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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

It doesn't have to be a nametag, it just has to stick

One random night in college, I decided to put on a nametag. Just for fun. Just to see what would happen. And out of that seemingly innocuous little detail, I built a brand, a business and an entire career.

That was fifteen years ago. And the spooky part is, I’m now conditioned to notice those innocuous details everywhere. To me, everything is a nametag. Everywhere I look, I see a sticker in a trashcan that could change everything.

Because you never know. Inspiration comes unannounced.

When my wife and I moved across the country, we specifically chose a neighborhood within walking distance of a major park. Trees were just too important to us. If we were going to live in a major metropolitan city, proximity to nature was a necessity.

One afternoon, after getting settled in our new apartment, we went for a walk in that park. And at the entrance to the great lawn, we approached something miraculous. An architectural marvel.

I’ll never forget the first time I strolled through the tunnel under the historic Meadowport Arch. The aesthetics were inspiring, the architecture was stunning and most importantly, the acoustics were shattering.

See, I have this obsession with naturally ambient spaces. As a musician, I feel a responsibility to never let good acoustics go to waste.

And so, I remember saying to my wife as we walked through the tunnel, I am coming back here with my guitar.

So I did. And within five seconds of strumming and singing, something magical happened. Something that changed me forever.

I remember thinking to myself, as I was performing, this is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. As I watched people walk by, smiling and listening and singing and dancing along to the music, I knew that I had stumbled upon a priceless opportunity.

I had found another nametag.

But this time, I wasn’t about to wait fifteen years to turn it into something.

So I started coming back to the tunnel every weekend. Playing full concerts under the arch for whoever walked through. I became a fixture in the local community. And because that experience of sharing my music in this new way was so transformative, I decided to make a documentary about it.

We have a responsibility to notice creative opportunities. Because once we apply force and propel them into interesting directions, there’s no telling what might be waiting on the other side.

It doesn’t have to be a nametag, it just has to stick.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.


Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Can busking under a tunnel change your identity?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Award winning writer, performer and nametag expert premieres a concert documentary that sticks.

Scott Ginsberg made a name for himself wearing a nametag twenty-four seven. He built a brand, a business and a career as an author, professional speaker and business strategist. But after fifteen years, he decided to branch out into an entirely new medium of creative expression.

I’ll never forget the first time I strolled through the tunnel under the historic Meadowport Arch in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. The aesthetics were inspiring, the architecture was stunning and the acoustics were shattering. There was no way I wasn’t coming back with my guitar. And after a few months of busking, there was no way I wasn’t coming back with a production crew.” 

When in doubt, hire yourself
Ginsberg wasn’t waiting around for somebody to greenlight his creativity. He didn’t have to ask permission to innovate. He simply took advantage of the invaluable production value and decided to make a documentary about the transformative power of performing in the tunnel. Tunnel of Love: Songs, Stories, Sermons & Scenesis a feature length concert documentary written, produced, directed and scored by Scott Ginsberg. The film explores the intersection of identity, belonging and creativity. The movie takes a look at the transformative power of live music, both on the audience and the performer. It pays homage the sonic potential of natural acoustics. And it’s a playful narrative about two young lovers in the process of changing their pronouns. Through live performances, playful and romantic exchanges, unexpected creative moments of conception and behind the scenes storytelling, Ginsberg’s film takes you on a heartfelt journey about what it means to be an artist, a romantic and an opportunist.

Don’t be stopped by not knowing how
Scott, however, had zero experience writing, producing, directing, scoring and funding an independent film. But that didn’t stop him. Because if there’s one thing he does have experience with, it’s undertaking creative projects in which he has no idea what they hell he’s doing. Scott partnered with Emmett Williams of Mission Man Media, an award winning artist, internationally known musician and nationally exhibited photographer. He served as director of photographer, editor and overall production manager. He used Elance to find local audio technician, Jared Alder, to engineer the sound for the film and produce original motion picture soundtrack, which was released as a stand alone album.  



Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 7.54.04 PM










What happens inside the tunnel of love? Kids biking. Families picnicking. Tourists dancing. Friends singing. Couples dancing. Family clapping. Babies crying. Teenagers yelling. Police patrolling. Birds chirping. Balloons popping. Dogs barking.

