Making Homemade Sushi – How to Make a Simple "Western" Nitsume (Sweet Eel Sauce)

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Unagi, or freshwater eel, is one of my favorite ingredients used in sushi, whether it’s a western-style Dragon Roll, unagi nigiri or a simple eel makizushi. While creating my latest batch of homemade and somewhat improvised sushi I got the hankering for the sweet, sumptuous nitsume eel sauce and decided to whip some up, even though I didn’t have any unagi on hand to work with. Turns out I didn’t have very many Japanese ingredients on hand at all, so I had to “westernize” the recipe somewhat. The result, to my great surprise, was slightly different from conventional nitsume though no less delicious, and went very well with my makeshift Rainbow rolls.

This recipe is great to make if you don’t have a lot of Asian ingredients on hand to work with but still are in the mood for a sweet, yummy, easy-to-make sauce to use with sushi.

Recipe for “Western” Nitsume

  • 1 c. Dashi / fish stock / fish-flavored water
  • 1/4 c. Sake / Red wine
  • 1/8 c. shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1/4 c. sugar

Ingredients Explained

In all honesty, I don’t even know what “Dashi” is. I believe it is some kind of seafood-based Japanese cooking stock, but don’t quote me on that. All I know is that the original recipe that I based this one on listed this as the primary ingredient, but I didn’t have any on hand. As a substitute I took some Korean shrimp paste stuff I had in my fridge and mixed it with water, then strained the pieces out and used the flavored broth instead.

Since this isn’t traditional nitsume anyway, I imagine you could use anything “fishy” you have on hand to flavor plain water with if you don’t have Dashi (a small, minced piece of whatever fish you’re using in your sushi; the water drained off of a can of tuna; the tuna itself, mixed into the water and strained; perhaps even some chopped up nori.) We’re not connoisseurs here, we just want something that tastes good. If you don’t have anything suitable on hand, then just use plain water. It won’t ruin the sauce, it’ll just turn out a bit different.

Additionally, the original recipe used Sake but I didn’t have that, so I just used some of the cheap (REALLY cheap), boxed red wine that I did have. This recipe is also halved from the original because I wasn’t sure how it was going to come out, but now that I know how good it is I have no problem suggesting that you double the amounts listed here.

Cooking Instructions This is the easiest part — dump everything into a sauce pan and let it sit on low heat for about an hour. As far as I could tell mine wasn’t quite at a simmer, just steaming. Stirring is also probably advised, but I literally put everything in the pot and forgot to even stir the sugar in, and it turned out none the worse for wear. The original recipe advises reducing the original volume by about 80% but it’s really personal preference. It will not thicken until it’s taken off the heat and allowed to cool, at which point it will assume a viscosity similar to maple syrup.

I hope some of you have found this recipe beneficial, even if sushi “purists” may scoff at it. This is a very simple, easy and tasty sauce that you can prepare ahead or set on the stove and forget while you’re preparing the rest of your sushi.

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Source by MJ Austin

Demons In A Dream House: The Sober Truth Behind The Amityville Horror

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Paranormal researchers — if they are prudent — trust little of what’s heard, and nearly nothing of what is read. Sensational stories, one finds, particularly of the supernatural sort, are catnip for a media often geared more to profit than truth.

Such was the case with Amityville.

The evolution of this infamous story traces back to November 13th, 1974: Ronald De Feo, the Long Island son of a prosperous car dealer, fired eight shots from a.35 caliber rifle, killing his mother, father, two brothers and two sisters as they lay sleeping in their spacious, three-story Dutch Colonial home.

News of the murders sent ripples of anxiety through the normally placid town, lifting the floodgates of speculation. Unexplainable wax drippings –leading a trail between rooms in the house — evoked dark murmurs of Satanic ritual and sacrifice. Others pondered the mystery of how De Feo managed to commit each of the six murders without arousing his victims from sleep, asking why no one in the neighborhood had heard gunshots, and why all six victims were found lying face-down in death.

As Amityville’s gossip mill ground overtime, prosecutors in the case hunted for a motive. They did not need to look far. Abundant evidence showed De Feo harbored a deep-seated malice for his family along with a “thirst for money”: prosecutors cinched their supposition of robbery with the discovery of a $200, 000 life insurance policy and an empty cash strongbox found hidden beneath the saddle of a closet in the family’s master bedroom.

At first protesting his innocence, De Feo finally broke down and confessed. “It all started so fast,” he told police. “Once I started, I just couldn’t stop.” He mentioned he had heard “voices” just prior to the murders and upon looking around saw no one there, and assumed “God was speaking to him”. William Weber, De Feo’s attorney, pushed for an insanity plea, but lost. On December 4, 1975, De Feo was sentenced to twenty-five years to life on each of the six counts of second-degree murder for which he had been convicted.

Many residents expected that with De Feo’s conviction the ugly fog of sensationalism which descended upon Amityville would at last begin to disperse.

But it didn’t; in fact, it thickened.

George and Kathy Lutz, a young, married couple from Deer Park, Long Island, were busy house-hunting. George worked as a land surveyor, and earned a respectable income. Lately, however, business had fallen off sharply, placing him in a financial squeeze. Of the 70 houses he and his wife had inspected, the De Feo house about the only one they found they could afford. Undaunted by its tragic history, high taxes and heating costs, they purchased it, and moved in with their three children on December 18, 1975.

The Lutzes had bought the house for $80,000, half of which was held in escrow by the title company because of a legal complication tied to the De Feo family estate. Sporting six bedrooms, 3-1/2 baths, an enclosed porch, and a matching boathouse and garage, it was — in the Lutzes’ words — a dream come true. That dream, as much of the world already knows, was rudely shattered when, 28 days later, the Lutzes fled their home, declaring it was infested by demonic forces.

Newspapers such as Newsday and the now defunct Long Island Press splashed coverage on the story, reporting that De Feo’s defense attorney, William Weber, had been introduced to the Lutzes in January by “mutual friends” and was now providing them “legal advice.”

The Lutzes, Weber said, had expressed concern over “strange noises, doors and windows which opened mysteriously, inexplicable changes in room temperature, and sudden personality changes from pleasantness to anger”, in the Amityville house. He added he had discovered that the land on which the house was built in 1928 was once a “forbidden” burial gound, and that one of the original owners had the name of a cultist who appears in colonial folklore.

Based on the Lutzes’ paranormal complaints, and providing an early whiff of foul play, Weber announced he was seeking a new trial in which he planned to argue that Ronald De Feo had been suborned into murdering his family through “demonic possession.”

