by Bob Bertsch, MFLN Network Literacy, email@example.comWhen we started planning the 2018 MFLN Virtual Conference on cultural competency, a couple of issues came to mind. Well, actually, a lot of issues came to mind, but let’s focus on just two.First, we wanted to engage conference participants in conversation about cultural competency. This is nothing new for the MFLN. We strive to spark a conversation in each of our webinars and learning experiences. We want to engage you in an exchange of experiences that enhances your work and encourages your professional growth, but some experiences are easier to share than others, and conversations about some topics are more difficult than others. Cultural competency is a difficult topic. We wondered if conference participants would be ready to share their experiences or if fear of judgement or of saying the “wrong” thing might hold them back.Second, we recognized that cultural competence is not something you simply acquire. It’s not something that can be gained over the course of 3 days. As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration put it, “Developing cultural competence is an evolving, dynamic process that takes time and occurs along a continuum.” In other words, it’s a journey. We wondered how we could extend and enhance the Virtual Conference into a learning experience that could launch or re-launch you on your cultural competence journey.Here’s what we came up with.“Storytelling for Cultural Competence” is a learning experience that will help you get started on your cultural competence journey, get the most out of the 2018 Virtual Conference, and carry you forward.The experience is made up of four parts.The Personal Storytelling Journal (available now)This guided journaling experience encourages self-knowledge (an important part of cultural competence), cultivates empathy and connection, and provides a space to practice the vulnerability and authenticity required for cultural conversation. It was designed as a pre-conference activity to prepare you for the 2018 MFLN Virtual Conference, but it can be started or completed at any time.The Virtual Conference Journal (available now)This short journal will help deepen your Virtual Conference experience. It has space for notes and reflections for each conference session with “guiding questions” and quotations provided by the conference presenters.The Advocacy Action Plan (coming soon)In this guided experience you’ll learn new strategies, set personal goals for change and continue your cultural competence journey.The Storytelling for Cultural Competence Discussion Forum (available now)This forum is a private and safe space for registered users to share their thoughts as they work through the learning experience.We hope you’ll join us for any part or all of this experience, because when it comes to cultural competence, we all have something to teach and we all have something to learn. We believe peer support, practice and shared experience can change the way we think and act, and by changing the way we think and act, we can deliver more effective support and care to those we serve.You can join the Storytelling for Cultural Competence experience now!
Follow these tips for low budget filmmaking! Proof that amazing production value can still be achieved on a shoestring budget!In the current age of low-cost production equipment and instant online distribution, there’s more independent filmmakers than ever before. Recently, two great posts were written on the subject of low-budget independent filmmaking – both putting forth their own 10 top tip list for shooting low-budget movies. Although these tips are geared for the independent filmmaker, it’s imperative reading for any video professional.Microbudget Filmmaking With A Crew of 2Canadian Director Ken Simpson creates incredible low-budget independent films. His latest, The Rise and Fall of Mickey, was shot over 9 days with a budget of $1,200 CDN. After viewing the film (see embed below) you’ll likely be impressed that such high quality work was achieved for such a small price – but that’s not the most incredible thing. The crew for the independent film consisted of 2, only Simpson (the director) and Alex Dacev (the cinematographer). Whoa.ChrisJonesBlog.com recently sat down with Simpson to get insight into how he pulled it off. A few takeaways include:Keeping your crew lean to stay agileCreate a detailed shot list to maximize efficiency.Keep a minimal (and mobile!) equipment setup.Cheat shots to save shooting times (awesome details on his use of French reverses)ADR and Foley for clean sound and efficient shootingGet all the details on Ken’s tips for micro-budget shooting success.SXSW: Tips for Shooting Low-Budget FilmsAt the 2012 SXSW Film Festival, a panel of successful cinematographers sat down to discuss their tips and challenges of shooting low-budget independent film. Filmmaker Magazine compiled their top ten list of ways to improve the technical side of the independent filmmaking process. It’s largely applicable to still photographers as well. Discover how to use your gear to get the highest production value possible. A few of the main points:Use your camera and lenses to create the mood and character of your film.Ambient lighting is key for locations – especially if you’re without a big lighting budgetConsiderations for shooting flat vs. coloring in-cameraKeep focused on focusKeep your lighting setup simpleEmbrace what you can’t changeDiscover the top ten shooting tips for low-budget movies from SXSW.
This tutorial by video pro Caleb Pike showcases an inexpensive dual light setup, his favorite tool for lighting interviews.When Caleb Pike from DSLRVideoShooter has a recommendation, we listen. In the following video he shows off a simple homemade lighting rig that’s both affordable, versatile and easy to use.Utilizing a C-Stand with a double (or triple) header bar you can mount two lights on the same stand. This makes for a quick setup that’s easy to adjust position. Caleb them mounts a silk in front of the lights (which in the case of the tutorial is an inexpensive light reflector). He estimates cost of the whole setup between $300 and $800 depending on the lights you choose to use.The tutorial finishes out with Caleb showing a few interview examples that were shot using this lighting setup (even light that really makes the subjects ‘pop’).Thanks for sharing your lighting setup, Caleb!