Adopt the direct to consumer channel Tunnel of Love will be initially presented as a serialized, episodic documentary. Since the movie’s centerpiece is a live concert, Scott is premiering each song as a stand alone chapter on his website and social channels. There are 14 songs in the concert, so the distribution timeline will occur over a period of 14 weeks, from September to December. Every Monday, fans will get a new song emailed to their inbox. And by the end of the year, the entire movie will become available online for free, forever. Ginsberg, who writes books and conducts seminars about the digital revolution, says the direct to consumer era and the infinite shelf space of the internet have changed everything for creators and entrepreneurs. When it came time to decide on a distribution strategy for his documentary, there was never really a question: 


Of course I was going to give the entire movie away. Of course I was going to stream the whole thing on my website for free. Of course I was going to adopt the direct to consumer channel. Anything that’s a barrier to getting my work in people’s hands is a problem. Most of the world’s independent documentaries that premiere each year never even see the light of day anyway, much less secure theatrical distribution or achieve commercial success, so I see no reason to exhaust and expense myself in the process. Middleman, schmiddleman.”

But the film isn’t a complete vanity project, Scott laughs. The documentary homepage also offers discussion guides and curricula for educators, learning institutions, companies, congregations and other organizations to help spread the messages of identity, belonging and creativity.

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“I wanted Tunnel of Love to be more than just a movie, but also a platform for education and connection. Because strategically, I’m always searching for new ways to deliver my unique value to society. So I trust that the offering of these educational materials, free of charge, will lead to some exciting new opportunities.” 


Call to Action
Can we interest you in a feature story, an interview with Scott Ginsberg or a review of his new documentary? For those who might be wonder about how to overcome the challenges of identity, belonging and creativity, Scott's movie offers up the smartest answers to the toughest questions that plague all of us. If you'd like to watch his full movie, please contact below. Media review copies, high resolution photos and interviews available upon request. This article may be used in whole or part, with short bio and links to website please. Special feature story inquiries and blog posts welcome. Email questionnaires, permission to use excerpts or fresh articles available to meet your needs. Fire away and let Scott know how he can help you!

Quotes from Scott Ginsberg


“The only artistic goal worth pursuing is freedom, and that everything else flows from there.”


 “Put whimsy on wheels. Give yourself permission to follow ridiculous ideas to fruition.”

“Generosity is the tax you pay for talent. If you’ve been given a gift, you have an obligation to share it. To regift it so it brings joy to others. Anything less is an act of ingratitude.”


“Every interaction is a relationship. Regardless of how long it lasts, you’re still relating to the other person. Belonging is about learning to find joy from whatever people have to offer.”


Learn more at www.tunneloflovedoc.com.


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Monday, September 29, 2014

Tunnel of Love -- Chapter 1: Alibi (2014) -- Scott Ginsberg Concert Documentary

Tunnel of Love is a feature length concert documentary written, produced, directed and scored by Scott Ginsberg. The film explores the intersection of identity, belonging and creativity. Through live performances, playful and romantic exchanges, unexpected creative moments of conception and behind the scenes storytelling, Ginsberg’s film takes you on a heartfelt journey about what it means to be an artist, a romantic and an opportunist.

Watch the trailer. Meet the creators. Go behind the scenes. See the episode scheduleDownload the discussion guide.



Tunnel of Love will be presented as a serialized, episodic documentary. The movie’s centerpiece is a live concert, so I’m premiering each song as a stand alone chapter. There are 14 songs in the concert, so the distribution timeline will occur over a period of 14 weeks, from September to December 2014.

Here's chapter one:



ALIBI
Prophecy, she is a lonely business.
Ain’t not fumbling for first time lovers
Dancing right there under the covers
So won’t you be my alibi.
Poetry, means getting back what disappeared
Ain’t got no rolodex of opinions
Breaking bread with cupid’s minions
So won’t you be my alibi.
Jealousy, where is she going with that halo
Ain’t got no time to piss away my chances
Taking my lightning for granted
So won’t you be my alibi.



* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.


Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Moments of Conception 111 -- The Haircut Scene from Edward Scissorhands

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today's clip comes from the haircut scene in Edward Scissorhands: 



What can we learn?

