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4 tips for managing client expectations

One of the many highlights of the recent Jacky Winter Gives You The Business seminar in Sydney was a session with Bianca Bramham on Managing Client Expectations. Bianca had some great advice on how to create harmonious relationships with clients. Here are our key takeaways.

1. Define the brief
When taking a brief from a client it’s your responsibility to ask questions and clarify it. Where possible take the brief in person or over the phone, never via email. Speaking with a client allows you to build a rapport and Bianca says, “it will help minimise the risk of misunderstandings.” Once you’ve taken the brief make sure you relay it back to the client. This is your chance to work out any misunderstandings, but also it shows the client that you’ve heard what they’ve asked for, you’ve gained their trust.

2. Define the scope
Be clear with what is involved to complete the brief, in particular make sure you cover the specific conditions around your estimate. How may revisions are included? What are your payment and cancellation terms? Most importantly, put it all in writing and get the client to provide written approval. You don’t want to do all the work and be out of pocket.

3. Define the process
There’s a chance the person you are dealing with has no idea how long things take in the creative process. Spell it out for them by guiding them through your process and how long each step will take. Bianca calls it “bringing your client on a journey of your creative process.” By doing this they become part of the process and it will be a much more harmonious relationship going forward.

4. Define the schedule
When defining the schedule it’s important to not only think about how much time you need to complete the job but also how much time the client may need to get you feedback and approval. Discuss this with your client and be clear about what you need from them. Remember your client is just as busy as you are. Once you’ve completed the schedule, go through all the key dates and make sure they are comfortable meeting their deadlines. This gives them accountability.

Other things to help the process run more smoothly:

• Communicate what can and can’t be changed once you move onto the next stage.

• Ask for consolidated feedback, there’s nothing worse than getting feedback in dribs and drabs. If there is more than one stakeholder, tell the client you require all the feedback at once.

Communication is key to managing client expectations. Be clear and upfront and you’ll have a better, more collaborative working relationship with your client. Bianca summed it up best when she said, “by investing in time upfront, you give yourself the space and the freedom to do what you do best.” We couldn’t agree more.

How to increase your agency’s profitability: step 1 pricing

Every year our friends at The Wow Company run a survey so creative businesses in the UK can benchmark themselves against their peers. The results for the 2015 survey have been released and Wow’s Peter Czapp shared some of their findings in a recent webinar. Here we share Peter’s tips on pricing and how it can help your business to be more profitable.

Should I be increasing my prices?
Pricing is a key component to running a profitable business. 51% of companies surveyed plan on increasing their prices in 2015, which is a wise move. Think about it, suppliers are not reducing their rates, utilities and rent aren’t going down either. Peter says, “if you’re not increasing your prices regularly then your margins are getting squeezed.” So if you’re part of the 49% that won’t be increasing your prices this year, that could have serious impact on your profit.

How much should you be charging? 
To increase profit it’s important to look at your charge out rate. The survey showed the average charge out rate in the UK is £86 per hour. If your hourly rate is below the average in your region, then you should consider increasing your prices.

Sure a competitor may have a lower charge out rate, but are they providing the same quality of work and service?  As the saying  goes “you get what you pay for”, so don’t sell yourself short. Do your research, calculate your cost rate and outgoing expenses to work out the correct charge out rate for your business.

How should you be charging?
When surveyed, 45% of companies said they used fixed pricing. While this can be quite a profitable way of charging, you can also lose out if you do not scope your jobs properly.

Scope is very important when it comes to how you charge your clients. Remember to take everything into consideration. What might seem like a lucrative job to begin with might not be so lucrative after you’ve spent many additional hours completing the work. As Benjamin Franklin said “time is money”, if you put in the time, you deserve to be paid for it.

Should you charge for extras?
In a nutshell, hell yes! The survey results showed that 57% often or always charge for extras and the remaining 43% rarely or never.

Again remember what our friend Benjamin Franklin said. If you spend the time making amendments these should be charged for.

If you manage a client’s expectations and communicate clearly with them at the very beginning of the job, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise when you charge them for something outside the original scope.

Peter did some further analysis on this and found that there’s a correlation between charging for extras and profit, with those that charged often for extras making 10% more profit, than those that rarely do.

So if you’re in the 43% that rarely or never charge for extras that’s something to think about.

Pricing plays a massive role when it comes to profit. Our advice, look carefully at your rates and the way you charge your client, that could make all the difference.

Slides courtesy of The Wow Company.

The work around the work

We post about timesheets quite a bit around here, but here’s a slightly different take on timesheets from our friends at Floate. In his article for Dear Design StudentRoss Floate talks about the “work around the work” being the actual work. In other words, the design work that you do is only part of your job.

We have a strange saying at Floate, “The work around the work is the work.” By that we mean that timesheets, meetings, phone calls, conversations in Basecamp or any of a million other things are part of the fabric of what we do. This work around the work comes with the territory and get ready for this one crazy thing they didn’t tell you in design school — if you are bad at this stuff then you are bad at your job. Period.

Have a read of “Q: Do I really have to do all of this paperwork? Can’t I just, you know, design?

We’re back with a new series of Streamtime webinars

Following on from the success of last year’s series, Streamtime’s fantastic webinars are back. These sessions will be focussed on diving deeper into Streamtime’s features, helping you understand how it all works and how to get more out of it.

Presented by our very own Streamtime Aces, this will be the perfect opportunity to sharpen your skills, pick up some handy hints and tips and ask any burning questions of our experts.

Best of all these sessions are free. So what are you waiting for? Register today!

Gaining better financial views in Streamtime
In this webinar we’ll cover a quick overview of invoicing, explain some of the financial terms we use, how figures are calculated and step you through a few key reports to help analyse your data.

Thursday 21st May 2:30pm GMT. 45 mins

New to Streamtime
In this webinar we’ll give a brief overview of what Streamtime does and how. We’ll show you how quotes, tasks, jobs and time entries are related and the reports you can use to get more out of this information.

Wednesday 27 May 3pm GMT. 45 mins

Creating and managing your sales pipeline in Streamtime
Our training aces will show you how to get more out of the CRM functions of Streamtime. Managing contacts, creating and exporting contact lists, creating and managing opportunities and some reports to help you track progress.

Wednesday 3 June 3pm GMT. 45 mins

Managing your team and their time
In this session we’ll be showing you how to create tasks, use Streamtime’s scheduling tools, track time and report on what your team is spending its time on. A must for studio and account managers.

Wednesday 10 June 3pm GMT. 30 mins

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Note: These webinars will be run from our London office (GMT). If you can’t tune in don’t worry, we’ll also be recording these sessions and posting them to our website.

The wonderful world of Wes… in a bar

Here at Streamtime, we’re big fans of Wes Anderson, so imagine our delight when we discovered that he has designed a bar.

Complete with formica tables, a juke box and a Steve Zissou pinball machine, Bar Luce is part of the Fondazione Prada, Prada’s new art and culture complex in Milan.

This isn’t the first time Wes has worked with Prada. If you haven’t seen them already, check out the short films Castello Cavalcanti and Candy, both done for the fashion house.

