Digital Production Buzz
January 28, 2016
[Transcripts provided by Take 1 Transcription]
(Click here to listen to this show.)
BuZZ Flashback: Catherine Buresi
Suzanne LaChasse, Producer/Actor, Screen Actors System
Marianne Bourg, Actress
Larry O’Connor, President & Founder, Other World Computing
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we’re focusing first on actors. A good demo reel gets you work and Suzanne LaChasse shares her tips on creating a demo reel that will get you noticed. Suzanne is a producer/actor with Screen Actors System and a specialist in creating compelling demo reels that get you gigs.
Larry Jordan: Next, Marianne Bourg is a French and Luxembourg actress who’s now based in LA. She won Best Actress at the CMF in 2015 for the movie Snake Eyes. She also recently starred in two other movies, ‘Road Wars’ and ‘Gun Woman.’ She’s also had a recurring role on the TV show ‘Sangre Negra.’ She joins us tonight to discuss how to get work as an actor.
Larry Jordan: Next, we shift over to technology with Larry O’Connor, the CEO of OWC. As a storage hardware developer, he is always looking for ways to get our gear to go faster. Tonight, Larry explains the difference between a software RAID and a hardware RAID and how to choose the right storage for your system.
Larry Jordan: All this plus Tech Talk and a Buzz Flashback. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer #1: Digital Production Buzz is brought to you by Other World Computing at macsales.com; and by imagineproducts.com, the workflow experts.
Announcer #2: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking – authoritative – one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals – current – uniting industry experts: production, filmmakers, post production and content creators around the planet – distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: And welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for creative content creators covering media production, post production and marketing around the world. Randi Altman has the night off. Mike, tonight’s show is mostly about actors creating demo reels and getting work.
Mike Horton: I remember that.
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, what’s the one thing that many actors overlook when they’re trying to get work?
Mike Horton: It’s been a while as I’ve been retired now from acting, what, 15 years.
Larry Jordan: Has it been that long? You must have been a child actor.
Mike Horton: I retired in 2001, something like that. I think any actor would tell you that they don’t market themselves very well, but back then we didn’t have social media. The ability to market ourselves had to do primarily with the work that we did, and we hoped that people liked it and that was pretty much it. But you still had to get out of the house and you still had to talk to people, go to places.
Larry Jordan: Why was getting out of the house so important?
Mike Horton: Well, also there wasn’t everything to keep you in the house like there is now. It’s still a who you know kind of business. The entertainment business is a who you know kind of business, so you’ve got to go meet those people and establish relationships. Establishing relationships is really, really important especially in the entertainment business. Even if you’re good, you’ve still got to get out there and show people that you are good and, like I said, talent will be found but you’ve got to push it a little bit so they can find it.
Larry Jordan: Well, that’s the whole theme behind your user groups.
Mike Horton: Yes, same thing.
Larry Jordan: It’s not just in front of the camera, it’s behind the camera.
Mike Horton: It’s the same, I think, in any industry, don’t you think? It’s always getting hired by people that you know and, of course, you have to have talent.
Larry Jordan: And thinking about who you know and marketing yourself is what our first two segments are all about. Suzanne’s going to be talking about demo reels and Marianne’s going to be talking about getting work.
Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to remind you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue every week gives you an inside look at both The Buzz and the industry, plus some really interesting articles and quick links to all the different segments on the show. Best of all, every issue is free.
Larry Jordan: It’s going to be an exciting show. We’re going to focus on getting work for creative people, specifically actors, and Mike and I will be back with Suzanne LaChasse right after this.
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Larry Jordan: Suzanne LaChasse is a Los Angeles based producer and actor. She and her husband Ryan Williams own and operate Screen Actors System, which won the Backstage Magazine Reader’s Choice award for Best On Camera Acting Class in Los Angeles, which is saying a lot. Suzanne is also a specialist in creating demo reels that actually get you work and getting you work is one of the things that I love talking about. Hello, Suzanne, welcome back.
Suzanne LaChasse: Hi Larry, hi Mike, how are you guys?
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, the last time…
Mike Horton: Yes, when was the last time?
Larry Jordan: July 16th 2015, because I looked it up.
Mike Horton: It’s really been that long?
Suzanne LaChasse: You know what? It feels like yesterday.
Larry Jordan: You were but a child.
Suzanne LaChasse: I was.
Larry Jordan: But a child.
Mike Horton: Wow. Time goes so fast, especially when you get older. It’s just so fast.
Suzanne LaChasse: Oh, you’re fine. You’re fine.
Mike Horton: All right, thank you.
Larry Jordan: You’ve dealt with actors before, I can hear it in your tone.
Suzanne LaChasse: I have, I have.
Larry Jordan: Tell me about what Screen Actors System is.
Suzanne LaChasse: Screen Actors System was founded by my husband, Ryan R. Williams. Ryan’s a director, and what we do is take actors who have an interest in film acting, and we teach them the tricks on how to look on camera and how to be on camera. You can go to a theater class and you can learn emotions, scene studying work and all that stuff, but when you get onto a film set, there’s a certain set of rules – points of focus, how to get your emotions instantly – because we’re talking about filmmakers, they’ve got a time to do things, they don’t have time to wait and get you to be there emotionally, so Ryan works with the actors to get them to do that in a second.
Larry Jordan: You keep mentioning film actors and film sets as though there’s a difference between film and television. Is that true?
Suzanne LaChasse: I think there is. I think on a television set, everybody’s been working together for a very long time and on a film set you have a short amount of time to build a rapport with people and act like you’ve known them your whole life.
Mike Horton: I always say that being a guest star in a television show is going in and interrupting someone’s Thanksgiving Day dinner, “Hi, I’m here, I’ll just do my lines and I’ll leave,” because these people have been around for so long or if it’s a successful show and you go in, you do your thing and hopefully it goes well and then you’re out of there. That’s the difference between TV and film.
Suzanne LaChasse: There you go, he’s a pro, he knows.
Larry Jordan: Yes, but I never listen to him.
Suzanne LaChasse: You should.
Mike Horton: It’s all right.
Suzanne LaChasse: I’m sure he’d say something very good once in a while.
Mike Horton: That’s right, I did, I said something good last May.
Suzanne LaChasse: Did you?
Mike Horton: Yes I did. I think he wrote it down.
