Larry Jordan is an award-winning producer, director, editor, teacher and trainer who’s been involved in the media industry for 50 years. He’s produced, directed or edited at local broadcast TV stations, network television in the US, and created more corporate and training videos than he can count. His new book, “Techniques of Visual Persuasion,” is an invaluable resource to anyone working in media, for film, television or the web. He has a lively discussion with our host, Cirina Catania, who also produced his popular podcast, “Digital Production BuZZ,” for many years! OWC RADiO’s producer, Debbie Price, took over as BuZZ producer after Cirina left to further her filmmaking career. So, if you haven’t guessed, we’re big fans of Larry Jordan here at OWC RADiO.

Larry believes that technology is inherently confusing for many people. So his goal, in his writing and video training, is to reassure people that they can actually learn this new stuff. His training is based on explaining the underlying fundamentals of a technology, then providing clear explanations illustrated with stories on how it’s used.

Larry is based in Los Angeles, a member of both the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America, and the author of nine books and thousands of technical articles on all facets of production and post-production. He’s the host of the Digital Production Buzz podcast and also writes a free weekly newsletter on post-production that publishes every Monday.

For more information about our amazing sponsor, Other World Computing, go to or, where you’ll find hardware and software solutions and tutorial videos that will get you up and running in no time.

For more about our host, filmmaker, tech maven and co-founder of the Sundance Film Festival, Cirina Catania, visit

If you enjoy our podcast, please subscribe and tell all your friends about us! We love our listeners. And, if you have ideas for segments, write to Cirina is always up for new ideas!

“I will confess that it has come as a complete surprise to me that it has been so glowingly reviewed by people who are professionals in the industry. That wasn't the audience I had in mind when I wrote it.” -Larry Jordan
“I will confess that it has come as a complete surprise to me that it has been so glowingly reviewed by people who are professionals in the industry. That wasn’t the audience I had in mind when I wrote it.” -Larry Jordan

In This Episode

  • 01:02 – Cirina introduces Larry Jordan, an award-winning producer, director, editor, and teacher. He’s been in the media industry for more than 50 years and has created many corporate and training videos. He’s the author of Techniques of Visual Persuasion, his latest book on improving communication skills. 
  • 05:28 – Larry elaborates on why persuasion is a choice and how you can effectively persuade people without forcing them.  
  • 11:26 – Larry gives an example of how reading his latest book will help you understand the messages behind the angles of camera placements. 
  • 15:40 – Larry shares the three phases of his life that helped him write his book.  
  • 20:59 – The only way to communicate is to focus your message on a specific subject. 
  • 24:48 – We’re in an age where people don’t read white papers and where less is more about conveying messages. 
  • 29:15 – Larry elaborates on the Six Priorities where the audience’s eye looks first and the sequence of where it will look next.  
  • 39:43 – Larry invites listeners to his website to find more than 2000 technical articles in the Free Resources section about different software. Grab a copy of his latest book, Techniques of Visual Persuasion, to know how you can be persuasive in a remote-oriented, work-from-home world.

Jump to Links and Resources


This is Cirina Catania with OWC RADiO. I’m speaking today with Larry Jordan, a director, editor, teacher, executive producer at, and someone I have known for many years.

Larry, you and I first met in 2004 when I took my first Final Cut Pro—it wasn’t even Final Cut Pro then, it was Final Cut—my first Final Cut Class. It was so much fun. You put me on the right path. How many years did we work together on the Digital Production Buzz?

We met first in 2004 at MacMall, a store in Santa Monica where I was teaching Final Cut. Then, you and I started working together on Digital Production Buzz, an audio podcast similar to OWC RADiO, in November of 2007—I looked it up. We worked together for 15 years. You were an amazing producer. It was fun to work with you.

Thank you. I tell you, I miss you. I thought we made a really good team. I thought we did. You’re so good at the engineering side and managing everything. You’re so good at hosting. I learned a lot working with you, and I want to thank you for that.

