The Graphic Designer’s Best Friend

Illustrator is an amazing tool. It’s one of those pieces of software designed in such a way that it can do anything you’d like and there are several ways of doing it, too! In a sense, it is similar to After Effects, but for static graphics. It’s considerably easier to make a tool for a certain job than to make one for any kind of job and that’s exactly what Adobe Illustrator is. A revolution in graphic design which, for 27 years since its release, has been increasingly taken for granted. Luckily, Terry Hemphill tried to resolve that by making this amazing documentary about the 21st century’s graphic designer’s best friend. And I must say, he did a pretty good job! Enjoy!

How I Got Here

How I got here? It all started with a dream. Yeah, I know, you’ve been listening to loads of people who describe their success/failure stories, partly to boast, and partly to share their experience. But I think there is a valuable lesson to be learned from every story you might read about someone, because it helps you empathise with that person and learn from their mistakes. What were my mistakes? What did I do right? That’s up to every single one who reads this. So, here it goes, my story.

I have been passionate about video ever since I can remember and everything I ever did, I think, was related somehow to this passion. So, after the excitement of studying what I love at a great university wore off, it was time to think about a placement year (working for a year in the industry). Pretty straight forward, right?

I knew about Euronews for quite some time. Basically, the EU decided that there had to be an equivalent to the CNN in Europe, so every national television in the Union chipped in and the result was Euronews, based in Lyon, France. They broadcast to hundreds of millions of households around the world, are best known, probably, for their no-comment section which allows the viewer to think for himself, instead of having a presenter talking, and they are a huge player on the media market. I know what you’re thinking, it sounds like the perfect workplace. So, what was the problem?

The trouble with working at Euronews is that you can’t. Well, not exactly. There are people working there, obviously, but they don’t advertise much work. This is, from what I gathered, because, on one hand, it’s not in the private sector, but rather owned by several national television stations around Europe, and on the other hand, because, for new positions, they do a low profile search before, if this fails, advertising the position publicly.

Thus, there were only to journalistic permanent positions available. In addition to needing a technical job, I was also planning on working there for a year only, as I had to go and finish my studies afterwards. No problem, I said to myself, I’ll just e-mail my résumé and tell them what I want to do, and they will surely be interested! Right? Wrong. No one has ever, ever responded to that e-mail.

On to plan B! How to draw their attention? Calling didn’t work. If anyone has ever tried to call someone in a corporation they didn’t know, through the central reception, you know it’s not an easy endeavour. So, what do you do? There have been a number of people who had previously used social media successfully to get a job and I said “why not?” So, on the 26th of May, Help Paul Get Hired went live. The plan was to bombard Euronews with the campaign and, hopefully, be able to get in touch with someone from there.

Many weeks had passes, during which I had posted various examples of my work, tweeted constantly on the station’s Twitter profile, and I had sent the campaign to literally hundreds and hundreds of people (celebrities, Euronews employees, other people from the media industry). Just when I began losing hope, the guy in charge of their Facebook page and another employee (I’m not going to give out names or positions) contacted me at the same time, saying that they were impressed by my determination and that they forwarded my case to the relevant people who will be in touch with me. Success! Not quite.

The relevant people did get in touch with me, but it was another two and a half months of waiting (during which the aforementioned relevant people also went on vacation) before I could get an answer. During that time I continued with the campaign and I kept sending e-mails and messages, asking about my situation.

I’m guessing that, at this point in the story, everybody’s guessing what happened next. Well, they did give me an answer, in the form of an invitation for a Skype interview! Sound like good news all the way, doesn’t it? The interview went quite well in my opinion. I was asked how I heard of Euronews, why did I want to work there, and we discussed possible positions for me, and salary arangements. I was left with the promise of the HR department doing the necessary paperwork. I was finally unbelievably close to achieving the desired result of months’ of work and stress.

But, a few days later, the final, awaited, bewildering, flabbergasting, shocking answer came. There simply wasn’t anyone who could supervise me during the placement. I’ll leave it to each one to figure out what this means. I tried appealing to them, but to no avail.

I cannot describe the bone-crushingly sensation that went through me when I heard that. It is positively, unbearably tough to have so much hope accumulate in you one day, and have it shred to pieces a few days later.

But I’m not here to agonise about this. I’m here to tell you about the whole experience, to invite you, if you’re interested, to have a look over the campaign, learn from it, have a say about what I did right and what I did wrong, and make your life easier. If you can gather at least one thing from this post, something that would be of help to you, then the 900 words you just read have achieved their goal.

In any case, I don’t see it as a failure. I mean, it’s true I didn’t achieve my goal, but it was a great experience, I have personally learned a great deal from it, and now I have a Facebook page with over one thousand supporters, which never hurts to have.

P.S. I have left the most important things last. I want to express the deepest of my appreciation to all the people who have supported me during this journey, especially my friends, family, certain people from Euronews, and, most importantly, my girlfriend, without who none of this would have been possible, or, if it were possible, it would certainly have been a completely meaningless experience.

