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Poeta.

Soy un poeta que no escribe,

con su tinta que se borra con sólo suspirar,

un corazón lleno de amor que no sabe amar,

y unos tales recuerdos pendientes de que los olvide.

 

Soy un poeta que no escribe,

que en inoportunos intentos la inspiración se le cuela,

con una copa de risa a la roca para que no duela,

y aquel humo que entorpece las narices.

 

Soy un poeta que no escribe,

que por el suelo arrastra sus mentiras,

para que al día siguiente se sientan resentidas,

y me chantajeen ante la indiferencia que me persigue.

 

Soy un poeta que no escribe,

que  seca su garganta con su saliva,

y el polvo que escupe lo petrifica,

en unas letras que no son poesía y nadie las recibe.

5 things I do for creative inspiration.

A big question a lot of people ask me. How did you come up with “this” and “that”? Very common, and I’m pretty sure that lots of creative people get the same question from other people. Thinking about it, I really haven’t had a real answer to this question. I haven’t even been able to answer it to myself neither have I paid a lot of attention to my creative inspiration process… not to the point where I can say “here’s where it comes from!”

The documentary Art & Copy starts by saying:

The frightening and most difficult thing about being what somebody calls a creative person is that you have absolutely no idea where any of your thoughts come from, really. And especially, you don’t have any idea about where they’re going to come from tomorrow.

I agree 100%. Yet there are some things I do, not necessarily at the moment of thinking of ideas but I’ve made them part of my routine.

1. I Pay attention.

This is my main source of inspiration: life. May be because of my introverted personality, but I’m usually paying attention to things that I don’t think my friends pay attention to.

I love to think of behavior and ask myself questions about them. Why do people do this? Why is this girl screaming? why is this man wearing that shirt? What is it about that thing that people like or dislike? all kinds of questions. In other words, for me there’s nothing more important than curiosity, and I’m curious about everything surrounding me. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not talking about pretentious philosophy and writing poetry off of a plastic bag; I’m talking about the simple things that we all take for granted.

Also I think of culture, which is also part of everyday life. I tend to go back in time and remember experiences that may be common with my target. I remember one time when I thought of “El Cuco”, which is kind of the “Boogey man” in the country I grew up in. I started researching and it seams that “El Cuco” has different names in every Latin-American country, and digging into each country I could find lots of different funny stories. That’s a great source of inspiration that can leave you with a notebook full of ideas that can work with your target, because your audience will identify with it.

2. I Read.

And I’m not saying only reading a good book, but read everything: News, funny articles, scripts, comics, magazines, signs, the ‘about me’ section of sites, the fortune cookie, people’s t-shirts, random wikipedia articles… Read. Read. Read. It’s all over you, its incredibly accessible and it’s powerful. And what you read, digest. break it apart, question it, correct it if you have to, spell it in different ways, i don’t know, whatever you want.

I remember once I read Julio Iglesia’s biography on Wikipedia. Don’t ask me, I don’t even know his music, but for some reason I was curious. Why is this guy so huge in Latin-America? So I read his bio and how he started making music. Ok, so now I know why and how Julio Iglesias started singing. Fast forward a year or two, I’m brainstorming with my partner and *CLICK* Julio Iglesias’ story came to my mind while reading the brief, wrote the script and took it to the client. At the end, another idea was sold and interestingly enough, that idea that got sold came up by, again… being curious about something I didn’t even care for. I explain in the next tip …

3. I learn.

There are things I don’t do and I don’t care for. For example, I don’t give a shit about cars and sports car. The only weeks I cared for cars was when I was in the market buying a new car. That’s it. But, when I’m with one of these car aficionados, I’m the guy asking questions. Again, curiosity.

That idea I mentioned before, the one my client bought is an example of what I’m talking about. When I was in college I had a Puerto Rican roommate called Roberto. He was a surfer back in the island. I couldn’t care or know less about surfing. To me surfing was just a clothing style that I didn’t necessarily like. But I was curious and I asked questions. I remember sometimes we would spend entire nights looking at surfing sites because I couldn’t stop asking questions and, for a change, the guy was happy to answer. I remember even going to the movie theater with him to watch “Riding Giants” when it came out. Now I sound like a freaking surfer if I talk to somebody about it. Years later, I’m here brainstorming for a commercial that needed to communicate good and positive attitude against adversities, and I remembered this video that Roberto showed about a guy in Texas that surfed to tanker waves because of the lack of natural waves in the golf of Mexico. We developed the idea in a slightly different way because of production limitations, and that spot you can see in my portfolio. So by informing myself about something I don’t even do, I end up with an idea, years later.

