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Pete’s Picks – Top 5 Baseball Movies

1. Field of Dreams: From ‘Damn Yankees’ to the Curse of the Bambino, Americans love to make believe that unseen forces lie just below the astro turf of their favorite pastime. Kevin Costner’s 1989 popcorn-fantasy flick takes this belief to dizzying extremes, with unexplained time travel, disembodied voices, possessed scoreboards and trash-talking ghosts all popping up as Costner builds a baseball diamond in his backyard and seeks out a morose and world-weary writer clearly inspired by J.D. Salinger. Yet as absurd as the story elements may sound by themselves, the allure of baseball – its history, its dynamics, its ageless appeal – holds the story together as if by magic.

2. Bull Durham: Kevin Costner stars again as jaded minor leaguer Crash tasked with reining in wild card pitcher Nuke, played by Tim Robbins. As both men become involved with Susan Sarandon’s groupie Annie and Nuke slowly begins to take Crash’s advice to heart, bittersweet life lessons creep in through the laughs and make this film one for the ages.

3. The Rookie: Zero-to-hero success stories and baseball go hand in hand, yet few can compare to the real-life tale of Jim Morris. After a minor league career floundered, Morris became a high school teacher and baseball coach in rural Texas. At age 35, he attended a tryout for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays after promising to do so if his team won the district championship and clocked a 98 mph fastball, which eventually led to him pitching in the majors. Disney’s biopic of Morris, starring Dennis Quaid in an effectively understated performance, perfectly captures both the ecstasy of re-discovery and the agony of taking a risk on a young man’s dream while married with children.

4. Angels in the Outfield: In a sort of reverse-‘Damn Yankees,’ the Almighty sends his feathered minions to help a beleaguered team win their pennant after a young boy, played by an already-intense Joseph Gordon-Levitt, makes a wish that he believes will bring his self-serving father back to him. As outlandish and comical as the onscreen antics get however, Gordon-Levitt provides a palpable emotional center and perfectly captures the push and pull between doubt and faith that marks not only the spiritual seeker, but also the sports fan whose team would need an Act of God to come in first.

5. Moneyball: As steroids scandals and contract wars constantly remind us, what happens behind closed doors often has just as big of an impact on our national pastime as the nine men on the field. Thanks to Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill’s performances and the inspiring true story behind this critically-lauded flick though, the backroom wheeling-and-dealing proves just as exciting as a walk-off grand slam.

7 Tips to Make a Hot Video by Derek Lau

1.Start off with eye-candy
Action movies have title sequences. MLB sluggers have entrance songs. What will you use to kick your video off in an interesting and attention-grabbing way? Classic techniques like animated titles or well-composed tracking shots still work well, but don’t be afraid to get creative.

2.Work on your message
If you’re going for simplicity, the point of your video should be clear and concise, easy to remember and informative without an ounce of flab. However, to truly stick in your viewer’s minds, sometimes a little extra something can go a long way. Throwing a joke or two into the mix or coming up with a catchphrase can win you some extra points in the ‘memorable and enjoyable’ department if done right.

3.Fill up the frame
Today’s viewers are so used to watching screens that it’s safe to assume that ‘more’ is usually ‘better’ when you’re trying to get their attention. From split-screen sequences to FX shots to titles, adding some icing to your cinematic cake will give you that little edge that you need to hold the audience’s gaze through to the end of your video.

4.Play with the viewer
By the time we become teenagers, chances are we’ve all seen thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of commercials and chances are even better that we’ve grown sick of their predictable formats and never-ending parade of clichés. With this in mind, consider creatively toying with the viewer’s expectations. Break the ‘fourth wall’ and address the audience directly and out-of-character. Use clichés in a sarcastic context. Think outside the box.

5.Embrace the Gimmick
You know that one commercial that always gets on your nerves? The one with the wisecracking animal/catchphrase-spouting kid/hilariously over-the-top pitch man? Admit it. You’ve got a few examples floating around in your head, which only goes to show the power of a well-executed gimmick. Staight-laced-and-upfront may get your point across, but a gimmick can spread it like wildfire.

6.Play the Viewer
Once you’ve got a first cut of your video, sit back and imagine that you’ve never seen it before. Be honest with yourself and try to see what works and what doesn’t. Is the pitch a bit wordy? Do your testimonials reinforce the main thrust or do they get tangential? What can you take away? What might you add? Pulling no punches will always benefit you in the long wrong because after all, the viewers’ aren’t going to let you down easy.

