Business Filming Method

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Movietraining™ - knowledge distribution tool

Based on a true story - Ann, a training manager in a company with multiple locations has a headache

Ann, a training manager in a company with multiple locations, was until the morning proud of her latest achievement: two months ago all of the company branch managers passed a series of training sessions, where they were updated about the company's goals and learned innovative methods to improve their sales' skills. Managers actively participated and expressed interest in the material. At the end of the training she received great feedback and she was very pleased.

"This morning, before I set to talk to you", she tells me, "I went as usual at 8:30 to the office; I opened the computer and the first thing I saw was an urgent summons to my boss's office, VP human resources. I entered his office a few minutes later, and at the entrance I already felt that something was wrong..."

"Ann", he told me, "Yesterday Ned (our VP of Sales) stopped me in the hallway and he was very concerned and nervous. He told me he studied last month reports, and he was surprised to find no increase on sales, as everyone expected, and everything stays the same as at the beginning of the year – it seems too slow, salesmen are tired… "

"Yes", I said, haven't any idea how to respond.

"Ned claimed", My boss kept firing at me, "that he made some checks yesterday and discovered that no branch managers had initiated any new move – they didn't gathered their teams for weekly meetings, didn't guided their deputies. Instead they continued to handle only the daily routine activities - inventory management, branch maintenance and dealing with customer complaints. He just can't figure out why the company decided to spend so much money on expensive training, which eventually yielded no results! He intends to request an urgent meeting with the CEO on this issue as soon as possible! "

My boss took a deep breath, trying to stay calm. While I focused all along the floor, frantically looking for an escape route close to me, to jump way down, probably directly to the main warehouse on the ground floor ...

"Ann", My boss said coolly after a minute of absolute silence, which seemed like eternity, "I ask you to submit to me an urgent detailed report on the latest branch managers' training. I want to know what was there every minute, I want to know who said what and when, I want to know who was breathing, who was blinking, who was scratching his head. I want to know everything! "

"Fine", I said.

When I went out of my boss's office, I felt as if all this company's future is laying on my shoulders right now and of course the future of its entire staff. And as you know me, I don't really have large shoulders ...
I went back to the office, I took several deep breaths and after a few minutes of thinking and focusing I decided to call Tom, a branch manager, who I like and have good contact with. I promised myself to take an objective attitude and especially to listen to Tom, but it didn't take me more than 5 seconds to tell Tom everything. He, in his turn, surprised me by saying:

"Ann, I assure you, there is no a single branch managers who doesn't agree that the training was excellent. But the problem is not with the training! The problem is something completely different!
When I returned to the office after the training I felt good - I felt I learned a lot, I got an important insight, but when I tried to remember certain subjects from the training sessions I found out that I only remembered the summary at the end of the day. I actually liked one advice based on a case study from another company, but I couldn't concentrate and understand how I can apply it in our office.
The next day we received a large new stock of products for the holidays. Two weeks later the IT team installed a new system of collection (you must remember what pressure we had during this time period), and I was fully occupied and busy with my daily work. Two weeks ago, when things calmed down a bit, I tried to actually remember some of the things we learned at the last meeting, especially the issue of how to handle sales objections, and I'll tell you the truth – I didn't remember anything.
I avoided scheduling a staff meeting - if I can't get myself to remember all the insights I have learned, how could I possibly pass them to 200 employees?? "

I stopped Tom for a moment: "Let me understand what you're basically telling me. You say that if you had the means to remember what you had learned, to know how to implement it in our branches and to pass all that knowledge to your employees – would you have done more?"

Tom said: "Absolutely! One can't rely on what I remember, it won't make me achieving better results, it can't provide me with tools to improve sales and it won't bring the expected change!"

"I understand you perfectly", I said, and for the first time this morning I had a smile upon my face.

I assume that you, the reader, as a training manager in an organization with multiple locations or an expert in sales training, probably had faced or will face the situation described here. How can knowledge be shared in large organization with multiple locations so it will make a positive impact on the company's business results? How can one find the solution which will have the optimal cost - benefit ratio for the organization?

