ANDYVISION - watch me try to be creative. live.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So, I'm Up for an Award

Just found out that my CPB Shred School site is up for a People's Voice Webby Award.

Wanna help a brother out and cast a vote for it? Yeah you do.

Just click over to, register (yeah, bummer), choose Shred School from the drop down menu at the top and give us your vote. I'll split the prize money with you. Promise.


Monday, April 27, 2009

What Comes First? A few tips on ordering your portfolio

So, you've been working on your portfolio for the last 20 odd months. You've got countless late nights and long weekends-worth of work sitting in front of you, and you're thinking, Yes. I am done. Throw these puppies in a case and get me out the door.


There is one very key step you cannot skip here: ordering your book. For the most part I thought worrying about order was bull. I sat down, thought a few minutes on how everything should flow, decided on something that seemed satisfactory to me and off I went.

I took my portfolio on a trip around Manhattan a few days later. Generally speaking, it went really well; I got a lot of positive reviews. But it wasn't until I saw Creative Circus alum Cooper Smith and Dave Canning at Y&R that I really thought too much about the order. They dug my stuff but thought it could be presented better. They told me, when they were in the height of the job hunt, they would often sit in their apartment, spread their work all across the floor and spend hours ordering and reordering everything. (Or so they told me). We sat in their seventh floor office for a bit doing just that. Ultimately, I didn't use the order they thought was best, but their obsession with portfolio ordering showed me its importance.

What was the biggest problem with my book? It didn't have an easy in. My first campaign was a beautiful three-piece print that was based on ridiculously intricate illustrations and super heady headlines. I put it there because it was a personal favorite and seemed the most impressive to me. The problem was, it was so intense, it was like getting punched in the gut as soon as you opened my portfolio. In the end, I changed the pole position to my another campaign that starts off right away with a big, silly joke. Bold, stark and black and white on the page. They never suspected a thing, but they couldn't escape it. It was the best thing I did for my portfolio.

Right off the bat. If you can make someone laugh, they've already got a big smile on their face when they're turning to that next page. And if you've gotten them smiling, they're already on your side.

From there, it's really a matter of the different pieces you have. Generally speaking, you want to kick them in the teeth at the beginning and get a nut shot in at the end. That way they'll remember you. Big, fun, memorable campaigns. In between is where your dense stuff might go—non-profits, body copy, tech heavy.

Pacing is important as you don't want someone to feel fatigued as they trudge through your book, so it's great to throw a fast, fun campaign in between two heavier ones. (Read: This does not mean do a visual solutions campaign. I am and will always be against that. Worthwhile visual solutions are dead. Just like "viral videos." Just not impressive for a student book. You can do better.)

When you actually sit down to do this, I'd start with taking all your campaigns and putting them in piles on the floor. Decide on your bookends—what's going to kick it off and then what's going to close the deal. From there, you'll likely see what should come second. If you've won any awards, I'd probably throw those campaigns in first or second, maybe last. One of my campaigns that won something wasn't the most exciting campaign so I didn't want it first. But the name dropping alone helps, so it made a great second piece. It gets people thinking early, Hey, this kid won something, I should pay attention.

And don't get too attached to your order. I hate self-editing. Once I decided on how my book would read, I didn't feel like changing it. But I'm very glad I did. It made a huge difference. So don't be afraid to get in there and mess it all up and look at it with fresh eyes.

Really, it's just like telling a good story. You've got to have a hook, development and then a big climax. Now, go make a best-seller.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Really? Really, Internet? Really?

I just realized I had never looked at what the all-time top videos on YouTube are. Have you? I just did. Guess what's number one. Go ahead, just guess.


Try: Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend. Really. It's right here. You can watch it for yourself and add to the 118,740,546 other views that is has at the moment I write this. (And that's with embedding disabled!)

Avril's barely edging out that stupid Evolution of Dance video everyone went crazy over. Chris Brown's got two in there as do the Jonas Brothers, albeit a little lower in the ranks. Also, Charlie Bit My Finger comes in at a mind-blowing fourth place. And then there's Jeff Dunham's Achmed the Dead Terrorist skit which is pretty unfunny and will likely get us bombed sometime soon.

Here's a screen grab of the whole thing, or you can just click here to see it for yourself.

Really, this is a pretty interesting look into our internet zeitgeist. (Seriously, how trendy is that word right now?) If I'm reading this correctly we're a mixture of good-natured, cheesy saps plus 13-year old, top 40 consuming addicts. Probably not far off.

Wow. I just checked Most Popular Today, and it's basically all Britain's Got Talent Clips. That makes me a little sad. Then again, most surveys of pop culture do.

Got any other good ones for me?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A bit of advice on what you NEED to put in your portfolio


When you're in school and obsessed with the all-important book you'll here a lot of stuff about what you have to include in there (implying if you don't, you won't get a job) and what you can't include in there (which will, of course, preclude you from a job). You hear you have to have something tech, a financial, travel, a package good, a service, long copy, headlines, a visual solution. I'm here to tell you all of that is bull.

I think in the book I graduated Creative Circus with I had a service, an automotive, two packaged good, two food (both candies, no less), one video game. Overall, it lean pretty heavy on the fun. I'm not sure I have a single thing super serious or hard-hitting. All of them are pretty absurd campaigns.

It's a great idea to challenge yourself in school. You should take on clients you wouldn't normally think to do. Do women's products, financial, furniture, get out of your comfort zone. It's good practice.