7.Leave the party early
In videos, as in everyday life, it’s best to cut things off while you’re ahead. Find a high point to go out on and the viewer will feel rewarded for giving you a moment of their time, but stretch things out too far in pursuit of just one more big moment and they’ll start to think you look a little desperate. A good video should play out like a good party: initial excitement gives way to anticipation which culminates in some special moments and dissipates at just the right moment.

Pete’s Picks – Top 5 Beach Movies

1. The Beach: Hot off his the globe-shaking success of ‘Titanic,’ Leo opted to continue with the ‘seafaring drifter’ theme and starred in Danny Boyle’s South Seas thriller as an American ex-pat who happens upon a map to a mythical beach that turns out to hold some deadly secrets. Ironically, the films theme of corrupted paradise crossed the line from fiction to reality when stories broke about 20th Century Fox bulldozing huge swaths of the location where the film was shot in an effort to make it look more “paradise-like.”

2. Beach Blanket Bingo: Recognizing that ‘bikinis’ plus ‘teenybopper idols’ plus ‘frothy melodrama’ plus ‘bikinis’ could translate into ‘box office goldmine,’ the deceptively straight-sounding American International Pictures singlehandedly created the ‘beach party’ genre in the early ‘60s and paved the way for everything from ‘Baywatch’ to literally every single Disney Channel series in the past five years. This entry, arguably their best, features everything from a mermaid to a biker gang to the heroine escaping from an oncoming buzzsaw to random appearances by Buster Keaton. No, really.

3. The Blue Lagoon: Long before ‘Lost’ made a killing by confusing its viewers about…well, everything, this steamy Brooke Shields vehicle broke the bank by focusing on a different brand of confusion, namely the sort involving which part goes where and where babies come from. As cheesy and pseudo-exploitive as it may appear today, you’ve got to admit that having everyone embrace nudism and discover primal love would’ve been an infinitely better way to end ‘Lost.’

4. Point Break: “So anyway boss, it’s…well, it’s got Keanu Reeves in the lead and…that’s right, the guy from ‘Bill and Ted.’ And he’s an FBI agent, see?…Yes. An FBI agent who surfs…well, he’s trying to catch this bank robber-slash-surfer played by Patrick Swayze and…That’s right, the pottery guy, but…Well half the time he’ll be wearing a Ronald Reagan mask…Because that’s how they all hide their faces…Can Gary Busey play Keanu’s partner? Sure, I don’t see why not…”

5. Jaws: Admit it. You still imagine everyone rushing headlong for the shore once in a while when you’re out floating in the surf.

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Videos & Billboards: A Powerful Combo !

Videos and Billboards: A Powerful Combo


Peter Swarr

At first glance, you may not think that videos and billboards complement each other particularly well. A video can be watched anytime and anywhere, while a billboard can only be seen while driving along a specific stretch of highway. Videos also consist of thousands of individual images that build on and play off of each other, whereas a billboard presents a single, constant image to the viewer which will remain the same no matter if it is seen one or one hundred times. Yet incorporating both billboards and video into your marketing campaign can provide greater returns than simply using one or the other.

Advertising-conscious business owners have long known the benefits of a good billboard. Not only does a billboard efficiently pitch your business to potential customers, but those who frequently pass it – i.e. the local audience that needs to see your message the most – will receive the pitch over and over until it’s firmly ingrained in their mind. Repeatedly seeing a billboard will also allow them to make mental notes of your key information (address, phone number, etc), which they may not have been able to recall upon first glance. A good billboard also should feature a one-sentence pitch, short and to the point, without any extraneous information to cloud your audience’s recall.
Fine, you may say, I already know what a billboard can do for me. Why should I use video alongside it? Well, unlike billboards, video allows you to really tell your business’ story and communicate your message gradually, rather than in a single image meant to be seen for a matter of seconds. With video, you can go beyond that one-sentence pitch and include all the information that you want. Video also, being composed of movement, naturally holds the viewer’s attention and stimulates their senses in a way that traditional advertising avenues such as billboards never can.
By creating complementary advertising campaigns for billboards and videos, you will strengthen your message’s impact twofold. When potential customers who’ve seen your billboard watch your video, they will be reminded of the billboard’s key information, strengthening their recall of it and moving it up on their internal prominence scale. Likewise, when they see your billboard again, it will remind them of your video’s in-depth message and make them want to re-watch it to get a better sense of your company’s message.

Together, billboards and videos can work wonders for your business. Let us help you enhance your traditional billboard ad with a hip, modern video and get you on your way to boosting your image, drawing in new customers and improving your local presence for years to come.