Classic motion graphic design is displayed in The History of the Title Sequence.In a world of After Effects and Cinema 4D it’s easy to forget how much effort and creativity it took to create motion graphics in a non-digital environment. In his graduate project, motion graphics artist Jurjen Versteeg takes us on a fictitious journey through The History of the Title Sequence and creatively encapsulates the essence of some of the most popular motion graphic designers of the 20th century. The video was created in 2011, but we missed it upon it’s release and thought it too good not share.It should be noted that the entire film was shot over the course of 1 day. Jarjen used a small camera crane to shoot over his shoulder so his hands could be in the shot. The film is a great example of what can be achieved if you have a great idea and put in the necessary pre-production. The following video shows a behind the scenes look at the making of the short film.What do you think of The History of the Title Sequence? Is there anything you would have done differently? Comment below.
Bringing your RED RAW footage into Adobe Premiere Pro? Follow these tips for success.Film and video productions are often based on fast turn arounds. Nothing can slow you down more than a rocky workflow. Luckily if you’re editing in Premiere you can natively work with RAW footage file types to help bring flexibility and stability to your workflow.Many filmmakers (myself included) delayed making the move from DSLRs to RED cameras because of the R3D RAW file type. There was a large amount of misinformation out there in regards to working with RED footage. However since the release of Premiere Pro CS6 Adobe has given filmmakers the ability to import and work natively with R3D RAW.In the past, working natively with RED footage would have been a challenge to say the least, but with the flexibility of Premiere Pro the days of transcoding are gone. The following resources should help all those wanting to make the move to RED cameras but are feeling weary about the workflow. Also we’ll share a few tips on shooting with RED cameras to save you time in post.IMPORT FOOTAGE USING PREMIERE PRO and REDCINE-X PROImporting R3D RAW footage into Premiere is actually a simple process. To help your learn this process Dan with RED.com has posted a quick tutorial on this very topic. He runs through the simple import process, editing the Source Settings as well as working with RED Meta Data (RMD) processing between Premiere and REDCine-X Pro.Also, here is a great video from Edit Cellar on the best way to import R3D RAW footage with extended clips into Premiere CC.SCRATCH-TRACK AUDIOThis quick tip can not be stressed enough: by capturing scratch-track audio your time in Premiere won’t be wasted by hand syncing audio (a very time-consuming process. Remember that RED cameras DO NOT record scratch-track audio natively like DSLRs, but they do however have mic inputs into the camera. You can effectively use these lines in to capture your scratch-track audio.UK based Director and Cinematographer Daniel John Peters has a great article on his website that gives you a little insight on what gear to use when you want to capture scratch-track audio with a RED Scarlet or Epic. Now with your scratch-track audio (and captured audio from a field recorder) you can use software like Red Giant’s Pluraleyes to automatically sync, streamlining your process.HAVING THE RIGHT HARDWAREWith Premiere Pro CS5 Adobe began using the Mercury Playback Engine (MPE). This engine enhances your render processing and playback options in Premiere, as well as After Effects. In order to run this engine you need the right hardware – check out this helpful system requirement guide from Adobe which includes a list of compatible MPE video cards. STORAGE, STORAGE, STORAGEThe final tip doesn’t directly relate to Premiere but it is incredibly important when working with R3D RAW – don’t underestimate your storage needs. When editing a film that is comprised of R3D RAW footage it’s going to require a LOT of data storage. In most cases double the size that you are accustomed to.Evan Luzi with TheBlackandBlue has a great article on the hidden cost of data storage when using a RED camera. Also, check out our previous post on the best external hard drive storage options for video editing.Have you been using Premiere Pro with RED? Leave your workflow tips in the comments!
Skimping on location can leave your film feeling amateurish and cheap. Here’s how you can get A-list locations for next to nothing![Above image from StarScream on Wikicommons]Production value is one of the most important elements during my filmmaking process, as having a film that looks high-end not only helps to connect with the viewers more effectively, but also keeps the perceived value of the project higher. This is key when it comes time to sell or license the film.Filmmakers today clearly understand the importance of production value, which is why the Internet just about explodes every time a new camera is released…but ironically there is such little emphasis often placed on the locations and in my opinion, it really shows. Personally, I would rather shoot a film on a less capable camera but use incredible locations. So if you’re like me, and understand the importance of production value – read on to hear my tips for getting great locations on a budget.Don’t Be Afraid to AskNo matter what you’re shooting, chances are some (if not all) of the locations may be available to you through friends and family. You need to be careful about going down this road, as you don’t want to simply use locations out of convenience. After all your best friend’s apartment might not look like the luxury condo that you wrote into your script. But when there is a location that you need, and that a friend or family member has access to – then ask! The worst thing that will happen is that they say no, but in a best case scenario you just landed a killer location for free. And remember to never take advantage of the situation. Giving them a credit on the film, or taking them out for dinner can go a long way, so always pay it forward.Strategic PartnershipsIn a lot of shooting scenarios, you can likely offer a product placement (or credit) to a location or business that may be willing to help. For example, if you need to shoot in that luxury condo I mentioned above, you might be able to contact real estate developers or agents that will let you shoot in one of their properties in exchange for a credit on your film. If your film is in any way substantial, you truly will be doing them a favor as well, so try to think outside the box and think of what businesses or business owners might be willing to help in exchange for easy publicity.Free Permit AreasFor exterior locations, permits are always the biggest hurdle, as many public areas can cost thousands of dollars a day to shoot in. The good news (and something that I only learned a couple years back) is that there are actually loads of areas that don’t charge for film permits.When I shot my first feature for example, I had my heart set on some locations in a rural town that would have looked incredible for the context of my story. After looking into it and initially becoming discouraged as a result of the high permit fees, I realized there was another option. Just down the road was the county line, and if I was able to just shift the location a few streets over I could avoid having to pay for permits entirely. This is something that you really need to look into, as you would probably be surprised to learn that a lot of fantastic locations can be had for nothing at all. You will still need production insurance in order to get the free permit, but if you do your homework you might just score some amazing exteriors for free.Guerilla ShootingI’ve shot a lot of my work guerrilla style (meaning with no permits) as sometimes you just have no other option. While some areas offer free permits, there