Agency: a satirical web-series about advertising and stuff

If you’ve ever worked in the creative industry (and if you’re reading this blog then you probably do) get some Agency playing on your iDevice right now! It’s “a satirical web-series about advertising and stuff” made by some awesome folks down in New Zealand. They’ve got 3 episodes out to view now, with a bunch more to come.

Watch the first episode below, or check out the rest here.

3 steps to accurate timesheets

We’re often asked what is the best way to get staff to do their timesheets. The other day, I took a call from a client asking how they could force their staff to enter a minimum of eight hours every day in Streamtime. What they wanted was a way for Streamtime to prevent staff from doing anything in the software until their timesheets for the day were completed.

This question isn’t uncommon and certainly not irrational. Like all feature requests we have given this our consideration, but we have decided against it and here’s one of the reasons why.

Kye, from our Sydney office, used to work at an agency that was really strict on timesheets. By 5pm Monday, all timesheets for the previous week were to be completed. No excuses, three strikes and you’re out! So what happened? Come Monday afternoon 4pm people would start to panic about last week’s timesheets and they would just add time to random jobs – anything to get to the required 40 hours. As a result of this strict policy, they found time was often added to the wrong jobs, totally defeating the purpose of timesheets.

This company scared staff into a panic mode, which resulted in unreliable timesheets. While other companies can be a bit too relaxed in their approach, resulting in incomplete timesheets. We discuss timesheets every day with our clients and we have discovered there’s an art to getting accurate timesheets from your staff. Here we share the three steps we believe will get you results.

• Educate your staff
There is a lot of animosity towards timesheets, people tend to think it’s their boss’s way of keeping tabs on them. There are plenty of reasons to do timesheets, that you can share with your staff. However it’s really important to communicate clearly with them and be totally honest. Be transparent about the finances of individual jobs. You don’t have to share all of the details, hand pick the jobs that best illustrate how much money was (potentially) lost by not completing timesheets. Don’t just point fingers at those who caused the problem, open their eyes to the common goal of your agency and make everyone part of the solution.

• Make it easy for them
Since time entry is such an important part of a designer’s day, give them a simple and flexible way to enter time. Most solutions these days allow staff to time work as they go via a phone, tablet or their desktop. If they don’t have time at the office, they can enter time on the go or at home. If you invest in a system, that has that flexibility, there can be no more excuses.

• Give them an incentive
Arguably paying someone a salary should be enough incentive, but sometimes staff need a little extra push. There’s two roads you can go down with an incentive, reward or shame. JWT Brazil reward their staff with the beer fridge while Razorfish shame timesheet offenders by posting their photos in the building’s lobby. Our advice? Have a little fun with it and make timesheets part of your company culture, you’ll definitely start to see results.

We’d love to hear how you get your staff to do timesheets.

Effortless time entry with Streamtime

Today we released an update to Streamtime on the web that makes time entry even more effortless. In fact we’ve made it so easy to enter time you don’t even need to use your mouse!

Use the up and down arrows to browse through weeks, and use the left and right keys to move back and forward days. Hitting ‘t’ will return you to today’s date. Once you’re on the day you need, selecting ‘n’ on your keyboard will create a brand new time entry where you can tab through the fields, type in what you need and searching as you go, and then finally just hit enter to save your time entry. It really is that simple.

A full run down of these new features can be seen in the video below.

If you’re not already a customer of ours why not try Streamtime on the web for yourself.

If you’re already a Streamtime subscriber and want to use Streamtime on the web, our knowledge base has all the information you need to get this up and running, or you can always give our support team a call for assistance. We’d love to help get this in your hands.

Remember with Streamtime on the web you can enter time from anywhere anytime.

Rainworks: Street Art that only appears when it’s wet

Peregrine Church has created a form of Street Art that will only activate when it is wet, or raining.

Rainworks is the brainchild of Peregrine’s imagination. He uses a super hydrophobic substance which he then stencils onto the sidewalks around Seattle. Once that substance gets wet, the artwork is revealed. Perfect for a place like Seattle, where there is a high chance of rain all year round.

He figured since it is always going to rain, why not do something fun with it? Why not use this as a chance to brighten someone’s day?

What a great sentiment. Let’s hope we start to see Rainworks popping up in other cities around the world soon.

Until then, see Rain.Works for locations of his artwork around Seattle.

Friday Inspiration: Great title sequences

Like most people I’m looking forward to the return of Mad Men to our screens. It’s been part of my life for the last eight years and with every new season I get that buzz of excitement.

But what drew me in in the first place? Being an ex “Ad Gal” I was interested to see Matthew Weiner‘s take on the Madison Avenue advertising executives of the 50′s & 60′s, but it was the opening title sequence that got me hooked.

Never before had I seen anything so simple yet so elaborate for the opening titles of a TV show. The mesmorising spin of the fan, the subtle shift of the trouser leg, and that stomach turning free fall. It was so elegant in its execution, it totally blew me away.

Main title sequence for ‘Mad Men’, produced & created by Imaginary Forces. Editorial by Caleb Woods.

Of course these days we’re used to seeing titles that mirror the quality of the show, True DetectiveHouse of Cards and Breaking Bad come to mind. But this opening title sequence created by Steve Fuller and Mark Gardner and produced by Imaginary Forces was something totally new for the times. Matthew Weiner’s vision of a man trying to find himself was perfectly executed by Fuller, Gardner and their team.

For full details on how this beautiful sequence came to life check out this wonderful interview with Cara McKenny, Steve Fuller and Mark Gardner by Art of the Title.

I’ll be sad to see the end of Mad Men, but like everyone else I can’t wait to see the final chapter in the lives of Don, Peggy, Roger, Joan and Co.

Beeldr develops custom planning tool through Streamtime API

It’s always awesome to see our clients make the most of their Streamtime solution and even better to see them think outside the box with it. Beeldr are a team of nine people that specialise in brand, design and interaction, who operate out of a floating workspace in Amsterdam. Apart from their great work, we’ve always known them to be a fun bunch of people with just the right amount of crazy.

They’ve been happy users of Streamtime for almost 3 years, but something seemed to be missing for them. “We’d been struggling for a while to determine how to manage our tasks in Streamtime” says Martijn Koek, co-owner of Beeldr. “Each morning, we have a short team meeting, where we look at what’s going on in the studio for that day. Our projects get broken down into tasks, but when we make a website, one task in Streamtime could get broken down in 100 tiny little to dos. So we felt we needed to have better insight into the status of each task. It would allow us to get through our morning meeting quicker and more efficiently.”

After investigating a series of possibilities, they decided to build a custom application, using the Streamtime API. Tasks from Streamtime are now synchronised with a separate mysql database, where they get assigned a status: To Do, WIP, Complete, Test. The extra status level makes it easier to keep track of what’s going on with each of the tasks. It also makes it easier to see who’s working on what and what tasks are still in the backlog (not started). Through a custom web interface, they can consult the workload at any given moment.

