It's not a Junket. It's a Job - The making of my "Best Job in the World" submission

This is my submission to the Queensland Tourism Island Caretaker Job, along with the 30,000 other applicants (including Dean Martin's son, the Edmund Hilarys and Jacques Cousteaus of the world, and even an hilarious Osama impersonator). I use it now as part of my bio/resume, to demonstrate what I can do in 1 minute with a pocket digital camera, a guitar, a Mac, and an old tatty straw hat.

My friend and multi-award-winning Art Director downunder, Sue Carey, challenged me to defend my self-styled title as a Multimediaclast - so this is for you, Sue!

Judging from the staggering caliber of applicants, I'll be surprised if it floats (ha!) but oh, I do so love a 1-minute creative challenge. I can also I console myself that I've been doing this exact same job for the past 5 years as the Customer Evangelist and chief content creator for Bike Friday. The only difference is my butt is planted on a bike saddle, rather than a boogieboard.

For tech trivia buffs,
here's how I made it:

I crunched it on my ye olde 12" Mac Powerbook running Tiger with iMovie HD 6, and Quicktime Pro. I shot the video with my digital camera one-handedly as I always do, and added some scruffy strumming on my no-frills (not even a dot on the fretboard) Martin guitar. It took a few takes because I had to keep re-shooting myself to get my head in frame and not looking too washed out, and also practice that groove without fluffing every third bar (it's about time I took lessons - the same handful of grooves are wearing thin).

I actually arranged a cooler, more complex track using GarageBand's readymade loops - then just decided to keep it simple. The only bit of Garageband remaining is the electric guitar cameo at the very beginning. Rather than fiddle with mikes I just shot myself strumming with the camera then extracted the sound in QTPro, exported it to a .AIFF file and imported it into iMovie. Digital cameras record sound amazingly well considering - ALL the sound for my two adventure DVDs were in-camera.

More on shooting like I do.

For advertising and strategy buffs some cerebrals for you:

Rather than cram as many 'pick me pick me!' creds as I could into the 60 second spot, I approached it the way I like do anything that's remotely advertising - a simple idea based on a core truth.

When I asked 'merican friends and strangers about Queensland Islands they drew a blank, citing every other island in the atlas, most notably, the Bahamas. Originally I filled up the entire 60 seconds with people citing every island you can imagine - "St Barts, St Kitts, Martinique, Cuba" even "Haiti", where my sister is at the moment, and she reports that it ain't a paradise (something in her last email about soup with potato, intestine and teeth in it).

The folks I interviewed were just sliver of the "800 million potential tourists worldwide" (that figure courtesy of the UN via Google in 2006), if only Queensland could give folks a reason to fly to Australia to sink toes in in *its* white sand rather than go closer to home.

Therein lies the real challenge - forget hanging ten with Nemo and cleaning the pool!

I would have loved to have kept Justin's other classic lines in like: "I haven't heard of Hamilton Island, but I've heard of clam chowder!" (We were eating clam chowder in Chelsea Market and I was trying to get him to concentrate). His other classics were "Queen's England?" "Never heard of Queensland." "I thought it was the convict's land!".

Who will they pick?

It should ideally be someone who can inspire people to choose Queensland islands over other choices considering the rather susbtantial carbon emissions involved in getting there.

Will they go the predictable route and choose a girls-gone-wild Pam Anderson chestalike with a handycam?

Will they choose a scholarly Marine biologist with a great butt?

Perhaps they will choose someone who isn't yet a waterbaby - I actually think that's a great strategy, because by getting your diving ticket and blogging about it on the islands, you could lure millions of would-be divers to spend their coin getting certified in Queensland rather than Roatan. Think of that extended market!

If they choose a certain, short, Chinese female - either me or one of my half billion sisters, it will be a much need boost for the image of Asians - bah, we're still pigeon-holed as unsmiling students shoveling rice into their mouths and scientists wearing lab coats. Um, ok, I still shovel rice in to my mouth.

Finally, to those who think the job's a junket - blogging for a living is hard work. I am at my laptop 25/7 pulling experiences, words, music, video, image hopefully in a way that "makes people late for work." I've done this while stationed in all the places you see on my site It's surprising, but when you are sitting at a table in front of a computer, you could be anywhere and it's the same. *** More about this below.

Hence my strapline: It's not a junket. It's a job.

But it's a job with a real paradise out the window, rather than a framed, motivational poster with picture of one to brighten your carpeted cubicle.

Feel free to comment, I welcome all feedback.

*** Wanna know how hard? Google "Best Job in the World" and it brings up a lot of news coverage like this, and somewhere there's invariably a sentence "Responsibilities include little more than filing the odd blog on life in paradise." Well, as a 25/7 blogger for the past 10 years I can tell you it's hard yakka, as we say downunder. I remember spending many lonely nights in a concrete box of a cybercafe in little Mexican towns, feverishly tapping away and uploading photos to the Bike Friday website. Read my Mexico Blog. When I was in Italy on an official tour, I was typing every night instead of cruising the Prada stores in Orvieto. Read my Bike Across Italy blog. Every year for the past 7 years I've done several week long events including Bike Friday Desert Camp, Cycle Oregon, Round*Up in Philadelphia, or the Australian Bike Friday Club Gathering; whenever I am in an area I do an extensive multimedia blog be it New York, Chicago, Australia, San Francisco, Texas, Hawaii and so forth. Then there are my personal blogs, company blog, FastCompany blog. Then there are all my Bike Friday videos and Galfromdownunder video projects. special video projects like my own advocacy outreach: Burn Carbs Not Hydrocarbs, the tikit on trial. Then there are all the talks I do. Then there's the advertising. And on and on and on. That's about half of it.
So in short, no, it's not a junket - bloggers are busy people.


Oldyonfoldy said…
You may very well get an interview based on your creatively-rich video! Enjoyed it thoroughly.

Al :)
Thanks Al - it would be fund to get an Asian of some stripe up there - we're under-represented in all areas outdoorsy and athletic except Kung Fu and a bit of golf (Tiger Woods) :o)

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