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Veteran film maker offers tips for making the best home & business videos

Posted on: February 26th, 2009 by Paul Krupin

For Immediate Release

Media review copies, book cover and high resolution photo jpegs available via email, and interviews available upon request. This article may be used in whole or part with a modicum of attribution please. Shorter versions available.

Contact: Barry Casson Toll free: 1-888-522-FILM (3456) or via his cell phone 250-744-8664 or just hit reply and tell us what you need.

Veteran film maker offers tips for making the best home & business videos

You may own a new digital video camera and even have purchased the software for your computer that allows you to make your own movies. But try as you might, it’s not easy turning your recordings into a professional looking piece of work, even if the kids on You Tube make it look really easy!

Veteran film maker Barry Casson, author of the book Marketing with Film and Video, has pulled together a collection of the great tools, tips and stories that illustrate the essentials in how to make great films and movies.

Barry says that you can learn a lot and make great family productions using home recreational equipment. But you shouldn’t think that your little handycam is going to be capable of shooting video for a business. That’s going to require help from professionals with better equipment and capabilities.

No matter what sort of equipment and capabilities you have Barry offers up some of the best advice to make sure you get the most out of what you got. Here are some of his tips for planning and producing your own videos:

¨ First make a plan. All the pros use this technique and you should, too. Plan every detail of your video from start to finish using “PPP”. This stands for Pre-Production Planning. It’s what every savvy producer does to guarantee a successful production and you can never do enough of it. Get a notebook and create a script for your actions and those of the people in your film. Then label your shots so you know what you shot.

¨ Stage your interviews. You probably watch a reporter interviewing someone and right in the middle of the interview we suddenly see the reporter nodding in agreement.  But we know that a news crew only has one camera? So how did the cameraman get to the other position to shoot the reporter nodding?  By filming the two people and merging the sequences later.

¨ Use “Image Displacement”. It’s a great way to keep your editing really smooth and seamless.   Just keep the eyes of your audience in the same part of the screen as you introduce shots. Keeping the main action at the same place will make your editing easier, faster and smoother.

¨ Ready, camera, action. It doesn’t matter whether you are a professional or an amateur film or video maker.  You need to remember this simple phrase, each time you set up the camera — “LFAST”. It stands for level the camera; focus the lens; set the aperture, set the shutter, and set the time code.  Do this every time you set up and you and you’ll be ahead of the game later, when you produce your film.

¨ Make your video like real film. There is a simple but exciting way to make your video look more like film and take away the harsh look of video.  It’s an old Hollywood technique that kept aging starlets always looking good.  Using an elastic band to hold it in place simply put a thin mesh fabric such as a black or white nylon stocking over the camera lens and check out the results.

¨ Make your own camera dolly. You can make a simple camera dolly so your shots move smoothly through space just like the pros.  All you need is two 10’ lengths of 3” PVC pluming pipe, a 4’ by 4’ piece of ¾” plywood and four sets of roller skate wheels.  The wheels are secured to the plywood at all four corners, one set for each corner.

¨ Get the filter look without filters. This is a great technique for amateur filmmakers. Go to the art supply store and purchase a half dozen pastel pieces of show card.  Now instead of white balancing your camera on a piece of white card try balancing on these show cards and you will get a host  of filter like color effects without having to purchase filters.  Great for creating moonlight effects and old time looks to your videos.

¨ Zoom like a pro – slowly. Without the camera rolling, zoom in on the subject (a man seated) focus the camera on his eyes till they look sharp.  Zoom back to your wide angle setting.  Now start the camera and hold for 5 seconds.  Zoom slowly into the close-up, when you get their hold for 5 seconds.  Now if you decide you don’t like the zoom you can hold on the wide shot and cut to the close-up because you have left enough room on each end of the shot.

¨ Use the clean frame technique. Never start a shot with the action of a person already in the frame. Have the person come into the frame from outside the frame and when the action is finished have them leave the frame.  This is called the “clean frame technique” and will be terrifically helpful at the editing stages by providing more choices of where to make the cut.

¨ Improve your vacations videos. Next time you are on vacation and you want to show your audience a specific area, don’t just wander around with the camera.  Start with a nice wide pan shot showing the whole area.  Now go in closer and give your audience more detailed information.  Then go in for some nice close-up shots of even more detail. Just like the pro’s do it.  In addition whenever possible grab shots of people reacting to what you are showing.  Once again, just like the pros. do it.  You’ve practically already done the editing.

