Panda Problems

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black fur in the pawn

Someone used to like this toy… Maybe even “loved” the hell out of it. But it grew up, couldn’t deal, hit the sauce. Who knows?
Been juggling. Watched the Rousey v Correa waste of 40 seconds and the Malignaggi (not looking it up) v Garcia with my boy. Hype to fight ratio is horrifically imbalanced. Couple days later I see the end results of a hawk vs a pigeon. No hype necessary.

Hawk stands on pigeon

Hawk wouldn’t wait. The pigeon did. Hawk flew off with it before I could grab the DSLR

I finally got some work out of a client that I had pursued for many years. At the end of it all, counting the the time, the years of pursuit, the gig won’t be worth the payout. Don’t devalue your efforts. Someone else is always willing to do that for you.

But I do dig the challenge. Newness. You’ve seen what the longstanding references get you. Newness brings the initial jolt of energy. Maybe it can be ridden into better situations. With that, I went to a crowd sourcing seminar at Film Independent. I met a cat whose unstated mission was to meet everyone there. I watched in horrified admiration as I am not wired that way. I’m slowing down because he caught me before I could escape. I have to respect that.

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I’ve been trying to get up and go work since 3 am. Let me put this phone down and see it through. Adiós

No Critters in them Fritters

I need to eat instead of post.

I need to eat instead of post.

Launching next week is a food project that I’ve been strategizing for awhile. Overcooked is a vegan cooking/lifestyle show. I’ll get more into depth on the production end of things on this blog whereas the entertainment end of it will be localized to the site. It is a bit of soft launch as things come together.

On the production end, the theme, title treatment and a bunch of other things have to be put together. It’s possibly more than I can finish in 8 days but time will reveal. Back to the bricks.

Public Servility

It’s hard to describe how much I hate this PSA. Maybe…I it HATE! it with the unbridled fury of a million suns level hatred.

You don’t start talking about life and survival as public enemy number one to your black boy at teenage years. It should damn near part of the pillow talk that makes them. Subsequently, “the talk” is about strategies and knowing your rights; not about being obsequious. You start off with know your rights the term “Probable Cause” and move to other 4th amendment supposition and further survival strategies. As a Black child, or considered as one by the police, you are going to get fucked with at some point during or post-adolescence. This Summer I was harassed by 3 boys in blue (2 dudes, 1 chick) at of a park full of people watching my son ride his bicycle – The same park he’s been to since being an infant. I told the lead cop, “I’m too old for this shit. If you don’t have better than some lame claim for probable cause, go fuck with someone else. I passed my quota years ago.”

I kept a 36×48″ image of this in my office for 25 years.

So obviously this commercial isn’t for my demographic. It’s for white liberals masquerading as a public service letting people feel like their doing something despite there being more than two Americas since there’s been an America. The other goat on my griddle (whatever the hell that means) is I’m curious how many Black people were involved in the production of that video. I don’t mean talent. I mean crew. As I surveyed 10 working actors this year, not one person remembered seeing a Black person on the crew of any major production they were involved in (studio or large agency) for the entirety of 2014. That’s zero. I repeat, I do not know the ethnic/gender breakdown for this particular spot. Next portfolio I’m going to broach this question to the art producers. So the cops get to screw me, the courts, and the business. And I’m supposed to feign outrage over Donald Sterling’s private ravings while you have an industry a fraction away of exclusivity as some Southern-fried golf club? hashtag talk-the -talk? I got your hashtag swinging.

Now on the flip side, quality people are just that no matter ethnicity nor job title. Despite my instant ire raised by hearing a police helicopter I will say I’ve met some pigs …I mean… cops who have done their jobs with tact and humanity. Some have realized they were having a bad day and checked themselves or have talked other people down from figurative ledges with empathy and no condescension. It’s a hell of a gig with a mixed past enforcing spurious laws and intent. Whereas there are worse PSA (the production is absurdly clean so I can’t fault the technique) this one just strikes me as self-flaggelating Disney-fied circle jerk. But hey, it’s not for me and I probably never have to see it again. I will have to deal with the police again.

APA L.A. Portfolio Review Oct.

It’s near 2015 and I’m having 2013 syndrome. “How is 2014 more fucked than 2013? 2015 has to be better if I survive to see it.” Everyone has their moments so out with the defeatist garbage and back to work. When it comes down to it, you have to have your center. Visual realizing my imagination into creative works has always been one of mine.

