Monday, May 3, 2010

Your money is no good here

The unwritten rule as a freelance writer is to accept any job and every job. As my friend Jim puts it, the goal is to "crank it and bank it." And so I find myself taking on projects of every imaginable sort. From big branding campaigns for automotive brands to local mattress store flyers announcing their annual Arbor Day Sale.

Truth is, as long as the check clears, it doesn't really matter to me. Not that I'm driven solely by the money. I give it my best shot each and every time. Years ago, I managed to squeak into the One Show awards book with some bar coasters we created for an Australian beer.

Recently I found myself doing some work for an entrepreneur who was seeking ideas for his startup business. It wasn't advertising per se, but he was willing to pay me a day rate and as far I'm concerned that means the deal is done.

A signed NDA prevents me from disclosing too many details, but after I submitted my first round of ideas, I got an email back from my new employer requesting time for feedback. He also asked me to familiarize myself with his assessment of the work in the following chart:

For Superman, it's Kryptonite.
For Tiger Woods, it's blond bimbos.
For creative people, it's charts like these that bring us to our knees.

I had no interest in discussing ways to make idea #3 more feasible or increase the pizzazz factor on idea #5. That's when I knew I had to bail out of the project. But not before wondering why so many business people have no ability to judge creativity or the capacity to trust their gut.

Last year Steve Jobs was named the most admired CEO in America. Having worked at TBWA Chiat/Day, Apple's agency of record, I have it on first hand knowledge that this is how Steve judges any new idea:


Laura Sweet said...

Hilarious and painful, all at once. Great post, as always.

glasgowdick said...

Pain + time = funny
So does:

Kids + pinata bats
Old people + diapers
Islamic extremists + cartoons

Jeff said...

My motto has always been "the checks clear." I've also found myself accepting jobs of late that in a more robust economy I'd have considered just crazy talk. Having said that, there comes a time when you have to just say no. Sometimes a day at the beach or with the kids is worth so much more than a day rate or revision fees. Besides, you can always do what I do to make up for it - dip into the college fund. After all, trade schools are very underrated.