While I’m not overwhelmed with work, instead spending my morning swearing at PC games I used to be quite good at (goddamn you, Speedball II) and preparing for an interview with an actor in a couple of hours, here are two things I wrote for Foxtel in 2014…in PDF form.
The Recruit: Not only did I have to interview host Ryan “Fryzie” Fitzgerald about his role in this AFL-themed reality competition show, I also had to be flown down to Melbourne to stay in a luxury hotel, chat to a few legends of the game and walk around on the grass at Etihad. In short, this was a tough one. The funniest part was being the first media that the potential recruits had done…and hearing them talk like seasoned sportsmen. Emulation of heroes doesn’t stop off-field.
Boardwalk Empire: Predicting what might happen in the final season without spoilering myself was easier than it sounds, given there was little to no information leaked prior to it airing. I didn’t do too badly as a Nucky Nostradamus, but the trick is to be vague. (And to have some awareness of American history at that point.)
Donning my most professional demeanour, I attended a corporate meeting at Stockland HQ in the heart of Sydney, along with m’colleague Ash in the guise of Audience Productions. This was shortly before everyone took a fortnight off for Christmas and New Year’s, but the deadline for this job was tighter that a freelancer’s belt over that period. After translating the arcane and eldritch language used in that company in plain talkin’, I went away and wrote a short script that preached the benefits of a new way of doing things behind the scenes.
They knocked it back, pointing out a bunch of other things that needed to be included, so I carved out version two of the script…which was accepted well in time for talented animator Dave Cochrane to weave straw into gold.
(You’ll have to click over to Vimeo to watch it.)
Earlier this year I was summoned to a cool old building near Broadway Shopping Centre to write a website. Welllll, the majority of a website. It was for the Academy of Information Technology, which specialises in animation, filmmaking, digital design and related fields.
I spoke with a range of teachers, other staff and students to get an idea of what the place was like to work and study in, and did the vast majority of the writing on site, surrounded by the daily buzz of activity and community. When it turned out that four of us shared the same birthday, they organised a communal cake – even though I was an interloper.
The main things I took away from the experience were (a) markerless motion capture is really cool, (b) I wish I had studying animation, filmmaking and digital design when I was younger, and (c) writing marketing material for a website is a lot different from traditional journalism – especially when you have to use the same keywords again and again.
Fortunately, I’m a dynamic, nimble, constantly evolving writer with practical experience, in-depth skills and prominent functionality in a range of growing sectors encompassing opportunities as limitless as my imagination. So it was easy.
In addition to my blogging duties over at videographic mainstay Audience Productions, who recently took flight in a helicopter, I have taken on another writing role for an industry not usually known for its storytelling.
At first, I was apprehensive about blogging for a removal company, but China Bear has such a strong history in Sydney that people’s eyes light up in recognition when I mention them! (Recently, I learnt they even featured in that Aussie cinema classic, BMX Bandits.)
There are plenty of interesting stories to be told in the moving caper, especially when the company focuses on shifting antiques, artworks and other items more interesting than your standard IKEA bookcase and Freedom couch.
One of the most interesting entries so far has been finding out exactly what’s involved in renting out your mansion for a reality TV series.
I’m just glad I get to write about moving furniture instead of, you know, moving furniture.
One of the things I do now is write a weekly blog. It requires me to get into the Romneyesque mindset of considering myself the personification of a corporation (in this case, Audience Productions).
The latest instalment regards a book launch which I, in human form, did not attend. But I, in corporation form, did.
Surely the Singularity is at hand!
Woah, I’ve written 10 columns for Working Life since I last collected them here. What an industrious and beaverish human I am.
How To Make The Most Of Your Commute: Amazing how getting a new job in an office in a suburb across two train lines (and a Harbour Bridge) inspires one’s writing.
How To Manage Time A-Part: The trials and tribulations of being a part-time worker, with particular reference to missing out on in-jokes and delicious wraps.