In the spring of 1977 — and ironically enough in Good Housekeeping – journalist Paul Hoffman presented a chronological summary of the Lutze’s alleged experiences in a piece entitled “Our Dream House Was Haunted.”

Hoffman had conducted extensive interviews with the family, and provided a dozen or so examples of paranormal activity that supposedly terrorized them into leaving. Many of the examples, however, were surprisingly mild in nature: senses of “unseen forces”, temperature changes, strange noises and odors, mood shifts, episodes of obsessive-compulsive behavior — unsettling, no doubt, but far from extraordinary.

As for physical evidence, the Lutzes mentioned “black stains” that appeared on bathroom fixtures they could not remove and “trickles of red” that occasionally ran from some of the keyholes. The front door, which George Lutz claimed he’d double-latched earlier one evening, was discovered “wide open” the next morning; windows opened and closed by themselves. And once, George Lutz claimed, he awoke to find his wife sliding across the bed “as if by levitation.”

Not long after Hoffman’s article hit newsstands, Jay Anson, a screenwriter noted for his work on The Exorcist, conjured up real terror with his book The Amityville Horror: A True Story — creating an instant bestseller.

Within just a year, hardback sales of the book climbed to 3.5 million, and a movie — staring James Brolin and Margot Kidder, and penned by Anson himself — followed, and became a box-office smash, raking in over $40 million in one month in New York alone. Anson and the Lutzes split all proceeds 50-50, making the Amityville story, not only one of the most publicized, but one of the most profitable in the history of the paranormal.

What instantly struck me while reading Anson’s 200-page book was how dramatic and varied the phenomena had become since it had been reported to journalist Paul Hoffman earlier that same year. This kind of improvement — experience has taught me — is a sure sign of trouble.

How could anyone, for example, believe the Lutzes would have forgotten to tell Hoffman about something as shocking as a red-eyed pig named “Jodie,” a ceramic lion that attacked and bit them — or green, gelatinous ectoplasm that oozed down from the ceiling? If anyone’s memory is that bad, then it obviously cannot be trusted at all!

Smelling a large rat in the woodpile, and anxious to expose what more and more I came to believe had been a tragic hoax, I began an official investigation into the case in November of 1977. Working in collaboration with a New York photojournalist named Rick Moran, I studied Anson’s book carefully, and over a period of several months followed a trail of evidence that eventually forced the case to crumble under an avalanche of contradictions, half-truths, exaggerations — and, in some cases, outright lies. In reality, one could devote an entire volume to all of the discrepancies dislodged during our investigation; in this condensed report, we will confine ourselves to the most glaring.

A central figure in Anson’s book is a priest from the chancery of the Rockville Centre Diocese. Anson credits this individual with a baffling array of hair-raising experiences, masking his identity with the name Father Frank Mancuso. The priest, it is claimed, was asked by the Lutzes to bless their new home and, upon entering the front door, was confronted by a disembodied voice commanding him to leave. Later, as the priest was travelling along the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens, his car was forced upon the shoulder of the road, the hood flew open, and, as he attempted to brake the car, it stalled. Shortly thereafter, Mancuso was supposedly afflicted with abnormally high temperatures accompanied by red, blistery splotches which appeared on the palms of his hands.

At the same time, reports Anson, the putrefying odor of human excrement pervaded the priests’ quarters at Sacred Heart and caused other priests to flee the rectory.

The priest — whose real name is Ralph Pecoraro — was forced to leave his practice in New York as an ecclesiastical judge in the wake of massive publicity stirred by the release of the book. Pecoraro filed a lawsuit against the Lutzes for “invasion of privacy,” claiming that was reported in Anson’s book concerning him had been “grossly exaggerated.” The suit was eventually settled out of court.

In addition, a fellow clergyman who alleged he was with Pecoraro on the evening of that fateful drive on the Van Wyck claims they experienced nothing more than an ordinary flat tire! The impact of the vehicle as it struck a curb reportedly caused some minor damage opening the hood and door, but the reason for the accident was an old car in disrepair — not the intervention of unseen forces, as Anson implies.

In a final blow to the story, Father Alfred Casola, pastor of Sacred Heart, dismisses the report of a pervasive odor in the rectory as “nonsense.” Priests present at the time of the supposed incident also have no recollection of any such stench and deny being forced at any time to leave the building.

More troubling inconsistencies emerge with regard to Sergeant Pat Cammorato of the Amityville Police Department. Shortly after the publication of Anson’s book, Cammorato found himself burdened with chronic problems over trespassing and vandalism at the Amityville house. Although by then the house was occupied by new owners (Jim and Pat Cromarty) who had not reported any psychic activity, this seemed to have done little to dampen the enthusiasm of the steady stream of thrill-seekers who nonetheless came at all hours of the day and night to inspect it.

Cammorato’s headaches were compounded by claims made in Anson’s book that the police officer once conducted an “official investigation” into reports of psychic disturbances at the Lutz’s home during which he witnessed a wrecked garage door, the snow prints of a “cloven-hoofed” animal, and was overcome with “strong vibrations” upon entering the house. Cammorato punctures deep holes in these claims, and hauled out police logs to show why they couldn’t possibly be true: on the very day Anson claims Cammorato visited the Lutzes, the logs indicate Cammorato was out on sick leave for surgery. The logs also testify to the fact that the Lutzes had not contacted the police once during their entire stay in the house, only afterwards, at that time requesting that the house be watched on account “it was empty.”

For me, however, a nagging question about Seargeant Cammorato remains. Was he implicated in Anson’s story merely by accident? Or was there possibly an ulterior motive? An incident regarding Ronald De Feo and Cammorato that occurred in the summer of 1973 suggests a possible answer.

While driving home from work one evening, Cammorato stopped at the De Feo house to talk to Ronald (whose nickname was Butch). Commarato had known the De Feo’s since they had first come to Amityville, and his daughter was a good friend of Ronald’s sister, Allison. “You know, Butch, we’re having an awful lot of larcenies of outboard motors,” he told him. “We have reason to believe you may be involved. If you are involved, you bettter stop because we’re going to get you.” “I don’t steal outboards,” De Feo replied.

Near the end of September, Cammorato spotted Suffolk Police arresting De Feo outside the latter’s home. The officers were standing next to the open trunk of De Feo’s car, which contained an outboard motor. Cammorato stopped to get the details. The seventeen-hundred-dollar motor had been stolen from a Marina in Copiague. Although Cammorato had nothing to do with the collar, he couldn’t resist saying something. “See, Ronnie,” he told De Feo, “we did get you.” A few weeks later, the sergeant’s daughter told him that Butch De Feo had threatened his life. The sergeant phoned Ronald De Feo, Sr., who blew up at his son.

