Friday, 30 December 2011

A material year

Next year the Material movie is coming out - the 17th of February is not far away now. A lot of pacing is on the horizon ...

The film is magical - if you see it you are gonna love it. With a bit of luck we may just get the numbers.

We have a real shot with this film - it truly is wonderful. My wish for the new year is that it is a Material year.

As I sit here and ponder I think of a thought that Joey Rasdien shared with me once. Joey is a funny man, and one of the lead actors in the movie. I once asked Joey if he was happy and this is what he said "I am not where I want to be, but I thank God I am not where I used to be."

This new movie is material (excuse all the puns) and we are definitely not where we used to be.

Happy new year everyone - may we all produce some magical material in 2012.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Friday, 23 December 2011

Season Greetings

A friend sent me this - it was too good not to share:

Season Greetings

I wanted to send some sort of holiday greeting to my colleagues and friends, but it is so difficult in today's world to know exactly what to say without offending someone. So I met with my attorney yesterday, and on his advice I wish to say the following:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the summer solstice holiday, practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2012, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that South Africa is necessarily greater than any other country) and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms:

This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Disclaimer: No trees were harmed in the sending of this message; however, a significant number of electrons were slightly inconvenienced.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Friday, 16 December 2011

Material madness

The year is winding down ... almost. But the material for Material is gearing up for the big event. The 17th of February is what it is all about. And this is not far away ... phew!

We have 10 corporate supporters that are helping us spread the word. Thank you to all of you. By the third week of January the campaign will begin and the Moosa man will be all over the place - lots of material is coming! The brands that are helping us include: Discovery, First National Bank, Steers, Glaceau (Coca-Cola), Europcar, Independent Newspapers, Multichoice, 94.7 (Primedia), Exclusive Books and Internet Solutions. Thank you again, to all of you.

The movie continues to get an overwhelming response from everyone we show it to. And they all say the same thing "This movie is so magical that it will sell itself." Yeah, I know that old expression "it speaks for itself". But, I have not heard the movie say one frikken word!? Does the movie speak French or something?! In my view, this is a very quiet movie - like it has lost its voice. Come on movie, speak up - spread the word!

The movie may be stunning but we are out there doing all the work. Yes, we do believe that the word of mouth on the film will be very very strong, but the challenge in South Africa remains: how do you get the public to buy tickets to a local movie. The economy is really tough at the moment (and about to get even tougher in the new year), and when someone goes to the mall and is presented with a bunch of Hollywood blockbusters, and there is an unknown little local film, then that one is always the last on anyone's list.

People are watching their spend more and more and all the movie tickets cost the same price, so why would one buy a ticket for a small South African film. Consider also that there is such a mistrust when it comes to local arts, especially movies, then you can start to see what I mean when I say that the movie isn't going to sell itself. We are on the road, all the time, drumming up marketing support with anyone who will give us an ear - so, please also help us spread the word - we really need ALL the help we can get.

I promise you one thing, you are going to be blown away when you see this movie - it is not what you are expecting at all. And if you don't like it, I will give you your money back (I am still good for it).

Now, check out the official trailer - it just went live this week :

Bring on the material madness!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday, 10 December 2011

USA economic stimulus package ... what the doctors had to say.

A friend sent this to me - it was too good not to share:

Dr. Krishnamoorthy Srinivas, well known for injecting a joke or a bit of humour into every conversation you have with him or in his speeches, offers this little bit of medical humour:

Apparently the American Medical Association has weighed in on the new economic stimulus package ...

The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The Obstetricians felt they were all labouring under a misconception.

Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

Pathologists yelled, ‘Over my dead body’, while the Pediatricians said, ‘Oh, grow up!’

The Podiatrists thought it was a big step backward, and the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it all.

Surgeons decided to wash their hands off the whole thing.

The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, ‘This puts a whole new face on the matter.’

The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn’t have the heart to say ‘no’.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the assholes in Washington.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


A friend sent me this ... ja well no fine.

After Daylight Savings Time ended, I stopped in to visit my dyslexic friend.