will be times that you want to shoot in a very specific location and there is no free option that you can sub out for it. In these situations you might want to consider shooting guerrilla style. In a lot of cases, scenes can be reworked to avoid overly complex setups or heavy dialogue. If you’re in a tough situation, consider trimming your scene down a bit and getting some high production value shots by going guerilla. Just be sure that if you cut any important moments out of those scenes (in order to achieve them more easily without a permit), that you work them back into the script somewhere else.Also, proceed with caution as shooting guerrilla style can lead you to get your gear and footage confiscated, and you can also get fined. So be careful and be ready to deal with the consequences if they arise. Shoot ‘guerilla style’ at your own risk!Shoot Out of TownI would bet that a lot of you that are reading this live in LA, New York or another major city. Pretty much every major city (especially LA and NYC) are very in the know about film productions, and as such it is much harder to shoot in a metropolis. In major cities so many of the people that you will talk to about shooting (business owners, home owners, etc.) have already been through the ringer, and in some cases got burned. So they are unlikely to let you do it, unless you’re paying them the big bucks. For these reasons, shooting out of town could be a really great option, especially on a feature or any other project that requires loads of different locations. In smaller cities and towns, people are generally far more open to filmmakers as they see it as something exciting and fun, as opposed to a possible threat to their property.
Want more content on film techniques? Then check out these articles from PremiumBeat.7 Iconic Cinematography TechniquesProper Green Screen Tips and TechniquesFilmmaking Tip – Shooting Night Exteriors on a BudgetDid these tips help you at all? Will you use any of them when you go into your next outdoor shoot? Have any other tips to add? Let us know in the comments below. 2. Use the sun as a backlight.You can utilize the sun to backlight your character and give them that highly sought after edge light. Just wait for the sun to lower toward the horizon and hit record. This type of shot is really popular in wedding videos, but can also be seen quite a bit in Hollywood films.In fact, there is a great shot in the feature film The Tree of Life where cinematographer Emmanuel Lubeski utilizes the setting sun to backlight the characters in order to get that nice edge light. The video is courtesy of MovieClips. 4. Invest in filters.Before you head outside to film anything, you’ll want to make sure that you purchase neutral density filters for your lenses. An ND Filter can make a huge difference in getting a shot and not getting a shot in the brightness of day. If you’re not sure what a ND Filter does, fret not. We can explain that for you.Image from Luke PamerWhen filming outside, the brightness of the sun can completely overpower your shot. By applying an ND Filter to your lens you can adjust your ISO, f/stop, and shutter speed to near normal levels in order to get the shot you want. It will also help you to be able to capture that shallow depth of field you often see in feature films and television.If you want to see the effects of a ND Filter first hand, and the difference it can make to depth of field, then check out this great video from Jared Polin from FroKnowsPhoto. Filming outdoors can be frustrating! Use these tips to set yourself up for success next time you’re working outside.Top image from Joshua EarleYou’d think that filming outdoors would be a pretty simple thing to pull off. However, all of the same concerns you have on a controlled set will pop up when you’re working outdoors, and chief among those concerns is lighting. And, as we should all know by now — visual storytelling is all about lighting.So, if there’s enough light around without needing to rig any of your own lights, it should be pretty simple, just pick camera up and start filming right?!…Wrong! – Chris WeaverA good filmmaker knows exactly how to use light to enhance their image and elicit a mood. But you just can’t move the light around outdoors like you can on a soundstage. No, you have to get creative with your shots and really pay attention to the sun and its placement in the sky and use it effectively. Here are some tips that I try to keep in mind when filming outdoors.1. Make use of the sun during the middle of the day.Now, I’m not saying avoid the middle of the day all together, but rather that you pick your spots. The sun during the middle of the day casts down some really unspectacular shadows for subjects, but there are other ways to utilize it. In fact, I’ve shot during the middle of an overcast day much like the image below and it’s great, because the cloud cover acts as a filter for the sunlight and diffuses the harsh light. I’ve also utilized the midday sun to capture great b-roll for a film that needed light leaks through the branches of a tree.Image from Mikael Kritenson.You can also get really fantastic silhouette shots during the middle of the day if you set things up correctly. The image below is from photographer Peter West Carey who uses the cover of a walkway to frame and provide contrast for the monk who walks just in the distance. For film you could take it a step further and have your subject stand just on the threshold of the walkway, under the shadows, and make their silhouette pop.Image from Peter West CareyThe middle of the day can also be used to great extent in timelapse video. For instance, you can see several shots from this short film by Rustad Media where the middle of the day sun helps to create some really great imagery. 5. Make use of flags and reflectors.When filming outdoors, your subjects or actors may not get a nice balance of light across their face. If the sun is angled to one side and the character has a sharp off camera key, you might find a heavy dark shadow on the other side. You can balance this out by using a collapsible reflector.Image Courtesy of Margot PandoneOr perhaps you’re filming and the sun light is causing you to have unwanted flares or light leaks. If this happens, you can utilize a matte box or sunshade. But then again, you may want to have those flares or leaks. If thats the case, use flags and camera angles to get the desired effect.6. Lenses matter. Pick the right ones!When filming outside, the surrounding environment is much more wide open than when shooting inside. Be sure to take advantage of focal length. You can do this easily by using prime lenses, particularly wide-angle lenses such as a 21mm or 28mm. Theses are my favorites when needing to get an establishing shot, as they really can convey a sense of immense space.Then, if you need to get close to an actor or subject, you can switch from a wide to a shorter focal length with a 50mm or 85mm and really play around with the depth of field — which always makes your footage look more cinematic.An example of this can be seen in the music video by Kommak for Boerd’s song, Wavelength. FOR REFERENCEFilming Without Lights – Film Camera CourseThree Tips For Shooting Video Outdoors – Izzy VideoTake it Outside 6 Tips for Outdoor Filming – Sprout VideoSunrise and Sunset – Live Science 3. Know when sunrise and sunset happen.In order to get shots like the one above you’ll want to know exactly when sunrise and sunset will occur. Luckily there is an app that can help you find out when “Magic Hour” is going to take place at your current location. Developed by Elfinda Apps, Magic Hour gives you a breakdown of the time and duration of the golden hour. I have personally used this app and can say that it works quite well. It’s been incredibly beneficial to me on several occasions, and its golden hour alert feature is great.Here’s a great Golden Hour video from filmmaker Matt Triplow entitled Golden Hour Surf from Above.