Suzanne LaChasse: Well, that’s an improvement.
Mike Horton: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: It was made 2014 and it’s still in my notes.
Mike Horton: Oh, is it?
Larry Jordan: Yes. Why did you feel it was necessary to start yet another acting school in a city that’s filled with 800,000 acting schools?
Suzanne LaChasse: Well, Larry, I’ll tell you. When I first started acting, I went to a very well known acting class, which was a showcase scene study class, and basically what happened is you’d get your script and you’d get your partner that day, you’d rehearse for a few hours and then the teacher would come, you’d put up the scene and they would critique it. Now, that was great for being able to go up in front of people, and fail and learn what that feels like and memorization was great.
Suzanne LaChasse: But in terms of being able to be subtle, and using your eyes to communicate something, and knowing where the camera is at all times, and knowing where your light is and how to hit marks and all of that. It wasn’t focused on film acting, it was more of a theater based class. So Ryan decided that we were going to create a class. We have the most amazing actors, they’re so brilliant, we have a class in Las Vegas and every time LA goes to Vegas, they’re always taking our students from the class, and at LA everybody’s booking because they just know where the camera is, they know what to do, they know where to put their eyes, they’re always available emotionally, they’re the greatest people I know, they really are. And they’re so motivated and they’re more like filmmakers, they know story really well.
Larry Jordan: All right, we’re convinced you love your students.
Suzanne LaChasse: I love my students.
Larry Jordan: And we’re convinced your students are the best students in the world.
Suzanne LaChasse: They are, hands down.
Larry Jordan: But it takes a while and somebody’s got to do some homework to get onto the film set, so what I want to spend the rest of this section talking about is how to get people to pay attention to you and specifically how to create a demo reel. So how would you define what a demo reel is?
Suzanne LaChasse: A demo reel is a set of clips that represent films you’ve been in, commercials you’ve been in, all put together for casting directors to see. There are things that you can submit along with your head shot, your measurements, all of that stuff. Websites like LA Casting, Actors Access and other ones, there’s a way to put on your demo reel and when you submit yourself for a job, that goes along with it.
Suzanne LaChasse: It gives the casting director the ability to see what you look like on camera, and what I do is I make a teaser trailer which is basically under a minute, everything, every emotion – happy, sad, cry, whatever – and it gives the casting director a chance to see your personality, a full range of emotion, everything just jumbled together. Then that brings them to your website, which hopefully you have, and then you’ve got your dramatic reel, your comedy reel, clips that you’ve shot with your friends, clips that you’ve shot with other people, celebrity shots that you’ve done. But this is a teaser, it gives them an idea of what you can do in 59 seconds.
Larry Jordan: So it’s not excerpts of your work, it’s something that you’ve created specifically for a demo reel?
Suzanne LaChasse: You can do both. A lot of actors coming to LA for the first time don’t have the time to spend ten years getting co-stars and getting on set and everything. Everybody has a 5D or a 7D or a whatever D, a camera. Go shoot scenes with your friends and put scenes together. A lot of casting directors want to see scenes, so try to put those together. If you don’t have a co-star on ’30 Rock,’ if you weren’t in a Spielberg film, you can make those clips yourself. Well, it would be nice to have Spielberg there but we don’t have that all of the time.
Larry Jordan: What should you put in a demo reel and the flip question’s going to be what should you not put in a demo reel?
Suzanne LaChasse: We always tell the actors to include things that are very positive. You don’t want to have a reel full of, “I thought you loved me. You said you did and now you hate me,” or “I hate your guts,” or “This isn’t working.” Things like that. Negative suggestions are very bad because if they only have a minute to watch you, you want them to walk away with something positive, such as “You know I’m the one,” or “You should go on this journey with me,” just little tiny sentences that are very positive that lead to something else.
Larry Jordan: And you want it to be a minute or less?
Suzanne LaChasse: I want it to be a minute or less and the reason for that is, as an editor, when I get footage and it says five minutes 42 seconds, I say to myself, “I don’t have time to look through that,” and I end up scrubbing through, looking for things that catch my eye. With the one minute reel, 59 seconds, everybody has a minute, you can be in Starbucks and watch a reel, it’s not a big deal. So instead of scrubbing through a 12 minute reel or however long it is, you can say, “What catches my eye?” and put it in there. Everything that catches your eye to yourself, put it in that reel. Have it in there and it gets people’s attention.
Mike Horton: I think editor’s reels, for instance, today – no more than two minutes. At the time that I had a demo reel when I was an actor, I don’t think it was more than 90 seconds, something like that, and that was back in the ’70s, because if you don’t grab them in the first 20 seconds, forget it, it’s gone.
Suzanne LaChasse: Yes, because you’re not guaranteeing they’re going to watch the whole thing anyway.
Mike Horton: Yes, they probably aren’t going to watch the whole thing.
Suzanne LaChasse: Exactly.
Larry Jordan: So the point of the demo reel is not the plot. The point is to showcase your range as an actor and how you look.
Suzanne LaChasse: Absolutely. We want to see what you look like on camera. Can you cry? Can you yell? Are you emotional? Can you get there emotionally? We want to see that.
Mike Horton: Yes, I think generally people are watching demo reels for a particular role. They’re watching a reel because they’re casting a particular role, so hopefully they will see your ability in that first 20 seconds. It might be that it’ll be at the end of that thing, but they’re probably not going to watch it.
Suzanne LaChasse: You should probably put your best stuff at the beginning of the reel.
Mike Horton: Always put your best stuff, always.
Suzanne LaChasse: Always. If you’re with a celebrity, if you’re lucky enough to be in a movie or something with a celebrity, even if you’re not talking, put it there, dovetail the dialog or something else over it, but have it in there.
Mike Horton: With demo reels, you’re not building to a crescendo. You put the crescendo at the beginning.
Larry Jordan: Just like a newspaper, you start with the lead, the most important thing, and go down from there.
Suzanne LaChasse: Yes.
Mike Horton: Go down from there, that’s right.
Larry Jordan: In terms of graphics or narration or interstitial material, do you stitch it together? Should it have a theme or is it just slam cuts of a whole bunch of different things?
