Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Day in Blogs for Blog Day 2011

As a wise one once said...
Writing is half the job.
To be a good blogger, you have to be a good reader.  
An excellent sharer.
And a helluva world-wide party-er!

In celebration of the 6th International Blog Day, allow me to rain on you a blogger's top 6 run-to blogs --all of which motivate her to achieve utter magnificence on a daily basis!!!   
*thunder and lightning*

8am.  Love Thyself with Lei.
Even a rogue writing warrior wants to feel good about herself at the start of the day.  Lei's blog is filled to the brim with self beautification tips with video demos to boot.  Educational.  Entertaining.  Alluring.
What!  Underneath this rough, tough exterior, I... am still a lady!

10am.  Business with The Sartorialist.
A huge chunk of my mission is to know who I'm selling my writing services to.  There are charts that tell me that, but who wants the boredom?  I'd rather traipse through this blog which shows me reality and fashion at the same time.  I always believe that you'll know who a person is and what he wants through what he wears.  The Sartorialist and I --we're on the same page on that.

1pm.  Issues with This Is A Crazy Planets.
I have to be in-the-know to write, right?  Voila!  Here is current events told in the most in-your-face manner possible.  No holds barred.  Real news.  This blog gives me the good, the bad, and the worst about nagging topics around the world.  Some may say it's crass.  I call it conversational.  For the faint of heart, it's best to read this blog with beer.

3pm.  Gossip with Suri's Burn Book.
Time to lighten up the day with a little Hollywood tete-a-tete.  And who better to tell me what's hot and what's not with the celebrities I love to hate than a lovely, bitchy baby called Suri Holmes Cruise!  The genius behind this blog is ...a genius!  Can you imagine a 5-year old rich kid going all Desperate Housewives on other Hollywood kids?  You can't?  Click it!

Now, I'm going to have to cheat a little here.  Before the day ends, I'm a spineless flipflopper between these two hilarious published eye-openers.

5pm.  Laugh and Learn with Broing Up Rizal and The Oatmeal.
Broing Up Rizal is a blog that cleverly takes me through the life of phenomenal Filipino hero, Rizal.  While in the fistbumping companionship of How I Met Your Mother's super suave American hero, Barney.  True story!  History has never been so exhilarating.  If this doesn't make your eyes water from intense laughter, you're a chip off Stonehenge.
The Oatmeal, on the other hand, gives me the How To's, Do's and Don't's, Why's, and Why Not's of life.  Questions I'd rather ask a cab driver than my mother are answered here.  And I become a better person.  D'oh!  Warning: This blog may damage your laugh box.  Do not read without ample supply of hardcore losenge. 

9pm (or any time before hitting the sack)Complete Calm with My Life As A Verb.
To end the usual crazy day, you need to get your chi back in check.  I choose to do so with a blog about fountain pens and crisp sketch pads.  Honestly, I've only owned one fountain pen in my entire life.  But I love doodles, I love words, and I love good paper.  This blog's poetry in writing and pictures sends me back to a nice, safe place.  And recharges me for the next day.

So, that's my day in blogs.  Read, share, enjoy.  By doing so, you've automatically joined the world-wide party of parties that is the 6th International Blog Day!

PS.  I should add that I wouldn't have known about this momentous occasion if it weren't for a wise blog:  Nuffnang's.
Gawd, I am such a suck-up.  :P

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Loopy for Infinite Loop

In a country where rhythm is the best way to communicate, in an era where troubles are mostly overcome through song, in an industry where the motto is "In case of panic... jingle!" --Infinite Loop Music and Sound Studio is music to my ears.  Seriously.  It's my go-to place for a quick audio fix.

This young studio livens up your boring script in back-breaking speed at a cozy little nook that has good coffee.  It's not one of those recording giants but it delivers the goods just the same.  And the way it accommodates is on a personal level that you feel like you're simply doing a college project with good friends over beer, chips, and laughs --except this time, you're using top-of-the-line, high-tech equipment.  Infinite Loop uses Protools and Digital Perforfer running on Mac Pro for audio and music productions.

Run by husband and wife sound experts, it's no surprise that they treat you like family, too.  Here are owners who are so hands-on (and hearts-on), even down to the nitty-gritty.  You don't get a middle man.  All you get is production you're sure will run smoothly and perfectly.
I think that's the best part of it.  When your client is harassing you every 5 minutes, it's only logical to surround yourself with a cool --and warm-- support unit.  Now THAT'S sound advice!

Oooh, another awesome thing!  Infinite Loop is just across Greenbelt Mall.  So while your material finishes, you can shop!  *snap-snap*

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Power Tripping 101

C'moooon!  Don't say you haven't power tripped ever?  Sure, you have!  After all, bullies don't go away after elementary school.  They all come back well-dressed in the corporate world.
What --you were never a bully?  Ne-ver?!  Boy, are you missing out!

