Infatuation, Thy Name is Love

Love stories are as old as time, but then again, so are stories about its creepy sister-emotion: infatuation.

In a continuation of the chat between my friend Casandra and I, we land on the topic of how guys still use pickup lines. She shares with us one specific pickup line that was a little too corny not to be memorable.

This episode features two short stories. One old one, and a REALLY old one.

The first story is the REALLY old one, and it comes by way of Turkey. It’s called “What Happened to Hadji,” a humorous story where an infatuation goes terribly wrong. Can Hadji be redeemed by the end of it?

The second story is a witty short story about a wannabe lover looking to literally buy the attention of his obsession. The story was written by the prolific writer John Collier back in the mid-20th century. You’ll recognize many motifs in this story that have been copied by Hollywood movies in the decades since.

Thanks to the sources that influenced this episode, specifically Jane Yolen who included “What Happened to Hadji” in her folk tale anthology Favorite Folktales From Around The World. And thanks to Zoetrope for providing access to “The Chaser” short story.

A Stranger Comes To Town

Speaking with my friend Casandra, we hit upon an interesting topic: how relocating as a youth impacts ones life. She tells me about a traumatic experience she went through as a teenager after moving to Jamaica.

We have three stories for this first episode. They are three folk stories centered around this most familiar theme: a stranger shows up to disrupt the status quo.

The first story is an ancient folk tale with a clever stranger making a scene. It’s called Stone Soup.

The second story is also a very old folk tale about a prince who is convinced he’s really a turkey. Could a complete stranger save the day for the King and Queen? This one is called The Turkey Prince, although in some cultures it’s also called “The Rooster Prince.”

The third story is an adaptation of a classic short story by one of the masters in the Short Story genre. It’s called “The Open Window” by Saki (aka HH Munro).

One Christopher Nolan Movie Scene Taught Me All I Know About Great Writing

Did you know that Harry Houdini, the famous magician, also worked missions as a Spy for the US government?

Think about it, he had all the skills to be a great spy.  I mean, he knew how to escape from dangerous situations, had a quick hand for swiping small objects, knew multiple languages, and was often invited to gatherings with heads of state.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the real-life James Bond.

I mention Houdini because he is of course, the most famous Magician of all time. And today the topic is magic, both traditional magic like what we know Houdini for, but also a much different form of it, THE MAGIC OF WORDS.

If the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, then you have a small army tucked away in that 3 pound dome of yours. So use it!

The problem is: those who NEED the power of words on their side most, rarely understand the concepts behind good writing.  But the concepts themselves are SUUUUPER SIMPLE to implement,  IF you let yourself be convinced that they are true.

I’m just now building my writing chops, but I feel like KICKING myself because I had been given the secrets to writing well 7 YEARS AGO, and totally ignored them.

Here’s the thing: chances are that YOU have been given the secrets too.

Have you heard the name Christopher Nolan before? He’s the guy that made Batman movies cool again.  He wrote and directed the movies Batman Begins, the Dark Knight, The Dark Knight rises, as well as non-Batman movies like Inception, and his breakthrough movie from the late 90s, Memento.  The man is one of the highest grossing directors ever because his movies are deep but entertaining.

One of his best films is called The Prestige. It came out in 2007 and follows the fictional story of two magicians in London during the late 1800s . About the same time Houdini was also making a name for himself.   

Well, the movie starts with a scene that is 2 and a Half minutes in length, and in those 2 minutes and 30 seconds Christopher Nolan spells out the SECRET to powerful writing. Continue Reading

Testing is Where Value Lives

How can the small guy win in today’s world? The answer is simple, yet very difficult: by KNOWING THE CUSTOMER better than the big guys.

When independent creators ship their work to customers, they’re testing the market. And when we test quickly enough, we get a leg up on the major players who are much slower.

In this episode we look at a few examples of the underdog winning the race. Are you leveraging the value of testing? Listen to a few entrepreneurs break it down for us.

Music by:
Ben Murray-Smith Soundcloud
Julian Avila Soundcloud

Sources Referenced:
ABC Digital interviews Alli Webb, founder of Drybar
Kevin Systrom at eStanford video “Finding the Problem is the Tough Part”
Martin Garrix song “Animals

Bitter Truth About How We Learn

Movies are a BAD example to follow. When it comes to learning, there is a bitter truth that most creators typically ignore. In this episode we dig up research from Robert Greene and some wise Venetians who know very well what it takes to Master any discipline. Can you handle the truth?

Music by Ben Murray-Smith and Julian Avila

Music by:
Ben Murray-Smith Soundcloud
Julian Avila Soundcloud

Sources Referenced:
Eminem is interviewed by Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes
NextShark interviews Robert Greene “How To Master What You Love to Be Successful
Mastery by Robert Greene audiobook
Rocky movie training scenes montage
The Matrix movie by The Wachowski Sisters