A Valuable Lesson About Success

June 1, 2010 · Posted in Entertainment · Comment

Germany’s Lena Meyer-Landrut jubilated when she was announced the winner of the 2010 European Song Contest . For those outside of Europe who are not familiar with the contest - the Eurovision Song Contest is one of the longest running television shows worldwide. Since 1956, each year performers from various European countries participate in the contest, and the winning song is decided in an exciting final watched by millions on TV across Europe.

Lena Wins the Eurovision Song Contest with Satellite

In 2010, Lena’s song Satellite received the highest number of points from televoters and juries from 39 countries. But even weeks before the ESC final in Oslo, Lena’s single topped the German charts. And the 19-year-old high school student from Hannover conquered the hearts of the German audience and the press alike. Coming out of nowhere, Lena had to cope with her sudden and unexpected success and fame. And she did it so well that she has set an example for many of us when it comes to dealing with success. No matter if we’re seeing a product or a company rapidly taking of, there are two valuable lessons that we can learn from Germany’s young singer:

Success Is Not Life

When Lena was asked at the press conference in Oslo how she felt about winning the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest she answered “Winning is a gut feeling, but it is not everything. It is awesome, but it is not life, and I want to enjoy it as much as I can.” At 19 years old, Lena speaks words of wisdom. If you experience a time of success, enjoy it (if you worked hard for it, like Lena, you deserve it!) but know that any kind of triumph won’t be there to last. Prepare yourself to work towards your next achievement.

Staying Grounded

Despite all the media hype around her talent and her success, Lena has managed (so far) to stay grounded. She has kept a clear head. Whether on stage or in interviews, she acts completely natural - and her fans love her for that.

Admittedly, it’s not easy to continue with the same ease and genuineness after achieving success. Whether your recently published book has become a bestseller, your product is flying off the shelves or your art unexpectedly finds great response - sudden success transports us to a state of happiness, triumph, and pride.

Lena’s mentor, German music producer Stefan Raab , knows how to handle the situation. In an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel Raab said his priority will be to protect Lena from the subsequent media hype. He is currently developing a strategy on how to continue Lena’s success without putting her teenage life at risk.

How do you cope with success? What’s your strategy to stay grounded? In your opinion, what’s the formula for continued success? I’m looking forward to your comments.

Interview with German Composer Lars Deutsch

April 27, 2010 · Posted in Entertainment · Comment

German native Lars Deutsch has been working successfully as a music composer for film and business projects in Berlin for years. While he was working in Berlin, the Hollywood industry started noticing him. Film music as well as audio branding are Lars’ specialties. In just a few months, Lars seems to have conquered the Hollywood crowd and is busy working for top names in the business. What are Lars’ ambitions when it comes to a German composer working in Los Angeles? And does living in the Californian metropolis affect his sound? Lars Deutsch answered these and other questions in an exclusive interview with grenniMEDIA.

Composer Lars Deutsch, copyright: Lars Deutsch

Nina Grenningloh: Lars, you are successful as a composer for film, video games and business projects in Germany. What do you expect from a move to Los Angeles?

Lars Deutsch: I have a long long list of exciting projects and offers here in LA, and I guess I will be pretty busy. It will be much easier to handle those projects efficiently in LA rather than flying back and forth between Germany and the US. It’s also great to escape the German winters. I guess the biggest surprise was for me how many great people I met - so I truly expect to have a great time in LA.

NG: What, in your opinion, has the American entertainment industry to offer that a professional like you would not find in Germany?

LD: There is no place like Hollywood. And if you write music for movies, the movie pretty much decides before you start working on it if you have a chance to do something exciting. So it’s natural that you want to sign on with the best possible film to be able to do your best possible work. Just like any ambitious athlete wants to be in the best possible team. I also like the attitude of the people. They want to entertain and get stuff done, which seems kind of obvious, but is by no means common in Europe.

NG: Can you tell us about some of the projects you are currently working on in Hollywood?

LD: I am currently composing for a US comedy show called “Getting By” featuring Kate Micucci (from “When in Rome”). I have recently finished an exciting project called “Lostbox” starring Joseph Fiennes and Sir Ian McKellen. And there are other great projects on the horizon, which I cannot talk about yet…

NG: You already tested the waters in LA - in how far is your sound influenced by the American experience?

LD: There is certainly an influence. After I wrote music for a US animated film a couple of years back for the first time, I have adjusted a little. American projects do sound different and some of my European stuff would not work in an American production. However, I think part of my success is due to the fact that I do not sound like everybody else and that I do not recycle film music clichés. In a way, I needed to adjust my music to keep it as “out there” as it is in Europe, but for the US.

Lars Deutsch - photo by SuiradO

NG: Part of what you offer is the creation of sound logos and audio branding in general. Do you see differences in the way sound is used for product or company branding in Germany and the US?

LD: This is a very exciting field, especially in a city like a LA where there are so many media companies. Nowadays, I think it is a little weird if you are doing business in media and you do not have an audio logo. I think there are minor differences for any company that wants to sound modern. A green tech company will be looking for a similar effect regardless whether it is from the US or Germany.

