DO YOU DOODLE? (my Monday meeting ritual)

space scene doodle artwork

space scene doodle artwork

I used to doodle incessantly when I was a child. I can still remember trying to sell my juvenile artwork to my parents for extra chocolate bar money during my pre-kleptomania (read: hustlin’) days. I also remember this habit/passion/pastime trying to be exorcised out of me during my school years.

I was always something of a daydreamer. My eyes would be locked on a swaying tree outside, my mind would have me be living as Superman, and my teacher would be shouting my name across the classroom.

“So nice of you to join us, Mr Kirton,” she’d say sarcastically.

“I could kill you with one punch,” I replied telepathically, my crooked smile and rhythmic nodding putting her at noticeable unrest.

She’d return to her chalkboard of authority and I’d return to doing some actual good. The world needed me!

I find it funny that I am now employed in a profession where the ability to daydream is part of the gig. As much as “creatives” embrace the whole oddball persona, being a little bit “out there” is necessary to deliver great conceptual work. I just love that my colleagues don’t find it weird when I spend Monday morning traffic meetings invested in my notepad, exploring worlds far beyond the reach of the real. #perksofthejob

Or maybe they do notice, but don’t feel comfortable enough to test my Cheshire grin and psychopathic nod. Can’t say I blame them.

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ZOMBIE

LIMBO_Wayne_Kirton_Writer

zombie in limbo

It was nearly all gone; his memory…

As he was sat on the parquet floor – back against the splattered wall, slumped over and nursing a bite wound in a bloody arm – Daniel Woodman couldn’t help but stare dimly at the family portrait mounted on the wall before him.

It was four years ago – Emma’s first birthday. Dana was stressing herself out as per her usual tall order of “Best Mom Ever!”, proving both to herself and stay-at-home mothers everywhere that overzealous organisation skills serve well beyond the tertiary years.

Dan was on his back on the living room carpet, looking up.

“Who’s a cutie? You are! Yes, you are!”

He was talking to the baby Emma cradled lightly in his upheld hands, looking down at him like innocence incarnate.

Emma laughed, and Dan responded in kind. It was one of those pure and beautiful moments you almost hate to have because it makes you forget that life won’t always be this way.

Here he was, after all, sat on the parquet floor, nursing a bite wound in a bloody arm. It was a Tuesday. Maybe.

arm_bite_close_up_comparison

 “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

While lacking the cerebral capacity now to articulate such emotions,

Dan, or what was left of him anyway, had a deep and visceral sense in his gut that this picture on the wall, the video streams in his head like hallucinations and cigarette burns, these people, evoked distinct feelings of *something* within him. He felt the cocktail of laboratory chemicals and viscous saliva course through his veins. The light burned his eyes. He screamed torturously; his already-rotting arm convulsed violently  – clenching and twisting, scraping up the floor, pulling splinters and leaving behind shreds of ripped fingernail. His head jolted side to side like a malfunctioning piece of machinery and even through the epilepsy Dan could sense his legs were entirely lame by now.

The outside chaos of machine gun fire and civilian screams grew thick and Dan found himself drowned out and lost; swirling the drain in delirium.

And yet, somehow, through the void he could hear her… calling out to him. It was faint; blurry at first. But the tone and timbre – the way she played the air like a pained violin – resonated with his soul. He knew her. And then it all came back, piercing through the haze in one brilliant display of desperation:

“DADDY!”

shatter glass

The blackness cracked beneath Dan like a thin sheet of glass and he fell through into the awaiting light below. He threw his head back in surrender as every joyful memory came rushing back and the most lopsided smile cracked like a fault line across his face.

Partial rigor mortis set in and caught the corner of Dan’s mouth, pulling it higher than muscle can go without snapping like sun-perished rubber bands. He felt the pain. In some sense of the word at least. Yet whatever he felt was left wayside to the tranquility he was experiencing deep within his being.

LIMBO_Wayne_Kirton_Writer
“Happiness is a state of mindlessness!” – Those who know

And there it stayed – his twisted, psychotic, serene smile. Dan lingered in limbo for an eternity as his eyes glazed over and his reptilian brain worked through it all:

He remembered… a beautiful baby girl… and how small her hand was, wrapped around his little finger. How sick she was for three weeks with fever and every night he had to pass out beside her because sleep eluded him.

He called out to her, but could feel the deadened sensation of his vocal cords melting and giving way like fishing line above the heat of his distress. His sounds came out garbled and raspy, filled with coughed up phlegm and blood.

It started to taste good.

“Daddy!”

The sobbing broke Emma’s breathing into pieces small enough for her to manage. Dan corkscrewed his head to the side. The sound of grinding bone and snapping twigs complemented its rickety movement well. Dan was barely able to keep his head off his shoulder as his remaining muscles relaxed with his fading consciousness. He could feel his sanity slipping; his grotesque mask still plastered across his once handsome face.