When you're a raketista, you don't get to power trip that much.  You work solo.  So having someone to bully is a grave rarity.  However, there will come an arrangement when you'll have to work with a team to get a monumental project rolling.  If you're in the deal as just another extra hand, chances are, you'll be in the receiving end of someone's ultimate power tripping high.  That someone would be the team leader, or the self-proclaimed second in command.  She'll be the one feeding on the panic and anxiety of the underlings --you being one of them.

It will be a godawful journey if you're under an expert power tripper.  As the name implies, she's doing this for sheer personal fun, aka, trippage (yes, I made that up).  She loves seeing you cower in fear when she enters the room.  She has the balls to will it.  And then she'll revel in triumphant glee as you do her job for her.  And she does it ever so smoothly --with no yelling, just quiet intimidation-- and you fold like dough in the rough hands of a manipulative baker.  It's all in the presence.  And the background.  It helps when the power tripper has an illustrious past that makes her worthy of dishing it out.

But if you're under an amateur power tripper, it will be the most hilarious entertainment of your entire freelancing life.  An amateur will yell, push you around, exhibit bossiness specifically during crunch time --only because she's scared shitless.  It's a funny sight really.  And lacks credibility.  What you do is just breeze through her insanity and you'll do fine.  She'll be the one falling down in a puddle of shame soon after.   Karma for drama, I always say.

Incidentally, I was under the bitchy efforts of an amateur power tripper recently.  What a comic relief!  When the cards are turned, I will be more than willing to teach her the ropes to proper Power tripping.

You should observe your designated power tripper, by the way.  If she's good, watch, learn, and work for it.  If there's anything you should learn from this post is that Power tripping is earned.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Age of Creative Clients

Nowadays, anyone can claim creativity.  What with technology and all, everyone's exposed to every inspiration, every trend, and everyone has a fair share at dipping their fingers in the cookie jar of bright advertising ideas.  Everyone can claim brilliance.  After all, creativity isn't something you learn at the university.  It's something you're born with.  Or, for some, something you pick up.

Makes you wonder if you still have the right to the title 'Creative', huh?

On the good side, this is what gives your client the privilege to throw their own concepts and executions on the table.  Brainstorming will happen.  Ideas --no matter how ridiculous-- are tossed around.  And you learn that your client knows her product well and the output will be productive.

On the bad side, this is also what gives the client the so-called right to mandate concepts and executions.  You'll hear lines like, "I saw this neat ad by so and so in London and I want to do the same thing but a little different." or "This new video by hot sexy singer like this and that is a great treatment for my material." or "There's this funny clip on YouTube!  Let's do that!"

Your job now is to curb client's overenthusiasm.  To keep her new lease on creativity in line.  Is her plan strategic?  Or just a whimsical attempt at grandeur?  There is no point in shooting down her ideas on the get-go.  First, that's called bullying and it will hurt her feelings.  Second, she could be on to something.  The Eureka moment isn't monopolized by you, you know.  Time to keep the ego in the back pocket for a while and hear her out.

Now, if her ideas suck, that's when you tell her nicely and back it up with a good one.  Build from what she suggested.  Create an original based on her 'copied' nugget.
Now, if her idea is beyond awesome and far better than anything you could've come up with in your entire career as a true blue Creative Person --take it and laud her.  Sincerely.  And then quietly vow to yourself that THAT would never happen again.  :P

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Target Practice

"You don't like the material because you're NOT the target market!"
How many times do you want to say that to your client?

You can't really blame her.  She's not like you.  YOU have the uncanny ability to get in the shoes of your intended target audience.  You have the power to assume their personalities, their abilities.  Kinda like Rogue in the X-Men.  Without the creepy, life-draining part.

What powers you?  Research, exposure, interviews.  With or without a formal FGD, you find a way to know who you're selling your client's product to.  No, sitting in front of your computer just won't cut it.  You have to go out and find the truth on your own.  Leg work.  Nitty-gritty.

First, get into your target's specific culture.  Don't be afraid to go into her turf, mingle, and observe.

Chat with her.

And finally, mirror her.

When you know and feel deep in your heart what your target really wants, that's when you can give it to her properly, perfectly.  That's how you sell.  Insight first, concept next, execution finale.  Seriously, in that order.

As for your client --the person who's going to sign off on your good work and pay you for a job well done-- she sometimes becomes your roadblock.  For some, you may have to drag her down from her ivory tower and make her understand who her beloved product is really talking to.  And how it should talk to them.

Because if you don't, you'll be stuck with an irrelevant ad which your target market will just snort at and say, "Oh, puh-leeease, ad people!  Quit horsing around!" 

Selling to a client is tougher than selling to the target market. That will require a series of blog entries, me thinks. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Suppliers are friends... not food.

