Films about the film industry win Oscars. Lots of them. La La Land is no exception (Best Director, Best Actress, Best Original Song, Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Production Design, Best Original Score.) There is so much to love about this movie, even if you hate the ending. Especially cool is it that Ryan Gosling plays the piano himself — no musician doubles! And he learned during 3 months of intense training. (Tim Ferris style) Talk about Growth Mindset in action!! #dontbejealous
La La Land tells a not-so-original story in a fresh way that certainly invites audiences to love its characters. You don’t have to invent the smart phone to have a compelling/interesting career. So many smart people fall into the trap of suspecting they’re not enough. Taking inventory of yourself can remind you of what you are already bring to the table in terms of value.
I digress. Here’s what La La Land got right, besides breathing new life into that Hollywood musical genre.
1. The opening scene is stunning. (Same happens with a great presentation!) LA traffic is both painful and defining. Director Damien Chazelle took a negative and turned in to pure entertainment: music, dance and wonderful costumes. To read how he pulled this off, click here. (Spoiler: it was actually filmed on the highway!) The cast and crew’s intense preparation and rehearsals made possible to get the needed footage in two days of filming…in steaming August heat back in 2015.
2. Ryan Gosling’s acceptance speech for his Golden Globe for his role rocks, listen to it here. The key to a great acceptance speech is gratitude. Nobody gets that far alone. The film took home a record 7 Golden Globe awards and others.
3. Overpreparation = confidence. Director Chazelle knows details and mindset. To get both the cast and crew get in the right mind set, each Friday evening Chazelle held screenings of classical films like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Singin’ in the Rain, Top Hat, and Boogie Nights on the soundstages. Ryan Gosling admitted that he watched Singin’ in the Rain every day to help him get into character.
4. No overnight success. Chazelle first wrote the concept for La La Land while studying at Harvard (yes, going to Harvard helps your career) with the film’s composer, Justin Hurwitz. He wrote the screenplay in 2010, but could not find a studio willing to produce it until his film, Whiplash succeeded in 2014.
5. Glorious costumes. But when you drill down, designer Mary Zophres has the characters wearing classic, actually traditional, silhouettes in solid colors, mostly primary colors. The style is called “Retro Realistic.” Sebastian’s style was influenced by a couple of 1966-67 French movies, Umbrellas of Chambourg and The Young Girls at Rochefort. His shoes evoke earlier times, which match his desire to bring back an older music style, jazz.
La La Land is now its own brand. Fun. Colorful. Updated musical. It’s the product of a talented artist, who actually scripted the original La La Land while a student at Harvard.
So you didn’t go to Harvard like Damien Chazelle? Me neither. The great thing about #brandyou is that it can level the playing field. Anyone can make their personal brand stand out, beginning with doing great work. But the quality of your work is ONLY the start.
The strength of your brand determines how fast people respond to your emails, if you get the call back, if you’re up for that next promotion. Why do successful companies like Apple and Nespresso spend so much on branding? Because branding works. It’s a matter of standing out in a way that reflects your values in today’s massively competitive market.
You already have/are a personal brand; it’s what people say about you at work, when you’re not around. Developing and polishing your brand gets you noticed at work. Strong personal brands command more value (read $$). Just like the Apple smartphone costs (because of perceived value, independent of technical specs) more than the excellent competitors.
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” Tom Peters
Your job title doesn’t define the value you add. That’s what your personal brand is for.