preferences for the new website?

– Do you have the hex codes for your current brand colors?

– Have you created buyer personas?

– If you did; how many do you have and will we need to set up conversion funnels for each persona?

  • Do you have a site architecture completed?

– Do certain products and/or services speak to different type of clients?

– What differentiates your product or service from your competition

– Is there any legacy on your current website?

– Do you currently have duplicate content on your site?

– What types of content will you publish on the site?

– How do plan to market the website once it is launched?

– What are some images that relate to your business?

– Will you be updating and reusing content and/or images from your current website?

– Do you need help creating new visual components for your website?

– What are some visual components that you’d like to add to your website?

– Do you have a tag line?

– What is your elevator pitch?

– Do you have a mission statement?

– What differentiates your company from your competitors?

 

Sales, Marketing, and Advertising Questions

– Do you have a documented content strategy?

– What types of marketing are you currently involved in or practice on a regular basis?

– Why kind of ads will you be running? (Google, Facebook, native, display, search)

– Do you have a current advertising budget?

When it comes to marketing (in general), what are your biggest challenges?

– When it comes to obtaining qualified leads, what are your biggest challenges?

– When it comes to closing leads, what are your biggest challenges?

– Are there any short-term or long-term goals that need to be considered in the website redesign?

– What social media elements would you like integrated?

– Do you need a subscription option or other offer?

– Will you be blogging on your website?

– Who will be blogging on your website?

– When do you see the most customers go to your website?

– Do you currently use marketing automation software?

– Do you use email marketing, landing page, or other tools on your site?

– Do you use a CRM to store sales and customer information?

– What is the target demographic of your website visitors?  Are there specific sectors, industry segments, company sizes, geography that needs to be focused on more than others?

– Would you like to personalize content so that the content shown is targeted and relevant for different types of visitors?

– Do you create ebooks, white papers, and other resources are placed behind a form?

– Do you send email marketing communications?

– What types of emails do you send to subscribers, prospects, leads, and customers?

– Do you want automated emails to be triggered by actions customers take on your website?

– Do you want the ability to create, edit, and publish landing pages and site pages?

– Would you like to run predictive lead scoring every few months to automatically determine the properties and weight of each factor to create a lead score?

– Have you performed A/B tests of your landing pages and calls-to-action to increase clickthrough rates?

 

Lead Generation and Contact Page Questions

– How do you currently track leads on your website?

– How do you want to collect customer information?

– Are you comfortable with having your phone number on your website?

– What is the email address you want on your website?

– Can you speak to your customer experience?

– How does a user become a customer of yours on your current website?

– Do you currently include relevant call-to-actions on content posts?

– Do you collect information from visitors and store this in a CRM or use it to inform marketing efforts?

– What fields do you currently or want to include on forms?

– Do you use call tracking to track online campaigns?

 

SEO Questions

– Do you need assistance with search engine optimization?

– When was the last time you reviewed your website was optimized?

– Do you have someone who can review content for SEO best practices, internally?

– Do you have someone who can create unique meta titles and descriptions per page or blog post, internally?

– Do you have a Google Analytics account?

– Do you have a Google Webmaster Tools or Bing Webmaster Tools account?

– Based on what you know right now, what keywords or phrases would “you” use to search for your products and/or service offering?

– What search terms are your competitors targeting?

– Of the words you just listed, which ones would you like to target with the new website?

– Do you have existing content that can support these keywords or phrases?

– Does your existing website and content rank for these phrases?

– What are your top performing keywords?

– What are your most trafficked pages on your website?

– Which site pages rank high in SERPs?

– What percentage of visits are from organic sources?

– What percentage of traffic are referrals from other sites?

– Which referral channel gives your website the most traffic?

– What percentage of traffic is from social media sites?

– What percentage of traffic is from email marketing?

– What percentage of traffic is from direct or people who type your URL into the search bar?

– What percentage of traffic is from mobile devices?

– What percentage of traffic is from tablet devices?

– What sources — social, referral, organic, etc. — generate traffic from mobile and tablet users?

– How many landing pages do you have?

– What are your top performing landing pages?

– What are your top performing blog posts?

– How many visits does your site get each month?

– How many page views does your site get each month?

