Secret Life of Producer: Red Delicious

burlesque, events, Interview

I’ve known MisRed for the last 3 years.  It truly feels like way longer.  I’ve travelled huge distances to perform at her events “The Red Delicious Review” and her up to Auckland to perform for me. We have had many a roadie, late night, tiny dressing room muddle and laughs.  It’s my pleasure to introduce to you, RED DELICIOUS to the Secret Life of A Producer Series!

How long ago did you start producing events?
I’ve been producing about 18 months now after I started my own show not long after I got into burlesque, mostly so I could have somewhere to perform!

Click in to see more!

What type of things would you have on a normal “Producer” work day?
Lots of networking, especially for the events coming up this year! But other than the obvious, I spend a lot of time doing business planning, building budgets, reviewing performer profiles, structuring the show, organizing sponsors and prizes, coordinating with venues, writing performer agreements, chasing performers, setting up lists (music, to-do etc) and writing event profiles to capture the target audience. O and some where in there I eat…

“Producer” covers a lot of different jobs that you’d do in the process of putting on an event. Can you share your most and least favourite of them all?
Most favorite has to be hearing the feedback about how well as how went from the audience and from the performers  Its important to me that obviously the audience has a good time, but more so that the performers do to and are treated well as that is reflected in their performances.

Your least favourite job as a producer? 
My least favorite is about an hour before the show starts. I usually am checking everything has got what they need as well as trying to get myself together and have my own quite time which is damn near impossible. It also comes with the worry of meeting targets at this time as even if you’ve sold out, you’re never sure if they will all show up!

What is the most exciting event you’ve ever worked on in an organisational sense?
The most exciting is the challenges coming up for 2013, with the New Zealand Burlesque Festival. To be able to bring together the NZ community and show them the magic of our international performers, to learn and develop our own community from what they teach and to create opportunities for NZ performers to go overseas is amazingly exciting. And horribly terrifying as well!

What have you got coming up that your really looking forward to?
The next event I am looking forward to is the Autumn Revue, a showcase of my students as well as some special guests from the deep south! I’m mostly excited about it as it will be launching my first solo student onto the stage and I will have to give up my position as the ONLY independent performer in Manawatu as it will no longer be true! I am so proud of what she’s achieved and the amazing person she is; I can’t wait to show the locals what a fantastic community we are building here!

http://www.eventfinder.co.nz/2013/autumn-revue/palmerston-north

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Secret Life of a Producer: Petit Cheval

burlesque, events, Interview

When I first met this young lady I was star struck, I never thought that in a few short years I’d be not only performing with her, but be honoured to call her one of my close friends!  AMAZING… she’s a favourite here and internationally, recently performing with the House of Burlesque in my dream town, Melbourne (more on that is another blog!).  

From performing with the AMAZING Dust Palace, to the Splore festival, Dr Sketchy, Electric Burlesque and the Fringe Festival Mika shows this girl is a force to be reckoned with! A whirlwind in lashes, glitter and lace!

Others in my Producer Series:  Miss Red, Lilly Loca, Queerlesque

How long ago did you start producing events?
I started in 2009, when, faced with the prospect of only 2 burlesque promoters in Auckland and a desire to have more shows, pushed my stilettos first into production. Before that I had only graced the stage, not been the one wrangling performers.

Click in to see more!

What type of things would you have on a normal “Producer” work day?
Emails… Lots and lots of emails. Wrangling performers, liaising with venue managers and business partners. Promoting the event via various social networks. It’s all very dull and uninteresting to read about. My favourite part is usually the creative process of forming the event. This usually involves boozy lunches andlots of laughter. But still a few emails…

“Producer” covers allot of different jobs that you’d do in the process of putting on an event. 
Can you share your most and least favourite of them all?
Well as stated above, I certainly love the creative part of coming up with the event,figuring out the energy, atmosphere I want to create with the venue. My least favourite part is flyering. Hate it with a passion. But it is a necessary evil.

What is the most exciting event you’ve ever worked on in an organisational sense?
There are two that really spring to mind. The first is of course, my very first show I ever produced. I had a few international burlesque friends in town for another show (one they weren’t being paid for, or paid very little), and the asked me if I would consider putting on a show so they could make some extra money. and after very little rational consideration I agreed to wing it! It was at Pony Club, bottles of champagne were so cheap you could spill an entire bottle and not care, you’d just buy another one! It was a sell out raging success. How I managed it I’ll never know.

My second is the club night I am currently producing with my friend and business partner Barney McDonald, Electrique Burlesque (EB). EB feels very special to me as it is such a unique event in the burlesque social calendar, a night that is both show, club night and sensory overload thanks to some vintage electro-therapy machines we have, kindly provided by Boris Van Galvin. The music is deep-disco electronica, the dancers are wonderfully varied. My job is essentially to find hot, talented, interesting performers, who are capable of producing weird and unusual acts to music chosen by Barney, who is our “in-house” DJ-maestro. So far we’ve had a Vospertron lightsuit robot playboy; a painted lady wash away her sins; aerial chains; a topless, full-busted but still bearded Jesus; a stray cat strip with a well placed cardboard box; and ZOWIE! To name a few.

What have you got coming up that your really looking forward to?  
Feb is an insanely busy month for me this year! I of course have the aforementioned Electrique Burlesque at Cassette 9; a two week season of Salon Mika as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival and Pride Festival; Queerlesque; and the PROUD the Pride Closing Ceremony. I’m going to be living in false eyelashes and rhinestones, and probably end up with permanent corset lacing marks on my back….