The main area shows the scrum board, with all the tasks they are currently working on. Tasks can be dragged and dropped in different columns to assign or change the task’s status. Each tasks showing the Streamtime job number, job name, client name, task/material, estimated time, used time and task notes. Buttons at the top of the page allow to quickly filter the scrum board on staff members.

Another area is to check capacity and shows all staff in the studio and their workload (in hours) for the coming weeks. “With the work we’d already done, it was pretty easy to create this overview, so it was like a bonus. However, when I’m meeting with a client, it does allow me to quickly assess our workload and set expectations for delivery dates”, says Martijn.

The third area is the planning board. It shows a classic calendar, listing each person’s tasks per day.

Keen to create your own tools using Streamtime’s API, then check out our documentation online.

Streamtime is No 1 in the UK: we reveal the secrets of our success

We’re well chuffed that Streamtime is officially the leading project management and time tracking solution for UK creative agencies.

The Agency 2015 Benchpress Survey was conducted by The Wow Company in February 2015 and is the UK’s biggest survey of independently-owned agencies.

So what’s put us at the top of the table? Obviously we have a product that people enjoy using, and that’s something we’ve worked really hard to achieve. However having a great product isn’t the only reason for our success. Here we outline a few of the key ingredients that we believe have helped make us the UK’s leading project management and time tracking solution.

Loving our clients and their work - we spend a lot of time with creatives. We talk to them every day. We attend and sponsor the events they go to. We immerse ourselves in design. We share inspiration via our blog.

Understanding agency culture - we understand that adding time to timesheets isn’t high on a creative’s list of things to do. We make it easy to add time so that the experience is as effortless as possible.

We also have a team of aces that have mostly come from an agency background and have our own inhouse design team.

Helpful but not overbearing - We want our clients to be experts in using our system and will help them in whatever way we can. With dedicated support and training teams on both sides of the globe, we make it easy to get the help they need, when they need it.

We listen - we encourage our users to feedback on their experiences with our product and service. We send a simple yearly survey, offer client reviews and collate feedback from support tickets and calls, this gives us an opportunity to see how clients are using Streamtime. We also encourage users to let us know if there are features they’d like to see included in our development road map. Every feature is considered by our CEO and development team.

All clients are equal - whether you’re a start-up with a couple of employees and growing, or a multinational design agency, we aim to give you the same experience and support. We also understand that needs vary and we adapt our advice and suggestions with this in mind.

We love our team - what makes Streamtime a success is our team of aces. We are very lucky to have a great work culture where the team have a lot of fun together. Whether it’s through organised work events like monthly TeamTime activities, Friday afternoon beers, personal training sessions and trips aboard or impromptu activities like a trip to the cinema after work or making a last minute video for the boss’s birthday, we’re a team that really enjoys hanging out together and we believe that is reflected in our work.

If you’d like to find out more about The Agency 2015 Benchpress Survey, you can view the survey results here.

Streamtime top 2015 creative industry survey. Again!

Streamtime is officially the leading project management and time tracking solution for UK creative agencies for the second year running.

The Agency 2015 Benchpress Survey is the UK’s biggest survey of independently-owned agencies. Conducted by The Wow Company in February 2015, the survey looks at all aspects of a creative business from how many members they have in their team to how much they charge per hour.

We’re delighted with this recognition and special thanks must go to our team who have been working really hard to bring our clients a product they can love.

If you’d like to find out more about The Agency 2015 Benchpress Survey, you can view the survey results here.

Friday Inspiration: JR

There are some of us at Streamtime that have a bit of a crush on JR. You see JR is an artist who owns the biggest art gallery in the world. He’s responsible for amazing projects like Face 2 Face in Israel and Palestine, Wrinkles of the City in Cuba and Women are Heroes in Brazil. He’s a photographer, a film maker, and the man has even done a Ballet!

While all of his work could be considered inspiring, what really stands out for me is the Inside Out Project. In 2011 JR won the TED Prize and with it he created the people’s art project. He said, “I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world inside out.” And just like that, the Inside Out Project was born.

Here JR outlines his plans for the Inside Out Project at TED 2011.

The project has been a huge success worldwide, with people taking up the challenge in places like Tunisia, Taiwan, Nepal and the North Pole. HBO have even made a documentary about it.

JR is someone that’s taken what he loves doing and used that to make a difference. He’s not only shared his incredible talent with the world but he’s encouraged the world to join him and that to me is pretty inspirational.

If you want to be inspired daily by this man, I recommend you follow him on instagram, you won’t be disappointed.


New Feature: Send and approve quotes online in Streamtime

Get in touch with our team of aces to get quoting online!

Send your clients professional looking quotes right from the web in Streamtime. Clients receive quotes instantly when you send them online, and they simply click a button to accept the quote. Add internal messages for your team, and even allow clients to comment and discuss the quote.

So what are you waiting for? It’s free for Streamtime subscribers, and we’ll help you with the setup. Get in touch with our team of aces to get quoting online!

Dublin based illustrator designs limited edition Jameson bottle

When asked by Irish Distillers, Jameson Irish Whiskey to design their fifth annual limited edition bottle, Dublin based illustrator Steve Simpson jumped at the chance.

Steve has been plying his trade for the last 30 years, so how did he feel when he was asked to pitch for the 2015 limited edition bottle?  ”I remember thinking ‘I really, really want this – if I don’t get it, it won’t be because I didn’t put enough effort into trying’. When I won the pitch I was the happiest man in Ireland. I’ve lived here for 25 years and it feels like I’ve been adopted,” he said.

Steve Simpson enjoying the fruits of his labour

Jameson has been brewed in Dublin since 1780 and Steve drew heavily on the themes of the city, with the new label featuring images of famous Dublin landmarks like Trinity College and O’Connell Bridge.

The label also includes illustrations of some Dublin icons, that Steve holds close to his heart. This video, takes a further look at the inspirations behind the design.

Daniel Lundberg, global brand director for Jameson, says: “Jameson is synonymous with its hometown of Dublin – both are steeped in heritage, have infectious, welcoming personalities and are leaders in contemporary craft, so this limited edition bottle is our way of paying homage to this great city.”

The new limited edition bottle is available now.

For all the behind the scenes work that went into this 21 month project, check out Steve’s Behance page.

Images courtesy of Steve Simpson.

Friday Inspiration: Greenpeace campaigns

Can you remember why you became a designer? That joyous day where you realised you could make an actual living out of being creative, the promise that every new day would be filled with fun and inspirational ways to meet new, stimulating briefs – all stuff that made you excited to get out of bed.

Are you still living that dream? I bet the reality for most of you is that dream has been squeezed into an awkward gap inbetween corporate stuffiness and brand guidelines. Well, last week my inspiration was reawakened, I had that feeling again – the one where you are inspired to make a difference, to contribute to something, to give something back, to change the world.

The reason for my inspiration? I was privileged to be able to listen to an incredibly motivational man, John Sauven, the Executive Director of Greenpeace UK. A well known, international environmental charity, famous for their contentious campaigns, purposefully created for maximum impact. Campaigns to cause reaction and more importantly to drive results, results like reducing deforestation figures from 27000 sq kilometres down to 4000 sq kilometres in the last 15-20 years. These staggering results mean Greenpeace are truly a force to be reckoned with.

