Friday, February 27, 2009

The protector of creative freedom— The ECD!

As a young creative, there's one person who seems like they are always out to get you. She tramples on your brilliant ideas. She sorts through the nuggets of pure gold you place in front of them, and find the smallest, dullest nugget (still pure gold— after all it's yours!) to show their approval of.

This person is the head of the creative department, be they CCO, ECD, GCD, whatever. Her job (I keep saying her because at WG, she's female) is to make sure all the creative that goes out into the world is up to par. It's not an easy job, I'm sure. Someday I hope I'll know firsthand.

However, crushing your creativity is not all this person does. She also steps in to kick ass when anyone else tries to crush your creativity. This means anyone: clients, account folks, even fellow creatives. Because her job it to protect good ideas, and make sure they have a place to grow.

So appreciate your ECD, even when he or she smiles thinly and silently shakes her head no.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another peek into WonderGroup

I was so busy listening to it, I nearly forgot to post the latest WonderGroup podcast, featuring yours truly! The topics this time include using social media during an office shut-down, using closed social media to communicate with coworkers, and internet radio.

Just to help you figure out which voice I am, I'm the guy who freely admits I did nothing the day the office closed. Enjoy!

PS: Sebastien Schultz is in a band called Bad Veins, and Aaron May is in A Decade to Die For. Look them up.

PPS: If you subscribe through RSS, make the jump to see the link. Lousy interwebs.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is that Barack Obama?

So, I've got this kind of weird picture for my display picture. It's also posted up over my desk. No one has ever asked me about it, except to opine that it could be Barack Obama, only smoking and playing guitar.

It is, in fact, a painting of Robert Johnson, a blues singer from the early 20th century. The legend behind Robert Johnson says that to master the guitar, he went down to the crossroads and sold his soul to the Devil.

When I think about that, all I can think about is "What a great marketer!" Claiming you had sold your soul for anything was a much more serious claim in the '20s and '30s than it is now. And he was good at playing guitar. It made it hard for his rivals to say they were better. After all, the man was in league with Satan!

What does this have to do with being a young creative? It's all about branding yourself. Give people something to associate with the good feeling your portfolio gives them.

Don't go over the top, though. Johnson claimed to have sold his soul, but he was reportedly a shy, introspective sort. His quiet demeanor added to the mystique. If he got carried away with the act though, people would have gotten tired of it.

In the end, it comes down to be getting noticed, then remembered, then liked. A director told me once that if he has to choose between casting two equally qualified people for the same role, he'll choose the one he won't mind hanging out with.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Go on! Be a show off!

As creative professionals, we all need a portfolio, or in advertising, a "book." You keep it updated with your best stuff, and you send it to people so they'll hire you.

Long ago, people (probably the people you'll be sending your book to) used to make these by hand, out of real-life paper and cardboard. You still need to have a physical version of your book so the people interviewing you can look at something other than the growing sweat-stains under your arms. However, for sending it out with a letter and resumé, nothing is more convenient than an online version.

That being said, there are lots of online portfolio services. I have my favorites, but I wondered if there was a better version, so I did some searching. Guess what? Lots of these places want you to pay! And as I always say, why pay for something you can get for free. is my personal favorite, as you can see by clicking the My Portfolio link to the right. It has a free version, which allows 5 projects and some number of images, and a $12/mo version that gives you a lot more of both, plus videos. Even the pay version is cheaper than the other portfolio hosts I saw. is a portfolio site, plus a professional networking site. I like it, but I like carbonmade more. Behance is a little more byzantine when it comes to adding projects, but I don't think there's a limit to how many you can add, and videos are FREE!

I also used to be a fan of However, I fell out of love with it. But it's out there, so here ya go. If anyone has a better option, feel free to drop a comment in the ol' comment box.

Syndication, the hard way.

I have an AdBlog on ihaveanidea, but they want to charge $50 a year for an RSS feed. I respect that, they have to make their money somehow, and if everyone is subscribing via a reader, they don't get views for their online ad space.

But, I really want people to be able to view my blog on RSS reader, so I'm going to re-post everything from there, here! I'll have a link on "here" to "there" and vice versa.

Here goes!