Next Steps towards a Connected Organization

first_imgLast week Extension was incredibly fortunate to have Dave Gray talk with us about how Extension could become a more “Connected Organization”. Even if you missed the live event, you can still join the conversation. The video, along with the comments and questions posted during the talk can be viewed at the Google+ event page.During “The Connected Organization,” Gray  helped us see how we might transform what from what he calls a divided organization into a connected organization, where autonomous teams, called ‘Pods,” can handle the dynamic environment together creatively, providing better service in changing environments.With over 3000 counties nationwide, and Extension offices in most, Gray says we have a network of pods, but our next challenge is to do a better job of connecting them together through platforms to achieve our common purpose. These connections would enable improved coordination, collaboration, and idea-sharing.Gray discussed how purpose, pods, and platforms help to glue the connected organization together, where the purpose guides the team and guiding rules for platform development, and the platform serves to connect the pods so they can know what’s going on (i.e., situational awareness). By providing such platforms, people and pods can find each other more easily to solve a problem or create something new.Platforms are Like Extension: They Help People to Help ThemselvesGray says platforms have a similar function to the extension mission. Platforms, like Extension’s mission, “help people, help themselves”.  He urges Extension to think past its role as an information provider in the era of Google to one of helping others know what questions to ask and connect with each other. Extension’s Mission since 1914Today Extension’s mission must go beyond providing information in the era of Google Platforms connect peopleGray provides a number of hopeful ways Extension might utilize platforms to connect with its clientele and also internally, or across the nation-wide organization.  Gray highlights Jim Langcuster’s  Mission Extension  blog, and his work with Network Literacy as an example explaining platform use and building within Extension work.Gray points out that platform sites help people connect and exchange value, pointing to examples such as Airbnb, Uber, Amazon services. Gray notes these platforms don’t own the product – they help other people exchange money or information, such as ratings about the services provided.Platforms to connect people in communitiesExtension ChallengesSo, how can Extension use platforms to connect with clientele in its communities? Gray provided examples of platforms and tools that Extension could use to help communities gather, connect or overcome some of our common challenges, like tighter budgets.Meet up – aimed mostly at local communities. It’s a way to find a group near you.IGivefirst – for non-profit institutions. You can get a “give” button on any webpage. Grays says this can be especially effective to do when you are telling your story.Kickstarter – a platform that can be used to raise money for a project (big or small)  that people care aboutUshahidi –  Ushahidi can help people find each other and tell stories about what is going on. Ushahid’s crowdmap allows you to create a map and tell stories inside the map.Platforms to connect across the (internal) organizationGray said organizations also need to have internal conversations with each other to discuss something that may be private, sensitive or to work on something  for which they are not ready to set expectations.Gray pointed to the tremendous potential that could come from 15,000 Cooperative Extension professionals sharing information with each other, and provided some ideas of platforms that might provide the ability for ‘Extension pods’ to connect.SalesforceSharepoint + newsgatorLinkedIn group – (A private linked in group only visible via the organization can sometimes work quite well)Bloomfire(The Network Literacy CoP has established an open community for Extension on Google+. It’s not private, as Gray suggested, but could become a great place for Extension profesionals from around the nation to connect and share.)Gray stresses, invest before it’s too late!Gray says, you can’t build the dike when the floods comes….Gray stressed that the right time to change your business model and to invest in social networks is BEFORE there’s a problem, such as a budget cut or stakeholder support issue. If you wait until the crisis comes it’s too late — the social network that helps you out, or goes to the politicians to help you out, won’t be ready.Consider storytelling in new waysGray also urged Extension professionals to consider storytelling, but went one step further by asking:“How do you get the people you serve to get excited to help them tell your story to their friends?”He recommended Extension professionals think about how to encourage others to share and tell our story in social networks like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.Tools to help change to organization modelIn closing, Gray left us with some service design tools and resources that can help organizations shift their business models to become more connected organizations:Business Model Canvas – a strategic management tool allowing you to describe, challenge, or reinvent your business modelService Design Tools – a customer journey map, which provides or a way to map how you serve customersCulture Mapping – provides a way to understand your organization’s culture so you can identify where to change itMeeting Gray again in March 2014Will Cooperative Extension be a more Connected Organization in March 2014 when we Gray speaks at the National eXtension Conference (March 24-28, 2014)? If so, how will we know and what will be different?The tools (platforms) created within the eXtension initiative have connected many of us, but probably only a small portion of Extension professionals. How much more connected could we be with the many people doing important work if these platforms had wider adoption and participation. How can we use social networks to forge new connections with our peers, colleagues, and communities?– Karen Jeannette (+KarenJeannette, @kjeannette)eXtension Community of Practice Support – ConsultantNetwork Literacy Community of Practice MemberVideos and images are courtesy of and should be attributed to Dave Gray. This article was originally published on the Military Families Learning Network blog. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.last_img read more