Through the flickering spots of colour, Dan managed to lock eyes with his daughter for what he knew would be the last time.

“Mommy’s asleep! What do I do?”

Dan watched the vignette encroach on his field of vision, the picture of Emma – the most beautiful girl in the world – fading with the light. He tasted metal.

Dan gathered every last scrap of sentience and muddled it together with what faint heart he had left to form one coherent word, screamed as a whisper through layers of bile and with all the love a father can muster: His daughter’s only hope.

“Run!”

A Meeting of Microexpressions

Wayne's World

“I’m not here for the radio ad or the brochure. I’m here to build your brand to what I believe it can be!”

A barely perceptible twitch caught the corner of his mouth and curled it up for the briefest of moments. It’s called a microexpression and (mostly) all people demonstrate them.

What it told me was that this guy takes the name of his business to heart. And he should. After all, it’s his livelihood. And while this may not seem like anything special to some, to me it makes all the difference.

“Oh, he’s just so passionate!”

Ever heard that said about someone? What it basically describes is someone who puts their whole heart into what they do and who they are. It also describes a characteristic I look for in potential clients.

ON BEING BOLD

I’m a dreamer. When I was a kid my parents called it “Wayne’s World” – that magical place I would disappear to where I could recreate reality as I pleased. I ended up never leaving Wayne’s World. Instead, I chose to rather find people who were interested in joining my dreams. Nothing’s changed.

When deciding on a client to invest significant time and energy into, it makes sense to do so with one who shares the same passion and ideals as yourself. To overlook this most basic of requirements is to whore yourself for a date neither of you is truly interested in; the fruits of which are often unsatisfying and riddled with worms.

If I’m going to do great things – or any of us, for that matter -, then I need clients who not only believe in what I do, but who also believe in my passion for their brand. The simple fact is that the work I do for them carries my name on it. Literally. And I take this point seriously. It’s in my best interest to supply them with the best work I possibly can, which can only happen with complete faith and trust.

I spoke about his brand like a dreamer and it made him happy.

Wayne's World
Party time! Brand excellence!

It really did! I watched him light up as I explained how social media could be used to engage his audience and keep his profile current. We all want to believe in something better. I think a lot of times life just makes us jaded to the thought something better exists. But he saw what I felt. I told him I care about his brand first and foremost and that, I believe, is what any good business owner wants to hear. Especially when it’s the truth. And he knew what it meant in the bigger picture.

I wasn’t selling a 30-second radio slot or a three-page brochure. I was selling an idea: The idea that his brand is the most important thing in the world of his business. And it deserves originality, integrity and love.

I don’t know if I’ll ever hear from him again. I’ll make my follow-up call, but there’s only so much one can do. I’m not looking to strong-arm anyone into anything. If a client is willing to pay me for the services I offer, I hope they do so because they believe both in me as an artist and business leader, as well believe in my passion for them, the valued clients I humbly serve.

Only time will tell if we’ll work together professionally, but the way he appreciated what I had to say about his beloved brand made me happy at the thought of working with him at all.

Happy Monday!

Why Mondays Suck

A month ago I was still employed in the traditional sense. My alarm went off religiously, as it does for most, and I would force willpower as a result: “Okay, sit up. Barely, but good enough. Okay, now swing those legs around and touch the floor.” It was the daily dance of I don’t wanna!, and 99% of the world danced alongside me.

But what is it about Mondays specifically that we all detest so much? Here are a few of my [warped and cynical] views on the subject…

Theory 1: Relativity

There’s a concept in hypnosis called time distortion. It’s why Monday morning traffic meetings seem to last forever while episodes of Better Off Ted are over before the kettle has boiled. When times are enjoyable, we are the carefree embodiments of life moment-to-moment. When we think back on enjoyable experiences, they are usually more abstract and less founded in the physical world than accurate recordings of a sequence of events. Conversely, when life is boring, we drudge through every sequence and action as another tedious chore to ultimately reunite us with a time when life can be carefree and fleeting again. As time is subjective, the ratio of a working week to that of a work-free weekend can seem less like 5:2 and more like 9:1. If the world is indeed run by incentives (read: Freakonomics), there really isn’t much left for the person hoping his weekend will motivate his work week, is there?

Theory 2: Object Permanence

Object permanence, as described by Wikipedia, is “the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed.” A relatable explanation of this concept is the game peek-a-boo, where babies have yet to develop this trait. As Mommy disappears behind her hands, the innocent, mush-like mind of the baby cannot comprehend that she is still there. It’s also the reason, at the developed end of the spectrum, why the death of a significant figure in one’s life often encourages a surreal feeling that attempts to convince one it’s all a dream – that it’s not real. We as humans have an ingrained evolutionary issue with letting go.

