Archive | July 2017

What Is A Typical Career For A Working Screenwriter In Hollywood? by Eric Edson

Hello Writers All,

I wanted to share with you my recent interview with Film Courage. In the interview I discuss the importance of realistic expectations and perseverance to new as well as seasoned writers. I draw on my early career experiences to illustrate the reality of a typical screenwriter’s career arc and what one can expect if they choose to work as a writer in the film and TV industries.

Here are few key takeaways from the interview:

  1. Be prepared to manage your expectations: When you are first driven from within to sit down and write, it is very likely that you will have visions of yourself creating an Oscar winning screenplay, or the Next Great American Novel. Enjoy the fantasy!  Yes, it is important to have dreams and goals!  But if you choose writing as a profession, you must be prepared to take the good with the bad. Before you achieve career success it is very likely that you will be faced with criticism and rejection… a lot of criticism and rejection. Don’t despair. This is all par for the course. Embrace these experiences, draw from them in your work and be sure to learn from them.
  2. Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance: If your first attempt at a screenplay is met with a lukewarm reception, just keep writing! When you feel as though you don’t have what it takes –   keep writing! When you hear for the tenth or twentieth time that it’s just not what they are looking for? Keep writing! Perseverance is crucial for a writer, you need to focus on the big picture and look at setbacks as an opportunity to hone your craft. The more you write and re-write, the more you will develop and grow as a screenwriter or novelist. It can take many incarnations to find your true voice; so write, rewrite and write again.
  3. The nature of the beast: The life of a working writer is unique in that you can ultimately earn a living, sometimes a very comfortable living, off of scripts that might never get made. Sometimes even beautifully written works are sold only to never see the green light of production. There are many factors that can contribute to this, among them: timing, funding and artistic differences. As a writer you need to develop a tough skin; the failure of your project to come to fruition is not YOUR failure. The trick here is to accept it, move on, and welcome the challenge of new and exciting projects.

We all have to start somewhere and for most of us that is not going to be at the top. This is not an industry of instant gratification; dedication, humility and perseverance are the best weapons for you to keep in your arsenal. Remember to have faith in yourself and in your writing, keep an open mind and look at criticism as an invitation to grow.

Happy writing!

p.s. follow this link for the 2nd interview

About The Story Solution: Eric Edson’s The Story Solution provides screenwriting tips for those interested in screenplay writing. Seen as one of the best books on screenwriting and currently #1 in its category on China Amazon, Edson outlines 23 actions used to create three dimensional heroes. Visit the website at  http://www.thestorysolution.com to learn about writing a movie script. “Like” the Facebook page to receive tips on scriptwriting.

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Google Seller Ratings: Demystified

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The Many Positive Benefits of Workplace Gratitude

Workplace gratitude is growing in prominence as a motivational tool.  A culture of gratitude that pervades an organization can boost morale, improve customer service, and support the effort to achieve continuous improvement. A solid performance improvement plan, along with employee motivation programs can be used to work towards organizational and productivity goals.

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Workplace gratitude and its many positive benefits might be a difficult concept for some business owners and managers.  Offering a job with a competitive salary in a safe working environment is no longer enough to keep employees happy and motivated.  Employees have more choices today, and smart employers get creative with their expressions of gratitude.

Gratitude plays an important role in nurturing employee satisfaction and employee pride.  Employees seek more value in happiness and recognition over monetary rewards.  Here are some of the many positive benefits of workplace gratitude:

  • Employee Engagement: A Harvard Medical School mental health letter published in 2011 found that a group of employees who receive a gratitude-laden pep talk prior to making calls to solicit donations made 50% more calls than a control group which did not receive the motivational boost.

  • Employee Satisfaction: Positive Psychology asserts that gratitude is a hot topic in positive emotion research. Respondents who participate in gratitude exercises are found to be more pro-social, and interested in promoting the well-being of others. This contributes to the effectiveness of a team building program, boosts the ability to meet project deadlines, and creates a stronger workplace environment.

  • Improved Health: Increased gratitude contributes to a lowering of stress levels in the workplace. Harvard Business Review reports that high levels of stress are associated with high health care and turnover costs. Reducing stress through gratitude and workplace recognition awards can lead to healthier employees who show up at work, perform at high levels, and stay with the organization.

  • Increased Problem-Solving Capabilities: Employees who feel valued and who value each other are more likely to put in the effort to solve problems, because they unconsciously associate accomplishing a difficult task with receiving more gratitude.