Children’s Books Help Military Children Manage Transitions

first_imgBy Sara CroymansWe know that military children experience multiple transitions.  They may relocate frequently, resulting in attending multiple schools or their parents may be away from home often due to trainings or deployments.  Children’s books are a great way to introduce and discuss transitions with military children.According to a 2009 Technical Assistance and Training System TATS eUpdate on Transition “Using Children’s Literature to Support Successful Transitions” one of the best ways to help children navigate transitions is through preparation.  Using books that introduce potential transitions can help prepare children for these transitions.   TATS provides several best practices when using children’s literature to support transitions.  First, children’s literature can be used by any adults in the child’s life, including family members who can read and discuss books with the children. Select stories that are similar to the transitions the child is or will be encountering or concerned about.  After reading stories about transitions discuss the similarities and differences with the child’s current or new environment.  Use parts of the story to help the child talk about their feelings related to the transition.  Use children’s stories to support transitions before, during and after the transitions occur.  If appropriate, help the children participate in activities or practice skills they are learning to support the transitions.The Minnesota National Guard Child & Youth Program provides this list of age-appropriate children books that address transitions:Preschool – Age BooksA Lesson About Deployment by Ron Madison (Preschool – 2nd grade)It is a series of short (1-2 page) poem-style accounts by characters about their  experience/feelings.One Nation: America by the Numbers by Devin Scillian (Preschool – 1st grade)Author Devin Scillian and illustrator Pam Carroll weave their magic around the  symbols of Americana that make us proud in One Nation: America by the Numbers, a follow-up to A is For America:  An American Alphabet.  More than a counting book, One Nation Illuminates the landmarks and treasurers that are uniquely American.Hooray for Our Heroes, Sesame Street (Preschool – 1st grade)The residents of Sesame Street discover that heroes are found in every place, every day.  Sometimes they are firefighters and police officers, whose jobs are heroic in nature.  And sometimes they are your neighbors down the street who do favors, large and small, that make life a little better for everyone.  This is a reassuring story that reminds us that there are all sorts of heroes, whether they are a teacher, a parent, or a friend that you don’t always have to brave great danger to be someone’s hero.My Many Colored Days (board book), Dr. Seuss (Toddler – Preschool)Dr. Seuss’ youngest concept book has stunning illustrations that capture a bright and playful book about feelings and moods to discuss with toddlers.I’m here for You Now (Board book), Zero to Three (Toddler – Preschool)This board book includes eight photo inserts for caregivers to add pictures that chronicle a child’s daily interactions with the loving adult deployed.  This book serves as a calming reminder to children that they will be loved, nurtured, and protected, no matter what the circumstances.Elementary – Aged BooksA Very Long Time by Geri Timperley and Nikki Arro (K – 2nd grade)An excellent book for military families whose Service member leave home for “A Very Long Time”.  Helps children understand that they are not alone because other daddies and mommies leave to serve our Country and a time does come when the military parent does return home.Wherever You Are MY Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman (K – 2nd grade)This book teaches your child how love takes shape from heartfelt words and images.  This book is great to share with your loved ones, no matter how near or far, young or old, they are.My Red Balloon by Eve Bunting (K – 2nd grade)The boy has been waiting for this day for many months.  It’s the day his daddy comes home from overseas.  He jumps out of bed and gets ready for the big event.  But before going downstairs for breakfast, he takes along something very important: his red balloon.  The red balloon will help is father find him among the crowd.  When the boy and his mother get to the pier, they find parents waiting for daughters and sons, and children waiting for mommies and daddies.  Suddenly, the crowd gives up a rousing cheer as the big ship approaches the harbor.  The boy can see sailors standing on the deck.  Could one of them be his daddy?  But as the s hip approaches, the boy loses his grip on the red balloon.  Will his daddy find him in the crowd?Night Catch by Brenda Ehrmantraut (K – 5th grade)When a soldier’s work takes him half-way around the world, he enlists the help of the North Star for a nightly game of catch with his son.  Night Catch is a timeless story that connects families while they are apart and offers comforting hope for their reunion.While You are Away by Eileen Spinelli (K – 5th grade)At times a loved one may be far, far away, but that special person is never far from mind and heart.  Whether you share thoughts, memories, photographs, or favorite songs, there are many ways to find comfort when you miss someone you love.The Wishing Tree by Mary Redman (1st – 5th grade)Amanda understands her dad is making the world a better place, but it doesn’t make his deployment any easier.  After mulling over ways she can support her dad, Amanda creates a small wishing tree in her room, writing her hopes and prayers on yellow ribbons that she ties onto the branches.  As Amanda wishes for her dad to enjoy good meals, make new friends, and return safely, the little tree comes to life with yellow ribbons of hope.Middle School – Age BooksAlmost Forever by M. Testa (6th – 8th grade)This seemingly simple novel in blank verse captures the feelings of a six-year old girl when her father goes to be a doctor in the Vietnam War for a year.  We learn about the fear the family feel of their father never returning.  Important things to a child like changing where they live and changes in her mother’s behavior are highlighted.  It also captures well the idea that children do not necessarily understand what is happening to them and their families, and cannot change many things even if they do understand, they can only observe.Dear Blue Sky by Mary Sullivan (6th – 8th grade)Ever since her brother Sef left for Iraq, Cassie has felt like her life is falling apart.  Her parents are fighting over her brother having gone to war.  Her smart, beautiful sister is messing up.  Her little brother, who has Down syndrome, is pretending he’s a Marine.  And her best friend no longer has time for her.  In her loneliness Cassie turns to a surprising source of comfort:  Blue Sky, an Iraqi girl she meets through her blog.  The girls begin a correspondence and Cassie learns that when Blue Sky says “I want my life back,” she means something profound, as she can no longer venture out in her destroyed city.  Cassie takes strength from Blue Sky’s courage and is inspired to stop running away from the pain, and to reclaim her life.Jack Adrift: Fourth Grade Without a Clue by Jack Gatos (5th – 8th grade)Jack’s father rejoins the navy after going bankrupt from being cheated in a business deal.  Jack, his parents, brother and sister go to live at Cape Hatteras in a camouflage-painted trailer parked in a swamp.  Jack’s father expresses some dissatisfaction with the Navy.  It depicts the family of an enlisted military member through a laugh aloud fun at times theme.High School – Age BooksA Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer (9th – 12 grade)When fourteen year old Adam moves to Hawaii with his mother, small sister and Navy father, he goes to a civilian school for the first time in his life.  He makes friends with a boy of Japanese ancestry, Dave, and his father strongly disapproves.  Adam sneaks off to go fishing with his new friend and they climb under a fence to fish on Pearl Harbor.  In a dramatic and scar(and injured by) the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Adam sees his father’s ship, the USS Arizona sink, in the confusing Adam is assumed to be in the Navy and helps rescuers.After the First Death by Robert Cormier (9th – 12th grade)Ben Marchand’s father joined the army late in life and is a General when the story opens.  When a bus full of children is taken hostage by terrorists Ben is asked by his father to take messages between the government and the terrorists.  His father tells Ben this is because he is young and non-threatening, but by the end of the book the reader learns that Ben was chosen by his father because his father and the secret government agency he works for have been conducting psychological experiments on Ben his whole life and his father know exactly how Ben will act under stressful circumstances.Finding My Way by Michelle Sherman (9th – 12th grade)A unique, three-part book that honestly and gently addresses key issues in dealing with a parent who has experienced trauma.  An important resource for anyone working with teens, this interactive book includes clear information and opportunities for self-expression.When the Lights Go Out by Max Elliot Anderson (9th – 12th grade)Peyton Aldrich’s father is an Army colonel, who specialized in Army intelligence.  His work is always top secret, which means he can’t even discuss it with his own son.  Nevertheless, Peyton idolized his father, who believes that after what happened on 9/11, somebody had to help keep the country safe.An additional list, “Children’s Books for Young Children in Military Families”, developed by  eXtension is organized in the categories of:Military LifeDeployment/SeparationRelocating:  PreparingRelocating:  AdaptingHomecomingStrong EmotionsInjury of a ParentDeath of a ParentActivity BooksDo you have a favorite children’s books for military children that wasn’t included on one of these lists?  If so, please share by commenting on this blog.Sara Croymans is a member of the Military Families Learning Network Family Transitions team and an Extension Educator with the University of Minnesota, Extension Center for Family Development. In addition, she is a military spouse.  Sara and her husband, retired from the Army National Guard, and three children navigated 22.5 years of weekend drills, annual trainings and two deployments. Their youngest son, daughter, and son-in-law also serve in the Army National Guard.last_img read more