Did Anson learn of De Feo’s contempt for Cammorato by entering into a secret collusion with him?

Alex Tannous, a noted psychic, recalls an interesting visit he made to the Lutzes’ Amityville house in the spring of 1976. While there, he says he could sense nothing of a paranormal nature. Deciding to try psychometry, he asked the Lutzes if they might happen to have anything personally connected to De Feo. He was handed a sample, he says, of De Feo’s handwriting that he was shocked to see was part of a legal contract outlining he distribution of profits from a proposed book and movie. The experience served to reinforce his original feelings that the matter was a collective hoax.

The “horror” in Anson’s book about Amityville is supplied, in large measure, by manifestations of physical damage — at times mushrooming into epidemic proportions. Throughout the story are countless reports of damage to the house, garage and grounds we are told were fixed by outside repairman. Proof of this, however, is notably absent.

The book states that George Lutz contacted the services of the same repairmen and locksmiths that were originally used by the De Feo family. Checks, however, made with these businesses failed to confirm the commission of any such repairs at the Lutz home. More importantly, my investigation into this case with Rick Moran culminated in a detailed inspection of the entire house and no signs of damage were visible anywhere – no new hardware, no new locks, and no signs of repairs to any doors.

A comic perversion of logic was never more striking than in Anson’s report of how George frantically nailed boards across the doorway to one room he felt was most negatively “tainted” by the surrounding forces of evil. We could not help noticing, however, that the door to this room, as do all doors on that floor of the house, opens inwardly — and, once again, showed no signs of damage.

In another scene from Anson’s book, Cathy Lutz hurls a chair at a red-eyed entity through her daughter’s bedroom window; yet there are no signs of any such damage and that particular window is at least as old as the others on the floor.

As for the third-floor window which the Lutzes often claimed “opened by itself,” Moran and I found it surprisingly easy to reproduce this effect merely by stomping our feet in the center of the room. The window, it turns out, is counter-weighted improperly, with the weights heavier than they need be. The result is that any moderate-sized vibration will cause the window to open if they are not latched properly; that latch is broken now and was broken when the Lutzes lived at 110 Ocean Avenue. On interviewing the De Feo housekeeper we learned that finding the window open was no surprise, as it happened even when the De Feo’s lived there.

A prominent feature of Anson’s tale is a “secret” red room, hidden behind a bookcase in the basement of the Amityville house. The room is approximately 2 feet by 3 feet, with head room too low for anyone – except perhaps a hunchback mouse — to stand in. In reality, it is part of an existing gravity-fed water system from an earlier house built on the lot. The land was originally owned by Jesse Purdy, who was then in his 90s and lived in the house that once stood at 110 Ocean Avenue. This house was moved in the early 1920s to lot several hundred yards away. Part of the water storage system for the old house, the “secret” room is now used to give access to the water pipes that otherwise would have been walled up. Why is it painted red? Local neighborhood children said they painted it that color. As they indicated this is where they customarily stored their toys, red seemed an appropriately bright and cheerful color. Anson, though, blithely ignores these facts, and links the room to images of blood, demons and animal sacrifice.

In discussing the physical phenomena Anson claims held the Lutzes in a visegrip of fear for 28 days, I would certainly be remiss were I not to make mention of the infamous green. gelatinous substance said to have nearly flooded their home. This material has undergone a radical change in both form and color since I first saw it mentioned in Paul Hoffman’s article in Good Housekeeping, in which the Lutzes witnessed a keyhole in one room oozing a “red, blood-like substance, a few drops at a time.” In Anson’s expanded version, however. the material looks more like lime gelatin, although George Lutz tasted it, and remarked that it was not. The substance, according to Anson, ran in such quantity that it had to be taken out in bucketfuls and dumped into the Amityville River. Here again we are faced with a truly unfathomable mystery: why would George Lutz be so curious as to taste and smell the offending material, but not curious enough to save some for analysis?

Anson closes his book of horrors with a description of a dramatic seance conducted at the Lutz home on February 18th, 1976. Seated at the dining room table were a handful of psychics, one newsman, and a representative from he Psychical Research Foundation (PRF) in Durham, North Carolina. The participants, according to Anson, reported impressions which ranged from glimpses of dark menacing shadows to shortness of breath, heart palpitations, numbness, quickened pulse rates, and nauseous unrest. Except for PRF’s field investigator, psychics present at the seance, says Anson, were firm in their belief that the house on Ocean Avenue harbored a demonic spirit and could only be removed by an exorcist.

In contacting Jerry Solvin, Project Director of the Psychical Research Foundation, however, I was informed that while the book’s description of the seance is basically accurate, Anson, Solvin charges, tends to “select facts to support his own conclusions.” Solvin, for instance, dismisses Anson’s claim that George Kekoris, PRF’s representative at the time, suddenly became “violently ill” and was forced to quit the room. Solvin claims he momentarily became “queasy”, but does not find this odd given the hot, stuffy, “emotionally-charged” situation. Moreover, he explains, the room was small — approximately 12 feet by 15 feet — and more than 20 persons were present, including a film crew using hot movie lights. Solvin also explained that members of the Psychical Research Foundation did not conduct a full investigation of the Amityville case for two reasons: 1.) the family had moved out of the house at an early stage, reducing in PRF’s opinion the probability of continued activity; 2.) the phenomena reported were far too “subjective” to be reliably measured.

Given the foregoing, it seems impossible to escape the conclusion that Anson’s account of what transpired at Amityville was largely, if not entirely, one of fiction. This is based not only on conflictual evidence and testimony, but on disturbing revelations published by People magazine and other sources in 1979. William Weber, Ronald De Feo’s defense attorney, announced that year he was suing the Lutzes for “breach of agreement” and for a share of the Lutz profits on grounds they had “reneged on a deal with him and another writer.” “I know this book’s a hoax,” Weber confessed. “We created this horror story over many bottles of wine. I told George Lutz that Ronnie De Feo used to call the neighbor’s cat a pig. George was a con artist; he improvised on that in the book he sees a demon pig through a window.”

While under oath, George Lutz began to repudiate some of the book’s more spectacular claims, accusing Anson of abusing his creative license. A solid wooden door which, according to Anson for example, was wrenched off its hinges by a “demonic force” was in reality, Lutz said, a frail metal screen door which had blown off during a winter storm.

Lutz also deflated Anson’s account of the infamous green “slime”, noting it was more “like jello”, and that there had only been small “dabs” of it which appeared here and there.

Being a charitable sort, I will concede the possibility the Lutzes may, in fact, have been telling the truth when they first reported their experiences of light paranormal phenomena to the press in February of 1976, and to Paul Hoffman the following year. Allowing for this, however, hardly dissuades parapsychologists from consigning the case to the circular file.

