Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bachelor Fishing Derby Fun

I was just going through some hard-drives archiving older files when I stumbled upon this video from 2005 that I put together for my good friend, Rem (http://www.remgeo.com). Rem got married in November 2005 in St. Lucia, but a few months prior, twenty or so friends from different walks of life and different cities converged on Lake Baskatong (check the spelling on that one) in Quebec for a weekend of drinking, fishing, and celebrating our buddy.

It's been a few years now since I shot this, put it together, and gave Rem the DVD of this. I look back at it now and can't help but laugh. There were only a few DVDs given to Rem, so if you've never seen it (and you were there), be forewarned. The f-bombs are plentiful and the guy talk over the top.

It's quite long (this is the 1st 20 minutes), so sit down, kick back with a coffee (or a beer) and enjoy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why Idiots Succeed The Second Time Around.

Note: The names of idiots have been removed and scenarios generalized.

I'm taking time out from a ridiculously crazy schedule of due dates and deadlines to to self-vent. My main issue right now is with the rising legions of incredible stupid people that I seem to be continuously forced to deal with on a daily basis.

Now of course not everyone I deal with is moronic. I have the great pleasure of being in the presence of some of the most intriguing and intelligent individuals and my interactions with them are quite rewarding. And it's those people who know me well enough that when I lose it - I lose it big.

Here is an example in point form:

  1. I provide a concept proof
  2. The proof gets approved as-is
  3. I'm instructed to proceed based on the approved proof
  4. I spend hours developing the project and provide finals
  5. Oops. There are design elements that were out of the scope-of-work.
  6. WTF? Why wasn't this pointed out before ALL THIS WORK?
  7. Total and utter derailment...

Somewhere between point 2 and 6 someone thought I had ESP and that I should have known about these changes after the fact. To be sure I am not having a lapse in memory I check all my email communications and discover that I am actually sane, and that my mental 'mission control' has just given me the go-ahead for blast off.

That's just one example. Maybe it comes down to seeing things like this play out day-after-day, year-after-year, that I have lost patience. What gets me even more irate is that the person(s), the moronic idiot(s), turn around and paint me as being difficult to deal with because I point out their mistakes and try and show how it can be easily remedied in future instances. Why don't they feel that wasting my time should irritate me, yet their time is too valuable to address the situation they have created? 

In the end, I will be expected fix the mistakes and eat the extra time... like we always end up doing. Why? Because it's been proven time-after-time that idiots who rush to please a client will get it wrong the first time, then expect me to spend countless amounts of non-billable time to get it right, for the idiot, the second time. 

Holy shit... maybe I'm the idiot.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I remember you, Valda Champagne-Marks

Warning: Heavy Alert 
I'm not really sure what spurred on this particular thought today, but every once in a while I find myself remembering Valda. To explain why, I need to jump back a few years.

In 1986-1987 I was in grade 12 at St. Pius X high school in Ottawa, Ontario. At the beginning of the school year a completely new idea had been introduced called Cooperative Education (Co-op Ed). This program sent students to work onsite at jobs that interested them, and gave a head start by teaching valuable knowledge while on-the-job. It's now quite common.

I opted to try out the new course and spent the first half of the school year at the National Museum of Natural Science (NMNS). I illustrated the little wall plaques that detailed the display. It was as boring as it sounds, but I did learn some valuable illustration pointers that eventually led me to my first career and which I still use today.

It was my second term placement that really defined that year for me. I had always planned to take animation at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. I had already been accepted to attend when my teacher, Mr. Macdonnell, informed me that he was able to secure a place for me with Hinton Animation Studios. Hinton was the animation studio behind the CBC television series 'The Raccoons'. As you can imagine, I was floored that I would be working there and drinking in everything I could about the profession.

When day-1 rolled around and I found myself in the basement of Hinton assembling a seemingly never-ending supply of custom built IKEA animation desks, needless to say I was very disappointed. I knew I was just a free student peon. When I complained to my teacher, the next week changed for the better.

