Craig Johnston braving the snows of Uzbekistan while teaching Commercial Production to television professionals in the former Soviet Union.

As a longtime Television writer, producer, photographer and manager, I approached my first Internet development project with a "this ought to be fun" attitude. The television station where I managed Production and Operations needed a web site, and no one else seemed to be getting it done.

What I found was that it was fun. As someone who was used to tying words and pictures together, I found that television is a great preparer for Internet and Multimedia work. As a television producer, you're responsible for the overall project, meeting deadlines and staying on budget. Some of tasks you can do yourself, certain specialized work has to be done by experts in their fields. That is precisely what an Internet or Multimedia developer does.

I also found that much of the thought process which goes into producing a television commercial is applicable to developing an e-commerce site: both of them depend largely on the customer making an "impulse buy." In television, you learn to push certain viewer "buttons" to get them to come into the store or pick up the phone. In e-commerce, you literally make them want to click on buttons to make a purchase.

Over the past year I have made several trips to the former Soviet Union, teaching their television professionals how to produce commercials. Typically the students want to talk about lighting and sound and cameras the first day. Instead, we spend a lot of time discussing how you learn about the client's business, about his existing customers, about his products. We spend more time talking about how to translate this information into a sound concept for a commercial.

That's the same way I approach

Craig Johnston

Copyright 1998 by Craig Johnston Communications, LLC