Suzanne LaChasse: Well, the way I do them, it’s kind of like a movie trailer. I really like driving the pace with a song, nothing that’s too outrageous, you don’t want to take away from the actor. Titles, when I first started doing the reels I would do titles, but now I just cut to black, name at the end, somewhere where they can go your website and get in contact with you is always very important to have in the reel because it might go somewhere and if your information isn’t connected to it, then they don’t know how to get in touch with you.
Larry Jordan: Is there something that you should not put in a demo reel? Things to avoid?
Suzanne LaChasse: I would say anything that looks junky.
Mike Horton: Bad lighting, bad audio.
Larry Jordan: You can’t ask people to take their 5D and shoot a scene, which you just did, and expect the lighting to be perfect.
Suzanne LaChasse: Why not?
Larry Jordan: Suddenly now they’re renting lighting gear to be able to shoot this scene on a 5D? You’re assuming actors are cinematographers.
Mike Horton: Well, you can hire her husband, let him do it.
Suzanne LaChasse: Absolutely. We do that. Actually, we have a seminar coming up in February, it’s on our website at screenactorssystem.com, and Ryan has people come, we shoot reel, he has a seminar at the beginning, kind of a boot camp of ‘do this, do that’. If you just listen to him and do exactly what he says, you will look so beautiful on camera, you have no idea. We’ve got people who have never acted in their entire life, and they come and he spends ten minutes with those people and they look like pros. It’s unusual being on camera, because you think you’re not doing anything and you want so badly to express something, but a lot of film acting is just relax and look here, look there.
Larry Jordan: Mike, when you think about demo reels, you’re working a lot with creative people behind the camera, specifically editors and others. Do the rules apply? Is it still the same thing – keep it short and put the best stuff first?
Mike Horton: Oh, absolutely. Same thing that we did. Remember the old days with tape to tape? We’d take all of our scenes and then sit behind the editor, do a tape to tape, “Cut here, cut here, cut here.” Put all your best stuff at the beginning, hope that beginning, those scenes, are going to get your that role for that particular thing because they’re not going to watch more than 30 seconds. But that’s the deal and also today, though, even if you don’t have a 5D or a 7D or a whatever camera, you’ve got a friend who knows that stuff. You’ve got a friend who’s got the equipment, the audio equipment, everything.
Suzanne LaChasse: Part of being an actor is networking and you should be meeting people, you should know filmmakers, you should be friends with these people and, hey, take them to lunch.
Mike Horton: Right, get them to do it.
Suzanne LaChasse: Get all your actors friends together, get your filmmaker friend, take them to lunch and shoot a scene. It’s fun! There are actors that just do it for fun, they just want to create something, and in today’s day and age of vines, and Facebook – what’s a vine, six seconds? – people’s attention span is so short that the shorter you make your reel – I like 59 seconds but that’s just me personally – and you put all the best stuff at the beginning because you can probably only guarantee that they’ll watch the first 30 seconds.
Larry Jordan: We’re going to talk to Marianne in the next segment about marketing yourself as an actor and how to get work, of which there’s more than just the demo reel. But do you think the demo reel is the most important? Or is it the website? Or is it the head shot? If you were to put your effort into one thing more than anything else because you don’t have unlimited resources and time, what do you concentrate on?
Suzanne LaChasse: That’s a really tough question.
Larry Jordan: It’s a great question to ask, it’s a hard one to answer.
Suzanne LaChasse: It is. I guess I would say your demo reel is probably the most important because it’s your head shot, it’s your audition, it’s everything all in one, it’s what you look like, it’s your measurements. That’s what people want to see, they want to see what you look like on camera and if you have a good demo reel then they don’t have to call you in. Our actors get cast right off their demo reel, so that’s probably the most important.
Larry Jordan: Would you have a demo reel for film work, a second demo reel for TV and, if you’re a singer, a third one for singing? Or would it all be the same thing?
Suzanne LaChasse: I’d say don’t limit yourself. If you can get all of that on camera, do it, absolutely. Have your teaser trailer that gets your foot in the door that leads those casting people to your website, where you can have your action reel, your comedy reel, you singing, you speaking a different language, all of that in one place. But this one, it gets you into the theater. It has you buy a ticket, right?
Mike Horton: I understand that the experience of television and film are a little bit different, but essentially the technique is the same – you’ve got a camera, you’ve got the actors. That’s the same thing, so what’s the difference between film and theater? That’s a big difference, but film and TV acting, same thing.
Larry Jordan: I was just thinking, is it possible to tell if a demo reel is working? Or are you just showing it to people and hoping that it works? Is there a way to sort of test it and make sure people are paying attention?
Suzanne LaChasse: I think if it doesn’t bore anybody, then that’s a pretty good sign. If you’re not booking work off of it, then you need to get a different one.
Mike Horton: Yes, show it around, obviously, get opinions.
Suzanne LaChasse: Get opinions from people who are actors. Maybe stay away from your family.
Mike Horton: Your agent’s going to be pretty truthful. They’re going to say “It sucks” or “It’s ok.”
Suzanne LaChasse: I should hope so.
Mike Horton: If they’re not, then it’s the wrong agent.
Suzanne LaChasse: Right.
Larry Jordan: How often should you change your demo reel?
Suzanne LaChasse: Every time you get something new, you should incorporate it into your reel. If you’re in a movie with Brad Pitt, you stop everything and you cut him into your reel instantly. You put him at second number one, instantly. But you can bank up footage. One of the things we do with the class is every month we shoot reel and we have our seminars, we shoot reel, and people bank it up and then they dump it on their reel.
Mike Horton: I’ve got to tell you, I spent a lot of time doing demo reels in my early days as an actor but I never got work off of my demo reel. I just got work, so I was lucky.
Suzanne LaChasse: It’s because you’re so handsome.
Mike Horton: Because very few people actually watched my demo reel.
Larry Jordan: Which is why you got the work.
Mike Horton: Yes, thank God. They took a chance.
Larry Jordan: Suzanne, where can people go on the web to learn more about you and your company?
Suzanne LaChasse: Screenactorssystem.com and you can go to the footage section where we have the reels that we’ve shot for the students, some shorts and learn more about our television show that we’re shooting.
Larry Jordan: Screenactorssystem.com.
Mike Horton: That’s a neat idea.
Larry Jordan: And Suzanne LaChasse is one of the co-founders and, as always, a delightful guest. Suzanne, thanks for joining us today.