Lens whacking can elevate your shot in seemingly magical ways, from adding light leaks to creating a vintage look. Here’s everything you need to know about the technique.Top Image via UglyMcGregorLens whacking. It sounds like something that will cost you a night in jail. However, it is indeed a very creative use of the camera and lens which can help produce a gorgeous in-camera effect which can never be replicated as organic in post.What Is Lens Whacking?All images are captured after the light has passed through the lens and hit the sensor (or film). The light passes through many elements within the lens that have been engineered in a very specific way. A 20mm has different elements than an 85mm. Nonetheless, the light passes through in an orderly fashion.Lens whacking is where you remove the lens and physically hold it in front of the sensor. Light then passes through both the lens and the gap between the lens and the camera body. This essentially causes a light leak.As you are partially pushing one part of the lens forward to let in the light, it also will cause a section of the image to fall out of focus, and, to some extent, produce a slight tilt-shift effect. This is entirely done by hand, and as a result of this, no two takes are going to look remotely the same — it’s wildly unpredictable, and as a result, it’s great fun.How To Do ItThe lens choice is the first important step to undertake. Lens whacking a 200mm, well, it’s not going to happen. Not successfully, anyway. Lenses that have a short focal length are ideal for lens whacking, as you want the focus window to be as wide as possible. If you were to use a lens such as an 85mm, you might find yourself trying to find the subject in the viewfinder more than perfecting the light leak. Older lenses with manual aperture and focus are preferred, as it can be quite a pain to have to keep reconnecting your lens to the camera if you wish to change the aperture.You want to set your lens to have the smallest aperture available to you. Again, this is to stop the extremity of your subject falling too much out of focus.Set up your framing, start recording, and then remove the lens from the camera. You only want your lens to be detached from the camera like the cover image above. If you open the gap too much, you’ll flood the sensor with light and wash out the image. (Although, that in itself can work very well for a creative transition.) The best method for lens whacking is not to keep the lens fully removed from the camera at all times, but to bring it in and out every so often. The shot can become very distracting if there’s a constant light-leak focus-loss throughout the entire shot.Image via SLR LoungeFor the best results, try removing your lens to the side where light is hitting the camera. You’ll have a much more powerful flare. Alternatively, if you find that the light leak is too strong, place a finger over the gap you’ve created. The light will still find its way to the sensor, but your finger will diffuse most of it, creating a softer light leak.Many lens whacking examples often have the camera free in the hands of the operator, which in most cases, causes shaky footage. I would recommend locking the camera down onto a tripod for a smoother shot. You can then delegate panning/tilting to another person while you take the sole focus of the lens whacking.If needed, you can also take lens whacking to the extreme, and cause mass blur and washout. Just remove both sides of the lens away from the body. I recently used this method to put emphasis on how dazed and confused a character was. He’s awoken after watching himself die, enough to cause confusion to anyone, I would imagine. The character is going to be in a state of confusion, and he’s not going to understand why he is alive. To emphasize this, I removed the lens quite far away to completely wash out the image at points to add to his hysteria while he was coming around.Video Playerhttps://s3.amazonaws.com/pbblogassets/uploads/2016/09/Sequence-05_1.mp400:0000:0000:04Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Why Do It?The most important aspect of any filmmaking choice is asking, “Will this further the story?” Or, “Will this enhance the emotional impact?”If the answer is no, then at most times it’s probably best to ditch that idea. While lens whacking is extremely popular with music and fashion videos, it’s also ideal for many creative storytelling elements. Here’s a small list of scenarios where you can creatively implement the technique.The character has been poisoned.The character is under the influence of drugs.The character is disoriented.The character is dying.A dream sequence.A scene involving magic.A flashback.The list is almost endless; I’m sure there are many other creative applications to lens whacking that haven’t even crossed my mind. In the still below from Killing Them Softly by Andrew Dominik, the character is under the influence of drugs, and lens whacking (along with several other in-camera effects) has been applied to help portray his state.There are some considerations to take into account. This effect is, of course, in camera, and there’s no removing or “fixing” it if you change your mind later on. Test and practice the effect within your free time. If you have an important job coming up and think the lens whack effect may look great on a few shots, but you’re not 100% confident, have a look at a few digital elements you can use to help mimic the effect in post.Have you used lens whacking within your projects? Post your clips in the comment section below.