¨ Get great color for your video all day long.  Always remember to re white balance your video camera every hour or so when shooting outside.  The early morning sun is very warm in its color but as the day goes on more and more blue sky will make your shots look bluer.  Let’s say you shoot a nice scenic from your hotel window at 8 a.m. and then you take another shot around noon. When you put these two shots together in editing your audience will become very aware of the color difference.

Barry says that some of the biggest mistakes people make are lost opportunities.

¨ Not paying attention to details can be disastrous.

Once he was once searching out a small forested area for various locations for an upcoming shoot only to see a maintenance truck screech to a halt on the road 150 feet from my position.  A man leaped out of the truck and yelled at me to get out of there.  It seems he had picked the wrong forested area.  He had stopped in an old military shooting range with potentially live mortar shells still buried in the grass. Pay attention to signs that say ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Danger’

¨ Not maintaining “Continuity” Movies are not shot from beginning to end.  They are shot all over the place based on availability of time, location, budget, access to actors etc. So pay attention and makes sure that from shot to shot elements match up.

¨ Not getting “cutaways” The right way to shoot involves more than just the main action.  You must also get “cutaways” (shots happening in parallel time as the main action). You also need to capture “reactions” (shots of individuals reacting to the action). “Inserts” (big close-ups of some part of the scene that without it we wouldn’t get the point).  The gun in the drawer is a good example.  These shots are part of what we call “coverage” which simply means getting enough variety of shots to make the scene work in editing.

¨ Not storyboarding your show. If you don’t storyboard your show you will become totally confused. It has to work on paper first.  You don’t have to be Rembrandt to do this.  Draw out how the scene looks with five story board boxes on each page.  This way you will see the flow before you and know where to go next after finishing shooting one scene.  Make your notes next to each drawing (e.g., note to self “don’t forget to” etc.

¨ Not changing the size of the image. Never take a shot and then move three or four feet and take another shot of the same thing.  You need at least a three times change in image size to make sure the shots don’ appear to “jump” on screen.  If you are going to move your camera and tripod move at least 30 degrees to one side or the other to make the view point significantly different.

¨ Hand holding telephoto shots Don’t under any circumstances hand hold your camera while you are zoomed in on the subject.   Your camera movement under this magnification of the image will give your audience a headache.  You need to be on a tripod for a good steady shot whenever you’re zoomed in.

¨ Not using a good tripod can give you really lousy vacation videos. Some tripods have what we call a “friction head” that is metal against metal as you pan or tilt the camera.  A better type of tripod has what we call a “fluid head”.  This type will give you smooth panning or tilting shots and look very professional.  And remember always pan one way and then stop.  Never pan to the right and then come back panning to the left. Your audience has already seen this point of view.

Barry says that one of the most difficult issues is not ‘seeing’ the opportunities.

Once when he was starting out, it was a rainy day and he sat drinking coffee in a small deli and wondered when the rain would stop.  A veteran free lancer joined him and asked why he wasn’t shooting.  He explained about the weather.  The veteran took out showed of the greatest shots he’d ever seen — dripping faces, colorful umbrella’s, puddles and a host of other great shots.

After that he couldn’t wait for the next rainy day.

If you need help with your films or movies you can reach Barry at the Victoria Motion Picture School.

For more information visit

About the author

Barry Casson has been shooting and directing films and videos for over 25 years. He and his partner Donna Claussen started Vancouver Island’s first film school. He has garnered numerous national and international awards for his films.

Media review copies, book cover and photo jpegs available via email, and interviews available upon request.

Contact: Barry Casson Toll free: 1-888-522-FILM (3456) or via his cell phone 250-744-8664 or just hit reply and tell us what you need.

Shut Down Learners – New help for parents with kids who are struggling in school

Posted on: February 24th, 2009 by Paul Krupin

For Immediate Release

Media review copies, high resolution photos and graphics, and interviews available upon request.

Contact: Richard Selznick (856) 673-4903 or simply hit reply to this email

Shut Down Learners – New help for parents with kids who are struggling in school

What do you do when your child is becoming increasingly discouraged about school? What do you do when your child has a difficulty learning the basics skills – reading and writing at school? What do you do when your child literally refuses to crack a book and do homework?

Dr. Richard Selznick coined the term” shut-down learner” to describe these children.

Dr. Selznick, who has spent over 20 years of clinical experience assessing thousands of children has come to the conclusion that many of them are visual thinkers. In fact, it’s a mode of thinking that is far more common than people ever imagined.