Suzanne LaChasse: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: Take care.
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Larry Jordan: Marianne Bourg is originally from France and Luxembourg, but is now based in Los Angeles. She won the Best Actress award at the Campus Movie Festival in 2015 for the movie ‘Snake Eyes’ and has also starred in two new movies, ‘Road Wars’ and ‘Gun Woman.’ She also had a recurring role on the TV show ‘Sangre Negra.’ Hello, Marianne, welcome.
Marianne Bourg: Hi, nice to meet you.
Larry Jordan: What first got you interested in acting?
Marianne Bourg: I started acting when I was 12. I was doing theater back home and the actual reason why I started is silly, but I watched ‘Harry Potter’ and the children were pretty much my age when they started, and so I got really jealous, and I wanted to do what they were doing because it seemed so much fun, and they were in this dream world, and they were making me happy watching it, they were making me dream, and I wanted to give that to other people, so that’s when I started going to theater school. Went there for a few years and I stopped and I went and studied for another few years.
Mike Horton: Holy cow, really?
Marianne Bourg: I did, yes. A waste of time and not a waste.
Mike Horton: That’s like something your mother or father tells you, just to fall back on.
Marianne Bourg: That’s absolutely right.
Mike Horton: Don’t do it, take a finance class.
Marianne Bourg: And then they say you can do acting later, but it’s actually the other way around. You can always go to university later, but do acting first.
Larry Jordan: Although the older you get, the harder it is to go back to school.
Marianne Bourg: That’s it, but the harder it is to get back to acting too.
Larry Jordan: That’s very true.
Marianne Bourg: You need so much energy to do it.
Larry Jordan: We had a chance to talk in the last segment with Suzanne about how to create a demo reel, and what I want to talk with you about today is how to get work as an actor, because clearly you’re booking jobs and you’re booking films, which is something that a lot of actors dream of but aren’t able to do. So how do you find work?
Marianne Bourg: Well, also I see a lot of people aren’t putting the work they should be putting in. A lot of people don’t have head shots or their head shots are three years old. A lot of people are not on LA Casting, Actors Access, IMDB Pro. People don’t have reels, that’s the most common one, and they don’t even think about how they could get a reel. I’ll tell them, “Just shoot some scenes with your friends, get some lights for one day and shoot for six hours. You can get ten scenes out of that,” and they go, “Oh, I never thought about that.” How did you not think about that? It’s so obvious to me.
Marianne Bourg: So you just need to be really awake, and constantly be thinking about ways of how you can meet a certain casting director because you know this show, you want to be on this show, you would be perfect for it. How do you contact them? Maybe go on IMDB Pro, see if their email’s there, or find their phone number, find their mailing list, find anybody that you can talk to, a PA who was in a movie with them. If you really want to make it and want to get in touch with certain people, you just need to be smart about it and find ways to do it. There are always ways to do it.
Larry Jordan: Now, Mike is a big fan of networking, getting out and meeting people, just so they know you exist. Yet there’s a lot of marketing which is done via social media, a lot of marketing which is done using demo reels and mailing head shots to anything that can walk. Where do you put your effort? You don’t have unlimited time.
Marianne Bourg: No. Your effort needs to be really specific. I did that the first time when I came here, I was looking for an agent and I was mailing head shots and reels to every possible agent, never got an answer until I focused on two or three agents. I was like, “They don’t have anybody like me, they need foreigners. They’re casting and they know the casting directors for the shows I want to be on,” and then I harassed them and I would send them emails. It’s true, you have to do it, in a polite way, not every day, that’d be crazy. Send them emails. When you book something go, “Hey, my movie’s on Amazon, watch it,” “Hey, I just did a musical, do you want to listen to my song?”
Marianne Bourg: Just stay in touch because we’re all human beings and these people are human beings, they want to trust people that they know, so when you stay on their radar and you talk to them like a normal person, at some point they go, “Oh, I feel like I know her. Well, let me call her in because I feel like she’s almost my friend now,” but it has to be really focused. Know who you are, know what you’re selling. For example, I’m not playing an American and I see a lot of roles playing a parent, or playing some authority figure or a cop or something. I can’t play any of these roles because they specifically want Americans a lot of the time, so I have to say, “Ok, what am I selling? I’m selling European-ness, I’m selling French-ness.”
Larry Jordan: You’re the dangerous international villain.
Marianne Bourg: But that’s exactly what I get cast as and, once I understood that, I was like, “I’m going to sell exactly that because that’s what they want,” and when I come in the room, that’s what they’re going to see.
Larry Jordan: Well, I will confess, I was impressed with your IMDB listing and virtually every other shot had you with some serious armament.
Marianne Bourg: That’s absolutely right.
Larry Jordan: Bazookas and cannons.
Mike Horton: Oh, I’ve got to check that out.
Marianne Bourg: I love it.
Larry Jordan: Unbelievable stuff.
Marianne Bourg: Yes.
Larry Jordan: So you’re actually marketing yourself in that direction? It’s not just by happenstance?
Marianne Bourg: Absolutely. No, no, no. Especially at the very beginning, you have to know what you’re selling.
Mike Horton: Yes, she makes a really, really good point because actors, when it comes to business, they don’t know crap.
Marianne Bourg: They’re selling everything.
Mike Horton: And so you really do need to know who you are, what type you are so that then, after you sell that, then you can get into all the other roles that you want to do.
Marianne Bourg: I was talking to a friend of mine who’s Russian, I saw her two weeks ago, and she looks extremely Russian, she’s a cliché of a Russian, she has a very thick accent and she was like, “Should I go for the girl next door?” I was like, “Absolutely not. You’re never going to get cast as that. Go for either comedies where you’re playing the silly Russian girl, or get head shots where you look really sexy, and you look like a spy and you look like the stereotype that people want to see,” and she did that and that’s what works.
Larry Jordan: How do you decide what your strength is? One of the things I’ve learned as I teach students is it’s easy for us to all identify our weaknesses, but how do we identify our strengths, because they’ve always been with us? You speak French, I can barely speak English and I’ve never considered the ability to speak a language, I’ve always viewed that as a weakness, but I don’t consider the ability to speak English a strength because it’s always been who I am. How do you identify your strengths?
