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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Marketing the Marketing


By Daniel L Rappaport

In the wide, wonderful world of marketing there are what seems to be nearly limitless classes that you can take, expensive programs and methods that you can purchase, people that claim that they have THE silver bullet solution to riches, etc…

I know. I’ve been there, and spent way too much money on much of what is repeat information, always looking for that “silver bullet” approach.

The hard and true fact of the matter is, there isn’t one.

What we have here are a few brief explanations, and some truly awesome tools to make your marketing life easier, more quantifiable and receive some quality and true results.

Do all methods work? To some degree, or another, yes. Do some work better then others? Absolutely.

Do you have to be an art and graphic genius to create amazing marketing? Not necessarily. 

On Branding


Big Tip

Kind reader, I am here to tell you the number one, key factor to successful marketing of any kind. That’s right. I said ANY kind.

That is…..

CONSISTENCY! CONSISTENCY! CONSISTENCY!

Whatever methods that you choose, be consistent with it. It’s how you build your audience.

If someone told me this a number of years back, I would have a lot more money in my pocket.

On Money and More Tips

When it comes to spending money, when you are starting out, less is always more. Why? You don’t want to spend hundreds, or thousands of dollars on a radio ad, only to find that no one purchases your product.


I have a select few marketing methods, that I practice over and over again. The results have been wonderful. This is within reason. Pazzaria Productions is only a handful of months old (in terms of our refresh, and pounding harder then we ever have). 

You are, definitely, going to want to experiment around, and see what methods work for you. Don’t go hog wild, and choose a ton. It’s a waste of time, money, and is difficult to quantify and analyze.

On Social Media

If I might be able to use Pazzaria Productions as an example…

We are on three social media accounts. Not three. Not fifty, Not even five. Why only three? Because we can focus on those three, and build those communities. We are doing it organically. Is it a slow process? Certainly. In the beginning, it will be. We have seen growth. The more people like and follow, the more engagement are seeing. The list, under the Facebook bell icon, day by day, after it is cleared, continues to grow the next day.

These social media accounts are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I lied! We have a YouTube channel as well. However, at this time, we are only using it to store our video, with no engagement. Why? We can’t do so in a meaningful way - yet. This is an area that we will grow with.

Pazzaria Productions is based out of Southern California. We tend to post at night. The next morning, our engagement is excellent. This has proven to be more effective then posting during the day. The thought on this is that the rest of the world is much larger then just the U.S.A. So, due to numbers, our engagement is more.

When we do pay for any kind of advertising, it is for something big and specific. An example of this would be a trailer for one of our iBooks.

We use Adobe Spark Post to easily create the posts, and then post once per day, on each of the main three social media accounts.

An Exploding Bomb

Do NOT just post post post post and post with no engagement with your users. You HAVE to give back to your community! This does several things. It shows the world that this isn’t just about you. It provides an opportunity to spread your word and products even further. You never know who your next customer will be. Showing good feelings to the world is always a super great way to show positivity when you post that ad about your next product. Give back, in this manner, far more then you post and it will do you well.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

This brings me to another very important point.

There absolutely, unequivocally, universally, forever and ever, is NO SUCH THING as an overnight success!

I don’t care how rich, amazing, wide your network is, etc… EVERYONE started somewhere, and BUILT their way to the top.

One very recent area of growth for us is that we are starting to be in the news! Here is our press site. Go here, and click on “Radio”.  We got this through Daniel at DTong Radio. His network is far larger than anything that Pazzaria Productions has, as of yet. Again. Here comes that term “consistency”, right? By putting together a plan with him, over the next several months, or perhaps years (he’s that good), we can, very inexpensively, create a marketing campaign, across several of his gigs, that will be fruitful for Pazzaria Productions.

Are we relying solely on what he does with his gig, for our synergistic purposes? Nope! We then take what he has done, and disseminate throughout our own marketing. That’s right! Marketing the Marketing!

You can see how one’s empire grows, as one is consistent, and slowly builds. Google loves this as well, in terms of SEO, on many different levels.

Build that Synergy! One - Two Three - One - Two - Three!

That’s another key word, actually. This idea of building. The title of this article is “Marketing the Marketing”.

