Farewell, My Friend

Hug Point, OR

Donald Alex Has Died.

Who was Donald Alex? He was the man who gave myself to me.

1978. I had a rather promising career on a fast track in the Republican Party. Having come circuitously from a small town in Oregon a tree-hugging member of the party, that was my entree. After an agency or two, I found myself a Director on the President’s Campaign staff and was fairly enmeshed within the Culture of the Beltway. 

After the loss, I was asked to run a campaign for state office in Colorado for a friend of one of the President’s sons. So, Denver.

Up until this point, I’d led an aggressively straight life. Underneath this, though, I knew I was gay…though kept thinking I could overcome it, or hide it, or in some way live with it and still have “all the benefits” of a straight life. 

I had discovered and been adopted and indoctrinated into the vast and well-established Capitol Hill Gay Underground Network which, as one might imagine, stretched throughout DC and environs. The Closet in DC was huge in those days, and some of the most powerful and recognized people were a part of it. I would drop my dates off by midnight and head to the clubs to lead this exotic, exciting and tantalizing nightlife. 

It was exciting, it was fun, it felt good…and it had no integrity. 

I didn’t realize how deeply conflicted I was, nor the personal price I was paying by living a closeted life. As far as I could perceive; that’s how the world is.

Then, on one sunny afternoon at Denver’s Southtown Lumber Company (not a lumber yard), I looked down the bar and the most beautiful, blue eyes I’d ever encountered were zero’d in on me. Those eyes, crystal clear and as blue as the Caribbean, poised over a wonderful smile, were an inviting oasis. 

“I’m Donald Alex. Alex. It’s Alsatian…” he said. (He certainly didn’t look like a dog to me!) And we talked. And made a date. My first “real date” with another man.” 

The Date: I went to his apartment to meet. He later protested that this was not intentional; but when I knocked on the unlocked door, it swung open to his living room, across which he sat. Seated on the end of his sofa, a book in his lap in a tableau perfectly lit by the lamp on his end-table. Right. Coincidence.

It was a romantic date, dinner and on to Licorice Pizza, a huge record store (the vinyl kind) the size of a skating rink. It was a great evening, and there was much love to follow. And what that love did for me was show me I was worth loving and that men can love each other. Far beyond and deeper than any of the lusty crushes through self-discovery — the hidden and protected exploration of something seen as dark and unnatural and irresistible; this was something new. A love that touched my core.

Donald was a special and rare man. With the stature of Michael J. Fox and the voice of Brenda Vaccaro and every lyric of every great Broadway Musical indelible in his mind; he could break into song at any moment – and it would take virtually nothing for him to grab his Top Hat and Cane (always handy in the front closet) and burst into “Hello Dolly” at any provocation. 

He was a happy man. Feet on the ground, empathetic, sincere and generous. He gave. He nurtured. He cared. 

I spent the rest of the campaign in the closet, and when it was over moved in with Donald to figure out what to do with my life. I knew I couldn’t return to Washington and Republican politics; being well-aware of the fact there was no room at the table for us. 

Donald, a teacher in Boulder, said that wherever I could find a new career, he would move with me. “Once you have a job, I’ll quit mine and be with you.” Over the coming months, I looked many places until the weekend in 1979 that a former girlfriend showed me San Francisco; to be seduced and embraced by what is now my Home City. 

Donald loved me for who I am, seeing more in me than I even saw in myself. His love was acknowledgement, aspiration, approbation and acceptance all in one. The result of his love was an empowerment and confidence that returned to me — qualities that had been suppressed and shut down through the double life I’d led. 

Donald and I, together, grew apart; as what I came to want was to participate fully in the life, city and world around us and Donald wanted to come home every night, have dinner and watch TV together (now, of course, that’s what I want!!).

Ultimately, we separated. He took the crystal, I took the spices. We remained in sporadic contact as we both lived in San Francisco, though once we began moving around, sometimes years would pass before one would reach out to the other. Always friendly, always loving. 

Then, a few months ago, I had a vivid dream of him. Just he and I, talking. Whenever I have a dream that features someone from my past so vividly, I reach out to them; just to let them know, to be sure they are okay, healthy, happy…or whatever. I see these visions as an elbow nudge from the Universe. 

So, for some reason, this time I called rather than sending an email or text. 

Donald was at his lawyer’s office, waiting to go in and finish the plans for his estate. The for-two-years-diagnosed-as-IBS case had revealed itself to be Stage Four Stomach Cancer. He only had weeks or months to live. 

“Donald, you can’t die; I still have several unkind things to say to you and hundreds of things to blame you for! I’m coming to see you!” There were a number of laughs among the serious talk we than had. (One thing I have discovered as I’ve watched and helped so many people die is the burden of the Elephant in the Room…people can be afraid of this inevitable thing that’s going to happen, so often tend to skirt around it. It makes for a lot of work for the person dying, as they try not to make the visitor feel uncomfortable. Often, just putting it out there and using it takes some of the weight away. At least in my experience.)

A few days later, I was at Hug Point (near Cannon Beach) and was compelled to call him again. Sitting on a log and on the phone with him, something crystallized and suddenly became far more clear to me the magnitude and depth of the gift he had given me. 


“Donald,” I said, “I have to thank you for so much. Not only did you show to me I was worth loving, and point me back toward the world a more confident and empowered man; but, Donald, you gave me my entire life….” 

“Because you loved me, I came out, moved to San Francisco, and have lived an Out and Authentic life ever since. I’ve been able to live without denying who I am…and to live with the consequences. 

“But much more than that, look at the life I’ve led. 