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Secret Life of a Producer: Va-Va-Voom Productions

burlesque, events, Inspiration, Interview

To follow on from last week’s Secret Life of a Producer blog, this week I’m interviewing this gorgeous young lassie.  I’ve worked with her, performed with her, and had a quiet tipple too *cough* and was eager to see what she gets up to in her wee Vaudevillian office! 

1) How long ago did you start producing events?
About four and a half years ago. 
Click in to see more!
I am a professional Drama teacher and have produced and directed several plays and performances for schools and companies. However, it was this time two years ago, that I was in the shower and a light-bulb went on in my head. “why not create a show that showcased a variety of different performance styles in one show?”. So I did and it is now known as Lilly Loca’s Vaudeville Cabaret. I have produced several other events since then, cooperatively and solo, such as 60’s club night Pussy Liquor, and dance-hybrid B-Boy vs. Burlesque. I now run my own production company, Va-Va-Voom Productions which specializes in cabaret, burlesque and vaudeville events and shows. I hope to get back to my roots and do some more theatre this year as well. Got quite a few exciting projects coming up!
2) What type of things would you have on a normal “Producer” work day?Haha, is there such a thing as a “normal producer work day?” The thing I love about being a producer is that no two days are ever the same – it’s not like a 9-5 office job where you do the same old thing every day. Typically though, I’ll get up, have a strong coffee and protein filled breakfast (an essential part of the beginning of my day) head to my computer, check emails, plan/organize upcoming or potential events, do administrative work such as run sheets, production timetables, etc. (there is A LOT of admin as a producer), promote my events through social media and on-line sources, promote my company, go out and buy props, organize lighting and sound, check out venues, research performers and the list goes on. Obviously I don’t do all of that in one day, but it’s a pretty huge job! 

3) “Producer” covers allot of different jobs that you’d do in the process of putting on an event. 

Can you share your most favourite of them all?Oh my absolute favourite would have to be: Marketing, publicity, organizing schedules and essential production documents (I think I’m a bit OCD!), liaising with cast, crew, venues and sponsors and keeping in touch with fans of the shows. I’m a real people person so love jobs that have me interacting with people.


4) Your least favourite job as a producer?
Applying for funding. Only because it’s rather difficult filling out the forms! Otherwise, I don’t think there is anything I really don’t like. Something that grinds my gears, is on the day of a show, while I’m not only the producer, but production manager and the go-to person for the cast and crew, is when people try to call or text you wanting tickets for the show. Honestly – I have a million and one things to think about and do, and the last thing I need is people calling me asking me personally to try and squeeze people in or hold tickets. That’s what a FOH ticketing person is for! Ok, rant over 😉 
  
5) What is the most exciting event you’ve ever worked on in an organizational sense?Ohhh golly! Um.. organizational wise.. probably the one I have coming up, which is a fortnightly event called ‘Whisper 150’ – based on the prohibition Speakeasy clubs of the 1930’s. It’s great because I’m collaborating with Hard Luck Cafe for it, and I’ve got to think really outside the square in terms of marketing and publicity because Speakeasies were generally very underground, and only those “in the know” knew about how to access it, get bookings, etc. So need to think rather creatively about getting people along, without being too “in your face” about it, to keep it authentic. 

6) What have you got coming up that your really looking forward to?  ( This is your chance to pimp your event!)
Next week, I have the sixth Lilly Loca’s Vaudeville Cabaret show as a part of the Auckland Fringe Festival called ‘Vivacious Vaudeville – A Fringe Special!‘. This will be our kookiest show yet! We have a fabulous cast on board such as: 
Willow Noir – The Current Miss Burlesque New Zealand – She’ll make you hot under the collar Looney Rouge – Serving sumptuous servings of sexy swing
Ken Samson– ‘Romano Zucchini’: In your face and in your pants interactive comedy
Lilly Loca – MC and Theatrical Vaudevillian – Putting the Va-Va-Voom into Vaudeville
Patty Haag – The Hideously Fabulous Stage Kitten
The Speitatet – Swinging, Grooving, Spontaneous Jazz Trio

Plus we also have three amazing ‘Vivacious Vaudeville Prize Packs’ to be won (one each night of the show) to ticket holders! Patty Haag will be coming around before the show and issuing raffle tickets (so make sure you are on time!). Each prize pack has over $500.00 worth of goodies inside! Our fabulous prize sponsors are Purdy Corsetry, Live & Let Dye, Miss T Pinups, The New Zealand Burlesque Festival, Queenie Mays Vintage Skincare and BodyFX.
It’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun. It’s held at The Loft in Q Theatre. Tickets are $30-$35 from http://www.qtheatre.co.nz/lilly-locas-vaudeville-cabaret-presents-vivacious-vaudeville-fringe-special

Photo credits
Cast Photo, Nat web – Photo by Jocelen Janon
Vivacious Vaudeville poster designed by Peter Heckman
Nat_Clinton – Photo by Clinton Cardozo 
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Life of a Producer: Queerlesque

burlesque, events, Inspiration, Interview, Life, queer

I thought I’d write about producing events and what goes on behind the scenes.  More often than not one would buy a ticket then turn up to an event and that is the only two interactions you have with that brand.  Weather it be a Burlesque event, a fashion show, or any kind of night life event there is a whole lot of work that gets done well before the event and all the way leading up to the date.

This is not intended in a negative way, instead to highlight and thank those who slog long hours to make this kind of thing happen!  Those who run events or produce generally do it because the love it.  They love the satisfaction of seeing an event come to fruition and the excitement of planning and running an event. Click in to see more!


I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while.  If you are a Producer of an event I want to interview you!! It’ll be an interview series, similar to what I’ve done with my “Not Your Normal Job” series.  “Life of a Producer” contact me if you’d like to be part of this series.  
To start all of I thought I’d lead by example with myself, Producer of Queerlesque!