Still another word, that I love, is “synergy”. Part of that synergy is this blog. With this very post, I have introduced you to our website, and our social media accounts. With any luck, you might visit those, and engage further. 

NEVER, EVER turn down a way to cross promote! This is what builds strong businesses!

On Blogging

So, after this article is published, it will be linked through on our social media accounts and posted in pertinent Facebook groups, the RSS will be pinged through a few aggregators, and it will be linked on Reddit and SumbleUpon.

I’d love to go on, but this article is long enough. Yes. That’s a blogger tip! Don’t make your articles too long! This one is a little bit longer then most of the others that I have written. It’s also an experiment to see how one, just a tad longer, does vs. the others.

All of the above may seem like a lot to do, and it is. Take it one step at a time. Create a defined plan and stick to it, slowly adding and adjusting along the way.

I hope that you have enjoyed this post, and maybe even found some humor in it? The jokes get worse as time goes on!

If you have any questions, never hesitate to reach out at:

Daniel L Rappaport
CEO and Owner
Pazzaria Productions


Thank you kindly for reading. 


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How I Compose Music

GarageBand interface

By Daniel L Rappaport

I have been composing music for at least ten years. It’s an incredibly thrilling and exciting experience to put together various random sounds into something that is cohesive, has a language all it’s own and makes sense.

I have been studying music for a much longer period of time. What I am suggesting here is that you don’t really need any formal musical training to create a masterwork.

The way that I compose is with loop based music editing. This is an awesome way to make music, and I have to attribute Apple, with it’s push of Soundtrack Pro (remember that?!), and it’s heavy description of creating music with loops. When I saw that, my musical creative mind exploded with ideas. For the first time, it is possible to compose music, without having to know how to write a single note on a staff.

Another big, important part is that the software snapped together the rhythms of the loops, so nothing is ever out of sync. This happens only so much, and within a certain range. You still need to zoom in to your timeline, to make sure that thing are lining up.

I would just go into the software, throw some loops around, and see what you can do. You can’t break anything, so don’t be too worried or scared. 

For musical loops, I would definitely seek out as many as you can. GarageBand comes with a lot. You can also try loopmasters. They have a really large library. When you sign up, they also give you a lot of loops, for free. I only keep mine on my hard drive, when I am using them. The total of my loops library is 50GB. So, you may want to back it up, when not in use.

First off, I would like you to please download a piece that I have composed, here, and take a listen. It’s the Pazzaria Productions theme music, and musically describes the various fantasy worlds within my company.

Now, this tutorial would require you to at least have a basic understanding of how GarageBand and Adobe Audition work. GarageBand is essential. For the post processing, you can use any digital audio workstation (or D.A.W.) that you wish. A very popular one is Pro Tools. Logic Pro is also widely used.

For me, GarageBand came with my Mac, and Audition comes with my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Because CC includes so many different software applications, for an amazing monthly price, I see no reason in investing in anything else.

With that being said, many people use some of the other D.A.W.s in their work, and may already own a copy. I would say that if you know how to use one, picking up another isn’t that much of a learning curve. They are all extremely similar.

When I start compose a piece, I have an idea of what it is I want to do. In the case of the theme, I knew that I wanted something iconic. I kept it around two minutes, because this is my first foray, with Pazzaria Productions, into music. So, it was important to keep it easily digestible. The piece is also completely free.

Once I go in, and favorite the loops that I want to be my theme, I then start to just throw them into tracks, and play around. The piece progresses as I hear, in my head, what the loops start to inspire.

Feel free to cut up, reverse, change the melody, etc… You aren’t stuck to what the loop gives you.

After I get a sense of the direction, I then start to seek out other instrumentation that I feel might go along with what it is I have laid out.

You definitely want to think about the different parts of the orchestra, and how you can best use those sections to create what you want.

When you are composing it’s easy to get bogged down into creating the perfect stereo mix, audio effects, EQ, etc… Don’t do that, until the end. That’s what something like Audition is for. Your D.A.W.s will have far better, and more precise tools then GarageBand for that.

Do use your volume rubber bands and keyframes copiously! Also, watch your levels.

For me, I like to kind of throw tradition out the window, just a little bit. What can your bring to the table, that is new, that nobody else is doing? When possible, I like to think about combining different styles and instrumentation from around the world.