  • Smoother Supervisor Relationships: Employees often fear or mistrust a supervisor who only knows how to punish or reprimand. A supervisor who knows how to show appreciation for a job well done, on the other hand, is more likely to build positive working relationships with subordinates. They are more likely to work together to solve problems and achieve corporate goals.

  • Boost Pride: Too often we go through life not knowing if our efforts are really appreciated. We all like being told that we are doing a good job, and that what we do has meaning. A workforce program from Strategic Incentives can be used to acknowledge positive achievements. This can be combined with something as simple as a supervisor or manager saying thanks, or a video from an end customer where employees can see the final product in action. Employees might feel they are just making one part over and over, but knowing that part ends up in every home can instill more pride in a job well done.

  • Training and Education: Don’t assume that employees just “know” what the company does, or that supervisors “know” how to motivate. A team building program that goes beyond day-to-day operational expectations results in a well-rounded workforce. Employees who understand where they fit in the organization and how their work impacts other departments are more likely to go the extra mile to complete their part of the task properly.

  • Applauding the Everyday Successes: Employers often focus on the “big theme” items such as days without an accident, quotas met, or orders completed. But what about the hundreds of ordinary tasks that have to be completed properly as a subset of those goals? What about the bookkeeper who properly recorded accounts payable and receivable to keep the cash flow in line, or the supplies manager who made sure everything needed for a job was there exactly on time? Recognition awards can be developed and implemented for all levels of the organization, to make sure everybody knows they are appreciated.

Strategic Incentives can help your organization show gratitude through one of our incentive programs or rewards programs. Contact us today for ideas on using gratitude to increase motivation and loyalty.

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Helping employees feel like they are doing ‘meaningful work’, will lead to higher levels of productivity and a better employee experience.  Gratitude is one of the most effective ways to infuse a sense of meaning and purpose in your workforce culture.

Do you have a plan for expressing gratitude to your workforce this year?  Strategic Incentives can help your organization increase workplace gratitude in a sincere way, through one of our premiere recognition or rewards programs.  The strong organization is the one that has a corporate performance improvement plan which includes incentive programs and employee motivation programs.

How is your company incorporating gratitude into the everyday workplace environment? Share your thoughts in the box below.

Strategic Incentives is Grateful for Your Support!

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About Strategic Incentives: Strategic Incentives is a leading nationwide provider of employee motivation programs. The company works with HR managers to implement sales incentive programs and safety incentives to retain employees, and loyalty programs to build customer relationships.  Visit the website at http://www.strategicincentives.com to download a complimentary PDF of “35 Ways to Use Incentive Programs.” “Like” the Facebook page to receive regular updates on sales incentives and promotional ideas. Call 888-686-8116 for more information on creating an in-depth performance improvement plan.

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Should you add the Amazon Payments Button to your store?

Are you looking for a proven way to increase your online business sales? Then adding Amazon Payments Button will do just that by providing your customers with a fast payment method they know and trust. Read on to discover more about how Amazon Payments can boost your online sales, how you can add buttons to your store and what fees you’ll have to pay for this service.

What is Amazon Login and Pay?

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Amazon Login and Pay, also known as Amazon Payments, is a tool that allows customers to pay for products online through their Amazon account. If a customer clicks an Amazon Payments Button on your online store, they’ll pay for your product through their Amazon account. Since Amazon already has the customer’s credit card and address details saved, the checkout process is incredibly quick and easy.

Why should you use Amazon Payments Buttons?

Here are the top reasons you should add an Amazon Payments Button to your online store:

  • Customers trust Amazon because it’s a reputable brand that millions of people use. Shoppers can be reluctant to input their credit card details into an unknown site so if they see an option to pay through a company they trust, like Amazon, they’re much more likely to buy your product. Top fashion retailer AllSaints saw 24% of their customers choose to pay via Amazon within two weeks of launching the Amazon Payment service on their website.amazon payments button
  • It’s cheap. Amazon charges just 2.9% – 3.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.
  • Amazon Payments can increase your average order value. For example, AllSaints saw a 15% higher average order value after installing Amazon Payments Buttons.
  • It’s fast and easy. Since Amazon already has the customer’s credit card and address details saved, there’s no need to input them again. This speeds up the buying process and makes it much more likely that the sale will be completed. AllSaints found that their checkout time was reduced by 70 seconds when they installed Amazon Login and Pay, which helped increase their checkout conversion rate by 34%.
  • Free fraud protection. Amazon has sophisticated fraud-detection tools which you get free access to when you add Amazon Payments to your store.
  • You keep your customer’s data. When you use Amazon buttons on your store, you retain complete control of your customer’s details and manage the shipping process yourself.
  • There are no hidden costs. You won’t be charged any fees for setting up or canceling your Amazon Login and Pay account.