Fighting For Your Dreams

People need predictability, we like to know what’s happening and when. And perhaps our greatest misfortune is that the world simply does not work that way. Everything anyone does entails a certain wait and waiting entails uncertainty which is the exact thing we fear most.

Three months ago I have started a campaign in an attempt to realise my dream. It has not been an easy endeavour but, now that it is approaching its end, I began reflecting on it. Nothing is and never was certain, but I’m still hoping for the best! That’s who I am, optimistic until the very end. Regardless of the end result, the campaign has taught me highly valuable things, and it was an experience in itself. I probably won’t be the bloke who runs around for years to come, boasting about a Facebook campaign he did. And why should I? After all, it might be unsuccessful in the end. And that’s the problem! Success is very oddly quantified, and it shouldn’t be! I have declared that my goal is to be hired at euronews, but if I don’t reach that objective is my campaign a failure? Wouldn’t it matter, for example, that I managed to get hired somewhere else? Or at least that I managed to get the support of a thousand people?

Also, waiting is atrocious. The past months have been an awful combination of uncertainty and hope that could easily make one lose control of his mental capacities. Probably this comes as a result of mutual understanding between the potential employer and the potential employee, or perhaps it comes as a test of endurance. Regardless, it seems at times to be borderline inhumane and if one would like to delve into the process of getting a job, especially through unsolicited applications, then this is something worth considering.

It’s the last of my intentions to whine about the hardships I’m faced with, nor is it to boast on my determination. My goal is to share from my experience in the hopes that other people will benefit from it, possibly learn from it, and think about the battle ahead when they set their mind to something.

Talking about being optimistic, below is the second video of the “Breaking News” series. Share it if you like it!

http://youtu.be/hHadeWf9fuk

My Summer Camp

It is always nice to be around people who share your interests and passions. You have the opportunity of developing your skills and knowledge and it’s a beneficial experience for all the parties involved. With this in mind I applied to the Atelier14 camp, held in the Caras Severin County, in western Romania. Close to a hundred young people from all over the country had the chance of participating in either the journalism, improvisation theatre, or short film workshops. The camp lasted for a week in a place with no reception, no internet, and only a landline telephone. It seemed like it would be the ideal place to meet people and unleash one’s creativity outside the normal Internet ridden life, and, once I got there, I wasn’t let down. I had the opportunity of working with some of the most interesting people I have ever had the chance of meeting. Creativity brings people together and this was definitely true here.

Every one of the three workshops had to produce a piece of work at the end of the week. In the case of the one I participated in, for short films, the task wasn’t hard to imagine. Filming and editing a movie is a big task on itself, without a pressuring deadline, but in this case, with three days to come up with an idea and produce the film, it seemed impossible at times. However, three extraordinary people and I managed to make one of the five short films our workshop put out at the end of the week. The result can be watched below:

The Fault Lies Everywhere

Picture: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

To the eyes of an external observer, the world can easily look in full meltdown. War is stemming everywhere you look and, as much as everyone is striving to nip it in the bud, conflict is blossoming like a weed, chocking life anywhere it might find it. A state of tension so unbearable to us, that it’s unimaginable what the people at the heart of it are feeling.

One might think that history has taught humanity something but the only thing that it has managed it the same thing it has done since the dawn of time. Repeat itself. While the world’s greatest power are playing a game of “Who’s It”, violence and crimes incomprehensible for today’s era are running rampant all around the world. Conflicts such the ones in Ukraine and the Middle East seem to have introduced a state of numbness. Behind closed doors, security personnel and the relative safety of administrative palaces, the whole bunch, Obama, Merkel, Hollande and the rest might very well be biting their fingernails in anticipation of a conflict so severe and violent, that it would put the lives of billions of people at risk. In these unsettling times, the only appeal that could be made seems to be one towards fate or destiny. Seventy years ago, severely struck by war and economic depression, the whole world turned in hope to the end of 20th century’s most gruelling war, praying that they, their children, grandchildren and subsequent followers would not find themselves amidst such times ever again. But what they failed to realise was that the Earth is inhabited by people and people’s memory is short. The fault isn’t completely with Russia, or Ukraine, nor is it with Israel or Palestina, or even North Korea. It lies in all of us.