Changing Times and Medicaid

first_imgThis MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on June 2, 2017. Active duty military families are provided significant healthcare coverage and services under their TRICARE benefits. But sometimes they need to turn to other sources of assistance to get needed coverage and benefits.  This is especially the case for families that may have members with special health care needs. In addition, most families – be they in the military or not – face questions and sometimes challenges when helping older family members with healthcare needs. One resource that families may turn to is Medicaid – the public health insurance program which is operated in partnership between the states and the federal government.With a new Congress and President in Washington, there has been some discussion about changing and reforming Medicaid.  While the scope of change and reform is still unclear, and the prospects for any immediate change is uncertain, this is a good time to review some Medicaid basics and what they might mean to military families.While the Medicaid program is most often thought of as a program that helps those with low incomes, one of its major purposes is to assist those who might have special care needs that are not covered or provided through other forms of health benefits or insurance.  In many circumstances, Medicaid can help provide for home and community based health services that provide for caregiving in a non-institutional environment.  For example, a family with a child with severe disabilities might be able to use Medicaid to obtain services beyond those provided by TRICARE or TRICARE/ECHO.Adults in Military Families, often find themselves in the middle of a “sandwich.”  While caring for their children, they might also be looking after their parents or grandparents.  In addition to helping serve those with special health care needs, Medicaid can also be an important resource for older individuals. We often think of Medicare – a program primarily for those over 65 — as the government health insurance program for those who are older. But Medicaid can also play a role for those who are disabled or have low incomes.  Medicare provides relatively little coverage for long-term and in-home care, while Medicaid is a major source of support.  Medicaid can also help fill a gap for medical and prescription expenses when Medicare is not enough.Navigating Medicaid is not especially easy. Because Medicaid programs are operated at the state level, each state has its own eligibility criteria and application procedures.  For families moving from one state to another, this can prove to be a challenge.  Eligibility in one state does not transfer to another, which means that a family will need to make a new application when arriving at their new home.  Services in one state may not be available in another state.  Understanding these realities are important for military families, especially as they are faced with PCS, retirement, or separation decisions.Those who are in a position to help military families with their caregiving needs, can be a valuable asset in informing families about the various services and resources available through various public programs and community services.  Medicaid is one such resource. The Military Caregiving team is looking forward to presenting an up-to-date session on Medicaid on June 21, 2017 through a webinar entitled ‘Medicaid: Taking Stock of an Essential Program in Uncertain Times.’  This webinar will take into account recent developments as they unfold over the next few months, while also offering some information on Medicaid basics. We hope that you can join us then.We also remind you that an in-depth three-part series on Medicaid is available through the MFLN portal.  Just link to our Medicare & Medicaid Resources blog post.  To learn more about Medicare please see our recent blog ‘Are You Covered? – Medicare Overseas’ as well as our archived webinar Medicare 2017 & What it Means for You.last_img read more

Three Hidden Gems in Adobe Media Encoder

first_imgEasy FTP Upload in Media EncoderI upload proofs that my clients need to view and revise/approve to my website, and having to open my FTP program isn’t a hard step, but it is one that can be bypassed using the FTP tab in Adobe Media Encoder. Just give it you server and login info for your FTP space and Adobe Media Encoder can automatically upload your video for you without any extra step. All those small increments of time you save add up!I hope you’ve discovered at least one new feature in Adobe Media Encoder that will make your life just a little easier! If you have others to share let us know in the comments below! Easy Watermarking in Media EncoderAnother great utility under the Effects tab is the Image Overlay. This effect makes it super easy to add a visual watermark to your videos. Just load in an image (one with an alpha channel or transparency is probably best), tweak size, position, and opacity settings, and a watermark is applied to any video using that preset! Adobe Media Encoder is an incredibly powerful application, and has only become more useful with Creative Cloud’s frequent updates. Here are 3 settings you probably don’t know about in Adobe Media Encoder that may save you time and hassle!I love Adobe Media Encoder. Especially since the CC version came out, Adobe has done a fantastic job of adding new and powerful features, but sadly, a lot of them go unnoticed by most editors. In this post, I want to share with you my 3 favorite hidden gems in Adobe Media Encoder.Easy BITC in Media EncoderIf you don’t know what BITC is, it’s a video where the timecode has been overlayed onto the video (literally: Burn In TimeCode). At my work, we make BITCs pretty regularly. We used to have to do it in our editing program by putting an effect on either the video clips, or on an adjustment layer above.These days, we just pass the media or the sequence through Adobe Media Encoder and use this great setting in one of our presets. In the presets settings, there’s an Effects tab. In previous versions, all that was here was a gaussian blur, which – let’s face it – was mostly useless. In a recent version, Adobe added several new effects that Adobe Media Encoder can apply during compression, and one of them is a timecode overlay.Here’s an example of this effect applied to a QuickTime movie, but this also works when exporting from Premiere using a preset, or when sending a video from Premiere or After Effects to the AME queue.last_img read more

Screenwriter Norman Steinberg on Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, and Getting Heard