Marianne Bourg: The best way to do it is ask other people, especially if you’re trying to identify what kind of characters you should play. You’re in a bad spot to test it and to tell yourself what it is because, as an actor, I would like to play everything. That’s why I became an actor, because I want to do many different characters. But then as I asked friends and I asked other people, “What do you see me as? When I come in the room, who am I?” or even when I went into casting director workshops, I would always ask the casting director, “Now that I just did a scene and you heard me speak a little bit, what would you cast me as?” just to get a quick idea of what it would be and then you just put all these opinions together and then you know who you are or what you can sell.
Larry Jordan: So what piece of marketing do you find the most useful? Is it face to face meetings? Is it bugging people via email? Is it head shots? Is it demo reels? What do you put your first effort into?
Marianne Bourg: I feel like you have to attack on every base, seriously. If you can meet the person face to face, it’s always better because it’s a human thing, we relate more once we’ve seen a face. Or if you can go out there and network and always stay in touch with the people, that’s probably the most important thing and a lot of people forget. They say, “Oh, I went to this Golden Globes party and I met two producers,” and then six months later I ask, “Are you still in touch with them?” They’re like, “No, but I met them that one time.” I’m like, “Well, they don’t know who you are any more,” so you need to just gently send emails and, yes, remind them, invite them to a show if you’re doing a show.
Marianne Bourg: That’s probably the best thing. Send them your reel when you get a new reel or whatever else you’re doing, just keep them updated. Also, what people love is when you don’t look like you’re trying to take advantage of them, and this is a city where people are constantly trying to see what they can get from you. When you come and go, “Hey, are you a director? Well, if I hear of any script that I’m interested in, I’ll send it to you, I’ll try to get you a job,” or even producers, because you want them to be friends, you try to get them a job; and then if they find something for you, they’ll try to get you a job. It’s a give/give situation, not just trying to meet people and trying to get what you can from them. It’s uncomfortable for you, it’s uncomfortable for the other person. So just be a human being.
Mike Horton: Yes, to go back to the beginning of what I said, if you have talent people will find you, but you’ve got to get out there so you can be found; and if they do find you, they really want to help you.
Marianne Bourg: Yes.
Mike Horton: People really want to help you because it makes them look good too, as well as you.
Marianne Bourg: And also casting directors, you’re the solution, and when you get into a room…
Mike Horton: They have a big problem and you’re in there to solve it.
Marianne Bourg: Oh yes. If you can go there and be awesome, great, then they don’t need to worry about it any more. They’re not going to look bad, they can send you to the producers, they go, “Thank God.”
Mike Horton: And each time you’re awesome gets you a little bit closer to that better agent, which is so important. It’s very important that you get the best agent.
Larry Jordan: Why is a better agent important?
Mike Horton: They’re getting all the calls. They know what’s going on. Smaller agencies don’t, so even if you have an agent, it doesn’t really mean much. You need those top agents because they have the opportunities and it’s a ladder to get to those top agents and eventually, like you said, if you’ve got talent you’ll get there.
Marianne Bourg: What happened to a friend of mine, he had a reel that we shot three years ago, like students movies and everything, so nothing really amazing. But he has a very good look, and he managed by stalking this agent to get her to sign him, he went to workshops with her, emailed her and she signed him, and he’s been booking co-stars and guest stars non-stop since he signed with her. So getting an agent is one of the most important things, somebody who will get the breakdowns that you cannot get; or even if you get them, as some people do, you won’t be able to submit yourself.
Marianne Bourg: Somebody who can make that phone call for you is the most important thing; or even make friends with agents. I’ve done that for a co-star that I auditioned for, I’m friends with a few agents and managers but they didn’t sign me because they have too many people like me, but I saw a breakdown that I was perfect for and then I called her, I was like, “I know I’m not signed with you but I’ll give you 20 percent if you can get me in the room.” She said ok, so even if people don’t sign you, don’t be resentful. They have their own reasons. Just stay in touch, talk to them, show them that you’re working, that you don’t necessarily need them, show them you’re doing your stuff, they’ll find you eventually.
Larry Jordan: So we’ve got our marketing materials. What kind of head shot should we get? Do we need different head shots or just a single head shot?
Marianne Bourg: Absolutely different head shots. Four to five different head shots and casting directors don’t have time to imagine what you could look like. If they need a businessperson, you’d better have a head shot where you look really businessy, so have a head shot for all the things that you know you could play very well, typically the girl next door or, for me, I do a lot of martial arts, so martial arts or with a weapon, or an architect if you’re an architect and you can play this kind of role, anything that you know, “I am these types.”
Marianne Bourg: Get head shots that represent you and get a few of them and send the casting director exactly the head shot they need for the specific job. Ideally, you’ll have a reel that reflects that. For example, I have a dramatic reel, I have a martial arts reel, I have a comedy reel, I have a villain reel and depending on job I just go, “Here is exactly what you need. You don’t need to see anything else, don’t need to see the comedy, just here’s the villain stuff.” It just makes it easier for them, makes it easier for you.
Larry Jordan: So we need a demo reel. Suzanne was saying a demo reel which encompasses everything, you’re saying a demo reel which is specific.
Marianne Bourg: I say both and I believe, because we talked about it, that’s what she meant as well. The first one should be a teaser. The 59 seconds, just a teaser of everything, every possible emotion, very different roles that you’ve played, comedy, drama, action, everything, so that people gain interest in you. It should be like a trailer, it makes you want to go watch the movie, and then when they go on your IMDB or on your website, then they can see full scenes or the specifically dramatic reel of different scenes and everything. So you should ideally have both.
Larry Jordan: Ok, so we’ve got a demo reel, we’ve got head shots for different environments, we’re networking our brains out and we’re making sure we’ve got a good agent.
Marianne Bourg: And stay in touch with the people you network with.
Larry Jordan: And now it’s time for the audition. What do we need to do at the audition to give ourselves a better chance to get the gig? It’s never a guarantee.
Mike Horton: I was terrible at auditions.
Marianne Bourg: You were terrible? I love auditioning.
Mike Horton: My God, I hated them.
Marianne Bourg: You have to consider the audition as if you had already booked the job. It’s a hard thing to do.
Larry Jordan: Why’s that?