“I’ve been all over the world, creating experiences that move people – some that have changed lives. I’ve been able to give people validation, find community, draw comfort and solace, sow aspiration. I’ve had people tell me about things they’ve seen and by which they’ve been moved without knowing I had anything to do with them. I’ve seen and lived and embraced things I never knew existed, much less thought I’d touch them. …And had wonderful (and not so wonderful!) experiences everywhere.

“I’ve been and been immersed all over the world, and have come away with good relationships and amazing memories from most everywhere (there was that one time…). I could not have written a life as I’ve had.

“Never again have I hidden myself from view. There has been trepidation and hesitation and even fear; none of which has stopped me from moving ahead. I’ve often paid the price for candor and authenticity; always and ultimately comforted, at least, by the fact that there is knowledge honor and confidence inherent even in making a mistake…and I’ve made plenty of those. 

“I’ve had an amazing life which is not over, yet; and I’ve done it all at 100%. 100%. Donald, I owe you my life. Thank you for giving myself to me.”

“It was easy, Kile. You were always there; you just didn’t know it.”

Well, I do now. 

Donald died on Saturday.

Hug Point Waterfall, OR

Popular throughout the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, “IMEX: In My Experience | secrets of making ‘em cheer, weep…and sometimes write checks” is now available in the beautiful and durable Field Edition as well as download from Apple Books. Contact me at kile@kileozier.com for purchase and shipping information.

Link to Apple Books:

https://books.apple.com/us/book/imex-in-my-experience/id1518649025

Unfortunately, the book is not available through Kindle, Kindle does not publish in landscape. Bummer. I am recording this for Audiobooks, targeted for December.

Many Roads Lead to Rome

NEOM – Near Tabuk, KSA – Sept. 2, 2021 – “Discovering” a Natural Amphitheatre in the Desert.

Some…go to Design School

Some…get an MFA

Some…don’t. 

I’ve been asked by my students and the occasional TEA NextGen about my Career Path.

How did I get to where I am (wherever that is)?

The answer is through trial and error, taking chances, following my nose, embracing opportunity, living the dream and living the nightmare, venturing out on the limb, surviving the falls…sometimes just barely, celebrating the victories…and acknowledging the teams that made those victories possible, knowing we rarely accomplish, alone…making mistakes and learning from them, from hiding neither the error nor the lesson learned from it and seeking the lessons inherent in everything… Trusting in the Universe to support…and learning that while the Universe will always support us, it may not be in the ways we might envision or prefer.

And overall; that nowhere is it written in stone that one must stick with a chosen path when that path turns out to be a bad fit or a mistake. Learn from it, take the lessons along to the Next Thing, and the Next Thing, and the Next…

I do not believe that Everything Happens for a Reason. I do believe that there are lessons inherent in everything that happens. I believe that there is no shame in not knowing an answer, and that the shame is in hiding the not-knowing. I hope to learn every day, with every job and gig and in every relationship. Knowing everything would be boring; n’est-çe pas? I believe that Faking It til You’ Make It is a philosophy founded on a Lie.

I strive to learn openly, to seek and see the best that’s possible in others and give the best that’s possible from me. I believe in encouraging and inspiring others to venture out onto the Limb of What’s Possible. I believe in truth, clarity, integrity, honor and candor (sometimes to my political detriment), in saying what one means, meaning what one says and keeping one’s word…and acknowledging the occasional failure without excuse when one’s word goes unkept.

Those philosophies have made for an interesting journey through Life, and I am fairly certain that it ain’t over, yet. The Career Path has been circuitous, and every job embraced and completed has in some way informed the next one and the next one and those down the line.

So. All that in prelude to the laying out of my Career Path. It is clearly not a Route Planned and Followed; and I don’t know that I would recommend it. When and if I write an autobiography or memoirs, the title will be “Don’t Try This at Home!”

Though, here I am with a veritable wealth of Experience and experiences, a vast panoply of unique friends and unforgettable acquaintances and the knowledge gained from jumping in with both feet, digging in with both hands to every opportunity that appeals.

So. Beginning in 1967:

  • Car Wash (Klamath Falls, OR)
  • Floral Delivery Guy (also Klamath Falls)
  • Stockroom @ Lane Bryant (Also Klamath Falls.)
  • Swim Coach / Lifeguard / City Pool Manager (Yreka, CA)
  • Bartender (Georgetown. DC)
  • Waiter / Bartender Olde Ebbitt Grill (DC)
  • Movie Theatre Manager (Key Theatre – Georgetown)
  • Fly-Ahead / In-Port Program Manager – South Pacific and Asia (Semester at Sea)
  • Waiter / Bartender (Steak & Ale/Orange County Mining Company (Orange, CA)
  • Staff Member Senator Mark O. Hatfield (DC)
  • Staff Member GSA (DC)
  • Staff Member US Dept of State / US Youth Council (DC)
  • National Youth Director President Ford Campaign (DC) 12 Advance Teams x 3 Events per day, Nationwide, General Campaign.
  • Executive Director American Petroleum Refiner’s Association Political Action Committee (DC)
  • Director Tom Wiens for State Treasurer Campaign (Denver)
  • 1979 Came Out. Left Republican Politics. Moved to San Francisco. 
  • Import Coordinator Levi Strauss & Co (SF)
  • Director Corporate Communications San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
  • Writer / Reporter Pacific Telesis Corporate Communications (SF) 
  • Show and Event Producer @ FM Productions (SF)
  • December 31, 1979/January 1, 1980 – First appearance onstage at “Beach Blanket Babylon” 
  • 1984 – 1990 Self-Employed / Freelance Ceremony, State Visits of Presidents, Queens, Religious leaders, Quarterbacks, Inaugural and Fleet Week productions, National Theatrical Tours, Writing Team for “Beach Blanket Babylon Goes to the Stars” (with Armistead Maupin and Steve Silver SF) and Producer “Hands Across America” (Chicago), Writer, Director, Producer of National Centennial Tour for Stanford University (raised US$1billion from ballrooms full of weeping millionaires).
  • 1990 – 1995 Self-Employed / Freelance Movie Location Manager Film (Los Angeles) “December,” “Me, Myself and I” many forgettables.
  • 1992 – Candlelight Ceremony National AIDS Memorial Quilt @ Lincoln Memorial. Writer, Producer ,Director. Audience of 250,000
  • 1993 – 1994 Gay Games Opening/Closing Ceremonies Yankee Stadium Producer Director Audience of 60,000
  • 1994 – 1995 Universal Studios Attraction Development
  • 1995 – 1996 Creative Director Universal Studios Florida
  • 1996 – Left Orlando for Manhattan.
  • 1996 – 2008 Self Employed Producer & Consulting Development Officer (NYC) Harvard Law, Babson College, Stanford University Touring Campaign for Undergraduate Education (another $1Billion +), Hamilton College, Mayo Clinic, Hotopp, Carabiner, Jack Morton, ICE, Other agencies
  • 2005 – 2006 Opening Closing Ceremonies Gay Games Soldier Field & Wrigley Field. Writer, Creative Director, Director
  • 2009 – Live Show Producer (Melbourne, Sydney, Perth Australia)
  • 2010 – Specialist and Studio Instructor, Apple SoHo
  • 2011 – Director 50th Anniversary Celebrations Amnesty International – USA (NYC)
  • 2012 – Launched the Blog: https://imho.kileozier.com/ 
  • 2012 – 2013 Studio Instructor Apple SF
  • 2013 – 2016 to Dubai – State and Dubai National Day Ceremonies, Brand Experience and Product Launches, Motiongate Theme Park, Dubai Eye, Opened YAS Waterworld, Wrote/Directed “Hoyamal!” Pearl Diving Show, also for YAS Waterworld.
  • 2016 – return to SF for several months. Met an amazing guy.
  • 2016 – return to Dubai to write Live Show and Streetmosphere strategy with EXPO2020DUBAI
  • 2017 – return to SF self employment and My Amazing Guy. Palo Alto History Museum
  • 2017 – 2019 Looking for work. (SF) Lyft Driver
  • 2019 – Consulting Creative Director – Freeman XP/San Francisco
  • 2020 – COVID – dead in the water. Built the Book: “IMEx – In My Experience | secrets of making ‘em cheer, weep…and sometimes write checks

https://books.apple.com/us/book/imex-in-my-experience/id1518649025

  • April 2021 – July 2022 – Director of Concept Integrity @ SELA Parks and Events, Saudi Arabia (Festivals, Ceremonies, Destination Design.

and, btw:

Schools:

  • Georgetown University School of Foreign Service BS – Graduated on Schedule
  • Italian Studies Center of Portland State U at Pavia Italy – Sophomore Year
  • Chapman College – now Chapman University – 2nd Frosh Semester
  • Semester at Sea – 1st Frosh Semester

_____________________________________________________________________________

Popular throughout the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, “IMEX: In My Experience | secrets of making ‘em cheer, weep…and sometimes write checks” is now available in the beautiful and durable Field Edition as well as download from Apple Books. Contact me at kile@kileozier.com for purchase and shipping information.

Link to Apple Books:

https://books.apple.com/us/book/imex-in-my-experience/id1518649025

Unfortunately, the book is not available through Kindle, Kindle does not publish in landscape. Bummer. I am recording this for Audiobooks, targeted for December.

THIS: Just In…

So, this just happened … Martin Palicki, editor of InPark Magazine, read The Book, “In My Experience – Secrets of Making ’em Cheer, Weep…and sometimes write checks.” He enjoyed it and had some questions; thus we spoke about it in his podcast, released earlier this week…

NOTE: Link in image does not work – here is the link to the podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1872435/11417501

Maybe take ten and listen to the conversation (that’s the link ⬆️). It’s fun, it’s accessible, it’s brief it’s informative and occasionally revelatory…qualities attributable to pretty much every chapter of the book, actually!

The book is about managing creativity, about getting the best from our teams and giving our best to our audiences. In the context of practical anecdotes are shared techniques, tools, methodologies…risks taken, mistakes made, hard lessons learned and unexpected discoveries, the power of silence, the empowerment of collaboration and the effectiveness of listening. It’s all the “soft stuff” that isn’t generally written about or taught in classrooms (other than mine!); fitting hand-in-hand with the more technical books written in and for our industries.

Here’s the Thing. As I say to Martin in the podcast, the book was written to be read. Selling copies is, for me, a distant priority to simply sharing the information and launching conversations.

So. Maybe read this thing: I believe there is resonance and relevance to be found there…

FAQs

  • Downloadable on Apple Books for US$34.99 in 51 Countries https://books.apple.com/us/book/imex-in-my-experience/id1518649025
  • Amazon/Kindle only prints in Portrait, and the book is laid-out in Landscape. Thus, no Kindle edition. I know, bums me, too.
  • The print copy of the book, labeled “Field Edition,” is 8.5″ x 11″ – reduced in size (though not in content) so as more easily fit into backpacks, briefcases and bookshelves. (AND it’s personally inscribed by the author to the owner.)
  • Cost to print has run from $60 – $100. The print edition is a darn nice book-experience; but there is no difference in what’s between the front cover and the back.
  • I’ll be doing another print run, soon. Have sold 300 copies to date.
  • If the download cost is in any way an obstacle; just let me know and I’ll gift you an iOS-friendly pdf. As I say, I simply want the information shared.
  • I’m in the process of recording the audio edition of the book. Another month or so for that.