As many as 40 percent of all children in America experience problems learning to read and write and a significant proportion of them are “spatial learners”- they learn best and even will thrive if they are given hands on tasks requiring them to use their eyes and hands.

But they will often fail miserably if they have to read and write.

“Unfortunately,” says Dr. Selznick “the educational system is often at odds with the shut down learner’s style. If you have a ‘Shut Down Learner’ you are in for a really rough time unless you identify and address your child’s special learning needs.”

His new book The Shut-Down Learner: Helping Your Academically Discouraged Child is packed with techniques that parents can use to help their shut-down learner succeed in school and in life.

Dr. Selznick says that the Shut-Down Learner style becomes increasingly apparent in the upper elementary grades, although there are indicators in pre-school and kindergarten. You can identify the early warning signs of a Shut-Down Learner style by noticing what he calls the “cracks in the foundation.”

These cracks include:

  • Difficulty with learning letters
  • Trouble with playing rhyming games
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Resistance to early reading activities and instruction

“The cracks in the foundation can be identified in kindergarten!,” says Dr. Selznick.

How would you know if your child is a Shut-Down Learner?

Dr. Selznick offers these signs:

• A sense that the child is increasingly disconnected, discouraged, and unmotivated (shut down)

• Fundamental skill weaknesses with reading, writing, and spelling, leading to lowered self-esteem

• Increased avoidance of school tasks such as homework

• Dislike of reading

• Hatred of writing

• Little to no gratification from school

• Increasing anger toward school

“When you couple these behaviors on the part of the child with lack of understanding from parents and teachers, emotional tensions and problems increase over time and strained family communications result in a phenomenally difficult family situation that can last for several years.”

But Dr. Selznick says there’s hope. “Shut-Down Learners are often times incredibly talented and misunderstood. Sadly, many of them are casualties of school. Their self-esteem is so beaten down and their sense of shame and defectiveness runs so deep that they cannot overcome these emotions.”

“There are those who make it to the other side and are enjoying very productive, satisfying lives. They come from a variety of different fields and professions and include high-level executives, CEO s of companies, engineers, photographers, graphic designers, exhibit designers and producers, surgeons, landscapers, musicians, and trades people. “

Dr. Selznick’s book delves into the strategies parents can use to identify and deal with these challenges. He offers a number of strategies to deal with a child who is showing the signs of being a shut down learner:

1. Identify the “cracks in the foundation” as early as possible.

Find a professional who knows the “red flags” to identify for early learning problems. So much heart-ache can be avoided if you address the skills weaknesses early.

2. If you as a mom are worried, usually there is good reason.

Most of the moms that I meet are right about their concerns. Don’t let professionals tell you “he’s fine…you know how boys are.” Check it out. Maybe you’re wrong, but usually I find the moms know their kid is struggling.

3. If the cracks are widening, seek outside help if possible.

Don’t be passive and wait for the schools to intervene. They may, but it’s often a long process. Many of the children I see are not bad enough to warrant the school’s intervention. It’s a negative snowballing effect. Use word of mouth in your community to find people who can intervene

4. Know what you are targeting.

There are essentially two types of reading problems. In the first type the child has trouble decoding the words and reading fluently. This type is the largest majority of the struggling kids. In the second type, the child can read fluently, but has great trouble understanding what he/she has read. Get clear on what you are targeting!!!! Don’t scattershot your remediation.

5. Take the heat out of the interaction.

For most of the struggling kids, the daily ritual of yelling about school is a constant. Households are tense. Lots of blame goes around. Pecking at your child, nagging and yelling are not working. Why continue?

6. If you have a spouse, get your husband on board.

The dads can be tough. They often don’t see the problem and will tell you typically that you are making a big deal out of nothing. This leads to more confusion and arguing. If you can find a professional to explain things in clear terms to both of you, it helps to get both of you on board together.

7. If you are in a divorced situation, it’s even more important to try and work together.

The differences between you can really lead to huge emotional problems for the child. These differences result in a lot of anger and it is this anger that leads to classic shut-down learner behaviors.

8. Find the child’s true strength and help kid embrace it.

The shut down learners that I know do not feel very good about themselves and they do not see their strengths. Most of these kids are very solid in the visual spatial dimension of ability. This is often not valued in school. The kids need to learn to value this trait and see it as a potential.

9. Find someone to connect & mentor your child in school

If your child is older, push the kid to have one adult in the building as child’s mentor. It should be someone that your kid can form a relationship with. Too often SDL kids go through their school experience not bonded to anyone. This is tragic.