How long ago did you start producing events?
I started when I was 15, can you believe it?  I used to teach Irish Dance classes and put on a mini end of year production and I’ve still got the VCR tape of the show!  Since then I’ve run troupe’s of Go-Go dancers and more recently I am the proud mama of my Queerlesque baby all over New Zealand and hopefully into 2013 Australia…

What type of things would you have on a normal “Producer” work day?
Oh let me start with last weekend!  I went to about 8 different retail and wholesale store to price up fabric, I spend a couple of hours with a DJ to create a mix-tape of sorts for the Queerlesque Showcases we have coming up, I met with the creative directors of an event and discussed what they wanted for their show and what I could put together, I discussed lighting and rigging. Then once I got home I started emailing: show and performer bios, writing MC notes, co-coordinating and booking performers and finally all things social media.  Unless I have someone to help with all of these things I do them mostly on my own in my spare time around my 9-5 job which I still keep.  Crazy?  Yes probably.  Hyper-active and driven? Absolutely!

“Producer” covers allot of different jobs that you’d do in the process of putting on an event.  Can you share your most and least favourite of them all?
My favourite part of being a Producer is the first five minutes after the event is over! Okay, just kidding.  I really enjoy having lots of things to keep my brain occupied and my evenings busy.  I find there to be nothing more boring than an evening wasted, doing nothing. Not saying I don’t spend the occasional night in front of the TV. I most certainly do, but with my mobile phone at my side multi-tasking at the same time.

Your least favourite job as a producer?  
Trying to keep everyone happy?  Before, during and after.  I suppose the stupid unexpected things that happen that you really just have to keep your cool and deal with it.  I’m really luck that I really awesome team behind me, from stage managers, stage kittens, door people, MC, performers and loyal supporters!


What is the most exciting event you’ve ever worked on in an organisational sense?
Auckland Pride Festival 2013!!  I’m pulling together three mini Showcase shows, a Parade float, and a full blown event to top it all off, all in the space of a week and a half.  And that doesn’t take into account any performing I’m doing myself during that same time period.  Its been exciting and a huge learning curve dealing with ticketing agents, corporate advertising, sponsorship and grant applications and looking after a huge number of clients and performers.  Did I mention I love working to deadlines?

What have you got coming up that your really looking forward to?  ( This is your chance to pimp your event!)
Can I name a couple??  There’s the Fringe Festival show I’m Emceeing, and the closing party of the Pride festival, incidentally called Proud and being held at the newly revamped and restored Victoria Park Market complex.  Exciting!  I couldn’t finish with out mentioning my Producer baby, the Queerlesque show.    We have performers from Wellington coming up, and a huge line up of musical acts before the show too.  Its my Queer Burlesque, circus, cabaret, and vaudevillian dream come true!  Come along and watch people!

Follow us on social media NOW!!
http://www.eventfinder.co.nz/2013/queerlesque-pride-2013/auckland
http://www.facebook.com/#!/QEERLESQUENZ
https://twitter.com/Queerlesque_NZ

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Not your normal Job: Cathy Tree Costumier

burlesque, Fashion, Interview

Burlesque Dancers are known for their amazing costumes, Swarovski crystals from head to toe, corsets and glamour.  But of course this doesn’t all happen by chance and not all of us are talented enough to make them ourselves.  New Zealand is very fortunate to have an amazing handful of Costumiers and special effects artists.  With companies like Weta Workshop and the Wearable Arts Awards (WOW) Wellington really does have talent!  You might have seen me having proverbial kittens on Social Media over the amazing sparkly goodness which is my new prized costume possession… Thanks Cathy!! xx  

What does a Gal like you do on a normal day “at work”?

My days can really change from day to day!  So really in one day I could do any number of the following things….  Click in to see more & pictures!!!
work on texture samples, develop designs on paper and with fabric, pattern make, sew, make headdresses, research new costumes, sketch, shop online and in town for products, have fittings, source items for photo shoots, meet with photographers makeup artists models and more!
If I’m working on a film job, I will be at the film studio or workshop all day.  Sometimes I will just be working in a production line making components for costumes, and other times developing ideas with the team, researching, figuring out how to make something work that has come from the design team. 
When I work at Weta I could be working with anything from silk, to armour, to foam latex creature suits!
Occasionally I work on set and take care of the costumes on and off the actors. 

How did you get into the industry and what made you decide this is what you wanted to make a living out of?
I was a young teenager when I realised there was such a thing as costume design, and that fashion wasn’t really the thing for me.  And so from then on, costuming has been my focus!
So often the way to get jobs in the industry is about who you know.  So a lot of energy often gets put into networking and trying to meet people and get your name out there. It can sometimes take years before you will get called regularly for work.  But others can hit the jackpot without much work, just by being in the right place at the right time.
I just kept putting myself out there and met a lot of people in the industry and the work starting to come in.
It’s often a struggle, with work being off and on as jobs come and go, but it’s what I love to do, and I’ve really never done anything else.  It’s what I’m passionate about and yes I have moments of “what am I doing?” but then I work on something wonderful and remember why I love doing what I do.  It can be incredibly rewarding when you get to see your work on a character or client, and you see the way it can affect them positively and develop their character’s personality or performance.  It’s that kind of thing that really keeps you wanting more. 

What tips would you give new others who might be interested in a similar career?

Network.  Be confident but not pushy.  Respect your peers and you will learn a lot from them.  Work hard towards what you want to achieve.  Know that you don’t have to be good at everything, and maybe focus on what you love and are good at. Always remember there is more to learn.  If it’s a nightmare of a job, remember it’s only a film/show/act and it will be over soon.  Don’t spread yourself too thin, and learn to delegate where you can.  Know your limits.  Research and keep an eye on what’s going on out there to keep inspired and up with the play.  If you get turned down for a job, remember there are more out there and keep trying, that one wasn’t for you because there’s something else out there waiting for you!  Enjoy what you do! 

