Thursday, June 30, 2011

"It's just an empty cup."

It's awards season and the best I can come up with is a plagiarized post title.  Figures.  But Lightning McQueen of the hit kiddie movie, Cars, was spot on when he delivered that line referring to fame and trophies.

With that, this post goes out to all those freelancers who are suddenly a tad melancholy in this season of metals.

If you're as primordial as I am, then we have all had our share of Best (insert award title here) Ad Of The Year in the past.   Now --channeling a self-motivational coffee table book-- I say we are still winners.  Our ideas of success, however, have already changed.

From the thrill of bringing home the cup, now we are elated at literally bringing home the bacon and much more.

From the glory of fanfare and adulation, now we crave for the glory of good negotiation and on-time payment.

From the drunkenness of attention and appreciation, now we... er...

Ok, ok, personally, I still love the attention.  Otherwise, I wouldn't be blogging.  But now the attention we seek is more small-scale.  From industry-wide to, say, family-wide.  And that's the kind of well-meaning appreciation I wouldn't trade for the world.

Mind you, this isn't a negative progression (uh-huh, it is not a regression).  Freelancing is the next chapter in your life.  And it still comes with its own brand of wins and losses.  You may have gotten out of the rat race, but you still exist in the dog-eat-dog world.   In fact, in your new life, there's a lot more at stake.  And winning every little battle is a definite biggie.

If you still feel bad about not having the opportunity to add another feather on your cap this year, just take a good look at your old, dusty (that is, if you don't have the creepy fetish of polishing regularly), industry-provided trophy.  It's a memento of your greatness, and a reminder that you can still be greater --with or without a physical award.

Now look inside.  If it doesn't already contain missing Lego pieces, missing keys, the missing TV remote, or a horribly embarrassed spider --then it's just an empty cup.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

LG (that's Love Genius!) Optimus Phones

A writer-wife and an art director-husband is a match made in money-making heaven.  Yeah, you'd think that.  *sigh*
Unfortunately, tandem projects for freelancing couples don't always happen.  There are times when these two (say, RaketChick and Kalakal Kid) have to work on different projects separately. Separate meetings. Separate production locations. Separate long hours.
The result:  Total disconnection from one another.
Bad, bad, bad.

It will take more than a regular Smart Phone to get these lovebirds working fast and getting back together pronto!  It will take a Genius Phone.  Oh wait, scratch that.  It will take TWO Genius Phones!

Lo and behold --now there's LG Optimus 2x and LG Optimus Black!  Specially designed for those happily, busily married RaketChicks and Kalakal Kids out there.

myspace image at Gickr
I, for one, am drooling uncontrollably for the LG Optimus 2x.  It's souped up with the first ever 1GHz dual core!  Simply put, it multitasks just as rabidly and rapidly as I do.  I can email a client, chat with another client, call up yet another client, and research online like a breeze.  No stops, no hitches!  Its 8-megapixel camera totally floors any Smart Phone's photo-taking power, too.  Why, I can snap a shot of a reference in the middle of a smoggy street and still get a great picture.  And while waiting for a conference to happen, the LG Optimus 2x can easily hook me up with high-def games to pass the time.  That is, if I don't decide to do some quick writing with its Notes app instead.  Hah!

pimp myspace with Gickr
Hubby, on the other hand, would kill to have an LG Optimus Black.  Easily the brightest phone on the planet with its breakthrough 700 Nit Nova display.  This means pure, stellar images --the kind a highly discriminating artist demands!  Then, pushing the functionality platform, it gives him Wi-Fi Direct.  Without much ado, he can go online to watch crystal-clear videos and movies galore.  He can hunt for visual pegs, view shot materials online.  And did I mention, FAST?  The fact that the LG Optimus Black is the slimmest phone at 9.2mm is a fab plus, too.  Finally, a phone that can fit in his jeans pocket without tumbling out into the street when he stands!

avatars myspace at Gickr.com
Efficiency times 10!  That's RaketChick on LG Optimus 2x and Kalakal Kid on LG Optimus Black.
So can you blame me for coining Love Genius for LG?  I mean, really --What's not to love?  With how fast and flawless these Genius Phones work, I don't think we'll ever cast a puppy love glance at a lowly Smart Phone ever again.

Oh look!  We have time for a dinner date!  YAY!


Optimus is more than just smart. It’s genius. Visit lgoptimus.ph for more information.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Out-of-the-box has never been Scarier

You know that concept that makes your client twitch a little, sweat a little, and then say... "Are you freaking out of your mind???"
That's what we're gunning for!
Out of your mind.  Out of the box.

But of course, those ideas --although guaranteed to reap the most uncomfortably favorable ooohs and aaahs during presentation-- never really see the light of production day.  You get the heartbreaking "The target market isn't ready for that kind of execution yet." or "It doesn't jive with the brand architecture." or the dreaded "It's too creative!"  Say what?  Why did you get me for the job again?

Luckily, some fearless admen do fight.  And some forward-thinking clients do win.  These works can be seen meticulously compiled in one of the most creative receptacles known to man.  No, I'm not talking about Clio, not Cannes.  I'm talking about Scary Ideas.

Never heard of it?  Well, scaryideas.com has a rich assemblage of disturbing yet cool print ads, TV ads, below-the-line materials, activation executions, and everything else the safer side of the advertising world has seen but would rather not get into.  It's like witchcraft --except it sells and doesn't really get your soul in trouble.  Much.

Go through the site and enjoy.  Be inspired.  See hope.  Feel brazen.
The proverbial out-of-the-box advertising can still happen.  And just like real life, we should all go a little mad and menacing sometimes.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Create a Spark --Nuff said!

