• November 20

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    AIGA BuzZ: Independent Designer Roundtable – Paying The Man: Taxes & Accounting for the Independent Designer

    What is BuzZ? BuzZ is a monthly roundtable for Design Independents in the Denver Metro area, which focuses on the issues that are most important to the business of being in business for yourself. Each month the group concentrates on a specific topic as well as provides a medium for networking and sharing resources.

    Monthly topics vary and are sometimes supported by professional presentations. Topics focus on areas such as: technology, taxes, contracts, self promotion, sales and more. BuzZ meets on the third Tuesday of each month. If you are a freelance professional in the Denver area, you are BuzZ. Be there!

    WE HAVE A NEW LOCATION! Our new location is Panera Bread at 13th and Grant. We’ll be in the community room with pastries and coffee, sans the espresso machine noise!

    When: Tuesday, November 20, 2007, 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM
    Where: Panera Bread, 1330 Grant Street, Denver, CO 80203
    Info: AIGA

  • Advertising How To... Part 4

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    How to re-sell an idea to your Creative Director after he’s already killed it. By Sensitive Writer.

    There is nothing more crushing than after a whole half-day of brain-numbing concepting, you emerge victorious with your next One Show Pencil idea, and your Creative Director kills it before it even sees the light of day.

    What’s a hardworking creative to do? Stick it in the recycle file and resell it at your next internal presentation, of course. But, sadly, more often than not, you run into that phrase every creative is loathe to hear, “I think I’ve already seen that.”

    How Creative Directors have this skill I have no idea. Perhaps the entire area in their brains devoted to “General Memory” has been over-ridden by “Shit I’ve Killed Memory.” Because most I’ve known can’t remember anything: names, clients, meetings, what they just asked you, what project they assigned you, whether or not they approved your vacation, when your last raise was, the fact that no you are NOT Michelle in Media you just both have blonde hair, where they’re going, where they’re supposed to be, or what they had for lunch. But pull out a recycled idea – even half a dozen years later – and suddenly it’s “Didn’t you try to sell this to me for Hardees in 1998?” Really? You don’t remember my last name, and yet you remember this spot with a talking dog from last decade. (See upcoming article: Becoming a Creative Director in 5 Easy Steps).

    So is there any way around this conundrum? Well, if there wasn’t, I wouldn’t have a column, would I?

    1) Find a new Creative Director.

    This can be accomplished one of two ways. a) Launch campaign to have Creative Director fired (not recommended, as it’s dangerously close to “Baby out with the Bathwater” strategy and you’ll probably lose your job in the process. Which is a lovely segue to b) Take all your dead ideas to your next job. The best thing about a new boss is that all your crappy old ideas seem shiny new to him.

    2) Re-pitch your idea as your Creative Director’s idea.

    If he hates it as your idea, you have a fairly good chance of him loving it as his own. As much as it sucks to utter the words “You know, I still kinda like that idea you had about…” it sucks less than seeing your pride and joy wither on the vine.

    3) Punt the idea to another creative team.

    This is even more painful than having your CD get credit for your ideas (since that happens all the time, anyway) but it can be used in an emergency. If the idea is truly great, you can sleep well knowing it’s at least alive and out there, even if it has no idea who its real parents are. Hopefully you’ll at least get a slash.

    4) Have the ACD approve it while your Creative Director’s on vacation.

    This is a little sneaky and devious but then again so’s this business. And it goes without saying that if your CD hates it, your ACD will love it.

    5) Blackmail.

    Yeah, it’s a last resort. But chances are you’ve seen your Creative Director in some sort of compromising position that he’d rather not have his wife/child/partner/Head of Account Services see. Document it, use it, delete it. And get over the guilt.

    So there you have it. Pull out that trash can, uncrumple all those brilliant concepts, and get your pitch on, baby. Cause dead is a relative term.

  • November 9

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    NDAC – Post Modern invites NDAC Members to their 4th Annual Casino Party

    Wanna get lucky? Post Modern hosts their 4th annual Casino Party! Pack aces up your sleeves and join us for drinks, dancing and gambling… the legal kind!

    When: Friday, November 9, 5:30 (doors open), 6:30 (gambling starts)
    Where: Post Modern, 2734 Walnut St.
    Info: RSVP by October 31 to rsvp[at]postmodernco.com

  • November 8

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    3OLOGY Creative Music Works and Mystery Cabal Welcomes
    The Invisible College Quartet

    3ology, a Colorado-based improvisational trio, will perform as part of the “Soundscapes presented by Mystery Cabal” series bringing their unique approach to making music to Denver. Together, saxophonist Doug Carmichael (Mojomama, C Spot Groove), acoustic and electric bassist Tim Carmichael (C Spot Groove, Ryan Elwood Trio) and drummer Jon Powers (Shannon Wexelberg, Sanskrit, eveningtide) produce a paradoxical sound that is both avant garde and melodic, edgy and spacious. Brandon Vaccaro is a composer, performer, and sound artist based in Denver, Colorado. he has worked with a number of ensembles including the Tosca String Quartet, The Experimental Playground Ensemble (TEPE), and the Vinca Quartet. His works have been performed throughout the United States and in Greece. Brandon will be performing w/ friends :: Chris Rippey, Paul Hembree, and Steven Snowden, bringing an exciting new collaboration representing some of the best improvisers in Colorado. What will be sure to be sensory swell in the ongoing experimental music series @ Object+Thought, the evening will be further graced by video artist Sarah H. Dot.