So, it doesn’t matter that you don’t listen to hip hop. Go ahead and learn about the origin of hip hop and you’ll see that in your career, sooner or later, that knowledge is going to help a lot. Be curious.

 4. I mix things.

When I was in animation school, there was this guy who designed the most bizarre yet awesome monsters. Hell they were amazing!!! I asked him how he came up with such great looking designs, what’s his process and to my surprise, his process was very very simple: “I take at least two weird looking bugs and mix them together in a drawing.” And that was it. I did the exercise, and in no time I was creating the most horrendously looking sci-fi monsters I’ve ever done.

I think in advertising it works the same way. Mix the product you are trying to sell to something and you’ll come up with some crazy shit. Like how can you take a pair of speakers and mix it with a cat fish… Maybe I end up with a cat fish having a party with cats eating fish. I don’t know, crazy stuff that might or might not work, but you’ll come up with some interesting things.

5. I do and say stupid things.

And, that’s that. hehe.

 

 

2012: The web is a Mess!

Yes. I do think today, for any designer, developer, company, corporation, entrepreneur or any person who wants to have a decent website, the web nowadays is a complete disaster. Why? In order to have a good website, there’s a huge issue of compatibility. With so many systems, devices, browsers and versions of all of the above, launching a website is a complete pain in the ass.

First we had the cross-browser compatibility issue that has haunted designers and developers for years now. With so many browsers rendering the content differently in every system, it’s incredibly hard to even think of making something appart from ordinary. Let’s list the most common browsers by OS:

  • Windows XP
  1. Internet Explorer
  2. Firefox
  3. Chrome
  4. Safari
  5. Opera
  • Windows Vista
  1. Internet Explorer
  2. Firefox
  3. Chrome
  4. Safari
  5. Opera
  • Windows 7
  1. Internet Explorer
  2. Firefox
  3. Chrome
  4. Safari
  5. Opera
  • Windows 8 
  1. Internet Explorer
  2. Firefox
  3. Chrome
  4. Safari
  5. Opera
  • Mac OS X
  1. Safari
  2. Chrome
  3. Firefox
  4. Opera

(I’m not even going to go to Linux, because I wouldn’t consider it a mainstream OS.)

Now, you see that I repeat all windows versions, you might say i should consolidate it under only one but… no. In my experience I’ve seen that the same browser in different OS behave differently, even though they are supposed to be the same version.

Speaking of versions, here comes a really cool fact. To all that list, please add versions of each browser, which in most cases the differences are minor, but they are there. How can I explain this simply without turning this post in the disastrous melt of shit that developing a website is today. For each browser listed above, please add the possibilities of versions! In Windows for example, take Internet Explorer (which is HELL in a virtual existence). People out there are still using IE6!  Then you have IE7-8 that run on vista, XP, not in Windows 7, then IE9 that runs on all of them, and then all of them rendering differently on every single system.  Apply the same (but way milder) situation to all of the browsers in different Operating Systems. The result? 100% pure SHIT.

Not even Flash saved us from this one. 10 years ago, I was mainly a Flash web designer/developer and I thought to myself that being a single plugin that contained everything inside, I had no problem with different browsers, since all of them use the same self contained content rendered by the same plugin installed in the system. Na-ah. Same issues kept coming all the time, and then the versions. If I was developing in flash 9 and the client had flash 7 I was practically in a suicide (professionally) mission. Still, Flash was a more visually appealing output and it had less issues than having to work for all the different browsers and versions of browsers (10 years ago there weren’t that many anyways), but then came SEO and Google and all the Search Engine mania… I’m not going to get into that, but basically Flash began to die slowly, at least until Mr. Jobs came along and sped up its death by launching the actual smartphone revolution with the iPhone.

So, introducing MOBILE DEVICES. Don’t get me wrong… i love mobile devices. The only problem is that now we have MORE operating systems, MORE browsers and MORE versions of browsers to take into account for our designs, and even more important, a new whole device that’s tiny and works with fingers, not a mouse. So add to the previous list of systems and browsers iOS with its browsers, Android and its browsers, Windows Mobile and its browsers, and now windows 8 for mobile (i don’t remember how it is called), each device with different resolutions. Now you not only have to worry about how your site is going to look in all of the OSes and Browsers available, you also have to either make your site mobile compatible by making it responsive (google responsive design) or you have to develop a whole separate website just for mobile devices. at least Apple products are more or so consistent with their products and versions, but Android and Windows? their business model is that they license their systems to whoever wants to use it, losing all control of how it’ll work at the end, so for Android phones you have all kinds of resolutions, speeds, color profiles, rendering engines, etc. So both, making your site responsive or developing a mobile site, will come with those issues included.