FAQs

So there you have it. Get a copy. Read it, Create and Build!

See you at SATE and IAAPA.

Kile@kileozier.com / +1.347.268.2953

EQ, AI & The Narrative Arc

So, what is the EQ of AI?

Full Disclosure: I’m an Early Adopter of technology and am a part of probably of the next-to-last group of Digital Immigrants in the workforce. I’ve been an eager and hungry consumer of Science and Science Fiction since the ’50’s (That’s the 1950’s, whippersnapper!), taught Mac OS, iOS and Apps at Apple SoHo and SF periodically from 2009 – 2013. I love tech (for the most part); especially as it transitions to magic and new experience.

In the oft-quoted-by-me words of Arthur C. Clarke (…and if you don’t know who that is you’d best google and learn. He matters.):

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Between AI and the encroaching, burgeoning metaverse, we are coming very close to the place where technology is virtually magic. 

This excites and thrills me. 

There is a conversation, though, that I’m neither seeing nor hearing being had that I think affects or may be affecting the depth to which our audiences will, can or may ultimately even be emotionally equipped to experience if not emotionally capable of handling as we breathlessly chase new technologies and new worlds to conquer and market as though it’s the day after Thanksgiving at Macy’s.

Maybe slow down a minute?

In what feels a breakneck race to seem relevant in embracing AI, “gamification” and what is currently being called “interactivity” – I’m sensing a dismissive overlooking of actual emotional investment in the outcome(s) of the experience offered. I’m seeing a change in the quality and character of the payoff as agency grows..

Increase in Agency offers, IMHO, an equal and opposite dilution of emotional investment in outcome. With increased individual agency; the analytical part of the brain comes more intensely into play, pushing aside empathetic engagement and replacing it with the visceral, the competitive, the self.

What I believe I see, in the stories being written and experiences created that give agency to the audience, viewers and participants…players, now… are stories with an arc of sorts – but the agency of the players creates a subtle change with critical affect. 

When the audience member has some level of control, when one can “win” or accomplish some task or overcome some obstacle; the rush at the end is visceral, personal, exhilarating and wonderful…though neither empathetic nor sympathetic nor, from what I can see, emotionally engaging.

This is not a bad thing; it is a very good thing. It increases potential audience and vastly broadens the expanse of experiences and storytelling methodological tools available to us. 

BUT, let us not lose sight of what this does not do for our audience. It does not engage them emotionally in a story that unfolds before them. It does not allow one to wonder and wander through questioning, hoping, imagining outcomes to be revealed; as agency supersedes all that. 

With that, I’d like to see us, as we have our conversations, keep in mind the pliability of the human mind and collective memories brought to the storytelling experience and how those can be used and manipulated to create investment in what happens in a story.

Along these lines, I’m noticing a burgeoning conversation among people who pitch AI as creator of story: scripts written by Artificial Intelligence. 

From where I stand at the moment, I can’t imagine a story written by a digital entity that can move an individual, emotionally. 

My question at the outset is on what experience would this digital entity draw to create new stories with investible characters and experiences of the depth and substance that can bring emotion to the surface for the reader or performer? Can AI write stories in which we invest our hearts? I want this to be part of the conversation and am trusting we’ll see to it that it is.

In the coming weeks of conference season, as we gather in various halls and theatres around the world to share news and developments, rejoice and explore technologies and techniques, dig through the promised pot of gold at the end of this rainbow; let us not lose sight of how deeply we can reach with a well-told story. 

Let us keep the goal of emotional connection in mind, if that is the goal; separate and apart from the visceral charge of winning and conquering…or can they live together? Well worth exploring and hopefully augmenting…though let’s not be too quick to eschew engagement at deeper levels. 

(I’m just sayin’ <redacted>!)

I believe the new should be welcomed and embraced, tested and tried, carefully. As I said, above; I am excited at what technology and the New Tools represent for stories and their telling…the sense of disbelief hasn’t before seen anything this potentially powerful. 

I would want us to honor and respect the organic muse within us as we do so. 

IMHO.

________________________________________________________________________________

“In My Experience – Secrets of Making ’em Cheer, Weep…and sometimes write checks”

The third printing of “IMEx – In My Experience…” is pending (thank you, all!), and can hard copies are obtainable through me at Kile@kileozier.com.

And downloadable via Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/imex-in-my-experience/id1518649025

(Sorry y’all…kindle will only print in portrait, and the book is laid out in landscape. Please contact me for the solution if that’s an issue. Pas de probleme…

Random review:

“Empathize, Ideate, & Build” is the common doctrine of Design Thinking, and while they are inspirational points, they are hardly instructional.  Kile has articulately laid out very actionable steps for any team involved in the creation and execution of Experience Design projects to follow on the path from concept to installation and operation.

In an industry that can be secretive, the How and Why of Experience Design can be lost as we celebrate the What.   The simple roadmap that is presented in “In My Experience” outlines best practices for informed success along the life cycle of a project’s development.   It’s not just a useful production tool, but also provides insight into the field for students interested in contributing to Experience Design or Themed Entertainment but who don’t fully realize all the working parts to the process.

A combination of process details, case studies, and first-hand stories as great examples makes this a delightful and credible read.  Examples that take into consideration cultural and personality differences provide options for moving forward across a number of possible scenarios as both a contributor and a leader  in the industry.

Marketed as a manual for the design of various experiences, it’s secretly an exhaustive manual for life.

