12 November 2013 Ernie Els, the most successful golfer in the history of South Africa’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, has confirmed his place in this year’s field. It will be the four-time major winner’s record 17th appearance in the event. Prize money for the tournament, which takes place at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City in North West province from 5 to 8 December, is US$6.5-million (R67.5-million). Els, always a huge draw card in his home country, had been scheduled to play in the Tiger Woods World Challenge, which takes place in the same week as the Nedbank Golf Challenge, but instead decided to return to a venue that has been a very successful hunting ground for him.Nedbank Golf Challenge record “The Big Easy” recorded wins in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in 1999, 2000 and 2002. He has also finished as runner-up four times and was third on two occasions. At the age of 44, Els has shown he is still able to compete with the best. Earlier this season he won the BMW International Open on the European Tour, going wire-to-wire after opening with a nine-under-par 63. Just last year, he captured The Open Championship for a second time. “We are delighted to have Ernie in the field,” Sun International tournament director Alastair Roper said in a statement on the weekend. “He is an institution in the Nedbank Golf Challenge and has been its most popular and successful player ever since his debut in 1992. “Ernie’s career has overlapped with some of the greatest milestones in the history of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, so it’s wonderful that he’s in the new 30-man field and part of this new era in the tournament.”New 30-man field The new format for “Africa’s Major” includes an increase in prize money, and the addition of official rankings points. The event is being co-sanctioned by the Sunshine and European Tours, with the winner walking away with $1.5-million (R15.6-million), while last place will be worth a cool $100 000 (R1.03-million). “It looks like a strong field this year and I’m really looking forward to coming back and playing such a special event. Also, this was in part a family decision – Liezl, Samantha and Ben are with me for a short while and it made a lot of sense to compete at Sun City,” Els wrote in a diary entry on his website. “Obviously this tournament holds some really wonderful memories for me and for my whole family. Golf-wise, the highlight was the period from 1999 to 2002, where I won the tournament three times and in the other year finished second in a playoff. “My combined aggregate score for those four years was 86-under par. That was a good little stretch right there! “That third win in 2002 was probably the most I enjoyed my golf all year and the final round 63 is still to this day one of the best rounds of my life. It was one of those beautiful golfing days where you see every shot crystal-clear in your mind’s eye, you’re relaxed, you have control of the golf ball and the hole looks twice its normal size. Trust me you don’t forget those rounds.” SAinfo reporter and Nedbank Golf Challenge
World War II forever changed history around the globe. The American influence during the occupation of post-war Japan forever changed cinema worldwide.70 years ago, on September 2, 1945, Japan officially surrendered to the United States of America. The Japanese Instrument of Surrender effectively ended World War II. Thus began the American occupation and censorship of Japanese culture. Through reconstruction, Japan would become a leader in technology and art. The effects of which are still felt today.Cinema in Japan Before World War IIImage: Japanese Magic Lantern slides via Pink TentacleFilmmaking in Japan dates back to 1897, when a cameraman working for the Lumière brothers filmed the sights of Tokyo. Though film was new to the Japanese culture, moving pictures date back much further. The Dutch had introduced the magic lantern to the Japanese in the 18th century. It became immensely popular throughout Japanese villages. The Japanese would use multiple magic lanterns to create phantasmagoria theater. Using rear projection, they would use shadow puppets to show skeletons, ghosts, and demons. It should come as no surprise that the earliest Japanese films were centered around these ghostly tales.During the early 1900s, Japanese film theaters would screen pictures while storytellers would tell tales. These silent film narrators were called benshi. The benshi would either introduce a film or narrate the characters voices. Silent films would be phased out of the United States in the 1920s, replaced by the “talkie.” However, the silent film era in Japan lasted well into the 1930s, due in part to the popularity of the benshi.Image: Orochi via WikipediaSome of the most popular early films made were samurai films. These movies were period pieces, or jidaigeki, featuring rebellious anti-heroes. Two key film directors central to pre-war Japan were Daisuke Itō and Masahiro Makino. Their fast paced samurai films were compared to rhythmic dancing. Their films were not only critically acclaimed, but also massive commercial successes.By the 1930s, the Japanese government became much more involved in cinema, insisting on the production of propaganda and promotional documentaries. These cultural films were called bunka eiga, a translation of the German kulturfilm. In Germany, these documentaries were incredibly influential and gave rise to the Nazi party.World War IIImage: Japanese forces in WWII via Journal NeoThough World War II is typically attributed to the 1939 German invasion of Poland, Japan had already been at war with the Republic of China since July of 1937. Japanese forces quickly captured Beijing, and by December of 1937 they would take the Chinese