10. Keep Your Humor

Try not to let school problems become all consuming. Go out for an ice cream sundae with you kid even if he hasn’t done his homework! School problems can be so all consuming – don’t lose touch with the good qualities he/she has.

Dr. Selznick consulted with thousands of families over the years on the issues addressed in The Shut-Down Learner. The book contains numerous case studies. In a friendly, non-technical style, the book helps parents understand their child’s characteristics and offers specific approaches to break the downward spiral.

The Shut-Down Learner:

Helping Your Academically Discouraged Child

By Dr. Richard Selznick

List $15.95

Trade Paperback: 160 pages

Published by Sentient Publications

Release Date: December 2008

ISBN-10: 1591810787 ISBN-13: 978-1591810780

For more information on the Shut-Down Learner, go to

What People Are Saying

I always knew I had certain talents and gifts, but up until I read your book, none of my feelings about school made sense to me. The revelation was I felt validated reading your book. It validated my brand of thinking, which is something that had never had happened before. My brand of thinking was always more visual and spatial. No one had ever said that to me.

Patrick Flannigan, Photographer and Former Shut-Down Learner

Without resorting to professional jargon, Dr. Selznick has created a resource for parents and teachers that promotes insight and understanding, relieves guilt, and provides strategies for intervention.

G. Emerson Dickman, J.D., President of the International Dyslexia Society

This book is clear, informative and without jargon. But more important, in today’s world of ‘diagnose it and medicate it,’ Dr. Selznick humanizes very real children with very real problems.

Daniel Gottlieb, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Family Therapist, Radio Host,: Voices In The Family

Dr. Selznick has the gift to turn theory into practice and to offer parents hope where there was hopelessness and frustration.

John Kellmayer Ed.D., Superintendent, Brooklawn Public School District

Who is Dr. Richard Selznick

Dr. Selznick is a psychologist, a nationally certified school psychologist, and a graduate school professor. He is Director of the Cooper Learning Center at Cooper University Hospital where he oversees a program that assesses and treats a broad range of learning and behavioral problems in children and provides training to parents and teachers. A native of Staten Island, New York, Dr. Selznick lives in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

Dr. Selznick is an experienced media guest and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows to discuss a variety of children’s issues including things like whether same-sex schools were advantageous and the current trend of “redshirting” kindergarten students.

He can talk on numerous other topics including but not limited to:

  • Myth’s & Realities of Dyslexia
  • Dealing With Bullying: Is Your Child a Shark or Shark Meat
  • Parenting Dilemmas: Regaining Control of the Ship
  • Managing Your ADHD in College

He is available to provide commentary and analysis of child learning and parenting issues upon request.

Media review copies, high resolution photos and graphics, and interviews available upon request.

Contact: Richard Selznick (856) 673-4903 or simply hit reply to this email

Uplift America with Andy Andrews

Posted on: February 21st, 2009 by Paul Krupin

Uplift America with Andy Andrews

I’d like to propose Andy Andrews as a guest. Andy is one of the most remarkable people in the world and can provide some of the most entertaining, fun, humorous, uplifting and profound guidance that you will ever experience.

We did an interview with FOX TV Studio B with Shepherd Smith last week. Here’s the four minute link.

Here is a link to the most current media kit pdf file which contains information on his latest book The Noticer and four or five show proposals.

I realize the show proposals contained here may not fit exactly so I’d like you to be as free with your imagination as possible and give us a direction to go.

For example, Andy’s latest book has a simple way to keep marriages together and avoid disaster when times are tough. All you need to do is find out what type of communicator each spouse is: a puppy dog, goldfish, canary or a cat. The explanation of each along with the advice on how to best communicate is hilarious and insightful.

They call Andy Andrews the Noticer. He sees things that other people don’t see.

He is corporate America’s best-kept secret. Microsoft, Chick-Fil-A, AT&T and hundreds of others…Nancy Lopez’s Solheim Cup Team

Organizations…even entire towns like Findlay, Ohio and Lakeland, Florida call him during times of need.

Celebrities like Bob Hope have called upon him in times of personal need.

Even Presidents, four standing US Presidents, have taken Andy to their side and into their home for personal advice and counsel.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff have flown Andy to the Middle East to give uplifting talks to the Allied Commanders and the troops, not once, but twice, in the past four years.

Andy Andrews, New York Times Best Selling Author of “The Traveler’s Gift” sees tiny things that others often miss. Tiny things, he says, that can bring about huge changes for families and businesses during tough times.

