Miquiel Banks
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This is my life – A Tech Writer after Hurricane Irma

By September 27, 2017 Assets, Blogging, Criticism

This is my life.

I get up, go to work, and solve problems.

Most of the problems are documents, procedures, and processes.

But today, this is a new challenge.

Today, I have to help my co-worker.

Driving through the scraps of trees and branches scattered on the street, in lawns, and in gutters, the path to work is a labyrinth of fearful fathers, angry mothers, and desperate college kids.

Between the ragged textures and rain-stained windshield, I find relief by tuning into 104.7.

As Q105 plays another song by Journey, I wonder how faithful things would work out today.

Would Cindy finally stop worrying about her son and accept God will step in and help?

I park and plop down on my desk and listen to my messages.

TECO needs this information for the power outages off Gandy.

VERIZON is down in Temple Terrace, Egypt Lake, Channelside, Westchase, and Carrollwood.

Our intranet is down.

Our sharepoint is down.

I go to my desk and go over the details.

I smile and repeat my mantra for the day.

This is my life.

I pull out my phone and browse my emails and Cindy knocks on my door, “Come on Miggy, we got a meeting in five.”

As we walk, Cindy’s conversation races from Project Milestones, the hiccups, and just how far behind the hurricane put us.

The more she talks, I realize she’s not concerned about work, she’s concerned about her son.

“How is your son doing?”

“I’m not sure, we lost contact after we had that big argument and now, he’s not returning my calls.”

Her eyes water a bit and I slow down and point at the water fountain, “you remember when he pushed the button too hard and he messed up the floor and people were slipping on the water after the Town Hall?”

She forces a laugh, but she’s not doing well.

I push her back to work, “Don’t worry about the meeting today, I’ll do the minutes and give you a break.”

She said thanks and we walk into the meeting.

I grab my pen, sit beside Cindy, and the lights dim and the VP goes over the problems we have right now.

The biggest problems are customers with Home Insurance Claims, then the next batch are those with Auto Insurance Claims, and then the Property damage claims. She explains that FEMA gave her direction, but it’s not sufficient, and she sighs, “anyone got any great ideas?”

My hand shoots up, “I think that we should segment our teams against the first responders and piggyback off their lead and from there, we can match our workload against theirs and at least, have a better direction.”

She rubs her chin, her bane softly bounces, and she rubs her chin again, “Hmmm, you might have something there. Well, that’s all I have for today people and we’ll talk about this tomorrow, now go and help somebody.”

As we walk from the conference room, I explain to Cindy my plan.

“Cindy, I got this covered, you should take an early lunch and go find your son and let him know that you were not at him, but at work. It’s ironic though, isn’t it? We’re at work and you can’t stop thinking about him.”

“Miggy, I’m really not getting it why you volunteered our team for that huge workload?”

“I got faith that things will work out.”

“Work out? Don’t you know we’ve got thousands of claims on our desk.”

“But you got one son, those claims will be there after lunch.”

“Ha ha ha ha, now you spitting out hallmark lines, I told you a thousand times, you should’ve been a copywriter.”

Cindy’s eyes dart behind me and I know what that means, the VP is approaching.

“Miggy and Cindy, ha, you sound like a bad folk acoustic band! Just got off the phone with TECO, they need a rep from your team out in the field.”

“That wouldn’t happen to be off Gandy?”

“Wow Miggy, how did you know?”

“It just seemed like that’s where Cindy needs to go.”

As the VP walks away, Cindy pauses and sighs, “How freaky is that? What’s the chance of that happening? Now I gotta get my stuff and get outta here.”

I stop her, give her stuff and her eyes GROW like excited yeast in an oven. “Oh My God, you always remember to get my bag after the meeting, thanks and I’m outta here.”

“Before you leave, can we do a quick prayer, just to see if it works.”

“You know what, I’ve been meaning to go with you, but since you got me a break from here, I’ll try it now.”

I grab her hand and she holds mine, a bit tight.

I say a short prayer and as we finish, she looks at me and manages to smile. “I hope my son knows how much. . .”

RING, RING, RING!

She smiles, “who’s calling me this early?”

She reaches into her bag and pulls out her phone, “Oh My God, how weird is that, It’s him.”