    When: Thursday, November 8, 7 PM
    Where: Object + Thought, 3559 Larimer Street, Denver
    Info: Object + Thought

  • November 7

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    AIGA CO Presents: Jeff Fassnacht

    The emerging technologies of tomorrow are being designed today by engineers and product managers! Who are these technologists and how can designers be involved in the next wave of disruptive technology?

    Jeff Fassnacht has been working with engineers, developers and other geeks since the late 90s. He will share his most successful techniques and approaches to designing a user experience.

    When: Wednesday, November 7, 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
    Where: The Oxford Hotel, Oxford Theater, 1600 17th St., Denver, CO 80201
    Info: AIGA

  • Advertising How To... Part 3

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    How to shine in a meeting when you have no idea what’s going on. By Sensitive Writer.

    There are only two reasons I get asked to go to meetings:
    1) They need to even out the guy/gal ratio.
    2) They need color commentary.

    As a result, I end up in a lot of meetings where my sole purpose is to either “bond” with the marketing girls or to “bring up the energy level” because someone invited too many suits. So in nearly every meeting not only do I have absolutely no idea what the meeting’s about, I usually have no clue what the client does or what I could possibly contribute. So I’ve learned to fake my way through just about any meeting. You can, too.

    1) Wear something unusual.

    This is easier if you’re a guy than if you’re a girl, but it can still be accomplished. And I know it seems inane and petty, but when people comment on your unique jacket/necklace/pair of boots you get to respond with something clever and smart on a topic you know you can nail. Unlike having to comment on Existential Marxism or zero point energy.

    2) Ask a lot of questions.

    I’ve always maintained that stupid people pretend to know things, while smart ones ask questions. (Also related is the corollary, there are no stupid questions, just stupid people). But if you’re not comfortable asking “So what is it exactly you guys sell?” go with the subtler “Can you tell me more about your business, Jim?” You’ll seem both engaged and interested.

    3) Tell a fascinating and vaguely semi-related story.

    Begin by prefacing it with “This is kind of a different scenario, but once we blah-blah-blahed…” and then recount the best idea you were ever vaguely semi-involved with. It shows that you’re a thinker without revealing you also have no freakin’ clue what’s happened in the meeting thus far.

    4) Nod.

    Simple right? As in so simple it’s stupid? Not so. Clients looove nodders. It says “Not only do I find what you’re saying fascinating, I also wholeheartedly agree with it.” You can also throw in some excited non verbal body language, like leaning forward and/or smiling. Enthusiasm makes up for a wide variety of inadequacies. All of which also has a related tactic:

    4b) Second the opinions of others.

    This one needs a little finesse, so you don’t just seem like a kiss-ass. It’s best used when a bunch of ideas are tossed out, and you can actually pick the best one, rather than agreeing with whatever the boss said. It also has the added bonus of making you look like you actually believe good ideas can come from anywhere. Clients eat that shit up.

    5) Restate what’s already been said.

    An oldie, yes, but a goodie none-the-less. Summarizing what someone else came up with may be the oldest faker trick in the book, but used judiciously it can give you a good 2-3 minutes of floor time while guaranteeing you’re not making an ass of yourself.

    With a little practice and some quick thinking you can walk into any meeting totally cold and come out with the ultimate words of praise. “Wow! You were great in there!” Now all that’s left is the hard part: you just have to be great out of there.

  • Creative Crackdown, Cactus Own Your C TV #3

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    The eighth submission in our running series is up for your honest critique. Once again, our friends from Tequila TBWA\Chiat\Day’s in-house interactive shop, will be joining us to give their take on the work. We also have a team from Merkley + Partners in NY peeking in. Here’s the set-up for the third Own Your C TV spot from Cactus.

    In the spirit of Halloween, Denver-based Cactus, a full-service advertising agency, launches “Boomerang,” a 60-second horror flick, to remind teens to “be careful with your choices; they may come back to haunt you.” Boomerang is the third commercial in an eclectic television campaign for the youth tobacco prevention campaign, Own Your C (Own Your Choices). Here’s spot one and spot two to refresh your memory about the campaign.

  • October 29

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    Design is Spooky – Denver Design Meet-up Courtesy of designklub’s Jaime Kopke

    OK, so after a long hiatus I think it’s time for Denver’s design meet-ups to start happening again. With all the new designers/design sites popping up in town, it seems like it’s high time for Denver’s creatives to come together and maybe form a super-hero team. Or just have some drinks…

    Whether you are in the field of industrial, product, graphic or any other type of design come on down for an informal gathering of Denver design enthusiasts. We’ll share exploits from the recent AIGA conference, steal each other’s Halloween costume ideas and generally have a good time.

