Digital Jets

Bennnay!! Bennnnay!!! Jet Magazine is going paperless. I’ve never done any work for them but I have “known” a couple of their beauties of the week (collar pop goes here with matching Barry White song and fishbowl heeled boots). I hadn’t seen the magazine in awhile but that doesn’t reduce its historical significance nor its present one. According to the press release, all subscribers are being funneled to Ebony Magazine so that Jet can better its agility in deference to its original purpose of timeliness.

The physical versus digital magazine is still a hard decision. Being current demands embracing technology. If the message is timeless, then relying on a schooner crossing the Atlantic is a perfectly acceptable medium to convey it. So for myself, tech, entertainment, etc. are 100% data plan dependent. Nat Geo, fiction and the like are hard copies. I find it difficult to stay on target reading electronic verbiage. Of the magazine technologies available I think Flipboard is the only digital style that I like. However, because of its structure and content type, I’m not certain how many pages I can read as compared to a tactile copy.

It’s strange with Jet. It was one of my inspirations to launch a magazine back in the early 90s. One of the reasons that my magazine went on hiatus was because of the length of turnaround time and here Jet is beating me to the punch (as they should given the length of “hiatus”). The flip side is that, given my age and era when I was coming up, Jet felt conservative and complacent. Though I’ve retained the moniker from the beatbox era, maybe I’m conservative and complacent. It’s hard to say when you’re examining a tree.

Postal 1.2

Promo clusterf**k explained for interested parties while meandering in mazy motion commences next sentence. The day after I wrote that podcast list on the blog, iTunes decided it was time to dump about 8 years of archived podcasts from the main hard drive. Whereas it took a bit of initiative to do that, I did not ask Apple to send me HAL motherfucking 9000 to make decisions for me. Just compute, chippy. Now all this occurred after my mailing list database and back up files were partially corrupted leaving me with 2 days of re-integrating data so I could mail these cards that were already 2 months behind schedule. That caused the fatigue that allowed me to listen to Gladys’s (whatever her name is. Pestilence of locust on her houses!) 33 cents short of a penny advice.

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Is it really punk when you punk yourself?

Now, I screwed up — which is a trend that I’ve foresworn to abolish. But this tale of WOE might be of value to someone else. To magnify my flawed postage I had willfully designed a postcard which is not only barely legible but also illegal by postal code. Notice the microscopic return address in the lower-left middle. Not one of my return to senders made it back to daddy. If the seller of such postage would be to lazy to sell the appropriate kind why would anyone expect a clerk in the back scour this entire mess of a card to find the lice-sized return address? That would be asking too much.

I designed these bastards with the possibility of a couple finding themselves in the round file cabinet because of circumstance. Getting them all dumped is a bit of a blow. Maybe it’s karmic return for stealing the brush strokes instead of scratching them myself in my arm with a rusty guitar pick.

So of course since I have to reprint, I design a new card with fresh new illegalities. I moved the return address closer to the top

The brand new villain

The brand new villain

and bumped it up a point. I finally remembered to put the QR code on but it’s sitting illegally (which hasn’t bitten my ass in the past). The edge of the email address is the legal line but since I have text and graphics to the right, I don’t suppose the code will make too much fuss. I moved the illegal Go Get Funky @ Megafunk.com over a bit so the stamp could fit without obscuring the OM of the dot com. I haven’t had them printed yet so maybe I’ll capitulate and move the QR code. I had been printing them on the labels. Vee shall ceee.

I guess the other issue is that some of the postcards did go out with proper postage and I’d rather not double up lest someone feel I’m doubling the SPAM. However, when it comes down to it, who cares? You dig the shot, you have it twice. If you don’t, you’ve tossed it twice.

Next, I gear up for new shoots next week. Any new promo has to have an image produced this year. The portfolio can’t have too much dust on it and be viable. I should probably shake the dust off of myself also while I’m at it.

Going Postal on the Post Office

Not everyone knows their job. Especially, if they’re some government worker that can only be relieved of their gig because of death by volcanic eruption. I knew better but I let this incompetent statuette convince me that I had been using too much postage on my postcards for a year. She sells me 33 cent stamps.

Actually, it’s 34 cents for postcards. Insufficient postage. My design makes it difficult to read the return address. I’m curious how many of these dead cards walking are going to make their way back home. Marketing screeching to a halt because of the chain reaction. Fun times, baby bubba.

Go get FunKy!

Go get FunKy!

Tired of Lemonade

It’s good to have a little bit of MacGuyver skill-set but you really don’t want to be known mainly for being able to make something out of nothing. Knowing how to maximize your resources to make something greater than what it should have been is called talent, competence, etc. but you really want to have proper budgets so that you’re not always scraping. Double Discount Danny is a rep that’s hard to shake.