Ann is smiling because she is aware of a solution to this issue.
Recently a new product called Movietraining™ , developed by CastEffect, was introduced to the market, which provides a solution exactly to this issue. The product is a short, focused and result driven process based on tools taken from filmmaking process. This process implements four principles which make it so effective:

1. Learning process - the participants create content for corporate training video using scriptwriting techniques, where they provide a unique and customized interpretation to sales skills and how to improve corporate sales. The customization enables managers like Tom to use the trained material for their specific needs.
2. Documentation of the learning process for using in future ongoing training – it provides a solution for managers like Tom, who only remembered a small percentage of what they learned during the training sessions.
3. Production of training video - directing, photographing and editing scripts from the learning process to be used for creating training video as working toolbox for managers like Tom to distribute knowledge acquired by them to their employees.
4. Additional Training Kit, which includes a list of written principles, conclusions and recommendations for future ongoing learning.

...on his way to distribute training knowledge...

Ann can still save the situation - she will gather the managers once again for a short training session. They will experience all phases of the Movietraining™ - and I'll wait for a phone call from her and read in the newspapers a report about the significant increase in her company's business results!
I would love to hear your opinion, share knowledge and experience.
Yulia Reinshmidt,
Co-CEO, Content & Production Manager,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Writing your success script – Tip #5

Tip #5: Writing your success script – Defining Customer Service code and values

Let start with looking at the following scene from the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994):
Man: [aggressively] What do you want?
Ace Ventura: HDS, sir, and how are you this afternoon? All righty, then. I have a package for you.
Man: Sounds broken.
Ace Ventura: Most likely, sir. I'll bet it was something nice, though.

It's a type of customer service scene. What can we find at this scene?
1. Rude and impatient customer
2. A customer service person who seems in the beginning to behave nice, polite and service oriented
3. A customer service person who seems in the end, as... not very clever, tactless and... about to get punched in his face ...

Organizations face more and more cases like the above and find real need to define service values and Service Code – which are consistent and clear - and based on the specific organization real life cases. The goal is to prevent such situations and design a uniform corporate policy regarding the service issue. Service Code and service values are gathered to form a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which serves as a central managerial and control tool of the corporate service issue. The goal of the SLA is to enable the management to assess more accurately the customers' expectations, so it includes definitions for:
• the company's services' portfolio,
• the various corporate divisions dealing with customer service
• the various service processes
These definitions are based on clear defined service values, which serve as the vision and the mission of the entire corporate customer service staffs, managers as well as employees.

One may say that SLA is an agreement between the service provider and the customer. The importance of the SLA is by providing a clear visualization of the principles, boundaries and expectations generated during the service process or interaction. This visualization enables the organization to meet its business objectives, analyze real situations, measure the results and learn from the conclusions. This method allows the company to comply with the highest service standards compared to its competitors and proved to be a cost effective solution.

For those of you who interested to read an excellent and thorough article about SLA, I recommend Amit Mehendale's, which I read recently:

After completion of forming the SLA, the company faces a bigger challenge - building a system-wide work plan to implement the principles and processes.
The corporate senior management will probably ask the following questions:
How to share this knowledge with the entire corporate customer service staff?
How to provide the managers with new tools to start implementing the work plan?
How to get feedback on the principles of the Service Code so it will be connected to daily ongoing corporate activities?
What can we learn from these feedbacks that will enable us to make changes and adjustments in the work plan during its implementation?

Let me show an example for dealing with these questions raised during a comprehensive project we carried out a year ago for the IT Division of a leading financial company.

Case Study

With the entry of a new head of the division and during a significant re-organization, the management decided as a first step to define a new and up to date SLA. The process also included writing a comprehensive work plan for the upcoming 3 years. The challenge defined was to carry a SLA launch conference at the end of this first step.

The most important targets were:
• To involve the entire Division staff (about 350 employees) in this process and get feedback from their personal interpretation of the service values in the Service Code.
• Exploit this creative process to provide managers with leading and team guiding skills
• Put the service issue in first priority for the entire company's staff with accompanying BUZZ.

