Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

20 October 2013

Inklust #12: Thirsty Demons

It is chilling, in fact, the similarity between alcoholism and good ol’ fashioned demonic possession, the kind seen in The Exorcist. Like the devil, an alcoholic just wants to hide in his room, curse God, puke on visitors, and die. Attempts to cast out either alcoholism or the devil get the same response: both demon and disease will deny they exist. And when exposed, both will try to make deals to survive, or threaten suicide, or lash out, or play dead. Alcoholism is well described as a sickness of the soul because it is in the soul that the alcoholic’s problem lies.
— Luke Sullivan, Thirty Rooms to Hide In


What is "Inklust"? Boy am I glad you asked. Here's the manifesto: part I and part II.

11 October 2013

Inklust #11: Sacrifice

I wonder if Ibrahim’s palms were damp as he walked his son to the summit. Did he tell him they were going on a hike? Did he take water? I think he must have glared at the knife until his reflection was part of the blade. I think relief must have replaced his horror when he unsheathed his knife and recognized his face. He must have known that what he was to do was of such significance it had already become who he was, and so he offered both his son and himself to the kinzhal’s edge.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra

I think the biggest lesson my dad wanted to teach me — the one he still regularly reinforces — is his firm belief that we become what we think about. Being an engineer, he acted on this concept the best way he knew how: by ensuring my input was as diverse as possible. On the day I was born he ordered the complete collection of Encyclopaedia Brittanica and accompanying Great Authors series. Every year he bought a new dictionary for my birthday. He made me write down and map goals, and he still sends me newsletters or ideas he finds edifying. His entire approach to the mind revolves around keeping the software up to date.

On some level I guess we know that idea to be true: a single thought, the suspicion of a thing, or the significance of some future event can so affect us that we get chills, can almost literally feel ourselves transforming.

Scientifically the idea is sound. I've read a lot lately that we can change our synaptic patterns based on actions, new habits, new input, even thoughts. Synaptic pathways define who we are, generally speaking, during those autopilot moments when you're just feeling and reacting to things.

So next time you find yourself snagged in a debate about determinism versus free will, you'll have an explanation for why it's neither and both.


What is "Inklust"? Boy am I glad you asked. Here's the manifesto: part I and part II.

09 October 2013

On being industry groupies

Today in Things Media Bloggers Love that No One in the Real World Cares About, Telemundo's Peter Blacker called pirates "super-fans" and said they're wonderful to study, to help, and to use for optimising proprietary channels.

It was the most magnificent thing in all the world ... and it happened just three years after Matt Mason said companies should use BitTorrent to do just that.

SCENE: I return to the newsroom with stars in my eyes and twitchy livetweet-mangled hands.
Me: "I'm in love with Peter Blacker." 
Stu: "Does this mean I can have Cécile Frot-Coutaz all to myself?"  
Two days prior, we decided to be mutually in love with the CEO of FremantleMedia, who's whip-smart and deliciously bullish about OTTs like Netflix.
Me: "Yes. No... no, no, yes." 
Stu: "We can have a double wedding." 
Me: "Let's have a double wedding, then go on double dates until we die." 
Stu: "This is not at all creepy." (Checks watch.) "It's Katzenberg time." (Smiles apologetically, then abandons me.)

The speakers are so good this year! I wish they had trading cards.

07 October 2013

Scenes from MIPCOM

Me: "So the new formats weren't so fun?"

Stuart: "No. Although I guess I liked the idea of the men who've secretly admired a woman for a long time going on a date with that woman dressed as a rabbit. Oh, there's also the one where you try to stop a bull by grabbing it by the horns."

Meanwhile, on Twitter: "If you see the half-naked Wiccans pitching the sex cooking show we recently got pitched, DO let us know."

02 October 2013

NMA responds to Marina Shifrin's quit vid: why it's worth sharing. BONUS: an update on me.

I just saw the rebuttal video that NMA produced in response to Marina Shifrin's epic I-quit vid. It provided a lot of thinking juice.

Marina's video started a worthy discussion about what it means to go viral. I really like Benoît Raphaël's distillation (sorry, it's in French): that she suffers from a culture that's increasingly less about creativity and more about numbers, a familiar refrain in any creative career. But Benoît also points out that creativity and viral ambitions are not mutually exclusive; the problem Next Media Animation has is that it's a victim of having produced what, at the time, was an innovative model, and it's spent the last three years beating that horse dead.

NMA's rebuttal drove me to this article on Gawker, where a spokesman speaks honestly about Marina's departure and how it affected the company, and invites people to ask questions about how things really go on at NMA. I won't defend what he says about its 9-to-5 policy, overtime compensation or the trips and opportunities they offered Marina over the course of her time there. Departures are complex; there is never really one reason, or even two, and anyway we can't really know how she lived that professional experience.

But it was nonetheless heartfelt, worthy of reading, and it got me thinking about our responsibility in the viral equation. Questions of creativity and numbers (primarily producer/client concerns) aside, we also endorse and condemn when we share without taking a second to think about the complete ramifications of that small, not-so-trivial act.

Here's my full reflection on that. I hope you'll read it because I think it's worth a look.

Onto the personal (the UNCENSORED!, if you will). I don't write here much anymore, and there are lots of reasons for that, but here are the big ones:
  •  I'm doing more strategy work lately, which I really love
  • It's been a long time since I've been able to sit and distill whatever it is I'm experiencing
A few years ago I was doing the hardcore-blogger loop: 16-20 articles a day under tight deadlines. Like Marina, the people responsible for publishing my material put me under a lot of pressure to perform under growing demand, with fewer and fewer resources. It was around that time that writing started to feel less like a calling than a chore, and that I started seriously thinking about exiting the will-blog-for-food lifestyle.

Online blog/journalism is thankless, ephemeral and robotic; I've critiqued ads and written long articles that I don't even remember because my output was so high. So I decided to change course: focusing more on teaching companies how to express themselves online, building fulfilling and meaningful identities, instead of pumping words out at an Olympic pace.

I'm finally at the point where I do more strategy than blogging (although I do still copywrite, which is simultaneously more creative and more chill). But I miss taking the time to synthesise what I'm seeing and experiencing. It's an important activity, both for me and for people who care about the media, tech and ad industries. So I'm hoping that eventually I'll write more — and more importantly, to write things worth reading.

There are small, sporadic moments when I'll succeed — like today. And like today, I'll share those moments with you. I hope those moments become more frequent, and that you go on reading.