Structure

Mostly, once you’ve established a low rate, that “client” doesn’t expect to have to pay much more than that if there is repeat business. So, if you low-balled yourself, you tend to be everlastingly attached to that ball and chain. Subsequently, “I’ll make it up to you next time” is like your girl telling you this time she really means it when she says she’s going to stop cheating on you… again. What a low ball client will do is not put up with the reverse Wimpy (Pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today) by you saying “pay me full price today and I’ll cut you a discount some magical time down the line”.

However, realistically, you have to know where you stand and what you’re willing to put up with from entities. Many have told me that it’s good that I have multiple skills in production and post but I have to find clientele that can support that appreciation. You also have to know when to keep certain things close to your vest. That whole Scotty-thing in Star Trek where he always overestimates how long something is going to take so he can seem like a miracle worker when he actually accomplishes it. That would seem like something one should only do sparingly.

For me, January and February are almost always ridiculously slow. The joyful thing is that it follows the glacial holiday months. Wooohoo! So in a little over an hour, my 2014 starts in proper and the lemons shall remain on the tree.

Dig yourself out of the hole - Not deeper

Dig yourself out of the hole – Not deeper

APA-L.A. Portfolio Review, February 22 2014

APA Los Angeles‘ first portfolio review of the year was at Deutsch in Playa Del Rey this time. That meant the Sprite and Pepsi cans had to be replaced by Dr. Pepper and the like. Since, I volunteer for several events through the year, I gain a certain familiarity with the layout of the building and have a slightly better feel for the company seeing some of the boards on the wall and items on the desk. What they have readily displayed which I can mention without causing offense for APA is that they have some of their larger props from commercials displayed in some halls and common areas (aka the Dr. Pepper Iron Man Soft Drink Dispenser). I don’t take pictures in the facility as I don’t know their policies and it’s a better safe than sorry kind of thing.

footballMara Serdans, Senior AD at Deutsch, wrangled things on the Deutsch end while Heidi Goverman and Anthony Nex wrangled the APA end as normal. For the second time in a row, I was not scheduled to meet with Mara, however, she recognized me from the prior event and by helping out, I got to have a series of brief banter with her throughout the day which should go towards greater familiarity. I use these reviews to meet people (“network”) rather than put on a full court press. Some of the people you meet will never hire you. However, someone who is familiar enough with you might find a project down the line or even be able to suggest you to a peer. You target your marketing but most of my past successes came from word of mouth. I’m not certain where present success will come from so I’m playing my angles.

Coming off of a dead holiday season, this was a welcome professional step into the new year. Because I was speaking to 3 photo editors and one design company owner who all had a lot of experience, I had no concern that everyone would stay on target. Some of the babies think that you’re their for critique. Nope; ‘too old for that s!*t. What I had was a collection of professionals that from there different perspectives allowed me to confirm certain questions that I had. My new book wasn’t ready due to the nature of the horrendous ass whooping that winter 2013/14 has laid out so I pushed the new web site and opened the dialogue to my expanded skill set. (Side note: thus far, reviewers at APA reviews are most frequently photo-only in their needs)

BrandyHeidi Volpe does the Daily Edit at APhotoEditor.com, has tons of experience, insightful, I liked her personality. (I’m getting hungry so completion of this post is imminent.) She directed me to a consortium of magazines and reinforced some thoughts that I had. Deb Grisham and I had past experience… a rough one (I’ll link back to the post of the incident should I ever take the time to find it). However, meeting with her was great because we finally got to duke it out once and for all and she also reinforced some thoughts I had and clarified some misconceptions. When you have a crash and burn scenario in this field you don’t always get a chance to rectify the situation. Having a second chance to convert a bad impression into a good one was cool. (HUNGER!) Maybe her 8 year old daughter and my son will be able to resolve conflicts together one day as a world class super team hell bent on truth and justice …and ice cream.

I came into all of these meetings a bit loose. Audrey Landreth, freelance Photo Editor at The Hollywood Reporter, had such good posture that my back started hurting. She hipped me to some of the changes that had gone on with The Hollywood Reporter and general approaches in the trades. She took the time to specify styles that she could be interested in respect to the HR’s look. Tom Saputo of Saputo Design is a repeat. He saw my boy’s movie and made some marketing suggestions and spoke of some different approaches. In these conversations, Tom tells me what he’s doing almost as much as I tell him. It’s helpful to get a gauge on ancillary aspects of the industry. He also took my damn picture which is verboten. He has our prior discussion on his blog and apparently wanted to ugly up his new post with a horror design. Go check his bad decision out at your own risk because I’m not directly linking to it.

I got to wave at the wonderful Jigisha since I spared her by not meeting with her this time. *I have to eat. I might 2.0 this post given how general it is but I’ll re-evaluate before I settle on that decision. Buenos noches, dias, bananas.

