Thursday, August 2, 2012

"I Rarely Say No"...

Storyboard frames scribbled on napkins!
If anyone is fascinated with an art career, I won't burst your bubble.There are some wonderful advantages to owning your own business. And some crazy moments, too.

This is, but one of the many stories in the life of this artist... I do have many!

Two weeks ago, a friend had tickets to a ballgame for me and the family as well as tickets for any friends who might enjoy a minor league game with a Friday night fireworks show afterward. My mom loves the game of baseball since it reminds her of her childhood days with her father, who was a coach. She can't really eat the baseball fare, so we usually go to the local buffet close to the stadium.

As most "commercial illustrators and designers" know, ad agencies wait till the very last minute waiting for the marketing muses to descend upon their agency with new ideas, concepts and schemes. To qualify for my art director colleagues, I've been on that side of the ad business, too and understand the pressure.

But, it seems, they almost always call around the dinner bell.

Mid meal, as we are discussing our plans to attend the game late, the cellphone rings. A producer from a California production company calls and wants to know if I'm available to work the weekend. Of course, with the scarcity of projects out there, I, of course, said yes.

I rarely ever say no.

"We have some other artists lined up if you can't do it! I know it is at the last minute, but Joe really would prefer you. We are you located?"

"No, no... I'm hip!" I can start immediately or whenever you..."

He cuts me off by saying it's all good and that he was gonna put me on hold to get the art director to brief me on a couple of boards.

This was my chance to get out of the restaurant and race to the quiet of my "parked studio."

"Mom, Therese, everyone... I got a job," I said, "so, we can't go to the game and they want me to start immediately, so we gotta go!"

Because it would take me over an hour to get back across the lake and into the studio, I had to pretend I was in my studio for fear I would lose the opportunity. The noise of the restaurant, I felt, was making the producer, suspicious. So, I left a tip and ran outside and into the quiet of my car just as a large airliner descended on its flight path to Armstrong International.

I have such great timing!

I can tell you I have lost jobs because I was not at the right time, at the right place. Needless to say, my cellphone ringing in the bathroom stall at my gym was maybe the right time, but definitely not the right place. I returned the call as quickly as, well, you know... but I was too late! The New York client had, in less than five minutes, found someone else. Knowing that the art buyer found someone probably not as good as me was my only consolation! 

Just as soon as the Airbus 310 passes off into the distance, the art director comes on line and inquires, " Hey Ben, how ya been?" You got a pen and paper to write on?"

"Oh yeh, Joe, " I say. "Let me turn my Daily Reminder to the right page," I said, as I frantically search every compartment in my mobile studio for something to write on.

Finally, I find, in the center console, where cd's used to be stored, some blue and white super absorbent window wipes similar the kind you find at gas station kiosks, to take notes.

"Okay Joe, I got the right page... What'cha got?"

Copyright 2012/Ben Bensen III


  1. Got a chuckle out of this! We've all been there, but you do have a way with words!

  2. Yeh, that's what a few of my friends have said. That is, "been there, done that!"

  3. Love it! None of us are immune! :)

    1. Thanks for the visit, Walter. You are right, no one is immune. Even when the economy was good, we all jumped and asked, "How high!"