He was busy covering his penis with black shoe polish.

I said to him, "You idiot!

You're supposed to turn your clock back!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Friday, 2 December 2011

Why ?!

How come people with no track record are often so arrogant? Why is this?

Is it because they have proved nothing so they have to act like big deals?! People who have climbed a big mountain don’t need to show off about it. It is amazing that people with no track always know everything. And when they have track record, then they are not so quick to give all the answers.

It is like that old saying goes "When you are good you can tell people. But when you are great, they will tell you."

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Where I have not been

A friend sent me this - I had to share it:

I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there

I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends, family and work.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.

I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older.

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The London screening ...

What a week!

We screened the Material film in London on Wednesday - it feels like it was so long ago ... talk about an intense week - wow!

The screening went good, even though we had all kinds of technical challenges. Yes, everything that could go wrong, did. It was terrifying! The sound system in the art deco cinema Soho hotel we were in did not behave itself, and the full glory of the film was not experienced, and still, people were laughing and crying. When they see the finished, mastered film in a movie theatre soon, they will be properly amazed with this magical little film. The film still excites me every time I see it.

The real work is just beginning. The release in SA in February is the key to everything. The rules of business are the same for all businesses - the film business is no different. You need critical mass at home before you can expand.

Also, we are hoping we will get into a high profile festival, like Berlin. They will let us know in the first week of January. If we get into Berlin we have a real launch platform - we need it. This is not an art movie, but a commercial film, and we need to platform it.

Lots to do, and we are on the right track. A lot of it now boils down to "hurry up and wait." And of course luck - with a bit of luck, we may just get to the pyramids.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Gotcha !

A friend sent me this : a mental age assessment by the School of Psychiatry at Harvard University.

Take your time and see if you can read each line aloud without a mistake.

The average person over 50 years of age cannot do it!

01. This is this cat.
02. This is is cat.
03. This is how cat.
04. This is to cat.
05. This is keep cat.
06. This is an cat.
07. This is alter cat.
08. This is kakker cat.
09. This is busy cat.
10. This is for cat.
11. This is forty cat.
12. This is seconds cat.

Now go back and read the third word in each line from the top down and I bet you cannot resist passing it on ...

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Talent is not enough

Being talented and being smart are different things. You can be smart and have no talent and you can be talented and not that smart. Of course, you can be plain unlucky and not have any talent and at the same time be a dumb ass.

Riaad Moosa, though, is smart and talented, a rare combination.

Yes, you can be smart and have no talent and you can be talented and not that smart - winners are both smart and talented.

A week from tonight in London we will find out if we are smart or talented or both. And hopefully, a bit lucky. Without good luck all bets are off, no matter how smart or talented you may be.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Tomorrow is material

What started in 2004 ends tomorrow. Yup, by sunset comes Friday the film will be technically complete. But the Material journey is really just beginning. Getting the film out there is a whole other mountain and I can't wait to start climbing.

A lot happened in this last week. On Tuesday Steers shot a TV commercial with Riaad and Joey as the two main characters. The advert goes out in the new year - it is gonna be proper cool!

On the 16th at 6 pm Craig and I will be in London for the BIG screening - I can't really say a whole lot, but this is the biggest milestone I have had personally in my 12 year detour into the world of the commercial arts.

We got some Web banners that went live this week - there is vibey banner up on and there is one - there will be a lot more coming in the new year.

Then, there is a the East/West story - something inspired in part by Fiddler on the Roof, and also, by Material. If Material works next year, the East/West story will be next - you have been warned!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The History of the Internet

A friend sent this to me - I had to share it:

In ancient Israel, it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com took unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot. And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.

And she said unto Abraham, her husband, "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"

And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said, "How, dear?"

And Dot replied, "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price. And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."

Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums.

And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.

To prevent neighbouring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP).

And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.

And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land, and indeed did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates ' drumheads and drumsticks.

And Dot did say, "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."

And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel, or eBay as it came to be known. He said, "We need a name that reflects what we are.