What happens when you mix something from traditional India, with contemporary House?

Only do this, if it serves whatever point you are trying to make, however.

After you have something that you like, save off an AIFF. You want it to be high quality, for your D.A.W.

When in Audition, go to town with your EQ, compression, effects, panning, etc… But, not too much! Make sure your composition takes center stage!

For my theme, I saved it off as a high quality, 320 kbps MP3. At about two minutes, this yielded a file that is about 4 MB. For my free, web download, this is more then plenty. Adjust to your individual needs.

So, that’s that! Hopefully, I have opened up your mind to how you can be a musical composer! When done with quality, integrity and love, people are completely wowed!

Have fun!

Feel free to share your work with me, and ask questions in the comments!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Why We Have Chosen iBooks Publishing

iBooks Author logo


By Daniel L Rappaport

The publishing tool for iBooks is called iBooks Author. Its initial release was on January 19, 2012. On that day, not only my life, but the life of Pazzaria Productions changed forever.

Now, there was and still is a way to utilize the elegance, ease of use and total beauty of the rock solid Apple system to publish interactive books.

If you know how to use any of Apple’s other pieces of software, the learning curve for this isn’t that large at all. It’s very accessible, and provides a really easy way for people to publish their work.

Alongside iBooks Author is a piece of software, that you access through Apple’s system, called iTunes Producer. This is the software that takes your finished iBook, sample iBook, metadata and pricing information, collates it all, and sends it to iTunes for publishing. Your iBooks are also available worldwide. If you need to update them, that’s a cinch as well.

And, it’s really easy to pass their guidelines to do so! I would certainly research what categories are in the iBooks Store, and pick a topic to publish. Apple’s pretty lenient here. I would guess that (and I am no final word), but, as long as you aren’t creating books on how to build bombs, steps to become a Nazi, or anything to do with porn (as examples) you should be in the clear.

In terms of book design, I couldn’t be happier. Apple provides you with about twenty four templates to choose from. If going off of a template is your thing, start from scratch! You are more then welcome to do so!

Another really brilliant thing about iBooks are that right after the book cover, you have the option of including a video. This could be an introductory pieces to the rest of the work, perhaps information about you, or your company, a “how-to” on a particular subject that pertains to the work, etc… A really fantastic piece of extremely easy to use software, for video creation, is Adobe Spark Video.

As you fill out your iBook with your words and images, you will, no doubt, come across one of my favorite pieces of the software - the widgets. Apple calls this portion - Interactive magic in every book. I totally agree. You are able to insert Keynote presentations, interactive images and galleries, scrolling sidebars, pop overs, other pieces of media, chapter reviews, and even 3D images (created in a 3D program, outside of iBooks Author), as well as HTML modules.

The sky’s the limit!

The end result of the iBook just works so beautifully, and seamlessly within the world of Apple devices. 
iBooks can be viewed on iPhones, iPads and Macintosh computers.

I don’t really know of any other ecosystem that is as rock solid, easy to use, has telephone and e-mail support, and is as end to end as this. This is one Apple product where, as usual, it’s a complete idea and works extremely well.

One last thing. IT’S ALL TOTALLY FREE!

_________________________________

This iBooks of Pazzaria Productions:


Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Making of www.pazzaria.com

Pazzaria Productions header, logo, Apovil, dragon, website header

By Daniel L Rappaport

When I set out to find a great platform for our website, I wanted to choose something that was simple to use, easy to manage, looked amazing, and was great for the user.


Post is for social media. Video is for video creation and Page is for website design.

This suite is designed specifically for the small business owner, who, maybe, wouldn’t be able to afford a design team to create their marketing materials.

At Pazzaria Productions, we are also, always, looking for ways to innovate, to create material that we find really interesting, and perhaps something that the competition isn’t quite thinking of.

With Page, I  was able to create these really awesome animations, that move as you scroll down the website. I have used this to great effect, when showcasing the full, touch screen animations that are present in The Legend of the Lost Rose iBook (coming soon). For about the past month, once a week, I have debuted a different animation, from a different chapter.

Page also allows you to be incredibly organized. With these modules called “glideshows”, I am able to break up the website, in a meaningful way, to showcase this blog, our online shop, as well as “coming soon” products.

