Jurassic World’s Copywriting Department Not So Clever, Girl

So Jurassic World released all of its website fun stuff today, with the dinosaur film’s teaser trailer coming on Thanksgiving night.

But when you’re a grammar fanatic like me, your eye for detail will ruin just about everything for you, and that’s what happened to me tonight as I perused some of the “corporate profile” of fictitious mega-company Masrani on the movie website.

Under the company’s faux-FY2013 report, we get the 1-2 punch of the wrong versions of “its”

Masrani continued it’s trend since 2008 to post billion dollar profits over the financial year.

A couple of lines later, Typo-saurus Rex appears.

 

Hiring an additional 4,000 staff over the course of the year, Masrani looked to increase its workforce in the United Arab Emirates, with an upgraded oil refinary expecting to be completed in early 2014.

I realize it’s a movie about cloned dinosaurs raging rampant through a theme park, but is a copy editor not in the budget?

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The “Death” of Newspapers: 15 Years Later

About 15 years ago, every man and woman who worked for a newspaper started being told by management that the Internet was the Devil; that we would all lose our jobs because of its freedom of information distribution, and that a degree in Journalism would be worth less than the paper it was printed on within a generation.

I was working for a newspaper 15 years ago, and I heard the same fear-mongering from the leadership of our chain. Only in hindsight do I realize that they weren’t really worried about the journalists they employed, but rather their own pocketbooks.

A lot of us did in fact lose our jobs in the newspaper industry as the Internet evolved. Newspaper advertising sales dropped, classified sections became obsolete, and cash cows like car dealerships and grocery stores went online to hock their wares. But what we do – journalists, writers, editors, photographers, and designers – didn’t vanish into thin air, we just evolved right along with the Internet.

If running my own freelancing business has taught me one thing, it’s that the world needs great writers and communicators now more than ever. And that realization means that my degree in Journalism and pedigree for being able to pluck a subject out of thin air and write compelling copy about it; or take someone else’s creative work and sharpen prior to publication, is liberating, exciting, and quite frankly, one of the best revelations of my professional life.

As a newspaper guy, every year had its arc for me – back-to-school, sports, festivals, city council, school board meetings, the occasional crime wave, scandal, or election, feature photos, and try to stay awake during the summer time. It was an easy gig, but ultimately a boring gig, and one that seldom did anything to spark my passion or challenge me as a professional.

Compare that to the last 12 months, in which I have:

  • Worked with a Grammy winner
  • Reviewed a cyber-securities proposal sent to the Department of Defense and the US Air Force
  • Co-written a whitepaper on the evolution of corporate intranets
  • Served as news editor for a major education news website
  • Edited a ghost story that made quite literally jump in the build-up to the reveal
  • Dived head first into the twin worlds of SAP and BI, and ended up writing stories for a magazine whose headquarters is on the other side of the world from my office.

The Internet might have sent a whole bunch of newspapers to the morgue, but it had the opposite effect on those of us who worked for them. Death? No, the Internet gave us life.

 

The Unexpected Benefit of Raising Your Freelancing Rate

OpportunitiesQuite recently, I decided to raise my hourly rate on the major  marketplace where I cultivate a majority of my freelance work. Unless you’re independently wealthy, the early times when you decide to start freelancing often involve beginning with low-paying jobs and then slowly building up to a more favorable rate of pay as your name and your reputation grow online.

With a particularly strong surge thus far in 2014, I felt justified in testing the waters at a new price, reasoning that if the work dried up or everyone was turning down my offers, I could always drop it back down.

What happened next took me completely off guard, although after a couple of days’ worth of critical thinking (usually in 20-30 second bursts between working and taking care of the Twin Miracles), I was able to come to a surprising, but extremely exciting conclusion.

What happened? The number of people wanting to interview and/or hire me for work has gone up considerably since I raised my rate. I’m not getting every job, but I’m getting considered for a lot more than previously, and often without having to lift a finger to promote myself.

Why is this happening? Because just like one subset of potential clients has a price maximum, another has a price minimum, a number they look for as a baseline for the quality of freelancer they can hire – either because of personal conviction or  because of what their company says the budget is for said project.

By moving my rate up, I now fall squarely into their search parameters, whereas before, no matter how good a job I could potentially do at a lower rate, I wasn’t even on their radar. It has been a serendipitous revelation, not only because I’m hitting and exceeding my weekly goals on a more consistent basis, but also because I’m making contact with more and more high-end clients, with the potential for repeat, long-term work.

Are you undervaluing your work? If so, stick your toe in the pool at a higher rate. You might be surprised how nice the water feels.

 

 

Enterprising Young Men

One of our latest clients is the owner of a Canadian lawn care company who also happens to be a college student. happy

Chris of Local Lawns requested our help with some copy editing / copy writing for his very nice pair of websites that advertise his impressive business in a suburb of Ontario.

There’s nothing we like better than being a small business helping another small business, and we just have to marvel at the work ethic and innovation of this guy, considering we spent our college days going to IHOP at 3 a.m. and playing dorm room games like “indoor baseball” and “how long can I go without doing my laundry?”

That’s a LOT of Big Words!

I’ve done some academic paper proofing in the last year, as well as a few essays  here and there for people seeking to gain acceptance to graduate programs. Our latest client, Adam F., came to us needing a final set of eyes on his dissertation for a doctorate in philosophy from the City University of New York.

The subject? Nothing fancy, just a bit of light reading called “Automated Classification Argument Stance in Student Essays: A Linguistically Motivated Approach with an Application For Supporting Argument Summarization.”

Uh … gulp.

Now truth be told, once we got the basics down, it was a fascinating thing to read, even if large chunks of it did sail far over my head, and I used merriam-webster.com more in 10 hours than I probably have in 10 weeks.

The result, tremendous feedback from a really nice client who we hope to see again soon.

Scratching Us Where We Itch

There’s nothing better as a freelancer than getting a project where you are either passionate about the subject matter or know it’s something that can make you better – either personally or professionally.

Such is the case in our latest job, proofing the new digital marketing book “Shout in the Right Direction” by Nick Rosener and Eric Lehnen. Considering we started this website to reach a bigger freelance audience, (and thank you for reading this, digital audience member!) it’s a great privilege to do a job where we can learn while we work!

Mixed Media Art Magazine

One of the coolest publications we do work for is Mixed Media Art Magazine – focuses on “Artists, Techniques and Tools” and opens our eyes every issue to the amazing ways that people create modern art. We do copy editing for this publication when the writerMMAM6covers have turned in their articles and again when it’s in final proof stage.  Thanks so much to Luisa for letting us be a part of this really cool look at a world we previously had no idea even existed.

Not only is MMA Magazine one of the coolest visual magazines we’ve ever seen, but it also calls Portland, OR, home – one of our owner’s Top 5 favorite cities in the US (of which 4 are on the West Coast, surprise, surprise!).

Check out a back issue of MMA at the Itunes store here.