So hungry! Got to eat!!!

So hungry! Got to eat!!!

APA Portfolio Review 10/2013

Earlier this month at Tchiat-Day’s Playa del Rey location APA had the 2nd of its yearly portfolio reviews. I think there were 9 reviewers (maybe seven) from a decent cross section of the commercial field with one editorial and a fine art person. I go because I’m a volunteer and it’s one of the best ways to get me out of the house to meet these people. I don’t believe that I travel in the same circles where I would casually run into any of these people and you know a direct cold call is a likely candidate for voice mail.

This event seems less hectic than most of the other reviews given the organization and the calm environment of tbwa. At least, this is what I overheard. Admittedly, I was armed with fatigue from the prior day’s documentary shoot that ran long and a knowledge that I didn’t want anyone’s critique. I tried to get the reviewers to talk mostly about themselves since I know enough about me. For the most part there was enough give and take. I do have to admit to the humor of being the constant anomaly is wearing thin.

Kevin Steele was there again (one of my favorite action photographers) and it’s always interesting for me to see the far more established cats like him there. He knew all of the reviewers already so he was there for a refresh. That’s a reminder to those who think they can drop the mic after the first verse: the beat goes on.

Given that Heidi & Anthony had to leave early, Cesar (the other volunteer) and I packed up the joint then split. On the drive back to the laboratory I pondered the place between futility and progression. One of the reviewers said length of time that you’ve been shooting doesn’t matter and I’ve seen that to be true. How you pursue your opportunities while generating imagery that moves your target is paramount.

And that is part of the conflict for me in my lifelong battle of intrinsic reward versus get gigs. I had one reviewer earlier (who I had met in the past but didn’t have this time) in passing ask me the question similar to asking an actor “what restaurant do you work at?” It wasn’t meant that way but it was. That’s what a lot of entrenched people think given photography’s democratization in these transitional times.

This week I’ve been working on spec commercials, composites and data mining. Maybe next week I’ll take that lady’s order. Maybe next week she’ll be taking mine.

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Futból

Thursdays I ordinarily play basketball in Playa Del Rey. Last week at the soccer field next to the courts, there was a shoot going on with a decent size photo and video crew and one key talent. As I glimpsed the scene, I was estimating the shoot cost (though I’ll never know the true number). Shortly after the epic basketball clash was over; the shoot was over. My friend and I were talking Paul Bunyon tall tales with locker room twists and the soccer player walks towards us and asks, “Who won the game?”

Mia Hamm kicked a ball 572 feet away from me while I was killing bank shots on the court.

My son had just started his first season of AYSO the week or so prior and I had soccer questions. I let it go though. I knew it had been a long shoot for her as they were shooting before I had even gotten to the courts. “We both won. We’re still alive and there are no clouds in the sky,” was my answer. We waved each other off and she left the park. Her demeanor left a good impression on me. She was laid back and personable. It was Mia Hamm.

When I see known people, I tend to treat them as Joe-anyone. They are Joe-anyone to me. I don’t know how that comes off to them. I guess it depends on the person. Plus, I’m frequently celebrity ignorant so depending on the type of celebrity I might very well not know who they are. The flip side of that is that I have had a dire drought of high profile shoots this year and recently that gulf has had that Glen Gary Glen Ross Always Be Sellin’ maxim blaring in my head when I don’t pounce on opportunity (referencing the portfolio reviewer that suggested I add a few more celebrities). Ultimately, I’m a proponent of Leave-me-alone-ism and sniffing up on someone’s leg every moment isn’t my speed. By the way Mia Hamm, I won 5 games to 1 because I’m a bad mot… You know the rest.

What was interesting about the shoot, in observation, was how simplified the photo side of it. They got a lot of looks in basically using a butterfly and a big honking scrim. One light attached to the camera. Boom for the audio. Some shoulder-mounted camcorder.

So instead of shooting Mia Hamm, two days later I shot my son’s 2nd organized soccer game. AYSO is interesting as it is a volunteer organization. Seeing the families/friends out there watching their kids bop around and torpedo each other in the field is communally energetic. I feel fortunate that the team my son wound up on has that rah rah-cultured enthusiasm that my T-1000 personality doesn’t allow. The coaches are making certain that everyone is treated equally and that it is all about the kids. Every team doesn’t seem that way 100% but for the most part I’d say the waves of energy and support that the kids get is great to see so I will probably put a little more volunteer time into AYSO next year beyond shooting my son’s games (Arguably, I’m volunteering now as I provide pictures of games to the team website). *Edited to add a title and two parenthetical phrases given my sleep-posting wreckage that this represents.

Run, Green Jaguars!

Run, Green Jaguars!