Friday, August 31, 2007

Core Classes: Art Direction and Commercials

So on wednesday I came to my toughest day. 9am - 9pm. I was ready, well slept, fed and homeworked up. Wayne Gibson and Keith Witthaus awaited me with visual story telling and my core class of art direction.

Wayne is definitely no nonsense. Here's my qualifications, where I've been and why I'm here. Go present, let me tear it apart, tell you why and let you go. I liked the fact he said that it was his job to get me a good portfolio as that is how im going to get a job in 2 years. After ripping my summer assignment apart (along with everyone elses) with the lesson of: you can't turn shit into diamonds, we were off with our first assignment: Barilla Pasta. Thank god I lived in Italy a while so I can at least attempt an italian angle that will not be good enough. Ciao!

Visual storytelling was much the same, heres our qualifications, here's what were going to teach you. Get ready see you next week. I love the idea of a crash course in film advertising, the more skills we have the better prepared we are going to be.

Im a little worried. I've been on full alert waiting for a shitstorm of work to hit me, and it has definitely been manageable so far. I am exhausted from being on full guard, however I dont want to let it down too much and have a bad day in front of the wrong class.

But overall that was a good first week. Im excited. Lots of concepting ahead, and lots of fantastic work ahead to be ripped apart, spit out and redone.

One down. 59 to go.

Oh and its official. I can't get my money back from VCU anymore. Im in for good.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fenske: A lifetime of ad lessons in 3 hours, plus Van Halen.

So in the first day with the Mark Fenske, I learned everything I needed to know about advertising, however I couldn't write that fast, so I guess I'll listen closely next time.

Everyone was nervous about this one. He came in like the most polite celebrity you've ever met. Intimidating and completely at ease in his surroundings he started. However after the first half hour it was clear it would not be as bad as I thought, again.

He is definitely the real deal in advertising, he told us stories that not many have heard. I know know where the tagline "Just do it." comes from. If you don't google Gary Gilmore. I'm not kidding. I won't give it away but trust me, thats where it comes from.

But everyone knows that he is advertising in alot of circles. What I came away from it was that he is probably a great person to sit and listen to about his stories, sans advertising. He just seems like the kind of guy who is always smack in the middle of stories. And I guess knowing Van Halen helps when you're telling "I should have been there stories."

His style seems to be: Simple and "Where's the news?" Or more simply what has the ten seconds you've taken to talk given me? A little harsh but true in the industry, and if you can get by that you're there, except talent, experience, computer skills, concepting, story-boarding, and networking skills.


I guess I've got bigger things to worry about until next Fenske class.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Business of Advertising: The genocide of eggs.

First Class. Don Just. The room was silent on his entry. It was evident that we were promptly informed of his reputation as a man who taught tough love. His three piece suit, career resume, and attitude towards a room full of fresh-faced students kept the silence strong.

"Some of you will die trying to get into this industry. Some will die trying to get old in this industry." Point taken.

The syllabus and tone was crisp and efficient.

"There is no whining in advertising. Get ready." He said as he prepared his first lecture.

This is serious. This was nothing like undergrad, full of half listened lectures, late entries into rooms, and freebie first weeks to "get up to speed." According to Just, this would be the most important class we would take this year. Coming from a man with his list of accomplishments, I couldn't imagine to disagree.

However, after a little stare-down between the class and himself, the guns were lowered, the corral safe once more, the real lessons began, and our first lesson to Business of Advertising: The Infamous Egg Drop. Yes, the same one we did in 3rd grade. However the idea is to place people into large groups to teach us that egos need to be last in our worries, working efficiently together is the first lesson to this industry.

7 people, 2 egss, a couple of rubber bands, and a brown bag later, our group's egg was through. However the lesson was learned. This is serious business. But you can't make an omelet unless you break a few eggs.

Tomorrow Fenske.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

China Airlines Cover Up

In case you didn't know China Air Lines recently had a little "incident" where one of their flights caught on fire. Thank god everyone survived, a rare good mark in recent times in airline safety. However no matter the accident and how big it was it is always bad marketing. The short version of this is: Crashes = Bad Business in the airline industry but I guess you didn't need me to tell you that.