“And I’ll bet that he’s off Gandy where the TECO people are.”

She holds up her finger and speaks and then eyes me with a mother’s WARMTH, “That’s really weird, he’s stuck in traffic by TECO. Wow, I don’t know what to say. I guess it’s time for me to come and worship with you.”

“Don’t worry about it, go hug your son and help TECO assess the damage off Henderson and Himes. Ha, you know what’s really funny, remember when we played darts at Pete’s Place and the lights went out.”

She smiles and shakes her head, “Thank you.”

As she walks away, I listen to her voice go up and down like the new ride at Busch Gardens and her happiness bounces off the walls as she disappears outside in the rain.

A mother’s warm smile and big heart is enough to burn away the blemishes of bad memories.

And Cindy’s is so BIG right now, I’m certain the rain will be nice and get out of her way.

I tune into Q105 and the Fray sing about how to save a life.

I don’t know what that feels like, but I do know I just helped a mom know that her life is going to be ok.

I lean back in my chair and smile.

This is my life.

And it’s a good one.

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Duty and the Switch

By September 26, 2017 Assets

Duty doesn’t have an off switch.
– MB

Duty comes with a lot of twists and turns.

A lot of headaches.

A lot of time spent doing nothing.

Sometimes duty needs action.

Sometimes duty needs direction.

Sometimes duty needs patience.

Whether you’re learning a new skill or you’re learning to adapt, both lateral and vertical thinking can benefit from this personal attribute.

Let it sink in your soul.

Let it sink in your stomach.

Let it sink in your speech.

The more duty exists in your world, the more you’ll understand its power.

 

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Plot Infographic – Once Upon A Time (S03E08)

By September 25, 2017 Assets, Blogging, Criticism, Storytelling

Once upon a Time is a powerful TV show based around a simple wish – what if fairytales were real?

Armed with this power, it pushes the viewer to accept things that make no sense elsewhere:

  • What if Peter Pan was the bad guy?
  • What if magic existed here, but we just didn’t know?
  • What if fairytales are not mythic, but based on actual events?

This infographic captures the power of a deep episode entitled “Think Lovely Thoughts.”

Now, look at again at this powerful infographic that captures the essence of what made this episode so powerful and enlightening.

It has three plot lines:

  • Story A – Stopping Pan
  • Story B – Young Rumpel
  • Story C – Saving Prince Charming

The beauty lies in the mixture of the first two plot lines, Stopping Pan and Young Rumpel, and this is where OUAT shines most.

It has the power of using flashbacks to not only enlighten the present, it uses them to also characterize the motivation for certain characters and their behavior.

In the hands of less skilled storytellers, this flashback would be a contrived and detrimental to the story’s progress, but in the world of fairytales, it colors the plot with a magical potpourri hard to capture in today’s fast-paced world of storytelling.

All we can do is peep and say – Job Well Done.

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Case Study – MasterWriter 3.0

By September 9, 2017 Assets, Criticism, News

Problems – What does MasterWriter do and why should a writer use it?

Situation – Using MasterWriter to write a long-form blog post.

Question – How would I use MasterWriter to help out writing a long-form blog post?

 

The Story

While debating about The Matrix, a wise person paused and asked me a powerful question, “What is more important, truth

or beauty?”

And for most people, the answer is always Beauty.

For those rare gems, the other answer is all that matters.

Truth.

As I look deeper, I wonder, what if they are the same at their core?

What if Truth and Beauty are two different paths that lead to the same source?

 

With several writing apps available on the market, it’s hard to choose, but the more important question is WHEN you use a

writing app, not WHICH one you use.

And now it’s time to tackle a great one under the radar, one of my favorite apps aptly named Master Writer (MW).

 

The initial problem with MW is common to not only writers, but people in the Creative Side of the Brain.

Pushing off instinct, many creatives think they can dive into their writing projects headfirst and just start writing.

It is this issue, more than any other, that plagues most writers from finishing their works.

In this regard, using MW can be ironic because you can’t use it until you’re actually finished with your project.

So, let’s tackle a typical writing project and as we go through its lifecycle, we’ll know where MW fits into the writing cycle.