So badly tainted is the affair, so slippery the characters involved, that in the end one is left wondering as to who the demons of Amityville really were.

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Source by Peter A Jordan

Best Article Writing – 3 Characteristics of a Good Article Writing

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When does one consider an article material to be of good quality? Are there any traits that an article writer must possess in order to come out good article writing? If there are indeed characteristics of a good article, how can then one achieve those? And if there so called made article writers, how can then one be a good article writer?

Article Writing is not only for made article writers nor has it been designed for born article writers. Article writing, when properly planned and carefully thought usually results to a good article material. In detail, should one wants to achieve a successful article material, the following tips are being suggested:

o Just like any other writing endeavor, planning the layout for the material is a basic characteristic. In planning, you will need to make a good choice as to what sot of topic or subject you are going to engage with. Asking questions like, how far is my knowledge about this? Do I bear interest with this? How will this topic appeal to my targeted clients? These questions shall be asked in the process of selecting the topic that you will be writing. In so doing, after the process, the best topic shall come out.

o In writing the actual content, make sure that you have all your resources ready and prepared beginning with the heading or the title of the article material and the components that will make up the entire body content of the material. It is to be remembered, that when writing an article, an attractive, catchy title is mandatory and that goes same through with the content. Although, with the content, the writer must be able to extract the most high quality of information bearing traits of relevance, pertinence, timeliness, freshness, uniqueness, and utility.

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Source by Sean Mize

Sales Letter Example That Sells

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Sales Letter Example That Sells, No Matter The Industry

A sales letter is the page designed to sell your product. You can have a fantastic product, but you won’t earn a nickel if your sales letter lacks sizzle.

Your sales letter should grab a visitor’s attention, prove you provide a solution, remove risk, state a call to action, and hopefully (if done well) generate a sale.

Here is an example of how we write a sales letter…

All great sales letters include the following:

1. Catchy Headers and Subheaders

2. Unique Selling Proposition

3. Stated Product Benefits

4. Testimonials

5. Special Offers

6. Digital Covers

7. Video Demos

8. Exceptional Guarantees

9. Trust Building Techniques

10. Bonuses

11. Follow-Ups

12. P.S.

Catchy Headers and Subheaders

Your main header, also referred to as a H1 tag, can:

o Target a pain point. “Are You Losing Your Hair?”

o Highlight a benefit. “Now You Can Re-grow Your Hair… Without Chemicals!”

o Invoke curiosity. “Can Broccoli Prevent Hair Loss?”

o Include keywords.

Your subheaders will follow the same format as your header. These two work best when they attack the reader from two different angles. Your headline could invoke curiosity, while the sub-headline makes a bold claim like this “Now You Can Re-grow Your Hair… Without Chemicals!”

Example Headlines for a Sales Letter

o Who Else Wants _______?

o The Secret of _________

o Here’s How You Can (benefit) Without (problem)…

o Little Known Ways to _____________

o Get Rid of ________________ Once And For All!

o WARNING: This Letter Is For Serious __________ Only.

o Are You Still Suffering From _________?

o Are You Making These Same Mistakes?

o At Last! The (credibility indicator like “Bestselling” or “As seen on Oprah”) System That Is Revolutionizing ___________

o Save Yourself 30% on _________ By Following This Simple Steps

o How I Went From (loser) to (winner) in Just 2 Weeks!

o How To (Cook Thai Food) Like The (Locals)

o 56 Ways ____________Saves You Time, Work and Money

Highlight Your Unique Selling Proposition

This is where you subtly demonstrate to your reader that your competition sucks. To do this, examine your competitor’s sales letters, noting the benefits they offer- and more importantly, those they lack. Even if the two of you are selling the same product, you can position your offer in very different ways. Are they offering a money back guarantee? Do they fail to cover a specific topic that your explain in detail? Discover your competitor’s weaknesses and demonstrate them to your prospects… Chances are, your prospects will shop around before committing, and it pays to plant the seeds of doubt in their minds about your competitors. Remember that subtlety is the key; you don’t want to smear yourself as well!

Focus on Benefits, Not Features

Don’t rattle off the features of your product; explain to your prospect how they will benefit from it. For example, if you’re selling air conditioners, people aren’t interested in the features (e.g. voltage, wattage, what type of plastic it’s made of, etc.) they want to keep cool during summer!

To ensure you’re listing benefits instead of features, ask yourself “How does this feature help my prospect?” List your features, then add the word “which” after it: whatever follows is a benefit. For example:

o Low power requirements, which lowers your energy bill.

o New polymer plastic casing, which cools your house faster than traditional models.

o Timer setting, which saves you the hassle of getting up in the middle of the night to turn it off.

I’ve heard this phrase so many times I practically recite it in my sleep, and yet, so many people forget this simple law of copywriting. Bullet points tend to work best in sales letters, as they are easily scanned by readers. Keep in mind that your prospects aren’t interested in every single benefit your product offers, just the ones that apply to them. By listing off dozens of benefits, you are increasing the likelihood your prospects will come across one or two main benefits they are most interested in, and buy your product.

Include Testimonials

My wife and I were on Ko Phi Phi Island in Thailand (where the movie “The Beach” was filmed) getting ready to grab a bite. While looking at a map, a couple of guys came up to us and recommended a restaurant saying, “This is the best restaurant we’ve been to on the island. You should check it out.”

Guess where we went for dinner?

We didn’t personally know these guys, yet we trusted them. This demonstrates what is known as social proof – people making decisions based on someone else’s experience. If you’re interested in something and you see that it has worked for others, you are more likely to trust them and-case in point- buy it. Testimonials are a great way to demonstrate social proof to your prospects; they can see for themselves that your product works and provides value to real people without you forcing it down there throats. Rather than singing your own praises, why not let your satisfied customers do it for you?

Here’s two ways to gather testimonials:

1. When you’re first testing your product (that is, the product you haven’t created yet) ask people you know personally if they can provide testimonials citing your expertise in a specific area applicable to your product.

2. Once you create and sell your product, follow up with the customer via email and ask for a testimonial. Here’s what I use:

Dear ,

Thanks for taking our free course on . Many others have written to tell us how this course has helped , and I sincerely hope you feel the same way.

I’d like to ask a favor. We’re always trying to improve our course, and would greatly appreciate your feedback. If it’s OK with you, please take a moment and jot down your thoughts in the box below. I promise not to include any personal information other than your name and city.

Feel free to say whatever you feel. If you have some ideas on how to improve our course, we’re all ears.