How did they do it? Did you know that rainforests don’t have any corporate value until companies like Cargill (an international food conglomerate) destroy it to make room to grow soya beans? It was shocking to hear that they seem to have the monopoly on food production and how Greenpeace were able track the supply of soya beans from Cargill’s farms in Indonesia to Liverpool and then into McDonald’s restaurants. Fascinating, but somewhat frightening!

The vastness of this problem meant they needed the help of some of the greatest creative brains in the industry. After launching a campaign that lasted a mere 24 hours, Greenpeace got a call from McDonald’s who then committed to sign an agreement not to touch chickens that were fed on Amazon soya. They are now in the 8th year into the agreement – all of this off the back of a powerful campaign managed by a creative force for good, which not only inspires but causes action!

Similar stories can also be told for giants such as Procter & Gamble, Colgate Palmolive, Johnson&Johnson, Kelloggs, Shell, and Unilever, but the list certainly does not stop there.

This hard hitting video was asking Nestlé to “give rainforests a break” and again the campaign was a huge success.

When was the last time you had complete freedom to create design without boundaries, to be devil’s advocate and deliver a strong, fundamental message? No I can’t remember either, but your luck might be in. In his closing statement, John mentioned that they are always looking for talented creatives to join their team – so what are you waiting for?

How do you get staff to do their timesheets?

Getting staff to do timesheets is not always easy. JWT Brazil have an awesome way to reward their employees for completing their timesheets, by having an electronic lock on the beer fridge, that won’t open until all timesheets are completed.

We’d love to hear how you get your staff to do their timesheets. If you’ve got any tips simply comment below and we’ll share them in a future post.

Image courtesy of JWT Brazil.

‘The dress’ used for anti abuse campaign

In a powerful campaign for the Salvation Army in South Africa, advertising agency Ireland/Davenport have used the hype surrounding ‘the dress‘ to highlight domestic abuse.

For the full story see BuzzFeed News.


We’re sponsoring CreativeMornings London

In 2008, Tina Roth Eisenberg started CreativeMornings, a free breakfast lecture series for the creative community in New York City. Since then the CreativeMorning’s phenomenon has grown to 106 cities worldwide.

We think it’s important to support the creative community, particularly in the cities that we live and work in. Back in November, 2013 when there were only 60 chapters, we teamed up with CreativeMornings Sydney and now we’re proud to announce that we’re also sponsoring CreativeMornings London.

So if you’re lucky enough to have tickets to see environmentalist and executive director of GreenpeaceJohn Sauven speak in London this morning, we’ll see you there. If you missed out this time or would like to know about CreativeMornings in a city near you, then check out the CreativeMornings website for up and coming CreativeMornings.

Vince Vaughn poses for stock photography images

Need a stock image of a business environment, but your client doesn’t want to pay the fees? Well iStock might have just what you’re looking for.

To promote his latest movie, Unfinished Business, Vince Vaughn and his co stars have posed for a series of stock photography images, available for free download from iStock.

So images like “successful applauding executives sitting at the table” (seen above) can be all yours, for free!

Courtesy of Adweek.

Humans in honey

For his latest project Preservation, Blake Little has photographed the human body covered in honey, to produce some truly stunning imagery.

The folks at designboom have more on this fascinating work.

Image © Blake Little.

Friday Inspiration: ImageBrief

Every day when I open a new browser I am greeted with a fantastic, unexpected image from a professional photographer I have never heard of.

Photographer: Allison Achauer

It’s become a little ritual that I look forward to each morning, as the images are varying, quite beautiful and inspire me to view life in a more creative manner.

Photographer: Michelly Rall

The Google Chrome extension I use is called ImageBrief Daily, from ImageBrief.

Photographer: A K Dayton

ImageBrief do not provide your standard stock photography service. Instead those seeking a professional image for a project will submit a brief and budget.

Photographer: Mat Rick

Photographers from around the world in ImageBrief’s network compete for the work. It’s an interesting, fair, simple and sometimes very generous process.

Photographer: Erika Szostak

The by-product of this system is the Google Chrome extension. If you’re looking for a burst of creativity each day, I highly encourage you to look into it.

New in Streamtime Web: Save a quote as a PDF

We’ve just released an update to Streamtime Web, adding more features and improvements to online quoting.

Through Streamtime Web you can now create a PDF of a quote and send that directly to your client.

A full review of this feature can be found in the video below.

If you are not already a customer of ours why not try Streamtime Web for yourself.

If you are already a Streamtime subscriber and don’t have Streamtime Web, our Streamtime knowledge base has all the information you need to set this up, or alternatively give our support team a call for assistance, we’d love to help get this in your hands.

Friday Inspiration: Chie Mihara

Breathtaking – that’s how I would describe a pair of Chie Mihara shoes. Yes shoes are subject to personal taste, but Chie Mihara doesn’t just create shoes, she creates works of art.

Inspired by her Portuguese upbringing and her Japanese culture, Chie has created shoes that are feminine, fun and most importantly comfortable. A combination that can be difficult to get right.

She is also involved in every aspect of the design process. It starts with a sketch, then she hand picks the fabrics and materials making sure everything is the best quality. Every detail is carefully considered.

This video shows Chie and her team in action and gives you a real feel for how much love goes into a pair of Chie’s shoes.

Chie Mihara shows that no matter what you do, as long as you show commitment and passion, the results are bound to be amazing. For me, that is inspiring.

If you want to get your hands on a pair of these beauties, or even just admire them from afar they are available from the Chie Mihara online store. If you’re lucky enough to be in Sydney, check out the spectacular The Cook, His Wife and Her Shoes. Their Chie Mihara range is exclusive to them as they choose the colour combinations and designs personally for their store.


Friday Inspiration: Sons & Co.

Sons & Co. produce stunning work, there’s no question about that. In 2014 they picked up one gold, one silver and five bronze at New Zealand’s Best Awards and three out of four distinctions in the AGDA Design Awards Digital Design category.

But it’s not just their designs that inspire, it is also their philosophy. Speaking at AGDA NSW’s Small Talk in Sydney this week, Tim Kelleher and Matt Arnold delighted the audience with their no BS approach to business and web design.

While website design is what they do, Sons & Co. have chosen not to have a company website. They don’t have a logo, they don’t have stationery and they don’t do social media. Instead they’re all about doing great work for their clients. Matt says, “we may appear amateurish and goofy from the outside, but we put it all in behind the scenes.” As a result, they get most of their clients through word of mouth and that is just the way they like it.

When they get a brief they don’t look at it as website designers and developers, they look at it from a graphic design point of view. Tim says when they design a website they “take stuff out of the browser and ask does it work as a poster etc.”

They also have quite an unusual business philosophy. In a nutshell they:

Only work with clients that are interested in what they do.
This makes for a more harmonious relationship.

Want to be approachable and affordable
Tim and Matt believe that they can do fast, cheap and good work for clients by eliminating unnecessary workshops and meetings.

Say yes to everything that doesn’t matter
By doing this, they believe that when they say no to a client, the client knows they are serious.

