The End is Nigh!

Everything is in the shitter right now.  Or at least that's what the doomsayers keep telling us every time you turn on the tube or listen to some jerk bitching on his cell phone.  The economy is shit, the world is shit, blah blah blah.

John August sent his writing assistant to a WGA panel on the state of the film industry on Thursday night, and here's the info he came back with (thanks to Michael Wilson for the link).

If there's one thing I learned from the often excellent series Friday Night Lights, it's this.  "When all the scared rats are leaving the sinking market, that’s when a real entrepreneur steps in. A true visionary…”  I'm not scared.  Sure, I don't know if the spec I'm working on is going to sell or even land me an agent.  I don't know if I sell this, if I'll ever sell anything again.  But there's something I've learned time and time again, most recently from Misters Hill and Wygant.

You have to live a life of abundance.  You can't be so concerned with your ideas, resources, money, and talent.  If you've really got ideas and talent, you'll be fine.  Put out what you've got into the world (money included) and you'll get it back.  If you've got more than one idea (Joe McFadden always called it "one bullet") then you can make a career and have success.  If you've got one...  Maybe try to find something else to do.

I'm not as prolific as some, not as talented as others, but I am quite talented and hope to get to a prolific perch as this year rolls on.  I'm gonna make it, doom and gloom be damned.


Crippled = Perspective

I may have broken my wrist the other night. I'm not going to give those thieves at Kaiser any more of my money than I have to, so I'm not going in for tests just yet. But for all I know my wrist is broken, and this cock-up splint is just delaying the inevitable.

I spent most of yesterday stressing about posters and designers, all the while missing the proper use of my left hand. It's not so bad that it's useless, but it's definitely not well. Certain rotations are excruciating, and I can't put too much pressure on it. It's gotten me thinking though.

There's no such thing as an excuse. I know this, I've heard Sean Stephenson talk (and anticipate his new book), and he's accomplished more than I likely ever will, despite being trapped in a wheelchair and suffering from osteogenesis imperfecta. We all saw Unbreakable, but it's real.

I've been making excuses of late. There's always tomorrow. I'm tired today. Not like I'm getting paid for any of this... I just need to do a little more reading before I start. They can all be true, but they're still standing in the way of me doing what I need to do. I need to write. This is a constant need, but over the past 6 weeks or so, it's become a professional necessity as well. Get paid to write or die trying needs to do the motto. But while I'm getting some work done every day, I'm putting things off when I really can't afford to.

I hit upon a really good idea on New Year's Eve that became the basis for the first screenplay I'll ever finish. You can mark my words on that. I made a promise to myself that I would finish by the end of March, and though I've been stalling, I'm going to keep that promise too. I don't have all the details worked out, but Brian keeps reminding me that I need to just start writing. The answers will come, and I can always revise later. But delaying the start, looking for an excuse to not do something... That's easy. Doing what you need to do, doing what you want to do... It's not always going to be easy, and it's not always something people are in the position to do.

I've spent the last 35 hours or so mulling this. Simple things like putting on shoes, cutting a bagel, hell, even typing are much more difficult without proper functionality. It makes me appreciate just how good I've got it, unemployed in a tough economy though I may be.

I can make them up with the best of them, but at the end of the day, there are no excuses I can hide behind. Time to buckle down and get shit done.

Goodbye, Oyster House

Phil Smith, aka The Hardest Working Man in Comics, has been a bartender at the Oyster House in addition to his duties at Top Cow for as long as I've known him. I think if you add a couple more years, that's how long he's been tending there. Tuesday night marked the end of an era, as it was Phil's last night behind the bar.

Despite possibly having a broken hand, nothing could keep me from experiencing my first "Rage Night" (not WeHo style), and Phil's final night. The Oyster House has a very special place in my heart. Not only was I always treated like a king there (thanks, Phil), but it's been there for me through good times (2 New Year's and 2 birthdays) and bad (post break-up). I've long considered it my local bar, despite the fact that it's 14 or so miles away.