first_imgNorman Steinberg has worked on some of your favorite projects with some of your favorite people. We sat down with him recently to talk some shop.Recently, we spoke with Norman Steinberg from his idyllic home in upstate New York. It was hard not to think of one of his classic comedic films as he continually moved from room to room to avoid the blaring sound of the gardener’s leaf blower. He interrupted every anecdote with “Can you believe this guy?” as the roar of the blower would creep closer.At nearly 80, Steinberg isn’t slowing down. He’s currently writing the book for a musical based on the 18th-century comedy of manners The School for Scandal with composer Charlie Fox (who wrote the theme songs to all your favorite ’70s shows, including Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and Monday Night Football), he quipped, “You can’t make a living in the theater, but you can make a killing.”PremiumBeat: It’s hard not to imagine the writing process of Blazing Saddles as a combination of a Dean Martin roast and a comedy brawl version of Fight Club.  How were you able to get your ideas heard and implemented among such giant personalities as Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor?Norman Steinberg: By speaking up, by not being afraid. Basically when we started, it was me and Andrew Bergman, and I brought along Alan Uger, who left after a couple of weeks and still got credit for some reason — and Mel. Mel says I’m looking around the room, and I see four Jews — we need a person of color. Who can we get? I did the Flip Wilson show, and Flip went to number one, and we had all these great guest stars — Bing Crosby, Jack Benny. I had worked with Richard Pryor on the Flip Wilson show. My writing partner was George Carlin. I brought Richie in. I told him, “Hey, we are doing this film, and it’s about a black sheriff in the old west,” and he kinda lost his breath. “Mel Brooks? Mel Brooks?” He was a huge fan of Mel’s. I told him we’d love for him to write with us. He said, “Get me some money, get me train fare, get me a hotel, and I’ll be there.”Image via Blazing Saddles (Warner Bros).First day, he came in late. We started at ten; he got there at twelve. “CPT” he said. He sat down, and we started explaining the story, where we were, and he was going “ah ha ah ha” — pulls out a little vial. I didn’t even know what it was, and it was coke. Started doing coke. He turns to Mel, gestures to it and says “Brother Mel?” Mel says “Me? Never before lunch.” And we started.Image via Get Smart.To be in the room with these two guys. Incredible. Mel Brooks was my hero. He helped me start my career by hooking me up with the producer of Get Smart. Mel called and told me you want to be a writer (I was a lawyer) write a spec script, and I did. I sent that script to Leonard Stern at Get Smart, and a week later he called [to say] that it’s a good script. “If the show gets picked up, we’ll buy it.” The show got cancelled. I quit my job anyway and started being a writer.I wrote for Cash Box (trade music magazine), then I got an agent through someone I met through the army reserves — happened to be Bill Cosby’s agent. He got me a job writing on I Am The President, David Frye’s comedy album about Lyndon Johnson leaving the white house. David Frye — one of the great impressionists (“not a painter”) He was crazy, but he could do anyone. I think I got five hundred dollars and royalties. It was a hit. Kept going up the charts. The album won a Grammy.Next I did Comedy Tonight on CBS — star was Robert Klein and Madeline Kahn and Peter Boyle and all the great second city players. We did ten shows, was thrilling writing the sketches. It was a real writers room — Tom Meehan (Annie, The Producers) — Just a great group of people.Image via The Flip Wilson Show.Then I go out to California to do Frye’s next album, Radio Free Nixon — all happenstance — I run into Robert Klein, and he’s doing a new show with Flip Wilson — says I should come by, and I go out to see him and meet Herb Baker. They were looking for a new writer and offered me seven hundred and fifty a week, which was a fortune to me. Flip paired me with George Carlin — he was great, and he became my partner. It was a number one show — we get nominated for an Emmy, so I get an Emmy! My first two jobs basically, I get a Grammy and an Emmy (handed to me by Jimmy Durante.)Image via Blazing Saddles (Warner Bros.).I was then offered $1,500 a week, and I quit because I wanted to come back to NY. Gary Belkin hired me to do a special, Aquacade in Acapulco, with Tony Randall, Ed McMahon, Aquamantics, Stiller and Meara and Mel. This was a couple of years later. The only other time I saw Mel was at the unemployment office. We wrote a sketch together — I was in the sketch. Wonderful, I had no fear of saying what was on my mind and what I thought was funny, and I could make him laugh. Mel is tough as hell, and he yells at people, and I would say “Shut the fuck up.” Getting heard — you just rolled the dice. It’s the same thing in the writers room — you have to learn to take a punch. That was my indoctrination under fire. That was my instinct — I’m going for it. With Richard and Mel, it was like watching these two masters just go for it. They so respected each other and just laugh and embellished each other. I could never duplicate that experience — it was incredible. If you go at Mel — he will stand his ground, but he will respect you.Image via Blazing Saddles (Warner Bros.).This is how it works with Mel. He doesn’t sit down and write a script. He pitches — he says things off the top of his head. Like once we were having dinner and he said “Whoa that’s hot! My tongue just dialed the fire department.” He is the funniest man I know.The day that Mel showed the film to Warner Bros. — he came back to the office, he was ashen. He said they didn’t laugh once. He said “I’m going to re-cut the film.” Andy and I begged him to wait until the screening we had that night with all the Warner office workers. And they went bat shit, and it never changed. People were falling on the floor — because it was so outrageous at the time. And Mel said “Fuck ’em this is our film,” and that was the film that was released.PB: You’ve been involved in a lot of projects that speak to social justice — Blazing Saddles tackled race in its own zany way, and Free To Be You and Me dealt with gender identity and gender roles way before there were national conversations on which bathroom you can use or who should be able to serve in the military. How did you come to that project, and what was the process creating that show with so many liberal icons like Marlo Thomas and Alan Alda?NS: Free To Be You and Me was created by Carol and Bruce Hart with Marlo — they did the album, then we did the TV Special (also an Emmy winner!). I was working with Carol and Bruce on something, and they asked me if I could help them. Marlo was great. I brought Mel into it, and Mel and Marlo did the baby song. It was great — puppets by Waylon Flowers — he was a genius.  Marlo is a great producer and a really good person.Image: Joseph Maher When Things Were Rotten (ABC).PB: You have bounced often between features and TV work — does one have more of an appeal to you than the other?NS: Most of my career was in film — when I started, you either were film or TV and never the twain, but after Blazing Saddles, I was doing piecemeal here or there. I pitched some movies and sold one to Fox. Producer Bud Austin just adored Blazing Saddles and asked if I would consider heading up comedy development for Paramount TV and promised that anything I wrote on the side was a separate deal. I had this crazy Robin Hood idea, When Things Were Rotten, and sold it to ABC and brought Mel in. I had to give up my writing credit because of the Paramount job.  So, I worked in TV, but I was really disdainful of it. It was a step down at that time. Now it’s everything.Image via My Favorite Year (MGM).PB: My Favorite Year. Just mentioning the title of that film brings a smile to my face. How did that come about?NS: Dennis Palumbo wrote a script about Wyatt Earp, who comes to New York to publish a book — this guy is a drunk and he has a gun. The book publisher sends a young man to babysit him.  The producers said it’s period, expensive — we’ll never get it made — how about the same kind of relationship, but between Errol Flynn and Mel Brooks? Mel got in involved. The script became, In like Flynn. Mel hated the script and gave Dennis notes. He refused the notes, so Mel called me that he was looking for someone to rewrite it. I said I’d do it. Mel said “I can’t pay you enough.” I said “Can’t or won’t?” Ten drafts and four years later, we got it made.Image courtesy of Norman Steinberg.Tom Hanks was first in the door, but the director, Richard Benjamin, thought he was too sketchy. Mark Linn-Baker was great. But who knows how Tom Hanks would have been. He ended up doing Splash instead. Getting Peter O’Toole was like a dream come true. We said we wanted Peter O’Toole. MGM said “He’s a drunk, get someone else.” We said, “He’s perfect, and he doesn’t drink anymore.” We did meet with Albert Finney. He had just finished Shoot the Moon and Annie back to back. He told us he needed six months to rest. We knew we couldn’t wait — there could be a whole new batch of executives then, and our movie could be shelved. We told him we couldn’t wait. Finney said to us “O’Toole’s your man — I went to RADA with him. He’s your guy. I know I’m going to regret this. I said this once before and that was Lawrence of Arabia.”Cover image via Warner Bros.Looking for more industry interviews? Check these out.Actor Charlie Schlatter on Work, Health, and ComplacencyInterview: How Filmmaker Jessica Sanders Brought a Tiny Person into a Big WorldInterview: Women Texas Film Festival founder, Justina WalfordInterview: Filmmaker Bradley Olsen and His FCPX Documentary “Off the Tracks”Best F[r]iends: Greg Sestero on Making Movies With Tommy Wiseaulast_img read more