Employees and managers took part in this process creating commercials for each service value, where the most popular value was the value of the personal attitude.
The idea was to give an interpretation through a short story with a clear message to the importance of values such as excellence, availability, cooperation, personal responsibility, initiative, caring, listening, transparency and professionalism.

The issues raised by managers as challenges to deal with were:
"We're going to stop talking and start doing"
"We're going to be available for our customers and colleagues at any time and place"
"We're going to stop telling stories to our customers and colleagues"
"We start to be positive and initiate"

The goal was not to generate just slogans but to implement in practice what they stood for.
The managers passed a preliminary workshop about screenwriting and groups guiding, and met with their employees for brainstorming sessions.
Each group produced a number of scripts for commercials, with reference to the story itself and casting of the participants for various production roles (screenwriters, directors, actors, art, technical crew, costume designers etc.).
After selecting 10 scripts, each group was photographed for its commercial.
All the films were broadcasted at a big Service Code launch conference of the company, accompanied with stories of representatives of the groups about the process they went through.

These testimonies, presented in different ways, carried the same message, I found in the following quote:
It is one of the greatest compensations of life that no one can help another without helping themselves

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's currently about a year after the launch project ended and the division staff are working intensively to implement the values presented as slogans in their own films:
The change of the service level starts with you!
Service with vision!
When all of us are united the service net is perfect!
No service – a big nightmare!
When it is important to you - it's more important to us!
Your success - Our Mission!
Our knowledge is always at your service!

Want to know more about this positive change? Read more about Service training videos and CastEffect Filmmaking
I would love to hear your opinions, learn from your experience and share knowledge.

Question For You: Every process has its major milestones – what are the next steps the management should take to ensure the ongoing improvement of the SLA work plan?

Yulia Reinshmidt
Co-CEO, Content & Production Manager

Our next post will be tip #6 - writing a screenplay about competing with changes of re-organization process

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Writing your success script - Tip #4

Tip #4: Writing your success script – What do they REALLY mean? The importance of subtext in sales and service situations

Don Corleone: I'm gonna make him an offer he won't refuse. Okay? I want you to leave it all to me. Go on, go back to the party. (The Godfather, 1972)

Ask yourself: how many times each day you are selling something to someone? An idea, an initiative, a message, a product, a service?
In such a situation – would you admit that most of the time you were concentrated on what you had said and not of your customer's response?
And if you were concentrated listening to what your customer says - do you feel that you really understood what he was trying to convey to you in his words?

This "transmission" I talk about is transmitted in two channels simultaneously: The open channel (the text itself) and the hidden channel (non-verbal – the speaker's real intention). This hidden channel is called "subtext" in the cinematic jargon. Sometimes, there is a full similarity between the text and the subtext, but the real challenging situations are those which suggest a clear dissonance between these two.
Subtext, or the ability to "read between the lines", has a crucial role in communication between the seller and the customer during the sales' process or service's process. The success of both parties in this process (which brings to close a deal) is related to, among other things, the mutual ability to read the mutual subtext and its correct interpretation.

The world of subtext is a non-verbal world. It is communicated by facial movements, gestures, intonation. In a film script the subtext has a very important role in the characterization process and in building a dramatic conflict between the characters. This visual medium allows the actor to express the same sentence on two levels simultaneously - verbally, as written in the text, and in a non-verbal manner as subtext.
For example, the phrase "I love you." I want to introduce an alternative to direct this scene: the girl says this sentence while lowering her gaze, lowering her voice, holding her head, blushing and tearful – we as the audience experience her great excitement (situation shown in the case where the love of the couple is in danger or in a situation where the girl finally decides to reveal to her friend her hidden love.)
Second alternative can be: A girl says “I love you” as she stands motionless, her hands pressed tightly to her body, she is very pale, looking terrified and frightened. We as spectators feel that she is in great danger, she is very afraid of the character whom she told this sentence (her lover?) or afraid of some other people that are listening to them.
Note that as spectators we experience enormous difference, while listening to the exact same sentence. The screen writer will write subtext in the script to assure that the right message will pass to us, the spectators, most effectively.

