Saturday, February 5, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
'People will make fun of you, but now they truly have the fever,' Jon Chu tells MTV News.
By Kara Warner
Those who pay close attention to the trembling, always-excitable pulse of Justin Bieber fans (like we do) likely know that February 11 is a very special day: the release date of "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never."
But for the rest of the world, those who don't have young kids, particularly daughters, or who've yet to be stricken with Bieber fever, the idea that a full-length feature film has been made about a curiously coiffed 16-year-old pop star is a bit of a head-scratcher.
No one understands those confused sentiments more than Jon Chu, who directed the film (as well as "Step Up: 3D"). When MTV News caught up with him recently to talk about his filmmaking adventure with the Biebs, we asked him what kind of harassment he got from his friends when he signed onto the project.
"There's always people [giving me flak], whether it's the 'Step Up' movies, dance movies or the Justin Bieber movie," he said. "People will make fun of you, but now they truly have the fever, for sure," Chu said of his friends who've since come to understand the power of the teen phenom. "Since [I signed on], he's won four American Music Awards, including Artist of the Year, he's nominated for two Grammys he's on the cover of Vanity Fair, and I think they've fallen for him as well."
Chu also explained that Bieber's story is just plain inspirational, haters or no.
"Especially for this generation of kids, [it's important to show] that they could make it on their own without a big corporation," Chu added. "I thought it was an exciting way to tell it: through his music."
Check out everything we've got on "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never."
For young Hollywood news, fashion and "Twilight" updates around the clock, visit HollywoodCrush.MTV.com.Related Videos
Testimony has Conrad Murray removing IV stand and two bags of medication.
By Gil Kaufman, with additional reporting by Kara Warner
The second day of testimony in the preliminary hearing of Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, featured damning testimony from one of the late King of Pop's bodyguards about Murray's actions in the critical minutes after the singer was found unresponsive.
After a former Jackson staffer testified Tuesday that Murray appeared to not know how to perform CPR properly, security guard Alberto Alvarez said on Wednesday (January 5) that the cardiologist frantically grabbed medical evidence from the star's bedroom before instructing Alvarez to call 911.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Alvarez said he was the first person to walk into Jackson's bedroom after Murray realized his patient was not breathing, where he found the cardiologist administering chest compressions with one hand while Jackson lay on his bed, which goes against the recommended procedure for the life-saving method.
"I said, 'Dr. Murray, what happened?' " Alvarez told the court. " 'He had a bad reaction, he had a bad reaction,' that's all he said." Alvarez choked up as he described how Jackson's daughter, Paris, followed him into the room and screamed when she saw her father sprawled out and unresponsive on the bed.
He said Murray then instructed him to get the children out of the room, noticing as he left that Jackson's penis was out of his underwear and that medical tubing was attached to it. When Deputy District Attorney David Walgren asked Alvarez if he knew what a condom catheter was, the security guard said he did not.
Alvarez said he then witnessed Murray grabbing a handful of bottles, which he instructed the security guard to put in a bag. He told the court that he held open the bag as the doctor dropped the bottles of medicine inside and then put it in a brown canvas bag on the floor, per Murray's instructions. Murray also allegedly told Alvarez to grab one of the two bags hanging on an IV stand next to Jackson's bed and put it in another bag. Alvarez said he noticed a "milk-like substance" in the bottom of the IV bag.
The Los Angeles County Coroner's office determined that Jackson died of an acute intoxication of propofol, a powerful surgical anesthetic sometimes referred to as "milk of amnesia" thanks to its milky white appearance. Only after the medical materials had been put away did Murray tell Alvarez to call 911.
"After you had collected the bottles per Dr. Murray's instructions, and after you had collected the bags per Dr. Murray's instructions, did Dr. Murray instruct you to call 911?" Walgren asked. "Yes, sir," Alvarez responded.
TMZ reported that during cross-examination, defense attorney Ed Chernoff got Alvarez to admit that he never told police about Murray ordering him to remove the bottles and Alvarez later admitted that he may try to sell his story.