capital of Nanking.During this time, the Japanese government would demand an increase of propaganda in cinemas. Films were to show the glory and power of the Empire of Japan. The Japanese Home Ministry had total control over all domestic affairs. It controlled education, health, information, news, advertising, public events, and cinema.Film directors could not ridicule the military or demoralize the nation. They were told not to “exaggerate the cruelties of war with overly realistic depictions.” Any offending films were to be cut or banned.Image: Hiroshima aftermath via University of IllinoisTo continue with the history of cinema, it is only imperative to know that the Empire of Japan attacked the United States of America on December 7, 1941. The attack on Pearl Harbor triggered the USA’s entrance to WWII. This would ultimately end with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945. On September 2, 1945, the Empire of Japan surrendered to the United States.During the war, Japan’s weak economy and skyrocketing unemployment rate caused the Japanese cinema to suffer. The majority of feature films made were focused on the war, like Kajirô Yamamoto‘s Hawai Marê oki kaisen – The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya. The film actually featured the attack on Pearl Harbor. The special effects were directed by Eiji Tsuburaya, who used a miniature scale model of Pearl Harbor. (More on Tsuburaya later.)American Occupation of JapanImage: General Douglas MacArthur in Japan via History NetIn the years following the war, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur was tasked with revising the Japanese constitution and demilitarizing the nation. Japan was ordered to abolish the Meiji Constitution, thus ending the Empire of Japan. On May 3, 1947, the country adopted the Constitution of Japan and formally became Japan.During the occupation, MacArthur sought a way to combat the propaganda of Japanese cinema. An enlightenment campaign was launched, in which Hollywood studios would screen American films throughout Japan. Over 600 films were distributed, each showcasing the American way of life. The goal was to introduce America as a political, social, and cultural model for the Japanese population.Image: War Department intro via Internet ArchiveThe films were a box office success, essentially turning Japan into a key market. While American films were widely broadcast across the country, military authorities were strictly controlling and censoring Japanese films. The priority was to present American ideals, and all other views were suppressed.It’s also worth noting that General MacArthur requested the assistance of W. Edward Deming during the reconstruction efforts. Deming was originally involved with the 1951 Japanese Census, but would also help shares his expertise in quality control techniques. Deming trained engineers, managers, and scholars in statistical process control and concepts of quality. Among the trainees was Akio Morita, the future cofounder of Sony.Deming insisted that improving quality would reduce expenses while increasing productivity and market share. Many Japanese manufacturers would apply his techniques, essentially creating the massive technological industry Japan has become known for.Akira KurosawaImage: Akira Kurosawa via British Film InstituteThe most famous Japanese director of all time was very active during this time period. Born in 1910, Akira Kurosawa would go on to revolutionize not only Japanese cinema, but the entire filmmaking world.Akira was actually not the first Kurosawa in the film industry. His older brother, Heigo Kurosawa, was a noted benshi in Tokyo. As narrated films fell out of popularity in the 1930s, Heigo began to lose work. In July of 1933, Heigo committed suicide. His death had an everlasting impact on Akira Kurosawa‘s life. The director even talked about the incident in his book, Something Like an Autobiography, in a chapter titled “A Story I Don’t Want to Tell.”2 years after Heigo’s death, Akira Kurosawa left his job as a painter to enter the Japanese film industry. He applied for a job at a new studio called Photo Chemical Laboratories (PCL), which would become the major studio, Toho. It was there he would find his mentor, Kajirō Yamamoto. Kurosawa quickly rose to be an assistant director on many of Yamamoto’s projects. It was there that he learned that a good director must master screenwriting. He would go on to co-write all of his own films.Image: Sanshiro Sugata via Criterion In 1942, a judo novel was published by Tsuneo Tomita. Kurosawa read the book in one sitting and immediately asked for Toho to secure the film rights. His intuition prevailed, as soon other major studios were competing for the rights. Toho secured the deal and Kurosawa would go on to make his directorial debut with the 1943 action film Sanshiro Sugata.The film’s release did face challenges, as the Japanese censorship board considered the film too Western. Director Yasujirō Ozu intervened, and with his help Sanshiro Sugata was finally released. The movie was a huge success, and Kurosawa was immediately pressured for a sequel. He was forced to make Zoku Sugata Sanshirô. The sequel was obviously a piece of propaganda, and it would be referred to as one of Kurosawa’s worst films. Image: Kurosawa & Mifune via The Red ListIn 1945, Kurosawa aimed to make a film that was censor-friendly. He produced Tora no o wo fumu otokotachi – The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail. Based on the kabuki play Kanjinchō, the film would not be completed until September of 1945. By this time, the United States had begun its occupation of Japan. The American censors declared the film was overly feudal, and the film was banned. The film would not be released until 1952. Ironically, during the film’s production, Japanese