Thank you. Straight from you, that’s high praise. Very grateful.

You are beloved all over the world for your classes. I want to talk to you today primarily about this wonderful new book that you wrote. It’s called Techniques of Visual Persuasion: Create Powerful Images that Motivate.

I bought the book, and I’ve just now started reading it. I just want to admit to everybody that I haven’t gone through the whole thing. I’ve thumbed through it though. I guess I’m impatient because it just looks so wonderful. I’ve read pages here and there. 

You talk about the goals for the book. Why did you write this book, to begin with? Who did you write it for?

I wrote it for people who would never consider themselves being artists. I wrote it for engineers. I wrote it for business people. I wrote it for CEOs, who have to manage creative staff without understanding what creativity is. 

If you think about it, in today’s world, nobody reads. We’re all looking at pictures. We’re sharing memes. Even acronyms have acronyms.

For some reason, we’re all suffering from ADD, and the fastest way to communicate a rich amount of information is with an image. Now, as you know, because you’ve been doing films for a long time, look at the amount of time that you spend thinking, crafting, lighting, and composing any image that you put in your film. There’s a wealth of information in your brain that you put into every one of the images you create and the stories you tell.

The fastest way to communicate a rich amount of information is with an image. Click To Tweet

We look at commercials. Commercials are the same way, not just stories, but commercials, advertising, or images in magazines or on the web. We’re surrounded by images that are all trying to convince us to do something. 

This book aims to help people who will never be filmmakers or graphic designers to be able to improve the quality of their communication by improving the quality of their pictures. Especially today, in today’s world where fake news is a story in and of itself, images are manipulated with wild abandon. It’s a useful defensive technique for us to understand what these manipulations are and for us to be able to figure out, “Oh, look how they’re playing with my emotions.”

This book is designed to help people communicate better, understand when they’re being communicated to in a manipulative way, and enable all of us to become more visually literate.

You talk about the fact that what’s important are relationships. You talk about that in the book, and you talk about that in life when we’ve moved through these various projects together. You’ve always talked about the importance of relationships. How difficult is it really to build a relationship when you’re using Zoom or something like that?

I think all relationships ultimately are built on some level of trust. At some point, you have to be able to trust the other person in the relationship. That trust can be built remotely. It can be built face-to-face. It can be built when all you do is hear their voice or when all you’re doing is able to wave with no audio. 

Trust can be built in a number of ways, but relationships have to be on some sort of I understand where they’re coming from. I understand who they are. I trust them. Or, I don’t trust them, but I don’t trust them in ways that I can trust. In other words, they always exaggerate. I can deal with always exaggerating because I can understand where they’re coming from. Relationships can be built digitally as well as face-to-face, as we’ve seen with Zoom. 

You talk about four fundamental themes in your book. You talk about persuasion as a choice that we make. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

That was one of the most eye-opening quotes that I came across in my research. Kevin Eikenberry, who is a guru that teaches marketing and self-worth, has a great quote. He says, “Persuasion, in the end, is about the other person making a decision. Persuasion isn’t about power, coercion or force. It is about understanding, exploration, stimulation, and ultimately, choice.”

This just exploded my mind when I read it. It was one of the driving themes throughout the entire book. I can’t force you to do something. Maybe I can in the short-term, but long-term, as soon as that force or pressure that I provide is lifted, you aren’t going to follow that same path. 

But if I can show you why you want to make this decision, why you want to change this buying habit, why you want to change your opinion, if I can show you the reason, and get you to buy into the reasons, you say, “Hey, that makes sense. I’m going to do that because it makes sense. Because Larry has a good case. I believe him.”

As soon as you make that decision for yourself rather than having that decision forced on you, you’ve made a permanent change. If you make a decision simply because I say, “Do it this way because I’m the boss,” you may do it that way because you want a paycheck, but you’re not going to like it. But as soon as I say, “Here’s why,” and you buy into the choice, then that change becomes permanent. 