The Simple, Stable Solution to Rigging Your Lights Anywhere

first_imgSo how can you position your lights exactly where you want them — without the shooting environment constraining your setup?To get soft, flattering light, you generally want to get your lights as close to your actor as possible, while hiding them from the camera. However, that can sometimes be difficult due to the actor’s blocking or movement, or the constraints of the set. How do Hollywood filmmakers shoot on location without getting the lights in the frame? One way is by rigging your lights to the roof. A “wall spreader” (in grip terms) is usually a 2 x 4 (or 4 x 4) piece of lumber and some metal hardware that allows you to mount the lumber against the ceiling by bracing it against two walls. This is a two- or three-person job — and slightly complicated — because you need to cut the wood to the right length. However, it does give you a stable base to rig from.I’ve discovered a product from Impact called Varipole, which is a system for rigging seamless paper when you don’t want to nail into the wall. Kupo also makes a similar system called the Kupole. They both consist of two long poles joined in the middle by a clamp. You extend the pole to the ceiling and then pull down the crank. It then expands by about two inches, which locks the pole in place.Image via Impact.The great thing about Varipole is that you can get the same results as a heavy-duty wall spreader, but with two people in only a few seconds. The Varipole lets you attach different objects, such as a microphone, lights, or cameras — as long as they don’t weigh too much.It’s important to note that the capacity of the Varipole is much less than a wall spreader. You aren’t going to be able to rig your SkyPanel S360 to it, but you can mount smaller lights, such as the Quasar T8. Another option is using something like the IntellyTech LC-50. Since these are very light, you can run a long cable and put the ballast somewhere else.Image via IntellyTech.The Varipole doesn’t accommodate a lot of weight, particularly if stretched over long distances. By anchoring it to a door frame and a wall, you should be able to rig about ten pounds of equipment before it slips. It has high-grip tension mounts (that look like suction cups) on either end that stick to the wall. (It’s probably best to find the stud in the wall so you don’t bow the wall out or crack it as you crank your Varipole open.)Impact also makes equipment that complements the Varipole. The Double Super Clamp comes at a right angle. You can add extra support to the horizontal Varipole by adding a piece of vertical Varipole, then clamping it to the horizontal one for support with the super clamps.Image via Impact.You can mount the T8 to the rig pole with Impact’s Jaw Clamp, and you can use a Small Clip Clamp that goes into the receiver — to hold the T8 — that has a rubberized duck bill. You can also use super clamps, or anything with a wide enough span that’ll clamp down hard enough.You could also add two horizontal Varipoles, then bounce or bongo-tie Quasar tubes between them to create an entire roof of light.This system opens up many possibilities for getting light anywhere you want, giving your actors freedom to move, and expanding your blocking possibilities. Give this rigging system a shot, and rig your lights from anywhere.Looking for more articles on lighting? Check these out.Production Tips: Getting Started with High-Output Lights on SetFollow Fill: The Simple Solution to Lighting a Difficult SceneThe Advantages of Hard Light and the Benefits of Using It on SetWhy Filmmakers and Photographers Prefer to Use Soft LightInside the Electric Department: Lighting, Tools, and Safety Skillslast_img read more

Artificial Intelligence and the World of Motion Design

first_imgLooking for more industry insights? Check these out.Exciting New Prospects for Lighting Your Future SetTop Alternatives to Premiere Pro in 2019 — Free and PaidDo Creative Agencies Need a Creative Director of Video?Key Concepts for Incorporating Game Theory into FilmmakingThe Video Camera Trends Currently Re-Shaping the Industry Motion design is already a tough industry to conquer, and now there’s a new threat on the horizon — artificial Intelligence.The motion graphics landscape is changing, whether it’s new trends, techniques, or fancy plugins. We can all agree that it’s tough to keep up with this shifting environment, and it cycles people out constantly. By this I mean that if you don’t learn new styles and keep up with the trends as a digital artist, you can potentially lose clients and fail to gain new ones.Artificial Intelligence has already replaced many jobs, and it feels like in this fast-paced world, there’s no way AI’s growth will slow down. Specifically looking into motion design, AI has been around for years and isn’t going anywhere. I don’t mean to discredit the amazing work AI has provided to the world of animation — or even society at large. I’m here to start a conversation about the future of VFX and motion design.Jiayi Chong is a significant person when you’re talking about AI and animation. He was a technical director/developer at Pixar for nine years, working on films such as Toy Story 3, Wall-E, and Up. Chong’s contribution to the world of 3D and 2D animation was a program he developed called Midas Creature. It’s can animate complex objects that otherwise would take hours — if not days — to do by hand. There are also programs that help run simulations for water, skin, clothing, and walk cycles. These innovations have saved hours of painstaking work for motion designers and VFX artists. They’ve probably minimized the number of mental breakdowns people have had while trying to get water to flow naturally.AI has made some remarkable achievements. For example, the Samsung AI Lab was able to animate faces using only one picture. When I first saw this, I freaked out because watching the Mona Lisa talk and move around is very strange. A second example is a video by YouTuber Ben Marriott, who animates a still photo with Ebsynth. It uses an input video and keyframe (still) to add movement to any picture, and the results are pretty impressive. A final example is the new Auto Reframe from Adobe. Re-editing a video from 16×9 to IGTV or Instagram Stories is no longer tedious, thanks to Auto Reframe.So, what does AI mean for the future of our industry? Well, we all expect it to become more integrated into our workflows. AI will continue taking tasks off our to-do list — a trend certain to continue. Because of the human aspect of design, AI won’t completely take over our craft. But, realistically, I do see AI taking over small short animations within the next five to ten years.We can all agree that, eventually, the development of AI will become so advanced, all we’ll have to do is type in what we want and, within seconds, get the result we want. For now, the creativity will be left to us. In our current state, AI is here to collaborate and help carry out our ideas. Until the distant future, we don’t have much to worry about, but it’s on its way.last_img read more