I don't even know what else to say. There's video of Cuban Rage taking center stage, and a cameo from the Dusty and Frutti show, so maybe that's something to seek out one day if you want to be entertained. The bar still exists, and I recommend going for the stiff drinks and the food. It just won't be the same without Phil behind the bar.

So here's to Phil, and to an era that will likely never return. A great man and a great bartender. Also, a great friend.


TGIM - New Things

Well, it's Monday, and you know what that means.  We're all struggling to get our asses out of bed, in gear, and the like.  So what keeps us going?

Today I'm going to suggest trying something new.  Like being woken around 7am by an anonymous phone call, or not hitting snooze twelve times.  Or, more aptly, going out for Chinese Breakfast.  Never done it, not sure it's better than the bagels and whitefish that won't take me an hour to drive to, but...  Variety is the spice of life.

As you head into this week, take a minute, reflect, and plan to do something you've never done.  Chinese breakfast, talking to a stranger, going to a new restaurant, joining twitter, etc.  Give yourself a reason to take a chance.

Now go take on the day.


"Welcome to Heartbreak"

No, I'm not suddenly getting personal on the blog.  I've made that mistake in the past, and it's bad reading.

What I'm talking about is the new Kanye West video for the song of the same name (which I found courtesy of Pete Chatmon).  It's pretty damn hot.  Lyrically the song is just so-so, but it's one of the better tracks on the album in terms of the production and the vibe.

And the video.  It's below for you to watch, but...  Man, I think there's a very untapped, unironic return to the 80s coming.  I can feel it.  There's so many video effects in here that are based in the worst origins of music videos, but this thing is totally working for me.

In other news, one of my potential gigs just got a lot more serious.  Not in terms of me being any closer to landing it officially, but in terms of what it is.  It transmogrified, and I'm excited for it.  More news as I have it.


Marz and Hill Talk Craft

While they may not have the highbrow connotations that take place when you get two Vertigo editors together (click for a nice interview between Brian Wood and G. Willow Wilson), Ron Marz and Bryan Edward Hill are both two of my favorite writers, and two of my favorite people.  I don't just mean in comics, I mean people in general.  I feel really lucky to have been in the position to work with both as much as I did, and plan to in the future.


I don't know how it happened, but Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman were not on the links list on my sidebar until tonight.  They each have blogs, and deserve to be read.

Adam and Marc are two of the finest writers working in comics.  To my knowledge they only have a few books on the stands - Monster Attack Network from AIT/Planet Lar, Pilot Season: Genius from Top Cow, and Push and The Highwaymen from Wildstorm, but they are seriously the tits.  

Up until a pitch this past September, Genius was probably the best pitch I had ever gotten.  I spent months trying to figure out the best way to do the project, and luckily, even though it was a part of Pilot Season, the discerning public saw fit to grant the book some more time, and the new series is going to be all kinds of fantastic.  I had the pleasure of editing the outline and first issue, and I can think of very few books I'm as excited to check out as it.

It's actually kind of funny, especially considering the level of talent I was lucky enough to work with while editing, but I had insulated myself to the point where I always assumed the worst.  Every script I got from someone not named Marz or Hester I prepared for the worst before reading.  I was all set to give all kinds of notes and have to do tons of work to get the new Genius #1 into shape but...  It was actually pretty damn amazing.  It just came in close to a year after we got the Pilot issue done, and I had forgotten how awesome these two guys are.  To say nothing of artists Afua Richardson's immense talent (and art is merely the tip of the iceberg for her).

So yeah, basically Adam and Marc are amazing, and will be huge in no time flat.  And Genius is the best book you haven't read.  Do.  Not.  Miss.  Out.


TGIM - Rainy Days

I'll be perfectly honest. After 5.5 years in Los Angeles, I kind of hate rainy days.