Many of us want to do as we are persuading people to buy products, clean up the planet, burn less gas, or vote a particular way because we want that choice to become permanent. They become a part of our extended team. We don’t have to worry about them anymore because we’re all on the same side. I don’t want to keep forcing you to do something. I don’t have that much energy. I want to explain why this is important in ways that you understand to have you buy into the choice. That way, you’re self-motivating to be in the direction I want you to go.

First, you plan. Once you've got a plan, there are all kinds of help I can give you in terms of execution, but you got to have the idea first.
First, you plan. Once you’ve got a plan, there are all kinds of help I can give you in terms of execution, but you got to have the idea first.

That’s smart, Larry. Do you think that every conversation then becomes almost a subliminal negotiation between you and the other person?

No. it doesn’t become a negotiation. It becomes a conversation. For instance, you and I were discussing technical stuff before you started recording the interview. You talked about some of the challenges you have in putting a podcast together, which all of us face because podcasts are part-content, part-technology, and part-magic. That is the technology break. You’re looking for something that would make more sense. 

You and I were having a conversation about possible solutions to a technological problem. I wasn’t forcing you to do anything. I was saying, “Here are your choices. Here’s why you might want to consider this choice. Here’s the choice I recommend.” 

That’s a conversation, but it’s a conversation with a persuasive back end. If I were selling products, then I would do the same thing. I’d still have a conversation, but I would lead you toward the product I’m selling. I’m not selling products right now, but the process is the same. 

What I want to do is I want to persuade you and want to convince you to a particular point of view, but I’m not going to do it by bludgeoning you over the head. The same way you don’t want to do an image. 

An image is more than just simply a picture. Virtually any good image has a story behind it. That story can lead a viewer to a particular decision, or, at the very least, where the images work the best, is attracting a viewer’s attention, long enough for them to read the message. 

I may not be able to tell the entire story of a single photograph. Still, if I’m lucky, I can find an image—whether it’s a photograph, a manipulated image, a composite, a video, or even a business presentation like PowerPoint. I can put together something that stops you in your tracks long enough to be able to read the rest of the message and say, “Hey, that’s kind of cool. I want to learn more.” Or, “Hey, that’s kind of cool. I’m going to do that.” Or, “I’m going to go. I’m going to learn.”

That’s really what we’re doing. We’re using visual images as a way of flagging the attention of an audience that is so distracted and so bubble wrapped inside themselves to break through that barrier of all the things that we’re obsessing about today because we’re so individualistic. Trying to penetrate that bubble long enough to get your attention and say, “Hey, this is a cool idea. You need to pay attention to this.”

The only thing strong enough to break that bubble is an image. That’s why it’s so important, especially when we’re isolated like we are. We don’t have the physical touch of somebody walking over, touching our arm to say, “Hey, I’ve got something for you.” Or a large, emotional event where lots of people are all in the same room at the same time sharing energy, like a theater production or a speech. Those are just not possible today. 

The only way we’re able to communicate is remotely. The best way to break that isolation bubble that surrounds all of us is an image. That’s what we’re talking about in this book. What does the average non-artist need to know to create images that can break through that bubble and reach someone else?

Right. You talk about how you can manipulate emotional content through the camera placement and framing. Can you think of any tips that you might want to give people that they’re going to get when they read the book? Is there anything that you can tell them now off the top of your head about things they should do?

My wife has a great comment. We’ve been married for a long time, but when we were first married, I was deeply involved in producing and directing live television. I would come home at night, I’d watch TV, and I would just critique everything that I saw. 

After about six months of marriage, she said, “You know, you have completely ruined watching television for me.” Because now, she looks at the lighting. Now, she listens to the audio, whereas before, she was just captivated by the story. 

My book has got a downside and that it will change the way you watch television. I’ll just give you two examples. Let’s say that you have a person kneeling on the floor. If the camera is down at eye level with them on the floor, you’re watching them watch a spider crawl across a linoleum floor. But if that camera is up about 10 feet, shooting down at them, we’re not with them anymore. We’re looking down at them. We have diminished them. We have minimized them. We have made them depressed and isolated. 