Our industry mantra has become “story, story, story” But what does that actually mean?  “In My Experience” graciously leads you down the path of story “revelation”  best practices to carefully craft a very intentional emotional experience for your guests. 

In an industry that only thrives on collaboration and mentorship, “In My Experience” continues the trend graciously sharing resources and inspiration across disciplines and generations.

-Mk Haley

Program Manager (Frmr) / Academic Outreach Walt Disney Imagineering

SIGGRAPH Conference Committee – Emerging Technologies Chair

UT Austin Faculty: Arts & Entertainment Technology

Worldwide Santa Network – Experience Design Consultant

Everything You Wanted to Know…

Last Summer, I taught a Master Class with the Themed Entertainment Creative Academy

Getting the Best from Our Teams – 

Giving the Best to Our Audiences.” 

For me, it was a great experience; and I sense that the students enjoyed it as much as I did. There was exceptional room for discovery and the sharing & comparing of perspective through the six weeks; enhanced by the fact that this was my first class, post publication of my book. 

Prior to this, when I taught; I used to teach what is now in the book. What became instantly clear to me during our first session was that, now, everyone in the class had already read the book. This was great; as rather than presenting New Information in the class, the opportunity for feedback, questions, applications to real-life & right-now situations and the multilateral posing of hypotheticals from these aspirational thinkers was present through all our discussions.

A number of things came to light with respect to entering, moving through and working in the real world that had never been actually discussed with most of these individuals. These are Life Navigation Skills, some of which I think I’d learned through osmosis or some professional stumbling along the way, from a mentor or a series of my own mistakes but never actually taught.

I don’t know that they are actually taught, anywhere but workshops and onsite…

Either way, I came across the fact that there are some things, critical to socialization and success in the professional sphere that might support these kids (well, they are far younger than me!) in their Quest for Their Future. Thus, I collected a list of these things as they came to mind; planning to share them with the class during our final session.

But we never actually got to that. 

Thus, this post:, 

Things One Should Know About Looking for Work and Doing Business,

but May Not Have Known Whom to Ask.” 

Herewith, in random order, are some questions and my answers:

Getting Paid: Invoicing. What should it look like, what information should be on it?

An invoice should be one page, one side, with everything on that page that will help people and companies pay you without having to seek backup or ancillary documents or information. Therefore:

  • A logo or brandmark, if you have one.
  • Contact information: name, mailing address, telephone number, email, website (if you have one).
  • An Invoice Number. Make up your own trackable system. I use a system of year/month/day/client so that in lists, they self-arrange, chronologically and alphabetically:
    • The invoice I send to Smith Company on October 7, 2021 for the Secret Project is numbered: 211907SmithSecret.
  • Name of the Project.
  • Space for a P.O. (that’s Purchase Order) number – some companies need to issue you a P.O. number that needs to be on your invoice in order for it to be paid. That number indicates that the fee agreed-upon was actually approved. 
  • Your applicable rates (hour/day/week/month) and the total amount owed you.
  • Due Date / terms of your agreement.
  • Bank / Wire Transfer information; including Swift Code, Routing Number, Account Number, Name on the Account, Name of the Bank, Address and Phone number of the bank. 
  • Be sure to ask the client what they want/need to see included in the invoice, one never knows…be thorough.

Seriously, leave nothing to chance or misunderstanding. Never worry that you are giving them too much information; rather, worry that you might leave out some small detail that can delay the processing of your invoice.

Getting Paid: How Much Am I Worth? Okay, you’re worth millions. I agree. However, do your research online (glassdoor.com or any one of a number of other sites), ask trusted friends and colleagues in the same line of work what they would pay someone with your level of education or experience. Even ask business owners or executives the salary ranges for positions you might seek. Asking from an informational point of view, outside of a climate of negotiation, will elicit more candid response and can give a more clear and objective picture. 

Decide on your rate and be comfortable quoting it. Do be wary of over-valuing a degree. While education is generally a requirement and a constant; experience is what raises value

Getting Paid: Negotiating. When asked, quote your rate; period. Don’t offer to negotiate. If asked if you’ll negotiate or “will you accept less than that?” Ask what they are offering. Do not offer any other figures until the Other Person/Company has offered a figure. Personally, I would go so far as to respond, when asked about salary, by asking if this is a negotiation. In other words, “So, are you interested in offering me the position and is this the opening of salary talks to see if we can agree?”

If they want you, then they’ll be candid. Otherwise, time is just being wasted, IMHO. If your value to a company is primarily in how low you can be gotten; is this a culture in which you’ll be happy? You be the judge of that. 

You know how low you can go for a job you love, and how much you need to maintain your life. None of that is anyone’s business; as one should be paid for what one brings to the table, not what one “needs.” Never operate or negotiate from what you “need.” 

What you need is, frankly, irrelevant in salary negotiations. Same goes for when you are seeking a raise in pay; it’s because the raise is deserved and you represent value at that level of pay; not because the kids need new shoes.

—————————————————

And that’s it for today. The list is long, so I’ll be breaking it down over a few weeks and posts if there’s interest in more “practical” knowledge…remembering that this is IMHO, always: In My Humble Opinion.

Possible Future Topics:

Getting Paid: When and Why to Decline Work. Many of us have taken jobs that paid too little but we needed the work. I would offer that, most often in such situations, pretty much all parties end up unhappy in the long run. Resentment and unmet expectation can truly undermine the dynamic. 