I used to love them. Growing up I relished chances to stay in and watch movies or play board games while the rain beat down outside. When I got to Towson freshmen year of college, I still felt the same way. The rain mirrored my mood most days and I would put on Counting Crows songs and just wallow in it. It wasn't misery, it was... Something else, and it made me happy in a weird way.

But LA ruined all that for me. I've come to expect perfection out of 70-degree days and 0% chance of rain. But the reason I'm so glad for the rain when it does come is the gift of perspective. Jason Lee's character said it best in Vanilla Sky (and I fully recognize that this is not an original statement), "Just remember, the sweet is never as sweet without the sour, and I know the sour."

So the rain is the sour that helps us recognize and be thankful for the sweet perfection that is Los Angeles weather about 360 days a year. If you're like me, living in Los Angeles and lamenting the rain, just pause for a second to put it in perspective, and I guarantee you'll enjoy today (and the next day) even more.


One Day, Clothes Will Make the Man

Or at least keep him alive longer. IBM just filed a patent on bullet-dodging armor, which I've already inquired about purchasing. They have me on the interest list, but are not disclosing pricing or availability at this time.

If you want to know the skinny, Engadget has you covered.


Scott Allie is Far Too Kind

Ron Marz sent me a link to this Blog @ Newsarama article in which Scott Allie briefly recounts his NYCC '09 experiences.  Well, my name shows up a few times, and...  Just READ IT.

Just to clarify a bit, Top Cow doesn't find all of their talent from shows, but they do find quite a bit between shows and submissions.  Not all are hired on the spot, but often the second time we see them at a con (Jon Buran) or after they've done some samples with our characters.  I know it has happened where things go on the spot with brand new talent, but it's rare.  Work ethic and professionalism have to count for something.

From cold submissions I know we hired Michael Broussard (who had never submitted or been published anywhere), Kenneth Rocafort (who had done some Spanish-language work and covers for an Image book), Sheldon Mitchell (who we later found out had colored professionally), and I'm sure the list goes on.  It's rare, but if you take the time to look through everything, you find that needle in the haystack.  

Phil Smith deserves a lot of the credit as he's been the go-to guy for submissions the last 4-5 years and really has the eye.  The list of guys we haven't hired that have gone on to big things would gut you if you knew.  He's got skills to pay the bills.  However, I can't remember what his take was on Jorge Molina, who is one my favorite new artists out there and did Urban Myths with Jay Faerber for me.  He forwarded me Jorge's submission email and links because they were very professional and showed promise.  But he either said he wasn't quite ready or wasn't right for TC.  Well, I was blown away (by THIS IMAGE in particular) and began a dialogue that led to him working on UM.

In terms of cons, I remember being blown away by Nelson Blake II at NYCC last year and hiring him on the spot.  He had done some G.I. Joe a ways back, but had largely been out of comics except for working on the Orphan OGN with my boy Bryan Hill.  My best show was probably Wizard World Chicago 2006.  Man, the talent was rolling deep at that show:

There were probably more, but normally you're lucky if you find one guy with promise at a show.  Luckier still if you get one a quarter via cold submissions.  I dunno, there was just something in the water this trip.  Jon's the only one that's done books for TC proper, but the others have all been in the circle and are talked to often.

The one advantage Top Cow has over most other publishers is the bullpen, and company founder Marc Silvestri taking the time to work with all of the new artists who come in house.  With the exception of Stjepan and Kenneth, the vast majority of guys who have started at Top Cow and been there for any decent chunk of time all worked with Marc and in the studio for at least a couple of years.  The list is long, but doing a google or looking at the art books will show the depth and breadth of his influence.  So we can have the luxury of bringing a guy into the studio, having him do backgrounds and assistant work until he's ready.  We rarely hire a guy on the spot and give him full work, but... It does happen.  So when you get the call (I'm talking to you Deviant Artists...), be ready.  You may only get the one shot.  Big, small, or in between.  If this is what you want to do, time to show us what you're made of.