Mixing up your vehicles helps you stay innovative. Edward begins by trimming the hedges. Then he starts grooming the neighborhood dogs. Soon he’s cutting the hair of the housewives. And by the end of the movie, he’s creating ice sculptures that create an effect of falling snow. It’s not just a reminder to create art, but also to explore new ways of being an artist. To search for new methods to circulate our views and extend our sentiments. The hard part is, we have to trust our audience, believing that if people really do value our work and appreciate us as creators, they will follow us down whatever new corridor we travel. Dylan, for example, recorded over forty studio albums, but he also published six books of painting and drawing. According to his biography, visual arts always played a significant role in his worldview. Drawing and painting served as an outlet for his huge creative energy. And once he finally began to use those mediums to reveal yet another dimension of his poetic vision, his audience responded to his extraordinary talent and treasured the work. Dylan’s paintings were shown in dozens of galleries and exhibitions around the world. And visual arts became one more shelf in his creative room. How can you avoid limiting yourself to one vision of your creative capabilities?


Going into the world. Edward’s inventor suffered a heart attack and died during his process of creation, leaving the young man unfinished forever. That’s why he’s spent most his life as a recluse, living in his hilltop mansion. But once he comes down that hill and meets the world, everything changes. He finds family, finds love and finds a home for all of his talents. Yet another example of what’s possible when we participate in the we. Humans, after all, understand the self in the context of other people. And if we truly want the highest understanding of who we are, eventually, we have to reach for the other. We have to cocreate with people. This movie always struck a social cord with me. Because for the first twenty years of my songwriting life, I treated music as an escape. As a way to hide from the world. Until one day, I read an interview with one of my songwriting heroes, who famously said, you have to get out of the basement and go out and play for people. That sentence changed my inner geography. Something very real inside of me shifted that day, and I haven’t been the same since. And so, now I perform every week. I’ve come out of music hibernation, hungry and active for nourishment. I don’t need to hide from the world anymore. Music let me share another part of my heart. Playing and singing songs in real time, in front of real people, about real emotions, is fulfilling on a level that is hard to express. Will you let the craving for togetherness trump the seductiveness of isolation?


Leaving no creative asset unharvested. Edward is putting himself on the line in front of an audience. First, by trimming shrubs and dogs, and later by sculpting real human hair. That’s what I love most about his creativity. People keep laying down track in front of his train. They use him like every part of the buffalo, tapping into his natural genius and talents. And for the first time in his life, Edward has purpose. He can finally use his gifts to contribute something of value to the world. The danger, however, is that he has no conception of boundaries. No moral code. Since he’s been living without a sense of reality and common sense for his whole life, he doesn’t realize he’s being taken advantage of. And so, housewives attempt to seduce him, kids take advantage of him, even bullies exploit his ability to pick locks and break into people’s homes. Because they know he’ll say yes. It’s a devastating reminder that if we don’t set boundaries for ourselves, other people will set them for us. And then they will violate them. And they will tell all their little friends to violate them too. All because we failed to set a precedent. Is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used?


What did you learn?


* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.


Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Moments of Conception 110 -- The Budget Scene from Dave

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today's clip comes from the budget scene in Dave:


What can we learn?

Susceptible to executional inertia. The creator is in the business of giving shape and forward motion to his ideas. Turning the obsession that fascinates him into something real in the world. However, while this work is intellectually and existentially rewarding, it’s not cheap. The purchase price of creativity is uncertainty. Not knowing always accompanies the artist as an unwanted lifelong companion. And unless we learn how to circumvent it, the process will continue to feel like walking backwards into a dark tunnel. Dave is a celebrity impersonator, not the leader of the free world. He smiles like a schmuck. He doesn’t know the first thing about being president, much less balancing the federal budget. And now certainly isn’t the time to learn. But this is a national emergency. If he doesn’t cut a half a billion dollars, he’ll never be able to restore the children’s homeless shelter. And so, he enlists his accountant friend to help him rewrite the budget. Together, the two of them discover myriad ways in which the government can tighten its belt, reprioritize their spending and focus on the issues that matter most. I’ve always loved this scene. It reminds me that what we lack in knowledge we can make up in resourcefulness, courage, passion and commitment. Because if we always waited until we knew what we were doing, we’d never do anything. What is waiting getting in the way of?


There is nothing to do but begin. Moliere famously said that theater was just two planks and a passion. Notice he didn’t say anything about writing scripts, securing royalties, casting actors, designing costumes, building sets, booking space, acquiring financing, hiring staff, booking security, choreographing dances, scoring music, selling tickets and contacting promoters. Because none of that matters. If you really wanted to put on a show, you would have done it by now. You’re the only thing in the way. Knowledge isn’t the thing that sets your dream free, you are. Dave, then, is a master of negative capability. He’s honed the skill of being in uncertainties, living with mysteries and dwelling in doubts. And if he knows anything, it’s that not knowing has zero bearing on whether or not his dream becomes a reality. It’s simply a matter of will. Ultimately, each creator owes it to themselves to hone this capability. Because while we can’t control life’s waves of uncertainty, at least we can improve our surfing skills so we’re ready when the big one comes crashing in. How could you lower the threshold for getting started?