All they did was change the angle of the camera. If I have that person sit on the edge of a table in a casual pose or sit on a chair and the camera’s eye-to-eye with them, we’re peers. Even if it’s Tim Cook, the head of Apple, or some rich sports athlete talking about what they did. If I’m eye-to-eye with somebody, we’re peers, and we’re the same. 

But if I move that camera down about six inches and shoot up at them, they become heroic. They become more than we could ever assume. They become vast in power and lordly in demeanor simply because I changed the angle of the camera. 

If you look at every commercial, every political commercial, and every product commercial, it’s such a famous angle. It’s got its own name. It’s called the hero shot. The camera is slightly lower than the product or the person and shooting up on it to make them look heroic. It automatically lends an aura of respectability, honor, power, and glory. 

You have to have this because if you have it, that power and glory come to you. I can hear you say; this is just nonsense. Except it works. It has always worked. It is a powerful, emotional subliminal statement that doesn’t involve fancy writing inside the image. It doesn’t have the word sex in it anywhere. It isn’t doing flashes. It’s just the position of the camera that changes the emotional response. 

You take the camera further back; you get one emotional response. You pull the camera forward; you get another emotional response. All we’re doing is moving the position of the camera. 

What’s the camera, you ask. The camera is the point of view of the audience. What we’re doing when we reposition the camera is we’re moving the audience into the position we want them to be to perceive an image. 

The book is in three parts. The first part of the book cover’s what I call visual literacy—how your eye interprets the images that a camera creates. What does camera position do? What does talent blocking do? What does framing do? 

The second part looks at still images, everything from PowerPoint and Keynote presentations to photography, to editing a single-layer image, into editing composite, the kind of thing you see in fancy advertising. The second talks about all the different techniques that we can use to capture the audience’s eye and lead them in the direction we want them to go. 

Then, the third section of the book talks about the moving image. Here, we’re talking audio which doesn’t sound like it’s an image except it’s immensely powerful in and of itself. We talk about audio. We talk about shooting videos, editing videos, and creating motion graphics. 

By the way, my experience in working with you and all the interviews that we’ve done together—which are over a thousand—inspired me to write a chapter on how to do interviews, how to be a good interview guest, and how to ask good interview questions simply because so many people don’t even begin to understand the kind of questions they need to ask. 

We cover the gamut. It is the fundamentals. It’s a still image. It’s the moving image, all designed to capture the attention of an audience long enough to deliver a message.

This is like a whole filmmaking school in one book. How long did it take you to write this? This is very comprehensive. 

There are three answers to that. The first is it took me all my life. I had to go through and learn a whole lot of stuff, not because I was writing the book but because of what I did. I directed and produced live television for the first third of my career—everything from local stations to the networks.

Then, the second part of my career was doing marketing for software firms and learning technology. Finally, the third part of my career’s running my own company where I’m providing training, technical guidance, consulting, and information to students of video production and post-production around the world. 

Along the way, I taught at USC—not in the film school but to engineers—about how they can use visual communications to improve pitches for new products, to explain who they are to employers, or talk about a new concept to an audience that doesn’t understand engineering the way they do. 

If I hadn’t had those three phases, I wouldn’t be able to write the book. There are so many books that talk about this is. How to use Photoshop, Premiere, Final Cut, After Effects, or Motion. They go into hundreds and thousands of pages on how to use this one piece of software. 

What’s missing is a book that talks about where these pieces of software fit in. This is a survey book for people who don’t want to be a professional Photoshopper or a professional editor but want to understand the questions that a professional creative person needs to deal with to better their own work, communicate better, or talk to an audience. I specifically designed this for people that don’t use creative tools full-time but need to know how the creative tools work.

I honestly think this book is also for professionals because a lot of professionals nowadays are professionals. After all, they opted into it or through the democratization of equipment, they started shooting, recording, or writing. All of a sudden, they’re professionals, and they’re working all the time. But they’re missing the essence of persuasion, the way you discuss it in this book. Some of them are instinctively very good at it, but they’re not educated in it.