That's when I met Valda.

Valda was the supervisor in the Xerox/Cel room where the illustrations were copied onto clear cells before going into the Opaquing Department where each one would be hand painted. It wasn't glamourous work, far from it, but it wasn't the basement and I wasn't wielding an IKEA allan key.

Valda took me under her wing and quickly became an advocate to get me further up the animation ladder. She was like an agent, getting me to where I wanted to go. She got me into Opaquing. She got me into Sound Editing and Film Editing. Then she got me into In-Between Animation. She gave me advice. She told me to ask that girl to prom I talked about. She hugged me like a mom, but treated me like a little brother. She even wanted to be sure we kept in touch after my placement so she could buy me drinks on my 19th birthday (even though she knew I'd been getting into bars underage in Ottawa and Hull for 3 years).

On my last day at Hinton, Valda walked me to the door at the end of the day, wished me luck and asked to keep in touch. I thanked her for all her help even though I had changed my mind about pursuing animation as a career. She gave me a big hug, and a kiss on the cheek, and that was that.

I never saw Valda again after that day.

I remember the morning as if it was yesterday. I got off the bus and went to my job as an illustrator at a t-shirt company. I grabbed a coffee and a bagel and set up at my desk in my corner of the art department while a coworker tuned in the local radio station just as the news was coming on. "The victims body was found partially clothed in a parking lot and identified of that of Valda Champagne-Marks of Ottawa..." was what I heard. It hit me like a punch in the stomach. Everything in my peripheral vision closed in and went black. It was hazy. I'd just heard the murder report of someone I knew and admired. Somewhere, sometime in the hours before, Valda had been attacked and murdered, and left with very little dignity.

I never attended her funeral. I only saw front page photos of her family grieving at her grave side. I've never visited her grave nor seen the memorial plaque with her name on in a park in Ottawa. I've rarely talked about it. But for some reason, I felt today I needed to. If there is any doubt in my mind that someone could have a huge influence on someone and the rest of their life, Valda eliminated it for me.

Thanks Valda. I still remember you.

On Friday March 11th, I was surprised by and email I received from Melanie Champagne who is Valda's daughter. She was only 13 years old at the time of her mom's death, and I was grateful for her note. It read:

Jeff your story was wonderful to read, for I am Melanie Champagne her daughter. I was 13 at the time of her death and so her life experiences cannot be shared with me. Things happen for a reason and maybe your reason for remembering is to help me with knowing my mother. I want to thank you for sharing your memory and now I will be cherishing it forever.

I tried to post this onto the blog but I could not do it but I really wanted you know this and somehow I will post it so it is known. You really did blog at a good time it really means a lot to me.

Thank you,
Melanie Champagne

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thank God for radio.

A while back, in the fall I think, Halifax got a new radio station that focused on untapped modern rock genre. I say "untapped" because Halifax never had a "modern rock alternative" station. I found that odd because when I lived in Ottawa and then Toronto, and before moving back to Nova Scotia, I can remember hearing such great new music coming from here. Modern rock stations in my old home towns were all over bands like Joel Plaskett and The Trews, to name only a few. So when we moved back I was only listening to classic rock stations. Now don't get me wrong, I'm still am a big fan of the classics, but recently I've been exposed to some of the best new music I've heard in years.

When Live 105 launched, I discovered them by accident. I stumbled upon an article in the paper featuring Cub Carson and the new station, and his new morning show. I remembered listening to Cub in Ottawa, and I actually did work "way back in the day" with The Bear and their first website. So, I scanned up the dial and it's been set their ever since.

I joined their Facebook fan page as well. It adds an entirely new element to radio as a whole. Now with Facebook and Twitter, the experience is so much better than just a radio pumping out music in the background. On-air personalities are interacting with listeners and visa-versa, listeners comment on music which sometimes spawns great discussions, and requesting music has never been easier - just tweet it!