So what did China Airlines do to stave off the first wave of negative publicity? Paint over their logo on the burnt out hull of the plane. Yeah marketing! I hate to admit it, but that is a very good move on their part.

PS. If youre going to fly to the orient, don't fly C.A.L. I've flown to Thailand twice with them and realize that China is trying so hard to catch up with the west they haven't discovered customer service or seats that fit 6'6" americans. Thanks genetics.

Orientation: One day down the rest to go.

Orientation came and went. First off I was very glad I showed up early and got to know people first. I didn't have to do as many awkward "hellos" and "where are you froms?" than I did many years ago back in California undergrad.

First off Rick Boyko is definitely the real deal. He takes the Adcenter seriously and you can tell by the way he talks to us. He doesn't see us as students, I felt he saw us as professionals who need a kick in the ass. He looks as the Adcenter as the center of the future of advertising and we are the agents of change. All we're missing is the black outfits, crew cuts, and mac electric cow prods.

Fenske on the other hand, well lets just say the words "fuck," "go to," "you," and "hell" were used to describe 50 percent of the class, but at least he didn't punch anyone right?

My immediate first impressions afterward consist of one thing. We all asked questions. Stupid ones. Repetitive ones. Funny ones. About important topics and ones that would never touch our lives.

Its also intimidating to sit with all these people. Their stories are amazing and diverse. We have students who already have multiple Masters, Law degrees, divorced, kids, and even people with kids starting masters programs themselves. People are from everywhere, and our class is split down the middle on the M/F (a first for me).

The teachers are obviously talented. They all sat there with 400 pairs of eyes drilling into their heads waiting for any piece of brilliant advice to come pouring out, and sat with the patience of veteran soldiers in front of the next round of fresh recruits.

Im still in shock. It will be fun. more to come.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Adcenter's Admission Policy: A Review

I was worried about Adcenter from the first. I had no belief that I was going to be able to be an art director. My vision of an art director was a slightly chubby man with long greying hair, horn-rimmed square glasses, sleeve length tattoos, listening to music from an artist that would never be considered "mainstream," while pounding red bulls, standing on his office chair screaming "CREATIVITY IS DEAD!!!"

Yes. I had no idea who art directors were, or what they were like. I was worried I would get to Virginia in a sea of people who would be infinitely more "cool" and "vouge" than I ever wanted to be. Perception is not reality.

Adcenter students are one thing if any: In total shock they got in.

Everyone is still amazed they are here. No one has yet said to me that they we're destined to be in advertising, or that they knew from day one they were going to be creatives. They are normal adjusted people (so far) with wide eyes and even larger dreams of doing a job that avoids 3-piece suits, demands creativity, and revolves around enjoying what you do.

Everyone has traveled or lived abroad. Most have great stories of sites seen or foreign meals consumed in places most Americans don't know exist. Some even speak a language or 6. Some play more instruments then I knew existed. Some come from the four corners. Some come from ten miles down route 64. Some paint. Some doodle. Some have problems writing their own name. Some have no idea who Fenske is. Some have never eaten a hush-puppy (guilty as charged).

But with all the differences and variety there are constants.

We all love advertising (so far). Most of us are hesitant to openly talk or it. I feel the fear of blank stares from friends who spent their lives avoiding advertising created hesitation in crowds to admit their new-found nerdism. However inevitably we all let our love slip and the rest just flows.

We are all social beings. There is the usual hesitation, politeness, coy behavior, but these are only the product of years of social training. Usually a beer or two fixes the mistakes or social politeness in favor of stories of spring breaks past, great you-tube clips, embarrassing nicknames, stupid human tricks, all told with such ease you find in good people. No one is recluse or a potential shut-in waiting for inclusion into the group. We make our spots.