– How many leads do you generate each month?

–  How long do people typically spend on your website?

– What is the bounce rate for your site?

– What is the average amount of sales generated by your site each month?

– What is the page load time of your site?

– How many inbound links are pointing to your current site?

– Is your current site optimized for mobile users?

 

Reporting Questions

– Do you like data?

– What types of reports and data would you like to receive from our team?

– Do you prefer phone call reporting?

– Would you like to receive reports via PDF’s?

– Would you like the reports to be converted into videos?

 

Website Functionality Questions (UX and UI)

– Will you require a responsive design (adapts automatically to mobile devices)?

– How often will you be updating the content on your site?

– What functional requirements are needed within the new website?

– Is there any specific feature that is needed for your website?

– Do you want users to be able to comment on blog posts and other types of content?

– Do you need to integrate chat features?

– Will you need an internal search engine for your site?

– Do you plan to post audio/video files to the site?

– Do you have a video hosting service or will you be uploading videos to Vimeo or YouTube to embed videos on your site?

– Will you need people to log in on the site either with a username and password or by using social logins?

– Will users need the ability to post product reviews?

– Do you want people to be able to share content from your website?

– Will visitors have to enter credit card information and other personal details on any section of the website?

– Do you plan to sell anything through your website?

 

Development and Hosting Questions

– Who is your current website host?

– If switching hosting companies, do you know where your DNS is controlled?

– Do you have any and all logins?

– Hosting

– Domain name

– Website

– Where is your site currently hosted?

– Do you know the current level of hosting you have?

– Do you have or need an SSL certificate?

– Do you have specific accessibility requirements? (Possibilities include, larger text, language conversion, blind accessible)

– Will your site need to announce that they use cookies?

– Do you have an existing content management system you prefer or would you like our suggestions on the proper CMS?

 

Project and Budget Questions

– What is your budget for this project?

– What is your yearly budget for website improvements?

– What is you desired kick off date?

– Who all is responsible for reviewing and providing feedback on the site?

– Who will give final approval for the site prior to launch?

– Who will be managing the site once it’s completed?

– Will you require training on how to properly maintain the site?

At Owners Magazine, we care deeply about creating an incredible experience for our customers. What better way to get to know our clients than to ask them fun questions? The world of business can be so serious and with the way our society is becoming, we decided to throw a wrench into your average questions.

DISCLAIMER: These questions don’t work for every company. It all depends on your company culture and how your customers view you.

 

Get To Know Your Clients Better

– At which store would you like to max-out your credit card?

– If you could have one super power, what would it be?

– If you could be one character in any movie, Tv show, cartoon, who would you be?

– What movie title describes your life?

– What is your favorite TV show?

– What is your favorite video game?

– If you could choose one Pokemon that relates to your personality, who would it be?

– Do you have any nerdy addictions?

– Have you ever refitted an item, and if so, what did you regift?

– What’s the strangest talent you have?

– Do you have any nicknames?

– Which way does your toilet paper hang on the wall – over or under?

– What is that one song on you’re afraid to admit that you like?

– What are three things still left on your bucket list?

– If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

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Business

What To Do When Your Brain Is Fried

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We’ve all been there before. A great creative week where ideas are flowing endlessly, inspiration and great feelings abound. You feel like you’re breezing through and galloping towards the finish line. Then you come in one day and spend hours and hours staring blankly at your computer screen. For writers, it’s writer’s block, while others simply refer to it as a fried brain.

If you’re struggling to think coherently or if you feel like there are no ideas or clear thoughts coming from your brain you may be suffering from mental fatigue. This can occur anytime to anyone and can hamper your productivity. For most people their first step is to get a caffeine fix. But this might not be the only way to beat a fried brain. Here are some great examples on how you can get your brain to work again.

Take A Walk

According to a study conducted in Edinburgh Scotland, taking a quick walk can help combat mental fatigue. The study hooked 12 people to a portable ECG machine that measured their brainwave patterns that can be used to gauge excitement, frustration, arousal and more. The participants were asked to walk through a predetermined route around Edinburgh through busy shopping districts and green spaces. ECG readings of the participants showed that walking through green spaces reduced feelings of frustration indicating a reduction in stress levels. Richard Coyne, PhD and one of the authors of the study states that taking a walk through a park reduces cognitive overload and can help you overcome your fried brain.

