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This Is Us

How can we best tell our story to the world?

According to Steven Spielberg, we can best tell our story by projecting it with the people in it…along with a little imagination and uncertainty.

Spielberg, a forthcoming HBO documentary, is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, I (and most likely everyone else on the planet) cannot wait to see this in-depth look into everything Steven Spielberg. The man is a cinematic and storytelling trailblazer. On the other hand, the fact that an in-depth documentary about Steven Spielberg’s life has been filmed, produced and is ready for showtime HBO means that he’s lived a full life and that it’s now time to just reflect…?

Fortunately, the greatest filmmaker in history (my humble opinion) isn’t slowing down one bit.

Ready Player One, directed by the man, the myth and the legend, is set for release with high-anticipation next year. Then, of course, the famed director has another Indiana Jones film. Plus, he has at least a couple more Jurassic World’s to produce and guide during the next several years.

That’s the good news. Now here’s some more. We won’t just be entertained by Steven Spielberg’s imaginative movies about virtual reality, genetically modified dinosaurs causing chaos in the modern world or an adventurous professor from the mid-20th century. Moreover, we’ll be entertained by stories about, well, ourselves. That’s the true storytelling genius of Spielberg.

He suspends focus on himself in order for all of us to believe in ourselves in ways we never thought possible.

And an accompanying John Williams score doesn’t hurt either…

Spielberg premieres on HBO on Saturday, October 7th.

Rule #21: When Possible, Change the World

The United States of America is struggling. Among its many, many issues, the workforce is experiencing a paradigm shift. The world we live in today is collectively causing and forcing friction with the nation’s population by forcing 20th century norms and preconceived notions to crash, coincide and adapt to 21st century promise, mystery and reality. The debate of public vs. private extends beyond technology and is a dilemma that will long hang over our society like an overcast cloud for years to come.

“The Internship” is a buddy comedy starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn who star together in a movie for the first time since their 2005 smash hit and cult classic, “Wedding Crashers.” The opening sequence will undoubtedly get you psyched out of your mind for the long-awaited comeback!

It’s a film about great watch salesmen, Billy (Vince) and Nick (Owen), who discover during a pitch at a fancy restaurant that their company had recently folded. The time had arrived for two stellar salesmen of the 20th century to slowly walk into the strange playground of the 21st century.

The premise of the movie is that they are two individuals, who are not tech savvy, that apply for internships at technological giant Google.

Let the hilarity ensue.

Not only does the story contrast and expose generational differences between ’70s kids and Millennials, but it presents a pretty fantastic template for the immediate and far off future:

The competitive internship program.

“The Internship” has, without revealing any critical story or plot details, shown that a competitive internship program with a pool of 5-10 or even up to 100 people (depending on the company) could be the perfect test for employers to assess, judge and determine if an applicant or applicants are truly qualified for a job at their company. Individual and team exercises, plus voluntary employee interactions, would ultimately determine if an offer would be extended for employment.

Instead of relying so heavily on a résumé and a singular interview, an engaging competition of sorts could be the bridge between not only employers and hopeful applicants, but also the bridge between the 20th century and the increasingly interactive and connected 21st century.

Yes, it’s true that most companies do not have the free flowing cash for such an extravagant program like portrayed in “The Internship,” but it should be used as a template to varying degrees. It has been reported that companies are cutting back on training, which contributes to an applicant having to try to unrealistically meet 100% of the advertised skills for a job opening. Even with a great education, not everybody is perfectly fit for a job in most any industry on their first day. There is a learning curve. An important quality to consider is if the person applying is like a fine wine:  great core knowledge with exciting flavors/skills that only get better with each passing day.

Competitive internship programs, for certain industries, could provide the public with one of the most critical qualities missing from most of today’s employers: an opportunity. Just to give people a chance to try, learn and shine.

That’s really what most people are yearning for these days.

Correction: That’s what most Americans are yearning for these days.

After all, the concept of opportunity was part of the foundation of the United States of America. It’s time for a 21st century reboot of that brilliant idea.

It could work.

Our Nation’s Artists

This morning I needed a light jacket. Normally, this isn’t a big deal except for the fact it’s June 7th. I guess Mother Nature decided to take a refreshing breath mint or two and blow her new-found coolness across the Midwest.

Just a little global cooling to make Al Gore go crazy for a few days.

Inexplicably, this cold front in June sparked random curiosity and wonderment of Americans from yesteryear…like yesteryear.

Having always been fascinated with history, this sudden reflective contemplation to the past patriots who lived in this country one hundred to two hundred and some odd years ago is not too surprising a revelation. Still, it’s noteworthy to think so far back in time without taking part in a tour or sitting in a history class.

Speaking of a historical tour, I have fond memories of visiting Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, soaking in all the astonishing buildings, artifacts, food, people, gardens, modes of transportation and anything and everything found within its parameters. Uniquely American, it opened my eyes into the improbable inception of the United States of America and the ambiguous journey everyone took part in together in building the foundations of a new nation. An insightful quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. illustrates this courageous endeavor taken by our adventurous ancestors.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

When my family and I visited Colonial Williamsburg, it was summer and it was hot. Not warm with a light cloud of humidity or it might be hot enough to swim, but, “Dog Days of Summer” hot. While partaking in the exercise of sweating and walking, there were countless Revolutionary soldiers and townspeople dressed in traditional late-1770s clothing. The attire was heavy and assuredly sweltering, yet they never showed discomfort. And here I was, in shorts and a t-shirt, feeling hot and uncomfortable. I made damn sure to shape up and wipe my brow when walking by the cannon operators!

Like Washington, D.C., Colonial Williamsburg should be a national requirement for all students to visit. The sights and sounds are spectacular and together creates an unforgettable experience and appreciation for our forefathers and foremothers and everything they endured to build the great nation we live in today. When it was hot, they sat on their porch or ran around outside and enjoyed the company of their family and neighbors. Some maintained their luscious gardens filled with colorful flowers and delicious fruits and vegetables while others socialized in stores around the town they all helped to build and support.

Despite the fact Colonial Williamsburg is not a quick stroll down the road, the Ohio Village is within a short driving distance. This is a place frozen in time dating back to the 19th century. Located in the shadows of Crew Stadium, the Ohio History Center and this thing they call a, “freeway,” the Ohio Village offers its patrons a momentary break from 21st century realities to visit the forever sought after and admired, “much simpler time.”

When it was too hot to stay inside, they went outside. When it was too cold to be outside, they stayed in, bundled up and made a fire. And when it was dark and they needed light, they lit candles. Our American ancestors were resourceful and did what they had to, whatever that meant. What’s more is whether it was during the 18th or 19th centuries, Americans have managed to pull off truly remarkable achievements. They took a blank page on a shaky canvas and, during their time, added their individual paint strokes and color splashes to create the foundation of the masterpiece we all see and enjoy today known as the United States of America.

Pretty cool, right? I get chills just thinking about it.

And come the fourth day in July, I know I’ll get goosebumps in the unrelenting heat while gazing up at fireworks in the same way our nation’s forefathers and foremothers did: celebrating the incomparably brilliant idea that is the American dream.