Now let’s go back to the world of sales and service and find out how we can use subtext during sales training using the following case study:

Case Study
Sales or service phone call provides a particularly interesting challenge in understanding the subject of subtext. In such a type of communication with the client the visual sense becomes irrelevant, and thus one cannot interpret the subtext through mime or gestures.
In one of the call centers we trained sales and service representatives in "reading" subtext during the first 30 seconds of the dialogue. Along with the representatives we’ve classified three typical figures of clients: childish, adult and authoritative. All figures underwent a characterization of their features and repeated patterns of behavior.

After this phase, participants wrote conversation's scripts with each of the characters, when the emphasis was on three stages of the conversation: conversation opening, the dramatic turning point and the decision as a result of that turning point.

The practice aims to develop and train the participants' senses to identify the customer's subtext by his way of phrasing things, his tone, his breath and background noise, in order to avoid emergence of extreme conflicts during the dialogue - screams, tantrums, phone slams, threats, getting angry.

Participants wrote different scripts based on dialogues with these three types of customers. These scenarios demonstrated the suitable working methods resulting of the right identification of subtext. Then, once staged, filmed and edited, these scenarios have become internal corporate training videos.

The result - increased quality of service (the talks were shortened, the tone has become more service like, there weren't significant customer complaints), the high sales results were following and the motivation of service and sales representatives improved very significantly.

Want to know more about this positive change? Read more about Sales training videos and Service training videos.
I would love to hear your opinions, learn from your experience and share knowledge.

Question For You: In cases of multi-cultural corporate communication training – how can we implement subtext technique?

Yulia Reinshmidt
Co-CEO, Content & Production Manager

Our next post will be tip #5 - writing a screenplay about the meaning of service values – "service beyond imagination"

Monday, July 5, 2010

Writing your success script - Tip #3

The Third Tip: Writing your success script - a management tool for intuitive decision making

"You cannot live your life to please others. The choice must be yours". (White Queen to Alice from "Alice in Wonderland", 2010)

This morning, a team leader in financial company faced a difficulty in making a decision how to resolve a conflict created between the two veteran employees of his staff. Many managers face such situations on a daily basis. The manager has two ways to deal with this challenge:

One way is to ignore, deny, suppress, threaten...
Another way is to use own intuition: take the time to think, imagine, step into one's shoes, identify with, find associations from the past...

In my opinion intuition is a combination of many factors, two of them are using imagination and storytelling, based on Dr. Daniel Cappon approach described in his book "Intuition and Management".
Creating a story (from a narrative view and images' slideshow views) reminds me the work of a screenwriter. The fundamental difference between a screenwriter and novelist is the ability to describe only the situations that have a visual justification because the final product is something that has to be photographed. One will never find a sentence like "He was extremely moved at it" in a script. Instead he will find: "He was excited, tears were streaming down his face, and he was shaking all over, his daughter standing next to him supported him so he wouldn't collapse."
This method of writing in such a detailed way is in my eyes an excellent exercise technique for developing intuitive management.

The exercise addresses a situation of a conflict between two employees and is performed in two stages:
Background: you as a team leader should take a decision regarding a conflict that broke out between two employees in your team.

Step One: Try to imagine in great detail, as if you had to write a future scene, how you will handle this conflict: What things you will say, what tone and volume you will use, will you sit or stand at this moment, will you move your hands. On the other hand - each of the two employees are speaking to you in this situation - what will each of them say? What can you learn from their face expressions? How will they move their hands?

Step Two: Change roles and step into each of your employees' shoes. Write the script again from the point of view (POV - point of view) of each one of them.

What are the differences you have found between the two versions? And what can you learn from that? Do you "see" the right solution for you for this conflict? If so - write it as soon as you can!
If you try to analyze the exercise you will quickly get to the conclusion that what made you change the way you think is the second stage, the stage of the POV (Point of View).

The next case study will demonstrate you how it worked in practice.