When did you discover there was life outside the corporate 9-5 Office grind?  Was there a specific event or epiphany that brought that about?
I guess it more a case of, I didn’t even think about the corporate grind.  I have never been a part of it.  And sometimes when I’ve been working 16+hr days on a costume job, for weeks on end, I almost forget there is another world outside of the workroom! 

Have you ever struggled to get what you do at work or out of work taken seriously?
I have had a lot of people not understand what it is I do.  They think I just gallivant around with the stars and looking at pretty fabrics, drinking coffee.  It’s a very hard job at times, working very long hours, meeting clients’ needs and trying to keep enough work coming in.  Even work peers in different areas can really have a misconception of costuming, sometimes coming across that they think they’re much more of a professional.  It can be a real struggle to remind people that it takes a lot of years of experience to be able to achieve the results required.
It also happens that sometimes potential clients really don’t understand why it costs hundreds of dollars for a made to measure corset, for example, compared to buying a cheap and nasty factory made one.  There can be a general lack of understanding around what it actually takes to design, pattern make, fit, construct, dye, embellish and finish a costume.  That’s a lot of hours of work!  Even preparing quotes and meeting with clients is actually a time consuming part of the job, not just funsies to sit around and talk about pretty things!  It’s all work, and often hard work!  People can forget that and be very blase about your time, leaving you hanging around when they are a no-show to a booked appointment. 

There is a lot of work that I do “behind the scenes” to get a costume to a level where it is ready to present or shoot.  Even styling a photo shoot isn’t as simple as just turning up and dressing someone in a costume.  It can take days to source complementary pieces of clothing for the model/s and extras (if there are any), make accessories, find props, meet with makeup artists to discuss the look and so much more.  There is so much involved in creating the layers that make up a final image.  You may not notice all the details at first glance, but if they weren’t there, the picture would look a little bare.   It takes hard work, practice and a good eye to really make it happen.
Your work is very specialized – is this something you’ve learned in an education system or did you fall into it?
I grew up in a creative family and was taught how to sew and many other creative procecsses by my Mother, Grandmothers and Aunty.  I have always been creative and into crafts and making garments, so I have also taught myself a lot by trial and error, research and also learned from my peers.
I have studied a few papers at fashion school, which have been helpful, but really the most I have learned has been self taught and learning on the job.  Gaining skills taught by my colleagues and a whole lot of having to figuring out how to do something and make it work.

What effect has the Internet had on the way that you work?

The internet has become a fantastic way for me to research for designs, learn about and purchase new and hard to find products, connect with other costumiers and corset makers out there and so much more!  It really is an invaluable tool for me every day!  A little addictive and distracting at times, but I would find it hard to be without it now!


What is the biggest, most exciting project you’ve worked on / are most proud of?
To be honest, I think I am lucky in that so many projects that comes along seem to be the next greatest thing I get to do!  I have great clients that come to me with wonderful ideas that they want me to develop which is so exciting!  Every project seems to bring new challenges, new colour combination and fun experiences with new people and old friends!  It can vary so much, especially working between the film world and one on one with clients, it’s all fulfilling in different ways. 
One of my favourite pieces I’ve created purely for the sake of making something I want to, is my 2006 WOW entry, She Looks Good in a Sack. 


Have you got anything exciting in the pipeline that you would like to share with us?
I have many designs that I want to start working on in the coming months…. a couple of clients that have elaborate costumes they want me to design for their performances, as well as a few of my own more costume art pieces that I’ve been wanting to get out of my system!  Lots of texture, layering and embellishments!  Yum!!!  And then I have a bunch of photographers I want to work with and develop some new shoots!  Exciting!

You can follow Cathy and all her amazing creations here:https://twitter.com/CathyTreeHarris
http://instagram.com/cathytree
http://cathytreeharris.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cathytreecostumier
http://pinterest.com/cathytree/
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Interview for The Big Idea Creative Community!

Interview, Writing
Lately you might have noticed I’ve been mentioning and contributing to an amazing on-line creative community!  Its full of interesting articles, interviews, news and job opportunities!  I recently covered Fashion Week for them also, and as a follow up they asked to Interview me!  

TBI Q&A: Phlossy Roxx

12 September 2012

Following on from her coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week, we thought it was a good idea to introduce one of our latest contributors – blogger and burlesque performer Miss Phlossy Roxx. And what better way than a TBI Q&A!
During what hours of the day do you feel most inspired?
Between 5:30pm and 10:30 pm which is perfect as I get to snuggle up on the couch or in bed and tap-tap-tap away on my laptop to get an article out.
How would a good friend describe your aesthetic or style?
I really didn’t know how to answer this question so I put social media to the test and asked, and this is what the result was: “Pink, Retro chic, Your own, Eccentric and loud, Contemporary neo-burlesque with a dash of glitter, a sprinkling of ‘Bad to the bone’ and a unique demeanour with a delightfully naughty and perverted view of fashion, Super-future 50s rockabilly!, Funky, Eclectic, pink, unique, bold, bigger –brighter- better, edgy princess, A vivid collision of light and darkness, Extravagantly, overwhelmingly WUNDERBAR!!!!!, Pink Pixel-Punk Princess and (my favourite) My Little Pony meets Beetle-juice.”

And it keeps on going

What aspect of your creative practice gives you the biggest thrill?  

CLICK THROUGH TO READ THE WHOLE INTERVIEW!)