Thanks , and I hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards,

Testimonial Box

I understand that has the right to use these comments in their marketing material. I also understand will NOT use any personal information with the exception of my name and city.

Comments:

Make sure to include a personal email address you check frequently in order to stay on top of testimonials as they come in.

Some people recommend offering an incentive in exchange for a testimonial such as a free report, though I’ve never had any trouble securing them with this form. Besides, if your free course isn’t good enough to warrant praise, you probably need to reconsider your product offer.

As the testimonials start to roll in, put them on your sales page as examples your product works!

People Don’t Buy Products… They Buy Offers

You may have the single greatest product in the history of humanity, guaranteed to cure a wide variety of ailments, train your dog to stop barking and initiate world peace, but without compiling it into a dynamite offer your product will fall flatter than a soufflé in a snowstorm.

Think of it this way: when you go to a fine dining restaurant, you’re not just paying for the flavor of the food; you’re also paying for the presentation. Your offer is the presentation; if your prospects don’t like the presentation they won’t even try your product. This is why creating a solid offer is imperative for your system’s success.

So what makes a good offer? Here are the key components you of a dynamite offer:

Have Quality Digital Cover

If you’re creating an information product that includes several downloadable CDs, create a professional looking digital CD cover for each disc. If you have an e-book or special report, create covers for those as well. Be sure to include screenshots of the content as well, which should be professionally formatted.

Include Video Demos

Videos are a great tool for marketing your product and should be used where possible- I’ve used video demos for several products with great success. The process is simple: use Camtasia to record you demonstrating your product while explaining its benefits, then upload the video to YouTube and embed the code they give you onto your website. We’ll talk about video marketing more in a bit.

Offer an Exceptional Guarantee

The main function of a guarantee is to remove all risk for your prospect. You want to make a guarantee so strong they’d feel like a fool for not buying your product. For example, you could offer a 60 day money back guarantee, and allow them to keep all the bonuses even if they decide to cancel. Another method is to allow your prospect to download your product for one dollar, and then charge their credit card the remainder seven days later if they don’t cancel.

Build Trust

When I receive emails from people asking me “Is this for real?” I know it’s time to build a higher level of trust with our prospects. Be sure to include links to your privacy policy, contact information and a brief bio about yourself.

Privacy Policy

Your privacy policy should go something like this:

: Privacy Policy

is committed to protecting the privacy and security of individuals that have contacted us. It is with that purpose in mind that we have formed our privacy guarantee. We realize that the concerns you bring to us are highly personal in nature. We assure you that all information shared will be managed within legal and ethical considerations.

Security of Information

We restrict access to personal information to employees who have a specific business purpose in utilizing your data. Our employees are trained in the importance of maintaining confidentiality and member privacy.

Accuracy of Information

We strive to ensure that our records contain accurate information. If there are any changes to your contact information (e.g. phone number, email, etc.), please email . We will promptly make any necessary changes to update your records.

Changes to Our Guarantee

We reserve the right to revise our privacy guarantee as our business needs change or as the law requires. If we revise our policy, we will provide you with the new policy at that time.

Web Links to Other Web Sites

Links to third party sites may be available from ‘http://www.yourwebsite.com’. Sites outside the ‘http://www.yourwebsite.com’ domain are NOT maintained by and is NOT responsible for the content or availability of linked sites. Recommended links are NOT an endorsement or guarantee of other sites or organizations and are simply provided for reference. The privacy and security policies of linked sites likely differ from and users are encouraged to review the privacy and security policies of these sites.

Contact Information

Buy a P.O. Box at your local post office and use that as your mailing address. Forty bucks a year provides peace of mind; you don’t want your home address advertised to hundreds of thousands of people, right?

It’s always better to include a phone number as well. You can leave your personal number, or get a redirect line through Skype or Vonage. If you receive lot of calls, consider signing up with a call center that will take messages and accept payments (there’s a list of them at the end of this book).

Bio

Including a bio is a great opportunity for you to sell yourself and build trust amongst readers, many of whom want to know a little about a person before doing business with them. Bios typically include the following elements:

o Educational Background

o Professional Background

o Experience with Current Business/Product

o Special Achievements

o Personal Information (e.g. city of residence and family information)

o Picture

All of these are completely optional and depend on your comfort level with sharing information online. internet. There is a fine line between highlighting your knowledge, skills, and achievements and coming off as a blowhard. Remember: the point is to build trust, hopefully to the point of getting a sale.

Offer Bonuses

Once you’ve demonstrated your product provides value and removed risk with a strong guarantee, push your prospects off the fence with a few value packed bonuses. The bonus is all about perceived value; many people in fact buy products for the bonuses themselves! If you’re offering an e-book on Cajun cooking, offer a video that demonstrates how to make roux, and several other Cajun sauces. How about recipes for cocktails that are famous in the South? A list of the best restaurants in New Orleans? All of these are easy to create and dramatically improve the value of your product.

Follow-Up

Let’s say your prospects sign up for a free two week course on southern cooking. They are then presented with an offer to buy the full product. If they haven’t purchased it, they receive another e-mail, but with a twist: this could be a reduced price, an added bonus, or the chance to pay in installments.

State a P.S.

Believe it or not, many people will scroll to the bottom of a sales page first. I do it all the time… once I know I’m on a sales page, the first question that comes to mind is “How much?”

This is precisely why you shouldn’t list your price at the bottom of your sales letter. Instead, use a P.S., or just another headline that reinforces your value proposition. Rather than asking “How much?” they’ll scroll up to learn more about your offer.

This sales letter example should help you craft a profitable sales letter in as little as a week. Write a draft and sit on it for a few days so you can see it with fresh eyes.

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Source by Darcie Connell

Comedy Writing – How to Develop Your Own Comedy Style

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Comedy comes in several basic styles and each comedian usually concentrates on the particular style that suits them. That is not to say they can’t or don’t dabble in the other styles, but sometimes a particular style is so suited to a comedian – and they get so used to it, that they prefer not to change. Also, their audience expects a certain style of humor and would be disappointed if they changed.

Black comedy takes the naturally tragic or serious circumstances of life and makes jokes of them. While some people find this distasteful or upsetting, others find that it uplifts them to be able to laugh about a situation that would otherwise have them upset.

If you feel like poking fun at the establishment and ridiculing figures of authority, then satire is more your style of comedy. But satire does more than just make fun of politicians; it is usually a way of disagreeing with a political view and offering another one.

Parody works well with many writers and comedians. This is when they mimic another person, usually exaggerating them or their manner to the point of ridicule. The only trouble with this style of comedy is that the audience must know what the original was like before they can see the joke. Therefore, it’s not likely to work.