A little ignorance goes a long way. Dave brings perspective from an unbiased source. He’s just a regular guy whose intellectual limitations free him to consider the winning solutions our government has long since taken for granted. Someone who knows there is no prerequisite to giving good ideas a future. I’m reminded of a client meeting from several years ago. The president of the company said they needed someone who could come in and ask the dumb questions that they stopped asking long ago, because they just know. And I told him, that’s why I’m here, because I know nothing. And they hired me. Why? Because a little ignorance goes a long way. Because objectivity is equity. And because sometimes it takes a person who knows nothing to change everything. Consider that as a permission slip for your own creative process. Focus on moving forward without moving flawlessly, focus on occupying your imperfection and adding energy to the system, and you’ll have no trouble making your dreams a reality. What if you don’t need to know as much as you think you do?


What did you learn?


* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.


Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Moments of Conception 109 -- The Typing Scene from Misery

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today's clip comes from the typing scene in Misery:



What can we learn?


If you do it right, you never start with nothing. Everyone has the equivalent to a blank page in their lives. It’s that intimidating, torturous, paralyzing and dreadful part of the work that requires you to confront an empty canvas and create something from whole cloth. Cartoonists even have a name for it. They call it the blazing island of white. But while many artists romanticize the notion of the blank page, it’s actually a profoundly unhealthy and inefficient way to work. What’s smarter is to dig your well before you’re thirsty. To accumulate an ongoing reference file for your brain to work on through a passive, unconscious process. Think of it as forced savings account for your ideas that always has a high enough balance to make withdrawals. That way, when you sit down to create, the blank page is no longer ground zero, your life is. Because your intellectual reservoir is constantly replenished, the blank page has become a moot point instead of a massive pain. Paul, on the other hand,  doesn’t have a choice. Instead of completing the first draft of his novel in his usual historical, elegant hotel room, now his most loyal, but most psychotic fan is holding him captive. And when he fails to populate that blazing island of white, she smashes his ankles with a sledgehammer. A good reminder that our creative blocks could always be worse. Are you fortifying your intellectual inventory with an organized, trusted and robust system?


Pave the way for prolificacy. Paul’s writing process may be interesting for the screen, but it’s impractical for the career. No wonder he has writer’s block. Sitting down at a blank page is a cold start. It’s too overwhelming to the brain, which pushes a person to do too much work inside their head. And it creates too many outstanding thoughts that plague the consciousness, which makes it harder for a person to think creatively. It’s like walking into a factory and forcing the machine to run before it’s been brought up to operating temperature. Talk about misery. And so, the smarter approach to creating is much more gradualistic. Digging your well before you’re thirsty. Living your life in a way that your art gets done over and over. Making sure that the heavy lifting is everything that comes before your eyeballs stare at the blank canvas. That way, as soon as your butt hits the chair, you can hit the ground running instead of killing yourself trying to will ideas into existence. It’s the difference between sitting down because you have something to say, and sitting down because you just have to say something. Are you making it too hard on yourself to allow for psychic fuel to show up?


Be interesting before you open your mouth. I wrote my first book during my senior year of college. Not bad for my literary maiden voyage, but overall, it was a paragon of imperfection. It had design flaws, grammatical inconsistencies, even a couple of printing errors. But it didn’t matter. It was done and it was mine. I could touch it and smell it and hold it. And nobody could take that away from me. The best part was, because of the book, I now had something to do the talking for me. It was a hundred page calling card. A proxy that could do a lot of the heavy lifting before I opened my mouth. And that was something my mentor always stressed. He said that the greatest competitive advantage is, they’ve heard of you before. Meaning, your strategy as a creator isn’t to build a hype engine around your idea, but to physically make that idea. To build a prototype people can smell and touch. That way, when the time comes, you can slap it down on the table and let it do the talking for you. That’s not high concept, that’s high context. And it’s what makes your work stick. What could I you do to establish instant credibility in this moment?


What did you learn?


* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.


Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!