censors had deemed the film too Western.In 1948, Kurosawa cast unknown actor Toshiro Mifune in the film Yoidore tenshi – Drunken Angel. Though the film went through forced censorship rewrites, Kurosawa felt this was his first film he was able to work on freely. Mifune’s incredible performance would lead to many more collaborations with Kurosawa. Japanese magazine Kinema Junpo declared the film to be the best film of the year.Image: Rashomon via CriterionIn 1950, unknown to himself, Kurosawa would begin the Golden Age of Japanese Cinema. He would produce and release the film Rashomon. When the film was initially released in Japan, it was only a moderate success. Kurosawa would turn to his next project, however the film was entered into the Venice Film Festival. In September of 1951, Rashomon was awarded the Golden Lion, the Venice Film Festival’s most prestigious award.Rashomon showcased Kurosawa’s skill as a director. He had embraced Western filmmaking, the works of Shakespeare, and American pulp novels. By combining those elements with traditional Eastern culture, Kurosawa’s films would break away from the traditional Japanese style of directors like Ozu and Mizoguchi. His work would find an international audience, cementing him as a legendary director.Kurosawa was also a fantastic composer of movement, some say the best in history. In this video essay from Every Frame a Painting, take a look at how Kurosawa was able to create incredible composition. Japan’s Golden AgeImage: Seven Samurai via EmpireNot only had Kurosawa started the Japanese Golden Age, he would continue to create some of his best work during this period. He produced Seven Samurai, adapted Shakespeare’s Macbeth into Throne of Blood, and released The Hidden Fortress. Kurosawa would continue into the 1960s with films like Yojimbo and Red Beard. All of these films would find international success, and would go on to influence a whole new generation of filmmakers.Meanwhile, Japanese filmmaking was adapting as well. In 1954, nuclear tests in the Pacific were causing radioactive storms in Japan. Most famously, a Japanese fishing vessel fell victim to nuclear fallout. Post-war Japan was still struggling with the effects of the atomic bombs, and nuclear testing created a heightened state of fear. Japanese filmmakers, like Kurosawa, would focus on the effects of nuclear fallout, but it would be a whole new genre that would embrace it.Image: Gojira via TohoThe studio Toho would go on to create the biggest film star in Japan. By embracing the atom-bomb allegory, the studio would create the kaiju film Gojira – Godzilla. Gojira was directed by Ishirô Honda, a friend of Kurosawa. In fact, Honda had filmed documentary footage of war-ravaged Tokyo that Kurosawa used in his film Stray Dog.Gojira also employed the special effects work of Eiji Tsuburaya, who was previously mentioned for his use of miniature models of Pearl Harbor in Yamamoto’s film. The film spawned a series of sequels and other giant monster films. Toho nearly went bankrupt in 1954, as they simultaneously produced Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and Gojira. Both films would receive nominations for Best Picture at the Japanese Academy Awards. Seven Samurai would ultimately win.Image: Tokyo Story via CriterionThis period also saw the release of Yasujirô Ozu‘s Tokyo Story. The film is considered Ozu’s masterpiece, often cited as one of the greatest films ever made. Hiroshi Inagaki would win the Academy Award for Best Foriegn Language Film for Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto and a Golden Lion for The Rickshaw Man. Kon Ichikawa‘s The Burmese Harp was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Kenji Mizoguchi would win the Silver Bear for Ugetsu. Japan’s Influence on HollywoodImage: Magnificent Seven via MGMThe films of the Golden Age truly inspired some of the most renowned directors of the past 50 years, many of whom credit these films as direct influences on their own projects.Japanese films were not the only influence. W. Edward Deming’s work on quality control created several business empires, such as Sony and Toyota. Their assembly line processes directly influenced Ed Catmull, the President of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation. Catmull has stated that the Japanese assembly line’s focus on individual employees being able to voice concerns or make suggestions became crucial to Pixar’s early success.Image: Star Wars concept poster via BlastrAkira Kurosawa’s films were the most adapted or remade films of Japanese cinema, often times becoming cowboy Westerns. Seven Samurai was adapted into The Magnificent Seven. Director Sergio Leone would literally remake Kurosawa’s work, often framing shots in the exact same manner, when he adapted Yojimbo into A Fistful of Dollars. George Lucas cites The Hidden Fortress as a major influence on his space-western saga Star Wars.It was [Francis Ford] Coppola who said of Kurosawa, “One thing that distinguishes [him] is that he didn’t make one masterpiece or two masterpieces. He made, you know, eight masterpieces.” Both [Steven] Spielberg and [Martin] Scorsese have praised the older man’s role as teacher and role model—as a sensei, to use the Japanese term. Spielberg has declared, “I have learned more from him than from almost any other filmmaker on the face of the earth”, while Scorsese remarked, “Let me say it simply: Akira Kurosawa was my master, and … the master of so many other filmmakers over the years.” – WikipediaIn this video from CineFix, take a look at how early Japanese films influenced the creation of Star Wars.Japanese films have cemented themselves a staple of cinema, and their legacy will live on forever in film.Interested in more pieces like this? Want more on Kurosawa? Let us know in the comments below.
