First time on this blog? Beijing Traffic Lesson: Left Turn is probably a good place to start.

Monday, May 14, 2007

1 down, 60-some to go

Had my first day at the office today, and overall it went very well! I showed up at the office at 9:00 in my gray suit with the green and gold tie... and waited.

First person in was the creative group secretary at about 9:15. She spoke good English and got me to my seat. The rest of the office trickled in by 10:00 or so as I was shown around.

I was BADLY overdressed, to the point that the office managing director asked if I wanted to go home and change. Jeans, sneakers and urban hipster printed t-shirts were the norm; one art director wore a sleeveless undershirt to show off his upper arm tattoos.

My first meeting was to kick off a creative campaign for a certain software company. The room was full of creatives and account people, and I can now officially report that the following phenomena are shared in agencies overseas:
* There isn't enough time.
* There isn't enough money.
* The creatives think the account people are unreasonable.
* The account people think the creatives need to suck it up.

There. I hope it was worth sending me halfway around the world at great expense to the shareholders to learn that.

After that my creative director took me out to lunch, which was very nice. I was successful with the chopsticks (look down a few posts to see my secret method) and only spilled a little on my shirt and tie. They had green tea with daisies floating in it that was delicious, shrimp and mushroom, salad, fried vegetable rice and some fat spicy noodles.

In the afternoon I was taken to a commercial shoot for another client, a major shipping company. The commercial starred a Chinese celebrity, an actor known for his role in 'Farewell My Concubine', which will be known to all you chick-flick afficianados out there

I managed to surreptitiously get a shot of the setup of one scene: The stunt man (top, in the white suit) is about to jump onto a trampoline held by several delivery men:

Then I learned an interesting fact about TV commercial shoots: they are BORING.

I stood around for three hours while they got the shots they needed, trying to stay out of the way and talking when I could with a few other people.

We got back to the office at 9:30 to discover that -- TA-DA -- all the creatives were still there working.

Oh, that doesn't bode well...