Case Study
Recently I conducted an interesting conference for 60 executives of the national major call center. The purpose of the conference was to raise awareness and generate insights for the annual training process, based on patterns of change management and creating a new intuitive leadership approach.
The metaphorical theme of the conference was sports, the work was done by discussions in the plenum and six subjects were defined as success accelerators: Individual added value, breakthrough, corporate communication, effectiveness, management procedures and dealing with crisis.
The managers were divided into three groups according to three types of POV inspired from the sports world: coach, player and audience. Each group had to record three stages by each POV: Definition of the ideal leader by his functioning and characteristics, setting constraints that prevent him from performing these activities and finding solutions (tools and actions) in order to overcome these barriers.
Each phase during the teamwork was translated into a cinematic scene, was dramatized by the managers and presented the situation from these three POVs.

At the end of the conference, many insights were gathered into organized management code, and each of the managers was asked to choose single insight, and implement it in his group during the following month.

The conclusion:
The operative ability to find a solution and make a decision was achieved by creative thinking and looking at the situation from different perspectives. One of the managers told me: "The ability to leave my private circle, to look at the situation from a different perspective, telling myself the story from this perspective - this is a tool that will help me in many future challenging situations of decision-making".

Want to know more about this positive change? Read more about CastEffect Management training videos and CastEffect Leadership training videos.

I would love to hear your opinions, learn from your experience and share knowledge.

Question For You: In which cases do you recommend using POV techniques for training and learning processes?

Yulia Reinshmidt
Co-CEO, Content & Production Manager

Our next post will be tip #4 - writing a screenplay about subtext in sales and training situations - what do they REALLY mean

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Writing a success script - Tip #2

The Second Tip - writing a screenplay of sales skills training for multi branch companies

The current challenge which is faced by many companies' training managers these days is to train sales skills to employees in dozens and hundreds of branches geographically dispersed.

The current situation of economical crisis in most countries in the world (hoping for post crisis era soon) affected many corporate training issues.
On one hand, the importance of sales skills has increased significantly. It's even more important in sales' driven companies, which usually have branches, which are widely geographically dispersed. From the other hand, the corporate training budgets have decreased significantly.
Managers are facing the challenge to find a cost effective solution for sales skills training to employees in these branches.

The traditional solutions are gathering the employees from all branches to a central location for training sessions in several dates or providing training sessions in the various branches. These solutions may be very expensive due to the cumulative time spent on behalf of working hours of the workforce, logistic issues and the effectiveness is also in question.

In this post, I would like to suggest a different attitude to this challenge. My suggestion is based on using the video as a medium to distribute the corporate knowledge in one time investment for its production and to enhance its effectiveness by producing it with involvement of leading team of employees, who can serve as role models.

Case Study

One of the largest health institutions was recently facing the need to provide basic sales skills to service employees' groups inside the organization - medical secretaries, doctors, laboratory staff, nurses, etc., all are not officially sales people par excellence. "Everybody needs to know how to sell in a today's competitive market. All of you are in daily contact with our customers!”, was a clear statement which came from the senior management.

The aim was to provide sales "way of thinking” and sales terminology to the entire staff emphasizing presenting real desire to assist and "spark in the eyes" in situations of interaction with the customers. The training process goal was to align employees around the institution's services benefits, corporate values and vision.

How can one change the way people feel and act accordingly? - and especially after the executives have never used this type of language with the employees?

The answer was: through a powerful emotional experience of engagement. Such an experience exists in the world of filmmaking.

Why do we prefer one film to another? Why do we get excited from a specific commercial advertisement or feel that it irritates us?

The reason lies in our personal identification with the characters and messages. While watching a specific film, we will be affected, when one of the heroes will carry a message (using speech, gesture, action or behavior), that reflects a certain situation or feeling we experience. A person who is changing careers will identify with a character facing personal transformation and discovers new insights about life; a frightened mother who concerned about her soldier-son destiny will identify with a film character of a mother helps her son to fight with a serious illness; a person belonging to a minority will feel very close to a character of a child, battling to be part of a bunch of kids in his new home town.