Vince over at Aspen and I had a brief exchange opening night of Chicago last year.  We talked about how you can get a sense whether someone is going to be good by the vibe they give off when they come up for a review.  I thought it was just me, but then he confirmed it, so it's gospel.  The editing panel in NY that Scott mentioned ended with final thoughts from each of the editors.  They're all much smarter and more experienced than me, so I couldn't really think of much to add.  I spoke anyway.  I said that they needed to remember that this is a job, and you're being judged on you.  Comics may be fun, and the line between pro and fan is so slight, but it's still a professional enterprise.  Represent yourself as best you can, because someone else is always going to try and outshine you.  And then I lost track of what I was saying and told people to dress better.  It was weird.

To bring it all back home, while Scott may think I've got some knack for spotting the next big thing, or that I even have a clue what I'm doing...  Well, maybe.  But he's been at this for 14 years, editing a ton of great books and writing some very cool stuff as well.  If you haven't checked out The Devil's Footprints, be sure to snag a copy.  And I need to read the copy of Solomon Kane #1 I have somewhere, but I'd imagine he's doing a great job on it as well.  So listen to Scott, not me.  Unless you want the secret to all things, in which case the truck full of money can be dropped off at my place in exchange for it.


NYCC Recap

First, let me just say thanks to everyone who bought me drinks.  I did pay for a few myself, but there were many freebies and for that I am thankful.  Also thanks to everyone who came up to me or still gave me the time even though I'm not in the position to mete out work the way I used to.  People are always talking about "character" and "professionalism," and from what I can gather I may posses a bit of both.  Thanks to Top Cow for sending me and putting me up as well.  Extra special thanks to Elaine, who let me crash at her place Monday and Tuesday so I could take some more meetings.

The show was a rousing success both for kickass new book Berserker (by Rick, Jeremy, McCaig, Milo and Russ) and for me.  Had a lot of very promising discussions and meetings, one of which is...  Well, there's almost too much potential there.  Lots of irons in lots of fires, so at least one will have to get hot enough to turn into something real.

On the work front, I've agreed to edit a new project for Archaia Studios Press (ASP).  It's a brand new book that you'll see and hear more about in the coming weeks and months, but I'm really excited about it.  Plus, I now get to work with Stephen Christy.  Ladies, get jealous...

There's a big difference between April in NYC and February in NYC.  Last year when I was at the show in the former month, it was warm, people were everywhere, and I saw my future ex-wife on every corner.  I thought for the first time that I could maybe one day live in New York.  Even though we had nice weather Friday on (I was sweating yesterday when I got to Marvel), Wednesday night and Thursday were unbearably cold.  The perfection of LA weather has ruined me, and I just don't think I could do it.  Plus I love space.

I will miss being able to go anywhere and do anything on foot though, plus a subway that actually gets you where you need to go.  That's really the thing I don't like about LA.  It's all driving, it all takes too long, and you end up not running into people randomly.  New York is all clustered in and close enough that you can make a new friend every step.  If you're weird, I guess.

So yeah, that was New York, where I really didn't eat lunch.  I need to get back into a normal eating routine, as I skipped lunch today too and now I'm starving.  Adieu.


Final NYC Lunchtime Musings

Marvel has you wear guest passes when you come to the office. Does this make them more corporate than DC?

The Shake Shack is a good recommendation if waiting in line is better than eating.

Pax has become my favorite place to eat in New York for day-to-day sustenance.

The only thing more phallic than a cigar is a penis. This should not come as a surprise.

In the 7 Days I've been here, I've gone from not wanting to step outside except wearing 7 layers to wondering if anyone would mind me doing the skivvy stomp down 5th Ave.

Khary Randolph just came to Pax. He is a man of great taste and erudition. Maybe I can convince him to create something with me. After all, he only has 2 animated series on the air right now...

I need to find a Dunkin' Donuts and this trip will be complete.