Companies and businesses all across America – even foreign governments — are using Andy during this recession to find avenues of profit and success that they didn’t even realize existed.

When Andy offers advice, it is always coupled with a personal or a humorous story that will make you smile. We can focus his talents and insight in so many ways and it will always be a phenomenally entertaining time.

I can have a media kit package and review copy sent to you immediately.

Just let me know the best street address. When it arrives you’ll be able to peruse it to your hearts content.

You can then let me know at your convenience what we can do to help you create a memorable show and experience.

My direct line is 509-582-5174, my cell is 509-531-8390.

Paul J. Krupin – Direct Contact PR

800-457-8746 509-545-2707

Publicist for Andy Andrews

Andy Andrews, hailed by a New York Times reporter as someone who has quietly become “one of the most influential people in America,” is a best-selling novelist and in-demand corporate speaker for the world’s largest organizations. He has spoken at the request of four different U.S. presidents and at military bases worldwide. He is best known as the author of the international bestseller The Traveler’s Gift, which has sold more than a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 20 languages since it was released in 2002. Andy is also the author of The Lost Choice, Island of Saints and Return to Sawyerton Springs. He lives in Orange Beach, Alabama, with his wife Polly and their two sons.

For more information, please visit

Sneaky uses for everyday household objects

Posted on: November 17th, 2008 by Paul Krupin

For Immediate Release

A fascinating feature story or live show interview – Invite inventor and author Cy Tymony onto your show and amaze and dazzle your audience with example after example of remarkable ideas that people can do themselves. Cy resides in Los Angeles (Torrance, CA) but is a frequent visitor to Chicago and New York City.

See Cy Tymony on Attack of the Show! Here

Special feature story inquiries welcome. Cy Tymony will happily tailor a feature story or show to meet your needs. We have simple one page how-to’s on a variety of timely topics (green, money saving, science, etc.), and will tailor to your needs. Review and promotion copies available upon request.

Contact: Cy Tymony310-502-0598 cy@sneakyuses.comor just hit reply to this email for a fast response.

When times get tough, the tough get smarter, creative and imaginative!

Sneaky uses for everyday household objects

Helps you get the most out of everything!

They say that necessity is the mother of invention.Well if times are hard economically, it’s time to get creative and make the most out of what we have.

Inventor Cy Tymony can show people how to turn everyday objects and discarded leftover objects from around the house into valuable tools, toys, and devices that can save replace the need for new products, can save people money and reduce and even avoid needless expense.

Cy Tymony is a real-life MacGyver – someone that people might liken to Mr. Gadget, Maxwell Smart, a mad scientist or a modern day scientific wizard — only he’s the real thing.

In grade school, he defended himself against school bullies with the help of a spring loaded shocker hidden up his sleeve.

As an adult, he teaches and dazzles people of all ages everywhere with the remarkable demonstrations of ingenuity, imagination and creativity.

People often take for granted the common items and devices they use in everyday life. Looks can be deceiving. It’s not what things appear to be, it’s what they can become.

Milk can be turned into plastic; with the twist of a screw any FM radio can eavesdrop on aircraft broadcasts; a radio can be made from a penny, you can reveal counterfeit currency, learn how to make alternative energy science projects, make a boomerang with a bookmark, how to turn a TV tray into a 6-foot robot, how boats are made with milk cartons, how POWs made an airplane out of sleeping bags and more.

Let Cy Tymony show your audience how to make the most of everyday items in amazing and fun and remarkable ways.

“Things” will never seem the same again.

People will see exactly what they can do to transform ordinary objects into extraordinary and useful concoctions right at home.

Look at this sampler of what he can do – here are (More than) 10 Sneaky Ways to Save Money and Reuse Holiday Discards

  • Verify your Currency with a Magnet
  • Turn holiday cards and gift boxes into boomerangs and toy gliders
  • Turn used gift wrap into a Frisbee
  • Adapt a portable AM/FM radio into an aircraft radio receiver
  • Hide and Sneak: Sneaky ways to secure your valuables
  • Convert old party cups into sneaky calculators for kids
  • Turn chip cans and a radio-controlled car into a sneaky robot/meal tray
  • Use holiday odds and ends to make a 007 ‘Gadget Jacket’
  • Make an Eco Hat and ‘Green’ Snack kits to conserve consumables
  • Make a magical levitating photo display
  • Use toy walkie-talkies and RC cars into intercoms and room security alarms
  • Adapt large gift boxes into a Sneaky Robot Recycle Bin

That’s not all.There are many, many more to choose from.For each of these Cy Tymony can demonstrate the step-by-step instructions to complete the projects in just a few minutes.

