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Money is never the problem!
This is our first email newsletter in 2022! Hopefully, from now on, I can get back in the habit of publishing weekly.
On a side note: I lived my whole life under the threat of war and sanctions. To this day, I still sometimes wake up in the middle of night from the nightmares of war in the city and scrambling for shelter. My heart goes out to the people of Ukraine right now. But hopelessness is what evil wants from us. We can help. If you wish to support the Ukrainian cause, here is a link to a unique organization that helps children through art.
Voice of Children is a Ukraine-based aid organization that provides psychological support to children who have witnessed war. It uses art therapy and storytelling to support children’s well-being.
God bless your sensitive, artistic hearts.
Now, let’s begin!
What would you do to make money with only 5 dollars + two hours?
This is the assignment that professor Tina Seeling gave to her students at Stanford. She gave them an envelope with 5 dollars of “seed funding” and sent them into the real world to complete the assignment.
Don’t go any further, and just think for a moment. What would be your solution?
The results are very interesting: The teams that generated the most money didn’t touch the five dollars at all!
Yes, that’s right! They figured that running something like a lemonade stand or setting up a car wash might bring in a few dollars, but if they wanted to move beyond that, they had to think without any limitations. One of the team’s solutions was solving the common problem of waiting in long lines at popular restaurants on weekends. The team decided to help those people who didn’t want to wait in line. They paired off and booked reservations at several restaurants. As the time for their reservations approached, they sold each reservation to customers who were happy to pay to avoid the long wait. Clever!
I always ask myself: How could you go one step further in your career right now, without asking for any additional resources?
What we have is enough.
Your first film is the first step into the film industry and toward signing contracts with established studios or channels. Everyone in the film industry knows that someone’s first film is usually of poor quality, and no one expects to see anything but enough talent and passion to put a convincing story together. The result? Some of the most well-known filmmakers never could touch the level of the creativity and emotions that they created in their very first film.
My favorite example is the first movie by the Duplass brothers. I like all their work, but my favorite is their first film, The Puffy Chair (2005), a very humble road movie with literally zero budget. Two brothers and their friends and families co-created, co-produced, acted, and did whatever they could to bring this film to life. The result is a very raw, authentic, and intimate drama that touches your heart. In other words, they never relied on their own “five dollars”. Instead, their fuel was the power of friendship and the ambition of hungry, talented artists—something that, in my opinion, they couldn’t recreate again later with a standard budget.
The resources we already have are often far more powerful than we think they are.
Great Big Story
There are many examples of how big companies with enough funding, resources, and reputation couldn’t pull off a project.
One of the best examples is the efforts of CNN to get into the game of short-form content. In 2015, CNN founded a media startup called Great Big Stories to produce disruptive new age micro-documentaries for social media. They poured in money and hired talented staff for the company. For example, in 2017, CNN committed 70 million dollars to the company. However, the project never became commercially viable, and the pandemic put an end to its short history.
Compare this failure with many successful “one-man band” digital media companies that many creators are running. They fight huge forces with Memes, Lo-Fi and DIY style, creative content curation, and speaking in the trendy languages of social media platforms. They survive because they learned to think beyond their “5 dollars”.
That’s right! Money is not our biggest problem in the age of the internet.
Talk to you next week,
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