I wonder if Nelson has my money.


Hello, Retro

Walking bag from the bagel shop I saw a car that really caught my eye.  I though it was a new Mustang, so imagine my surprise when I saw a Dodge logo on it.  Twas the Dodge Challenger, brought back just last year.

It reminds me a lot of the recent Mustang models, but really it has this odd mix of 70s and contemporary styling that has me thinking it's one of those early 80s transition cars (before the lack of car style in the 80s turned everything into a dull box).  Here's an article and a cool comparison to the 70s model.  Pretty surprised that I've never seen one on the road or advertised before.  I know hybrids and Japanese cars are all the rage, but if I was looking for a sports car I would definitely consider this.  Well, except for the fact that it's neither Japanese-made nor a hybrid...


TGIM - Noon Checkout

Welcome to another Monday and another TGIM.  Today I'd like to give another reason to be happy on a Monday.

There's nothing quite like knowing every decision you made the night before - staying out that extra hour, having that last shot, eating at that greasy spoon, or letting beer goggles convince you that the leper is a lady, etc. - was a bad one.  You remember the second the alarm goes off Monday morning and you realize it's time for work, the unemployment line, or whatever it is you need to do.

At comic conventions, we drink (as mentioned previously).  And we don't have one drink real quick like, we have many drinks over many hours.  And unlike my usual LA spots, in New York, you can literally go all night.  On Saturday I showed up at a bar at 2am...

Last night I was out way too late, got home around 3:30, and then had an "adventure" in the elevator.  A story for another time and forum.  I got to bed late, and this was after getting 3.5 hours of sleep on Saturday night before showing up at the show to open the booth.  I was running on fumes yesterday, and then I ran out.  So when I got a call from Filip to grab my stuff from his room at 8:40am, I was none too chipper.  Nevertheless, I was able to sleep in for a while, eat a cupcake for breakfast, and take my sweet time checking out.

Noon checkout at your hotel is a beautiful thing, even more so when it follows another night of closing down the bar.  As you can see from the rambling nature of the post, I'm still not 100% up to speed.  But at least I've got something to be thankful for.


Welcome [Prospective Employer]!

If you, [INSERT NAME HERE], got my card and are just hitting the site, welcome.  I have been waiting specifically for you.


Comic Professionals (Myself Included) Drink Too Much

Ran into the C.E.O. of a company at one of the many bars I hit tonight, and I think I came on a little too strong.  It was all "money" this and "time" that.  What an asshole (me, not him).  

In any event, I've already caught up with loads of people over drinks.  Who'd have thunk it.  It's like comic pros all double major in comic creation and boozing.  We are a gifted lot.  New York is looking hot so far, and I have yet to pass out the biz card, so...  Then it's on.

If anyone is reading this blog and wants to meet up with me, I'll be posted at Top Cow or in artist alley hassling folk.  I have the short hair and short beard right now, as a number of people mentioned that they didn't recognize me without the fro.  Oh well...


New York...

...is cold.  And there is snow and black ice.

Pretty uneventful day, just travel and travel and then finding some food.  Got a drink and some conversation with the inimitable Bryan Hill.  Solid vibe, decent ratios even on a slow night, and a British accent.

The con approacheth, and I have no idea what time I'm supposed to be anywhere tomorrow for setup.  I also plan to get up and run, maybe work out in the exercise room (not to be confused with a "fitness center").  Hopefully no one cares what time I show up, because it's 3am now, and I'd like to get a decent night's sleep before the drinking starts.

New York, New York

Nothing clever today, or at least that I can think of on a booze-addled, sleep-deprived brain.  I have 3 hours until my flight, and I have yet to start packing.

In any event, by the time most of you read this, I'll be on my way to NYC for the con.  Holla at a playa if you see him on the street, at a booth, or in general.  Looking forward to a great show and catching up with all of my compatriots.

See you in NY.