Networking, meeting new people and hearing their stories about what they do and why.  It is a huge inspiration to meet people working in creative industries and the conventional or non-conventional ways they got there.  I’m very lucky to be able to constantly surround myself with positive and driven people  – it’s exciting!
How does your environment affect your work?
A lot.  I’m hugely affected by weather and sunshine (or lack of), so winter has been rough maintaining my momentum and not burning out with all the projects I’ve taken on board.  However being aware of this myself has helped me make sure I’m in a space that makes it easy to concentrate or keep up my vitamins and veggie intake. 
Do you like to look at the big picture or focus on the details?
Naturally I’m very kinaesthetic and big picture focused, but writing a blog and promoting small events has really meant that I’ve had to learn or flunk out all of the detailed sides of my projects.  Learning to delegate to people who are experts in a specific area, although hard has really helped things along and I get to work with like-minded interesting people!
What’s your number one business tip for surviving (and thriving) in the creative industries?
Don’t try and do it alone.  Find a mentor or someone you can turn to for advice or inspiration.  Because they are separated from your day to day life they can see big open opportunities that you might not and encourage you to pursue things when you might not be confident initially.  Even if you’re doing something completely unique there’ll be someone who’s been there done that with all the business, technical or support side of things which we might struggle with.
Which of your projects to date has given you the most satisfaction?
Can I name more than one?  My blog MissPhloss.com is growing and taking me places I didn’t think I’d end up.  I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied with it, as that to me speaks of achieving something and not looking to progress, but I’m definitely very proud of it and excited about where it could end up.

As a producer I never expected to have a successful monthly event running so well in such a short time, in the LGBTI community.  I’ve now got a very strong national brand and huge and diverse following. October 11th is the Queerlesque events’ first birthday bash and we are already planning our event and involvement in Auckland’s upcoming and renewed Pride Festival in February next year.

Who or what has inspired you recently?
TED Talks, which I’ve been listening to a number of online recently, are great.  It’s really made me think, why can’t I share what wee nuggets I’ve learned over the last 10 years be valuable to someone else here too?  “Ideas ARE worth spreading” so why am I not doing it.  Hopefully this inspiration will continue to develop into a bigger project but that’s all I can tell you right now.
Tell us a bit about your background
I never went to a public school.  My parents were very religious and decided to home-school me for the first seven years of my life.  I then went to a tiny private Christian school for a couple of years before going back to home-schooling.  Although that has meant I don’t have any formal qualifications like School C or Bursary, I’ve been determined to not let that stop me achieving anything.  I went straight into the work force at 17 and have worked my way into working full time in writing, developing mixed media and online learning, blogging and producing increasingly larger events.   
Tell us a bit about your career
Having gladly left the world of sales and account management five years ago, I moved into adult education and writing.  I currently write and develop on-line and multimedia learning, soft skill and up skill programs.   I’m really enjoying combining my love of writing with my interest in web, web platforms and social media. With the world of education moving more and more into the remote, mobile and interactive space its exciting using the web for sharing creative content in moving, audio, visual and interactive ways. When I’m not creating learning content, I’m at home sprawled out somewhere blogging.
Tell us a bit about your recent and upcoming projects
I have just recovered (literally) from covering NZ Fashion Week for my own blog and The Big Idea.  From deciding to do it completely green eight months ago to having now done it, I’ve really learned so much.

Upcoming I am focusing on performing as I’m part of NZ’s Tempo Dance Festival show Lily Loca’s Vaudeville Cabaret, travelling to Te Awamutu, Wellington and performing locally almost every weekend for the next couple of months!  I’m very excited about Tempo Dance Festival as it’s a high calibre New Zealand event at the new Q Theatre meaning lots of rehearsals and brand new and exciting costumes.

If you could go back and choose a completely different career path to the one you’ve chosen, what would it be?
When I was really little I thought I’d grow up to be a Ballet Dancer! When I was 18 I got offered two jobs at the same time, one was a legal secretary and the other was a telephone relationship manager.  I always think back to making that decision and wonder how different my life would have been had I decided to pursue law not people skills.  Briefly, for a couple of seconds before I shake it off and feel so relieved I didn’t!
What place is always with you, wherever you go?
This was a particularly tough question, but I’ve settled on Burning Man.  I’ve never really thought about a ‘place’ always being with me since I went in 2009.  Burning Man to me is somewhere I can belong and can participate.  It’s a place where I WASN’T the weirdest kid in the classroom.  There was always somebody there who’d thought up something crazy and exciting I’d never even considered let alone thought possible in the middle of a giant desert.
What’s the best way to listen to music, and why?
Loud?  In all seriousness, if I had the time to categorise all my music by mood category it would be amazing, but I don’t.  I have put together a couple of mix-tapes myself on 8tracks, of music I like to listen to when working and there are hundreds of others on the site and app to choose from. I prefer it to Spotify because you can play a variety of music in a session not song by song.
You are given a piece of string, a stick and some fabric. What do you make?
A Flag.  I’ve always wanted to have my own Coat of Arms, and what better place to put them, than on a flag!
What’s the best stress relief advice you’ve ever been given?
Turn off your computer and disconnect from the Internet.
What’s great about today?
Today is one of the most beautiful days I’ve seen Auckland have in a long time.  Clear baby blue sky in pretty light shades of pastel, a fresh crisp breeze and sunshine.   Vitamin D, serotonin and endorphin heaven for me – that and Oh, its Hump day.

What’s your big idea for 2013?

Become multi national!  Why shouldn’t I be able to do what I’m doing anywhere in the world and make it effective, lucrative and fully mobile!