Much in the same way, I theorise that we view “the weekend” as too real and tangible a thing. Instead of living in the moment, we give so much meaning and emphasis to it in our lives (TGIF, right?), that when Mondays roll around, it’s literally as if we have lost something. Something very dear to us. Something we refuse to let go of – which may not be that crazy when we consider that what we are all ultimately longing for is…

Theory 3: Freedom

The term “freedom” has been bastardised. We live in a world today where we are prisoners in almost every conceivable way. We are slaves to debt, to the clock, societal expectations, even our own human nature. We live in a place and time where grinding for hours upon days upon years is the only acceptable means by which we secure the resources (read: money) to enable us to do all the wonderful things life promised us was available. The irony being that this method of resource acquisition often leaves the expectant with no time to enjoy their fruits, or barely enough fruit to feed their self, let alone live lavishly.

There’s a song in the movie Team America (F#@K YEAH!) with the line “freedom isn’t free – it costs folks like you and me.” The world, as it is, is a giant grinding machine currently serving only one higher purpose: The acquisition and conversion of space and natural resources into properties and money (read: capitalism). In a world operating this way, it’s easy to understand how the subjective importance of, “This is MY life, you sonofabitch!” is a low-flying second to the global agenda of “MINE! MINE! MINE!”

Monday, in this regard, can be seen as the official symbol of this ideal. It is the badge of those who while their lives away, serving a system that has no intention of serving them in return. If work were a date, it would be the gorgeous blonde bombshell everyone wishes to thoroughly doink, yet only gives limp-wristed tugs to any not actually on the rugby team. And the team mascot? Well, he’s taking care of himself tonight because…

Theory 4: Passion Don’t Pay the Rent

As I served my tour in the college trenches, I became acquainted with several individuals who had changed their major at least once. One individual I met was, at the time, on his fourth degree track, having failed to complete a single one before. We are creatures of passion, and to deny this fact is to deny ourselves.

I remember hoping as a child to grow up that I could finally understand this complicated system we call “life”. It took me actually growing up to realise that nobody has the answer. I think the problem we face, then, is that the world wears a mask of certainty. I felt lost, and that if I just had some direction the world would make sense and I would be happy.

The only problem with this idea, however, is the concept of “right”. As in, “what’s right for you?” You see, while I completed the courses I attended and received my due credentials, that four-degree flopper and I had something in common – we were both just doing what was expected of us. There is a traditional model of accepted living: Go to school, mind your manners, eat your vegetables, go to college, get your piece of paper, get a job, work your ass off to ensure a liveable retirement, reproduce at some point, die.

We are taught that assimilating into the system is the only noble way to get by in this world. That to be worth anything, one must pay their dues and endure hardship as all others before have had to do. This method of thinking, ironically, is taught by the system controlled by the people who create and perpetuate it.

I think the main reason why most people hate Mondays is not because getting up early is a chore, or because traffic is a bitch. I believe it’s because every time that stupid alarm sounds off, you are reminded that there’s another long-ass day ahead of not doing what you were put on this earth to do.

A line from a track I wrote, titled Freedom of Speech, reads:

“Unhinged, I cringe at the thought of all the talent dying at the grocery store.”

Everyone has their gift, and it saddens me that most people either do not know theirs, or have no viable method for utilising it in a practical or sustainable way. We scramble to do what our parents or television said is best for us, overlooking the fact that nobody will know the answer to that question better than we will. It’s only through introspection and being honest with ourselves that we can truly know what will make us happy. Yet we have developed this idea that the world is supposed to tell us what the answer should be. In that case, “a case of the Mondays” is nothing more than your very core – that beautiful artist’s heart and soul – fighting against the superficial lies you were told as to what’s truly important in this seemingly meaningless life.

Do you dare listen? Or is it time to get back to work?

Radio, Folio and After Effects, yo!

I’ve been meaning to upload my digital portfolio for some time now. I think having it exposed to a broader audience will provide great insight.

I used to be semi-proficient in After Effects. My skills have since receded to the point where I needed to Google the shortcut key for RAM preview (it’s Num0 if you’re wondering). In any case, I decided that I could bind my need to upload my folio to my desire to increase my After Effects proficiency. Expect more of these, in increasing elegance, in the future.

Enjoy!

Cut to Creativity

dollar shave club

With so many ads vying for attention, companies need to do all they can to cut through the bull. I’ve long been a fan of the non sequitur style of storytelling. Just as in music, where notes are delayed or skipped to keep the listener on their toes, so to speak, so too in film can seeming randomness be employed to great effect.

Cut to creativity:

This (albeit two-year-old) video by DollarShaveClub.com works hard to keep you entertained while promoting product benefits and not coming across as [too] try-hard.

Anybody looking to support the business model of these loose canons can find them online at DollarShaveClub.com or on Twitter or Facebook