Later in the day, EMT Richard Senniff testified that he arrived at the Jackson home, just four minutes after the 911 call was placed. According to TMZ, Senniff said that, based on the condition of Jackson's body, it appeared that Murray waited at least 20 minutes to call 911. Senniff also stated that when he asked Murray what meds Jackson had been administered, he only listed lorazepam (Ativan).
Jackson cook Kai Chase also testified, revealing the food she prepared for Jackson prior to his death (seared ahi tuna and salad, white bean Tuscan soup) and that she knew something was wrong when Murray came downstairs in a panic and summoned Jackson's son, Prince.
The preliminary hearing is aimed at determining whether there is enough evidence to try Murray on a felony count of involuntary manslaughter in the June 2009 death of the King of Pop. It is expected to last two to three weeks.Related Artists
Back in 2001, I sat down at my blazing fast Pentium computer and started writing a book about internet marketing. Brainstorming it with John Cass, we realized "Hey, the internet is kind of two-way, like a conversation..." and that led to the title Conversation Marketing. Little things like babies slowed me down a bit, but in 2003 I self-published the book, titled, surprisingly, Conversation Marketing.
It's been for sale in print format for years, but a lot of folks have asked for an electronic version, so here it is: Conversation Marketing in PDF. You can buy it for $7:
If you want to read the whole advertising pitch for the book, you can look over here. But really, for $7, the PDF is a steal.
Yesterday I wrote about how agencies can't use typical project management methods. Those methods fight interruptions. We have to build interruptions into our work style.
Here's the real meat-and-potatoes stuff. This is the set of rules and guidelines I wrote for the Portent team, nearly un-edited, plus examples. I talk tools, rules and exactly how you should set up and follow project milestones and tasks.
Note that I use BaseCamp throughout, but these principles should work no matter what you use.
I'm going to use the BaseCamp milestones page as the example, but I feel any document that tracks a project must have the following:
That's it. There are lots of other features, but at its heart, this is what a project is: Milestones. Tasks. Communication.
Tools I use to try to make projects easier are:
- Explanations of milestones. The explanation is supplemental text describing any details or additional information about that milestone. In BaseCamp, use Milestone comments as the explanation area.
- Messages record all communication within a project. Worst case, all e-mails and phone conversations should be cut-and-paste into a text file as a project record. In BaseCamp, you can use the Messages tool. Any e-mail involving the project should be sent via or stored in the BaseCamp Message tool. If you have a phone call, record the notes from the call as a message. If you send a file to everyone, again, use the Message tool.
- Collaborative writing is part of almost any marketing project. If you are writing something that will require review and revision by multiple people, use something that facilitates that. If nothing's available I use Google Docs. BaseCamp has the Writeboard tool. Use either one.
- Sometimes you want to have an asynchronous discussion about a design, a recommendation or similar. E-mail may work but it can be clutzy if you're sending 1-2 sentence messages between team members. A discussion forum can be better, since you don't have to remember to 'cc' everyone. Or, use Campfire - it's the Chat tab in BaseCamp. I prefer Campfire because, again, it records everything, and it's super-easy to use.
- Finally, file management can make-or-break the project. Make sure essential files get stored somewhere besides your laptop hard drive. An online service like DropBox can work. BaseCamp has the Files tab - if you attach a file to a message it's automatically stored. If not, you can upload the file from the Files tab.
The rules of agency project management
The ground rules:
- A milestone is anything deliverable from the agency to the client or vice-versa. 'home page first design' is a milestone. So is 'site SEO recommendations report'. However, 'site crawl' is not.
- Every milestone has a responsible individual. Don't assign milestones to groups or teams. Assign them to one person. That person is on the hook to get the work done. It's possible a team will do the work, but that one person is accountable, no excuses allowed.
- The responsible individual must control the result. I used to see projects where the account manager was responsible for every deliverable. That's a terrible precedent. The account manager is responsible for directing traffic between the client and the team, and facilitating communication. They have little control over on-time delivery of a home page design. That's the designer's job. The AM can pester and beg, but in the end the designer has to get the work done.