Many sitcoms are based on irony, where an unplanned situation results from a carefully planned scene. Many of the older types of comedy styles are still popular today, as we see with the Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin movies or short routines that were based on slapstick humor. They mainly rely on the use of funny antics and misunderstandings for their humor.

There are also the personal styles such as stand-up or improv (short for improvisation). These are more personality styles, because a comedian who is good at one rarely enjoys doing the other. The script for a stand-up comedian is well structured and he rarely departs from it. To do so would jeopardize the punch line or the humor of the routine. He usually works alone – or at least he takes care of all the funny parts, though others may be props in the scene.

Improv is largely unstructured with the comedian not relying on prepared material. With improv you must share the limelight and each one depends on the other a great deal. A comedian who has a disorganized personality will probably enjoy improv as they don’t need to be organized with their routine. The downside is that one can say or do something that is not in the script and so the other is caught at a disadvantage. While the audience might enjoy his discomfiture, he rarely does.

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Source by Laura S James

The Jarvis Method, Good Story Structure and StoryCraft

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As a fiction writer, I’ve discovered one of the hardest parts of creating a story isn’t in the writing process, it’s figuring out the best structure to tell the story. The majority of movie scripts use the three-act structure, sometimes throwing in a prologue and epilogue which essentially turns it into a five-act structure in the storytelling process.

But there’s more to story structure than just its acts: beginning, middle and end. The Jarvis method uses what all of “civilization’s great myths and literary classics have in common,” a well-plotted and structured story.

Pulling ideas from Joseph Campbell’s the “Hero with a Thousand Faces,” the Jarvis method asks you questions about your characters, her adversaries, her ordinary and extraordinary worlds and more. It helps you construct a plot line, themes and conflicts as it aids in full character development. Your story becomes better because of this method. It doesn’t write your story for you – it helps you develop it to its full potential.

StoryCraft software, StoryCraft Luxury and StoryCraft Screenplay all use these elements when helping design your story structure. You won’t find the Jarvis Method listed in any other kind of software as it is proprietary to this software.

John Jarvis, a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, also wrote scripts while working in Hollywood, is one of the creators behind this software. He designed the Jarvis Method to work with his software creating these mythological premises found in a good stories and movies today.

Writers argue about the validity of the “Hero’s Journey” in story today, but it still works — the proof is in the pudding. The blockbuster “Avatar” uses these mythological principles as it tells its story. It works because these mythological archetypes are present in our unconscious and deeply resonate with the movie fan or reader as they enjoy the story.

Deep myth and archetypes go beyond cultural or societal boundaries and touch something within all of us – no matter in which country we find ourselves. That’s why “Avatar” is such a great hit – because it’s in tune with the myth buried within: the “Hero’s Journey.”

It doesn’t matter whether your story is a fantasy, science fiction, drama, true story or epic — the “Hero’s Journey” works with all of them.

Find out how easy it is to use this software and incorporate the “Hero’s Journey” into your story by clicking on the link below to see a demo of how it works.

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Source by Laurie Brenner

Advantages In Using A Card Reader

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These days cameras with films are no longer in use, what most people use today are digital cameras where they can simply save the images they captured in a memory card and then later transfer it to their computer or laptop using a card reader. You can find memory cards of many different sizes, brands, colors and storage capacity and this primarily depends on the camera you are using since some of them have the secure digital or SD car others comes with multimedia card or the MMC while some uses the CF or compact flash card.

A multi-card reader that is compatible with many different types of memory card is actually the best option for you if you own a lot of cameras and surely it is worth investing. However, most if not all of the new models of laptops and computers are already equipped with card readers that can read any type of memory card.

A card-reader is otherwise known as a media player because you can browse your favorite photos, watch movies or videos plus you can listen to your favorite music from directly from your storage card. You simply have to attach your storage device to the card reader and then connect to the USB port of the computer and you’re ready to go!

Digital cameras today are lightweight and small in size and they are available in many different colors, however, they do not have the ability or feature to store memory but they have multiple ports where you can inserts storage cards and USB cord so that you can transfer files from your camera directly to your laptop or computer.

There are actually three main classifications or types of memory storage readers today. First is the single type which is only compatible with one kind of storage card, second is the multi-type where different memory cards can be inserted and last but not the least is the series card reader. Another advantages of these card readers is the fact that they are actually very easy to use and you simply need to attach them to the USB port of your computer and then you can already transfer pictures, movies and music without any problem.

Other brands would require you to install ac certain software or driver. But you do not have to worry about this because the driver or the software is more likely included in the package, if not then you can simply download it from the website of the manufacturer.

There are actually many advantages if you make use of a memory card and a card reader. Make use of one if you wish to experience those advantages.

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Source by Leslie Justice

Crime Fiction – Ten Cliches to Avoid

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Crime fiction is big business at the moment, but there are certain situations that have been overplayed so much that they have become genre cliches and everyone knows what to expect next. Here are ten cliches you should try to avoid and thoughts on how to subvert the cliches if you do decide to use them.

Cops and Doctors

You can find this perennial favorite in both crime and historical fiction. You'll see it in ER, NYPD Blue and in cross -genre shows like the X Files. The doctor says "OK but only for a minute" or "It's touch and go. The next few hours will be critical" or "It could be minutes, it could be days … you never know with coma cases" The policemen usually say nothing. They just stand around and chew the scenery in frustration.

Mulder and Scully actually spend a lot of their time hanging around in hospitals but you do not notice so much because the patients are not your run of the mill criminals or witnesses.

And that's the way to get around this one. Get a new twist and add some tension. Maybe the patient is related to either the cop or the doctor. Or maybe the doctor is an amateur detective and knows better than the cop? But beware of the "Dick Van Dyke" syndrome … that leads you into a whole new area of ​​cliche

The New Partner

In this scenario a veteran cop has to get a new partner after the death of his old one. The rookie is either keen as mustard and eager to please, or burned out from personal problems. It's probably best known in modern times from the Lethal Weapon movies. Screenwriters tried to add some tension early in the series by having Mel Gibson as a borderline lawsuit case, and thatave the first film an edge; but it was lost in later installments. By the time the fourth movie came came along they had fallen so deeply into a buddy movie relationship that all drama was lost in favor of light comedy.

You need to do some serious subverting if you want to use this situation. People have tried having a dog as the buddy in K9, having their Mom as the buddy in Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, and having foreigners as the buddy in big Arnie's Red Heat.

Outside the strictly police procedural we've also had the robot buddy in Robocop, the ghost buddy in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), the alien buddy in Alien Nation, the magician buddy in Jonathan Creek, the ex-serviceman buddy in both Sherlock Holmes and Poirot. The list just goes on and on.

