Archive for January, 2007

Nice and Positive

Monday, January 29th, 2007

There are more and more people in business who seem to be realizing that being nice, polite, positive, pleasant, etc., are good ways of doing business. It can even be found in advertising agencies…or at least one.

New Creative Lube

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Just what the title says…there’s a new podcast episode. Click here to subscribe…it’s free! Share the link with your friends.

Hallelujah!

Friday, January 26th, 2007

A great post on “clients” who want it done for free. Brilliant.

Quotes

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

From a blog on the housing bubble, a commentor posted these words from one of his high school teachers:

The only thing you have to do in life is die. Everything else is a choice, so choose wisely.

 And a quote from STEP magazine, as listed on a humor blog site and pointed out by Jane G. (oh, and I think you can substitue any creative profession for “designer”):

What’s the difference between a designer and a prostitute?
The prostitute will NEVER work on spec.

If you think about it, those two quotes work together well…

Good thinking

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

I just got an email from a photographer, Stephanie Hager. It was a little email promo, to drive targets to her website, but instead of only saying something like “I’ve got new work” or “Look at my website” she also included the following:

Here are a couple of very important and fun holidays you may find of interest:
January 27 – National Chocolate Cake Day
January 31 – Inspire your Heart with Art Day

What a hoot! Odd, weird “holidays” to celebrate. I bet that increases her hits. It’s always fun to get something unusual like that. Creative clients especially love this sort of “weirdo” lore, so it makes a good connection. Way to go, Stephanie!

Tweaks and additions

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

We’ve made another series of minor tweaks to the main BAP website and one major one: it’s got a new section called “Vroom!” where you’ll find some comments from past clients, colleagues, and people who have seen my presentations.

It’s only business…

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

You all know that I take the idea that we are all in business quite seriously. I think you should too. But that doesn’t mean we should get so bound by that that we get too afraid to do anything, lest we make a mistake. News flash: you are going to screw up.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. Sometimes they’ll be big, but mostly they’ll be little and pretty easily correctable. Mistakes give us the chance to learn and to grow. Also, as has been noted before on this blog, if you don’t take a chance (which means potentially making a mistake) you can’t really be successful.

But just in case you’re still feeling bound by that fear of screwing up, just take a look at this list of the biggest business blunders of 2006. You can’t possibly screw up as much as them. No way…not even close.

Ad agencies are getting it

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Next time you have an agency or client complain about using usage to figure your price, just point them to this article.

This is a fantastic sign for non-employee creatives who participate in the creation of the creative for agencies and their clients. Agencies are finally realizing the importance and VALUE of their creative work, and charging for it rather than the time to create.

Just like photographers (and some others).

Woo hoo! A good sign for the future!

(thanks to Peter Schafrick for emailing the link)

Why don’t you get a job?

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Seriously…why don’t you just get a “regular job” like most folks?

If you can’t answer this question, you shouldn’t be in business.

As a self-employed creative professional (I like the term “self-employed” almost as much as “freelance,” which is to say, not at all), what you really are is a small businessperson. To be a small businessperson, a successful one that is, you need to believe completely in your product and yourself.

If you can’t say why you’re not working for someone else, then you shouldn’t be working for yourself.

Risks and rewards

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

Last Saturday I took a day-long improv workshop. Yes, improv, as in acting/comedy with no script. The description of the class made it sound like it would be mostly theory and history as we were told to bring notebooks. I expected a mostly academic-type class. The fact that the confirmation email also suggested wearing “comfortable closed-toe shoes” was ignored by the part of my brain that usually screens out potentially humiliating situations. I went, prepared to learn the history of improv and to get more odd knowledge for my already overpacked brain.

What I got was maybe 30 minutes of note-worthy material and the rest of the time I was using my comfortable, closed-toe shoes to their full capabilities. I was on my feet, doing stuff–stuff that made the “don’t do something potentially humiliating” part of my brain recoil in horror. I sang (a tiny bit), I invented characters, I mimed driving a car and later throwing up (not sure if that was so much acting as just being real [grin]), and I played rapid-fire “bippidy-bippity-BOP” which is a game with rules so complex as to make your head explode but actually simple to play and “bunny-bunny-bunny” which is so simple that it makes no sense that it’s so hard.

I figured out ways to convey character, relationship, objective, and where the action was taking place in a scene, in two sentences. On the fly. With another person who got to use up one of the sentences and with whom I did not collaborate ahead of time. One of us would just say a line, the other would say a second line. And somehow, sense was made.

This was, in a very non-professional way, a day of making art. It was all about creating and taking the risks necessary to create. Did I screw up? Oh boy howdy did I! I was completely out of control–that is, I could not control the situation at all, instead being forced to react and invent. It was about flow and giving. The result was greater than its parts. It wasn’t about me yet it was all about me. It was, in a word, amazing.

You creatives get to do this every day. Each of you, in your own way, gets this gift of creating. For me, that one day was magic. I wish I could do that every day–have that feeling of come home afterwards totally exhausted and utterly enthralled with life. You get that.

If you haven’t felt that in a while, you’ve been cheating your gift. Maybe you’re playing it safer than you should. You know that feeling, when the creativity is flowing and you don’t really care about the result–it’s the process that is making your teeth sweat. Find it again. Sure, you might not get to that place on every project, but you need to get there for yourself ever so often, just to remind your creative self what can be. So the next time your boss or AD pushes you to be blah, you can push back, even just a little, to touch that gift.