Friday, February 25, 2005

The Apprentice Tara Sees the Writing on the Wall

This week's task was tough. Artwork is very subjective. None of these candidates are artists. How can they pick a winner? I can only fault them for failing to work together as a team and for thinking too small (again). I can't say that I could have picked a better artist and lead a team to victory, but I certainly would have pushed the idea further than any of the other contestants.

Each team got a wall in Harlem and a graffiti artist. They were tasked to make the most appealing advertisement for the upcoming Sony PlayStation game Gran Turismo 4. Tara took the project manager role for Net Worth and lead them into a brick wall. I believe she over analyzed the job (and everything else). She's also so self absorbed that she pushed her own agenda more than Sony's.

Tara really didn't do much right. She wasn't familiar with the game. She didn't listen to input from others. She didn't seek feedback from her target market. She didn't get much direction from Sony. She didn't give any credit to any teammates. Despite all this, I think she still could have easily won this rather subjective task. However, since they lost, she was an easy target in the boardroom.

Alex from Magna certainly did some things right. He got input from local kids. He made sure to incorporate things like the game's rating. He took good ideas when they came up. Specifically, his impromptu focus group wanted images of cash and Bren suggested the bling fist full of bills. It was a great image and Alex ran with it.

Magna also stumbled around a lot due to Alex's weak leadership but in the end, it's a subjective task and they managed to pull out a win.

Both teams lacked any noteworthy creativity. Honestly, these candidates just need to think bigger.

Get the community even more involved. Have your artist section off small 1x1 foot squares on the outskirts of the mural and let kids passing by fill in a little square of their own graffiti. Put a graffiti wall in the image itself and let them add to that (wall within a wall). Line up a row of people against the wall and paint their silhouettes like a crowd of spectators watching the race. Get their opinions while they are helping. Get them excited about the project. When you meet with Sony to present the wall, have a mob of people enthusiastically applauding (their own work) when you unveil it. The Sony folks would have been blown away regardless of what their focus group said. You'd have your own focus group. It would be bigger than theirs and full of cheering fans.

Do something really daring instead of following directions like a lemming. Make the art 3-d with a real car bumper or something protruding out of the wall. Make some kind of game within the image itself like a little maze or Where's Waldo type of puzzle that would get kids to stare at your picture for a while. Highlight parts with spot lights or lasers during the presentation. In fact, make some kind of maze game or targeting game that kids play with laser pointers on the wall.

How about just putting the image higher on the wall?! I would have filled the bottom half with a giant PS2 controller or something and put the real artsy stuff up high on the wall so it's more visible.

Again, you could have done all this and still lost, but you would have at least made a creative impression. I can throw crazy ideas at it but ultimately an artist has to turn it into something aesthetically pleasing.

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