Mark Waid is both Better and Smarter than Me (& Probably You)

Mark Waid is one of those guys who just gets it.  On his worst days as writer he's having better days than 90% of the dudes out there.  And he started as an editor before making it to the superstar table, so he gets extra props from yours truly.

Lo and behold, a question from a friend about pitching led me to see what he was up to blog wise as there are pearls of wisdom to be grasped from his mind and the vile clutches of the Internets.  In addition to blogging on Kung Fu Monkey (also home to TV and comics scribe John Rogers and novelist and comics scribe Michael Alan Nelson), he's now blogging over on his own site, www.MarkWaid.com.

Bookmark it, RSS feed it, and learn from what he puts up there.  Mark's a funny and entertaining guy, but when class is in session, PAY ATTENTION.  And class is in session now, at least if you're an aspiring writer.  Click me.


A Good Question...

My dad called me on his way home from work today to check in and see what I was up to.  He asked if I had any meetings, and I told him about my two very promising meetings today, and that my pitch was nearly finished up.  He fired a volley my way:

"How many projects can you work on at one time?"

It's a good question.  Considering I've only written one mini (which I won't be credited on), I don't actually know how much time it'll take me to write comic scripts in addition to any of my own writing (features, prose, etc.) at the same time.  When I did it before, I was always squeezing it in at night and on weekends.  Now my days are full of meetings and writing, and talking about meetings and writing.  Sometimes even meetings where we talk about writing!

But yeah, I'm not sure.  There's definitely that one aspect of the freelance mentality where you take anything that's offered because you don't know when the phone will stop ringing, but that's really not my steez.  If I can't bring my voice and my A-game to a project, I can't accept it.  I think it's easy to make that mistake, but if you're any good (and I like to think I am) and even somewhat prolific you shouldn't have a problem.

I have a LOT of tentatives, but nothing 100% concrete just yet, so for now I'm keeping my mind and schedule open to all.  Possibility is an awesome thing. 

TGIM - Travel

We take for granted the ease in which we can get from one place to another.  Anyone who has ever played Oregon Trail knows what a pain in the ass it is to break an axle or when one of your kids gets dysentery.  Today we have a veritable cornucopia of travel options beyond just foot and horseback - planes, trains, automobiles, subways, lightrails, bikes, donkeys.  All of them far more efficient than when the wild west was the Wild West.

We can go anywhere, the world over, in a few hours time.  We don't have to worry about whether or not we'll survive a months long journey on a boat to get somewhere, or what to do when we discover the edge of this flat world.  Travel is a relatively painless process (provided you don't drink the water) that can take you anywhere you want to go.

Rather than bitch and moan about how we like things to stay the way they are, we need to take advantage of travel.  There is, to quote a trite cliché, an entire world out there.  There are things we can't fathom and cultures left of center that need to be experienced in order to enrich our own lives, regardless of how exciting or mundane they may be.

I am a definite xenophobe.  My two trips outside the country (hitting England twice and France once) haven't been the best experiences.  But if you'll recall from an earlier post, I have travel goals and want to get out there and see what this crazy blue ball of water and dust has to offer.

It's so easy and cheap compared to how it once was.  The Internet and multi-band (or disposable) phones make staying in touch a breeze.  There are no excuses for not traveling.  Don't believe me?  Plan your trip now.

And so I'm not all hype, this week I head to the Big Apple for a 7-day jaunt, then off to Birmingham and The ATL next month, and who knows where April will take me.  I know I'm hitting Mexico at some point this year, San Diego in July, and I'll likely head back to Texas at some point.  And that's just domestic travel.


Demand Better

It's the mantra I say to myself every day.  It's the slogan I pitched to Top Cow to replace "A Different Breed" that they've been using for a while.  It's what the world, needs now, not love, sweet love.  It's the only thing, that's gonna get, us outta this rut.