They aim to have 100,000 people pledge their support for Women In Sport. Please follow this link to pledge your support now: http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/womens-health/women-in-sport/online-pledge/Become a fan of Women’s Health on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Womens-Health-Magazine-Australia/15083547539Follow Women’s Health on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/womenshealthaus or use the hashtag #isupportwomeninsport
The economy has been sluggish for over a year, but the financial crisis on September 15, 2008, shook consumer confidence and set off another round of corporate layoffs. Recent numbers show that unemployment is at its highest since 1994. Many of our clients have been asking, “What does this mean for our online fundraising program?”It’s a great question—and one that we couldn’t find a good answer to, so we decided to do our own analysis. We looked at online giving for five nonprofit clients during September and October, including Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity International, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Oxfam America, and The Wilderness Society. To control for external factors such as online fundraising campaigns, we compared online ‘white mail’ – unsolicited gifts via the organization’s main donate page. We looked September and October of 2008, and compared those results to the same two months in 2007.Our analysis showed:The amount raised during this period was 34% greater in September of 2008 than in September of 2007. But when comparing October of 2007 to October of 2008, the amount raised increased by only 5%.The number of gifts went up by more than 15% in both September and October of 2008, as compared to September and October of 2007. Despite the economy and the possible distraction of the election, a significantly larger number of donors gave in these two months in 2008 than they did in 2007.However, the average gift size appeared to drop off in October of 2008 as compared to October of 2007. This may be a sign of the weakening economy, as many donors continue to give online but in smaller amounts.Overall, the news is good; despite both the financial crisis and the elections, nonprofit online fundraising grew in both of these months as compared to the previous year.Why has online fundraising continued to grow while many other forms of fundraising have declined in the current economic climate?Nonprofit direct marketing was on the decline even before September 2008. Many nonprofits saw lower-than-average growth rates starting in 2006, with a more severe slowdown occurring in Q2 of 2007, according to the Target Analytics Index of National Fundraising Performance. Nonetheless, online fundraising has continued to grow for most nonprofits, as seen in the most recent e-Nonprofit Benchmarks Study published by M+R and N-TEN, which found that online fundraising grew by 19% from 2006 to 2007.Online donors tend to be younger and more affluent than direct mail donors, as found in the 2006 donorCentrics Internet Giving Benchmarks Analysis. This may account for the steadier online returns, as younger donors – with more disposable income, less significant savings invested in retirement portfolios, and so on – may feel less vulnerable to the volatile market and thus may not be adjusting their giving to reflect the downturn.Despite the relatively good news for online donations, we have to warn nonprofits not to get complacent about online fundraising. Many economic analysts predict the current economic crisis will continue to worsen before it gets better. And the fact that growth was slower in October of 2008 may be a sign of things to come.What are other nonprofits doing to stay the course? One M+R client recently tested two versions of a special appeal: One simply stated the need for funds for many reasons, but did not make mention of global financial crisis. The other appeal led with a brief sentence stating that the current global financial crisis has made the need even greater. Both email messages had identical open rates, but the email with the mention of the financial crisis received 20% fewer click-throughs, and a 12% lower response rate than the email that did not. The lesson learned? Reminding your constituents of the current economic crisis, even when it is topical and strengthens your case for giving, does not make donors more likely to give, and may actually turn them away from giving.For this reason, in order to maximize your online fundraising results in a time of economic uncertainty, we recommend keeping your message focused on your mission and on the compelling reasons to give to your nonprofit. We’ve found that focusing on the basics continues to yield the best results. Using urgency, making a compelling case for giving, and even throwing a premium into the mix can all help boost returns.Nonetheless, nonprofits