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How to Build an Audience, With Lee Schneider

Today, we bring you a veteran creative producer -- learning from his father who was a television executive back when the few networks reigned supreme, Lee Schneider has intense insights from his career in journalism, writing, documentary production, and entrepreneurship. You can find him at his Digital Fundraising School, and he's doing a GiveGetWin deal focused on key insights for creative producers on making high-quality content, building an audience, and earning a living from your art and passion.

How To Build An Audience, insights from Lee Schneider as told to Sebastian Marshall

I started in words even though I was writing for picture. I was a newspaper reporter and writer for TV shows… on TV, I wrote the introductions, intros, and outros.

I wrote for a newspaper in Texas and for A&E. This started teaching me the relationship between words and pictures. I went to writing for local television and Good Morning America. I learned how to write fast and how to write in a big noisy room, and how to write for picture. This is a key thing, the relationship between pictures and words. They get stronger as they relate, words and pictures, and sounds.

That led me to working for news magazines like Dateline NBC and a magazine for Fox, Frontpage. I was producing stories in the 8-10 minute range, and telling a story in that range of time is a very different animal than telling a story in 20 seconds like you would for a news broadcast. That led to longer form stuff; after Dateline NBC, I did Biography for A&E and started my own company doing hour-long documentaries for the Learning Channel, History Channel, and others.

Book Review: A Whole New Mind

On Imported Blog

Usually I don't like the books I'm required to read for school over the summer. Scratch that, I pretty much hate all the books. Yet the teacher of one my classes gave us the assignment to read A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future by Daniel Pink. Now I may not fully agree with some of the points throughout the book, but it was a very fascinating regardless.

As the subtitle suggests, the book deals with the concept of left-brain vs. right-brain. Unfortunately, he argues that society (which has been left-brain dominant in the past 50 - 100 years) is transitioning into becoming more right-brain dependent. Now I say unfortunately because I for one am very left-brained. I am the stereotypical logical, analytical, math geek that is unable to be creative or artistic. Perhaps due to my bias I don't fully buy the argument that one must be right-brained to succeed in the future, but I definitely do not disagree with the fact that it's important to utilize both parts of the brain.

Daniel Pink outlines six different "senses" to lead to becoming more right-brained and creative.

Design: Pink argues that design is a major part of any success, and I could not agree more. From a business perspective, design is often what separates similar products. Take, for example, the Mac vs. PC. Despite the Mac being significantly more expensive (than the average PC), Apple still sells an incredible amount due to their premium design. I also think about stuff like work environments. Working in a relaxed atmosphere with big tables and open rooms probably leads to more productive than cubicles. While cubicles might seem more efficient, workers probably get more done with the design similar to the former (though it's up to the company which one's benefits outweigh the costs more). Products must not only be functional, but appealing to use.

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