Marianne Bourg: Because it makes you more comfortable and makes you feel like the role is yours. If you go in there and you’re like, “They’re judging me, they’re judging me,” you’re going to look like you’re being judged, it’s a no-no. Don’t talk too much. I’ve done casting for some friends and I see people come in and start talking, talking, talking – “I couldn’t get my parking and I got a parking ticket and the traffic was terrible.” I don’t want to hear that. So you just come in, you’re here to go your work, you enjoy yourself, you behave as if the character was already yours and you’re just a lead character and you’re coming in to do your job, your rehearsal, and then you say, “Thank you, goodbye,” and you leave.
Marianne Bourg: Also at the end, people start discussing, “Oh, I made this decision because I was thinking of this.” Don’t discuss it, don’t talk about it. If they give you a direction, take it, don’t discuss it, don’t say why you did it differently. Do it and then leave and be really confident, which is the hardest thing to do, but just prepare very well and know that you’re well prepared, and then you go in, do your job like a pro, and then you leave and if they don’t want you, it’s probably not anything you did.
Larry Jordan: Should you come in character or should you assume character when they say go?
Marianne Bourg: I’ve done both. When I play villains and I’m supposed to play a serial killer, if I go in really creepy, they’re probably going to like what they do but then they’re going to go, “I don’t want to be on set with her, she’s crazy.” So go in, be nice, be sweet, don’t be too overly bubbly, don’t be too far away from the character, but just be a little nicer and then get into character.
Larry Jordan: Let them know you’re human.
Marianne Bourg: Absolutely, because they’ll also want to spend time with you on set. So they don’t want somebody who’s in a bad mood, who’s crazy, who’s negative, any of that. So just don’t be overly anything.
Mike Horton: It’s called acting, not schizophrenia.
Marianne Bourg: Yes, exactly. Be normal.
Larry Jordan: As you look at actors or work with other actors, what are some of the common mistakes you make that, if you could just do one thing and shake them by the shoulders and say, “Don’t do this,” what is it?
Marianne Bourg: Many things.
Mike Horton: One thing?
Marianne Bourg: There are so many things that bother me. People are very entitled and people think they already know it all. I see a lot of people who have had… and are like, “Oh, I don’t care, I look the same,” or “My reel is good enough, I don’t need to take any classes, I’m good the way I am.” People that don’t work on themselves constantly and don’t say, “Ok, this didn’t work, what else can I do? How can I get in touch with this person?” I want people that are more hardworking, people that are all about it and when people aren’t that, then I feel that I’m wasting my time, I feel like they’re making the casting director waste their time…
Larry Jordan: Wait a minute. You used the phrase work on themselves. What does that mean?
Marianne Bourg: Work on themselves, it’s getting to know yourself, know what’s best about you, know what you’re not as good at and maybe work on that, “Oh, I can’t cry as well, I’m not as emotional as I should be, I need to work on that,” or “This audition didn’t go well. What was my state of mind? Why did it not work out?” You need to be really comfortable with yourself and that’s what’s going to make you more confident and look more confident too.
Larry Jordan: So the key is take a deep breath, talk to the world, keep your stuff updated and don’t give up.
Marianne Bourg: And don’t be afraid of other people. Casting directors and producers, they’re just people. They’re going home to their kids and their dog afterwards, they’re just like you.
Larry Jordan: And for who want to like you as an actor, where can they go on the web to learn about you and get a hold of you?
Marianne Bourg: Well, my website is www.marianne-bourg.com or I’m on IMDB, I’m on Twitter and Instagram.
Larry Jordan: Well, your IMDB stuff is incredible.
Marianne Bourg: Thank you so much.
Larry Jordan: It’s been fun.
Marianne Bourg: That’s very sweet of you.
Marianne, thank you so very much for joining us. I wish you great success and when I talk to you again I want you to have another four movies under your belt.
Marianne Bourg: Sounds good.
Mike Horton: Yes. You take good care. We’ll talk to you soon.
Marianne Bourg: Thank you so much. Bye.
Larry Jordan: Thanks.
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Larry Jordan: Welcome to Tech Talk.
Larry Jordan: Let’s say, for whatever reason, my library got corrupted. I unplugged the hard disk before Final Cut was done writing to it, whatever. When you go to ‘file,’ ‘open library,’ from backup. This allows you to open up a backup file of your library and Final Cut stores a new backup about every 15 minutes, provided you’re making changes to the file. Now, what’s been backed up are just your databases, the databases that define what the media is and the databases that define what the edit is. Media generated files, none of that is backed up. What is backed up is the databases, which is critical because without those you can’t recover your project.
Larry Jordan: Now, the databases themselves are stored in your home directory, in your movies folder, inside a folder called ‘Final Cut Backup.’ Inside ‘Final Cut Backup’ is a backup – you can see the year it was made, the month, the day, the time – a backup of all the files of the databases that were backed up and when they were backed up. The general rule of thumb is pick the most recent version, which is December of 2014. That’s the most recent version of this edit.
Larry Jordan: When you are restoring from a backup, this is a library, if you double click it, it will open just like any other library inside Final Cut and, as long as the media is in the same location with the same name and it’s online, you’re going to be able to link to it automatically without having to do any other work. Otherwise, if the media locations have changed or the file names have changed, then you’re going to need to re-link media and you do that by going up to the file menu and choosing the ‘re-link’ option. To learn how this works, which is longer than I’ve got time to share with you today, again, go to my website, go to the free resources step by step tutorials and do a search for ‘re-link’ and it will walk you through all the different options that you have to re-link media and which one you pick and what the results of that are. The website’s got a lot of online resources to explain this in more step by step detail.
Larry Jordan: So a library backup is a library. It just backs up the databases and it accesses the media, which is stored to your second drive or wherever you’ve stored the media and wherever you’ve stored the original library, it will try to access it. If it can’t get the render files, it’ll re-render. If it can’t access the optimized files, it’ll work with camera native and you can then optimize the files yourself. How? Select the clip or clips you want to optimize, go up to the ‘File’ menu, go down to ‘transcode media’ and check ‘create optimized’. It will be grayed out if they already exist. Check ‘proxy media’ if you want to create proxy files; if proxy files exist, it also will be grayed out. You can, if you want, optimize – the word is transcode – you can transcode your media after you’ve imported it in case you didn’t transcode it during the import process.