Then, we also have the problem—as you’ve mentioned to me before—of these masterclasses being taught by people who are still mastering it themselves. I do think the book is great for people who don’t intend to be or are not yet professional, but there’s something in this book for everyone at every level. I’m so glad you wrote it.

Thank you. I will confess that it has come as a complete surprise to me that it has been so glowingly reviewed by people who are professionals in the industry. That wasn’t the audience I had in mind when I wrote it. But people like yourself, Oliver Peters, and people that have been doing infomercials for 30 years have all been bragging about how good the book is. 

I’m honored, thrilled, and blown away. It wasn’t who I wrote it for, but I am so glad they like it because it simply validates that what I’m writing ties in with what their experience is, and that’s an important part of it to me.

You’ve gotten right to the heart of what we all need right now, and that is more heart. You also talk about something that I think that everyone, when they’re first starting out, especially needs to know. Who is my audience? How do I find my audience? What kind of advice are you giving in the book about that?

The first exercise I give my USC students is that they’re going to spend a semester learning how to take pictures, work with Photoshop, and create a video. It is essentially a semester course devoted to what the book talks about, but not quite as much depth.

Because this is a lot of work, creating pictures takes a lot of effort; I want them to work on something they’re interested in. The very first lab assignment is to pick a theme that you want to create an image, a poster, a video, or an emotion graphic for. You’re going to be working on this issue—big assignments for the semester. 

I want you to pick a theme. You have to pick two things. You have to pick a subject, and you have to pick an audience. They have to write this up, and they come back with a one-page write-up of what they’re going to talk about. 

In all cases, the theme is too broad. I want to save the Earth. I want to clean the oceans. I want to promote my musical group. And the audiences, I want to reach everyone. 

The problem is that you can’t. Do you talk differently to a six-year-old, than to a college student, than to somebody your age? The answer is, of course, yes. Do you talk differently to your friends and people you haven’t met? The answer is, of course, yes. Do you talk differently to people in a position of power like your teachers than you do to your friends? The answer is of course, yes. Then, how can you have a single message that’s going to reach all these different groups? The answer is you can’t. 

How can you create an image that will appeal to a 6-year old, a 16-year old, a 26-year old, and a 60-year old? The answer is you can’t. The only way that we can communicate is to focus our message on a specific subject. I don’t want just to save the world. I want to reduce the amount of litter that’s on the beach. Okay, reducing glitter on the beach is a subject that we can get our brains wrapped around. 

I want to talk to college kids because students in college know college kids the best. I’m not saying they can’t talk to older people, but let’s make this easy. We want to get through the class, not die. 

The kids are now focusing on a specific message to a specific audience. This becomes executable. To say, “I want to sell more cars,” well, which cars and to whom is unexecutable. You’re sitting there with a blank piece of paper in front of you, and you don’t even know where to start because you’ve got no hooks to work with. You have no focus on the message.

Everybody looks at me with a blank look when I explain this to them. They say, “Just how stupid is he? Of course, we can talk about cleaning the earth.” They sit down, they start to create this, and the very first comment that comes back is, “I can’t do this.” I laughed and said, “Why not?” They said, “It’s not focused enough.”

That’s part of the book. The part of the book is we can create multiple messages. We can say clean the beach for a six-year-old, clean the beach for a teenager, clean the beach for an adult, clean the beach for a business owner, and clean the beach for a nonprofit. I can have five different messages. I can have the same overall theme but different messages to different audiences. We talked about that in the book as well. 

The part that every college student hates is the first part of any communication project, the plan. What am I saying? Who am I saying it to? What do I want them to do? Where do I want them to go? That’s the heavy lifting. 

I saw a great cartoon a while back, the cartoon called Frazz. It runs in the LA Times on Sunday. One of the kids is sitting at a desk, and the screen is empty. Frazz is a janitor the kids talk to. The kid’s under the desk. He’s leaning over the desk and has a deep sigh. 