* * * The Big Idea 10th Birthday Questions * * *

What does The Big Idea mean to you?
To me it’s your BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  Something that is big picture, out on a limb, a risk or a stretch, something inspirational you dream big to achieve.  The Big Idea website is those opportunities brought to you and people with that same desire, vision and their own BHAG’s in one creative community.

http://scrivle.com/posts/bhag

What changes have you noticed in the past 10 years?

How about changes in the last five years even?!  Learning, development and writing is becoming less paper based, more mobile and interactive.  Classrooms, newspapers and news are so much more instant, accessible and honest.  Companies and brands can’t just run a 6pm news advert for that to be all the awareness of their brand, customers can now share and have an opinion that will get noticed and gain momentum, positive or negative.
What are some of the opportunities and challenges for the next decade?
Keeping up with a generation of youngsters that have grown up on technology and watching how manual labour industries endeavour to keep themselves relevant in a digital age.

There’s always going to be more and more competition in a new industry so ensuring that you stay unique will remain a full time job!

Opportunities: online, blogging and social media will have more and more integration and recognition from mainstream media.  Shifting attitudes will take the negative emphasis away from blogging and make it a positive and more streamlined machine, leaving less and less room for average and poor quality content.
Also, with the digital sphere shifting and big advancements coming with new technologies that we might not even have thought of coming out, things will change.  Apparently augmented reality is about to blow our minds!

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#NZFW Designer Interview: Dmonic Intent

Fashion, Interview
Taking time out from shows, work, performing to focus full time on social media and blogging for the week, I’m attending almost all 2012’s Fashion Week shows and will be posting regularly through out the week.  Although it is a busy schedule it is rumoured to not be a strenuous as in years past – I should be so lucky!!
#NZFW Opening party Ceiling lights

A couple a have high expectations for are the Treliese Coooper show, Stolen Girlfriends Club, and NZ Wedding collection shows, specifically Auckands’ Wedding Designer answer to Valentino, “JOHN ZIMMERMAN” and the forever dapper, “The Crane Brothers”.  The Miromoda show is one I’m taking particular note of; showcasing indigenous Māori fashion design and working to raise its artistic and professional recognition.

Follow my fashion feed @missphloss #NZFW
For more about the Miromoda and New Generation Shows check out this behind the scenes video Featuring a behind the scenes Interview with DMONIC INTENT.  Feeling like a privaledged guest watching from sidelines for the Show Card shoot for this brand bringing it to Fashion Week for the second time and making a big splash in the Māori fashion design world. Their fun relaxed attitude shows through as they bring their flavour of Avante Guarde to NZ Fashion Week.

Yours truly Phlossy Roxx –  Taking Fashion Week Seriously only 98% of the time.  Hope you don’t mind.

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What to do in Winter: Scrapbooking with Maggie Armstrong

DIY, Interview

When Scrapbooking what does a normal session consist of and how much preparation do you have to do before hand?
Typically, when I sit down to scrapbook I don’t usually have a particular project in mind.  I keep a pile near my art desk of newly purchased products, and an idea will often spring to mind as I shuffle through them!  So maybe that means
preparation = scrapbook shopping!!!!

 I almost never start and finish a project in one sitting.  I usually have to come back to it a few times.  The benefit of this is that each time I return to it I see it with different eyes and the creative process often takes a different turn.  So I never really know what I’m creating until the deed is done!


How did you get into Scrapbooking and what made you decide this is what you wanted to take further?
A good friend introduced me to scrapbooking when my eldest child was still a baby.  I needed some sort of creative/productive outlet to relieve the sometimes tedious job of motherhood! 
Through the craft I have met some amazing women who will be lifelong friends.  The scrapbooking community is full of hilarious, creative and fun loving people and I have had so many great scrapbook adventures/roadtrips along the way – why would I give it up?

What tips would you give new others who might be interested in taking up Scrapbooking?
The most important piece of advice I can give is to never compare your work to others.  Watch this short clip on YouTube.  What is obvious to you is amazing to others.  If you think you’re not creative – think again!

Have you ever been in a situation where someone hasn’t taking your Scrapbooking work seriously?
Haha! You’re talking about my husband right??!!!  ‘Crap-booking’  is what he used to refer to it as!  But to be fair, in recent times he has become more appreciative of the craft and often pulls my work out to show visitors!  He also ‘gets’ that it’s about preserving memories for our children and is supportive of that. 

Scrapbooking itself very specialized – is this something you’ve learned in through education system or did you fall into it?
I have developed my craft by attending workshops, reading magazines and browsing online blogs.

What effect has the Internet had on Scrapbooking and how you do it?
The internet is a huge source of inspiration for me!  There are oodles of incredibly talented beings out there and it’s wonderful that so much of their work is shared though online blogs.  The internet is also the go-to tool of choice for me if I am unsure how to use a new art medium or I want to push the creative boundaries further.

What is the biggest, most exciting project you’ve worked on / are most proud of?
When I was approached last year by NZ Paperchase magazine to apply for a place on their Elite Design Team I was quite thrilled!  I had 3 weeks to prepare my submission which included 3 different projects – a traditional layout, a card and an OTP (off the page) item.  I was successful in gaining a place and now I design projects for their quarterly magazine. 

Have you got anything exciting in the pipeline that you would like to share with us?
Well, yes actually!  I have been asked to teach in May 2013 at an international event alongside some of the biggest names in the industry – a la Donna Downey, Theresa Collins and Heidi Swapp.  I will be teaching approximately 300 people (luckily I don’t suffer stage fright huh?!).  So I’m busy putting together an awesome project using some very different mediums (e.g. melted beeswax!) so hopefully I will stack up against these ladies! 
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Not your normal Job: Nick von K – Jewellery

Fashion, Interview
I love jewellery!!  Hand made unique items are GORGEOUS and super special and I want to show you all one of  my favourite designers!  Nick von K!!    Rock&Roll and high fashion! Yes please!