And Dot replied, "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators." "YAHOO," said Abraham.

And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.

Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside.

It soon became known as Geek's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE).

That is how it all began. And that's the truth.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Two material weeks

We finish this part of the Material journey in two weeks time. On the 4th of November the audio mix will be complete and the film making will be finished. Then starts the real work - the next part of the journey is what we have been gearing up for, for such a long time.

On the 14th of November we leave for London and then, on the 16th, at 6 pm, we have a key industry screening there. This is very exciting but also, rather scary. We have one shot at this - they need to see the magic that night!

We are aiming for a February release and we this will depend on the film festivals we have submitted to. Getting into a high-profile film festival is not easy, and we are not counting on it, but the film turned out so good, and you never know what could materialize (excuse the pun). So, we wait and see, and if we get into Berlin, for example, then we will adjust the release date by a few weeks. We are all holding thumbs, and toes, and everything else. Please hold thumbs too. We need all the support, and luck, that we can get.

Then, we are working on another story. I can't say too much, but it is an East meets West tale. Watch Fiddler on the Roof for some clues.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday, 17 October 2011

Too good !

This was in the Washington Post :

On Monday, at the Gwinnett County (Georgia) Courthouse, Lawrence was charged with lewd and lascivious behaviour, public indecency, and public intoxication.

The suspect explained that as he was passing a pumpkin patch on his way home from a drinking session when he decided to stop, 'You know how a pumpkin is soft and squishy inside, and there was no one around for miles or at least I thought there wasn't anyone around' he stated in a telephone interview. Lawrence went on to say that he pulled over to the side of the road, picked out a pumpkin that he felt was appropriate to his purpose, cut a hole in it, and proceeded to satisfy his alleged need. 'Guess I was really into it, you know?' he commented with evident embarrassment.

In the process of doing the deed, Lawrence failed to notice an approaching police car and was unaware of his audience until Officer Brenda Taylor approached him. 'It was an unusual situation, that's for sure,' said Officer Taylor. 'I walked up to Lawrence and he's just banging away at this pumpkin.' Officer Taylor went on to describe what happened when she approached Lawrence.

'I said, 'Excuse me sir, but do you realize that you're having sex with a pumpkin?'

He froze and was clearly very surprised that I was there, and then he looked me straight in the face and said... 'A pumpkin?... Shit... is it midnight already?'

The title of the article was 'Best Come Back Line Ever.'

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

If you understand this please let me know ...

So, I am of the same origins as Ginsberg and Goldberg, and I love a good joke, especially a good Jewish joke. And in these anxious times, there are more and more financial funnies. But, I found this one, and it got a lot of people laughing, but I am not sure I get it 100% ... if you can explain this one to me, please mail me on

Ginsberg never pays his bills and is seen bargaining with a supplier.

"Hey, Ginsberg," Goldberg asks him, "why are you knocking that man's prices down? You're never going to pay him anyway."

"Listen," answers Ginsberg, "he is a nice chap. I just want to keep down his losses!"

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Jobs well done

This has been such an event filled week. The passing of Steve Jobs being on everyone's lips. He really captured the world's imagination.

I read these words from Mr. Jobs on the Internet this weekend - it certainly is a lot of food for thought :

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.

Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true."

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Material wants

I was asked an important question this past week - what do we want for "Material"? What are we looking for with the new movie?

This feature film project is a business venture, albeit a very risky one - a colourful journey into the hit and miss world of the arts. A lot of people quite rightfully will say that investing in a movie is like punting at a casino. I have been down this road many times, and I would agree. But, gambling aside, like all investments you make, it is about people. We invest in people. And in terms of the result, well, in this case, that has to do with people.

The thing that all of us would want the most from this film is credibility. If we manage to capture people's imaginations like the way Bend it Like Beckham did, for example, then we will gain credibility, and with that we will be attract talent. Yes, if we establish credibility we will be able to attract world-class people in the arts domain. And this will allow us to grow and make more magic.