The janitor walks over and says, “What’s the problem?” The kid says, “Why is it that the hardest part of writing is the part that looks like you’re just goofing off? Coming up with the idea is the hardest part. Executing the idea is the fun part, but coming up with the idea, planning it is really difficult.” The kids finally realize that after they start to create, they don’t realize what they’re creating. They’re heading in the wrong direction or looking at a blank screen. 

First, you plan. The book talks about that. Then, once you’ve got a plan, oh my goodness, there are all kinds of help I can give you in terms of execution, but you got to have the idea first.

Speaking of writing, you have a whole section on persuasive writing, which I think I will enjoy reading. You talk about what a story is, how to write it, how to support your images, and what makes a word powerful. What makes a word powerful?

Fewer of them. Pick up one of the classics, something by Tolstoy or something by Dickens. Reread the first page of Tale of Two Cities which is a classic book, or The Brothers Karamazov, or any of the books that were written 100, 150 years ago. Authors then were paid by the word, and they got every penny they could get.

Books are enormously wordy. You’ve got to force yourself to sit there long enough to get into the book to be captivated by the story because they are so wordy. We’re in an ADD world right now. On Twitter, 140 characters are almost too much. It’s like, give it to me in three words. If you can’t say it in three words, it’s meaningless.

People don’t read white papers. They think they can grasp the complexity of a subject and a sentence. They can’t, but we’re in an environment right now where less is more. If we’re trying to get the attention of somebody, fewer words and make those words work. That’s what we talked about. This is what makes a word powerful. How do we structure it? Not in terms of grammar, but how do you make sure that the text you’re using delivers the message you want? 

We're in an environment right now where less is more. Click To Tweet

We look at a video. I equate it to Haiku. Writing today for visuals is like writing Haiku. You’ve got 17 syllables. What can you do with those 17 syllables? What can you do in the 50 words that we can squeeze into a 30-second radio commercial? What can you do in 75 words which is all that fits inside a 1-minute television commercial? You’ve got 75 words, and you’re spending millions of dollars to put that in front of people. Every word has got a significant dollar value attached to it. You got to make sure those words are the best.

My theory has always been when working with an editor or when editing myself when in doubt, take it out, and simplify. Movies with less dialogue are always more emotional for me because it allows me to take that journey myself with what the filmmaker has put together.

Provided the filmmaker is doing an excellent job of telling the story visually. 


There’s a big burden there. You’re right. When you allow the actors to act and convey emotions by watching them, the director must give the actors permission to do the acting. Many directors live for the words. They want to see the words on a page, and they focus on the words. They ignore the fact that visuals are so important.

My current pet peeve—I love documentaries and I’m challenged with this actually on what I’m working on for myself right now—in documentaries, the talking heads. It seems like the filmmakers go from one person to another person to another person. You’re sitting there, and you’re watching talking heads.

I’m thinking, could I please have some situational B-roll? Could I please see the subtext of what they’re saying visually? I don’t want to just always watch somebody talking. I think everything you’re teaching in this book is going to help people avoid that. Don’t you think? 

Totally. There’s a reason that you show somebody on-screen talking if there’s an emotional context with it. If they’re simply explaining the problem, then let’s set them up. Let’s see who they are, but show me the problem. Or reenact the problem. Give me a graphic of the problem. 

People like to see people; there’s no question. But again, we’re in an ADD environment where people want to see the next thing quickly. Get off the person talking and show what’s going on. Tell me the story and pictures.

You talk about the six priorities for images. The first one is movement.

Let’s back up a step. You should ask me what those six priorities are.

I wasn’t going to put you on the spot. Have you listed them all? Go ahead.

They’re out of context. We’ve got to talk about context. Context is important. Okay, I’m done now.

I love it. I love this about you. Larry, you talk about the six priorities in your book. What are they?