Derek’s Tips for Making Healthy Videos


With swimsuit season right around the corner, staying healthy and getting in shape is no doubt on your mind right now. As you tone your abs and bulk up your biceps though, consider these tips on making strongly-produced videos that will give you a healthy return on your investment.

1. A Moving Camera is a Healthy Camera

The human eye instinctively notices and follows movement, so a well-produced video should typically feature at least one major camera movement. Dolly shots – where tracks are laid out and the camera tripod is placed on a wheeled platform – create a feeling of kinetic, almost magical movement, while crane shots show off the scale of a location better than even the most well-composed static shot. Just like with exercise, movement is essential to keep people engaged and fully in-the-moment.

2. Make their heart rates pound and then hit them with the payoff.

Just like with a good workout, a good video should send your heart racing and build up to a satisfying emotional payoff. Montage – the effective and well-executed intercutting of images – functions as one of video’s most effective formalistic tools. When used well, it efficiently communicates a great deal of information while grabbing and holding the viewer’s attention to the point where they almost can’t look away. A good montage doesn’t just provide aimless thrills though. Once you’ve raised the viewer to an emotional peak, hit them with a final element – a slogan, a location, a personal appeal – that will tie your video together for them and make them feel justified for giving you their undivided attention.

3. Ease up on the non-essentials

Just like too much junk-food turns muscle to fat, too many shameless gimmicks can sap the strength from a video. In order to not cross the line of good taste, ask yourself ‘do I really need this?’ Special effects like dissolves, text or computer graphics may look eye-catching by themselves, but are they what your video needs to be effective? A good video, like a well-toned body, should look streamlined and solid, without any frivolities to distract you from the meat-and-bones of your message.

4. Reps get Results

Sometimes you don’t get exactly what you want on the first try. Just like going to the gym though, persistence and repetition are what counts. Re-making or even just adding a few new touches to an old video can go a long way towards improving your company’s image and we at aideM Media are committed to producing as many cuts and re-cuts as it takes to get you what you’re looking for in a video.

Pete’s Picks – Top 5 Summer Vacation Movies

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1. Dazed and Confused

As Richard Linklater’s eclectic gab-fest incisively illustrates, high school may end up feeling like a total drag that you just might end up missing. That being said, summer vacation – with its wide open promise of freewheeling misadventures and unrestricted camaraderie – will never draw mixed emotions. Whatever happens to the burnouts, pretty boys, underdogs and incoming freshman of Lee High School after that madcap last day in 1976, you know it will be a time they’ll never forget (if they remember it, of course).


2. Stand By Me

Though it’s hard to imagine the fabled search for a dead body happening in the age of Amber Alert, this coming-of-age classic perfectly captures the freedom and bonding that summer vacation still promises. Every little detail – from the Great Tri-County Pie-Eat story to the appealingly un-PC dialogue – perfectly captures the rambunctious innocence of childhood and can’t help but remind those of us who’ve come to resemble the world-weary narrator more than the free-spirited boys of our own summer adventures all those years ago.


3. The Sandlot

As any ex-misfit will tell you, no season presents more opportunity than summer. Whereas school offers you a chance to better your mind, summer allows you to, in the words of Small’s mother, run around, scrape your knees and get dirty. From pool trips to facing down your uptown rivals to taking on The Beast, summer allows kids to be kids with other kids, even if they’re new, awkward and show remarkably poor judgment in choosing a ball for the pickup game.


4. A Goofy Movie

The 2-D, humanoid-dog world may suggest pure cartoony escapism, but the father-son bonding that comes out of Goofy and Max’s cross-country trek feels surprisingly genuine. As anyone who’s spent entirely too long crammed into the family car will no doubt tell you, sometimes the worst trips bring you together the most…especially when meeting bigfoot and crashing a stadium concert are in the mix.


5. National Lampoon’s Vacation

There’s an old saying that ‘it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey.’ As this screwball road movie proves though, both can end up being complete busts, which is good news for moviegoers even if it pushes Chevy Chase and company right up against the limits of sanity. Sometimes however, as we all know, the worst summer experiences end up making the best memories in time.

Mom Said to Update your YouTube Channel


Well, another year’s gone past and there’s no putting it off anymore. You need to turn over a new leaf and re-connect with the important people in your life. No, I’m not talking about getting back in touch with your mother (although that wouldn’t hurt either!). I’m talking about updating your YouTube account and re-connecting with your customers!