How do you add the Amazon Payments Button to your store?

Now you’ve seen the benefits of adding Amazon Payments Buttons, here’s how to install them and start increasing sales on your online store. For businesses in the United States, you will need the following:

  • A US address and phone number.
  • A US bank account.
  • A credit card connected to a US address.
  • A business ID, EIN or Personal Security Number.

Once you have proof of all this, sign-up to Amazon Payments here, by selecting the ‘For Merchants’ option. You’ll be given your own Seller ID account and access to the Seller Central site, which is where you’ll integrate your buttons with your website and manage all your sales and payments. Input your credit card details and set up a checking account on Seller Central.

Next, integrate your Amazon Buttons. This is an easy process on most e-commerce sites and stores such as FoxyCart, LemonStand, WooCommerce, 3DCart, Volusion, Shopify, or Magento. You can see the full list of Amazon’s e-commerce partners and integrations here. If you use a different e-commerce store, you can create your own custom code to integrate the buttons or buy a plug-in. As an example, Yahoo! charge $400 for their Amazon Payments integration plug-in.

When customers buy one of your products through the Amazon Payments Button, make sure you ship the item as quickly as possible and then capture payment for the order. Minus fees, you will then receive your earnings according to Amazon’s payment process, which is detailed below.

How much does Amazon charge you to use their payment process?  

Here’s a breakdown of the fees Amazon charges for its payment buttons:

  • Either a Domestic Processing Fee of 2.9% per transaction for products shipped and sold in the USA.
  • Or a Cross-Border Processing Fee of 3.9% per transaction if the order is going to a country other than the USA.
  • Every order, regardless of where it’s shipped, is charged a $0.30 Authorization Fee.

There’s also a Disputed Chargeback Fee of $20 which is non-refundable, as is the Authorization Fee. However, if a refund takes place you will receive your Domestic or Cross-Border Processing Fee back.

Amazon’s reserve policy

Amazon keeps a certain amount of your earnings for a short period to cover things like refunds, guarantees and customer complaints. This balance is called a ‘reserve’ and the exact amount of it will depend on how long you’ve been an Amazon merchant for and what kind of service you provide your customers with. Here are the specific reserve prices:

  • When you first start selling with Amazon Payments you go through a 14-day observation period whereby all of your transactions are kept in reserve before they’re released.amazon payments button
  • After that, you move into Tier 1. In this stage, Amazon holds either the entire transaction amount or the amount of all your unresolved payment disputes, whichever is higher, for seven days.
  • After six months, once you’ve made 100 transactions through Amazon Payments, you can apply to upgrade to Tier 2. This means just 3% of your daily processed payments (based on the last 28-days average) is kept in reserve.
  • If your Order Defect Rate, which measures how many customer complaints and chargebacks you receive, stays below 1%, you’re eligible to have the 3% reserve fee removed.

So, should you add Amazon Payments Buttons to your store? The answer is a resounding yes. Leveraging Amazon’s trustworthy brand power is a proven way to increase online sales. In addition, you won’t be charged extortionate transaction fees for using Amazon Payments Buttons. Get started to boost your business today.

 

About the Author: Taylor Reaume is a fortune 500 web marketing consultant from Santa Barbara, CA and founder of Search Engine Pros. Services provided include: Google search marketing, SEO copywriting services, ethical search engine optimization, internet marketing courses, seo consultation, seo positioning. Search Engine Pros is a Santa Barbara web marketing agency that provides a full range of web marketing services, including social media consulting, top web design, custom WordPress, web programming, and marketing SEO services. Visit the website at http://TheSearchEnginePros.com for a complimentary Google rank analysis. “Like” the Facebook page for regular insights on WordPress SEO. Call 800-605-4988 to request a complimentary copy of 101 Ways to Drive Traffic.About the Author: Taylor Reaume is a fortune 500 web marketing consultant from Santa Barbara, CA and founder of Search Engine Pros, a full service web marketing agency providing a range of web marketing services, including social media consulting top web design, custom WordPress, web programming, and marketing SEO services. Visit the website at http://TheSearchEnginePros.com for a complimentary Google rank analysis. “Like” the Facebook page for regular insights on WordPress SEO. Call 800-605-4988 to request a complimentary copy of 101 Ways to Drive Traffic.