In 1973, I made my first flip book. (“1973?! Dude, yo like disco caveman old!”). No troglodyte here, holmes. I’d enjoyed the hell out of drawing and I found it cool as all hell to watch those drawings move. During one of my presentations I realized that I hadn’t show any animations the entire day. Hell, I hadn’t even loaded any onto the tablet. What triggered this thought was one of the reviewers, Cynthia Hopkins from Kaiser Permanente telling me that she could tell that I loved doing this

purty wires with reflectivity, damage and grime

THIS = purty wires with reflectivity, damage and grime

versus doing that (tennis shot below or to the right depending how formatting goes).

Well, I like getting goddamn money and if it all shows competence, what the flying hell does the quantity of love units matter? That’s what I asked her at least. Her statement wasn’t unreasonable but it also didn’t address the practicalities of hires. I’ve been too many places where I’ve been mistaken as a courier because the “culture” of the facility has never seen anyone who looked like me do high level visual jujitsu. But like most reviews, there’s a right and no wrong because we’re taking about the mechanics of how people view aesthetics from someone that they have no history of interaction. The imagery has to convey all of the spark of possibility that they might remember you in X amount of years because strength of that memory.

See remember, I have that disco caveman shit going on, according to some. I tell reviewers from the beginning,

There is a tennis ball coming my way

THAT = There is a tennis ball coming my way

I’m old (at least in work history). I don’t want your opinion about the positioning of my pixels. I want to know if you are amenable to me adding you to my SPAM list (marketing list) and if there is any possibility that you would hire a mofo like me because of what I offer. Jason Lau from Team One was very direct. He had valid and sapient suggestions that I admittedly didn’t want to hear and possibly still don’t. Mainly, I’m tired of validity and the broken alpaca it rides. But honestly, despite a couple of people being really high on my vision and versatility, Jason and Cynthia’s thoughts brought me back to the animation. They galvanized the premise of hitting someone as hard as you can in the eye and the most efficient way is the energy. Because I was helping out APA, I got to see a lot of glimpses of a lot of portfolios and there were some seriously bad ass presentations and individual pieces. If your bank account doesn’t tell you to step up your game then the practical understanding of competition should. Your “competition” doesn’t want to feast on ramen every night either.

OK, the animation isn’t solely about the meticulous and insane amounts of detail. Sometimes, it’s finishing shit with proper polish. The videos I had were LOWWWWW budget but I really could have added some extra flourishes to them to make them pop more. Sometimes people only see the pop so it needs to be there. It’s a bit like polishing turds but that damn near describes the bulk of my home video/DVD career. Efficiency: that tennis shot took 30 minutes to shoots and 10 minutes of post pro. And video was shot. The wires shot took significantly more time to prep and post. They both made me the same amount of money. Both exist and the world is not dissolving into a puddle of goo as though there is a crossing of the streams.

Jason Lau provided me with an example where the comparative name will be omitted for safety purposes. Mind you I’m loosely paraphrasing this at 2 am. In his position, Jason can pretty much hire any photographer he wants to shoot with because his company is playing with house money. So say there’s a known photographer with a similar style but has a rep for being an ass. He would have no compunction hiring the lesser known person because in theory that person isn’t a dickhead and he’d rather work with cool, competent people.

As it is, I didn’t feel too high nor too low after these reviews. No one opened up the vault to invite me in nor did anyone challenge me to a knife fight. It’s a slow train but it’s still on the rails toward its destination.

My numbers mean nothing

5-6 weeks ago, I broke one of my fingers so I’m fairly averse to typing at the moment. A couple of days ago I pulled my achilles so I’ve been walking like I’m double my age. My son, trained by his bad daddy, properly piled on saying, “You always walk like you’re twice your age”. Oh the wonderful sound off freshly beaten chillens!

Sparing myself typing, limiting transitions: My Adbase list for a particular target had about 450 names. Of those, only 96 are listed as accepting email spam. 11 of those were hard bounces. Of the 85 who received the email, 28% opened it. You have to track all of that data. But do you? Do you?!?!?

See a product, campaign, company that you dig. Research who did it. See if that company still represents the product. Tie it all in on the appropriate list. Send out email. Send out physical promos. Make calls. To this day, I have gotten more gigs from people talking to other people about me. Now, people are talking about twitter to twits. Well, maybe not but I’m not bearing the benefit of a lot of chatter presently.