- Every milestone has a deliverable. "February SEO recommendations" isn't good. "February recommendations report complete" is.
- Every milestone has a status. In iterative projects (ie all projects), saying "February recommendations report" isn't helpful. "February recommendations report 1st draft" is.
- Every deliverable has an individual recipient - a single person, somewhere, who will receive the final product. You can call out the recipient in a supplemental note/message for the milestone. It doesn't have to be in the milestone title.
- Every recipient has a follow-up milestone, like "Approve February recommendations report".
- Tasks are the things you do on the way to a milestone.
- No task takes more than 2 hours. This is kind of arbitrary, but I insist that my team create tasks that are atomic - that are definable, achievable things. So 'code administration site' is an awful task. 'Set up authentication for administration site' is a lot better. Doing it this way has three benefits:
- It lets everyone track progress day to day, and prevents the deadline ambush.
- You're less likely to get interrupted mid-task if tasks are shorter.
- You have far more between-task times to handle all the other stuff that inevitably comes up.
- Each person controls their task list. It is not the account manager's job to create task lists. We had to do this in Celoxis simply because not everyone could create a task list. BaseCamp allows anyone to create a 'todo' list (a task list, really) and record time associated with to-dos.
- Every task has a verb. "Keyword research" is a lousy, overbroad task. "Write initial keyword list" is good.
- Only the project/account manager can mark a milestone as complete.
- Only a project/account manager can reschedule a milestone.
If you get interrupted:
- Find out if the interruption is an emergency.
- If it is not, check to see when you'll be done with your current task. It should be less than 2 hours, remember.
- Let the person who's asking for help know when you'll be able to help them.
- Mark down their request as a separate 'to do'.
- Complete the current task.
- Complete their request.
An example project
Oh, god. Some agency named Portent has hired us to rebuild their site, and to conduct ongoing SEO afterwards. You just know they're going to be second-guessing us every step of the way. And have you ever met their CEO?!!!
Regardless, they threw a lot of money our way. The scope of work is split into two major projects: Site build and SEO. Here's the necessary bits for this example:
Note that deliverables and timelines are utter fiction, by the way. Use these and you could end up in a world of hurt.
The site build lists milestones, but some need to be broken up into smaller chunks. for example, the Design milestone needs to become 8 individual milestones:
Note how each milestone follows the rules outlined above: They have a defined deliverable that's passing from agency to client or vice-versa; include a handoff, etc..
For the mockup, the account manager needs to explain what 'sent to Portent' means. You can't really send a bunch of HTML pages, stylesheets and graphics to a client. So, she adds a comment:
That comment further explains the milestone. It'll sit there for anyone who needs it.
Portent's SEO work is trickier. It's cyclical, so it's tempting to enter broad milestones like "April SEO" and leave it at that. The better way to handle it is like this:
- Figure out which of the bolded items involve deliverables to the client in some form. In this case, everything except 'site crawl' is a deliverable. Directory submission counts, even if we don't literally send directories to the client, because we're delivering something for the client.
- Make each item into a milestone, scheduling out recurring items on a regular basis for the duration of the contract.
- Create a corresponding to-do list.
Here's how the biggest recurring milestone - site review - might look:
Note that I associated a task list with the first milestone. I used a to-do list template, so I can associate the same thing next time if I want, or modify it, or do something different. What I did not do: Apply the same basic to-do list for six months of milestones. That will cause us to get mechanical and never adjust our tasks according to changes in the client's SEO profile and goals. So I'll create the remaining task lists when I need them.
Always put together your to-do/task list for a given month at the start of that month. That way, you can focus on current tasks and better address client needs.
Here's the task list:
That's it - go forth and conquer
That's the high-level look at how we handle projects. Is it perfect? Of course not. It's only as good as the people involved, and it only works if everyone's comfortable with this style.
But in ongoing, campaign-based work, where interruptions are the rule, it's kept us on track.
- Clients aren't customers: Why most agencies suck at project management
- Why most market research is worthless
- Truth or dare? 6 internet marketing trends tested.
- You can now buy Conversation Marketing, the book, in digital format.
- The best way to launch a web site