Put in a very concise sentence, I go back to the title of my post… the web is a complete DISASTER. 

From my very humble (yet extreme) point of view, I think there’s hope in apps. The apps are the best thing that have ever been created since the… well, web itself. We have now a platform that doesn’t rely on the limitations of a browser, but in the capabilities of a device. Yes you still have different OS and versions, but, at least for now, it seems to be a bit more consistent. I mean, an app it’s a piece of software! just like Photoshop has been one since 1988(?). If the computer was too slow, then you knew you had to upgrade, but mostly everybody got the same thing… if you had photoshop, you had photoshop and developers simply created Photoshop for the Mac or for Windows. That’s it.

The more society adapts the tablet and mobile platform behaviors,  the more apps are going to be the way to go, and that to me is simply inevitable. Luckily (not for me cus I’m a Mac user), for once now I’ve seen Microsoft taking the lead on this transition. Windows 8 it’s a completely different OS that I think is a bridge to that different way of using computers and the web, and that’s what we need in order to transcend, for the model at the moment doesn’t suit everybody’s needs. But hey, we gotta give some time to it, because it’s still in it’s cradle. Yet, if I were to launch a new web store per se, I would definitely do it with an app; of course I’d do a website too, but my priority would be my app. Look at Facebook for example… it’s having a really hard time because there’s a higher percentage of users using it on their mobile devices (using the fb app) and don’t no need the dot com. I bet those developers have a really hard time getting their gigantic website work on all browsers without a hitch for that, still huge “minority” that uses FB.com. My point is there’s a tendency happening.

In conclusion… I hate developing for the web right now. It seems stuck in this huge soup of segmented software trying to be the winner when in fact everybody, from the designers to the users and consumers, are the only ones losing. I know that in actuality there’s no other immediate solution, but I do hope for the emergence of a working model for apps to be the way for us to use the internet since the tendency from us is obvious.

El descubrimiento.

…y en el silencio más inesperado del día, aquel que desvía la concentración a la nada tras un café (por lo menos a nuestro protagonista), se le ocurre al ocurrente preguntarse: ¿Qué es todo?

Y en aquel silencio, definido usualmente como la ausencia de emisión sonora por algún objeto vivo o muerto, pensó un poco más abajo… y “todo” se volvió lo que su conciencia delataba como real. “Todo” de repente fue algo muy personal, lo reconcilió con “nada”, término simbólico que es la ausencia de “Todo” y se dijo: Qué mierda de vida.

PressPausePlay

Not going to talk about much about this one because I have no time … but highly recommended! specially to independent artists!

 

The Death of Art Director/Copywriter teams.

The business change digital and social is creating is amazing. We have seen businesses being decimated (e.g. Blockbuster being destroyed by Netflix), a revolution at an industry level (e.g. the music industry and iTunes) and new businesses are coming through yet again which are quickly dwarfing their traditional counterparts (Zynga is now valued at more than EA, Spotify is trying to but Warner Music while Groupon, a business founded at the end of 2008, is now preparing to IPO at a valuation of $25 billion).

Yet I still work in an industry that still seems to be rooted in an idea that was first established in the late 1950s – that of Art Director/Copywriter teams. This idea of a team was first introduced by Bill Bernbach when he realized that by getting Art Directors and Copywriters to work together, two heads being better than one, that you get better advertising. And boy did it work for DDB who created some of the most iconic work of that era.

However that was a time when the majority of the best creative was print based, in which the key skills required were that of copywriting and art direction. Let’s face it, things have changed significantly since then and the world has become far more complex – in order to produce a truly effective campaign you need a variety of skills depending on the concept. This may include an art director, copywriter, planner, technologist, UX specialist and/or social media specialist. You need a diversity of skills to deliver a brilliant piece of communication. The best creative I ever worked with, recognized this and would always find people in the agency he knew would help him find the best ideas – it also helped that he was not part of a team and recognized that he needed to partner with good people to get great ideas.

While on the surface they seem to be saying that the art director/copywriter concept is not dead, if you listen to their words what they are actually saying is that the idea of the creative team is not dead, but it does not necessarily need be an art director/copywriter pairing? There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that bouncing ideas of someone you have a good chemistry with, leads to better ideas and you do not need to be a creative to know this. Since I have been consulting, it is probably the thing I miss the most – having people around me I can bounce thoughts off and building on them to make them better.