Sometimes there is raket downtime.  This is good because this means you can give your brain and your fingers the much-needed rest.  Just make sure the downtime doesn't stretch for too long, or this will mean hunger pangs.
Anyway, exactly what do I do during the slump?  I blog.  Why?  Because I can't stand a single minute without cooking up a gaining scheme, that's why.  Greed is a good thing to have when you do freelance.  And I mean greed in a good way.  Promise.

I have a plethora of online financial feeders --all of which earn, well, kinda slow.  Not that I'm complaining.  Blogging isn't really a career, you know.  But it's a slowly-but-surely earning activity, which on the upside, I like doing.

In fact, I have a couple of favorites.

Create a Spark!
Social Spark is a blog marketing site.  Once inside its stable, it will peddle your blog to a host of clientele.  And that's why you're motivated to have good material each time.  Once chosen to blog about a product, you get sent an 'opportunity' notice which you can accept or deny depending on the price negotiation.  Uh-huh, you get to bid for your talent's worth.  When things are finally agreed on, you get sent a briefing --kinda like a JO.  You blog and payment is sent to you just like *snaps fingers* that.  Easy money.  No revisions whatsoever.  Sweet!

Nuff said!
Nuffnang, on the other hand, is a blogging community.  What it has going for it are the blog contests it puts out for its community members.  It's a healthy competition of creativity, and the prizes up for grabs are always uber cool.  Periodically, contest mechanics for selling a certain product are laid out for you to follow.  You blog, and hope for the best.  It's not an easy score like Social Spark but it does push you to post a better blog.  Plus, it's more fun!  When you win *snaps fingers again*, there's fanfare!  Again, no revisions whatsoever.  Sweet!

Either way, you get a little extra at the time when you're not supposed to be getting anything at all.  That's making perfect use of your time.
Or maybe that's being a workaholic again.
Oh, what do you care --it's my downtime anyway.  Hmmph.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bamboozled

Duped.  Conned.  Suckered.  Hoodwinked.
I don't know if my clients have been having secret conspiracy sessions over coffee, but two of them actually had the same MO in pulling the wool over my eyes recently.

It's called...
Renegotiation of fees many months AFTER work has been done.

It all started with them agreeing to my cost estimates.  Then --after work submission, tons of revisions, and approval with flying colors-- accepting the billing statements without much of a word.  And then a long-running series of follow-up calls --most of which fall on 2 to 4 pairs of deaf ears.  Until finally, I got the "You have to lower your costs to a humiliatingly low level or we won't pay you a cent.  Capische?" bomb.
This, like I said, many, many, many months after project completion.

In full frustration mode, I --the documentation addict-- naturally sent them copies of our past agreements and simply got the "Our hands are tied and so are yours." retort from both parties. 

Absolute pissery commenced.

Now how do you handle situations like these?  If your patience hasn't completely worn out --and I laud you for that-- you can make a case out of it.  You do have the signed paperwork and email thread which can definitely give you some muscle in court.
Or, you can just take what's left of your money and run.  And learn from the experience.

I'm more inclined to do the latter.  When you're a freelancer, every penny counts.  And you don't want to throw a great deal of it on a lawyer.

Moral lesson/s:  When freelancing, you can always expect pitfalls.  Sometimes two at a time.  But you get up again and learn from them.  Secondly, never, ever trust a client who agrees to give you the moon --because chances are, he won't.  Lastly, always aim high.  So when you drop, you can still run away with something.  Pride isn't one of them though.  But hey, pride is not much of a popular commodity when it comes to rakets.

Capische?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

First Impression Calms

Some drink, some go target-shooting, some sleep for 3 days straight with a bag of chips in their hand --recuperating from a a full, nil-sleep of work week is very subjetive.  To a classier lot, it would be going to the spa.  Now mind you, I'm not the latter.  I'm not classy enough.  Plus, I have an issue about a complete stranger poking my naked body.  The last person who tried to give me a shih-tzu got a shine-tzu to the left eye.  Ugh, I'm not even kidding.

But if I were to reconsider the possibility, it will have to be at Village Sports Club's Zenith Wellness Spa.  I had a quick peak of the place and I was floored by presentation alone.

The foyer immediately gave me that elusive Zen feeling.  There, I left my issues at the door.  No point in relaxing and recharging if I went in toting bad vibes, right?

Then I took in the ambiance starting from the locker room.  That means a lot.  If I had walked into a locker room that looked and smelled like a football team's locker room, then it's over.  In complete opposite of that, Zenith is absolutely divine with its hardwood interior, calming stones, and lightly perfumed candles.  Ah, relaxation has begun.

I got the number 13 locker.  My favorite number.  Really.

The line up of mirrors framed by bamboo stalks is a nice touch, too.  I figured I'll need those to see my 'before-and-after picture'.  If I came in haggard, used, and abused, I'll need to come out looking invigorated, pink, and giddy when I check back.

Inside, it was simple and serene.  That's the best way to describe it.  Not fancy or overwhelming.  I didn't have to feel like a lost puppy in the world of puppy pampering luxury.  Nothing here but me and the infinite droning of some unearthly-type chill music.

Then the variety of oils and the actual massage were next.   The coconut oil was Zenith's pride and joy.  Eventually, it would be mine, too.

...
...

What --we're you expecting more?  Suffice to say, I did come out feeling like the fresh, calm daisy I was aiming for --and I haven't even been touched yet!

By mere appearance, Zenith Wellness has already earned its name.  And just by taking in all of that, I have already earned my first beautiful spa moment badge.
Actual immersion, without a doubt, will be next.

Now, to fit this into my goddamn calendar.  Grrr...