However, if you want to go for traditional values associated with a particular industry the differences can be huge. However, I think the differences lie more in the companies and their message than in their location. I wonder how many people actually know that competitors Adidas and Puma are practical neighbors. Sometimes you see funny clashes of old and new. I personally love the old Hollywood sound. However, when I’m sitting in a state-of-the-art cinema in LA watching their modern visual logo but hearing fanfares from the 50s I feel somebody has not done his job properly.

NG: Thanks, Lars, for this interview and good luck!

How Two German Filmmmakers Conquered Los Angeles

April 15, 2010 · Posted in Entertainment , Inspiring People · Comment

Not only for businesses, but also for filmmakers the cultural differences between the USA and Germany can stand for opportunities. Whether you’re an American doing business in Germany, or a German artist creating your work in the US - the other culture might inspire you to see beyond what you know.

Open Doors to New Creativity

and her husband Markus Adrian are up-and-coming German filmmakers who learned first-hand that a scholarship at a Los Angeles’ cultural institution can open doors to new creativity. During their time as artists-in-residence at the Villa Aurora , the couple shot their latest film, a documentary about ex-gangsters turning artists. Day after day, Hora and Adrian took to the not so harmless streets of Watts and interviewed young creatives who used to be gang members. “After the Violence” will be shown in Los Angeles and in Germany when it’s done.

Beyond the Typical Hollywood Folks

In an interview, the two Germans admitted that if it hadn’t been for their scholarship at the Villa Aurora, they would have missed out on a career-determining opportunity. It was not only the fact that they had the chance to shoot in the streets of LA. It was, moreover, the experience of meeting American people beyond the typical Hollywood folks and learning about a completely different side of California living - a side that’s marked by struggle, danger, and the fight for survival. And yet, there’s room for creative freedom and beautiful art on the other side.

My hope is that Hora and Adrian’s experience is an inspiration for other German artists who’d like to test the waters in Los Angeles and vice versa. That’s why I interviewed the German filmmakers during their stay in LA. The entire 3-series interview with Anna-Maria Hora and Markus Adrian is available in German on . You will find an English transcript of a part of the interview below. Enjoy and be inspired!

Hora and Adrian Filming in Watts

“People on the street meet you with an open heart”
Interview with Hora and Adrian

Nina Grenningloh: When you’re going back to Germany after a three-month stay in LA, what do you take back with you from your experience?

Adrian: Our time in LA was like a second life. We could forget everything German for three months. We were only speaking English, meeting people who had stories to tell. We learned a lot about this society. We gained an insight into the Hollywood glamour world, but we also saw the other side of this city, which is much bigger. The poor districts, the poverty, and the life struggle that people who’re living there are trying to cope with. In three months LA, as much happened as in six months Berlin. We did it all: parties, dinners, filming, night shoots in Watts, encounters with the police… It was so much to take in that we will probably need a good amount of time to process everything.

Hora: People in LA are much more open. Maybe it’s the weather, I don’t know, but people on the street meet you with an open heart. If I went into the grocery store in LA, not being in my best mood, out of the blue shoppers would start singing and dancing to the music that was playing over the speakers. I was at first irritated. Then, I went to the register, and the cashier made me a nice compliment on my earrings. Her flattering remark immediately put me in a better mood…

Adrian: Now, just imagine a cashier at a German supermarket would pay you such a compliment. You would probably be very confused. What’s very common in Los Angeles, would be perceived as a strange act in Germany. In Germany, you would probably be annoyed and think: Why is she talking to me?

Yet, this kind of small talk that’s part of daily life in the US is actually really good. Coming from Germany, I have forgotten how to converse like that. In LA, people seem to be aware of the fact that that’s part of who they are as humans. They need to talk. So they meet as strangers and start talking about anything that comes to mind.

Hora: Life here is characterized by this kind of openness and friendliness. It’s not superficialness. They rather use this kind of talk to check out their similarities. And if there are none, that’s not a big deal. Then it’s just “Have a nice day!” But you will never feel bad.

Adrian: And that’s what it’s all about. The good feeling that I have shapes the quality of my lifetime. In result, I spend more time in LA with a great feeling than in Germany. And that’s a great plus for my life as a whole, as well as for the moment. I can walk down these steps, find out that I have brain cancer and die soon. But I know I’ve had a lot of happy moments, whereas in Germany, I sit around and fret about something.

Hora: I’m sure we will take this home with us, this prejudice that Americans are superficial. We did not experience that at all. And we will spread the word in Germany.

NG: Do you have any plans to come back to the US to shoot?
Adrian: Certainly. We will no doubt come back and film again in the US if the opportunity presents itself. They have great professionals and a fantastic film industry in the US.

Hora: Concretely, we have a documentary in preproduction in New York. On the occasion of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, we are planning to shoot a documentary about this photographer who took pictures and filmed the catastrophe in Manhattan in 2001. We will start filming this year, and the film will be ready in time for the anniversary.

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