Let’s go back to our friends in the medical organization: In the process of filmmaking they experience, they create a universal content, which each employee can identify with, using the special language of the organization, employees personal experiences, the company's history and a unified statement about the company vision and mission. Characters which are generated in the process are representative, one can identify with them emotionally and mentally - hence create a process of listening, understanding, analyzing and getting conclusions - translated into real daily decisions and actions.
There is the "Cutting edge" team, a group of employees which creates the film in a genre of commercials, a genre that "forces" them to transform the messages in a short, focused and clear way as possible - this is a positive propaganda act for the organization. And we haven’t discussed yet the endless creativity opportunities of self-expression which this genre provides…

And what about the completed film?
The film becomes internal of the shelf product - relevant, with a long shelf life, customized, "viral": it is distributed in the company, everybody watches it and talks about it, it creates buzz, raises energy and motivation, creates a new spirit...

And what about the training manager?
Yeah, he feels he has achieved his goals and his organization’s needs and priorities. He led a focused, short - term, cost-effective move with a long-term impact. In addition, he managed to change employees' attitude, "shook the tires”, and made a positive change in the corporate environment. Director of Training has pointed out that it was a success.

Want to know more about this positive change? Read more about CastEffect Film making and Corporate Training Videos.
I would love to hear your opinions, learn from your experience and share knowledge.

Here is a Question For You: What films you would recommend to use to address effectively the issue of change in corporate thinking from service driven company to sales driven company?

Yulia Reinshmidt
Co-CEO, Content & Production Manager

Our next post will be tip #3 - writing a screenplay about "management inside-out"

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Writing a success script - Tip #1

The First Tip - writing a screenplay about conflict resolution
You must be familiar with the following situation: You are aware that there is always the same recurrent situation you are facing, where you take bad decisions, leading to an unwanted outcome. You are aware that this situation is problematic, you are aware that the result will cause damages to you and to your environment, and yet - you do the same mistake again and again. You're stuck!

Case Study:
After extensive diagnosis process of the company's management, it was found that the company suffers from a number of unhealthy symptoms in its daily progression. For several months, the management has tried to internalize the issue, find the behavior patterns that cause the appearance of these symptoms and especially talk about it. One of the topics, which made a big fuss, was the issue of gossip within the organization.
But, it was necessary to move forward - it was necessary to offer real applicable solutions, alternatives that will lead the organization to new behavior patterns and make it healthier.
Is there a method that can take forward the organization from being stuck in this problematic status into a bright and clear view of potential solutions?

Creative film-related thinking is here to help. The managers experienced this type of thinking using the "sliding doors" method and creating their own content based on a creative process of film making. This content reflected the various possible outcomes (positive and negative) of potential solutions.

"Sliding Doors" film, which was produced in 1998, tells a person's life story, a story which could be completely different just if a single train would have been late ... If Helen will catch the train she will live go into one path of situations, if she will be late she will progress in a different path. The film belongs to the current post - modern genre, in favor of non linear plot, which is not committed to the pattern of intro - conflict - climax - resolving conflict - the end. The plot structure is derived from the events. One can locate the epilogue in the beginning of the plot and the prologue in the end. Events can occur in parallel lines and there is no focus on a single line. The plot is a mix of perspectives and narrative lines which meet and separate alternately.
The film serves as our inspiration: how the decisions I choose exactly in the same situation can affect the results? What happens when I am aware of all options and I choose consciously to choose the one that will bring positive outcome?

One executive said: "I understand now, that we as management should allow a number of communication platforms for personal expression in our organization. Because we weren't aware of this to this day, employees took the easy way to gossip - but paid an expensive personal price. Let sit down and think how we can encourage people to express themselves thus improve the communication in our organization! "

Want to know more about this positive change? Read more about CastEffect Film making and Corporate Training Videos

I would love to hear your opinions, learn from your experience and share knowledge.

Question For You: What other films you recommend to use for the issue about solving conflicts?

Yulia Reinshmidt
Co-CEO, Content & Production Manager

Our next post will be tip #2 - writing a screenplay about sales skills in multi-branch companies

Monday, May 31, 2010

CastEffect - Introduction

CastEffect is a leading training company. It specializes in CastEffect Film Making, a unique and original content activity, which its goal is to integrate business organizations' value using filmmaking tools. Utilizing its creative, original and special concept, it specializes in projects based on interactive content and multimedia at a high professional production level.