Perfect for science and gadget lovers, would be inventors, anyone who loves puzzles and jokes, Cy Tymony and his Sneaky Uses will provide people with fun, education, useful and even quirky ideas that will excite and amaze people in almost any situation using common household items.

This fun, entertaining and educational session will transform and amaze your audience.

Interview Cy Tymony and Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things

Cy Tymony is an amazing inventor.By reading comic books and studying science as a young boy he amazed his friends with unusual scientific projects, demonstrations and ideas.He is trained in auto mechanics, electronics, video and audio technology and computer science and has taken courses in martial arts, security and survival techniques.For decades has focused his enthusiasm, creativity and imagination on educating people of all ages and walks of life.He is the author of the Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things book series.

Cy Tymony is a real live renaissance man. He has lots of media experience.He is a wonderful and inspiring guest with a childlike enthusiasm for science and technology.His Sneaky Uses books explore the delight of finding.He has an incredible and contagious energy who delights in sharing the wonders of the human potential.

Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things, a science best-seller, has been featured on CNN Headline News, the Los Angeles Times, and in U.S. News & World Report. It is available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Crown, Powells, Hastings, independent book stores and online at Barnes & and at

Cy will appear in episodes of the upcoming PBS series special Make: TV airing nationwide, starting January 2009.

Promotion copies are available to support audience participation and involvement!



Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things

By Cy Tymony

The Books:

Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things2003

Sneakier Uses for Everyday Things2005

Sneakiest Uses for Everyday Things2007

The Sneaky Book for Boys2008

The Sneaky Book for Girls2008

Titles to be published in 2009:

Sneaky GREEN Uses for Everyday Things

Sneaky Science & Magic Tricks

For more information visit

What People Are Saying Check it out yourself!

“For folks who wonder why they keep tossing odds and ends in that junk drawer in the kitchen, Sneaky Uses for Everyday things… offers evidence that technology doesn’t always have to come from best Buy, or Microsoft,”

U.S. News and World Report

“Thank you Cy…for opening up the world of tinkering and creativity to a whole new generation looking to get their hands dirty with new and exciting projects.”

-NPR’s Ira Flatow, host of Science Friday

Here’s free access to nine Sneaky Uses how-to projects for Recycling, Reuse, Rethinking, and Energy Usage:

Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things is recommended by the National Science Teachers Association

Link to US NEWS & WORLD REPORT article:

Link to Los Angeles Times article:

Magazine articles about Sneaky Uses

Boys Life article

Cy will appear in episodes of the upcoming PBS series special Make: TV starting January 2009

A fascinating feature story or live show interview – Invite inventor and author Cy Tymony onto your show and amaze and dazzle your audience with example after example of remarkable ideas that people can do themselves.Cy resides in LA but is a frequent visitor to Chicago and New York City.

Special feature story inquiries welcome.Cy Tymony will happily tailor a feature story or show to meet your needs.We have simple one page how-to’s on a variety of timely topics (green, money saving, science, etc.), and will tailor to your needs.Review and promotion copies available upon request.

Contact:Cy Tymony310-502-0598cy@sneakyuses.comor just hit reply to this email for a fast response.

When times get tough, the tough get focused

Posted on: October 30th, 2008 by Paul Krupin

For Immediate Release

Media kits, review copies and interviews with business strategy expert Bill Birnbaum available upon request

Contact: Bill Birnbaum Phone: (541) 588-6297

When times get tough, the tough get focused

Business strategy consultant recommends companies go through a process of identifying their key success factors.

Recessions leave no room for wasted expenses and diverse organizational effort.  In time of economic downturn, all energies must be applied to those few activities which matter most.

“To survive and thrive in difficult times you have to zero in on what matters most.”

That’s the advice of Bill Birnbaum, veteran business strategy consultant and author of the book, Strategic Thinking: A Four Piece Puzzle.

“Whether you are a startup or are struggling to survive in the face of economic challenges, you and your management team must identify and focus on the few key factors which produce reliable success.  Those key factors must be specific to your industry, your market, and your organization.”

Birnbaum has developed a process specifically to help businesses narrow their focus and channel their energies on those factors which matter most, and thus produce maximum success.

“It’s never too late to refocus on key activities.  You can start the process anytime,” he said.  “Though during an economic downturn, focus is most critical.”