But ultimately, when it comes to putting your book together, don't murder yourself trying to fill this hole and that hole. Your book should reflect the kind of work you do. Some people are very serious, dramatic screenwriter-like writers. There are plenty of places out there that you will fit in perfectly. If you're an art director with a seriously artistic bent, there are places that need and want someone just like you.

Sure, you need to show some range in your book. But ultimately, your book will determine the type of job you get. So, logic leads us to say, if your book is a reflection of you, you'll get hired somewhere that's a good fit for you, and you'll be much, much happier and do better. I'm a bit of the mindset that if you have a generic, check-all-the-boxes-off book, you'll get a generic, check-all-the-copy-points-off job.

Some things will never change though. Writers need to show you can write. That means having some great headlines in there plus some sort of body copy. Art directors, show you can kill a page. That means beautiful design, attention to type. (My one complaint on student books is that they all feel dimensionally flat. It's amazing what a drop shadow here and there can do.)

The two things your book should do are: prove you're smart and prove who you are. If it does that, you'll be just fine. Don't fret on the details of how you do it. Everyone will have a different way.

(And the great irony of this all is, two of the major clients I work on are a women's fashion brand and a financial. But the best part is, I'm doing it at an agency that aligns with who I am as a creative, so it's a perfect fit.)

I've got more thoughts on perfecting your portfolio if you guy want to hear. Just let me know.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I got NSAC'd in the face

This weekend I had the pleasure/honor of being at judge at the AAF District XI NSAC in Spokane, Washington. (If you're not one for acronyms, that's the American Advertising Federation's Northwest National Student Advertising Competition.) Normally it'd be an rad event to take part in, but it was particular cool for me because I actually competed in the NSAC back during my senior year at the UGA (University of Georgia). So, being back three years later, sitting on the other side of the table, it was a strange experience. (And to make things even more bizarre, one of the other judges was Lori Hicks from the Traffic Agency in LA. She was from the University of Tennessee team that we competed against our district, but we had never met until Friday morning.)

To particiapte in NSAC, teams of college seniors (mostly) spend one or two semesters preparing an entire advertising campaign for the same brief. Research, media plans, creative, PR, everything. It's the first time that most students get a taste of what it's really like to put a full campaign together. As I was doing it, I remember thinking, "Wait, you mean I can just focus on creative and other people can worry about making a budget and putting all that other crap together?" That was the first time I started to understand what it might be like to actual be a "real-life creative."

This year the brief was for an anti-binge drinking campaign for students 18-24, sponsored by The Century Council. In the past it's ranged from Yahoo! to Coca-Cola to Toyota Matrix to Postal Vault. (Postal Vault was my year. Look it up. Ugh.)

Definitely a tough assignment for anyone, and it was great to see the students really tear into it. There were some issues here and there, but for most, it's the first time out of the gate. Overall the other judges and myself were really impressed by the all work and especially the presentations. One thing I particularly enjoyed was when teams built an identifiable brand around their campaign, rather than just makig a pile of advertising. If you look at any of the really good non-profit work nowadays, most of it is centered around a great brand—truth, The Tap Project, Project (RED), all brilliant. It's easier and more powerful for us to associate an idea was a logo, name, design and tone of voice. So, it was great to see some of the teams nod to that. There are some very smart kids out there in the Pacific Northwest.

Congrats to all the students and sponsors that threw away sleep, sanity and in some cases boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses to crank out some great work. I know Lori and I especially appreciated it because we've been in the exact same spot and know exactly what it's like. I also know how much it sucks to do all that work and then get anything but first place. (My team got sixth. Lori got first.) It makes it seem like the entire thing was all a waste of time. But it's not. To be honest, it was just the start of one crazy career ahead. There will be many more nights, weeks, months like that. And each time you do it, you'll get smarter, better, faster.

Congrats to the top teams too: Portland State, Boise State, BYU and Washington State. Nicely done, folks. And best of luck to everyone.

Don't celebrate too hard. OK, maybe just once or twice. You've earned it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Lion, The Future and the Young

I've been meaning to write in here for a while, but I've been insanely busy (hey, what else is new?). Insanely busy, as in sleeping a max of four hours a night if I lucky. But life (in general) is good.

In fact, recently three friends and I were asked to shoot and edit together a video for this year's Future Lions competition. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. But really, I'm more pleased with reliving the entirely experience every time I watch it. It really makes me want to go back to Cannes again.

Future Lions Winners: Where Are They Now?

Speaking of going back to Cannes again . . . Miss Liza "F'ing" Behles just won a Young Lions award and is going back to Cannes in June! She's the first person to win a Future Lion and a Young Lion. Insane. What a badass. Congrat her.

And if you're a student, DO FUTURE LIONS. It can change your life. Seriously. Do it. Now. Right now. Go. Go do it right now.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Mr. Internet, Episode 4

Here is one badass television program produced in-house, here at CP+B. This episode is by far the best one. Enjoy.

You can peep of them here.

The Late, Late, Late, Late Night

So, it's 4:28, and I think I'm about to leave work. Big presentation tomorrow, an all-nighter here and there, but it's been fun.

Mostly because of my new show on Ustream. If you have heard, it's ANDYVISION. It's been a fun experiment so far, and it's taken off at the office (and beyond). For the record, I'm not the creepy one. You are. You're watching me. I'm doing nothing creepy except sitting at my desk, working and occasionally eating Quizno's Torpedos in inappropriate fashion. Stay tuned for more.

Oh yeah, and look for a new blog coming soon. It's gonna be huge. Literally.