Another really amazing thing about the software is that whatever you create, it is immediately responsive. This means that in one shot, your website is ready for desktop, smartphone and tablet. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t test on all three platforms. You need to. But, if an adjustment needs to be made, you do so once. Not three or four times.

For color and design, for the top of the page, the logo and fantasy style background serve as a wonderful cover, that immediately sets the tone of the site. As you scroll through, I came up with this green, sparkly background that I am really loving.

At the very bottom of the site, I feature contact information, as well as links to social media and Creative Commons protection.

While it doesn’t give you a whole lot of analytics, you can know what your hit count is. Within about a month, I have over 17,000 hits. People really seem to love it, and are getting a lot out of it.

If you want to put up a website very quickly, have something that is easy to maneuver, has some awesome animation features, and looks gorgeous, I highly recommend using Adobe Spark Page. 

Oh yes. Did I mention that it’s FREE?!

Happy creating!


Thursday, August 10, 2017

My Writing Process

man writing on Macintosh computer, coffee cup

by Daniel L Rappaport


How I Begin

When I set out to write a novel, I often like to begin with the sense of what the entire world is going to be like, in my head. I wouldn’t have every single detail worked out, from the get go. 

I often begin with what kinds of characters that will be in the work.  While I am setting up the world, and what is going on in that world, I like to leave the title until I have a better grasp on what is going on.

After writing about the first there to six chapters, the title will come to me. It is perfectly okay to change the title, should you feel the need, as you are completing the work.


Getting Into Character...


For the names of the characters, I will sometimes combine two concepts Into one. As an example, for the Apovil, that name is a cross between the word “evil” and the Egyptian snake demon god “Apophis”.

Characterizations then just come from the name, and at that point, art starts to form. I like to bring on an artist to create scenery, characters, etc… It really helps to define the world. When creating art, I like to give my artists simple descriptions, without too much detail. I find that I like to see what is inside the head of the artist, a lot of times. If I have a batch of art that is already done, I will sometimes present it to another artist, so that they can get a visual reference for new art.

As I am moving forward, and developing the character arcs, I am also thinking about what kinds of adventures are to happen. I do think about what I have seen and read in other works. A lot of inspiration comes from literature, film and theme parks.


Direct Yourself...


It is also, often said to begin with the end in mind. This way, you have a sense of direction, and the plot can “write itself”. Sometimes this can work, and sometimes not. I believe that it is a great idea to have a concept of what the end might be like. Don’t set it in stone if it should change.

I think that the element of a relationship and/or love story of some kind is very important. You really should have an emotional context to make your characters more realistic.

Also, if you introduce a religious backbone for your world, it will add another layer of depth. For The Legend of the Lost Rose, this happens to be Wicca. This is a direct springboard that explains how the magick is accomplished, when it needs to be rendered.

For the number of chapters to create, I like to cut it off at twenty. Anything less feels to short anything more feels to long, especially for my target audience.


Edit Away!

In terms of editing, if you are a master at formatting and grammar, I definitely wouldn’t spend the time and money on an editor. May successful authors edit the work themselves. As well, if you feel very strongly about the creative content, I would’ve have anyone touch it. Should you feel that you need assistance in these areas, by all means, seek it.


iBooks Rules


For publishing The Legend of the Lost Rose, and The Toy Maker, I have chosen to go exclusively with Apple. This means that I am creating in iBooks Author, and self publishing with iTunes. I do have animation, and that is done in Keynote. Any video that I create could be done in a variety of programs.

Why?

The technology. I can create a far more immersive experience with Apple than anything that Amazon is currently offering. As well, especially for The Toy Maker, I would be using the software in a cutting edge way, that other people have not thought of.

Therefore, I am creating another point that I think is extremely important. That is one of innovation and market differentiation.

To create must read fiction, I believe that it is absolutely key that you don’t write just another fantasy novel (or whatever your genre is). Find some technical/artistic/immersive, etc.. way (or whatever it is) to do what nobody else out there is.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Our Current Production Thrust...

The Legend of the Lost Rose Book Cover

By Daniel L Rappaport

The Pazzaria Productions mission statement:
Everything that a guest would see, eat, buy, touch, do, wear, etc..., all has to do with their own personal adventure within our world.

