HEY TV COMMUNITY - Hire a vet already!

HEY TV COMMUNITY - Hire a vet already!

I was an Air Force brat growing up , moving from base to base across Canada. The last base I remember was Comox, BC, when my dad was in the 409 squadron, flying Voodoos and T-Birds back in the day. Although some of his comrades died during his military career, he did not see active duty, but the men and women in uniform remain an indelible part of my childhood. 

When my friend and colleague Chris Mallory (VP Creative Services MLB Network) mentioned last year that he was considering hiring a veteran as a graphics intern I was super interested to hear more. Chris kept me posted as things progressed and no sooner was the internship official, than ex-sergeant Mike Gallardo drove non-stop from Texas to MLB Network in Secaucus, and in those 24 hours, became the newest member of the Sports Graphics community. 

A few weeks before the SVG Sports Graphics Forum in NYC, I asked Chris if he and Michael would be ok for me to shoot a doc that I could show at the Forum and hopefully shine a light on SVG’s Veterans In Production initiative, as well as the benefits of hiring a vet. Chris's response was a big YES = so Jordan & I jumped on a plane to Secaucus, shot the interviews and immediately back to Toronto where Yolanda and Chara edited the mini-doc (see link below). A few weeks later at the SVG Graphics Forum, we showed the doc and introduced Mike and Chris to an audience of some 200 members of the broadcast community. It was a moment everyone there will remember. Mike and Chris received a standing ovation, and ex-sergeant Gallardo answered all questions with poise, enthusiasm, seriousness and laughter. It was remarkable. Mike said later it was one of the best days of his life. Every time I think about it I have to reach for a Kleenex.

The men and the women around the world who serve their countries by joining the Armed Forces are heroes in the truest sense of the word. They put their lives at risk, they put their physical and mental health at risk, all to protect the country and the people they love. While we go about our day to day, they're the ones who take the bullets. It will be a great moment for civilization when there is no more war, but it won’t happen in our lifetime, nor our children’s, nor our children’s children. So we must continue to honour and support the men and women who risk all.

No one who goes to war returns unchanged. And when the soldiers return, it is not always to the care and the good life they so richly deserve. As a professional community, we can all do more. The men and women who served for us, now need us to serve them in a simple but critical way. Give them the opportunity to work and build a new career. In the words of William “Kip” Ward retired Army General Officer speaking at NAB’s “Military Veteran Outreach to Industry” at NAB 2017 on the value of hiring veterans: “…Veterans come to an organization with a sense of discipline, loyalty, accomplishment and a responsibility to duty unlike anyone else. The skills they possess are transferable, they bring to the workplace a skillset unlike any other.”

According to a 2014 study, an average of 2o US veterans commit suicide every day. In Canada the numbers are proportional. Canada's peace-keeping mission in Afghanistan saw 154 soldiers die in active duty. Since Afghanistan, 54 Canadian soldiers have committed suicide. As David Poulin from veterans.gov said at the same NAB event: "Every veteran that gets hired is potentially 1 less suicide". It doesn't get more serious than that,

We would like to continue to raise awareness of the Veterans in Production program at all SVG events. Since the event in February already more than half dozen people from different broadcast organizations have started the process of hiring vets. We are now working to create a roadmap of sorts, with key links and a guide to the hiring process so that anyone in the broadcast community can successfully bring on a military veteran for a wide variety of positions, no matter where they are in the country. We are planning on doing a follow up doc next year to see how Michael is doing, as well as share some new stories for 2018. 

We are also now connecting with people like Phil Nelson, Phil Oakley who are developing short training programs for military vets to get certified on systems like DaVinci, Tricaster, 3D animation etc.. as well as large national organizations such as Hire Our Heroes and Veterans.gov.

So here is Michael’s story, but also the story of MLB Network and Chris Mallory’s commitment to helping the men and women of the Armed Forces return to productive and fulfilling careers. I am not an expert filmmaker by a long stretch - but I hope it inspires you to reach out to me or Ken from the SVG ViP program **which will hopefully be getting a big overhaul this year.

http://www.sportsvideo.org/2017/03/07/veterans-in-production-success-story-how-hiring-a-military-vet-boosted-mlb-networks-graphics-operation/

Drawing by Mike Cheney

IDEA Seattle 2015

IDEA Seattle 2015

Well we just got back from Seattle where the crazy little gathering of “sports venue graphics” people swap war stories and the latest creative and technical endeavours at their respective venues. Also known as IDEA (Information and Display Entertainment Association).

You Want to Change WHAT… or the problem with fixed budgets

You Want to Change WHAT… or the problem with fixed budgets

Establishing value-based pricing and decent margins for a sustainable and healthy motion graphics industry is not (in our opinion) the biggest issue challenging studios that make pictures for a living. In a business where the successful completion of a project is in the eyes of the beholder and the beholder holds the chequebook – the biggest issue we have is managing change requests.

Like

Like

A long, long time ago someone said to me: “All things being equal, people like to work with people they like.”

Value Pricing in Motion Graphics

Value Pricing in Motion Graphics

We like the idea of value-based pricing.... However there are a couple of issues in motion graphics (and other design fields) that get in the way of our ability to evaluate value.

Pitch Ethics

Pitch Ethics

Once upon a time we lost a pitch because the client made a decision to go with another studio on the same day we were scheduled to present. In other words we didn't actually get the opportunity to present our work in spite of having a clear agreement that we were in fact pitching on a certain date, and in spite of having completed the pitch.

In Praise of Design Apprenticeship

In Praise of Design Apprenticeship

There are not too many win-win situations, but it seems that apprenticeships can be exactly that. If for a year during your early learning years, you were willing to work for free or for a nominal amount, at a production studio of good repute a) you'd get invaluable "real world" employment training b) hands-on work experience c) a big reduction in education costs.

Demo Reels

Demo Reels

Ability, talent, strengths, weaknesses can all be assessed by what we see on a demo reel. There is no better way to be introduced to a potential new workmate.

Graphic Design Emmys

Graphic Design Emmys

In a somewhat self-serving mandate, I have recently started working on a request to change the definitions of the Graphic Design categories for the Sports Emmys. The use of graphics in sports programming and on-air promotion has increased exponentially in the last 20 years. In spite of immense variation in design work done for Sports television, there is still only 1 category for graphic design of all different kinds.

Word of Mouth

Word of Mouth

Recently we were contacted by a client who started the conversation with something like "I've been in this business for a while, how come I never heard you guys? Your work is great!"