What does a guy like you on a normal day “at work”?

I spend most of my time working on strategy for the business, which can be anything from how we will go about moving into Australia, to organising a photo shoot, to talking to prospective new clients, to liaising with customers on commission work. And of course, preparing to go to Bali to design the next collection.
My wonderful assistant Anja takes care of the workshop where all orders are filled and stock is organised – which frees my time up so I can work on the business instead of ‘in’ the business.
In Bali I design. The process for me has become one where I leave a lot of the designing until I get to Bali. I like to have the theme pretty solid before I go, with a few ideas floating around in my head. But once Im there its all about honing each idea while I ride on my scooter through the hill villages and rice fields. I ride for a total of 3 hours, every other day, to the silver village and the carving village, and I find this perfectly suited to meditating on each design and fleshing them out. Something about the tropical heat, the weaving ride and the beautiful views puts me in exactly the right space for designing.

How did you get into the industry and what made you decide this is what you wanted to make a living out of?

When I was about 20 I was playing around in a few different creative fields, namely; painting, music, writing, jewellery and sculpture. I met a great mentor at that time who suggested rather than being a jack-of-all-trades, I pick one to master. And he then suggested I pick jewellery as the one that seemed to have the most promise for me.
Well, he was right! It took a few years to get it going but once I hooked up with Ricochet making all their accessories things really began to take off. So I guess at the beginning I wouldn’t have chosen this path for myself if it wasn’t for the great advice I received – but looking back now it makes so much sense as I personally love to wear a lot of jewellery and I always have.
I have to say I think I have the best job in the world, and I consider myself very lucky as I always wanted a creative career. Not to say there isn’t a lot of hard work involved, of course there is – but its hard work that is very satisfying.

What tips would you give new others who might be interested in a similar career?

Its really not that difficult to make and sell jewellery, many of the shops I sold to when I started out were really open to looking at my creations and buying them. I think that’s a New Zealand thing – its not like other countries that have a lot of chain stores that are hard to contact let alone sell to, there are a lot of individual shops who all want something different and are really open to meeting new designers and viewing their designs.
Of course, it is perhaps hard to make a decent living out of it, but that just takes patience and perseverance, and a bit of good luck and good management. So my advice would be to give it a go, and then keep going – if you stick at it eventually you will break through.
The other great piece of advice that was given to me was never pretend to know everything – if you approach people in the industry, including the shops you want to sell to, with an attitude that you are interested in their advice then they will most likely give it to you. People love to give advice and often its invaluable, so ask questions and listen to the answers.

When did you discover there was life outside the corporate 9-5 Office grind?  Was there a specific event or epiphany that brought that about?

Hahaha, that’s a funny one. You know I’ve never really had a 9 to 5 job. When I was 17 I met a psychic who told me that they really couldn’t see me doing the typical 9 to 5 – which I instantly knew was 100% correct. And that knowledge completely freaked me out because I thought “Well, what the hell am I going to do then???”. So from that point on I was always looking for the alternative situation. You know the funniest thing is that these days I often do work from 9 to 5, but working for yourself is a completely different story.

Have you ever struggled to get what you do at work or out of work taken seriously?

Ever since I was a child I have made things in my spare time. My parents constructed a small workbench for me under the house where I would spend hours every day making all sorts of odds and ends, and I would often give these away at Christmas as presents to the family. Or else I would be drawing and painting somewhere, and generally making a mess.
But funnily enough my parents made it very clear to me that being an artist was not an option as “Artists never make any money – until they’re dead.”
Finally after dropping out of a boring commerce degree at Uni I took to my passion of painting,  and my Mum, bless her heart, helped finance me into a studio where I could live out my dream. The painting never really took off, but it did lead to jewellery – and its been ever so sweet to be successful as an artist before I’m dead!!

Your work is very specialized – is this something you’ve learned in an education system or did you fall into it?

I once did a night course in jewellery making, which gave me some basic skills, but really its something that I have learned along the way. Working with the team at Ricochet for many years taught me a lot – initially they would give me designs to make, or we would design together. And then gradually I would bring more and more to the table.
I began going to Bali during this period and that really expanded the possibilities of what I could design. Then when I decided to begin the Nick Von K label I had years of experience in Bali to draw upon, and so I took that knowledge and expanded upon it into what I do now.

What effect has the Internet had on the way that you work?

We launched the website nickvonk.com at the same time as the label itself back in September 2010, and it has been awesome for the business. Everything from direct sales, to stylists here in NZ and overseas finding us, to prospective shops researching us.
Plus I often search for images on the net that will explain a design that is in my mind to a wax carver or bone carver. Then I’ll print these out as a reference for when I sit down with the carver to go over the idea.
Facebook has also been a great resource. Being able to communicate directly with the customers and fans on the Nick Von K facebook page is invaluable, especially as I mostly wholesale to shops so often do not meet the people who buy my stuff.

What is the biggest, most exciting project you’ve worked on / are most proud of?

Being involved with the American clothing designer Nicole Miller has been amazing. We met just as I launched the label at the 2010 NZ Fashion Week where she bought some of my jewellery for herself and for her stores in the States. Then when I told her I was coming over to New York she organised a launch for the label at her Soho store. The launch was even filmed by her team and produced into a short clip on youtube. You can find the link to it on our website in the press section. She also took a huge crowd out to dinner afterwards and sat me down next to the one and only Heather Graham (aka Roller Girl). So there I was talking chit chat with a very beautiful and famous actress all night long – I couldn’t believe it!!!