Birnbaum claims that, “Most organizations try to focus on ‘everything.’  They need to stop trying to take on the whole world and zero in on just two or three key activities.”

How do you select the right activities?

Challenge your management team to come up with a short answer – supported by hard data – to the following question:

“For our organization to be successful, at which specific activities must we be especially good?”

As simple as it sounds, Birnbaum says that most companies struggle with this.

“It’s a process that is all-too-often easier said than done.  Narrowing their list to just two or three key activities requires a serious, in-depth discussion among the management team, plus analysis of data – hard performance data.”

As a business strategy consultant, Birnbaum has led hundreds of companies through organizational and management assessments to get to the heart of the matter.  Companies that have gone through his key success factor identification process have produced some surprising self-discoveries.

A real estate development company found that its two key success factors were selecting land and maintaining financial liquidity.  When the company studied what was really happening, they discovered that if every other business activity were just average, but their land were well located and the firm maintained adequate liquidity, the company would do well.  Sure, the developer should still strive to deliver a well-constructed product with good financing.  But they discovered that, at least for them, the most important factors that determined success were building on the right piece of land and maintaining cash liquidity.

A computer software developer found that their key success factors were developing efficient channels of distribution and providing after-sales support.  They also learned that too much concern about writing “efficient code” may have been nice from a technical standpoint, but from a competitive point of view, it was an expensive and unnecessary waste of resources.

In a strategy consulting setting, a company found out that communicating with executive decision makers and helping management teams think deeply about their enterprise was far more important than time spent on office efficiencies.

“Each company is different,” says Birnbaum.  “It’s a process of self discovery.  Do this process right and it will pay dividends for a very long time.  What you learn about yourself and your organization can be profound.”

Strategic Thinking: A Four Piece Puzzle

By Bill Birnbaum

List $16.95 (Third Printing October 2008)

ISBN 978-1-932-632-132

214 pages 6 in by 9 in. trade soft cover

Douglas Mountain Publishing

Strategic Thinking: A Four Piece Puzzle is available from bookstores and on-line booksellers.

This book captures lessons learned during 25 years helping management teams develop their business strategy.  The anecdotal stories offer important lessons and also an enjoyable read.

For more information visit, call (541) 588-6297 or email

About the author

Bill Birnbaum is certified as a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) by the Institute of Management Consultants. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from The City College of New York and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from California State University at Fullerton.  For 20 years he was the editor of the Business Strategies Newsletter and taught strategy courses for The American Management Association.  He is the President of Birnbaum Associates, a management consulting firm located in Sisters, Oregon.

What People Are Saying

“Bill is so right – you have to focus. His ‘1-2, 9-10’ method for limiting the SWOT analysis really focuses our leadership on the items that truly differentiate.”

Wade E. Terry, Vice President, American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

“Bill Birnbaum’s straight forward approach to developing a mission statement saved us many hours of work.”

Kirk Roller, President & COO, Emulex Corporation

“Bill writes in plain, easy-to-understand language about principles important to all of us. This book offers right-on guidance to many management issues we face daily.”

Frank Nisonger, President & CEO, Slakey Brothers

“I had intended to read just the chapters most pertinent to my business. But I found the content so engaging, easy to read and entertaining – and, most of all, relevant – that I read the book cover to cover.” Congratulations to Bill Birnbaum! He hit the right blend of stories, concepts and related diagrams.”

Richard A. Coskren, President & CEO, Insurance Educational Association

“This book gives me a competitive edge with which to focus my team’s strategy. It has already started to pay dividends.”

Ben Berry, Chief Technology Officer, Providence Health System, Oregon

“Bill has a unique way with words and diagrams. His style jump-starts the management team to analyze the day-to-day chaos of running an organization by finding the root cause of an issue, writing an energizing statement of strategy, which ultimately turns the chaos into learning.”

Dave Dutton, Executive Vice President, Centerpointe Research

“Birnbaum speaks directly to what a leader does: direct, mobilize, and implement. The simple diagrams combined with storied examples provide clear direction. Any manager searching for strategic focus and looking to execute will find this book invaluable.”

Derrick McCain, General Manager, Salem Packaging, Boise Paper Solutions

“Bill’s conversational style and rich, strategic content makes this book a valuable read for any business executive.”

William K. Ellermeyer, Senior VP – Managing Director, Lee Hecht Harrison

Media kits, review copies and interviews available upon request

Contact: Bill Birnbaum Phone: (541) 588-6297

Wonderful Stories and Expert Advice Fills New Book for The Ultimate Horse Lover

Posted on: October 30th, 2008 by Paul Krupin

For Immediate Release

Media kits, review copies and local author interviews available on request.