I also do wonder whether Sam touches on something when he says ‘creatives are like insecure people, they need people to bounce their ideas off’. Certainly my experience with this blog is that creatives don’t like putting themselves out there and I wonder what the ratio is between planners and creatives who blog. Maybe the best creatives do need to find someone that they can really feed off and give them confidence in their ideas. Irrespective I do think we have moved into a world where we should be considering different pairings based on the specific brief – sometimes it might be a creative/technologist team? Or a creative/social media planner team? Or even a storytelling creative/digital creative team?

Steve Henry, co-founder of the legendary HHCL, concurs: “there’s certainly no need for traditional art/copy teams anymore. But the most important thing to do is to create a working process that genuinely supports creatives and creative ideas. Because creative ideas are, at the same time, the most valuable and the most fragile things in the process. The “2-person team” structure worked for a long time because 2 heads were more obstinate and more argumentative than one! Right now I tend to enjoy working in brain-storming teams of 5 – 10. No individual working structure is always right – but you have to think about giving the creatives an “unfair advantage” in the whole thing. In Chiat Day in the 80s, it was open plan and disciplines sat with other disciplines – except that Lee Clow insisted that the creatives sat near him. At HHCL, it was open plan and and disciplines sat with other disciplines – except that I insisted that the creatives had small offices. No practical reason – just to give them an unfair advantage psychologically.”

When reading how W&K has to adapt to become Creativity’s Agency of the year, it is interested to hear Susan Hoffman, Executive Creative Director, say the biggest change was the re-imagining of the creative team. She goes on to way that they started to unmoor creatives from single accounts and created a bullpen approach, whereby team leader could pull from a varied pool of talent, which might include a writer, a technologist, a media person or an interaction designer to create bespoke teams for each account. However the article then goes on to say that the executive creative directors say the pendulum is swinging back toward the dedicated team model although the bullpen has led to change in the composition in those teams.

How are the schools reacting?
But what about the talent coming through? Are the key schools reacting to these changes in the way that they are delivering talent?

Laura Jordan Bambach, Executive Director of LBi, believes not “Whether working in traditional teams, solo or with other discipline partners, being a creative in a digital and social world at any agency has a much bigger remit than it used to.

We expect our creatives to have the same media neutral view of their brands as their audience does. Advertising is only the tip of the iceberg and they must be able to throw themselves at everything from content programmes, PR, service design, customer service platforms and product development – and everything in between.

However most of the tutors and colleges are still simply delivering traditional teams whose portfolio hinges on some clever print executions, which is simply not enough. A college need to help students take conceptual leaps, embrace failure and play with the all the media at their disposal.”

Andy Sandoz, Creative Partner at Work Club, goes on to say “A university should not follow an industry. It should lead it. We need our students to be creatively restless and ahead of the curve. Otherwise what use are they when they graduate into a world that has already passed them by. The issue needs to be elevated above disciplines to the teaching of fundamentals. Questions. Experiments. Innovation. Taste, I think, is innate.”

Ale Lariu, EVP McCann NY, has already taken to this changing landscape and has been partnering with a creative technologist for over 6 months now. However she feels that the issue lies beyond just looking at the make-up of the creative team “Other areas are also still lagging behind when it comes to training future superstars. Take production, for example. It’s really hard to find talent that really understands the how to execute on digital.” To combat this SheSays US have developed a hands-on digital production course, where the teachers are award-winning professionals who still work in the industry, so, as Ale says “they ‘live’ what they are talking about.”

However this does not mean that the copywriting skills and art direction skills are not important part of the mix and Dave Bedwood, Creative Partner at Leanmeanfightingmachine, goes as far to say it has been the one key missing ingredient in digital agencies:

“There can be no doubt that the creative team ‘mix’ has to evolve. Bernbach’s revolutionary change in the 50′s is certainly something we need today. This means we need creatives of all kinds of skill sets working together. Respecting these different skill sets is key to this.

But I’m afraid this is what has let digital down. The majority of creatives in digital are from a design or technology background, which is a different skill set to a creative team ( a creative team being a term used to describe two people bred to write ads for a traditional agency).

What a creative team of this kind bring to the table is being able to write, write ideas that are strategically and tonally bang on, but most importantly are succinct, insightful and memorable. Don’t worry about the media, these skills go to the core and are transferable.

The reason why the best teams can do that consistently is because, once they’ve graduated, on average, it takes over a year of crits and placements to get a job. During such time they write thousands of ads. An unbelievable learning experience, and a tough breeding ground which many never make it through. Out of the other end of this process comes the best writers.

