Just Let It Gel (Facebook How-To… Page)

When laying down a canvas, I think it’s important to set the foundation first, usually with white gesso, but sometimes simply with some soft gel. Almost every visual artist will tell you same, unless they are painting on paper, mylar, or some other strong gripping surface. Then again, said artist might not even want to create an archival work OR rather the degradation of the work is key to the process. Whatever the case we understand the basic of what to start with.

After that decision is made, I start applying broad strokes to block in shapes and highlights, carefully choosing colour(s) which will give a tone to the story. Once that step has happened and I’m confident in my decisions, I begin the process of focusing on areas of the painting, slowly laying in or uncovering details and telling stories within the story of my canvas. It’s easy to get caught up in the romance of it all, so I’ll spare you that as best I can.

ah-romance_o_903595

This might seem like a common practice, but there really are a lot of different ways to make a painting. Truth be told, no two artists will tackle it the same way, even if we pretend subject matter and material choices are the same. And frankly, I don’t expect marketing to work in a catch-all matter either, even though many people think it’s a simple process.

And given my personal experiences with it, once you set the foundation, just like fine art, marketing comes down to taste, experience and the message to be delivered.

About Face

Way way back in November 2016, which feels like ages ago, I met a beautiful woman and we had our first date. It was wonderful, and she is very special to me, when she reads this post we will have passed our 3 month anniversary, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Right, I promised no more romance.

Well, I’ll just try this one more time.

Way way back in November 2016, I wrote a post about Facebook. Now at the time, I didn’t expect to cover the whole social networking service in one post, so I decided to break it up into several parts, aptly naming the first part, Facebook pt. 1. And like any good franchise, I’m going to immediately deviate from that pattern and set out to call the next set of posts Facebook How-To … (insert topic here).

Clever right? Yeah, I’m usually pretty clever, but it all depends on what I have else I have going on upstairs in that old noggin of mine. Which I think makes perfect sense, and even if it doesn’t immediately make sense for you, you’ll find a workaround I’m sure.

A Face Only A Mother Could Love

 

Let’s talk about Facebook pages my dear, sweet, and wonderful readers. You creative cuties, you.

I’ve said this once before, but Facebook pages are to individual profiles what corporations are to small businesses. This is where you share content with your followers and get them involved in your personal brand. You have to set up your business page if you want to get to the ads step, so do that first. Then focus on lifestyle over product. You also want to be actively involved in comments and service… this can include incentivizing your user base and sharing user content too.

How do you accomplish this you ask? Well with 3 (condensed) tips like this:

  1. Build your community by focusing on your members and how the page provides value – This means using the page as the voice of your brand, but always eluding to insights that are available for people who have purchased your product(s) to make them feel special. You don’t have to treat page likes based on sales, but exclusivity is important. Then focus on followups for customers in PMs and for answer questions when you can.
  2. Discuss current events and promote events too – But I would add that you keep it relevant to your user base at all times. People will get frustrated if you talk about sports when that’s not in your business mantra, for instance.
  3. Communicate with your biggest fans. If you build strong relationships with those who love you, they’ll reach out for you, but it also allows them to network WITH EACH OTHER. Like attracts like as the old adage goes. And if you have team members, it gives them a place to function as ambassadors and stewards of your brand.

The biggest takeaway from all of this is to keep your page active and allow people to participate in a discussion, much like how a Facebook group is forum for it’s user base, the Facebook page is the podium. It allows you to build trust with your fans and become a representation of your brand.

Obviously I’ll spend some more time in the future on success stories, but for now, you have some foundation to set up your canvas. I hope you can keep on rocking in the free world creative cuties, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a story about a concert. It’ll probably be romantic though.

Tim!

Play It Again, Phiona (Queen of Katwe review)

Movies are an endlessly interesting way of storytelling.

Because, much like oral storytelling, they rely heavily on the narrator to deliver a  perspective in time. Regardless of what the details of the story are, colour choices, setting, actors, and dialogue can all aid in creating a distinctive rendition of what has been delivered before.