It’s easier to do things right the first time, even if it takes a little longer. It takes more time and energy to do rework, and it when it comes to sales, rework can cost you opportunities.If you don’t prepare for the sales call that took you months to book, you might miss asking some vital questions, fail to create value for your dream client, or fail to obtain the commitments you need. It takes more time and effort to go back over that ground later than it does to prepare. It also slows down the process, and denies your dream client the benefits of what you are selling them.If you skip doing real discovery work because you already know enough to help your client by selling them what you want to sell them, you run the risk (and the likely outcome) of presenting a solution that doesn’t quite fit. You might also miss taking into account what other people want or need. It’s difficult to go back and ask people what they need after you deliver the wrong solution or execute poorly.If you leave an appointment without scheduling the next meeting you need, good luck getting that booked. Instead, count on being completely ignored, and count on countless unreturned voicemails and emails. You ensured that outcome by not having asked for what you really need when you had the greatest opportunity to obtain it. Now you have to do the rework, and the rework is always more difficult.You are ineffective and inefficient when you don’t do the work you really need to do and have to do the work over again later. It doesn’t help you, it doesn’t help your client, and it wastes everyone’s time.QuestionsWhat work do you have to do over?Why do you have to do this rework?What do you have to do to keep from having to go back over ground you should have already covered?How should you prepare so that big outcomes aren’t missed in the first place? Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now
Did you make progress on your most important project? Productivity isn’t how many things you scratch off your to-do list. You can have days where you complete all kinds of tasks, none of which have anything to do with what was really important. Productivity is doing what’s important.Did you move closer to your most important goal? If what you did today did not move you closer to your goals, you may not have been as productive as you might have been. Goals are achieved by taking disciplined action day after day, not all at once. If what you’re doing isn’t aligned with your long-term goals, you may have gotten things done without being productive.Did you do the three most important tasks that needed to be done today? I like the idea of having three major tasks to get done. It seems like the right number of major tasks. Maybe three 90-minute blocks of time invested in the above projects and goals? You might be able to do more, but if you have a list of twelve major tasks to do, you are kidding yourself.Did you make a difference? Did the things you do today make a difference? Did they make a difference in your business? Did they make a difference in your personal life? Did they make a difference in someone else’s life, maybe someone who needed your help? The most important work you do makes a difference. A lot of things we do fail this test, even if it makes you feel busy.Did you invest the appropriate time and energy in one or two of your most important relationships? There isn’t anything more important in your life than the people you care about and the people who care about you. You might be so busy doing “what” you are doing that you forget “why” you are doing it and for “whom” are you doing it?Did you learn something today that will help you improve your future results? Productivity isn’t only about doing what needs to be done now. Being productive also requires that you sharpen your saw. You are the saw. You’ll become dull if you don’t take the time to do things to keep sharp.Did you take care of your physical health? This one should have probably been first on the list. You need physical energy to be productive. You also need mental energy and stamina. You won’t have these things if you don’t eat well, drink water, exercise, and sleep (likely more than you are now, and likely more than you want to). You can’t be productive if you are wiped out.
Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 8:42 — 7.0MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | RSSRegardless of what the pseudo-experts say, the telephone still dominates when it comes to generating appointments, the key to creating new opportunities. The social tools are useful, and they play an increasingly important role, but they are no replacement for outbound and cold outreach.
The desert state of Rajasthan may want to permanently ban the cliché, ‘like the deserts miss the rain,’ as heavy downpour for the third consecutive day led to flood-like situations in Sirohi, Jalore and Pali districts.The State’s lone hill station, Mount Abu in Sirohi district, received an unprecedented 770 mm of rain in 24 hours. Statistics show that until 2010, the 100-year record for a single-day of rain in Mt Abu was 653 mm in 1992. The only comparable deluge after was a 453 mm downpour in 2015. According to A.K. Srivastava of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune, this was “possibly” the maximum rain ever received in the region.In comparison, the torrential rain that brought Mumbai to a standstill in 2005 was 944 mm and 644 mm on July 26 and 27, whereas Chennai was brought to its knees in 2015 with a cumulative November tally of 1,049 mm.A rise in extreme rainfall events, according to experts, is the consequence of a spike in temperatures across India in recent decades, and its effect on the monsoon. “Mt. Abu being hilly may not see a situation like Mumbai. But it is now well established that these rain records are a fall-out of global warming,” Mr. Srivastava said. Mount Abu is at an elevation of 4,000 ft above sea level.As incessant rains created chaos in the hill station, a large number of people were marooned, and the 28 km-long road that connects it to the Abu Road railway station was partially damaged.Tanveer Hussain, a medical officer at the government hospital in Mount Abu, told The Hindu that life was thrown out of gear as it had been raining incessantly for the past two days. “There were two incidents of landslide, but thankfully, the route to Abu Road is still somewhat functional despite partial damage,” he said. “All the markets, offices and schools in the town were closed.”(With inputs from Jacob Koshy)
It is now clear that it was on Goa government’s recommendation that the Union Ministry for Environment Forests and Climate Change decided to change the jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal(NGT) for Goa-related cases, from its Pune bench to the principal bench in Delhi.Finally breaking his silence, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday that Pune was not convenient for Goa as in case a lawyer has to be sent to represent any case, it takes three days. “Delhi has excellent connectivity (with Goa),” Mr. Parrikar told presspersons here on Friday.He said that the Goa government did not have a legal set-up in Pune as against in Delhi, where the government has empanelled lawyers.The Bombay High Court at Goa on August 22 stayed the transfer of Goa-related NGT cases to Delhi jurisdiction of the NGT and also issued notices to the State and Central government.The August 10 notification had shifted Goa from the Western zone jurisdiction of the NGT to the Northern zone, while retaining Gujarat and Maharashtra in the Western zone.The Opposition including Congress and Aam Aadmi Party and the environmental activists had slammed the relocation of Goa to the Northern zone as harassment to green petitioners because while Pune is about 470 km from Goa, the distance from Goa to Delhi is nearly 2000 km.”This is meant to discourage petitioners from approaching the NGT. This is a really draconian move by the government which has been prompted by vested interests,” Congress spokesperson and AICC Secretary Girish Chodankar had said.Goa Foundation and more than 20 groups including green NGOs have opposed the move and decided to oppose the move when the suo motu case taken up by the high court here comes up for hearing on September 5.