I’m so glad you asked that question. When we look at a visual image, we don’t see the entire image at one time. We dissect the image, looking first at one part of it, then another part. We may look at the entire picture for a heartbeat and say, “Ah, there’s a picture there,” but then we start to look inside the picture to see what’s there to have the story unfold. 

Where does the eye look first? Where does it look second? Where does it look third? The reason this is important is let’s say that I’m trying to hook somebody’s attention. If I know where they’re going to look first, then I make sure that that first place they look is reinforcing the fact that this is an important visual message that people need to look at. 

Then, if I know where they’re going to look second, that’s great. I can start to build an image knowing exactly where and when you will look inside the image.

Now, you say, no, it can’t be done. Try this for yourself. The six priorities that determine where the eye looks first in an image is we look first at that which is moving. The reason is we have been around as a species for hundreds of thousands of years—at least more than a week. Up until recently, when something is moving, we were either going to eat it, or it was going to eat us. It was a binary choice. Are we going to live, or is it going to live? 

Movement is the very first thing. At the very simplest level, our brains are programmed to say, “Something’s moving. Am I in trouble, or do I have lunch?”

If I’m creating a video, if I want somebody to look somewhere, the very place I want them to look will be the thing that’s moving inside the frame because they cannot help but look at that which is moving. If you have multiple things moving at the same time, then other priorities take effect. But the very first thing we look at is movement or the implication of movement, as in cartoons. 

The second place that we look is what’s in focus. This is one of the reasons people like using lenses as opposed to cell phones. A cell phone does a great job of taking a picture, but everything from front to back is in focus. The eye doesn’t know where to look at first. 

First, we check something. Is it moving? If it’s a still image and there’s nothing moving, then the next priority we check off on our list is what’s in focus? I will always look at that—which is in focus—before I look at anything else. 

This book explains what you need to know to improve the quality of your communication to the people you talk with regularly.
This book explains what you need to know to improve the quality of your communication to the people you talk with regularly.

The third thing we look at is what’s different. If everything is in focus, what’s different? Who’s in red? There are five guys and a girl. We look at the girl first because she’s different from everything else. 

First, we look at movement, then we look at what’s in focus, and then we look at what’s different, who’s bigger, or who’s smaller.

The fourth thing we look at is what’s brighter. We’ll look at something brighter before we look at something darker. But if something’s brighter but not different, we’ll look at that which is different before we look at that which is brighter. Suddenly, I can structure an image by setting the focus to a particular thing—a piece of text or a person. I can have them be different, which makes them pop. I can have them be brighter. I change them and put them in costumes. 

Every dance troupe in the world puts the lead dancers in lighter-colored costumes and the background dancers in darker-colored costumes. There’s no question that your eyes are always going to go to the more brightly costumed dancer. Then, we look at which is bigger. That which is bigger will catch the eye more than that which is smaller.

Finally, we look at what is in front. By structuring where my actors are standing, how they’re moving, what they’re wearing, how they’re lit, I can guarantee that the eye will look at point A, point B, point C, and will walk its way through the image-based upon those priorities simply by the way that I set the shot, light the shot, or have the actors move.

It gives me an immense amount of control in delivering the message because I can control exactly where the viewer’s eye is going to go. The viewer side doesn’t even realize it’s being controlled. This is powerful, powerful stuff. It isn’t magic. It isn’t mumbo jumbo. It’s just based on how our brain is programmed to interpret images based upon our historical makeup, genetics, and all the images we’ve seen that have gone before. 

Everybody that works commercially with images, any professional designer knows this. They may not have articulated it, but they know it. They’re using these techniques to create images for you. Wouldn’t it be useful for you to know what those techniques are? Not just to create images for yourself but also to defend yourself against the images bombarding you every day? Is that not cool stuff?

It’s very cool stuff, Larry. I’m the kind of person that watches things, and I’m talking to the screen all the time. When we weren’t quarantined separately, my family would always say, “Cirina, just watch.” Can’t you just watch? I do what you do. I dissect things. 

You’re sitting with the other people watching a movie. 