Try to be social
Despite being out of their comfort zone, they realise the importance of being social. Matt says, “if you want to work with people you need to start hanging out with them.” They also believe that “if you really want to work with someone, you should just ask them.”

Don’t take themselves too seriously
If you meet Tim and Matt in person it is evident that while they take their work and commitment to clients seriously, they are down to earth, relaxed and unpretentious guys.

When they started Sons & Co. back in 2008, Tim and Matt wanted to create the kind of company that they knew they’d still be running when they were old. With this philosophy towards business and design, it looks like they’ll be in business for a long time indeed.

Money & Clients: Jacky Winter Gives You The Business

Last year we wrote a piece on talking money with clients and why it can be a difficult conversation to have.

If this is something you struggle with then get yourself down to Jacky Winter Gives You The Business this weekend in Melbourne. There you’ll get some great advice from the likes of  Katie Wellbelove, Producer from Grey Melbourne and Sharon McNamara, General Manager at SouthSouthWest who will be discussing the topic How and when do I talk about money with a client? Linda Jukic from Hulsbosch talks about How to determine your hourly rate and if that’s not enough incentive to get you there Maria Amato from Results Management will talk about that all important topic How to get paid on time.

It’s all happening this Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th February and tickets can be purchased here. The added bonus is that it runs from 11am to 4pm each day, which leaves you plenty of time to check out Supergraph (located just across the street), while you’re there.

Remember while you’re in the business of being creative, you also need to eat. This event by the team at Jacky Winter will show you how both is possible.

Photo by Michi Dixon and used under Creative Commons license.

Friday Inspiration: Factory Records

When Factory Records opened it’s doors in 1978, the music industry had never seen anything like it. Not only did the label’s artists enjoy creative freedom but so did the graphic designers that produced the album artwork. Album covers were suddenly stimulating, they had vision, they were beautiful.

Factory famously didn’t worry about budgets or deadlines. Artwork created by Peter SavilleCentral Station Design8vo and the other designers at Factory often used expensive stocks, metallic inks and die cuts in their designs. 7 inch and 12 inch formats had different artwork, even Factory’s numbering system became part of the creative process. Other record labels would never dream of doing this because of the cost involved. Working there was a designers dream.

“Why was packaging important to us? Because the job was a sacred one. Music had transformed our young lives, children of the sixties all. And now we were in the privileged position of putting out records ourselves.” – Tony Wilson, Co Founder, Factory Records (taken from Factory Records The Complete Graphic Album).

Blue Monday” (Fac 73) was probably the most famous product of this design first, profitability second policy. Designed by Peter Saville, the packaging for New Order‘s 12 inch single was more expensive than the single itself. Designed to resemble a floppy disk, it included expensive die cutting and a silver inner sleeve. There was no mention of the band’s name or even the name of the song anywhere on the cover. Instead Saville created a code using a series of colour blocks. The key to decipher this code would be found on the back sleeve of New Order’s Power, Corruption & Lies album (Fact 75), a secret code for the initiated. “Blue Monday” became the biggest selling 12 inch single of all time in the UK.

Blue Monday 12" cover

The designers at Factory Records didn’t just create album artwork, they also designed flyers, posters, stationery, Factory Records HQ, a bar, and even a nightclub. If you have the slightest interest in design (which we assume you do if you’re reading our blog) or even just want to see the artwork synonymous with the Manchester music scene of the late 70′s, 80′s and early 90′s then I recommend Matthew Robertson’s book Factory Records The Complete Graphic Album (Fac 461).

Peter Saville would later say that “Factory misled a generation into believing all designers have unlimited freedom” and that may be so. Designers may never enjoy the same creative freedom bestowed upon the Factory Records employees, but that freedom started a legacy of great, cutting edge design in the music industry and beyond.

Success is an ugly word

James Winter in action at CreativeMornings Sydney

I can’t help but feel like I was meant to be at James Winter‘s talk at CreativeMornings Sydney last Friday. James is co-founder of Brand X, a not for profit arts organisation that repurposes under-utilised space for Sydney’s performing, recording, and visual art communities to practice their craft. The topic was “Ugly” and James was gorgeous - but that’s not my point.

A bit of background: before James started I was chatting to my colleague Cam about some of the frustrations I’ve been experiencing with my band lately, especially with our songwriting process. I’ve been feeling a little constrained: we know what works with an audience and within the industry, so that’s what we write. But we haven’t tried anything new or different in ages. I didn’t join a band so I could play it safe – that’s just the antithesis of rock n’ roll! And I didn’t come here to do the same thing over and over again. I’m an artist, man! Where are my guts?

Don’t get me wrong – I know that there is a game, and I know that one’s success depends on how well you play the game. That’s business. So when James proposed at the very beginning of his talk that “success is the ugly word”, I immediately hopped on board. Then the clincher, he said we’re “obsessed with success to the point that the audience dictates what is acceptable and unacceptable.” Cam elbowed me in the arm. That’s what I’m talkin’ about, James Winter!

James argues that success is ugly because it’s the endpoint, and an endpoint is ugly because it’s daunting. First of all you have to try really hard to get there, and then when you arrive, you have to make another endpoint that’s further than where you’ve landed, and try even harder to get to that one.

An endpoint is also controlling and consuming, because you must arrive – failure is not an option. And, you must arrive within a given timeframe, because business opportunities are perishable. The danger of failing gives us a great excuse to turn to the tried and tested, fail-proof, conservative, old, lazy, boring formulas that we know will get the job done.

But where’s the fun in that? Where’s the ‘success’ in doing the same thing over and over again? James proposes that rather than chasing success, we should not just embrace, but commit to the opportunity of failing. (Hands up if you’re a Seth Godin fan).

James Winter’s investor told him that his business idea was bound to fail. But independent artists had no space to practice or perform, and James believed he should rectify that. 10 years later, Brand X is still going strong and making important contributions to the arts community.

23 major record labels refused to give Joan Jett a deal. So she founded Blackheart Records, and “I Love Rock n’ Roll” became the number 1 song on the Billboard charts for two months.

27 publishers rejected Theodor Seuss Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss’s first book. His books have now sold over 600 million copies.

Obsessing over success only solidifies our relationship with the mediocre. “When failure is allowed”, James says, “a real sense of freedom and adventure arises. That’s when great work occurs.”

All I can think of now is how fun it would be if my band walked into the studio with minds open to horrible ideas. No doubt we’d come up with a lot of crap, but who knows what gems we might develop from having journeyed through the pits of failure. Thanks for the encouragement, James Winter. Now to try and convince my people to make some mistakes like real rock n’ rollers.

Shot Composition: The Quadrant System

One for the film fans today: A really nice breakdown of shot composition in the film Drive, put together by Every Frame a Painting’s Tony Zhou.

Watch some of Tony’s other breakdowns too – fascinating and insightful.

Super Bowl XLIX advertising, not so super

I’m going to come right out and say it, I found this year’s Super Bowl ads disappointing.

