Monday, June 23, 2008

Rain's Unbound Reality

This Duo Corde Lisse act, entitled This Unbound Reality was performed by Rain Willson and Erin Carey at the New England Center For Circus Arts, as a part of their 2008 Professional Track Training Program. Rain (with the lighter hair) is my daughter.

On this week following Father's Day, I find myself thinking about how much my kids inspire me. When they were young, it was easy to subscribe to the idea that they should take their cues from me and follow my example. Boy, am I glad that they were both too independent for that. I'll confess that, all too often, I've forsaken my best ideas and dreams as an artist for the most expedient path ... the best "logical" career move. My kids on the other hand are both heading full-tilt toward making their dreams a reality. I'll write about my son some other time, but let me tell you why Rain is such an inspiration to me.

Rain started in theater at the age of nine. She was in Equity performances of The Sound of Music and Will Rogers Follies at the Jupiter Theater (formerly the Burt Reynolds Jupiter Theater). Later, she auditioned and was accepted to the Palm Beach County School of the Arts, where she spent her middle and high school years. She spent the summer vacation of her junior year studying at the Circle in the Square Theater on Broadway.

There were many instances where she would audition for a play, or to attend a special program and she was not selected. In fact, she was not originally accepted for the theater program of the School of the Arts, but made it into the choral program. She had to audition again the following year, and succeeded. Acting is probably the most discouraging career anyone can imagine. Through it all, Rain has maintained an "anything is possible" attitude. "No" is not a deterrent. If anything, rejection just makes her more determined and creative in how she achieves her goal.

After graduating high school, Rain attended the College of Santa Fe in the performing arts school. When she came home for her first Christmas holiday, she told us she was disappointed in her courses. Unfortunately, Rain
felt like she wasn't progressing because her high school training had been of such high quality. But then the A&E cable network ran non-stop Cirque du Soleil performances on New Year's Eve. Rain was captivated by the aerial performers. She told us that she was going to become an aerialist.

Rain is a beautiful singer and graceful dancer, but she was never an athlete. I had watched a behind-the-scenes documentary on Cirque du Soleil that showed how excruciatingly difficult the training was, and how heavy the competition was among the best circus acrobats and performers in the world for a part in one of their shows. Many of these people came from circus families and had been training since they could barely walk. Rain wanted to start at age 19. I wanted to try and dissuade her from what I thought was a futile and Quixotic dream, but kept my comments to a minimum. I've come to learn that whatever Rain sets her mind to, she does.

In just a few years, Rain has built her strength and stamina to an amazing degree. She has worked and paid her own way to study at first rate circus schools in Bristol, England and
Brattleboro, Vermont. The above video is a performance from the later.

Most aerialists don't have voice and acting training, and so Rain is getting some recognition for the added dimension she can bring to a part. She is also showing a great deal of choreographic ingenuity with her own routines.

But best of all, she dreams big and then makes it happen, no matter what the obstacles. Go Rain.

To view the entire full length act from the video above and others please visit Rain's website.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Once More Into the Breech

Find more photos like this on FOLIO: MediaPRO

Well, I've done it again ... joined another work-related social network. They are an awful lot of work for the small amount of business I get out of them. Hopefully someday it will all add up to a great big network effect.

In all fairness, MediaPRO looks to have potential. It's sponsored by FOLIO, which is a stalwart association in the publishing industry, and it's growing fast. If you're involved in publishing at all you should check it out. At least come take a look at some of the stuff on my profile page.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mac vs. PC Ads Don’t Benefit Apple

I’m a marketing and advertising designer by profession. Now, I certainly don’t travel in the rarefied circles of Apple’s longtime advertising agency TBWA Chiat/Day. My clients have always been small businesses and regional corporations. But I still think I have a right to offer constructive criticism about the Mac vs. PC commercials. I’ve spent more than half of my career working on Macs and have a deep affinity for the Apple brand. Heck, I’m a stockholder.

The problem is that ever since Vista was launched almost two years ago, Apple’s Mac vs. PC spots have mainly been about how bad Vista is. With only a couple of exceptions, Apple technology and software have been ignored, and the advantages of using a Mac have only been implied by the PC guy’s pratfalls, goofy schemes, afflictions and general trials and tribulations with Vista.

Wake up Chiat/Day. Americans love underdogs.

Why is it that the PC guy, played by actor John Hodgman, gets to chew the scenery and create a lovable character while the Mac guy, played by actor Justin Long, has had little to do but stand around with his hands in his pockets? O.K., we get it. Vista sucks. But I remember when the Mac guy was smart and hip because he could do the most amazing things with complete aplomb. Do you realize what an indolent prig you’ve turned him into? He’s representing the Apple brand! Not good.

I suggest that you take a look at some of your earlier spots when the Mac guy actually had some nifty lines and business. You barely covered the waterfront of Apple computing benefits before you got off track. While you’ve been preoccupied with dissing Vista, Mac OS X, the iPhone, iTunes, the iPod and AppleTV have matured into a new universe of digital lifestyle connectivity. It’s not like the Mac guy has a lack of cool things he can do.

Just a little advice from a street-level design guy.