  • Getting Paid: The Integrity of Quitting versus the Future Work Factor.
  • Information Flow, Responsibility Assignment & Acceptance.
  • Networking and Social Media: 
    • Nobody owes you a LinkedIn acceptance. 
    • Default Messages and Obtuseness.
    • Clicking the “Invite” button is not Networking. One must actually Ask.
  • Communication, Acknowledgement thereof. 
    • (Subtopic: No one on the planet, including you, is “too busy” to type “Got it; I WILL get back to you.”)
    • …and if one can’t accomplish the “getting back to,” it is their responsibility to see that the “getting back” actually happens. 
  • Reputations: Building, Maintaining, Repairing.
  • CYA: The importance of meeting follow-up and The Paper Trail. (And is that really “CYA” or just good management?)
  • Gullibility and Confidence: Who are the Critics and Complainers, Really? 
  • Hearing, Heeding and Reading Criticism for What It Is and What It May be Worth. Considering Source.
  • Discomfort and Angst / Confidence and Judgement: Making Decisions when Everyone Else Seems Okay With something that makes One Uncomfortable.
  • And “Credibility” My Degree versus My Experience. How to Handle the Balance.
  • Whatever else comes to mind as these subjects percolate with y’all, this week.
  • Meetings of three or more…backup, all things heard…same with prod’n meetings
  • brand your zoom background
  • 3 in a meeting, fearless feedback, sensitive counsel and mentoring in a complex environment.

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Popular throughout the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, “IMEX: In My Experience | secrets of making ‘em cheer, weep…and sometimes write checks” is now available in the beautiful and durable Field Edition as well as download from Apple Books. Contact me at kile@kileozier.com for purchase and shipping information.

Apple Books Link: https://books.apple.com/us/book/imex-in-my-experience/id1518649025 

Hot Off the Presses

This time, Don’t be left out!

The “IMEx Field Edition

The Inimitable Mk Haley said it:

“Empathize, Ideate, & Build” is the common doctrine of Design Thinking, and while they are inspirational points, they are hardly instructional. Kile has articulately laid out very actionable steps for any team involved in the creation and execution of Experience Design projects to follow on the path from concept to installation and operation.

In an industry that can be secretive, the How and Why of Experience Design can be lost as we celebrate the What. The simple roadmap that is presented in “In My Experience” outlines best practices for informed success along the life cycle of a project’s development. It’s not just a useful production tool, but also provides insight into the field for students interested in contributing to Experience Design or Themed Entertainment but who don’t fully realize all the working parts to the process.

A combination of process details, case studies, and first-hand stories as great examples makes this a delightful and credible read. Examples that take into consideration cultural and personality differences provide options for moving forward across a number of possible scenarios as both a contributor and a leader in the industry.

Marketed as a manual for the design of various experiences, it’s secretly an exhaustive manual for life.

Our industry mantra has become “story, story, story” But what does that actually mean? “In My Experience” graciously leads you down the path of story “revelation” best practices to carefully craft a very intentional emotional experience for your guests.

In an industry that only thrives on collaboration and mentorship, “In My Experience” continues the trend graciously sharing resources and inspiration across disciplines and generations.

-Mk Haley
Program Manager / Academic Outreach
Walt Disney Imagineering

Order your copy now.

Get it directly from The Guy

US$45.00 + shipping.

Still available as download from Apple Books:

https://books.apple.com/us/book/imex-in-my-experience/id1518649025

Question From A Client

A “Client”! Did you see that?

Clients!

They’re Back, they’re Happy and they’re Hungry and I’m glad to see ’em again!

Last week, out of the Blue; while he was on a flight, an exceptionally thoughtful new client of mine pinged me with, “How would you define experience?” 

This, after I had shared with him this quote:

“Any economy without a prosperous experience sector cannot be a good economy. The present global downturn proves the point we’ve been emphasizing for over two decades: Goods and Services are no longer enough to maintain economic prosperity.

Businesses must shift to the creation of experiential value in the marketplace as the continuing engine of economic growth and job creation.”

– Pine and Gilmore, May 24, 2020.

Herewith, is my response to him.

“Hey, <name withheld – he’s MY client!)…  A long answer to a short question…buckle up; it’s going to get granular…

From where I stand, “experience” is literally everything; and everything is experience. Touching an ice cube is an experience, breathing is an experience. Every person has their experience of any and every thing they encounter. 

Then, there’s nuance. 

My experience of something will differ from your experience of that same thing as it is experienced through our individual filters…physiological (taste buds, vision), psychological, spiritual and so on. For instance, one person may see a beautiful sunset and think of it as a gift from their God, while another may see it as a visually beautiful confluence of physics and chemistry, while yet another may see it as an indication of tomorrow’s weather (“Red sky at morning, sailors take warning; red sky at night, sailor’s delight”). 

So, the exact, same phenomenon is experienced differently by different people at the same time…  I could go on…(and have, on occasion!).

Now, “Experience,” – as conceived, created and crafted – is another Thing. 

Boiled down; I see crafted “Experience” as, ultimately, the absence of distraction. Full immersion. You’ll hear me talk about Circumventing Preconception and Comfortable Disorientation…things that are both methodology and intended result. Essentially, the further I can “get into the heads” of my audiences the more profound the Experience can be…

The more personal and intimate I can make an Experience, the more powerful and effective it can be. Simply put, many shows/spectacles/experiences can be seen or watched and give massive, yet transient pleasure; while those few that are felt leave their footprints in the hearts, souls and memories of the audience…as they’ve been given something they can’t identify without recognizing it…a subtle seed that remains and perhaps grows as time passes. 

People will shout and cheer at a fantastic spectacle. They will remember and talk about it as great or “awesome.” But touch them with it and their eyes turn inward in reflection as their subconscious connects; attempting to describe it…without words…

I wrote a poem, once, about this experience – which I shall bore you with in closing.