Have you got anything exciting in the pipeline that you would like to share with us?

Right now I am in Bali working on the next collection. At the moment its all under wraps so I can’t really tell you anything about it until its officially launched in the coming months. But let me say that personally I am really excited about it – its quite a fresh direction for me so be prepared for something a little bit different to the previous seasons. I’ve also given myself plenty of time to work on each design so the ideas are really fleshed out and there are lots of little details for people to discover.

I’ve a very special unique commission Nick von K piece in the pipeline myself!  I can’t wait to show you all… its going to be to die for gorgeous… I’m excited just thinking about it.  He made this beautiful honey bee ring on commission for my beautiful friend Leda Petit…  


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Not your normal job – Clinton Cardozo (VanguardRed Magasine)

Inspiration, Interview, photography, Writing
I love having interesting people to talk about.  Bloggers, writers, photographers, creatives, geeks and my list could go on and on! I’ve known Clint for easily 5 or more years and worked with him on many projects.  This guy is inspirational, his energy is amazing and passion for the projects he takes on is infectious. If your going to succeed there’s nothing better than surrounding yourself with others with the same drive and desire!

What did you do before you started VanguardRed?

Right before VanguardRed I ran a small creative studio called Renegade House in which we made a whole bunch of design, photography and video projects as well as a digital pop culture magazine. But for the last 12 years I’ve been a photographer and graphic designer primarily in the design industry.

What tips would you give new web-entrepreneurs to help them start out on a path to success?

1. The first thing is to define what success means to you. For some its money, for others it’s fame or legacy. So outline your goals clearly and concisely and then figure out your path to get there. This generally means building some kind of framework to work within. It’s the equivalent to going grocery shopping without a shopping list; you end up doubling back to what you needed and somehow have a lot of junk food at checkout. So have a plan. Even a loose one will do to begin with.

2. Do your research well. What you will find out when you research extensively is that your awesome idea is already being developed by someone else. It’s not exactly like someone else’s, but its close. Find out what other people in your field are doing. Find their fuck-ups, learn from them, make your stuff better.

3. Get help. there are many people out there who are willing to help you out so ask for it. You will not get anywhere without pulling a few favors. I make it a point to help everyone who asks for my help and I’ve always got those favors back.

4. Love failure. get used to it. if you are creative professional failure is your best friend. But it’s not a bad thing. its just there to keep you on track like brakes down a curved slope.

5. Have paperwork. Don’t start any job or venture without adequate paper work outlining agreements between clients or partners. Paper work is like getting a flu shot, mildly painful but safer in the long run. 

When did you discover there was life outside the corporate 9-5 grind? Was there a specific event or epiphany that brought that about?

The thing about corporate 9-5 jobs are that you will always have to report to someone who is responsible for your salary. You play by their rules. Your work is generally uninteresting and the guy you take your orders or ‘suggestions’ from doesn’t really know what they are talking about. But you HAVE to do it or your bills don’t get paid. I always knew that there was life outside the corporate grind because there were people out there doing it. I just had to be brave enough to take that step. It’s scary when you are out on your own.

I don’t think there was a specific event as such but I realized early on that if I worked for myself I could control the amount I worked, choose my clients appropriately, potentially earn more than a base salary and have fun doing it. It’s not all awesome however. I’ve noticed that when you are working for yourself you are constantly hustling. And when you stop, you don’t get paid. But I enjoy doing what I do so it doesn’t feel like I’m ever overworked. 

Have you ever struggled to get what you do taken seriously?

I used to. Mostly because I was young, excited and had big ideas. Sometimes I wouldn’t be taken seriously because I’m indian. Not because the people were racist, its just that they considered me an outsider. It takes time for people to understand that outsiders generally have an objective view on things and can change the market completely since they see the flaws from the outside.

Not any more though. I have a very large body of work that spans a lot of creative fields. I can also articulate my ideas more clearly now that I understand the NZ creative culture. I choose to believe I personally don’t matter, the work should speak for itself. 

A lot of what you both do is very technical – is this something you’ve learned in an education system? 

I think true mastery of anything technical comes from spending hours at it. The education system is exactly that, a system. And the problem with systems is that they take time to get updated. I love the safety net of an education system where you can experiment and get critiques etc. But the real world is a beast of it’s own. There’s nothing to prepare you for it besides hard work, discipline and acceptance of failure.

You are not afraid to voice an opinion in the public media.
What effect has that had on the way that you work and do you think you’re making a difference?
Yeah, its inevitable to make enemies when you stand for what you believe in. It’s the nature of the game. You can’t change anything if all your are doing is pleasing people. You become a YES man. Everyones got a choice to either be a sheep or a shepherd. I chose to be the landowner. I didn’t like the magazine publishing culture here in NZ and I just started my own one. I hate complaining and dislike people who complain. I’d rather come up with a solution than harp on about the problem. 

It’s too soon to tell if it’s made any relevant change but I don’t really care. I enjoy my life the way it is and I choose to live it that way. 
 What is the biggest, most exciting project you’ve worked on / are most proud of?

I’ve got to say that VanguardRed is the most excited I’ve been about any project. It’s going to be full of inspiring multimedia content and awesome interactivity. Also, it’s giving the younger generation of creatives a chance to get their work seen in the market. I also have a great team of professionals I’m working with so it all feels great. 

Have you got anything exciting in the pipeline that you could share with us?

Yes, its our very own store with high quality products specifically curated for the youth and fashion conscious market. You can buy products directly out of the editorial page or adverts that feature our stocked products. Thats not too far away but stay tuned on our blog at vanguardredmagazine.co.nz where we are actually sharing information on how to start your own digital magazine. 

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