Raket Rule number 15 (or was it 182?) --Keep Connected with the right people.
Suppliers can make or break that project you've worked on for weeks, even months.  This is why a good rule of thumb is to keep a good slew of contacts from the production world.  Oh wait, not contacts.  Friends.  Uh-huh.  A good relationship must be happening between you two.  Not just a singular project in the past.  But a more meaningful connection.  We're talking about massive trust here.
Why so?  Example!

Just because a photographer can shoot pretty still pictures of cooking oil and food preps does it mean that he can shoot a neat ad of a kid and his dog.  Not happening.  Unless you know the photographer to be gifted with patience and people skills.  Or even at least a hint of proper motivation and venue sense.  That's why you have to know the guy beyond his portfolio.  Because if he can't stand an energetic 7-year old and can't deal with a mini pinscher (one of the liveliest dog breeds on the planet) --then there's just no hope.
You can tell I'm speaking from a bad experience here, can't you?

Ok, ok.  This also applies to that production house that's been making absolutely fab quick cut and paste AVPs for you without fail.  If you have to get them for a pesky client who wants his TVC as visually epic as The Apocalypse, then you should know if your team is in fact movie savvy.  Through and True.

A recording studio that has given you the best jingles can't always deliver a radio drama anthology either.  Unless your suppliers are rabid researchers and thrive on new experience immersion.  THAT you'll have to find out.  And that's why you have to know your suppliers on a personal plane, not just because they produce pretty sounds, pretty pictures.

More than partnership, it's friendship.  That's how you produce great work.  Between friends you can trust with your all.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Sometimes you just have to wonder why the client hired you, a Creative person, to do his uncreative bidding.  It's even more baffling that beforehand, he did ask for your portfolio to 'check if you're qualified to do his creative requirements'.  And then as soon as work began, he quickly shot down your initiatives one by one.  With an incredulous air, he demanded that you stick to the template, the usual happy family shot, the huge logo, the safe, straightforward headlines.
I mean... what were you thinking????  WA-PAAK!  Stay in the goddamn box, you ambitious beast!!!

Still, you persist for a good while.  After all, he did get you for your creativity, right?  So you come back fresh with a good balance of safe ads and squeezing in one or two creative ones.  That's when you get the, "This is great!  But these new ones would look better with our usual visuals and a more straight-to-the-point headline.  Stop being too playful and witty!  Nobody understands witty!" 

Beat, you crawl back in your box and transform into what I would like to call a Zombeast --a brainless yet very cranky non-lifeform that moves only for brains, er, money.  Snarling, tantrum-ing, totally unwilling, kicking yourself in the shin all throughout, you finally deliver just what the client ordered:  In-The-Box concepts.  Carbon copies of work that date back a hundred years.  No brainer.  For shame.

Are you happy?  The client is.  In fact, it will take a couple of more projects until he gives you the very left field, "You know what, we're not getting anything new from you anymore.  You're fired."

Oh well.  For now, you did get approval.  You did get paid.  Win-win.  Right?  Let's move on.   

Must... grow... brains... baaack...

Monday, August 1, 2011

I've got my eyes on you

The eyes are the windows of your soul.  True that.  That's why if you want to show as much sincerity and intensity in your work during a client presentation, you should be able to know the science of making STRATEGIC EYE CONTACT. 

Consider this scenario:  It's a panel presentation.  The conference room is packed.  You know you have to make and maintain eye contact all throughout your show ...but with whom?  You can't be all shifty-eyed.  So you scan the area for your primary target and ... THERE SHE IS!

The Queen Bee.  The prime decision maker.  It's easy to spot her.  She'll be the one who's exceptionally smartly-dressed with an engulfing air of confidence oozing out of expertly tightened pores.  She'll be seated front and center.  She'll be the one really scrutinizing your creative work so it's best to sell to HER.  And make sure your smiling eyes show just how much balls you're putting behind your materials. 

Second eye contact target:  the Influential Second-in-Command.  The right hand man.  The top honcho's voice of reason.  She's usually seated close to the Queen Bee for easier whispering.  She would most likely have an almost equal air of aplomb knowing that the Queen Bee listens to her.  Her word can definitely sway the final decision so make time to keep her within your secondary sight range.

The third recipient of your all-important eye contact is the Eager Beaver Brand Man.  She's out there to prove herself just as much as you are.  She's your middleman to the higher-ups so she deserves your attention as well.  She's your ally.  Keep it that way.

Lastly, the Peanut Gallery.  These are people brought in the meeting, more often than not, just to fill in the gaps.  Usually called 'Chuwariwaps', they can either be called in during final deliberation or not.  Given that, you don't have to overly establish eye contact with them.  Glancing once or twice will suffice.

Knowing this, you can now present properly... and sell successfully.
That's my science anyway.  You can have your own.  But at the end of the day, if you're proud of the work you've done, it's not enough for just your mouth to do all the talking.  If you're hell-bent for opportunity, keep your eyes open.