Companies pay an estimated US $4 million per 30 second TVC to get air time during the Super Bowl, so you’d think they’d go all out to produce the best for their brands. However despite the plethora of celebrities and one very cute puppy, they all left me feeling a bit meh! Even the return of Walter White didn’t do it for me.

With the increasing trend for advertisers to air their wares online prior to Super Bowl Sunday, maybe the Super Bowl has lost some of it’s charm.

OK it wasn’t all doom and gloom. The Snickers “Brady Bunch” ad, gets some points for their excellent use of Steve Buscemi, he can do no wrong in my eyes; and the use of Liam Neeson‘s Taken persona in the Clash of Cans “Revenge” commercial did show some creativity. However for me, the standard of past years just wasn’t there.

But don’t let my opinions sway you. You can make up your own mind by watching all the Super Bowl ads yourselves. For me though, it was a not so Super Bowl.


Entering The Fashion World: Jean Paul Gaultier at NGV

Photo: Danielle Wilson

It’s not very often that you can play tourist in your own city, which is just what I got to do when I visited The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, at the National Gallery of Victoria.

The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition showcased 140 haute couture pieces, each outlining the materials used, including python skin and wheat, as well as the hours it took to create each beautiful creation, some in excess of 2400 hours. It was utterly amazing to see the dedication, effort and imaginativeness presented by Gaultier over the past 40 years.

The term Haute Couture is protected by French Law, as is the making of the French baguette, which our team learned in Paris last year. Haute Couture garments are handmade and the fashion house itself needs to meet a number of criteria and be approved by the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris yearly. This highly appealing art form is a splendid and longstanding part of the fashion world and fashion will always be one of the most expressive art forms.

Photo: Danielle Wilson

Alongside the magnificent garments, the exhibition included fashion sketches and stunning photographs of celebrities including Streamtime favourite, Cate Blanchett and my personal favourite, Nicole Kidman.

The exhibition is closing February 8th, so be sure you get down there this week.

New in Streamtime Web

Today we released an update to Streamtime Web, adding more features and improvements to online quoting.

These include:
• Improved load time
• New filter and refine feature for searching
• Responsive design to view quotes on any device
• Improved online access and collaboration for your clients

A full review of new features and improvements can be found in the video below.

If you’re already a Streamtime subscriber and don’t have Streamtime Web, our Streamtime knowledge base has all the information you need to set this up, or alternatively give our support team a call for assistance, we’d love to help get this in your hands.

Jeff Lloyd’s Vinyl Frontiers

Ever since I was a kid I loved music and in particular, vinyl. I remember my first bit of plastic, the smell, the look, the feel and of course the tracks. But who actually listens to an album in it’s purest form from beginning to end anymore? With the arrival of digital, MP3′s, WAVS, AAC etc. everything is so disposable and instant.

I met Jeff Lloyd sometime last year after being dragged along to the Vinyl Frontier’s Singles Challenge by my brother in law and my mate James. What is Vinyl Frontier’s Singles Challenge? Basically it’s an evening where you sit in a room with a 100+, forty-somethings listening to vinyl records on a hi-fi, while watching slides on PowerPoint, all presented by a bloke called Jeff . I thought it sounded rather dull! How wrong I was.

Here was a sold out evening, with normal people getting very excited about records, topped and tailed by probably the coolest, most knowledgeable person I have met, the amazingly patient and wonderful Jeff Lloyd. At last a place for me to chat with like minded folk about my vinyl and music addiction. After my first experience I was totally hooked. It’s a joy to know there are actually people like me who completely love and appreciate the snap, crackle and pop of sticking a needle on a record and getting lost in the whole experience. I thought it was just the DJ in me that loved vinyl, again I was wrong.

But I’m not here to talk about my vinyl obsession or discuss the difference between digital and vinyl. I want to talk about Saturday night as I was invited to be a challenger in the line up for ‘The Vinyl Frontier’s Album Challenge’. My choice was Primal Scream’s 1991 album Screamadelica. It’s the perfect fusion of indie, dance, rock & roll and electronica which oozes the “Summer of Love” vibe which was prevalent in clubs in 1988, 1989 and 1990 which was when I got seriously hooked onto dance music.

Beautifully remixed by Windsor’s Andrew Weatherall, a brilliant DJ and ambassador for the strange and wonderful. Being a Windsor lad myself, I may be somewhat biased. I had to choose a track and then give a bit of background. “Loaded” was my choice, the fabulous remix of “I’m Losing More Than I Ever Have“, an older Primals track, which Weatherall stripped right back and the use of a sample from the film Easy Rider where Henry Fonda says “We want to be free, we want to be free to do what we wanna do, and we wanna get loaded, and we wanna have a good time, and that’s what we are gonna do”. It was the sentiment and the album that defined a generation, my generation.
So the line up on the night was:
1. The Police, Outlandos d’Amour – “Next to you” (selected by Paul Maynard)
2. The Teardrop Explodes, Kilamanjaro – “Reward” (selected by Steve Carman)
3. The Zombies, Odessey & Oracle – “Time of the Season” (selected by Richard Butler)
4. Primal Scream, Screamadelica – “Loaded” (selected by Mark Cooper)
5. The Clash, Sandinista! – “Junco Partner” (selected by Adam Gurr)
6. Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life – “Love’s in Need of Love Today” (selected by Sir Cumference)
7. Junior Walker and the All-Stars, Greatest Hits – “Road Runner” (selected by Adrian Lloyd)
8. Yes, 90125 – “Owner of a Lonely Heart (selected by Tristan Batory)
9. The Cure, Disintegration – “Pictures of You” (selected by Richard Parsons)
10. U2, Under a Blood Red Sky – “New Year’s Day” (selected by Oz Osbourne)
11. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses – “Made of Stone” (selected by Maria Ashby-Giles)
12. Aztec Camera, High Land, Hard Rain – “Oblivious” (selected by Jon Rosten)
13. Rainbow, Down to Earth – “Since You Been Gone” (selected by Jo Carman)

Each of us had to vote for three albums, first choice was worth three points, second choice was two points and third was one point. My points went to The Cure, U2 and The Clash. I chose The Cure as my colleague Kye is a huge fan. I kind of missed them in the day as I was into other bands at the time, but I found myself completely transported and wanting more. I chose U2 because they were just so raw back then when Under a Blood Red Sky came out and The Edge’s piano and guitar work on this live album are just sublime. The Clash got my last vote because I dearly love them and respected the fact someone chose a non-commercial record and a slightly obscure track, which is somewhat difficult to do when you could probably chose something else from them like “Should I Stay or Should I Go” which everyone knows. Total respect!

The winner on the night was Oz Osbourne with U2′s New Year’s Day. Although I didn’t win, it was great to be able to chat about my favourite, wonderful Screamadelica and finish with a few votes. I also learnt so much about these wonderful albums and interesting people. I now keen to listen to the rest of the albums from the night.

If you’d like to enjoy some of the tunes, here is the playlist from the night, compiled by one of the challengers.

Thought for the day – “Vinyl will never die and everyone is a DJ”.

The agency is dead. Long live the agency.