The Best Scenario for Using Space Lights: An Introduction

first_imgA Light SolutionFilmmakers quickly learned the attraction of shooting on a sound stage, especially one that mimics the perfect kind of daylight. This is most often the result of a light modifier called the “space light” — groups of lights used to illuminate a large area of space with an even level. The space light, sometimes called a barrel light, is a cylindrical tube of diffusion that hangs down from or around the light fixture. They’re hung from a grid in rows, often six feet from the background and six to eight feet from each other, giving an even level of top and side illumination over a wide area. This is invaluable when shooting a scene that takes place over a distance — like a walk-and-talk or fight scene.The Tungsten 2K is the most common light of this type because they’re cheap and bright. Brightness is important because the Space Light modifier eats up a lot of light. You need to start with a bright source to end up with a realistic exposure on the ground.Daylight-balanced LED space lights are far easier to maintain than tungsten, due to lack of heat or the need to regularly change the bulbs. But, most struggle to achieve the brightness of tungsten.Space Lights Are Only Part of the SolutionImage via FERNANDO MACIAS ROMOIt’s very rare that a scene will be exclusively lit with space lights. They make for great back and fill lights, but lack the punch to be a good key light. It’s for this reason that most gaffers and DPs use space lights on a stage, but will add one or more key lights to make the subject “pop,” creating contrast. This is often a large silk, such as a 10×10, with a bright light like a ARRI M18 punching through it (for daylight balanced scenes).If the talent is covering a wide area, they might set up multiple, smaller key lights — like the SkyPanel S60 — from the top or side so they’re illuminated at the different places, or “marks,” they stop at.Other Uses for Space LightsSpace lights are also an excellent way to illuminate a green screen or a white cyc. Studios with facilities will often have a row of space lights installed above the back wall, as well as a “teaser,” or long piece of black fabric, that can mute the spill on the talent.Space lights aren’t a light modifier you can use to shape a single light. They work best (and are most commonly used) in a large array as part of a studio, but it’s great to know that if you want to light a large area with an even exposure and capture that pre-magic-hour exterior ambiance, they’re the perfect tool for the job.Top image by Syda Productions.Looking for more on lighting? Check out these articles.Follow Fill: The Simple Solution to Lighting a Difficult SceneExploring the Emotion and Beauty Behind UplightingNature’s Lighting: A Guide on Shooting With or Against the SunMeet the Pocket-Sized, Versatile Aputure MC Film LightExciting New Prospects for Lighting Your Future Set Shooting in natural light, outdoors, can often be a limiting experience. Introducing the space light — a great alternative to outdoor lighting.The Problem with Natural LightOvercast daylight in the early morning or late afternoon is a pretty great starting place for cinematography. It softly illuminates everything without being too bright. In a perfect world, it would always be the right weather and right time of day.Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Often, the sun is too bright, or changes too much over the duration of the scene. Sometimes it rains, and the sun is only perfect for brief moments of time.last_img read more

The Hustler’s Playbook: Hustlers Act With a Sense of Urgency

first_imgYou can tell a hustler from a non-hustler by the way that they walk. A non-hustler is moving forward, but not very quickly, and with no apparent purpose. A hustler, on the other hand, looks like they are flying, moving purposefully towards some target in front of them. And this is one of the defining differences between hustlers and non-hustlers: a sense of urgency.Hustlers act with a sense of urgency. A hustler believes they things need to get done, and they need to get done right now. If a client calls with a need, the hustler immediately takes care of the need. If a call needs to be made, the hustler picks up the phone and makes the call. Even when a hustler doesn’t know the answer to a question and offers to get back with the person they are trying to help, they get back with that person that same day.The hustler feels an internal sense of urgency. The pressure to act never has to be applied by outside forces of any kind, not a parent, not a boss, not a client.A non-hustler will get to things in due time. They want to get things done, too, but they don’t feel any internal pressure to get them done now. Tomorrow is fine, if not, the day after that will work, too. The non-hustler describes themselves as a procrastinator, something a hustler would never dream of calling themselves. In this, the non-hustler could learn from the hustler.Action taken now is better than action taken tomorrow. This is true because results now are better than results tomorrow. As Patton put it, “A good plan violently executed now is better than the perfect plan executed next week.”last_img read more

Don’t Take These Clients

first_img Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now There are some clients whose business you should not take.Unappreciative: Don’t take clients who don’t appreciate the value you create. You will never have a great, partner-oriented relationship with people who don’t appreciate who you are, what you do, how you do it, and the difference that it makes. You have limited time, spend with the people who appreciate the value you create.Lowest Price: Don’t take clients who only care about lowest price. If the only way you can win a client’s business is by winning a race to the bottom, you haven’t really won. You have really just agreed to provide your services at the lowest price. That isn’t selling and, unless the lowest price is your business model, you’ve won nothing.Vendor: Don’t take clients who don’t perceive you as a peer and a partner. You don’t want to work for people who believe you are a vendor or supplier. You don’t want to work for clients who don’t believe that you have real value, and who will look for you the help they need solving their biggest challenges.Won’t Pay: Don’t take clients who don’t want to pay you the money they owe you. There are some people who don’t like to pay their bills. But when you create value, you are entitled to capture a share of the value you create. And you’re entitled to capture it promptly, and without having to fight for it.They’re Desperate: Don’t take clients who are only working with you because they are desperate. Much of the time the only reason a prospective client is giving you their business is because they are desperate, it means there is a reason they can’t find someone else to help them. The fact that your prospective client is desperate is a clue that there is something wrong.You’re Desperate: Don’t take clients that you are only taking because you are desperate. If you are only taking a client because you are desperate, it means you know that you are making a bad decision. Solving the problem of your prior bad decisions by making another bad decision isn’t a terrific strategy.Bullies: Don’t take clients who are bullies. You don’t want to work with bad people. You don’t want to work with seriously dysfunctional people. And you don’t want to work for people who will bully you. These people will also bully the people on your team, and you can’t allow that.Lose Money: Don’t take clients who will cause you to lose money. Taking business without making a profit is the same as not taking their business. Taking business and losing money is the very worst idea ever. If you what you do creates value for your client, you should get paid for it. If you aren’t profitable, you aren’t going to be around to create value for the people who want you to profit and to generate future value.last_img read more

Why You Must Own Your Losses

first_imgThe human mind is an interesting thing. It is powerful beyond belief, yet riddled with all kinds of viruses that will harm you if left unchecked. To protect your ego, your mind will come up with ways to rationalize your failures, even rationalizing your behavior when you wrong another person. But by protecting your ego and absolving yourself of responsibility, your ability to rationalize can destroy your results.You Lost the DealYou may rationalize a deal lost to a competitor by telling yourself that it wasn’t a straight up contest, that they dropped their price to a level at which no one could really serve the customer, let alone do so at a profit. You may not want to believe that you were outsold, but you were. You failed to make the case that the value of your solution was worth paying your higher price. Or you may have failed to identify the prospect as a price buyer or disqualified them early.You can rationalize away a lost deal by believing that your prospective client didn’t really understand the value of your solution, how you are different, and why you would be the better choice. The outcome of selling is to create a preference for you and your solution. You didn’t create that preference. “But wait,” you protest, “that prospect didn’t even give me a fair chance to compete. My competitor had unfettered access to everyone on the buying team.” Whose job is it to gain access to the stakeholders you need inside your prospective client’s company?Everything Is Your FaultEverything is your fault. If you lost, then you own the loss.The problem with rationalizing lost deals, mistakes, and missteps, is that it disempowers you. It robs you of your ability to do something different when faced with the same situation in the future. It means that the world is acting on you and there is nothing you can do about it.One of the most dangerous infections you can suffer from is the belief that you are powerless to do something different to produce a better result. The linchpin human attribute, the one attribute that enables so many of the others, is resourcefulness. Because creativity is limitless, given a long enough timeline, human beings overcome every obstacle they encounter.A growth mindset allows you to own your failures and mistakes, to learn from them, and to come up with a new strategy or tactic.You know your competitor is going to compete by lowering their price so low that you dare not follow them. So you start teaching your prospective clients to expect lower prices and also to expect the poor results that come with under-investing in the solution they need. You make them a list of areas where the investments will be cut to get to those lower prices, and show them how it hurts their results. You leave a minefield behind you for your low price selling competitor to walk into.You know you need stakeholders to compete fairly. So you “go there” and ask for access as early in the process as you can. If you are rejected, you push back, explaining that you can’t do your best work without access. If your prospective client refuses, you know you are column fodder and you move on to a better opportunity. Or you have your executive team work their executive team.When you own your losses, you empower yourself to make better choices in the future. Everything is your fault, which means you have the power to do something different.What poor results are you rationalizing? What are you telling yourself to absolve yourself of responsibility?What new choices can you make by owning those failures, missteps, mistakes, and poor results? Free Webinar Series! Create a culture of value creation. Signup for this free webinar! In three, short, power-packed webinars, you will learn what you need to do to create a culture of value creators who create and win new opportunities. Download Nowlast_img read more