The initial problem of a Writing Project is simple.

How many steps does it take to get from initial idea to finishing product?

NOTE: When I say finished product, I don’t mean the actual product, but the finishing with the writing (often called Content

in the business world).

In this scenario, we?ll tackle writing a long-form blog post.

 

The Writing project is broken down into phases.

To make the blog easier to organize, I decided to use Control Writer to sketch out the frame of the blog post.

Each phase holds a different purpose and each of these phases will meld together into one seamless tapestry we’ll call

the Writing Project’s Final Draft.

 

The Phases are shown below:

  • Phase One – Universal Level
  • Phase Two – Fashion Level
  • Phase Three – Polish Level

 

Resolution

Using MW at the polish level is an incredible adventure and takes your writing to a higher and more resonant level.

The options are staggering as shown below:

I highly suggest going over to their website (www.masterwriter.com) and reading their material, but it’s much easier to just read through my Case Study (see link below).

 

Case Study

Download the Case Study Document

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Case Study – The Last Dragon (Media as Inspiration)

By August 11, 2017 Assets, Criticism, News

Overview

Industries: Personal Development / Media Inspiration / Nostalgia

Problem: Can I find inner strength and inspiration from a childhood movie?

Situation: When times get rough and you get down, where do you go for inspiration and motivation?

Question: Can a cult classic still deliver that “spiritual boost” and give you the inner GLOW?

 

The Story

You never know when it comes, but it comes.

Not just me, to everyone.

That dark cloud, that dreaded feeling like you’re not worth anything.

Not anyone, just YOU.

And tonight, it came hard.

And direct.

Regardless of where I turned or how fast I walked or how I ignored, it didn’t matter.

Come it did.

And I remembered one of my friend’s book, Romantic Comedies: These Films can save your love life!

I pulled out my copy and read her back cover question, Go to couples therapy or watch a great movie?

Like a call to adventure, the question lit through my body like a great white light, shining purity and innocence into me.

So I turned on my iMAC and went to my library for one of my favorite movies, The Last Dragon.

I watched my favorite scenes and as a warm feeling hovered near me, then it ran through me, the sensation of comfort came.

And came again.

Over and over, I was hit by those childhood feelings of lingering, of longing, of love, of salvation.

Watching Vanity’s beauty consume the screen as she responded, “Like someone to guard my body,” and I was taken into the Ultimate Boon.

And the words of the theme song resounded from the iMAC’s speakers.

You are the last dragon, you possess the power of the glow

And it made me realize there was no need to feel inadequate or to feel like I wasn’t enough.

God created me.

ME.

A unique and eccentric being in this timeline.

Not that time or the time before that.

I am . . . because I am HERE.

 

Resolution

And the words kept coming.

You are the last dragon, you possess the power of the glow

And I looked at my desk and realized my glow.

You are the MASTER of Asset Production and SmartBranding.

That’s who you are Miquiel.

And the words were NOT true.

The ARE true.

Listen to them again.

You are the last dragon, you possess the power of the glow

 

 

Listen to the Song

 

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Case Study – A Celebration of the Kings Tribute Video

By August 6, 2017 Assets, Criticism, Music, News

Overview

Industry: Video tribute to Historical Icons / Black History / American History

Problem: As a teenager, I heard over V-103 that Black Butterfly was written by Deniece Williams as a dedication to Martin Luther King Jr. and his movement.

Situation: While inspired on Dr. King’s Birthday, the question crossed my mind, what if I could make the rumor tangible?

Question: Can you make a rumor true by making a powerful video?

 

The Story

As a teenager growing up in the 80s, the radio was a powerful medium. It occupied our lives and pushed us to do things outside our comfort zones. During the day, it flooded our souls with Hip Hop and Disco and the 80s, but at night, it soothed our anxiety with Slow Jams.

Throughout this time, certain songs came on the radio and they not only inspired, they seemed to have magical powers by “FREEZING TIME.” One of those songs was Black Butterfly by Deniece Williams. From those initial sounds until she comes in and says Morning Light, I often embraced the song and let it linger in my soul.