Larry Jordan: Larry O’Connor founded Other World Computing, which is also called OWC, in 1988. Their website, which you may know better than their company name, is macsales.com. OWC is both a reseller and a developer, supporting all things Mac for more than 25 years and today we want to talk with Larry about storage. Hello, Larry, welcome back.
Larry O’Connor: Hey, Larry, and thanks for having me back. Appreciate it.
Larry Jordan: Oh, it’s always fun having you on the show. Mike has been looking forward to this conversation because he lives for storage.
Mike Horton: Yes, I do, Larry. I’m going to be listening intently.
Larry O’Connor: Fantastic.
Larry Jordan: Larry, many people know OWC from its website at macsales.com. What they may not know is that you both sell and develop hardware. What got you into creating your own gear in the first place?
Larry O’Connor: The direct channel is really reflective of being a very customer focused organization, and being there for our customers first, and in terms of the products that we’ve brought to market, which go back to the early ’90s, I could technically even count memory in the ’80s though memory was just chips and the first storage solutions were in the ’90s, it was reflective of a lack of a feature, a quality situation, the right solution being available for customers that we were talking to, and we had the ability to do something better and bring it into play, so that’s how we got going and got into position.
Larry Jordan: I know that OWC makes all kinds of stuff and I want to focus specifically on storage. While all of us want the fastest gear, like we all want the fastest car, when does storage performance really matter and when is it less important?
Larry O’Connor: It really matters where performance actually applies to the task that’s at hand. Benchmarks are wonderful and benchmarks… Blackmagic, that’s very relevant to those sorts of application functions, but speed just for the sake of speed and the synthetic really doesn’t translate often into the actual applications where you’re doing the audio and video editing work.
Larry O’Connor: A benchmark is a nice number but in the real world where there’s mixed load, where there’s reading and writing happening effectively simultaneously, things are a very different beast. And, of course, the other place where they say speed is great but not necessarily the only primary is where the data that’s being generated, the data that’s … output has a value that exceeds that of a couple of milliseconds saved because you have faster storage, and that’s where you do give up speed to have, say, a RAID5 or even a mirror … 0+1 as opposed to a pure stripe.
Larry Jordan: Now, there are two broad types of storage systems. There are single drives and there are RAIDs. How would you define a RAID?
Larry O’Connor: By definition, an array of inexpensive drives was the original definition of a RAID. Way back when, you’d put a bunch of drives together, and get more speed versus an expensive drive that was faster and things are much different today… but a RAID effectively combines multiple drives. You want drives that are matched typically going together and that’s where you get the best performance and the best reliability.
Larry O’Connor: You can leverage multiple drives together and have the speed of the combined set as opposed to a single drive, which is great for archive and great for a lot of things. You can do editing and work on a single drive as well, but you have less performance from a single drive than a multi drive RAID. You have actually no redundancy off a single drive versus having a RAID, whether it’s a RAID0+1 or a RAID1 or a RAID4 or a RAID5, with a RAID array.
Larry Jordan: Just to define a term, redundancy means that in some RAID configurations, if one of the drives inside the RAID dies, you can still recover all your data, so having redundancy allows you to protect data in the event of a drive failure. But you also used terms like RAID0 or RAID1 or RAID5. What do those numbers mean?
Larry O’Connor: RAID0 is there’s zero redundancy, all the drives in that RAID are working together to give you the total capacity of the drives and the maximum performance of the combined throughput, but if one drive goes down in a RAID0, everything stored in that … goes away. RAID1 gives you effectively complete redundancy but not really any benefit for RAID performance. The RAID1 with the right solution software is one of the solutions you get a good boost on the read side, but when you’re writing you’re writing the same data to both drives, so it’s limited to the performance of a single drive, similar to a single standalone drive solution other than if one of those two drives has an issue, you don’t suffer data loss, you’re still online, you’re still working, your priceless data is still available.
Larry O’Connor: RAID4 and RAID5 go into effectively a redundant RAID0 in a sense. In the case of a RAID4, you have a dedicated parity drive which means that there’s one drive that takes slices of the other three drives. In a RAID5, you have distributed parity, which means all the drives take slices of the other drives. In the past, a RAID5 was actually a better solution than a RAID4 due to just where drive capabilities were, but in the era of SSDs and a lot of today’s high performance hard drives, you actually get a better performance from the RAID4 solution. Just because RAID5 is a number higher doesn’t make it a higher RAID.
Larry O’Connor: Again, I don’t want to overcomplicate, other than to say distributed parity was better when drives weren’t as fast as they are today, because you needed the load spread. Now it’s actually a better circumstance to have a RAID4. The system can manage it faster, and more efficiently, and as before we have the same redundancy and you have a little bit better performance. You get the performance of combining multiple drives together but you’re in a circumstance where one of the drives can fail, so once again you have no data loss, no loss of time, no loss of operation. That’s the way a RAID is supposed to work.
Larry O’Connor: Not all RAIDs work that way. Some are proprietary and use special schemas that let you do things that sound really great on paper, but don’t always work really well in practice and, when they do have a problem, it can be a big problem. Nonetheless, these types of RAIDs are definitely the right way to go, the RAID4 or RAID5 one types.
Larry Jordan: So RAID0 gives us the fastest performance, the greatest storage, but RAID4 or RAID5 gives us the protection in case a drive dies. Briefly, when would we use an SSD in a RAID versus spinning media?
Larry O’Connor: That all depends on what your performance needs are, or even your environment needs. Some people go all SSD because they want silent running and they get exceptional performance, more performance than they need in a lot of cases. There’s a higher cost but it’s dead silent. So if you have an application that benefits from the speed, it’s editing, maybe it’s ingesting, if you have any high performance… for what you’re ingesting from and you can use more than what spinners can do, an array of SSDs is a nice solution but you can typically out of RAID0 achieve over 800 megabytes a second, certainly over 700 megabytes a second with spinning platter drives, and RAID5 you’re in the 500 to 600 megabyte range.
Larry O’Connor: If it isn’t fast enough for you, that’s the other thing. Especially with something like software, you can expand the array and double that performance simply by going out to a second chassis and adding more drives, and with more drives comes more speed. But, again, it’s all about what your application requirements are and what your budget is as well. If the sky is the limit, you buy SSDs because they’re quiet, they’re exceptionally fast and it just doesn’t get better than that. If you need a lot of storage and you have X performance measures you need to hit, an array of spinners is still cost effective today and gives you a lot more storage for a much lower price. Some people do both.