The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet has decided to withdraw all “politically-motivated” cases filed during the previous Congress dispensation, including those against the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association led by BJP MP Anurag Thakur.It decided to review all cases registered during the erstwhile Congress dispensation and withdraw those that “smack of political vendetta”.Any decision in such cases would be taken on the basis of merit, the official said.The cases over land allocation to the HPCA attained political significance as it was headed by Mr. Thakur and the decision to allot land was taken when his father Prem Kumar Dhumal was the Chief Minister.HPBL to wound upThe Cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, also decided to wind up Himachal Pradesh Beverages Limited set up last year to eliminate wholesalers and handle the liquor trade, an official said.The BJP, while in the Opposition, criticised the decision of the government and alleged irregularities in procurement and sale of liquor. The government also decided to initiate inquiry into losses suffered by the government after the move.The previous government had suspended licences issued to wholesalers and designated HPBL as sole agency for procurement and sale of liquor to retail vends.The Cabinet also decided to fix the responsibility on officers, responsible for the creation of HPBL and revert to the old policy.The Cabinet also gave its nod to disengage the counsels including Kapil Sibal, P. Chidambaram and Salman Khurshid for representing the State in various cases, including those against the HPCA.
In a major bureaucratic reshuffle, the Rajasthan government has transferred 81 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers after the appointment of D.B. Gupta as the new Chief Secretary. The Collectors of 15 districts and three Divisional Commissioners were among those shifted in the orders issued late on Monday night.Mr. Gupta, a 1983-batch IAS officer, was appointed the Chief Secretary after the retirement of N.C. Goel, who had the shortest tenure of four months. Speculations were rife about Mr. Goel’s extension, but the Centre reportedly did not accept a proposal sent by the State government in this regard.Mr. Goel played a key role in the execution of the Vasundhara Raje government’s ambitious projects, including the inauguration of oil refinery in Barmer, during his tenure. Mr. Gupta, 58, was earlier Additional Chief Secretary (Finance, Excise and Taxation). The charge of these departments has been given to Mukesh Kumar Sharma.‘Political overtones’The reshuffle, which may have been the last before the State goes to Assembly polls in December this year, seemingly had political overtones with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party keen on sending across a message of good governance to the electorate.Seven officers of the rank of Additional Chief Secretary were given new responsibilities in the reshuffle, while T. Ravikanth was posted as Divisional Commissioner in Jaipur, Lalit Kumar Gupta in Jodhpur and Kailash Chand Verma in Kota.Neeraj K. Pawan, who was reinstated in November last year after his arrest and suspension in connection with a graft case, was posted as Special Secretary, Administrative Reforms Department. The 2003-batch IAS officer spent eight months in jail on charges of corruption in the award of contracts in the National Rural Health Mission.The Collectors of Bikaner, Pratapgarh, Kota, Ajmer, Dholpur, Rajsamand, Bhilwara, Tonk, Sawai Madhopur, Bundi, Hanumangarh, Churu, Alwar, Jaisalmer and Bharatpur were transferred in the reshuffle.
Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhanspeaks on issues pertaining to Odisha and Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal leader Naveen Patnaik’s ‘opportunistic’ politics.Looking back, was it politic to give such a build-up to the Bijepur Assembly byelection, seeing that the party lost?We will fight as hard as the Opposition is fighting the polls. In this bypoll, we were able to consolidate the party vote, we could measure our strength. Naveen Patnaik’s strength is brute power and misuse of government machinery. This will not be able to hold during the general elections as could be done in bypolls. The writing on the wall in Odisha is for a big change. That is very evident from the campaigns that we are running and the response of the public.Chief minister Naveen Patnaik says he is equidistant from the BJP and the Opposition; he has supported Prime Minister Modi on simultaneous polls but opposed him on Ayushman Bharat. How do you view his blow hot, blow cold vibe?Naveen Patnaik is one of the most opportunistic politicians of the country, in the way that he picks and chooses issues to oppose and support. He is not being equidistant but displaying equi-convenience. Odisha has had, since 2004, Assembly polls together with the general elections, so it costs him nothing to support the move for simultaneous polls. If you are so aligned to Prime Minister Modi’s thinking, then do see that his philosophy is to build Team India.Mr. Patnaik’s has objected to Central review of all major social sector projects, whether it is on the question of aspirational districts, health or even Swachh Bharat. He stood on the shoulders of Vajpayeejiand Advanijito stabilise himself. It has been his strategy to speak of equidistance and confuse everyone, and to manage the Opposition in this way. In 2009, he broke his alliance with us, and managed the Congress for four months and stayed in power. In 2014, he took the Leader of the Opposition to his side. So his so-called equidistance has nothing to do with ideology.You are supporting the demand to designate the song Bande Utkala Janani as the State anthem. Isn’t this a move to encourage sub-regional nationalism?In 1936, Odisha was the first State to be declared a linguistic one, after an agitation for a greater Odisha. We have been singing this song since then. Why did we raise this issue? Naveen Patnaik has a tendency to raise issues that he has nothing to do with or has no jurisdiction over, like registering hockey as the national game. The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is a regional party. The Odisha Assembly had passed a resolution asking that it be made a State anthem, in 2006, under the BJD regime. Why wasn’t it done?You have attacked the BJP-led Chhattisgarh government over the Mahanadi dispute — does that make for a conflict of interest?Wasn’t there a conflict of interest over the dispute over Narmada water in the past? Won’t Karnataka BJP and Tamil Nadu BJP speak about the interests of their State unit when it comes to the Cauvery river dispute? Every State unit, regardless of the party, has a narrative and commitment to fulfil and reflect the aspirations of that State; for that we took a stand and we will not allow Odisha’s interests to be compromised.The BJD has failed on the irrigation front in Odisha. As Prime Minister Modi pointed out last month, the State hasn’t been able to save even one millimetre of water from running off into the sea. To hide this failure, the BJD government has picked a fight with Chhattisgarh, and the latter on its part did selective interpretations of the rules. They (Chhattisgarh) have made a few dams upriver and which they say are for irrigation purposes of under 2,000 hectares but are also being deployed for industrial use and do not therefore, have to go to the Central Water Commission (CWC). The law of the land is grey on what comes under the CWC and only deals with irrigation. We have protested that.BJD leader Baijayant Panda recently quit the party. Will he be joining the BJP?Any right-thinking person cannot stay with the BJD as it is functioning today. Anybody who believes in the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and the BJP ideology is welcome.What do you make of recent attempts at forging an Opposition unity against the BJP?Even in the 2014 polls the same forces were ranged against us. These parties want to polarise society and come to power but the mood in the country has changed. Polls since 2014 prove Prime Minister Modi’s popularity is undiminished.
The Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) Goa on Monday filed a letter petition in the Bombay High Court at Goa asking for a court-monitored probe into the “formalin in fish” issue. The administration appears to be continuing to withhold crucial facts, and is not taking any real action to protect Goans from fish possibly laced with formalin, while only making statements of false reassurance to the public, said the petition.Simultaneously, AAP has also notified Garima Singh, Director (Enforcement) of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India about the circumstances in which the events of July 12 regarding the events leading to Goa Food and Drugs Administration’s testing of imported fish from other States, unfolded, said AAP convenor, for Goa, Alves Gomes said. It may be recalled that during the Maggi Noodles controversy of 2015, the so-called clean chit given by Goa FDA had been refuted by FSSAI, its own parent body, raising serious doubts on the credibility and independence of the local body tasked with protecting Goans from unsafe food and drugs, said Mr. Gomes in a press release issued here on Monday evening.Despite assurances by the Chief Minister that he is “personally monitoring” the issue, it has been reported that no FDA officials have actually been present at fish markets to enforce the monitoring, pointed out AAP. “If the FDA office could be given additional security, then why couldn’t FDA inspectors enforce effective monitoring under police protection if required,” asked Mr. Gomes, adding, “A larger question also arises – are the wholesale agents so powerful that even the Home Minister does not dare to live up to his promises?”.The AAP has said that the “test reports” made public by the FDA are incomplete, vague, and appear to be a hurried reaction to AAP’s demand. “The reports are yet another attempt to quell the issue rather than attempt to ensure safety of fish consumed by Goans. AAP is continuing its own investigation into the matter, and will continue to present more facts and raise further questions until Goans receive the right answers,” said Mr. Gomes.He said that AAP will also raise this issue at a national level since many other States including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Nagaland, Assam, Orissa, etc., have found the carcinogenic-laced fish being sold in their markets.
