Tuesday, August 19, 2008

MIA (Missing in Action) & a Cure For the Mid-August Doldrums

It's been a week since I've found time to make an entry here at the blog. My apologies to regular CTL readers... sometimes life just gets in the way. The real story... at least the one I'm sticking to, is that I've been quite busy. Last weeks two day shoot at the Maui Prince Resort consumed well over a week of my time with pre-production, casting scouting, meetings with PRINCEcipals , coordination, propping, shoot days, prop returns and pre-production, editing, digital post, archiving, disc burning and delivery.  The good news is that the final edit was delivered today and the resulting images were met with great enthusiasm. Whew!

Which brings me to the team that made it all possible. Besides the outstanding, friendly and helpful staff and management (imagine 8-10 Department Heads gathered on the beach at 5am to arrange lounge chairs and set up umbrellas), there was my team of highly skilled and talented professionals who all contributed in many ways to making the shoot most successful. First on the list is my every faithful, if somewhat grumpy first assistant Joe Dalessandro, a talented photographer in his own right... Joe has worked steadily with me for over two years and now intuitively knows the things required to get the job done.  Joe has learned how I like things lit and can set-up even the most complex strobe and hot lighting schemes with very little direction from me. I know the old adage that "no one is irreplaceable", but in many ways, especially on the big assignments, I've come to really depend upon him. Joe had some help on this one... Barry Frankel jumped in to lend a hand and to begin learning the assistant's craft. A fine job he did, too. Thanks Joe and Barry.

And... in the stylist's corner... the always even tempered, unbelievably resourceful and extraordinarily gifted Amos Kotomori. Amos flew in for three days from Honolulu to lend his skills to the project. Amos is a stylist's stylist, equally at home preparing food, props, wardrobe, set design, hair, make-up, and almost always doubling as a producer/art director. Amos took a mundanely appointed suite and turned it into a stunningly cozy room among his other creative tasks during the shoot. A big mahalo to Amos for all of his contibutions.

Finally, models Nikita Shipman (Maui) and Todd Sells (Oahu) stepped in to play the parts of blushing bride & groom and happy vacation couple on holiday. These two endured bloodthirsty mosquitos, 5am make-up/wardrobe calls, multiple location & wardrobe changes... always looking fresh and wonderful. You can hardly aim a camera at either of these two talented individuals without amazing results.  So... to Nikita & Todd, I also offer a sincere mahalo for joining the team and lending their skills to excellent results.

And now we are truly into the dog days of summer. Late august is traditionally a slow time in most industries. End of summer vacations when agency people are away on holiday means the phones around the studio ring a little less often until the school year starts and everyone starts to gear up for autumn. So... what to do with all that time? Here's a few suggestions:

Work on developing your next marketing campaign, direct mail piece(s) or email blast.

Shoot personal projects that have been kicking around in the back of your brain that you've never quite gotten around to.

Clean your studio, desk or office (on my list of things to do this week)

Update your contact data base.

And speaking of contact databases, two of the largest companies offering contact lists to creatives (photographers, illustrators, designers, art directors, etc.) are having a sale with pretty good discounts at the moment and both are offering a free, limited time trial of their systems. Agency Access and AdBase are both offering as much as $200 off of their subscription services. You can sign up for a free trial by clicking on the "free trial" button on each of their home pages. Today I signed up for the AdBase trial and got a telephone walk-thru and shared desktop presentation from representative Sarah Habib. Both of these services maintain extensive nationwide & Canadian databases of art buyer contacts of ad agency creatives,  editorial art buyers, corporate in-house art buyers, etc. Using one of these services gives you access to thousands of art buyers that just may be looking for you. In addition, their services allow you to compile highly targeted lists, create & print mailing labels and create email promos that can be tracked by how many recipients actually click and open them.

I spent a little time playing with AdBase today and think it is very intuitive and easy to use, fairly comprehensive, though I was disappointed to find that when I made a targeted search for advertising agencies in Hawaii, the state's largest, Laird Christianson Advertising, was no where to be found. I found this to be a little disappointing, along with the fact that the areas covered in their data base did not include Asia in any way. The fact that LCA was not in the data base makes me wonder about the overall accuracy of the contact list in general. Later this week (once the studio and office are cleaned), I plan on test driving the Agency Access service and see if it's any more accurate. I'll report back my findings once I've spent a little time with it.

At any rate, both are worth looking into if your interested in expanding your marketing efforts outside Hawaii. Both services discount offers are good until the end of august.

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