The final stanza being:

“But there was a moment, in every city

When what we did went to profound from pretty

When guests became silent, when hearts skipped a beat

When each person settled more into the seat.

The air in the room became quieter, still;

And breath was abated as hearts took the thrill.

That’s when we touched them, that’s when we knew

We’d delivered completely on our Mission, true.

No one will ever accomplish again

What we have given to those where we’ve been…””

But that’s just me. 😉
IMHO


Meanwhile: BIG NEWS!

Pride. What it is; Why it is.

2500 years in 2.5 minutes

“No one of us can be free until we all are free.”

June 1 marks the beginning of Pride Month, worldwide. 

  • Fifty-two years since the Stonewall Riots that launched the movement; a movement that had been simmering for decades…decades of hiding and harassment, of brutality and shame, of fear and of hate.
  • Fifty-one years since the first Pride March
  • a March that has not stopped since the first step was taken on June 28, 1970…the movement that began with the first thrown shoe, the year before.

What has happened in the intervening years as Stonewall itself has become catchphrase and icon is, I think, a gradual lessening of awareness of the extreme, catalytic struggle that brought into the sunlight the inhumanity with which an entire class of people were being seen and treated. 

Nowadays, we enjoy strong political and cultural support from increasingly vocal communities, cultures, political parties and multinational corporations (we are, after all not the worst market to garner). But even as this support has grown, the darkness and horror that lie at the roots and foundation of Pride seem for many to have faded from the forefront of general consciousness…from even some of our strongest allies. 

As more and more have become advocates and proselytes, supporting Equality, Job Security and Basic Human Rights; their fervent belief in and support of the LGBTQ++ Communities is experienced and shared as they show up at and in annual celebrations and parades. With all that festivity, though, the decades (and centuries) of being viewed and treated as vile and disposable seems sometimes to be getting lost in the feathers, glitter and unicorns.

As we near the Season of Pride, it is important that we remember what we are actually witnessing as we Celebrate. This is not frivolity; this is exhilaration. That glitter was hard fought.

“Pride” is the consciousness of one’s own dignity. Pride, itself, is the manifestation of the regeneration and nurturing of individual self-respect; something that, for a very long time, was beaten, hated, harassed, tortured, oppressed and legislated out of LGBTQ++ beings all over the world…from before there even was an “LGBTQ.”

The Celebrations we see are for Rights and Freedoms fought and won in the face of societal enmity and oppression. The visibility of the Celebrations serve to affirm self-worth and inspire others to continue the fight alongside; as the Fight is not over. There is virtually nowhere on the planet where these hard-won rights are secure, and in many places there are still none.

Often, each battle’s victory is seen and matched by cruelty and death in other parts of the world. There may be some who have joined the annual marches for years and have never seen a gay-bashing. Yet people are brutalized and killed every day, all over the world, for not being heterosexual. 

Last month, Alireza Monfared, a 20-year old Iranian boy, was beheaded by his brothers in an “Honor Killing” because he was gay. 

Beheaded. By…His… Brothers.

Not to harsh your Buzz, but…

  • Just last week in Ohio, a 14-year old boy was attacked and beaten for carrying a Pride Flag at school. 
  • Gangs are attacking suspected gay men on the beaches of Northeastern Spain.
  • Fathers have beaten and killed their sons for being gay.
  • Even teachers in high schools across America have been known to hurl gay slurs at non-straight students.
  • Pulse Nightclub shooting: June 12, 2016.

Pride Celebrations are a Beacon of Hope and Inspiration to people in our own country and throughout the world.

May we remember what they are for, may we remember why they exist, may we remember who is watching.

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The first March was on the anniversary of the riots, as 10,000 people walked from Christopher Street to Central Park; there to cheer and celebrate what they saw as a new era of empowerment, the beginning of a fight to win. This poem, written by Lesbian Poet Fran Winant, captures and evokes the exhilaration of that day.

First shared with me by Sir Ian McKellen in the Green Room at Yankee Stadium before he read this piece to the 50,000 at Closing Ceremonies of the Gay Games on June 25 of 1994. (This performance can be viewed on my YouTube Channel at 3:44 on this Video “GGIV Closing Ceremonies Part 2” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJc1lbN-bSY&t=2s )

“…our line winds

into Central Park

and doubles itself

in a snakedance

to the top of a hill

we cover the Sheep Meadow

shouting

lifting our arms

we are marching into ourselves

like a body

gathering its cells

creating itself

in sunlight

we turn to look back

on the thousands behind us

it seems we will converge

until we explode

sisters and sisters

brothers and brothers

together!”

Excerpt from “Christopher Street Liberation Day, June 28, 1970” by Fran Winant

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“IMEx – In My Experience. Secrets of making ’em cheer, weep and sometimes write checks” now available to download at Apple Books:

https://books.apple.com/us/book/imex-in-my-experience/id1518649025

MasterClass: Managing Creativity & Emotional Connection

I’ve been invited by the Themed Entertainment Creative Workshop Series (TECWS) to present a MasterClass on my Five Tenets of Experience Creation. The class is this Friday at 4pm/Pacific…and is sponsored, therefore there is no charge to register and attend.

The Link: https://www.tecworkshopseries.com/masterclasses

Official Description of the Class
“Outlined and explored in the first chapters of his book, Kile’s Five Tenets of Experience Creation are the fundamental tools and components that fuel the success of every project he embraces. This Master Class covers breadth, nuance and myriad methods of applying these techniques to virtually any project; professional and personal.”

I think it’d be great for as many of the readers of my blog as possible to be there. The more perspectives and personalities in the ZoomRoom, the more lively the conversation is likely to be. I hope you can make it.

So, please; be our guest and join us on Friday for a good conversation. This is going to be fun!