In a major setback to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, the Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday directed the ruling BJP to stop organising government functions en route her ‘Gaurav Yatra’ being held in the run-up to the State Assembly elections due in December this year. The court termed the holding of public functions during the yatra as an “abuse of power”.Allowing a public interest writ petition, a Division Bench led by Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog ruled that no public functions sponsored and financed by the State would be held during Ms. Raje’s yatra, which has so far covered the Mewar and Marwar regions and will resume from Bikaner district on Thursday.The PIL, filed by lawyer Vibhuti Bhushan Sharma and social activist Sawai Singh, alleged misuse of the government machinery and challenged the expenditure from the treasury for the yatra which is a BJP programme ahead of the Assembly elections. BJP president Amit Shah had flagged off the yatra from Charbhuja temple in Rajsamand on August 4.Taking note of an August 1 order issued to the Public Works Department for making arrangements, which has since been withdrawn, the court said the initial attempt by the government was a “palpable abuse of the State’s executive power to directly help a political party, i.e. the BJP”.The court observed that the State-financed programmes were so intermingled with the ‘Gaurav Yatra’ that it was impossible to segregate one from the other. “If the leader of a political party who happens to be the Chief Minister inaugurates public functions, the understanding would be glorification of the political party and not the achievements by the government.”The 12-page judgment relied on the Supreme Court’s decisions in two cases related to public-funded government advertisement campaigns, while holding that under the cover of the notices inviting tenders without listing works to be executed with detailed description, the State government was spending money for erecting public platforms from where the CM was addressing the political rallies.Caught on wrong foot The BJP government was caught on the wrong foot during the hearing, when the petitioners had claimed that a tender of ₹23 lakh was floated for the yatra in Sirohi district on the pretext of a “development exhibition for a VIP visit”, even when the matter was sub-judice. The court had sought a reply from the State government on the issue.The State government had earlier claimed during the hearing that the yatra was being organised by the BJP and no public money were being spent on it. It stated that the administration was only providing security to the CM and her Cabinet colleagues as per the protocol during the march, which was being taken out to apprise the people of the government’s welfare schemes.The BJP had also submitted an affidavit in compliance with the high court’s direction with the details of expenditure made during the yatra’s first phase. The affidavit stated that an expenditure of ₹1.10 crore was undertaken for the yatra.The Congress has welcomed the high court’s judgment, describing it as a “historic verdict [which] has shown mirror” to the BJP government. Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot said Ms. Raje’s yatra was a “gimmick”, on which the public money had been wasted for reaping political benefits. The issue of alleged misuse of public money during the yatra was also briefly raised on the opening day of the Rajasthan Assembly’s monsoon session on Wednesday.
The ongoing feud between Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and Maneka Gandhi over the killing of tigress Avni escalated on Tuesday, with the State BJP leader seeking the resignation of the Union minister on “moral grounds” over the death of children due to malnutrition.Ms. Gandhi, the Women and Child Development Minister, had slammed Mr. Mungantiwar over last week’s killing of the “man-eater” tigress Avni in Yavatmal district, which she termed as a “ghastly murder and a straight case of crime”.“The Union Minister for Women and Child Development has called for my resignation though I had nothing to do with the killing of the man-eater tigress,” Mr. Mungantiwar told PTI here on Tuesday.“If I am to take the moral responsibility for something I have nothing to do with, our Central leader should set an example for me and resign taking moral responsibility for the death of children in the country due to malnutrition during her tenure,” he added.“We can tender our resignations together on moral grounds,” he said further.The tigress, officially known as T1, was believed to be responsible for the death of 13 people in the last two years.She was killed on November 2 by Asgar Ali, son of famous sharp-shooter Nawab Shafat Ali, at compartment no 149 of Borati forest in the east Maharashtra district as part of an operation.The big cat is survived by two cubs who are ten-months old.Fadnavis respondsEarlier in the day, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said there was no need for the forest minister to resign over the issue.“I will personally speak with the union minister and clarify the whole matter. The government respects her sentiments towards wild life and animals,” he told reporters in Osmanabad.The Chief Minister had on Monday said that preliminary reports showed that the forest department team shot the tigress in “self-defence” while trying to tranquilise it.He had also said that procedural lapse, if any, will be probed.Ms. Gandhi, in a series of tweets on Sunday, lashed out at the Maharashtra government for giving the orders to kill the tigress despite opposition from several stakeholders.Ms. Gandhi had also slammed Mr. Mungantiwar for hiring private marksmen Shafat Ali Khan and Asgar Ali for carrying out hunting operations in the State, including the killing of the tigress.“I am deeply saddened by the way tigress Avni has been brutally murdered in Yavatmal. It is nothing but a straight case of crime. Despite several requests from many stakeholders, (Sudhir) Mungantiwar, Minister for Forests, Maharashtra, gave orders for the killing,” she had said in a tweet.Mr. Mungantiwar, who also holds the finance portfolio, had said that Ms. Gandhi “lacked information” on the issue, and was free to order any high-level probe.The minister had also claimed that Shafat Ali Khan, who Ms. Gandhi had termed a “criminal”, was tasked with shooting a tiger in her Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh in 2009 (Gandhi’s son Varun Gandhi was representing the constituency in 2009).
Uttar Pradesh BJP leader Vineet Agarwal Sharda has said Lord Hanuman belonged to the Vaishya community, weeks after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath termed the Hindu deity a Dalit.Mr. Sharda claimed on Thursday that the Vaishya community and Lord Ram come from the same lineage and Lord Hanuman is the adopted son of Lord Ram. Mr. Sharda, however, evaded reply to a question on Adityanath’s remarks. Addressing rallies before the recent Assembly election in Rajasthan, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister had said Lord Hanuman belonged to Dalit and tribal communities. “Hanuman was a tribal, a forest-dweller and was deprived. Bajrang Bali worked to connect all Indian communities together, from north to south and east to west. This was his resolve as it was Lord Ram’s wish. Just like him, we should also not rest till we fulfil that wish,” Mr. Adityanath had said. ‘Temple construction ’ On the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, Mr. Sharda said the work was on and would be completed soon.