Now you may be wondering ‘what’s so important about that?’ You’ve got a solid pitch video, why fix it if it isn’t broke? Well the most honest answer is ‘novelty.’ People instinctively pay attention to new things and if you’re spending money on a new print ad or commercial, why not produce a new video as well? Look at it as an opportunity to tell the world what’s been going on at your company since the last time you uploaded a video. Have you opened up a new location? Developed a new product? Built an addition? Put it in the video!


A well-curated YouTube channel goes a long way towards improving your company’s image

Re-vamping your YouTube channel doesn’t just mean shooting a new video either. Do you have an eye-catching background? What about links to your website? YouTube allows you to add simple, easy-to-use links directly onto your videos, making steering potential customers to your homepage as easy as clicking ‘Add annotation.’

With video traffic accounting for 53% of the internet’s bandwidth, having a well-executed YouTube channel has never been more important. Let aideM Media help you fix up yours today!

Top 5 Mom Movies


1. Freaky Friday: When teenagers say they wish they were adults, most parents roll their eyes and say ‘just you wait,’ knowing full-well that their kid’s idea of adulthood omits little details like ‘career,’ ‘bills,’ and ‘not being a hedonistic me-machine.’ Of course, being a teenager’s no stroll on the sidewalk either and in this body-swap comedy, mother and daughter learn to appreciate the issues and obstacles in each other’s lives by literally walking a mile in the other’s shoes.


2. Aliens: Single motherhood offers plenty of trials and tribulations in and of itself, but factor in ‘space marine-eating monsters’ and it looks downright impossible. Luckily for the traumatized Newt, her stand-in mother Ellen Ripley excels at beating long odds. As the scene where she moms up and takes on the Alien queen shows, hell hath no fury like a mother threatened.


3. Forrest Gump: As far from home as Forrest’s adventures take him, it’s hard to imagine him getting much farther than the front porch without his mama. From getting him an education to reminding him that ‘stupid is as stupid does,’ Ms. Gump (played with luminous heart by Sally Field) shows that behind every great man, there’s a mom who believed.


4. Finding Neverland: Although Johnny Depp got most of the kudos, Kate Winslet’s moving performance as a dying mother provides an all-too-adult counterweight for the childlike wonder and inspiration that Depp’s J.M. Barrie discovers with her four sons. As her health slowly fades, her stoic resilience and love for her children remind us that inspiring heroes don’t only exist in fairy tales.


5. Hairspray: Yes, she’s played by John Travolta, but let’s try to keep an open mind. After all, this is a feel-good movie about tolerance and diversity and the fact that Vincent Vega’s singing about being big and beautiful in the final song while shaking his groove thang shouldn’t get in the way of the message, right? Either way, Travolta gives a likeable performance as Edna Turnblad, a 1950s housewife who discovers that you’re never too old to love who you are, and shows that even a man can be Mom sometime.

Streaming Shows: Future or Fad?


Nowadays, the very phrase ‘TV show’ is starting to look outdated. Browse through social media apps and you’ll find that some of the most popular programs don’t air on television at all, but reach viewers through increasingly in-demand streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. So far, Netflix leads the pack with hits like ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’ and an exclusive deal to produce original content with Marvel Studios, but Hulu and Amazon both boast robust original programming sections and plan to expand these divisions in the coming years. Yahoo also recently made waves by announcing that, despite the site’s spotty history with original programming (their 2012 Tom Hanks-presented series ‘Electric City’ vanished without a trace), production on four half-hour sitcoms would soon be underway, with per-episode budgets approaching and possibly exceeding a million dollars.


With an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, who needs a network?

There’s no denying that original web series have finally arrived as a viable medium, but will they replace traditional TV shows, as is sometimes suggested? Their current distribution model, where whole seasons get dumped on viewers all at once, certainly caters well to the binge-watching set, not to mention those among us who’d rather gouge out an eye with an iPad stylus than sit through a commercial break. Yet having a show available anytime and anywhere inevitably begs the question ‘how do we know who’s watching?’ As old-fashioned as commercial breaks may seem to the entertainment binger, they still guarantee that millions of people will know exactly what the specs are on the new Volvo or which search engine is launching a new feature. Furthermore, watching a TV show one episode at a time manages to provide a sense of community and shared experience among viewers that binge-encouraging web series simply cannot duplicate. Tweeting your love for the new ‘House of Cards’ season may get you some feedback, but posting your reaction to the latest ‘Walking Dead’ or ‘Mad Men’ episode will throw you headlong into a social media event.

While it’s hard to see web series replacing TV anytime soon, it will be interesting to see what sort of talent they can attract and how they distinguish themselves from traditional programming. As they’ve already shown, there’s plenty of room in our entertainment-saturated browsers for new ideas.