Yeah. I watch movies the way you do, and I’m always dissecting them. A couple of nights ago, I was watching a film. There was a key scene between the woman and the man. It’s a very emotional moment. The director didn’t notice that in the background, there was a background actor who was engaging right in the direction of the camera and moving.

It distracted me because that person was literally between the two key actors. Even though he was in the far background, he distracted me from the emotionality of that moment. I thought, oh my goodness. When they got the dailies back, maybe they could get rid of that, but I doubt it because they would lose continuity. 

I think everything you’re talking about here is so important. Many of us do this instinctively and don’t articulate it. I appreciate the fact that you’re articulating it for all of us.

It’s very important right now. We need mentors. You’ve always been a good mentor to a lot of people, so I’m encouraging people to get this book. It’s called Techniques of Visual Persuasion. Can you tell people where they can go to get it?

Virtually wherever books are sold. Barnes and Noble,,—wherever you can find the book. It’s available worldwide.

Thank you. I’m very grateful for your kind words.

Oh my gosh, it’s a wonderful book. Is there anything I didn’t ask you before we say goodbye? I don’t want to say goodbye. It’s been so long since we’ve talked.

I think the key thing to keep in mind. The reason I wrote this book is not to turn all of us into filmmakers and not to turn all of us into artists, but to help all of us improve our ability to communicate. Communication in the past was based on writing skills. Communication today is based on visual skills. Many of us are uncomfortable with our ability to tell stories or communicate with pictures, and we don’t need to be. Communication with pictures can be and is, in fact, fun, powerful, and effective. 

Many of us are uncomfortable with our ability to tell stories or communicate with pictures, and we don't need to be. Click To Tweet

This book explains what you need to know to improve the quality of your communication to the people you talk with regularly.

Where can we go to learn more about Larry Jordan?

My website is I focus on media, so you’ll find lots of stuff on media. Go to the section called Free Resources to find well over 2000 technical articles that will just bore you to death on how all of your favorite software works. 

Larry Jordan, you are an award-winning producer, director, editor, teacher, and trainer. You’ve been involved in the media industry for many years. I have known you and worked with you on projects for almost 20 of those years. It’s so nice to talk to you again. 

I just want to thank you for coming on OWC RADiO, and I want to thank all the folks at OWC RADiO for sponsoring this show so that I can talk to wonderful people like Larry Jordan.

Thank you for the invitation. 

Thank you, Larry. This is Cirina Catania. I am signing off. Remember what I tell you every time, get up off your chair and do something new and wonderful today. Maybe something like picking up this book and reading it, but do something wonderful for yourself and the world. This is Cirina Catania, signing off.


  1. Develop techniques against manipulation. Know when you’re being controlled by people you talk to, or media that you tune into, so you become proactive in how you communicate. 
  2. Never use force when persuading. Instead, make others understand why that decision should be permanent, so they won’t change their mind in the long run.
  3. Choose appropriate viewpoints. Your perception of people and situations depends on your chosen standpoint. Pick points of view where it empowers you and gives you the same level of respect you give to others. 
  4. Open yourself up to different experiences. Learning is a life-long journey, so grab every opportunity for growth. These first-hand experiences give you the wisdom you can share with others.  
  5. Specify your subject and audience. You successfully deliver a point when you have narrowed down the target audience and message you want to get across. 
  6. Say more with less. Now that people have a shorter time reading and grasping complex concepts, aim to convey a message with fewer and simpler words. 
  7. Use visuals when explaining concepts or problems. You retain your audience’s attention when you utilize graphics and movements rather than just talking heads. 
  8. Know the Six Priorities on where the eye looks. By understanding this sequence, you can adequately place visuals to effectively convey the message you want to deliver. 
  9. Improve your communication skills. You become more comfortable with your ability to convey stories when learning from valuable resources like Larry’s new book, Techniques of Visual Persuasion
  10. Visit Larry’s website to find free resources on more than 2000 technical books on software and grab a copy of his latest book to learn how to improve the quality of your communication skills.

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