    Join us on Monday at the Skylark Lounge. Happy hour goes until 7 and it’s a big enough place that we’ll be able to hear each other talk.

    When: Monday, October 29th, 6-8 PM
    Where: Skylark Lounge, 140 S. Broadway
    Info: designklub

    Photography Exhibition at Colorado State University – Modernist Experimentation

    The Department of Art in School of the Arts at Colorado State University pleased to announce the opening of “Unconventional Vision: Photographs from the Bauhaus, Moscow and Tashkent, 1919-1937,” an exhibition highlighting works from the Bauhaus school and Russian artist Georgi Zelma that illustrate the extraordinary modernist experimentation with photographic media that took place in the early 20th century. From Oct. 29 through Nov. 16, the exhibition will be open to the public free of charge in the Clara Hatton Gallery in the Visual Arts Building on Pitkin Street.

    When: October 29 – November 16
    Where: Hatton Gallery, Open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Saturday from 1:00 to 4:00 PM
    Info: CSU School of the Arts

  • Advertising How To... Part 2

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    How to make your partner do all the work and get (at least) half the credit. By Sensitive Writer.

    Think what you want of me, but this is a skill I am proud to say I have perfected over the years. And frankly, I don’t think you’ll find an art director in Denver to disagree with me. Which brings me to the first requirement:

    1) Be a writer.

    The primary difference between good writers and good art directors is that writers are smart and lazy while art directors are talented and hard-working. There may a few writers up in arms over this, but I’m fairly certain no art directors will disagree. Art directors have the inherently harder, more time-consuming job. Sure we writers get stuck with radio, but really, how long does that take? And how many clients even do radio anymore? A former partner once said to me, “No one says to writers ‘Oh, you used that word in the LAST campaign you did!’ We have to come up with a new typeface every time. Imagine if you had to come up with all new words.” It’s true. Art directors have to re-invent the wheel every time. We writers just have to re-arrange the spokes.

    2) Get a partner who’s better than you.

    The same advice your father gave you for marriage is also apropos for working in the creative department: Marry up. Hey, someone has to be the better half. Just don’t let it be you. And while you’re at it…

    2b) … you should also find a partner who can write.

    Another inequality in advertising is that while a lot of art directors are also pretty darn good writers, there’s not a ton of writers who can art direct. Sure, we may have a good eye, or give helpful advice like “have you tried blue” but true art directing is a skill that only true art directors have. (See previous note about talented, time-consuming).

    3) Two words: visual solutions.

    Every writer’s dream. You get half the credit for the concept PLUS all the credit for the one line of body copy without having to burden yourself with the ugly details of photo shoots, Photoshop, design or typography. And really, it don’t get easier than this. (See previous note about smart, lazy).

    4) Save them letters for Scrabble.

    If #4 totally fails, at least make your headlines short and pithy. And that applies not only to the length of headlines themselves, but the actual words in the headlines. No matter how attached you are to words like juxtapositioning, weatherproofnesses, youthsploitation, and ventriculomastoidostomy your partner does not want to deal with trying to work his or her line breaks around your silver-tongued antics. And you’ve got a better chance of your partner taking your lines and running with them if it won’t take them a week to kern all those freakin’ vowels.

    5) Adhere to a strict one-third / two-thirds ratio

    Present two of your partner’s ideas for every one of yours. After all, everyone likes to have their ideas chosen. Most art directors prefer to comp up their own ideas. And if you’ve already followed the advice in #2, your partner probably has better ideas, anyway.

    Before you start feeling too smug about your accomplishments and wile away the hours trolling for antique lunch boxes on eBay while your partner retouches a horse into an octopus, remember what goes around comes around. So don’t forget to pick up your partner a double shot skinny latte or cheese danish while you’re out running personal errands on company time. With proper care and feeding, a good partnership can last years. And you can go home at 5:30 every day.

  • October 25

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    NDAC – Media Interest Group Happy Hour hosted by Posterscope

    The Media Interest group of the New Denver Ad Club is hosting a Happy Hour at Max Gill & Grill in the Tiki Room. Posterscope is sponsoring this happy hour and will buy a drink for the first 75 people.

    About Posterscope: Posterscope is an international, full service out-of-home media company providing planning, buying, creative, production, research, digital expertise, pre and post rides, consulting and more. With offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Atlanta, we’re now bringing our clout and expertise to Denver to provide more strategic, innovative and efficient OOH programs to advertisers and agencies in the Rocky Mountain region. We’ve already begun working with some of you and hope to establish relationships with many more in the near future.

    When: Thursday, October 25, 5 – ? PM
    Where: Max Gill & Grill, 1052 S. Gaylord St. off Mississippi
    Info: NDAC

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