October Update 3: Hair By Glenna at the Toronto Natural Hair and Beauty Show 2016

This gig made my entire weekend. I don't think I've ever been surrounded by so many gorgeous brownskinned folk with epic levels of hair goals at once. And that was just the people I was hired to shoot. Next year, I think I'm going to aim to photograph everyone. 

So, Hair By Glenna is a natural hair styling company run by an incredibly talented stylist who specializes in natural hair care and styling for afro-textured hair. (Check her work out here: https://hairbyglenna.com/) We were connected by a mutual friend, and it was a really great experience working with her and her models at the show. 

I've already made a mental note for next year's edition.

 

October Update 2: Accidentally Doing TIFF2016

The Toronto International Film Festival 2016 happened almost parallel to the CaribbeanTales Film Festival as I noted earlier, and this year I got to take advantage of a little of that overlap. 

TIFF x Blackhouse: The Blackhouse Foundation is an organization that, "believes in the importance & power of diversity in film. Our goal: expand opportunities, increase knowledge & provide support for Black filmmakers in the US & abroad via partnerships w/the world's most prominent festivals." This year they hosted panels at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in collaboration with the Will and Jada Smith Foundation which I found myself attending (cough-cough-gatecrashed-cough-cough) and heard some great insights into the state of diversity in filmmaking and directing today, particularly in Canada. The panel I gained the most from was the "How To Make A Film In Canada" one, where I heard some straight-talking, no BS responses from established black writers, producers and directors like Dawn Wilkinson, Sudz Sutherland, Jennifer Holness and Clement Virgo. I also met Nick Cannon. :)

TIFF x Manifesto: This year, TIFF also partnered with the Manifesto Festival for the latter's 10th anniversary, and screened two films, actor/director/writer Noel Clarke's British crime dramas KiDULTHOOD (2006) and AdULTHOOD (2008) in anticipation of the premiere of the third film in the trilogy, BrOTHERHOOD, at TIFF2016.

I first encountered Noel Clarke on on the rebooted version of Dr Who (aka #NuWho), as Mickey Smith, the hapless boyfriend of the Doctor's travelling companion, Rose Tyler. I hadn't seen KiDULTHOOD when everyone else did almost a decade ago, which made his gritty, dark portrayal of the character of Sam Peel on AdULTHOOD even more intriguing, and sitting through the Q+A afterwards was a fascinating eyeopener as I realized that Noel Clarke in real life is much more Sam Peel than Mickey Smith. Also, being a writer and director on top of being an actor, his perspective on films and filmmaking came from a multifaceted experience, and it was really useful information.

His co-star Arnold Oceng was present at the Q+A too, and aside from his thoughtful responses to the questions from the moderator, Julian Carrington, and from the crowd, he was hella down to earth for someone known as a rising star with the kind of credits he has to his name! (Aside from AdULTHOOD and BrOTHERHOOD, he also co-starred in The Good Lie, A United Kingdom, and Top Boy).

It was a fun TIFF experience. Who needs sleep? :p

Travelling Light - A Vlog

I've decided to start a travel vlog.

I don't travel all that frequently, but in the last little while I've managed to accumulate quite the collection of video clips, mostly captured on my Android. This is my way of making them all count, while challenging myself to be creative outside of commissioned work.

Episode 1 finds me in Cleveland, documenting a three-week trip shooting a music documentary with musician Marcio Novelli. Click the image below to watch it on my Youtube channel.

To be updated every [sometimes].

Value Vs. Viral: The Real Way to Retain Customers

Candid Consulting is a Toronto-based marketing and PR consulting agency that caters to entrepreneurs and startups on all things branding, marketing, promotion and crisis management. I have begun contributing timely and topical articles to their blog, some of which I will be sharing here as well. Please check them out for all your business marketing needs - you'll be glad you did.

A lot of brands that use social media seem to be there with the express intent of making something go viral. With the widespread popularity of video platforms like Youtube, Vine, Instagram and even Facebook, it’s never been easier to get videos seen by millions of eyes, and a vast majority of these videos seem designed to “go viral”.