 

 

 

Queen of Katwe (2016)

Cast: Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o
Director: Mira Nair
released on blu-ray January 31, 2017
******** 8/10

qok

IMDB: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, Audience Score 87%
The Guardian: ****/*****

 

Mira Nair is an Indian American filmmaker who typically focuses on international films which depict Indian culture in a positive light and she got her start making documentaries – some of her more well known films are Mississippi Masala, The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding, and Salaam Bombay!.

Nair has been involved in activist projects for a very long time. She even set up an annual film making workshop aptly called, Maisha Film Lab in Kampala, Uganda, which translates to life. For over ten years, young directors in East Africa have been given opportunities to learn film techniques with an emphasis on telling personal stories. Maisha is currently building a school.

I mention these details because Queen of Katwe is Nair’s first film set in Africa. Or is it? Now she has directed films about other cultures previously (read:Words with Gods, Vanity Fair, and The Perez Family), but this is also the first Disney production she has been involved with.

The plot is pretty straightforward – We witness the shifting life of young female protagonist Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) as she makes some incredible intellectual achievements. What is atypical of the movie is that it is set in Africa, but doesn’t focus on conflict zones AND it has an entirely black speaking cast. But it still manages to be incredibly “Disneyfied”. What this means is that it is very mainstream in it’s depictions of Phiona and her family life, affirming the positive trajectory of Phiona. And yet her life is not at all like that of typical North Americans, just look at this plot synopsis from Wikipedia:

Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi, her mother Harriet (Lupita Nyong’o), and her family. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo) at a missionary program. Katende coaches soccer and teaches children to play chess. Curious, Phiona approaches and learns the game. She becomes fascinated with it and soon becomes a top player under Katende’s guidance. Over several years, her success in competitions and tournaments leads to greater competitions, stress, and identity issues. Phiona must learn more than the game as she is exposed to life outside Katwe. Her education, both formally and informally, continues as she dreams of escaping a life of poverty for herself, her mother, and her siblings.

This is a perfect example of a triumph over adversity tale, and it doesn’t follow all of the usual beats despite containing a similar tone. The authentic experience of Phiona, her family, and friends allows us to engage with the story much better and definitely brings in some feels towards the end, especially when her sister Night finally comes home, and when Kampala experiences a flash flood. The final heart string pull comes with the credits. In what I would describe as a rare instance of showing the real people that inspired the film, Nair brings in these people to meet the actors who portrayed them, and it’s heart warming in a way that you’d expect from Disney.

Pros: Yes there are a lot of cliches embedded within the framework of the story, but all of the subversions more than make up for it, and the feelgood element is hard to pass up. Madina Nalwanga is a bright star, and portrays her role with integrity, grace, and humour. And man is it cast well – top to bottom.

Cons: I struggled with the title “Queen”. Realizing it was intended as a play-on-words about chess, but seeing it moreso as an acknowledgment of Disney princesses, though these characters are experiencing real world poverty. Sometimes the pacing is too gentle for the weight of it’s cast, supporting members included.

Runtime: 2 hours 4 minutes

Points of InterestSo I lied, kind of. Mira Nair adapted Queen of Katwe into a film after making a documentary about the life of the man who trained Phiona Mutesi, Robert Katende. But that’s pretty cool right?

In short this is brilliant little film about a young woman with an innate ability to play chess which is slowly developed to the point where she can compete with master level players. While it isn’t innovative in the story it presents, the sum of its parts are what makes this story worthwhile for a viewing. The presentation, the lead, and the setting are all well done.

Phiona’s story is presented in such a mainstream way to get more access to the incredible triumph of her life. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Because I keep saying over and over, this is a story we’ve heard over and over, and yet it isn’t because a story of a young black African woman achieving an intellectual result is a rare thing to witness in mainstream cinema. The fact that Disney pushed this through warms my heart even moreso than what I watched, and that IS a good thing. I hope they continue this trend, and that’s my theory for the day.

Tim!