may want to lower their expectations for end of year fundraising. This is a time of year when donors traditionally make larger gifts, but given the decline in average gifts across the past two months, it is possible that many donors will continue to make their gifts online but will scale back the dollar amounts.We’d like to thank the five nonprofits who generously shared their data for this study: Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity International, National MS Society, Oxfam America, and The Wilderness Society.ABOUT M+R STRATEGIC SERVICESM+R is dedicated to helping our clients advance their missions in order to bring about positive change. We do this by helping organizations and campaigns we believe in develop smart and effective strategies, hone their messages, mobilize their members, build grassroots support, raise money, and communicate effectively with the media, the public and decision-makers, both online and offline. www.mrss.com
Faithful reader and commenter Luke Renner had a great new year post I’d like to share.I really agree with it, and the message is right. I’d sum it up this way: preach to the choir (the people who care about what you do in some way OR have some personal connection to a person who does care). Then ask the choir to leave the church and go do personal performances wherever they go.Don’t try to convert the people who will never ever care. It will never ever work.Here are excerpts from Luke’s post:1 – Most of the people who support us right now are FRIENDS AND FAMILY.2 – For the most part, friends and family generally support WHO WE ARE more than WHAT WE’RE DOING. That doesn’t mean that friends and family disagree with what we are doing. It’s just that they know us as people first and foremost… and can find a way to support us on the merits of that relationship, even if they may not understand or agree with our choice of “mission.”3 – Most of our “new friends” who do support us ALREADY AGREED WITH OUR VISION before they met us. In other words, we did not change their mind or convince them of anything… we simply found them.There are countless people who already think like we do! In our case, these people might include: educators, filmmakers, technology companies, software developers, civil rights groups, etc.These groups of people already believe (strongly) in the merits of:– Education– Mass media as an instructional tool– The use of technology for human advancementIn other words… I DON’T HAVE TO CONVINCE THEM OF ANYTHING!!! These fine people are already sitting around somewhere, in total (or partial) agreement with what we are doing… they just don’t know we exist yet.Without a doubt, these groups are prone toward lending a helping hand.The job cannot be to convince people to believe in something. The job must be to find others who already hold the same values we do and invite them to join us.In other words, I have been working too hard at the wrong job!
On February 16, 2009, I had the honor to present at the 2009 Emerging Program Institute at the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, NC. At the bottom of this article are a PDF copy of the slides for this presentation. In addition, I’ve included some of my favorite articles from here in the Network for Good Learning Center. Enjoy!Favorite Articles10 Things to Avoid in Email Campaigns11 Steps to Success with Social Networking33 Ideas that Change the Fundraising Game4 Basic Website Tweaks5 Elements of a Good Story9 Email Do’s and Don’ts for the SenderBring Your e-Newsletter from Snoring to SoaringCreate an Online Fundraising Plan – Step 1: Work Your WebsiteCreate an Online Fundraising Plan – Step 2: Evolve Your EmailsCreate an Online Fundraising Plan – Step 3: Match Up Your Online and Offline MarketingCreate an Online Fundraising Plan – Step 4: Know Your NumbersDeveloping a Strategic Communications Plan Eight Things Your Home Page Must HaveEmail Signatures: A Missed Marketing OpportunityFive Deadly Sins of Website DesignHow to Ask for DonationsReport: Can donation page optimization boost online giving?Sample Online Fundraising PlanShould You Send Emails to Supporters via Outlook?The Secret to Getting People to Give: 15 Reasons Why People Donate To Increase Charitable Donations, Appeal to the Heart — Not the Head
Hear what constitutes just enough planning for your marketing campaign. Thanks to my organization Network for Good, we’ve got a great free teleconference tomorrow (which you can later access online). The great Kristen Grimm of Spitfire (who happens to be spitfire herself) will be speaking on Great Campaigns in Nine Simple Steps: How to Succeed with “Just Enough” Planning. Tuesday, March 10 at 1 p.m. ETRegister here!Key takeaways:Campaign planning in 9 easy stepsIdeas for campaign goal-setting, staffing, timelines and messagingHow to measure success along the wayQ&A session to answer your campaign questions