Tobias van Schneider, Product Design Lead at Spotify, chips in nicely with this addition to the ‘agency model is dead’ conversation.

Top 10 title sequences of 2014

Art of the Title have chosen their top 10 title sequences of 2014.

They not only celebrate title design but also give some insight into the designers and studios behind the work.

As fans of True Detective, we’re delighted to see it made it into the top 10.


Streamtime keep cup give away

We’re big coffee lovers at Streamtime, so it was only a matter of time before we got our own keep cups. To celebrate we’re giving some away.

To get your hands on one simply go to our Facebook page and tell us why you should be one of the lucky recipients. It’s that easy.

Fibonacci Zoetrope Sculptures

Maths is awesome! These Fibonacci zoetrope sculptures make beautiful life-like movements when spun under a strobe light.

In their own words:

These are 3-D printed sculptures designed to animate when spun under a strobe light. The placement of the appendages is determined by the same method nature uses in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotation speed is synchronized to the strobe so that one flash occurs every time the sculpture turns 137.5º—the golden angle. If you count the number of spirals on any of these sculptures you will find that they are always Fibonacci numbers.
For this video, rather than using a strobe, the camera was set to a very short shutter speed (1/4000 sec) in order to freeze the spinning sculpture.

Tips & Tricks: Creating a timeline

When beginning a project it’s often helpful to distribute a timeline, so all parties involved are on the same page.

In Streamtime, a timeline can be created using tasks. You can create a timeline for internal purposes, or send one to your client.

See the Streamtime knowledge base for more information on creating Timelines.

Tips & Tricks: A quick way for account managers to view their jobs

If you’re an account manager and you want to see a list of your jobs, then go to Jobs > Job List and choose the FileMaker menu and select ‘Show My Active Jobs (as Account Manager)’.


Tips & Tricks: Create quotes from anywhere

Need to create a client quote on the go? Streamtime Web now gives you the ability to create, edit, and send quotes quickly and easily, all securely in a web browser.

So if you’re on your way back from a meeting you can start the quoting process right there in the back of the cab, it’s that easy.

If you’re new to Streamtime, check out the demo of Streamtime on the web here. If you’re already a Streamtime subscriber and don’t have Streamtime Web, our Streamtime knowledge base has all the information you need to set this up, or alternatively give our support team a call for assistance.

The films we loved in 2014

Last year we brought you the music that inspired us, this year it’s the films we loved. Without further ado, here are the movies Team Streamtime enjoyed in 2014.

“We saw The Amazing Spiderman 2 back in April and it was amazing! We treated the kids to our own personal VIP trip which meant we had our own personal ‘box’ with drinks service, our own personal volume and surround sound experience and no-one was able to see inside! We had the best time. As for the movie – awesome apart from a very sad ending which leaves the franchise wide open for lots of sequels. Cant wait!”

“Special mention must go to The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood, both excellent films, but the stand out movie of the year for me was John Michael McDonagh‘s Calvary. McDonagh tells the story of an embattled Priest, asked to pay for the sins of others with so much heart, and Brendan Gleeson‘s performance is sublime. This movie stayed with me for weeks.”

“This year, mainly due to a small and needy but rather cute little bundle of joy I only saw a handful of movies at the cinema, and only one with my wife and that was just last week! We went to see Interstellar while my parents baby sat our little girl. I enjoyed the movie more for the fact that my wife and I were able to get out of the house rather than for it being a great movie, but none the less it was pretty good. Matthew McConaughey‘s performance was great, and I enjoyed the movie for its concepts of worm holes, black holes and space time travel.”

“My choice is A Most Wanted Man. The plot keeps you guessing as it unveils unexpected twists. It’s not your run of the mill political thriller movie. It’s a pity that Phillip Seymour Hoffman won’t be able to delight us with any more of his great performances.”

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - I am a fan of science / tech stuff, and a film with genetically modified super apes, how cool is that? The most charming thing that caught my eye were not only the ape’s super powers and human-like thoughts but also the bonds between them. Caesar amazed me with his leadership and commitment to his family through all the difficulties. Last but not least, I want to live in these super apes’ gorgeous mountain nests!”

Guardians of the Galaxy, I know it’s another Marvel Comic Super Hero film, but it was really funny. A fun ride with loveable characters and an amazing soundtrack. I’d say it was right up there with The Avengers movie Joss Whedon directed, which is a huge compliment since Mr Whedon is on my worship list. Special mention to the hotness of Chris Pratt. Bravo for the topless scene with the wet orange shower. Yummy scrummy. Can’t wait for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and 3.”

“The director of two of my favourite ever films—Boy and Eagle Vs Shark—brought out a new film this year called What We Do In The ShadowsTaika Waititi, alongside Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords, wrote, directed and starred in this hilarious mockumentary following a group of vampires living in a share house in Wellington, New Zealand. After an influx of vampire films since 2008′s Twilight, this is a refreshing angle to take and is, in my eyes, one of the more believable vampire films due to the mockumentary style in which it is shot and the awkward reality of Waititi’s work. Never short on laughs, it’s well worth your attention, funniest movie of the year for me.”

“My favourite movie for the year was Bad Neighbours. This movie caught me by surprise, it is just hilarious. It’s packed with jokes and best of all, it has Rose Byrne talking in her natural aussie accent.”

“I haven’t been to the movies this year but I did watch The Intouchables on blue ray a few months ago. It is based on the true events of Philppe Pozzo di Borgo played by Francois Cluzet and his French Algerian caregiver Abdel Sellou.  They changed his name in the film to Driss played by Omar Sy.

The story follows Driss & Phillipe and how two people from very different paths can build a honest relationship and help each other out in life. Phillipe likes the way Driss doesn’t take pity on him and tries to add a bit of fun back into his life after his accident and death of his wife. Driss has someone who trusts him despite his criminal past and they build a close relationship and Phillippe helps Driss discover other interests that he would never have done in his past life. It is well written and has plenty of humour and is a feel good movie. It is good to see how two people from completely different walks of life and have a big impact on each others life and to this date they still keep in contact with each other.”

“My favourite movie of 2014 was Her a film written, directed, and produced by Spike Jonze. The film is set around Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a man who develops a relationship with Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), his operating system. Yes, it’s a film for nerds, but more than that it’s a film for romantics… set in a not-too-far fetched future where technology has become a low-risk substitute for human connection, people have ACTUALLY fallen in love with technology! The future is a mixture of utopian technological perfection and dystopic isolation, where hipsters wear high waisted pants and dress in pastel.

To me, it raised really interesting questions about what a relationship fundamentally is, and whether it’s possible that artificial intelligence could ever become a substitute for our basic human needs, and the double edged nature of technology. Ironically, having this cathartic “relationship” with his operating system, Theodore finds himself more in touch with himself, the people around him and the real world. The best bit for me was when a hyper-intelligent OS version of Alan Watts, my favourite philosopher, is introduced.”