When I was a quasi-big man in the DVD field I used to be invited to speak at conferences and crap. One of the last ones I attended, a student laid the question of what should they do to get in the business. Mind you, I was there as a Designer/Producer. My advice was they never learn how to do anything technical above putting the phone to their ear. Photoshop, After Effects, Maya = NO. Phone bill = YES. The technology can make you obsolete. The people will keep you paid. I have worked under the power of former receptionists and convicts, driven by companies whose interactive divisions I’ve built, and go long stretches (years) not getting calls returned.

When you are outside of business infrastructure, your need to intersect a socio-economic ecosystem becomes an imperative. They might talk it, but I don’t know too many people who just sent out a couple of emails and everything fell into place. People have told me that they’ve seen it happen and I tell them that I’ve seen their parents on red tube.

punch 'em and kick 'em then punch 'em and kick'em again

punch ’em and kick ’em then punch ’em and kick’em again

Someone is telling me that they like the new music video I did. What they did was search Google for megafunk and got videos from mega funk. Two pages deep, they dominate. Viva Brasilia! I have the first entry and then a couple of others on the second page. Not everyone uses the web the way web savvy people do. So how much time should I allocate fighting a cyber turf war? I have to shoot. I have to animate. I have to elevate my foot to regain a functional relationship with my achilles.

So, I’m a bit sick of looking at the SEO, the hit count, the demographic breakdown. The number at the financial institution of choice tells me what I need to know: “You better know somebody.”

300 leaves

active_08I broke my finger two weeks ago and typing a post hasn’t been in the forefront of my mind. Basketball remains an avenue for concentration – though within the recent months I can add a concussion to the injury list. My skills have diminished greatly over the last year but I still crave the physical competition so I tape the digits and use the damaged claws judiciously. Apparently time waits for no one and the old get older.

I look at the stack of paper. It’s over 300 sheets of leads that I had sent emails to in early 2013. Most of them still need follow ups. I’m attempting a new system to stay up on things such as those. Mainly, Insightly but also some Adobe Air-based product by some name I don’t recall at the moment. For some reason cold calls and email blasts aren’t as stimulating as being the oldest former mediocre player on the court. Physics are less capricious than the lies of industry.

With a minimum 300 unsupported leaves looming, adjustments have to be made again. Were it easy, everyone would…

Busy vs Execution

My high school education cost more than the University. I had a full scholarship and had to export myself from “South Central” Los Angeles to North Hollywood via public transportation for nearly 3 years until a dented Toyota Celica powered by sleepy gerbils was gifted to me. Bus stop at 5:30 am and back at 7:30-8:30 pm during basketball season. With that, I had to learn to do homework in motion.

Hands on hips mean trouble

Hands on hips mean trouble

Forward 25+ years, sitting by the computer by 5:30 cutting, chopping, researching, pontificating, acclimating. Come 7:30-8:30 pm, where’s the payoff? In a freelance, entrepreneur, self employed world, busy work is absolutely ineffective. Small talk, energy drains, distractions, lists, lists, lists that don’t turn to gold can be a signal of self-sabotage. Many people are afraid to fail and they do a bunch of scattered shit blaming the gods and Colonel Sanders’ cannibal tailor to camouflage their fear. That’s one possible face of “busy”.

You set a goal. You execute. If you can’t execute that goal, set a more realistic goal. If you want to make movies but haven’t been able to block the time to shoot a feature AND you don’t want to do shorts, break your scenes down to where you can attack it serially. Or maybe do it in a different medium first. It shouldn’t take years to realize you’re screwing around. However, some goals take multiple years to achieve and offer shortcuts. I’m watching a live seminar on Creative Live right now of Beate Chelette talking about building business while I’m typing this. School had homework with getting your diploma so you could get the hell out of high school as a time and merit-based goal. Whatever your interest (purpose, goal) in ROI (return on investment) regimentation towards the accomplishment of them are important. Being “busy” is an occurrence but it is not definitely a targeted action. Busy doesn’t inherently pay the bills nor move you closer to your endeavor. The “busy” has to viably build towards the end goal. Only with that busyness become execution.

Anyway, whatever, what the hell do I know?