The Problem with Wanting Sales to Be Easy

first_img 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 Some people want sales to be easy. They want more and better sales without putting forth the effort necessary to acquire clients and opportunities. Many of them believe that their business should run like Amazon.com, with them offering a product or service or solution, and people clicking to buy what they sell, an idea that works well for some transactional sales, but performs poorly when their target clients need help (and even Amazon has salespeople for AWS, their biggest money-maker).Entrepreneurs spend their time seeking a technological solution to a problem that isn’t easily solved through technology. They spend their time looking for a go-to-market strategy that eliminates the need for salespeople, a part of the business they see as a cost, and one they have no idea how to engage and manage effectively. Because they believe so deeply in their offering, they suffer from the delusion that their target market will immediately recognize the value and buy from them, a rare occurrence. By trying to make selling easy, they make obtaining clients and opportunities more difficult.Salespeople and some of their leaders believe they can pitch everyone and win new business, and there is a growing cottage industry on LinkedIn of salespeople who are taught and trained to write a four-paragraph pitch with a link to their calendar to strangers, without targeting, and without any indication that the person might be right for their service or solution (I know this because I receive sales training and development offers, as well as appointment-setting services pitched to me every day).It’s easy to increase your activity by pitching more people faster, and you can deceive yourself into believing that you are efficient. Efficiency is measured by the energy expended to produce a specific result, not the elimination of effort and energy without a result. To believe that you are efficient when you try to make selling easy, you have to refuse to look at the wasted energy and effort.Most of the effort expended in trying to make selling easier would be better spent in increasing your effectiveness.last_img read more

BJP sweeps Maharashtra, Sena takes Mumbai

first_imgThe Bharatiya Janata Party continued its political dominance in Maharashtra with resounding electoral victories in key municipalities and zilla parishads across the State. It won eight of the 10 municipal elections that were held on February 21. The Shiv Sena, its erstwhile ally, won in Mumbai and Thane.In the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), it was a close call, with the Sena winning 84 out of the 227 seats and the BJP 82. In Thane, the Sena won 67 of the 131 seats, while the BJP won only 23, fewer than the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which bagged 34 seats.In eight other municipal zones, the BJP swept the elections, giving Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis a major image boost as well as an upper hand against the Sena, a party that is a part of the government. For the municipal elections, the Sena had broken the alliance and dared the BJP to go it alone.In Pune, the BJP won 98 of the 162 seats, with the NCP coming a distant second with 40 seats and the Sena bagging a mere 10. In Nagpur, Mr. Fadnavis’ home town, the BJP won 108 of the 151 seats, leaving the Congress way behind with 29 seats. In Nashik, where Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had won in the 2012 elections, the BJP won 67 of the 122 seats. The MNS was decimated, with just five seats.“This victory has made us more powerful in Maharashtra,” Mr. Fadnavis said at a press conference. “Our politics consists of trust and transparency. This result is a clear indication that Mumbaikars and the people from the rest of the State have accepted our way of functioning. No other party in the last 25 years has delivered such results.”He said: “The victories in the BMC and other municipal corporations have made the BJP more humble. Instead of merely talking about good governance, the party will now work towards delivering the promises it had made in the campaign. The people have accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation wholeheartedly. Along with that, the transparency agenda has received tremendous support from the people.”Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, in a statement released at a press conference at party headquarters Sena Bhavan, said: the “I thank my Marathi brothers and sisters for their overwhelming trust in me.” The party had expected a few more seats, but lost in a close contest. “Not only will the next Mayor of Mumbai be from the Shiv Sena, but also the next Chief Minister.”Both the Sena and the BJP have staked claim to the post of Mumbai Mayor, but have avoided the vitriolic language that peppered the campaign. BJP city unit chief Ashish Shelar claimed the support of four Independents and said the next Mayor will be from Mumbai.Loss for CongressThe Congress lost several of its seats in Mumbai, winning only 31. Party’s Mumbai chief Sanjay Nirupam offered to resign, accepting responsibility for the defeat, which he blamed on infighting. The MNS is the biggest loser, winning only seven seats, against 28 in 2012. For the fifth consecutive time in Mumbai, though, the Sena has become the single largest party. It not only increased its 2012 tally of 75, but Mr. Thackeray’s gamble to go it alone by snapping alliance with the BJP also proved to be a major factor in consolidating the party’s traditional Marathi vote base.last_img read more

Chit fund scam probe in Tripura

first_imgThe Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the State CID is getting ready to bring Rose Valley owner Gautam Kundu here from Kolkata this month as part of its probe into the chit fund scam.The Rose Valley group had collected deposits from thousands of people and allegedly duped them. The SIT earlier failed to get Mr. Kundu in its custody after his lawyers stalled two sanctions of transit remand in West Bengal citing medical reasons. Mr. Kundu is wanted in connection with another case lodged in the West Agartala police station.last_img

Modi visits Lingaraj temple

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi offered milk, juice of tender coconut, leaves of Bengal quince (bael) and flowers when he worshipped Lord Lingaraj inside the sanctum sanctorum of the 11th century temple, a prominent Shiva shrine of the country, here on Sunday.Here, on a two-day visit to attend the BJP’s national executive committee meeting, Mr. Modi visited the temple before leaving for the party event.Flanked by Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and State BJP president Basanta Panda, Mr. Modi went around the stone-floored premises of the temple complex. He also worshipped at the Siddhi Vinayak temple and Devi Parvati temple on the campus. Sevayats (servitors) and temple officials apprised Mr. Modi of the temple lore. The temple complex having 50 smaller shrines in its spacious courtyard was made dust-free ahead of the PM’s visit. According to Rajkishore Mohapatra, one of the servitors, the PM sought the “blessings of Lord Shiva” for the well-being of the country.last_img read more