While this can be a very effective means of getting the word out about your product or service, relying on that as a means of building a customer base is unsustainable at best.
This is not to say that viral content isn’t a boon to any business practice. Last year, in what is arguably the most viral advertising video to ever hit the internet, the company behind the Squatty Potty footstool (designed to bring your knees up for better bowel movement and then slide away under your toilet for convenience when not in use) took the internet by storm with a three-minute long video featuring a princely narrator and a cartoonishly cute unicorn pooping out rainbow-coloured soft serve ice cream.

Now, while this ad was what put the company on the viral video map, they had already designed, built and marketed their product for a number of years, both through online distribution and with placement in stores like Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond. This shows that they had discovered a problem (bad bathroom posture leading to health concerns like constipation and hemorrhoids), did their research (signed off on by scientists from Stanford), and designed a simple solution (a stool that gets your body in the right posture for pooping!)

Read the rest on the Candid Consulting business blog here: http://www.candidconsulting.ca/blog/value-vs-viral-the-real-way-to-retain-customers

​Knowing Your Audience as a Predictor of Success - Guest Blog for Candid Consulting Marketing and PR Agency

Candid Consulting is a Toronto-based marketing and PR consulting agency that caters to entrepreneurs and startups on all things branding, marketing, promotion and crisis management. I have begun contributing timely and topical articles to their blog, some of which I will be sharing here as well. Please check them out for all your business marketing needs - you'll be glad you did.

Aristotle’s greatest advice was “know thyself”. Sun Tzu in The Art of War said, “know your enemy”. But the cardinal piece of advice for any entrepreneur or startup should be “know your target customer”.

As a startup, you may have a great product to offer, but unless you do your research to see who exactly the niche audience for your pitch should be, you might find yourself selling your product to people who cannot see the value in it, and as such, will not allow you to grow and succeed. Research and testing are the keys to knowing what your customer needs, and how to keep giving it to them!

Case in point, Netflix. The company that started out as an online DVD-by-mail rental company has since blossomed into a streaming colossus and production studio. One of the many factors in their success is how they keep viewers’ attention once subscribed. Netflix’s predictive algorithms have their customers’ preferences down to a T, even among multiple users within the same account.

Read the rest on the Candid Consulting business blog here: http://www.candidconsulting.ca/blog/knowing-your-audience-as-a-predictor-of-success

Is Your Business Ready For Change? - Guest Blog for Candid Consulting Marketing & PR Agency

Candid Consulting is a Toronto-based marketing and PR consulting agency that caters to entrepreneurs and startups on all things branding, marketing, promotion and crisis management. I have begun contributing timely and topical articles to their blog, some of which I will be sharing here as well. Please check them out for all your business marketing needs - you'll be glad you did.

They say the only constant in life is change, and for startups and businesses, that rule is practically written in stone. Today, social media marketing is that change and many businesses are finding that to remain relevant, they need to ride this wave wherever it takes them.

Below are 3 reasons to embrace social media (and tips on doing it well)

1. Visibility
If your business is not online, then for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t exist. When even the Yellow Pages is accessed via Google search, if your business isn’t taking advantage of social media to promote your products and services, there is no guarantee that your customers will be able to pick you out from all the competition. A good social media strategy allows you to stand apart and see a direct result as shown by your customers’ responses, whether it be sponsored advertising on Facebook, or dedicated brand promotion and customer engagement through Twitter or Instagram.
Using search engine optimization and Google Analytics on your website is another good way to know that your customers can in fact find you, while also allowing you to track how they behave on your site when they do. This allows you to learn and improve your products and services, while learning the best ways to place yourself in front of the right customers. 

Read the rest on the Candid Consulting business blog here: http://www.candidconsulting.ca/blog/is-your-business-ready-for-change

Some Places I've Been Published

Each image below links to writing work I've done on these sites, so feel free to click through. Thanks for visiting!