Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where were you on 9/11?

There are many defining moments in every generation. Historical or personal events that are either distinct, or dramatic enough to be etched into our consciousness. 

For those who grew up in the 60's, everyone will tell you where they were when President Kennedy was shot. Or where they were when Neil Armstrong was landing on the Moon.

The 80's were probably defined by the fall of the Berlin Wall (or maybe when you saw E.T. for the first time).

But, as a 37 year old, my generation will, or already is defined by the tragic day of 9/11. The most brutal act of terrorism on U.S. soil since the attacks on Pearl Harbor single-handedly changed the policies and attitudes of everyone who cherishes democracy.

I distinctly remember exactly where I was an what I was doing on what started out as a beautiful September morning. I was preparing to leave on a flight. At the time, I was working for Matrox, and was preparing to leave for the largest video production tradeshow in Europe, IBC. Some of my colleagues were already on site, preparing the booth, but on 9/11, it was my turn to fly in.

My wife, who at the time was working at Montreal's MIX96 radio station, called me with panic in her voice, urging me to put on the TV. Something terrible had happened. As I tuned to CNN, I saw smoke billowing and flames shooting out of the first tower to be hit. Not yet knowing at the time what had happened, and with my suitcases still packed, ready to leave for Amsterdam, I sat stunned staring at the TV.

And then the second plane hit.

It then became clear what was happening.

I then quickly called Matrox to let them know that it was obvious, I wouldn't be taking a plane that day. My colleagues and friends who had just landed in Amsterdam the night before, and I, who was about to take off, narrowly averted getting mixed up in this nightmare.

At the time, I was also living in the Bois Franc area of St-Laurent, where planes routinely and frequently flew overhead, pretty low to the ground. I distinctly remember the eerie quiet in the skies up above, as all air traffic suddenly ground to a halt by late morning.

So it is on this day, that I always remember those who's lives were affected by the events of 9/11, and sincerely hope that my children's generation won't be defined by the gruesome realities of our past.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays from Red Dream Studios

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Montreal's CJAD features Tassi and Red Dream Studios

On February 25th, 2010, the Founder and Executive Creative Director of Red Dream Studios, Neal Evan Caminsky, was interviewed by Dr. Laurie Betito of Montreal's talk-radio station, CJAD 800 AM to discuss his involvement with the teen support forum he co-founded, tassi.ca.

tassi.ca is an online community where teens can share advice, suggestions, support, and information on a variety of topics that are of concern to teenagers. Users of the forum are encouraged to help other teens, share their opinions, ask questions and discuss anything teen-related. tassi is a non-profit initiative created by Agence Ometz, an integrated social service agency located in Montreal, Canada, whose mission is to support and strengthen individuals and families in times of vulnerability, and by Red Dream Studios, a digital marketing company located in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Canada.

Tassi currently has a teen registration database of well over 100 Montreal-area teens, and over a dozen screened and applicant volunteer moderators providing guidance and support.

Dr. Laurie Betito's hourlong call-in show, called "Passions" regularly discusses sexuality and relationship issues while occasionally featuring a "teen hour." Along with Neal Caminsky on the air was Tassi Co-Founder Linda Mestel of Agence Ometz, and Jaclyn Mestel, one of the website's chief administrators. To hear a condensed version of the show, click here.

Tassi Co-Founder Linda Mestel, Administrator Jaclyn Mestel, and
Co-Founder Neal Evan Caminsky in the broadcast booth of CJAD 800 AM.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tassi Helps Teens Connect and Cope

(Reprinted from Edition 50 of Tikun Olam, November 2009)

tassi.ca is an online community where teens can share advice, suggestions, support, and information on a variety of topics that are of concern to teenagers. It has been established by Agence Ometz as an on-line safe haven, where teens log on to express themselves and discuss issues they often find difficult to address. These include sexuality and dating, bullying, problems with parents, body image, depression, as well as Jewish life, and practical matters such as help with homework and career planning.

Users of the forum help one another, share opinions, ask questions and discuss anything teen related. It is a place where they are made to feel comfortable and where trust is encouraged.

tassi.ca is the brainchild of Neal Caminsky, who, upon completing the West Island Leadership Development program offered by FEDERATION CJA, was looking to pursue a project that would help young members of the community. He lent the expertise of his Red Dream Studios, a website design, graphic design, and multimedia production company located in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, to get the project up and on the web. The Volunteer Services Department of Agence Ometz provides training and supervision for a group of young adults, between the ages of 19 and 23, who act as volunteer peer moderators on the site. Ometz professional staff offer additional support, stepping in to back-up the moderators or handle diffucult situations. They can also assess when kids are in genuine distress and refer them to professional resources.

Kids are encouraged to log on and take advantage of tassi.ca, using it as a resource, a place to speak freely, and a chance to help one another out.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Things to Ask Before You Redo Your Website

We here at Red Dream Studios are often charged to not only develop a website from the get-go, but also provide website makeovers. Makeovers are not merely cosmetic. They are efforts by which increased sales and marketing can be achieved. Some makeover can be as simple as updating the website's metatags (or adding some where they previously didn't exist), updating copy that has been stagnant for months or years, or as exhaustive as providing a completely new branding.

On this topic, I thought I would repost a great set of questions provided by Seth Godin:
I don't do any consulting, but that doesn't stop people from asking me questions. The most common question people ask me when they want a new website is, "If you were in charge of this, who are the 2 or 3 people you’d want to be sure to talk to – to help think through the issues, help us figure out who should do the work, etc.?"

The second most common question people ask me, "In addition to Apple’s site, are there 2 or 3 that you think are really appealing and work well for their business?"

I think these are perhaps the tenth and eleventh questions you should ask, not the first two. Here's my list of difficult and important questions you have to answer before you spend a nickel:
  • What is the goal of the site?
  • In other words, when it's working great, what specific outcomes will occur?
  • Who are we trying to please? If it's the boss, what does she want? Is impressing a certain kind of person important? Which kind?
  • How many people on your team have to be involved? At what level?
  • Who are we trying to reach? Is it everyone? Our customers? A certain kind of prospect?
  • What are the sites that this group has demonstrated they enjoy interacting with?
  • Are we trying to close sales?
  • Are we telling a story?
  • Are we earning permission to follow up?
  • Are we hoping that people will watch or learn?
  • Do we need people to spread the word using various social media tools?
  • Are we building a tribe of people who will use the site to connect with each other?
  • Do people find the site via word of mouth? Are they looking to answer a specific question?
  • Is there ongoing news and updates that need to be presented to people?
  • Is the site part of a larger suite of places online where people can find out about us, or is this our one sign post?
  • Is that information high in bandwidth or just little bits of data?
  • Do we want people to call us?
  • How many times a month would we like people to come by? For how long?
  • Who needs to update this site? How often?
  • How often can we afford to overhaul this site?
  • Does showing up in the search engines matter? If so, for what terms?
  • At what cost? Will we be willing to compromise any of the things above in order to achieve this goal?
  • Will the site need to be universally accessible? Do issues of disability or language or browser come into it?
  • How much money do we have to spend? How much time? And finally,
  • Does the organization understand that 'everything' is not an option?
Need a digital makeover? Contact Red Dream Studios.