This whole social thing is also a fantastic value-add for advertisers as well. Those smart enough to understand what can be done to simply expand upon a radio spot will benefit.

I've gotten an even better benefit out of it as well. Because of the whole social experience, I've gotten the go ahead to produce cartoons for their on-air peeps. It started with Cub and Floyd's Morning Mob design which, because of Facebook, has gotten great feedback.

It got such great feedback that a second design for the Midday Meltdown was created and now a third for the afternoon drive show is in the works.

I love the smell of new music, and new illustrations. Thank God for radio.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Disposable Designing

Just because you can hold a pencil, doesn't mean you can draw. It makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

When I sat around the table drawing as a kid, my entire family would gather and "ooh and aww" at what I could create. Never did any of them sit down and grab a pencil or crayon and expect to be able to create what I had just done.

So why is it that 30 years later anyone with a computer and CS loaded on it can get a gig as a designer? I don't have any solid numbers to back this statement up, but I'm guessing that 80% of the designers I see are, for lack of a better word, downright hacks.

It's what I call "disposable designing". Before computers, you actually had to have an iota of artistic ability to consider this career. Now you don't. Programs like Adobe Creative Suite have become so available that anyone can download a pirated version, install it and go. With fonts and filters and plug-ins, it's open season on leading, kerning, (if you have to look that up, you're guilty) and design theory. Brand? Oh, just forget that! Needless to say, it hurts our craft when "80%" of the "designers" I see churn out what they do. If I see any more Apple-esque reflections under logos I'm going to lose my mind. I'd love to know how to stop it, but I don't. My old friend and mentor Robert Burns is spinning in his grave as I write this!

I have a brother who is a designer and he's just as passionate about it as I am. He's only got a few years, maybe five, as a designer and a year or so ago he was offered an Art Director position, which he promptly turned down. He said "How the hell can I be an AD with only 3 years experience?" I applauded his decision.

Now, even Art Directors are being replaced by Account Executives! "Oh, lets move this, and let's make the logo bigger, and let's fill that white space and make the headline pop". Who the f**k are these people anyway? I mean, where do these people go to learn about design? Is there a school for people who, at some point in their life, decided that they wanted to be a sales rep in an ad agency? If so, I have to sit in on that class and go all House on them.

My brother the designer has heard this rant many times, but I'm saying again. I like to let account reps ramble on about changes and crap that they think need to be made. I wait for that perfect moment, not speaking until spoken to, with a long deadly pause. Then I ask them:

"Can you do me a favour? Pull out your business card and read me the line directly under your name."

"Now, can you please tell me where it says f**king Art Director?"


Monday, March 23, 2009

Are we ready for another web "meltdown"?

I was thumbing through the Saturday paper and spotted an article taken from The Economist about web 2.0 and it's eventual meltdown. It's an interesting read and it echos exactly what happened in 2001 when the web bubble burst for the first time. I should know, I was in the middle of that storm and I remember the quick, and exceptionally painful demise of Ottawa Digital Media. After it's attempts to solidify deals with advertisers failed, ODM fell prey to the "what, we have to pay for this" mentality and the site became a hollow shell of its intended glory. 

Will the web bubble burst again leaving popular sites weeping and quivering in the corner like a beaten animal? The Economist thinks so!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

This is my new blog space

Well, in an effort to reach the masses and to get my name out there more, I've restarted my blog. Not that I was a serious blogger to begin with. I maybe made 3 or 4 posts to my old blog, and truth be told, the only reason for starting a new one is because I've forgotten my old login credentials. Ugh...

I'm making an honest effort to get more up on my personal website (http://www.jeffquigley.com), to be more active on social media sites, and to better understand the future of the online world. One reason is due to changes in our industry, recruitment marketing, and how companies will attract new talent, and how people will search for jobs in the future - hell, now! There aren't many employers that welcome social media sites like FaceBook, Linkedin, Blogger, and Twitter, but Hodes does and that just proves to me that they are taking the steps to be successful in a very changing economic climate.