As for money, well, if the quality is there, the quantity will sort itself out. But cold cash, while always welcome on any venture, is not what our hearts ultimately desire. Also, there is no shortage of capital in the world but there is a shortage of human capital. Yes, credibility allows you to attract talent and without this there is no growth on a world scale.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Sign of the times

I read this on the Web - it was too good not to share:

Employee: "Excuse me sir, may I talk to you?"

Boss: "Sure, come on in. What can I do for you?"

Employee: "Well sir, as you know, I have been an employee of this firm for over ten years."

Boss: "Yes."

Employee: "I won't beat around the bush. Sir, I would like a raise. I currently have four companies after me and so I decided to talk to you first."

Boss: "A raise? I would love to give you a raise, but this is just not the right time."

Employee: "I understand your position, and I know that the current economic down turn has had a negative impact on sales, but you must also take into consideration my hard work, pro-activeness and loyalty to this company for over a decade."

Boss: "Taking into account these factors, and considering I don't want to start a brain drain, I'm willing to offer you a ten percent raise and an extra five days of vacation time. How does that sound?"

Employee: "Great! It's a deal! Thank you, sir!"

Boss: "Before you go, just out of curiosity, what companies were after you?

Employee: "Oh, the electric company, gas company, water company and the mortgage company!"

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Show business

The "Material" movie making is almost coming to an end - we have just over a month to go. But the film journey is just beginning.

In the past two months we have been testing the film with various business leaders, looking for support in helping to get the word out there. The response to the film has been overwhelming. In fact, we can't believe it ourselves how magical the film has turned out. I have seen the movie the most out of the Material team. I go with to each screening and I am always keen to hear feedback (good and bad).

Why do I go with and sit in on every screening, I have been asked? Because I am also selling me, not just the movie. You invest in people - not in things, like movies. I am asking them to invest in me; to take a chance on me, not just the movie. Of course, when they see the movie, they are inspired, and want to learn more about me and the team, and that is why I am there. You can't outsource sincerity.

I am asking them to help me, not the film. Of course, if they help me, they are helping the film, but it is important to understand the difference. That old saying "the product should speak for itself" is only true to a point - you need to be there, in every sense of the word. And yes, the product speaks volumes - we are seeing people's faces light up when they watch the film, which is wonderful, but does the film really speak for itself? Does the product write the proposal, and follow up? Does the product chase and nag and beg?

And that is why it is called show business. The movie is one thing, but the show around the movie is a whole other story.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Irony of life

A friend sent me this - it was too good not to share:

1. All men are extremely busy.
2. Although they are so busy, they still have time for women.
3. Although they have time for women, they don't really care for them.
4. Although they don't really care for them, they always have one around.
5. Although they always have one around them, they always try their luck with others.

1. The most important thing for a woman is financial security.
2. Although this is so important, they still go out and buy expensive clothes and stuff.
3. Although they always buy expensive clothes, they never have something to wear.
4. Although they never have something to wear, they always dress beautifully.
5. Although they always dress beautifully, their clothes are always just "an old rag".
6. Although their clothes are always "just an old rag", they still expect you to compliment them.
7. Although they expect you to compliment them, when you do, they don't believe you.

When I was married 25 years ago, I took a look at my wife one day and said, "honey, 25 years ago we had a cheap apartment, a cheap car, slept on sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black and white TV, but I got to sleep every night with a hot 25-year-old blond."

"Now we have a $500,000.00 home, a $45,000.00 car, nice big bed and plasma screen TV, but I'm sleeping with a 50-year-old woman. It seems to me that you are not holding up your side of things."

My wife is a very reasonable woman.

She told me to go out and find a hot 25-year-old blonde, and she would make sure that I would once again be living in a cheap apartment, driving a cheap car, sleeping on a sofa bed and watching a 10-inch black and white TV.