Here's the thing.  Entertainment is stagnant.  No one is taking chances, but worse than that, no one is reaching.  I've told lots of people that I'm a big fan of "beautiful failures."  What does that mean?  It's when someone tries, when they stretch the limits of what they're capable of, and they come up short.  Sometimes just a hair short, sometimes substantially.  But it's those who reach that get us further.  Some recent examples include Kanye's 808s and Heartbreak, and Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain.  I'm long a believer that Memento was the last truly game-changing movie that has come out.  Secretly I worry that it'll be the last innovative film of my lifetime, but I hold out hope.  And I demand better.

So where is all this coming from?  Well, I watched the Superbowl today (whilst working on a pitch), and found myself really paying attention to the commercials.  I've taken a particular interest in advertising and marketing of late, and we as American consumers have been trained to expect the best and brightest in advertising during one of the most consistently overhyped games of the year.  And while I thought this year's matchup turned into a pretty solid game with a great final quarter, every single year doesn't deserve to have one of the post-game announcers say, "This is exactly what the National Football League is all about."  

Long story short, the ads were incredibly underwhelming this year.  I can barely remember any of them (the one with the scarecrow was cool, but I forgot the product), and if it doesn't stick with you it's not good advertising.  I don't expect more from the GoDaddy's of the world.  They've found a niche (largely because of a Superbowl spot several years back), and they're going to beat that dead horse until it's the second coming and then kill it again and beat it some more.  That's cool.  But the perennial advertisers - beer companies, Coke, Pepsi - they need to step up their games.  Beer seemed especially poorly represented this year.  I don't know if they're all crying over the death of Sparks or if the economy is to blame.

There was a fairly prevalent undercurrent of nostalgia in a number of the ads.  The previously mentioned Scarecrow ad, the very entertaining Grand Theft Audi ad with Jason Statham, the Mean Joe Green riff with Troy Polamalu, and Pepsi's Forever Young ad all included in that, with probably others.  There were attempts within that to do something new by looking at the past, but it just shows the reluctance by advertisers and brands to really break away and do something new and innovative.

Doritos probably had the best showing, with ads that showed eating their chips will cause crazy to happen.  They pushed Snack Strong Productions, which spun out of their Crash the Superbowl campaign.  Not surprisingly, the CTS campaign was about user-submitted ads making it into the Superbowl.  They let people get creative, with little to no constraints outside of it being a 30-second spot.  If the spot is voted to #1 on the USA Today Ad Meter then the creator gets a cool million bucks.  Not bad, and it would make for a great story for Doritos too.  You can check out their Grand Prize winner HERE as well as check out their other finalists.

And let me just say that I get the economic position of advertisers.  There's some more articles on USA Today's site HERE that cover some factors and provide a bit of analysis.  I've discussed this with colleagues and there's one tenet that always holds true.  "There's always a reason to say no."  To taking a chance, to innovation, to reaching, to demanding better.

But if we don't take that chance, how do we improve?  I don't have all the answers, but the proverbial IT is broken, and needs fixing.  Demand better in your own life.  Demand better of those around you.  Demand better of your entertainment.  Take a stand now.

Study.  Improve.  Innovate.  Impact.

Demand better.

Anyone wishing to check out the ads from this year's Bowl can do so RIGHT HERE, courtesy of LT's linkage.

Somewhat ironically, while typing this post I happened to have an interview with Kid Cudi on in the background.  You can check it out here, and it's notable for what he says around the 3:40 mark.  "It will be the most magnificent and innovative album to come from, you know, an artist in '09... There's not gonna be anything that ever sounded like this...  My album is gonna be like anything you've ever heard, in your life.  And I been working diligently to like, bring that product, and I will make everybody happy and I will blow people's minds.  And it will fuck people in their ear pussies."

Big words, but the dude is reaching so I respect him for that.  Hubris is something to be watched for, as is arrogance, but you have to have a measure of that blind overconfidence to really stretch beyond the boxes people want to put you or your work in.  

Never settle for what's expected.