[Note: The class will be recorded and available for post-event viewing.]

With this, I want y’all to know about TECWS. Founded in June by the brilliant Morgane Keesling in the spirit of making knowledge and experience available to young professionals; it has rapidly grown to iconic status, representing a relevance across our entire industries as entry, re-entry, keeping current and keeping in touch has become more and more important during this…sabbatical we’re experiencing. See below for more about this exceptional organization.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Link to TECWS Home Page: https://www.tecworkshopseries.com/

MISSION STATEMENT
As the themed entertainment industry continues to age and evolve, more and more trade information is lost every day. Industry masters and leaders retire with legacies of incredible work in their wake, but techniques and lessons disappear in their absence. Our goal is to become a conservatory of information: to preserve the past techniques and to look forward with new ideas, principles, and ideologies.​

OUTREACH STATEMENT
The TEC Workshop Series team feels it is crucial to our mission to also provide outreach to professionals at the very beginning of their careers. With the help of sponsors and mentors, we are creating additional workshops catered to beginning-career individuals of all backgrounds; it’s important to respect the new generations of creators and artists– they are the future of the themed entertainment industry!

I think it’d be great for as many of the readers of my blog as possible to be there. The more perspectives and personalities in the ZoomRoom, the more lively the conversation is likely to be. I hope you can make it.

Hope, Trepidation, Aspiration

“The stakes don’t get any higher…”

It was election night in 1976, and the President’s National Campaign staff was gathered in ballrooms and suites at the Shoreham hotel in Washington, awaiting the results. Mike, one of the most upbeat and respected members of my field team had just, at a moment when the room had suddenly fallen quiet, quietly uttered those words.

They filled the room.

Those words come to mind, this morning, as I look out on the virtual battlefield that America seems to have become (and may yet become quite real, tonight and in the days to come). The stakes to which Mike was referring now seem so distant, so innocent in comparison, almost naive in their articulation. 

The two parties weren’t separated by the steaming, molten chasm that separates them – separates us – today. 

The rhetoric, in retrospect, was far more respectful and positive as parties touted the benefits, power and assurances of positive results in the achievement of what were much more goals-in-common. 

This past year…this past administration…has been rife with the shouting-down of opposition, of frightening citizens with Cassandraic hyperbole and threats of the end of an “America” that has become Balkanized by spectacular self-interest as reflected in our leadership and laws, by the fear and panicked anger of vast segments of our population who sense looming an end to a way of life and are now seeking someone or something to blame for it other than the relentless inevitability of cultural and technological evolution. 

Evolutions for which our educational systems have not prepared our citizens; the taking care of which it is no secret that our country is not committed to taking care.

I am eminently trepidatious about today, tonight and the future.

Although, stepping back; I perceive, below the sturm und drang of political party rhetoric, an inexorable forward cultural enlightenment taking place. 

I can only speak from my perspective; though since Marriage Equality became reality in the US (and may it ever remain so), I have sensed and seen an enlightened cultural evolution seeming to manifest more and more rapidly among the aspirational generations. 

After Marriage Equality, it seems the dominoes began to fall with increasing rapidity, and theretofore peripheral issues and people began to surface and speak and be heard. Transgender, transexual, nonbinary, genderqueer: what seems an ever-increasing spectrum of pronouns and titles for us to keep abreast as individuals self-identify, appear and add ever more facets and colors to our societies.

It’s wonderfully exciting to see all this taking place.

At the same time, the Gen X’s, Millennial and post-Millennial generations (Gen Y, Gen Next, iGen, Gen Z…) seem to me to share a powerful and pervasive ethos of a higher integrity and openness perhaps than those who came before. These generations seem, in my experience, adamant in support of diversity, equality, transparency in business and politics (watch out, Dinosaurs!) and above all a commitment to the planet and the people on it…far more than any generations that preceded. 

They almost seem predisposed to vocal activism. (Perhaps a generalization, as are so many such assessments, but in this case I think far more apt than most.)

(See “The Boomennial Age”.)

Concurrently, the power of movements born of these Thinkers has already altered the fabric of our society. 

  1. #BlackLivesMatter
  2. #MeToo
  3. #OscarsSoWhite
  4. #TakeAKnee
  5. #IStandWithAhmed
  6. #ShoutYourAbortion
  7. #BringBackOurGirls
  8. #CoronaVirus
  9. #NoBanNoWall
  10. #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor

Scores, hundreds more movements and responses to societal and human rights wrongs do not go unaddressed. And my sense is that the pressure will only increase and continue. 

Another few years and I think we may yet see a profound revamping of our political systems. Whatever happens, today… If we do sink, should we hit the feared nadir, I believe could possibly be the Last Time. On the brighter possibility; if the voters do turn aside the tide of hate, today; it may very will be the beginning of aggressively reformed society: reformed by the coming of age of a majority of New Thinkers who truly want the world to be a better place. 

And they are willing to put themselves on the line for it. 

And, by the way, how about The Pope! Gay people “…have a right to a family.” Muse on that for awhile.

So, yes. I am worried about today. But, the tearful, anxious, impassioned faces of young people on all platforms is heartening to me with what may happen today, and will happen tomorrow. With that, I remain hopeful; and if we are defeated, I am in hopes it will be this one, last time. 

The clean-up will be immense; it will be cleaned up.

IMHO.

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The first printing of “IMEx – In My Experience | Secrets of making ‘em cheer, weep … and sometimes write checks” has sold out. In the works is the Field Edition. Exact same book, just ⅓ smaller, much lighter and easier to take into the field, class or office. Coming soon. Copies can be reserved, now at kile@kileozier.com