The Plot

Sunday, 25th of August

 

It was an unbearably hot day. The fan in the corner was blowing a slight breeze of air, which could have been called “cold” by some, in vain, for a few hours. I was just cleaning out my gun when I heard a knock on the door. I answered with “Come in!” From behind it, a hot dame with a red dress, flowered hat and an enormous pair of sunglasses with brown frames appeared. If I didn’t knew better, I would have said I was in a sixty year old film noir.
“Joe McGregor?”
“Depends on who’s asking.”
With a smile in the corner of her mouth, having reached the chair, she asked:
“May I sit down?”
“Be my guest.”
“I have a… hm… delicate problem.”
“Go on.”
She handed over a photograph.
“This is my husband. We’ve been married for ten years and I have reason to believe he’s cheating on me.”
“Ok, and you want to spy on him and learn the truth?”
“To spy sounds too… Well, I guess I do want to spy on him.”
I looked at the photograph. A sorry balding guy in hid forties. Probably forced to marry and now the poor fellow regrets the whole deal. I hadn’t had much work lately but, anyway, I wasn’t in the mood of playing the marriage spy.
“Ma’am…”
“Mary.”
“Mary, I can’t…”
“Mister McGregor…” she said taking her glasses off.
“Call me Joe.”
“Joe, I am a much respected woman, I surround myself with certain people. I guarantee that you will be generously rewarded, with the condition of being… discrete.”
I couldn’t complain about my financial situation but something about her blue eyes, long lashes and bright red lips convinced me.
“I charge fifty an hour, plus expenses.”
“Perfect!”

 

The city’s underworld definitely had something to gain when Cheech Viterelli was hired. Cheech was the guy everyone went to when someone needed to be out of the picture. Being a melancholic, he was very thorough. Who could forget the famous case of Ian Harding? He had the bad luck of getting in front of Don Cannoli’s car. Two days later he was found dead in his home, listening to Cher. The poor guy didn’t last long. Another famous case was that of Julio Fernandez, a pizza delivery boy who forgot to deliver Cannoli’s daughter’s order. He, too, was found dead in his apartment in an uncomfortable pose.

A fragment from “The Plot” a short story of my own writing. Are you hooked on it yet? Enjoy!

The Sound At The Olympics

It’s been quite a while since the 2012 Olympics, but that doesn’t take away that fact that they were pretty impressive. Of all the challenges that come along when one attempts to organise the opening and closing ceremonies, one of the hardest to overcome has to be making everyone hear what’s happening at the centre of the arena. The solution was such that it suited the challenge. An incredible display of audio engineering took place and I think it was too easily overlooked for how impressive it was. L-ACOUSTICS was the brand of choice and they were completely on par with the task at hand. I stumbled upon a case study of the audio system at the Olympic ceremonies and the numbers speak for themselves. These, along with a few words from the people who made it all happen, can be found below.

http://www.l-acoustics.com/admin/product_files/upload/OlympicGamesLondon_CaseStudy_2012.pdf

The Radio Star Is Back!

An old song said that “video killed the radio star”, but I beg to differ! Radio is such an important part of our day to day lives that, instead of becoming obsolete, it has been constantly upgraded to be in sync with the latest in audio technology. I have always been fascinated by radio and by satire alike. Fast forward a few years and I’m at University faced with the challenge of creating a 5-minute radio programme along with two other students. The result isn’t tantamount to perfection, but I like to think of it as out critique of radio and of the world we live in. But don’t take my word for it, scroll down, hit play, and enjoy your coffee. It’s a morning show after all.

A Daring Project

One of the great things about going to University is the experiences you have while there. As part of this wide range of opportunities, one of them is being able to work for a year right at the heart of the industry you are studying. In my case, the industry is Media and the place I want to refine my craft in is Euronews. This is how this project was born and, hopefully, it will develop into reaching its goal. But not without any help. I invite you to watch the video above and help share it and the page ( http://facebook.com/helppaulgethired ). Help me show that you can get anywhere if you want it bad enough.

Thank you,
An ambitious student.

20140626-171209-61929682.jpg

The Oldest Job In The World

20140603-213656-77816951.jpg

When saying “director”, John Torturro isn’t exacty the first person to spring to mind. Yet his latest film, Fading Gigolo, manages to do him justice as a director, screenwriter and actor, all of them roles he has fulfilled before. A deeply Jewish story about ethics, love and regret, Fading Gigolo shows us a retired bookstore owner, Murray (played by Woody Allen), who manages to convince his friend, Fioravante (John Torturro), to take up working as a professional gigolo, while Murray would be acting as the pimp. Comedy then ensues, creating a film that isn’t really a seat-clencher, neither does it give the impression that it would want to be such a film. Everything starts to go south when Fioravante falls in love with a pottential customer, Avital (Vanessa Paradis), a Hasidic Jewish widow bound to a life of modesty in a Jewish neighbourhood in Brooklyn. A member of the Shomrim (neighborhood watch group), Dovi (Liev Schereiber), who has been in love with Avital since childhood, starts harbouring jealousy when he starts to learn about Fioavante. Tredding on the dangerous ground of unspoken love and jealousy clichés, Torturro manages to steer into a very interesting conclusion about the extent to which religion affects out lives, ethics as seen by different people, and ultimately about love. All in all, Fading Gigolo is a great film, definitely worth watching, though not by people who expect to be swept off their feet by excitement.