However you do it, filling in the blanks is easy in this scenario. What you need is something new. How about having the cop being given a politician doing a meet-the-people stint. Or, on a completely tasteless but may be funny level, how about the schizophrenic cop who is his own buddy?

The Rookie in the Morgue

Once only the province of young students in Quincy, this one now turns up on TV in the CSI franchise or Crossing Jordan and in print in the Kay Scarpetta books. There are usually two ways this one can proceed. Either the young cop rushes out, hand at mouth, or he stands still, icily cold and detached, as the autopsy proceeds.

Inspector Morse tried to subvert this situation by having the old timer as the squamish one, but how about having the rookie as the pathologist?

Whatever you do, try not to give the pathologist a chance to be smug and patronizing while explaining large chunks of the plot. In the UK, this is overdone in Silent Witness and Waking the Dead, and is just a lazy way to advance the story.

The Cantankerous Lieutenant Chews Out The Cop

In films and television shows this happens to every protagonist, and Clint Eastwood for one must be tired of it. In the Dirty Harry series he was rarely out of his boss's office.

It usually ends up with the lieutenant and the cop snarling at each other, so how about having one of them being completely calm and laid back? Or how about having one of them being deaf?

And if you must write this scene, please do not use lines like "I'll have your badge for that", or "I'm not covering for you this time"

The Slimy Defense Lawyer

This one was a hot favorite on NYPD Blue and was guaranteed to get right up Sipowitz's nose. Once you've introduced the sharp suit, the slick hairstyle and the briefcase, this guy will inevitably say, "My client has no further comment," or "You had no right to talk to him without me there." Everybody knows the rest.

Again, serious though is needed to bring a new twist to this situation. Your lawyer could be an ex-cop who knows all the moves, or a relative or lover of one of the cops? How about a lawyer defending himself? Or a counter-culture lawyer covered with tattoos and piercings?

Whatever you do try to come up with some creative invective. Slimeball, sleazeball, reptile and shyster have all been overused.

The Car Chase

Bullit and The French Connection set the standard, and Gone in 60 Seconds brought it into the 21st Century, but this situation has mostly become tired. There are only so many little old ladies to avoid, so many road signs to hit, and so many police cars to trash before your audience becomes jaded.

Over the years the Bond movies have used up just about all the possible permutations, so you'll struggle to come up with something new. It would be better to add tension in another way.

In a bid to appear fresh, the chase element has sometimes been dropped in a favor of the race against time as in Speed ​​or Die Hard With a Vengeance. To succeed you'll need a good reason for the journey to take place, a disastrous outlet if it's not successful, and some good near misses on the way.

But beware. Too much carnage and your readers will start thinking of The Blues Brothers. And please, do not have your protagonist drive the wrong way down a one-way street .. it's been done far too often.

The Shoot Out

Raymond Chandler's advice to crime writers still holds. "If your plot is flagging, have a man come in with a gun." You've got to be careful though. Too many people still transfer scenes from old cowboy movies almost verbatim into modern cop scenes.

Probably the best recent shoot out was in Michael Mann's Heat. You cared who lived or died, and there was excitement and tension. Therein lies the trick. Make your readers have an opinion, not just about your hero, but about the other characters as well. At the end of LA Confidential, we knew all of the people involved in the climax, and it made it more satisfying to watch who lived or died. Lining one-dimensional people up just as cannon fodder might work in a Saturday night popcorn movie, but we should be aiming higher than that.

Shoot outs work well on film, but they can be a drag in print. Some writers tend to slow things down, especially to have a close look at the wounds. Unless you're careful it can read like a medical textbook.

And, please, do not have heads "exploding like ripe watermelons."

The Cop in The Cafe

This was used in Chips in every episode, giving them an excuse to show a motorbike speeding from a car park with loose gravel flying.

It's also a favorite in most of the aforementioned buddy movies, and especially in Starsky and Hutch. They'll be in a cafe, musing over the chewing out they've had from their boss, when a call comes through. The radio buzzes, giving them a chance to attach a flashing light to the roof of their car and head off to a car chase, closely followed by a shoot out. See how it's possible to run one cliche into another? Pretty soon you've got a whole plot, but would anyone buy it?

One way of changing this scene may be to have an alternative means of the cops getting the message. You could have them hearing something on the Television? Or how about on a cell-phone or laptop … there are multiple opportunities for foul ups, misunderstandings or criminal actions there, and they have not been overdone … yet.

Good Cop / Bad Cop

The good cop / bad cop interview became a cliche almost as soon as crime fiction began. A fine example, nearly seventy years old, can be seen in The Maltese Falcon. By now everyone knows the moves, and your readers will be bored long before the interview is over. Unless you're being self-referential and ironic, as in LA Confidential you'll never pull it off.

Cracker tried to subvert the interview situation altar by having it performed by a psychiatrist who played both cops in one. In The Rock, Sean Connery as the prisoner claimed Nicholas Cage which questions should be asking. You'll need to find something similarly innovative if you're going to make it work.

How about having two good cops? Or two bad cops? Or maybe there is a new computer system designed by psychologists to ask the right questions in the right order? How would your cops and your prisoner handle that?

The Estranged Wife

Why do all fictional cops have relationship problems? This scene always goes the same way. The wife says, "You never see the children anymore." The cop does not say anything, because his mobile phone interrupts. You know the rest.

Cracker is again a good case in point as he went through this scene in almost every episode. Pacino played a variation of it with his girlfriend in Heat.

Not only does Cracker have a failed marriage, but he's also a gambler and a drinker. In recent years people have been giving cops more and more problems to overcome, culminating in Denzel Washington's paraplegic investigator in The Bone Collector. I would not even try to top that.

Why not be original. Make your cop a healthy, stable, happily married man. Now there's a challenge.

Conclusion

The next time you read or watch a police drama, notice how many of the above are still in use. All of them can occur in any one story, and frequently do … just shuffle the paragraphs, add a murder or two and you have an instant plot.

But unless you can subvert some of the cliches, do not expect anyone to buy it.

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Source by William Meikle

How To Get Back On Track After Being Written Up At Work

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Most of us have been there. For one reason or another, your work has not been the best and your boss has noticed. You are called into the office and formally written up and warned to improve your work performance. Are you doomed? Is this the beginning of the end? Absolutely not! It is time to get yourself re-motivated to do the best work possible!

First of All, Allow Yourself to Decompress :

This can be a very stressful time and you want to allow yourself to regroup and take a breath to absorb what has happened. It is okay to do that!

Make A Plan :

Time to get a pad and pen and evaluate yourself honestly. Have you missed deadlines? Has your workload increased? Or, are you just burned out? Write everything down that you believe to be the culprit.