Like an angelic butterfly, the song hovered near my problems and frustrations and often pollinated them with an overwhelming peace, settling me between peace and comfort. Over and over, the song warmed me and made me fuzzy inside and I often overheard many adults say the song was written for Dr. King. I believed the rumor and never thought anything about it.

Decades later, I was captured by a divine inspiration and the rumor returned to me and a heavy task was given to me, seemingly by God himself. The angelic voice spoke to me and asked me, “We know you’ve heard the rumor, but can you make the rumor true?” So, I sat down and took a long sigh and began a new form of the Hero’s Journey. Most Heroic Journeys begin with a call to adventure and then supernatural aid appears, but how many had supernatural calls to adventure?

I went online and browsed hundreds of pics of Dr. King and as I moved and arranged the pics, slowly a story emerged in the pictures. Suddenly, I was tasked with capturing Dr. King’s movement in a song fit for his tribute.

The first verse came slow, but the hook fell into place and as I realized King and Malcolm X’s pic caught the words “can catch your wings,” the break into the second verse pushed me to ask, “why had I kept Dr. King in black and white?”

The second verse migrated from Dr. King to his marriage and then landed on his wife, Coretta, another iconic figure. From there, the second hook showcased Coretta’s leadership in the movement and while in the change, she makes incredible moves as Dr. King lingers in the background, nearly a phantom figure and apparition, gently watching over her every move.

In the instrumental bridge, we view the King as a Family unit and suddenly, after she kisses him, we go into the third verse and we now see Dr. King in color as his mission is captured through his incredible legacy.

Now we witness Coretta’s embrace with Malcolm’s wife, mirroring Dr. King and Malcolm handshake earlier.

Finally, we hold heavy hearts as we witness Coretta’s ascent into heaven and are bombarded by images as we go from pain to passion to purification.

The video ends with the most powerful embrace of the Kings – a deep and intimate romantic kiss symbolizing their connection in the divine realms as a Heavenly Mother and Father, always watching over us as we take arms against injustice in this Country.

 

Resolution

What began as a rumor I heard as a teenager has become an ETERNAL TRUTH in my highest-rated video of all time.

 

Watch the Video

 

Read the Case Study

2017 – Case Study – The Kings

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Case Study – Analog Song (Ableton and Roland Event)

By August 5, 2017 Assets, Music, News

Overview

Industries: Music Production / Music Synthesis / Music Performance

Problem: How do you take the concept of Fan Fiction and apply it to Music Production?

Situation: As a Hip Hop Guy, I am enamored by Synthesists and I have to ask, “why are they so obsessed with Analog Synthesizers?”

Question: Can you attend a Music Production Event and bottle your inspiration into a song?

 

Story

Ableton and Roland had a meet-up at the Scratch DJ Academy and in normal fashion, Redvoid and I decided to meet and hang out. When we got there, the crowd had not arrived, so Void and I discussed t he new releases (Roland DJ-808 Cont roller , Roland TB-03, and the Roland System-8 Synthesizer. I met the Event’s host, David Lopez, and t old him I wanted to hear more about Live 9.7 and Push 2.

Then, I dapped up Huston Singletary (Ableton) and asked about Live 10 and of course, no info yet. Later, I met Peter Brown(Roland) and he showed me the Step Sequencer on the System-8 and I realized that the soft synth emulations had not done justice for what hardware was capable of doing.

After that, Redvoid, David, and I hung outside and discussed early Hip Hop and that “analog” sound of the strings in the Hip Hop classic Jam, Al Naayfiysh (The Soul) by Hashim. Afterwards, I went home and asked myself, how do I package this experience into a song, and thus, Analog was born.

NOTE: to hear the analog strings, go to 0:55 in the video below.

Listen to the Analog Song



 

Read the Analog Case Study

2016 – Case Study – Analog

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Case Study – Celtx Promo Materials

By August 5, 2017 Assets, Criticism, Movies, News

Overview

Problem: Why doesn’t Filmmaking software focus on helping individuals instead of teams?

Innate Issues: Teams vs Individuals

Industry: Filmmaking

Audience Assumption: Because of historical data, companies ASSUME all films will be done by TEAMS instead of Individuals.

Data Entry Point: TEAMS are considered many people, usually between 4 people or more.

Situation: Can providing information and deeper insights allow individuals to start using Celtx as their go-to Filmmaking software?