Stuck with harvest, farmers turn to traders

first_img“Just as a body must be cremated and cannot be brought back home, so must farm produce be sold,” says a brooding Jagdish Patidar, a farmer from Maheshwar on the banks of the Narmada. He has taken a day out to visit the Kisan Mukti Yatra passing through Barwani. “Once the farmer takes his crop to the market to sell, he must sell it and only then return home,” he says. Mr. Patidar list the reasons — farmers do not have the space to store their produce; returning [with unsold produce] from the market would entail additional transportation costs; and most importantly, they need the money. It is here that the vicious cycle of the farmers’ crisis begins as they are forced to sell their produce cheaply. This leads to a dip in farm incomes which sometimes sparks off agitations, he says. Pointing out that the government opens procurement centres — to purchase farm produce at the minimum support price — more than a month after the harvest, Mr. Patidar says the farmer cannot hold on to his produce for such a long time. He thus sells it to merchants at well below the MSP. Further, the way the MSP operations are carried out do not protect farm incomes. No guaranteeEven when the government finally starts purchase operations, the farmer has no guarantee that his produce will be sold as often it is rejected on grounds of quality. Once again, the farmer turns to the private merchants to sell at lower prices.The ongoing Yatra of farmers’ organisations — attended by activists like Medha Patkar, Yogendra Yadav and Raju Shetty — has two key demands: the raising of the MSP to 1.5-times the cost of production and universal loan waiver.“The MSP is meaningless without a procurement guarantee. The government need not purchase all the produce but if the price falls below the MSP, the government must step in as a buyer of the last resort,” says economist H.M. Desarda, former member of the Maharashtra State Planning Commission.In nearby Naraula village, Rajaram, an ageing farmer, list more drawbacks to the government procurement schemes. “When we sell to merchants, they pay us in cash within three-four days. The government centres, however, pay a month or more later and the money comes straight in our accounts,” he says.last_img read more

Congress to start early in M.P.

first_imgThe Congress may soon announce a chief ministerial candidate in Madhya Pradesh to take on the BJP and the three-time Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.Many believe the party’s decision to take on the BJP in Gujarat without a chief ministerial candidate proved a mistake. Now, the Congress wants to send a strong signal to its faction-ridden unit in Madhya Pradesh where the party has been out of power since 2003. The loyalty of Congress workers is divided among Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ajay Singh and Digvijaya Singh, a former Chief Minister. Sources told The Hindu that Congress president Rahul Gandhi met Mr. Nath and Mr. Scindia together and was likely to consult Mr. Digvijaya Singh, who is now on a 3,400-km Narmada Parikrama or what he calls a ‘non-political’ journey along the banks of the river.Ending rivalry “The two senior leaders [Mr. Scindia and Mr. Nath] recently met Mr. Rahul Gandhi. And they have conveyed him an arrangement that they have agreed to. We are waiting for the announcement in the next couple of days,” a senior Congress leader said.A truce, if declared, will end years of intense rivalry between the Scindia and Kamal Nath factions as each leader is seen vying for the top post.Sources said that last September, Kamal Nath, 70, seen as a frontrunner for the post given his experience as a nine- time MP and Union Minister, had publicly supported Mr. Scindia. “Scindiaji and I not only share political relations but also a strong family bond. I am not after any post, but I am committed to the return of the Congress to power in Madhya Pradesh. I firmly believe that Scindiaji should be projected as the party’s chief ministerial candidate. We’ll fight [the elections] under his leadership,” Mr. Nath had told reporters after a rally that he and Mr. Scindia had attended. Party overhaul The Congress has started the overhaul of the State leadership. In September last, general secretary in-charge Mohan Prakash was replaced by Deepak Babaria, known for his proximity to Mr. Rahul Gandhi. The Congress’s confidence is high since it retained the Chitrakoot Assembly constituency in November. Congress candidate Nilanshu Chaturvedi won by 14,000 votes, bettering the party’s margin in 2013 of 10,970 votes. The victory was significant because Mr. Chouhan had campaigned extensively in the constituency.last_img read more

Mayawati rejigs party structure

first_imgCarrying out a major rejig of her party in preparation for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, BSP supremo Mayawati on Saturday relieved her brother Anand Kumar of all party posts in a bid to tackle charges of nepotism levelled against her.In April 2017, Ms. Mayawati appointed Mr. Anand Kumar party vice-president on condition that he would dedicate himself to the organisation and never contest polls or hold office of power.Citing BSP founder Kanshi Ram’s commitment to remaining a bachelor all his life and keeping his family away from political posts in the BSP for the sake of the movement, Ms. Mayawati said her brother had offered to serve the party without any post.According to the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, after she appointed her brother vice-president last year, she had not only faced allegations of nepotism but also had regularly to deal with “opportunistic and selfish” leaders who demanded posts for their relatives.Addressing a national executive meeting of the BSP, Ms. Mayawati said the decision to relieve her brother was taken “so that no Opposition party in the country or media can level allegations of promoting dynasty in the party like the Congress and other parties”.National coordinatorsIn another important decision, Ms. Mayawati appointed two “national coordinators” who would review party organisation work on her directions throughout the country. The two newly appointed national coordinators are Veer Singh, Rajya Sabha member and party general secretary, and Jai Prakash, who is party vice-president.Ms. Mayawati also appointed a new Uttar Pradesh State president, replacing Ram Achal Rajbhar with R.S Kushwaha, a former MLA and MLC. Mr. Rajbhar has been promoted to the post of national general secretary, the BSP said in a statement.Ms. Mayawati also said she had amended the party constitution to prevent nepotism in future.last_img read more

Kolkata court summons Shashi Tharoor

first_imgA Kolkata court has summoned Congress leader and former Union minister Shashi Tharoor for his remark that the BJP will pave the way for creation of a “Hindu Pakistan” if voted to power again, lawyer-petitioner Sumeet Chowdhury said here on Saturday.Mr. Chowdhury moved a petition before a Metropolitan Magistrate Court, alleging that Mr. Tharoor’s comment created disharmony and was “a deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings.” Mr. Tharoor was sued under Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (1) M. Dasgupta directed issuance of the summons to the Congress leader through post and on his Twitter handle. The court directed him to appear before it on August 14.In the petition, Mr. Chowdhury said Mr. Tharoor had refused to apologise. In Thiruvananthapuram, Mr. Tharoor said at a meeting that if the BJP returned to power, it would rewrite the Constitution and turn India into a “Hindu Pakistan”.last_img read more

Protest against Goa Governor in support of Rajan Ghate’s hunger strike

first_imgGoa social activists and politicians who are backing right to information activist Rajan Ghate sitting on an indefinite hunger strike in Panaji, on Saturday announced to protest outside all public functions attended by Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, from Monday.The action plan was announced at a public meeting held by the civil society members and groups on Saturday evening to express solidarity with Mr. Ghate, whose hunger strike demanding that ailing Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar hand over charge to any of his active Ministers, entered 9th day. Mr. Ghate on Saturday declined to give up his hunger strike till his demand was met. The activists led by Adv. Aires Rodrigues also announced that they will protest outside all the functions attended by Central Ministers in Goa and offices of Dy. Collectors in all 12 talukas of the State from Monday. The activists at the public meeting claimed that the ailing CM wanted to resign, but alleged that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had not allowed Mr. Parrikar to resign.last_img read more