Monday, January 25, 2010

On The Rubber Chicken Circuit

If you've lived in Chicago, you may have developed a taste for deep-dish pizza.

If you've lived in North Dakota, you may have developed an appreciation for well-insulated parkas.

If you've lived in the corporate world, you may have developed an addiction to PowerPoint.

Guilty, your honor.*

To wit:


Over the course of the next year (few years, decade, whatever), I anticipate giving a variety of presentations. Some will be promotional, some will be educational, some will be humorous (I hope!). I may talk about the writing business or where my ideas come from or why all my time has been sucked away by the insidious Internet. Regardless of the topic, I want to be prepared.

So this is my strategy:

I'm going to create PowerPoint slides covering every possible topic I can think of. Then, for any particular presentation, I can mix and match the appropriate slides to put together something riveting. Need a presentation on snaring an agent? Pull out the "How to Write A Query" slides, complete with the photo of a rhinoceros (you need a thick skin to query, get it?). Going to give a presentation to my 6th grader's class? Pull out the "Hey, Look What Funny Things I Can Do with Photoshop!" slides.

So far, I've got about 50 slides done, on my way to several hundred (or more). Here are some broad topics I plan to cover (the list isn't all inclusive, but it's a start):

Publishing Business
Industry News
My Background
My Writing Routine
Author Influences
Cool Research

Got any topics to add?
Know where I can get a projector, cheap?


*Of the PowerPoint addiction--I don't much like pizza (that cheese thing again) and I don't much like cold weather either.



Mason Canyon said...

Sounds like you've got a good plan in place. Me, I am terrible at making presentations. And I'm with you on not liking cold weather, so ready for summer.

Anonymous said...

I'm an educator, so trust me. I know all about PowerPoints! I actually like them very much, and as a matter of fact, I'll probably be putting a new one together this week for a presentation on mystery novels I'll be giving in about 2 1/2 weeks.

My idea for a topic? Chase and the other main characters in your series. Sort of a "character capsule" set of bullets

Terry Odell said...

I've only dabbled in PowerPoint, mostly collaborating with someone who did the hard stuff.

I'm old - I remember putting together slide show presentations when I worked in the education department for a zoo. We definitely had slide trays for a variety of our presentations.

I thought about using one for my upcoming plotting and dialogue workshops, but so far, those meeting folk don't have the projector, and I'm not ready to go that far. I'm making handouts. I figure that gives attendees something to keep and remember me by.

Elspeth Futcher said...

I am PowerPoint deficient. This is not an arrow in my quiver. Oh dear.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I've put slides together before, but relied on someone else's equipment. Maybe ebay? I think I might want a projector, too.

I regularly do workshops for aspiring mystery writers along with a panel of other writers. My topic is always "Mysterious Characters." Others do plotting, etc. Depends on who you're talking to, though....writers? Readers? People who wandered in off the street into the library (I've talked to them before, too!)

Mystery Writing is Murder
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

Alan Orloff said...

Mason - A man. A plan. A presentation. Powerpoint. (What no fractured palindrome fans out there?)

Margot - Character capsules. Good idea! I guess PowerPoints are very popular in the academic world, too.

Terry - Just don't drop that slide carousel!!! Handouts are a great idea.

Elspeth - Here's the good news: Out of all Microsoft's products, PowerPoint might be the easies to learn and use. Give it a try, you'll like it!

Elizabeth - I took your suggestions and started checking out projectors on eBay. Most of the cheaper ones don't come with bulbs, so watch out. As for topics, if I can make a joke out of it, then it's good by me.

Patricia Stoltey said...

This is very upsetting, Alan. I managed to escape the corporate world without learning Power Point. Who knew I was going to regret that "escape" when I started giving workshops and classes? It's an awesome idea to prep a bunch of slides that you can mix and match (and I love the rhino slide without even seeing it).

オテモヤン said...
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Dorte H said...

If you are a teacher, you will have to use PowerPoint. Not that I mind making the slides, but too often the equipment just doesn´t work :(

Lorel Clayton said...

I know and love Powerpoint, and a slide for every occasion is a great idea. You could always add the topic of how to make Powerpoint slides :)
And if you get a cheap digital projector off ebay to hook up to your laptop, you can project DVD movies onto a big white wall of your house and have a home theatre!

Terri Bischoff said...

Alan - You want to come visit your editor in the very cold midwest? Next month I have to present the Midnight Ink books to our sales team, marketing and publicity teams. Yikes!

Alan Orloff said...

Dorte - And the equipment always seems to fail right when you need it most!

Lorel - A PowerPoint slide about using PowerPoint. Very tautalogical! (is that a word?)

Terri - If you guys ever move locations to say, Bermuda, count me in! It'll be the best PowerPoint presentation you've ever seen!