Aren't older women great? They really know how to solve your mid-life crisis.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Monday, 12 September 2011

Sleeper's Wake

I went to visit the film shoot of Sleeper's Wake this weekend. This is Barry Berk's first feature film production that Ken Kaplan is running. Barry sent me the script earlier this year and I was proper inspired. It is a real page turner. It is not the kind of story I would like to tell, but it is the kind of movie that will make for nail biting watching. Barry has adapted this compelling book and has turned it into a world-class screenplay. I am confident that a strong movie will be the result. I am not that into dark stories, but I do watch them occasionally, and I am excited to see what they are going to pull together. I have made a small investment in Barry and Ken and I am keen to try build a bridge here.

And, on other movie matters, the musical score on Material is almost complete. Craig and I went to spend Saturday morning with Lizzie, the film's composer, and we were both delighted by the end of the morning. The music has turned out as magical as the film. I still can't believe what has been produced here! In the coming weeks Lizzie will be working with a group of session musicians to record the music (it is currently only on Lizzie's system and was created on a synthesizer). Then, at the start of October the music gets laid down as we enter into the sound mix. Soon we will be complete ... phew!

Last night we showed the latest working cut of Material to a team from FNB and I think it is safe to say they were all at a loss for words. The bank did an incredible campaign for the Jock film and I hope they will help us too. The seeds have been planted... now let's see what blossoms.

Here's to another crazy week ahead ... bring it on!

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The rules

A friend sent this to me – it had to be shared.


1. Money cannot buy happiness but it’s more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle.
2. Forgive your enemy but remember the bastard’s name.
3. Help a man when he is in trouble and he will remember you when he is in trouble again.
4. Many people are alive only because it’s illegal to shoot them.
5. Alcohol does not solve any problems, but then neither does milk.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Magic !

I love trying to make people laugh. But humour is language oriented. Magic, on the other hand, crosses borders.

Talk about capturing imaginations - this is a must see :

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The little golf story

A friend sent this to me - it was too good not to share:

A father put his 3-year old daughter to bed, told her a story and listened to her prayers which ended by saying:"God bless Mommy, God bless Daddy, God bless Grandma and goodbye Grandpa." The father asked, "Why did you say goodbye Grandpa?"

The little girl said, "I don't know, Daddy, it just seemed like the thing to do."

The next day grandpa died. The father thought it was a strange coincidence. A few months later the father put the girl to bed and listened to her prayers which went like this: "God bless Mommy, God Bless Daddy and goodbye Grandma."

The next day the grandmother died.

"Holy Moley, thought the father, "this kid is in contact with the other-side."

Several weeks later when the girl was going to bed the dad heard her say:"God bless Mommy and goodbye Daddy."

He practically went into shock. He couldn't sleep all night and got up at the crack of dawn to go to his office. He was nervous as a cat all day, had lunch and watched the clock. He figured if he could get by until midnight he would be okay. He felt safe in the office, so instead of going home at the end of the day he stayed there, drinking coffee, looking at his watch and jumping at every sound. Finally, midnight arrived, he breathed a sigh of relief and went home.

When he got home his wife said, "I've never seen you work so late, what's the matter?" He said, "I don't want to talk about it, I've just spent the worst day of my life." She said, "You think you had a bad day, you'll never believe what happened to me this morning. My golf pro dropped dead in the middle of my lesson."

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Grace under pressure

Being under pressure, and being busy, are two different things. You can be busy and not be under pressure, and you can be under pressure and not that busy. And of course, you can have no pressure and not be busy (which sounds pretty boring).

The challenge with being under pressure is that it occupies so much of your time and energy. I battle to sleep when I am under pressure. It is hard to switch off from tough situations.

Being busy is a different story though. I often have days where I run around, and take care of so many details, and juggle so many balls, but there is no real pressure. Sure, there is the mission of getting everything done that day, but, if some stuff is pushed out to another day, it is not the end of the world.

Having to conclude an important deal point, or delivery a strategic objective, or close an important contract, well, that kind of pressure we often have to deal with, and it is never easy on the nerves. The key thing about being under pressure is to try and remain as graceful as possible. As the years go by, I feel I am getting better, but it is never easy to keep your cool when things are pressurized.