Think Positively

When the brain is stressed, it has problems sending signals from the amygdala – the brain’s center for emotions, emotional behavior and motivation – to the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for higher level thinking. However, focusing on positive thoughts like your plans for the upcoming weekend or even quitting time can help lower stress levels thereby increasing the flow of information to your prefrontal cortex. This means happy thoughts can help you think clearly again.

Go On Youtube

Did you know that YouTube has the same calming effect as taking a walk around the park? Studies show that humor has a very positive and relaxing effect on the brain so when you’re feeling as if your brain is fried, hit Youtube and look for humorous clips from Jimmy Kimmel, Carpool Karaoke from James Corden, or Jimmy Fallon. Or if you’re looking for something more inspiration look for FunForLouis, Casey Neistat, or Gary Vaynerchuck. The videos won’t only help your brain “laugh,” but also increase your motivation and perseverance so that stress is decreased and you regain mental clarity and health.

Sleep

The brain gets tired too. Although it never really goes to sleep, sleeping helps the brain slow down so that it essentially takes a break from thinking and just focus on bodily functions and repairing your body after taking a beating from stress. Switching off can help you forget about what’s keeping you stressed at least for the night and give you energy to tackle problems tomorrow. When the brain is rested you might see your problem in a new light and give you new angles on how to best tackle it.

Fatigue, slow mental response, irritability and finding it harder to perform are some of the signs of a fried brain. Giving your brain a break from time to time will not only keep you from burning out physically but mentally as well. Finding ways to relax your poor exhausted brain will help you in the long run too.

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Business

Business Insurance And Why You Need It

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business insurance

Business insurance is a requirement that you should not ignore even if you are in a low-risk workplace. For certain business sectors such as healthcare industries, mechanical workshops or amusement parks, getting a liability insurance is essential. Finding the best insurance can be a challenging and complicated process, but it is better to get an insurance coverage. Disasters happen, and you need an authorized protection to save you from severe economic loss.

Why is business insurance necessary?

If you start a business and employ some people, you need to have business insurance. It is a legal requirement. The insurance coverage varies from one country to another. Almost all countries have made it compulsory for the companies to get a liability insurance. You may think that your business is small and has less risk. You can also think that you can afford the losses your companies might face. The business experts always advise getting a proper insurance for every kind of business. There can be natural disasters like floods or earthquakes. Fire accidents and thefts are not the only risks. Your business can incur massive losses due to disruption of work. There can be cash crunch, skilled labor crisis, road work, police barricades and criminal acts too. You should consider all the aspects before buying an insurance coverage for your company.

General Liability Insurance

Almost all trades have some liabilities. So, a general liability insurance is essential. Before you hire some employees for your business, get a liability insurance first. Your company becomes the ‘employer.’ It becomes a legal need if you wish to make your business a limited company. If any of your staff falls ill or faces any fatal accident during working hours, your company becomes liable. You need to discuss with your insurance broker about the amount of liability insurance cover your business needs. If there is any death because of their work in your company, you need to arrange appropriate compensation. So, you should avoid any expense trimming while buying insurance for the company.

Professional Liability Insurance

It is also known as errors & omissions (E&O) insurance. This is not a one-size-fits-all insurance. Each industry has different concerns while running the business. So, you need customized coverage for your business. The professional liability insurance protects the business from the claims that the company was negligent in performing their services accurately. When you buy the E&O insurance, make sure you appoint an attorney for your company who can defend the lawsuits filed against the company.

Property Insurance

Property Insurance is a must when you run a business. Be it your own building or leased property, you need coverage. This insurance covers your business inventory, equipment, signage, and furniture from any losses due to fire, storm or burglary. Home based businesses still do not get much coverage from property insurance. You need to ask your insurer for extra coverage.

Product insurance

Apart from the above-mentioned insurance policies, you should get an additional product insurance to cover your manufacturing business. It covers any loss due to manufacturing, distributing and retailing hitches.

Buying insurance for your business is complex. You need a trustworthy insurer. Every business needs a unique package based on the requirements of the company. You should always review your insurance policies and keep them in active status.

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