Cartain Moments

There are certain moments which are yours. Even if you don’t remember them perfectly they are a part of you which can never be taken away. Some people make it their life’s work to set the record straight on various things about which lies are told, and i can’t fault those people. However, in my own case, it just strikes me as a waste of time. There are people who want to promulgate their own version of events, and i see no profit in making an issue of it. It kind of reinforces my belief that some things are better left in the past. But i would be dishonest, and why bother being dishonest here, of all places? If I said it didn’t affect me. Sure it affects me. Something that I started years ago is being credited to others with no mention of me, and there is a certain annoyance in that. But it’s no different than the very war which time itself has waged on me, making me older, trying to erase my existence. 
We will all be erased, eventually. Erased and more than likely forgotten. People will remember what they wish to. I feel overwhelmingly the imperative to keep my gaze in the middle distance. Anything else just feels like death. Some people, though, have put off getting a life way past the point of no return. God bless their pointy little heads, I’m sure that happiness and good fortune await them. I wish nothing but enjoyment and peace upon them, in their deluded and fictional little worlds. But it’s sad, in a way, that their only way to run from the Grim Reaper is to try to deny things that might make them uncomfortable. I don’t know about anybody else, but that sort of thing has never worked for me. heaven knows i’ve tried it. Those “people who care” have spoken in a public place, so I feel just the tiny amount of vindication I need to get on with my life from now and for the rest of the day. Thank you, people!

What to Leave Behind - Part 2

Secondly - show relevant work. By relevant I mean: It should be work that would interest the art director in question; Should relate back to your portfolio. Remember, you're trying to remind the AD who you are, what you do, and why you should be remembered. And for the gang back at the office, that didn't get to meet you face to face, you are trying to capture their attention with one quick glance. Finally, remember this vital fact - you are just one of a few hundred folks that the art director has met during the event. Please do not be offended if the art director turns down the large print, or hardbound coffee table size book of your artwork. Personally, I take as few bags, and as small as possible on my trips. It helps me deal with my sprints between planes when doing the transfers. 

I'd like to thank all the folks that were very understanding about that fact this year, and I'd like to thank the few folks that were kind enough to mail me their samples/prints. It was greatly appreciated! So which was my favorite leave behind? That would be a really hard call. One of the most effective though was from an artist that had some agency experience at GreatSem and created a "press release kit". In the kit was a business card, a couple of post cards, a few "tear sheets" and a couple of prints of some recent work. I had no trouble remembering who she was, what kind of work she did, and she got the notice of some folks back at the office. Now here's the hard truth. Just a thought...

If the quality of her work weren't above average and the relevancy of her work on target. Her leave behind would not have had any impact at all. First and foremost you have to hit those two important aspects first. It occurred to me that there is one last piece of advice I can pass on about leave-behinds. This might be the most important piece of advice I can pass along. The most important thing to leave-behind is your attitude and ego. No one says you have to agree with everything, or even anything, that is shared with you during a portfolio review, but if you are interested in working with the person across the table from you - recognize one simple fact. Arguing, being belligerent, shouting obscenities or being a prima dona are not successful ways to endear yourself with an art director. 

What to Leave Behind - Part 1

Through out the year I will get asked a million time about leave-behinds and other assorted promotional items. I just received the question again, and this time I'm just wrapping up the con season and have a nice fresh perspective on the issue. Let me start out with the most important point about self promotion. Have a leave behind. I was floored that on numerous occasions this year when I asked for a business card or some other self-promo piece so that I could remember an artist and share their work with the other AD's back at the office I was told that the artist didn't have anything to share. Seriously? If you want to be forgotten or passed over follow this example if you want a shot at getting some work. 

There, that's the easy part. After that bit of advice it gets a lot more complicated. This year I saw everything from standard business cards, custom business cards, post cards, mini portfolios packs, self published comics, self published books, and in one case a custom sketch with contact info ('cause they ran out of cards). Which one worked best? Which form of leave-behind got more notice? Tough to say... Let me tell you how I use leave-behinds. I look at hundreds of portfolios during a typical convention weekend. I use leave-behinds to kick start my brain about who and what I saw during the day/weekend/week. 

I also take the pieces back to the office (if I can fit them into my luggage... consider that, please!) to share with the rest of the AD's and show off shiny new distractions. So when you think of how the pieces are going to be used - that might give you a little more insight into what might make for a successful leave-behind. First off - it should highlight your art work. I struggle with names, but show me a piece of artwork and I can often remember an artist. So having a nicely designed business card is wonderful, but if it doesn't show me your artwork - chances are good I'll have no idea who you were, and the folks back at the office will have no idea what you can do unless they check out your site (good luck with that).