The Material movie is putting me under more and more pressure. I am not that busy on the film journey, but I am juggling a bunch of high-level balls, and the pressure is intense. So far, though, so good - I have remained as cool as can be, but my stomach is in knots. Good things always require a battle - we have to fight for what believe in. Please God it will all be worth it in the end.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Friday, 19 August 2011

Show me the money

In our Funny Business book (, we wrote about money and advice. The story where this one wise man we know, who is a very successful venture capitalist, tells us, that he often gets calls from young, enthused wannabe entrepreneurs, who ask for money. "Do you give them money when they call you?" "Never!" "Well, what do you give them then?" "Advice." "And when do you give them money?" "When they call for advice."

With Material ( getting more and more media attention, so my telephone and email inbox are getting more action. Calls from young, excited, film makers, who want someone to invest in their movie. "Please can I come see you about my film." "You want me to gamble?"

A movie is a business venture, so, these adventurous guys should be able to answer some fundamental business questions, like, how are we going to make a return on the investment? But, as it turns out, our movie guys know nothing about the workings of the film business. They just want to shoot.

One day I sit down with one of these excited film guys, and he still appears to know almost knowing about the movie business; so we start discussing distribution, and he tells me that it is going be a big DVD seller, even though the DVD market is slowing dying. So I ask him about the PPD etc. and he has no clue what I am on about. So I explain to him how the revenue splits work on a typical DVD distribution deal, and, then I ask him why he doesn't write any of it down; you know, make some notes. I look at him and go "Maybe you should be jotting this down". And he looks at me, and goes "Nah, I can remember".

Listening builds trust. You want to make money, you want to make movies, perhaps spend some time becoming better listeners.

Personality and character are two very different things. Sure, personality opens doors, but character keeps them open. Listening is a sign of character. People who listen generally make money, and perhaps, even movies.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Friday, 12 August 2011

More laws of golf

My one friend sent this to me. I am not a golfer, but most of my mates are, and this made me laugh. Here are "Murphy's Laws Of Golf".

There is no such thing as a friendly wager.

The stages of golf are Sudden Collapse, Radical Change, Complete Frustration, Slow Improvement, Brief Mastery, and Sudden Collapse.

The only sure way to get a par is to leave a four-foot birdie putt two inches short of the hole.

Don't play with anyone who would question a 7.

It's as easy to lower your handicap as it is to reduce your hat size.

If your driver is hot, your putter will be ice cold; if you can hit your irons, you will top your woods; if you are keeping your right elbow tucked in, your head will come up.

Progress in golf consists of two steps forward and ten miles backward.

One good shank deserves another.

It takes 17 holes to really get warmed up.

No golfer ever swung too slowly.

No golfer ever played too fast.

One birdie is a hot streak.

No matter how badly you are playing, it's always possible to play worse.

Whatever you think you're doing wrong is the one thing you're doing right.

Any change works for three holes.

The odds of hitting a duffed shot increase by the square of the number of people watching.

Never teach golf to your wife.

Never play your son for money.

Never try to keep more than 300 separate thoughts in your mind during your swing.

The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about the golf swing.

It's surprisingly easy to hole a 50-foot putt when you lie 10.

The statute of limitation on forgotten strokes is two holes.

Bets lengthen putts and shorten drives.

Confidence evaporates in the presence of fairway water.

It takes considerable pressure to make a penalty stroke adhere to a scorecard.

It's not a gimme if you're still away.

The more your opponent quotes the rules, the greater the certainty that he cheats.

Always limp with the same leg for the whole round.

The rake is always in the other trap.

The wind is in your face on 16 of the 18 holes.

Nothing straightens out a nasty slice quicker than a sharp dogleg to the right.

The rough will be mowed tomorrow.

The ball always lands where the pin was yesterday.

It always takes at least five holes to notice that a club is missing.

The nearest sprinkler head will be blank.

Every time a golfer makes a birdie, he must subsequently make two triple bogeys to restore the fundamental equilibrium of the universe.