 

The Story

Celtx hit a huge milestone this year when they released GEM, a cutting-edge Game Editor.

A strong departure from their world of Script and Story Development, GEM promises to take Celtx into uncharted territory, the world of GAMING and Digital Storytelling for interactive narratives.

Although an incredible and powerful step into the future, the promise of Celtx has always been to provide freedom for the ordinary storyteller.

In this regard, Celtx has been a Godsend for TEAMS, but it has never addressed the needs of the INDIVIDUAL Storyteller.

Like most breakthroughs, the Celtx Promo Project began with one email.

I asked for an opportunity to do several guest blogs about how Celtx can be utilized for the INDIVIDUAL Storyteller.

I was met with initial support, but unfortunately, upper management decided to go in a different direction and focus on the GEM Platform.

At this juncture, GEM takes Celtx from just Filmmaking into the world of GAMING, which is a powerful innovation and technological growth in their industry.

Many would consider this a failure, but everything you do is of value and worth to SOMEONE.

 

Resolution

I chose to retain the Celtx Proposal and publish it as a Case Study and as a reminder to myself – sometimes a win looks a bit different in tattered clothes. Below is the promo video that I did for Celtx and it gave me a chance to do some innovative work in the audio post-production field.

 

Watch the Promo Video

 

Read the Case Study

2017 – Case Study – Celtx Promo Materials

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Case Study – UVI Synth Document

By August 5, 2017 Assets, Music, News

Overview

Problem: Where is a listing of all the bad-a$$ synths from the 70s and 80s and their respective synthesis types?

Situation: Miquiel is on the phone with his Sweetwater Rep Carson McClain discussing the Emulator and we got on the topic of UVI’s Synth Collection.

Question: Where can I go on the web to find comparisons between the UVI Synths and the ones they are based on?

 

The Story

Carson laughed, “You don’t know the value.”

I sighed, “You have to be kidding me Carson, there has to be a document somewhere showcasing these synths, their synthesis types, and what artists used them.”

Carson responded, “I’m telling you, it doesn’t exist.”

With these words, I spent several days combing the web and sifting through forums for this mysterious document. The more I looked, the more I began to feel the pain that Carson had felt years ago when he set off on a quest for the Golden Fleece.

How could this document not exist?

I went to UVI’s site and viewed all the videos and even went through my account and yet, the document was not there.

There was a piece here and a piece there.

I couldn’t believe it, how could something so simple not exist and yet, cause so much frustration and pain?

Embarrassed, I called Carson a few days later and asked him, “what do you think I found?”

He giggled, “You’re SAF! I told you it didn’t exist, people don’t do stuff like that anymore.”

And those words stuck in my head as I vowed right then and there.

I’m going to bring the Golden Fleece into this world!

So, I spent a few days researching and looking and researching and looking.

After several trips over mountains, desolate valleys, and poisonous caverns, I returned home with the sacred knowledge.

And when I put the fleece down on the table, it changed from pure gold to a deep bronze.

As I held the truth in my hands, I smiled because I realized that our truth would become REAL the next day.

Lo and Behold, the bronze treasure proved to be more than what I had expected.

Now, I was armed with three treasures.

 

TREASURE 1 – Synth Timeline

I sat down and looked over the graphic, flabbergasted.

How could this information be so beautiful and yet so simple?

TREASURE 2 – UVI Synth Characteristics

The second graphic was also compelling, beckoning anyone to linger in its truth.

TREASURE 3 – Synth Pages

The individual synth pages were powerful and provided me with inspiration for several months.

Armed with each synth’s character, job description, and super powers, I now had a magical formula for how each synth could find its optimal expression.

 

Resolution

An innocent request from my Sweetwater Rep, Carson McClain, set off a chain of events that led to a cutting-edge document that I still use to this day when I create music using UVI Synths. After Carson presented the document to the UVI Team, I was given my choice of a free UVI Plugin.

This document is a case study in how you CAN make a difference if you follow your intuition, passion, and attention to detail.

 

Read the Case Study

2017 – Case Study – UVI Synths

 

Read the UVI Synth Document

2016_UVI Synth_MBanks_FINAL

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