Of course this is all easy to say only one week here, and with no vision into anyones abilities in an actual school setting, but you can see quickly that Adcenter picks people very selectively. Narrow minded people don't make good creatives. Inspiration comes from experience. I had no idea what Adcenter was looking for, but I have a good feeling that they do, and I for one am glad to be part of it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

How do you spell advertising with the letters C O F F E and E?

Intern of course! Just in case you thought that getting into Adcenter was the tough part, here's a little Jem I found on

It's basically a job description on what it is like breaking into this industry. Its not glamorous or always fun, or high paying (wait why are we doing this again?). But there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

I said NO FOAM YOU WASTE OF SPACE! But don't worry one day it will be your forehead veins throbbing at interns over too many poppy seeds on your sandwich.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Guiness strikes black again.

For years Guinnes has been doing great work in the ad world. BBDO recently won tons of awards for its "noitulovE" (evolution backwards) ad, including the Cannes Grand Prix TVC Award:

Here's their newest from IIBDO in Dublin Ireland titled "I'ts alive Inside." Genius and great execution:

Enough with the pessimism.....get to the good stuff!

So I know my last few posts have been negative...even a little upset so I thought I'd tell you all out there some reasons why I know I will love living here.

1. My first lighning storm ever. I know so sad, but awesomely beautiful and so nice out at night afterwards.

2. The girls here. Its been two nights and I fall in love every 5 minutes. They love to shoot the shit and drink beer and whiskey better than I ever could.

3. Its so different. This place is awesome in ways that California just can't replicate. Thank you southern hospitality and an awesome college town and a great area to live in (FAN!!!).

Sure i haven't written much about advertising in a while, but damn I'm enjoying myself. I came here for the program and people, but shoot me if I can't enjoy the perks in life.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Who knew the south was so hot?

So as a final thank you from the city of San Francisco I got to be in the city when Barry hit his big boy home run. Congrats Barry.

So who knew richmond would be hot. Now hot itself isn't enough to describe it. Liquid hot magma? Close. How about I took three baths in my new apartment because i had no power and wouldn't stop sweating all day? Bingo.

Besides the heat its going well, im just cruising by these days. Looking for a car to buy. And no I didn't drive across country, that would be like hitting my forehead with a croquet mallet. No fun.

The town seems very cool. I've been roaming around with Akil Gibbs and checked out the multiple areas around and have been surprised by the diversity in which night life provides. I would have to say my three highlights so far have been:

1. Karaoke night at Buffalo Wings. I wanted to watch the Giants game. Thirty drunk people wanted to sing: Wind Beneath My Wings, Friends In Low Places, and general crap country (sorry I really hate country).

2. Smile Be Happy Cafe. So we walk by and see a big line, so we say "Hey lets check it out." Not realizing that this is a 18+ bar, making us look like two perverts on the prowl as we quickly walk by.

3. Princess Diana mural next to Velvet Gentleman's Club. I bet she would be proud to be artistically placed next to a strip joint.

More updates as they come in. Back to you Kent.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Packing to move 3000 Miles and what it has taught me.

1. Is it sad or good that I can put my whole life into 6 boxes?

2. Alot of crap doesn't always equal a nice room.

3. If it came down to taking only two things they would be computer and pictures.

3a. And clothes if I got one more thing. The whole Adam look doesn't flatter in public.

4. I'm happy to leave behind things I've carried for 25 years.

5. I'm sad to leave behind things I've carried for 25 years.

6. Moving is STRESSFUL. I'm drained in every way possible.

7. I will have to do it again (TWICE) in the next two years.

8. Everyone moves, not everyone gets to go somewhere great. Here I come Richmond.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Taking my bike apart and what it taught me.

1. I couldn't never work in a bike shop, I've thrown my back out twice crawling and bending to reach little pieces.

2. Bikes weren't meant to be taken apart, seriously, they are put together well.

3. Finding a bike box is next to impossible, they're apparently valuable.

4. Im doing all this for a bike that isn't worth more than 150.

5. I have to put it back together again in 2 weeks.

6. What the hell is a crank wrench and why do I need it to remove pedals?