So, how do we go about doing that?

The Legend of the Lost Rose iBook is currently in production. You can see a trailer for it here.

Utilizing this project, I would really love to answer this question.

The story is about a small frog named Spark, who just happens to have a pair of fairy wings, so that he can fly. Spark does not know magic. Rather, he is a brilliant, multi-talented artist. He is quite successful, with many gallery showings. However, the world comes to him, instead of the other way around.

He likes to just stay in his small home of a hole in the ground, and make work.

His planet, called Light, is dying. People aren't sure if it's because of a gigantic rose's roots, that stretch all the way around the planet, are losing their life force, or, if it's because of the huge, scary, dragon-like Apovil creature, crashing through towns, and causing extreme destruction.

Little does humble Spark know, he is a very important link to saving Light!

In addition to our heartwarming story, we are engaging our guests in new and different ways.

One way, here, is that within each chapter, we have a piece of merchandise, that is directly integrated into the story, and might just move your own personal adventure forward!


This is all currently in production, and we will be announcing its release very soon, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How We Created Our Zazzle Online Store

Pazzaria Productions Logo Merchandise

By Daniel L Rappaport

We at Pazzaria Productions, decided to go ahead and jump right in to creating an online store. Our Pazzaria "P" logo is very popular, so it made sense to start out with that. In the marketing world, the logo is the entrance to any company.

The two companies that made sense, to look at, to create a web online store, are cafepress and Zazzle. After having ordered samples from both companies, from my store site, we decided to go with Zazzle. The quality is better, they have a larger selection, as well as many unique items that cafepress does not have.


It's relatively easy to create a store. At first, we highly recommend just going in and playing around with how images are uploaded, products and collections are created, and how the store is made.

If you do wish to create a collection, make sure that your products are created within the same store that your collection resides within. If you don't you will need to recreate them within the proper store.

As well, we created headers for both the main "home" store as well as the Pazzaria Productions Logo Collection.

Another important part is the margin. Zazzle sets their base price. You set, and keep your profit. We wish to position ourselves as a mid to high end retailer, so we priced our merchandise a bit higher. We also don't have a ton of items. We decided, specifically, to not slap our logo on every item in the Zazzle canon. Rather, we diligently selected items that we felt our logo would make sense on.


When a guest orders an item, it is printed on demand, and then shipped to the home. Zazzle handles all of the sales, specials, guest service, etc...

All you have to focus on is being an artist, and have a splash of business sense, so you know how to price your items.

For us, this is just the start!

In the near future, we are going to be coming out with two more collections! One will focus on The Legend of the Lost Rose and the other, The Toy Maker.

We hope that you enjoyed this mini guide on how to create a Zazzle shop. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

About the Pazzaria Productions Logo Corporate Design

Pazzaria Productions Logo Progression

by Daniel L Rappaport

When initially setting out to create the Pazzaria Productions logo, we wanted something fantastical, unique, as well as something that spoke about the whole company in one icon.  So, we set out to do this in a fairly simple way.
Using the single "P" seemed to be a great way to go.  This also enforces the name of the company, in a memorable way.

Once we knew this, we set out to research fonts and colors.  Pretty early on, we knew that we wanted to have the green, transitioning into the purple, transitioning into the brown.  Green and purple are used all over the place, in fantasy. The brown is ground the piece, and to give it a feeling of growing.

The "P" is made up of three different fonts, overlaid, with the best parts selected, to give our message.  There is one, very famous magical company where the inspiration is quite present. Can you guess what it is?!

After we had a black and white icon, we then scanned that into Adobe Photoshop, and added the color with the gradient tool.  We then applied a chiseled bevel effect.
In terms of the wording for "Pazzaria Productions" we felt that placing the large "P" over the company name would give it a nice flow.

The Goudy Old Style, set in gray, stuck with our logo for a very long time. To this day, we quite enjoy it.  Then, Adobe Spark Page changed everything.  In one of their templates, they have a font called Storybook.  We felt that this font spoke much more to the spirit of the company.  We also changed the color of it from gray to purple, to fit in better with the "P".

So, that's our company logo!

Back to Pazzaria Productions