Out of bounds is always on the right, for right-handed golfers.

The practice green is either half as fast or twice as fast as all the other greens.

No one with funny head covers ever broke par (except for Tiger Woods).

The lowest numbered iron in your bag will always be impossible to hit.

Your straightest iron shot of the day will be exactly one club short.

If you seem to be hitting your shots straight on the driving range, it's probably because you're not aiming at anything.

The only thing you can learn from golf books is that you can't learn anything from golf books, but you have to read an awful lot of golf books to learn it.

Posted by Ronnie Apteker

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Insider shading

I am all for capitalism. I believe it is a good thing. It allows us to take risks, and to create. It gives us an opportunity to make a return on effort. And it allows every person in the free world to make a difference. Capitalism ultimately gives us all the chance to wake up early, work hard, take a risk, and hopefully make magic. Create something of value in the world, and people will conspire to reward you. But capitalism only works if we all follow some basic set of rules. A code of conduct that is predicated on right and wrong. The 10 commandments will do just fine to this end. When we start bending these rules, and perverting capitalism, then things start to get ugly. Inside Job (the award winning documentary film), as the name captures, describes a system whereby the American government we all trust, as the leader of the free world, played a role in corrupting the rules that keep everyone in check. And now, there is a big economic mess. If you think that we have been through a crises then you are wrong - it is still coming! I would not be surprised if the Great Depression was renamed the Great Depression I. Because part II is not far off.

I have never met anyone who works hard who has not made money. Hard work always gets results. And if you are lucky and you work hard then you could make a lot of money. But making money and taking money are very different things. Too many of these Wall Street fat cats took money, and didn't give any of it back when the wheels came off. As it was stated in Inside Job "Why should a financial engineer get paid up to 100 times more than a real engineer; a real engineer builds bridges, a financial engineer builds dreams, and when those dreams turn out to be nightmares, other people pay for it."

Money made by hard work and risk taking is always celebrated, but when money is made, by exploiting legal loopholes then this is a tragedy. There is nothing inspired by someone who makes their money be taking advantage of our ignorance and lack of knowledge. When a hedge fund manager makes a billion bucks, it ultimately means someone else has lost a billion bucks. Nothing was created here. No magic was the result of some hard work. It is simply about the manipulation of numbers, and about the exploitation of loopholes. If all these hedge fund managers disappeared tomorrow would any of us care? Sure, I understand the value of a financial consultant and of a money manager, but, when that money manager suddenly has hundreds of millions of dollars in their personal account and everyone they were meant to be looking after is crying, then what is to celebrate there?

The problem we have is that nothing has changed since the sub-prime crises. No one was punished, and the fat cat culture of taking and taking has not stopped. You can't keep taking without leaving something on the table for the next guy. Eventually there will be an explosion. And the kicker is, that these fat cats who have all accumulated so much money have taken no risk! They have perverted capitalism and destroyed trust - they just all helped themselves and their mates, and no one does a thing about it. But the masses are getting angry and the average American now has to work 3 jobs to keep up with monthly payments. The middle class of America, which used to be the backbone of the American dream, are now in debt. And America has an artificially propped up economy with all these bailouts. We are cheating nature ladies and gentleman, and it is going to come back to haunt us. Very very soon.

What so many of these companies did, is what we saw in the dot com meltdown. Revenues were booked now, and services were delivered later. Anyone can make a big profit in the short term with twisted accounting practices. And then, when you start to help yourself to massive bonuses based on these phantom profits, well, them it all goes to shit. Enron is the ultimate example. And these big, perverted banks, like Lehman Brothers and the rest, are all Enrons.

Regulations were there to protect us. Hell, they did back here in South Africa. But in America, the deregulated market failed as greed got the better of everyone. And what is worse, is that the academics of America, the people we really look up to, the teachers and professors, were all in on this "inside job". So many Ivy League professors were getting huge consulting fees, to provide credibility to what was a perverse system. On the America Dollar it says "In God we trust" but, we can we trust America anymore?

Posted by Ronnie Apteker