Larry Jordan: One of the hidden components in any RAID is what’s called the RAID controller and there are hardware RAID controllers and there are software RAID controllers. Hardware’s a chip that handles all the data processing and a software RAID controller does it using software inside your computer. Traditionally, hardware RAIDs were faster and software RAIDs were more flexible. Is that a true statement and when should somebody decide whether to accept a hardware RAID or a software RAID?
Larry O’Connor: Today, the lines have gotten pretty blurred in terms of you have other bandwidth constraints, you have other things that impact what a hardware RAID can do. You’re also reaching thresholds in terms of what the hardware processors are providing today. But the big thing is the flexibility you get with a software RAID on a Mac – and again all… very distinct on what platform, there’s only one major RAID solution for beyond RAID1 at least on a Macintosh – but in the case of a soft RAID, not only do you have the performance at this point that’s comparable to something that’s plug-in hardware, you not only have the flexibility to have multiple RAIDs in a single device, a hardware RAID is limited to one hardware mode across the entire set of volumes. So if you have multiple purposes in mind, you’re limited to whatever single RAID mode you put across. You need performance? They’ve all got to be RAID0s. You need redundancy? It could be 0+1 or RAID5 or RAID4.
Larry O’Connor: In the case of a software RAID, you could actually set aside part of the volume, in fact the fastest part of the spinners – the software typically will allow you to configure for a RAID0 set – put a RAID5 set or a double redundant 0+1 set below that, you can do your editing in the fast portion of the drive in a RAID0 and then put your output into a redundant… that’s on the same set of drive. So you have exceptional flexibility and if you need more speed, and this is something you can absolutely not do with a hardware RAID, you can have actually multiple drive arrays connected to your system or chain them through Thunderbolt, and instead of having four drives you can take it to eight drives, or to 12 drives, or to 16 drives. You can put it across two separate Thunderbolt channels if you have more than one Thunderbolt channel available to you, and double your available bandwidth and see speeds even approaching four gigabytes a second.
Larry O’Connor: The only way to RAID a hardware RAID is to use a software RAID on the hardware, which is exceptionally convoluted versus having a true RAID set. The other big thing is when something goes wrong with a hardware RAID, data recovery can be a real pain in the tail. There’s more that can be done and is being done at a software RAID level to protect and prevent issues. When a drive fails, the whole point of the RAID is so that you’re up and running, you’re still going, your data’s accessible, and unfortunately it’s more often than it should be that that is not the case when something goes wrong, especially with proprietary solutions on the hardware RAID side.
Larry O’Connor: In your… unfortunately they had an experience that could have gone very badly, and thankfully they were able to recover her data, but the whole situation should never have occurred if that product had done what was intended. With a software RAID, you have so much more information at a different level. The software RAID is there to make sure whatever you’re connected with, it’s monitoring those drives and keeping you informed and giving you the best probability of knowing an issue exists before it’s an issue, then giving you that information to solve it. But a hardware RAID, you’re a little bit more isolated and a little bit more at the whim of what’s behind the black curtain.
Larry Jordan: Larry, I know that most of the RAIDs, if not all the RAIDs, that OWC ships are software RAID based. Where can people go on the web to learn more about the software RAID solution you guys offer and how well it works?
Larry O’Connor: They can visit owcdigital.com and there’s a lot of information on the Thunderbay 4 software RAID enabled solutions; and I’d also encourage folks to directly visit softraid.com, where they can learn a lot more about that application. We benefit from it and, again, it’s what powers our RAIDS, our multi bay RAIDS today and it’s also something that’s an option for anybody. Even with a hardware RAID, you can use this solution as most RAIDs… independent. You can break the binds of that hardware and…
Larry Jordan: And, Larry, thank you so much. Larry O’Connor is the founder of OWC. We’ll talk to you soon.
Mike Horton: Thanks, Larry.
Larry Jordan: It’s time for a Buzz Flashback. Five years ago today…
Catherine Buresi (archive): It started, I would say, two or three years ago and what’s new this year are all those new platforms that offer new distribution possibilities. All of a sudden, we had more buyers registering to come and they were buying for… internet platforms, web TV, all kinds of new platforms.
Larry Jordan: This was a Buzz Flashback.
Larry Jordan: You know, Mike and I were chatting during the break about the fact that it’s always been about marketing for actors. But, Mike, as you were listening to Suzanne and Marianne talking, do they have new ideas or is it really just restating the old stuff in a new way?
Mike Horton: I think it’s not so much new ideas, but there are so many new opportunities and technologies out there to take advantage of and she does make a good point about some actors just not putting in the work. You can’t just go do the audition and then wait for the next audition.
Larry Jordan: …you’re an actor and wait for the calls.
Mike Horton: You need that fire in the belly. You really need the fire in the belly to keep getting up in the morning. You have to have a business approach to your creative craft and a lot of people don’t. They might have the talent and they might get lucky, but you’ve really got to put in the work to get lucky; and then once you do get lucky, then you can take advantage of it. But, yes, they’re right, marketing yourself is a really big thing and I didn’t do a very good job of it, but I didn’t really have to, I got lucky. I got work, so I didn’t really have to market myself very much and I’m still to this day bad at it.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests for today – Suzanne LaChasse, actress and co-founder of Screen Actors System; Marianne Bourg, the actress; and Larry O’Connor, the CEO of OWC.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews all online and all available to you today, and sign up for our free weekly show newsletter.
Larry Jordan: Talk with us on Twitter, @DPBuZZ, and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Our theme music is composed by Nathan Doogie Turner with additional music provided by smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take 1 Transcription – visit take1.tv to learn how they can help you.
Larry Jordan: Our supervising producer is Cirina Catania; our engineering team is led by Megan Paulos, including Ed Golya, Keegan Guy, James Miller and Brianna Murphy. On behalf Mike Horton, that’s the guy sitting on the other side of the table looking handsome, my name is Larry Jordan and thanks for joining us for The Digital Production Buzz.
Mike Horton: Bye, everybody.
Announcer #1: The Digital Production Buzz was brought to you by Other World Computing, providing quality hardware solutions and extensive technical support to the worldwide computer industry since 1988; and by imagineproducts.com, specializing in workflow applications for over 25 years.