When Push Comes To Stab: Office politics with a sharp edge. :
Descending The Corporate Ladder: What to do when you’re sick of being the boss. Like that bloke in Starship Troopers who has himself busted back down to private so he can see some front-line action against the bugs. But less exciting.
Keeping Up Appearances: This could also be titled “Pretending To Look Busy At Work”.
Getting Ahead At Work Is A Matter Of Recognition: Not our pithiest headline, but reasonably straightforward.
In A Toxic Workplace, Are You The Problem?: Sometimes the greatest villain stares back at us from the mirror.
Nine Ways To Not Get A Job: This one is far more ‘Cubisian’ and funny than usual.
When The Pay Comes Late…Or Not At All: Also inspired by true events. But not in a bitchy way or anything.
How To Stay Fit At Work: The ultimate in do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do journalism.
Late last year, m’colleague Ashleigh Hanley asked me to formally join the loose collective of ingenious talent he has drawn into his orbit since 2005 or so, under the umbrella of
I wrote the copy for the AP website, which is why my official role is listed as “Overking“. Since Ash has grown the business from a small acorn of event coverage to a spreading chestnut tree of – hang on, do chestnut trees grow from acorns, or am I obliquely referencing 1984 for no good reason? – videography for a variety of Australian companies large and small, it was important to make each section of the site pithy, comprehensive, rapidly explanatory and completely free of Orwellian nods.
The main challenge was finding synonyms for “company” and “business” that didn’t read awkwardly. I can do the same for your money-making institution, non-proft concern, innovative consortium or solvent start-up syndicate.
Especially if it’s got more of a Burmese Days or Keep The Aspidistra Flying flavour. They’re far less depressing than all that Big Brother stuff.
Meanwhile, the regular columns on workplace topics roll on like a dehumanising production line…
Being The Sharer Of Bad News: How much should you tell your boss about what’s going on in your life beyond these walls?
Can You Be A Lifetime Learner?: Wherein I shamelessly pillage the things I learnt during my Dip. Ed. and blend them with itinerant dabbling in autodidacticism.
Do We Need Dress Codes?: Gleefully written in nothing more than a pair of pyjama shorts decorated with vintage cheesecake models.
Team-Building: Nonsense Vs Reality: One of my friends, Thorin, works in this space so I asked for his input in order to dilute my natural, Office-inspired scepticism of mandated corporate “fun”.
What Happens When The Honeymoon Ends?: A meditation on the exact moment where a probation period ends and a stable career begins (or you’re summarily dismissed and replaced with another, cheaper probation candidate).
Something In The Way: “Why did you resign?” “My boss wouldn’t let me do my job.” Apparently the most common interchange in the world of work…except for maybe, “Can I have a raise?” “We don’t have the budget for that.”
Politics At Work: A Bad Idea Or A Terrible One?: The most egregious case of me writing a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do piece since 1999′s “Bingo Halls: A Den Of Iniquity” exposé.
Here’s a two-and-a-bit-minute video I wrote (and appeared in, in lieu of proper actors) for the ABC’s Fresh Blood competition late last year. We had no real expectation of winning any funding coin, but it served as a spur to get something done on a deadline.
After realising that the majority of my recent writing output was not going to be appropriate when applying for serious jobs working for serious managers in serious environments, I decided to get some non-jokey, non-NSFW columns under my belt. Here are the first two instalments of my work about work for Working Life.
When Should You Work For Free?: As timely a topic as ever, especially if you’re a freelance writer. Most established creatives have a one-word answer to this question, but I’m being paid by the day, so…
Beating The Post-Redundancy Blues: It’s something I wrote about at length in the immediate aftermath of my departure from People mag, but this is a more nuanced and serious look at the mental fallout that can accompany loss of job. Especially if your friends, support networks and identity largely derive from work.
Upcoming topics are “How Much Personal Information To Share At Work” and “Studying While Working Full-Time”, so keep an eye out for them in the not-too-distant future, ie. next week.