CONTACT: For review copies or any additional assistance please contact Paul Krupin 509-582-5174 email or just hit reply and provide us with your best street address.

Local author contact information is provided below or feel free to contact us for any additional assistance. We can supply you with permission to excerpt stories from your local authors and send you the file for ready for word processing use.

Wonderful Stories and Expert Advice Fills New Book for The Ultimate Horse Lover

Over fifty horse lovers and animal experts from all over the US and Canada wrote original contributions that have been published in the newly released book THE ULTIMATE HORSE LOVER: The Best Experts’ Advice for a Happy, Healthy Horse with Stories and Photos of Awe Inspiring Equine, the latest book by NY Times best selling publishers Health Communications Inc.

Are You Crazy About Your Horse?

During their professional lives spent caring for, writing about, and riding horses, top equestrian experts Marty Becker, D.V.M., Audrey Pavia, Gina Spadafori, and Mikkel Becker have witnessed some amazing stories about the bonds between people and their beloved equines–true stories of love, loyalty, laughter, courage, connection, and camaraderie. Here these esteemed experts have compiled amazing true stories that will make you laugh and cry as you celebrate how much horses bring to our lives emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

And, whether your passion is riding, showing, or racing, life with a horse is never without questions, so you’ll find expert advice from top veterinarians, trainers, behaviorists, and other authorities on all manner of equine topics, including nutrition and preventative care, communication and behavior, and so much more. With over sixty pages of photos that capture the awe-inspiring beauty of horses, this is truly the ultimate book that will make any horse lover whinny with delight.

Now in this amazing new series, THE ULTIMATE HORSE LOVER: The Best Experts’ Advice for a Happy, Healthy Horse with Stories and Photos of Awe Inspiring Equines (November 2008; $14.95) they pull together the best of those stories with advice from the country’s best experts and photographs from the country’s best animal photographers to create a book which will thrill and inspire horse lovers everywhere.


The Best Experts’ Advice for a Happy, Healthy Horse

with Stories and Photos of Awe Inspiring Equines

By Marty Becker, D.V.M., America’s Favorite Vet, Gina Spadafori, Carol Kline, and Mikkel Becker

List $14.95

ISBN-10: 0757307523 ISBN-13: 9780757307522

Published by Health Communications Inc., October 2008.

With comprehensive facts, stunning four-color photographs, and awe-inspiring true stories, this truly is the “ultimate book” for “ultimate” horse lovers.

Available online and in bookstores nationwide. For more information visit

About the Authors

Marty Becker, D.V.M., is the regularly featured vet on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, a frequent veterinary contributor to The Martha Stewart Show, a contributing pet-care writer for Parade magazine, and the host of the PBS series The Pet Doctor with Marty Becker. He co-authored the New York Times bestseller Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet? and Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul. He has appeared on Animal Planet and co-writes a pet-care feature for newspapers across America and Canada, syndicated through Universal Press Syndicate. Dr. Becker lives in Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

Gina Spadafori coauthor’s, along with Dr. Becker, an award-winning, nationally syndicated, weekly column on pets and their care and is a contributing pet-care writer for Parade magazine. She is a bestselling author of several pet books including the New York Times bestseller Why Do Dogs Drink Out of the Toilet? and Dogs for Dummies. The first edition of Dogs for Dummies received the President’s Award for the best writing on dogs by the Dog Writers Association of America. She has served on the board of directors for both the Dog Writers’ Association of America and the Cat Writers’ Association of America. Gina lives in Sacramento, CA.

Carol Kline is a freelance writer and speaker and the bestselling coauthor of five books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, including Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul. An animal rescue volunteer for years, Carol is affiliated with Noah’s Ark Animal Foundation in Fairfield, Iowa.

Mikkel Becker has been active in the Quarter Horse show circuit, and is a three time Canadian National Champion in Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle. Mikkel is a contributing author to Knight Ridder newspapers, Cat Fancy magazine, and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Media kits, review copies and local author interviews available on request.

Local author contact information is provided so that you can get in direct contact with the local contributors or feel free to contact us for any additional assistance. We can supply you with permission to excerpt stories from your local authors and send you the file for ready word processing use. High resolution photography of the photos below and any of those in the book can be sent to you by email in jpeg file format with permission to use.

CONTACT: For any additional assistance please contact Paul Krupin 509-582-5174 email or just hit reply and provide us with your best street address.