But unfortunately over the last 10 years, the digital world has not embraced these people or really understood the difference between them, a designer, a programmer or creative technologist. In fact, what’s worse is that the last three, with a click of the fingers, often turn their hand to the writing job as well! That’s how much respect is afforded to it.

It’s this lack of writing talent, and knowledge of the job, that sees digital agencies losing ground to ATL agencies. Take the most lauded piece of this year, Old Spice, a great example of a mix of skills. Digitally on the button, but most importantly of all, it had writers that could nail a gag in a super fast time, about as old school as it gets.

So for us, along with all the other essential creative skills needed in digital, we still look to traditional skills for one of them. That then gives you the perfect blend.

Of course we want to see teams writing ideas in the latest media, if the products audience is there, that’s a given, but we are still very interested in people that can write a good poster. It takes a lot of talent to distill an idea, strategy, argument, in an image and eight words. If you can do that, the rest is a breeze.”

It is going to be extremely intriguing to find out what happens over the next few years. Personally, if I was hiring, I would be looking for more creatives who are versatile enough to work with a range of talent, depending on the brief, and one that realizes that it is all about getting to the best idea, irrespective of where it comes from. After all, as H. Truman said “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit”.

Source: http://www.creativesocialblog.com/advertising/the-death-of-art-directorcopywriter-teams

No.3

cruzando entre el español y el inglés mal acentuado,
se me disipa la apariencia de lo irrevocable,
como si lo más relevante e importante,
fuese dar a conocer una personalidad falsa de antemano.

y mi tumba, la que espera sin ser cavada,
el corazón latente de un negado a la grandeza divina,
enamorado de lo que siente al mirar aquella sonrisa,
se burla de mi tan perseverante enramada,

a la que se le derramaron aquellas flores,
coloridas de color brillante entre lo infra y lo ultra,
que lloraban por el deseo de que se pudra,
la esperanza de quien las trae como si fuesen super poderes.

Y entre aquel español e inglés mal acentuado,
se me escurre entre los dedos un deseo inminente
de que ella no se olvide de olvidar el presente,
y lo aparente como un momento que se volvió inadecuado.

extracto No.1

Nuestra existencia no es más que el resultado de nuestras decisiones y nuestros recuerdos, y si no tuviéramos esa voluntad no pudiéramos definirnos como entes existentes, por lo tanto, la vida es nosotros mismos hoy, y cada noche morimos para revivir en un nuevo día mañana, y esas son cosas que no deberíamos tomar por dadas… Esta tranquilidad de dormir sabiendo que vamos a despertar en un nuevo día, es repugnante, esa seguridad tan arrogante del “te veo mañana” … porque la verdad es que no sabemos apreciarnos como para merecer incondicionalmente un mañana para contar. Pero al mismo tiempo no se pudiera vivir sin ese ego existente de saber que mañana será otro día, porque de lo contrario no se contaría con el recuerdo, y no recordar es no existir y no existir es… Algo sin respuestas.

Movie Weekend: “The Artist” and “Moneyball”

This weekend was a pretty quiet one for me, so I decided to watch a couple of movies that are front runners for the Oscars this year.

I got to be honest: I wasn’t very sure about this one. It’s about baseball, a sport I really don’t care about (not that I care a lot about sports in general anyways). It really took me by surprise that, even though I don’t know anything about baseball, I was really hooked by the way the story develops. In a lot of ways this movie isn’t solely about baseball; the movie is really a metaphor on taking risks on the choices we make in life and, regardless of being right or wrong, how we deal with them. At the end, we can get the clear message that we can be winners while losing, and that message is delivered admirably.

 

The acting is outstanding. Brad Pitt truly demonstrate (again!) that he’s not only a front page-pretty face-celebrity.  Jonah Hill still has a long way to go, but he really deserves his nomination just for the versatility he showed in this role; I forgot this guy was Seth on Superbad. Other than the story itself, what I loved the most was the photography of this film… it’s simply beautiful. To me, it’s simply outrageous that it didn’t make it to the nomination of best cinematography, even though my vote goes to “the Tree of Life” for this category.

I haven’t seen all of the movies nominated for best picture, but man this one is going to be hard to beat for me! I’m not going to say a lot about this one because these kind of movies are so unknown to me… It’s actually the first mute movie I’ve ever seen from beginning to end. Story wise is very simple, yet very entertaining, funny and clever! The acting is SUPERB! Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo are amazing and the chemistry they have it’s simply put, outstanding. They really bring back those over-the-top details that are so emblematic of the 20’s and 30’s cinema. Oh! The soundtrack is a MUST HAVE.

As I said, this genre is so unknown to me that I can’t even describe why i liked it so much… I just did.