Time for A Course of Action:

If you missed deadlines due to poor time management, approach your boss for ideas on how to improve in this area. They may offer some tips or they may see that the project needs to be shared by more members of the team. This also shows that you are serious about fixing the problem. Are you Burned Out? Do something you have never done before such a taking a cooking class, take a walk in a state park, attend a lecture or meet for a cup of coffee with some friends and browse books at the bookstore. If you are really burned out, try taking a weekend trip with just yourself and indulge. Have a nice meal, sleep late. Break up the monotony! This will help you to know that work and rest are both important and need to co-exist in your life.

Ask Your Boss For A Follow-Up Meeting :

This will show that you want to measure your progress and that you take your job seriously. Ask for feedback and write down everything your boss tells you. Remember, they are trying to help you. Ask for help when you need it.

Continue the Course !:

Do Not let yourself become burned out again, or overwhelmed with work! Life is too short. Periodically refer back to your notes to make sure you are staying the course.

Remember to experience equal parts of work and play; you will be a happier person and a more productive worker!

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Source by Taryn Simpson

The Decline and Fall of Martial Arts Films and the Rise of the Action Blockbuster Movie

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Comparing martial arts films of the 1970s to the action blockbusters of 2009/10

Red Cliff, Ip Man and True Legend are already iconic of the early 21st century “martial arts films”-although many can argue they are more action spectacle than true “kung fu” films. The 1970s, on the other hand, didn’t rely on eye-candy effects and were defined more by the true grit of its martial arts actors: Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, the Five Venoms, Tomisaburo Wakayama, Jimmy Wong, and other real fighters trained in genuine kung fu, karate and other arts.

Martial Arts Becomes Mainstream But Evolves Into Spectacle

Cult classics such as Enter the Dragon helped change Hollywood. Its growing popularity forced filmmakers to adopt martial arts into the formula of the “action flick.” Through the eighties and nineties, spectacle thrillers were expected to deliver “the fight moves”, even if it was only a few basic moves supported by some stuntmen and wires. Action movies became spectacles that required equal blends of story, drama, pace, “kung fu”, special effects and improbable plot twists.

In the 21st century, this became less “equal” with films relying first on special effects, then improbably plot twists (surprise is important, right?), followed by pace, martial arts skills, drama and-last and possibly least today-story. This trend extended even to the hot movies of the last few years, including Kung Fu Panda, Forbidden Kingdom, G.I. Joe and even the Transformers.

Asian Film Industry Threatens to Out-Spectacle Hollywood

With the full support and weight of China’s cultural industries, Asian film has blossomed into mainstream spectacles in high demand, led by CGI treats such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers and other instant classics. Arguably, Asian film long ago surpassed Hollywood for imagination, with the western producers buying rights to several hugely successful Asian films. With the largest population demographic in the world, there can be no doubt that Chinese films are set to dominate the film industry in years to come.

Red Cliff and Ip Man are perhaps the best known of these new hit-classics, but the rumor mills and fansites are buzzing with all the latest “coming soon” gossip. The big buz movies in 2010 is True Legend (Su Qi Er), starring Zhao Wen-Zho as the historical Begger Su, the originator of drunken kung fu. Donnie Yen returns in both part 2 of the Ip Man saga and in the much anticipated 14 Blades. Chow Yun-Fat breaks the mold and surprises everyone in his role as Confucius.

Both Hollywood and Asia Rely on CGI and Special Effects

The growing spectacle and importance of the “action film” is both enjoyable to the escapist and annoying for the aficionado of the true martial arts. While the actors in many of the films-in particular Asian films-are genuine martial artists (for example, Donnie Yen, Jet Li and Chow Yun-Fat)-the over-dependence on CGI and elaborate choreography turns the adventure into comic book. With notable exceptions, such as Ip Man and Tony Jaa in Ong Bak (and to a lesser extent Ong Bak 2 and 3), most action films rely on the “wow” factor of dazzling camera angles and computer-aided “enhancements.”

Ninja Assassin and the Cross-Over

There are, to be sure, cross-over films such as Ninja Assassin, where actor Rain trained 14 hours a day for months to perfect real martial arts moves (albeit only a handful of repeated moves), blended together with rather Matrix-like special effects. To some, the beauty of the realistic CGI takes away from the pleasure of watching well-choreographed real martial arts.

Ong Bak, on the other hand, led by genuine martial arts expert Tony Jaa, got by on solid martial arts and good choreography. No stuntmen, thank you. Tony Jaa was hailed as the “next Bruce Lee” for this reason, with much buzz and excitement in the martial arts community, and martial arts film fansites.

There’s No Escaping Escapism

Action films are, by design, escapist entertainment. They have become somewhat comic-book (pardon me, graphic novel), but that’s what most audiences do want. We want to forget reality.

Kill Bill and Kill Bill 2 probably came closest to the ideal mix for both the escapist fan and the martial arts practitioner-fan. While it wasn’t “real” by any means, and contained a brilliant and zesty blend of satire, comic-book, spoof, and choreography, it never-the-less nostalgically hearkened back to the wondrous days of Enter the Dragon and the classic Japanese Samarai films of the 70s.

Japanese Film Stays True to Martial Arts Traditions?

Perhaps the film industry most aligned with the older traditions of martial arts film making is Japan. Zatoichi, the Blind Swordsman, was a low-budget film, that became an instant cult classic. Zatoichi took movie audiences back to the classic real-sword skills of the old Samarai films of the earlier decades, and spawned video games and an entire industry.

Less is More? Where is the Real Martial Arts Skill?

Genuine martial arts actors still abound-led by superstars such as Donnie Yen and Jet Li-and most Chinese martial arts actors are proficient. In Hollywood, the film-makers opt for four-move choreography (two kicks, a block and a punch), multiple camera angles (particularly close ups when the skills of the martial artist are not genuine), pounding music, FX, and stuntmen. With the old hopefuls gone from the Hollywood big screen-Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme and the other promising real martial artists-there’s now a world of difference between Asian film actors-who work in frigid cold, fourteen hours a day in often primitive conditions, hammering out genuinely complex martial arts moves for relatively paltry paychecks-and Hollywood films that now rely on computer and actor stand-ins.

Batman Now Does Kung Fu

Batman now does kung fu, and so does G.I. Joe, and even Hellboy. They’re fun, but the martial artist fan misses the great luminaries of martial arts films who built their careers on the “real thing”: Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, David Chiang, Sonny Chiba, Chen Kuan-tai, Tomisaburo Wkayama, Jimmy Wong Yu, Ti Lung and the Liu brothers.

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Source by Derek Armstrong