“Technically this came out a week or so before the start of 2014. But for me, it was the most memorable film of the year. 2014 wasn’t a good year for amazing films really, there were a few good ones, but slim pickings – some of the best reviewed ones I haven’t managed to see yet. The Wolf of Wall Street is my choice, not for how good it was, but for the way it stood out. It was Christmas time. We were in the holiday mood and a movie seemed like a great idea on a rainy day. My father in law was keen to join us, and because he had been involved with the Stock Market for most of his career, visiting Wall Street several times, the movie title was a natural choice.

We should have read the reviews. We should have noticed the rating. Instead, my wife and I sat painfully through each graphic sex and drug scene wondering whether we should walk out – and wondering what my father in law may think of that. I found the movie despicable. It glorified greed and excess and never showed the true victims the main character had deceived, robbed from and financially destroyed. It even ended in a way that showed he really got away with it all. No lessons there. Just crass bias. The only funny scene was Leonardo DiCaprio trying to walk to the car and drive home after taking too many mind altering substances. For some reason my wife found this hilarious.  Here’s to another Christmas break, more movies and more careful selection.”

“My choice is Nightcrawlera gut-wrenching tale of our hero’s descent into the darkness of underground crime journalism. Jake Gyllenhaal is perfectly cast for the role, with his intense focus and wily smile. It had me on the edge of my seat through the twists and turns and grimacing at some of the imagery surrounding his work. Believable delivery by Gyllenhaal only made better by his partnership with Rene Russo‘s character. Together, they weave the story that might have happened in our backyards. History is written by the survivors.”

Some great choices there, but if this were a competition there’d be only one winner. The stand out film of the year for Team Streamtime is…

“My favourite movie this year was, without a doubt – The Grand Budapest Hotel. Ralph Fiennes’ performance playing Monsieur Gustave was magnificent. And as always, Wes Anderson managed to create a story that is just genius and incredibly funny. So many fun little references to locations and other stories. Anderson brings together the most amazing cast, as most of them have either won an Oscar or have been nominated for one. In the end, all I needed to know is that Bill Murray was in it. Say no more.”

“I loved The Grand Budapest Hotel. Wes Anderson excelled himself in a beautiful, funny, moving and crazy film about passion, friendship and loyalty.  A brilliant cast led by Ralph Fiennes, this was a sumptuous visual feast prepared by a master filmmaker at the top of his game.”

The Grand Budapest Hotel - This brilliant and enchanting film has the Wes Anderson meter cranked up to the max and makes this movie a celebration of everything the filmmaker stands for.”

“The film of the year for me has to be The Grand Budapest Hotel. I love anything Wes Anderson does and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. His trademark quirky storyline, cast selection, set design and production values were out in full force. It’s a little darker and more cartoonesque in places than other offerings and this added to its richness and enjoyment for me. The casting of Ralph Fiennes in the main role was a stroke of genius too. I had my doubts but Fiennes is excellent. Can’t recommend highly enough.”

“I’m going to go with The Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s been a quiet year for me in regards to movies but this one was one that we had to see. Wes Anderson and Bill Murray…say no more. As expected, it delivered in quirkiness with the crazy storyline that in any other situation would have you walking out of the cinema turned into such an enjoyable movie by the awesome set and amazing performances by the big name cast. Explaining a movie by Wes Anderson in words is difficult, the best thing to do is simply watch it, try not to make sense of it and enjoy it for what it is. Society of the crossed keys to the rescue.”

There have been some pretty bad movies I think think year, but some have stood out. Anchorman 2 was hilarious and Guardians of the Galaxy was surprisingly good. Transcendence was very strange but I could never decide if I liked it or not. My movie choice though is The Grand Budapest Hotel. Very clever movie and seemed like it finished very quickly which is a good sign.”

“I’m gonna go with The Grand Budapest Hotel. I’m a sucker for Wes Anderson films, and it was exactly what I expected: a beautiful story, told beautifully. It had all the joy, sadness, humour – so brilliantly understated and perfectly executed. Too cool, Wes, too cool.”

High praise indeed.

Thanks for reading and have a great Christmas.

Tips & Tricks: Surviving Christmas

It’s that time of year again, there’s parties to attend, food to enjoy and drinks to be had. After all the hard work of the last 12 months, it’s time to relax a little and enjoy ourselves.

With all that enjoyment sometimes comes over indulgence, so here’s our tips on surviving the Christmas period.

• If your office is closing over the Christmas break, ensure you run a backup of your computer and servers before you go on holidays. We recommend taking a backup of your Streamtime database too. If your server restarts at some point while no one’s around, it could potentially corrupt your database files.

• Planning to have a few beverages at the office Christmas party? It might be a good idea to refresh your memory of any passwords you might need the next day. True story: we had a client call us after their Christmas party and they couldn’t remember their Streamtime password.

• As you start to wind down for the year it’s a good time to do some office housekeeping. File any old paperwork away and give your desk a quick clean. If you’re heading away for holidays it’s always nice to come back to a tidy desk. And in Streamtime, close any tasks or jobs that have been completed, that way you can start the new year with a nice, tidy database.

• Finally remember to have a great time. You’ve worked hard this year, so relax and take a little time for yourself.

Photo by Corey Seeman and used under Creative Commons license.

Tips & Tricks: Creating a creative brief template

In Streamtime you can transfer notes associated with a client automatically onto a job. You can also use this feature to automatically setup a creative brief template.

To do this go to System Setup > Jobs and set the ‘Add Client Notes to New Jobs’ setting to yes.

Now go to Contacts and select the client you wish to create the brief template for, and click on the Notes tab. This where you can setup your creative brief template.

When you create a job for that client the brief template will automatically pull through from the client notes onto the job.

Of course you don’t just have to have a creative brief in this field, this setting will allow you to transfer any notes you create in the Contacts tab onto the job.

Mobile handsets as Russian nesting dolls

Came across this fun post on mobile nesting dolls from Khoi Vinh’s Subtraction.com blog. They’re by illustrator, art director and maker Kyle Bean.


Sci-fi typography

I love the detail and thought that goes into some movies. The elaborate back-stories, the time taken to research period-accurate details and get things just right. Someone once said to me “Nearly every detail you see in a movie is there for a reason”, and so it was great to come across this post recently on the type details in Ridley Scott’s Alien. It’s from a blog called Typeset in the Future. Be sure to check out the other posts on the site too.

Tips & Tricks: Moving time from one job to another

To move time between jobs, go to the job that has the incorrect time entry and click on the Costs tab, here you will find all the time entries on that job.

Once you’ve found the incorrect time entry click the edit icon next to the time entry.

When the edit time entry window is open there will be an edit button next to the job number.

Click the edit button and then type in the correct job number and click OK, this will update the time entry with the new job number.

Once that’s done click Save and your time entry will move to that job.

See our knowledge base for more information on editing time.

New in Streamtime Web: Collaboration, Create & Send Quotes Online, and Job Timers

Our latest Streamtime Web release includes some great new features that you’re going to love – most notably the ability to create and send quotes to your clients online and collaborate on quotes with your clients and your team.

Create and Send quotes online

Streamtime Web now gives you the ability to create, edit, and send quotes quickly and easily, and give your clients the power to click and accept your quotes instantly, all securely in a web browser.

When you send a quote in Streamtime Web, your client will receive an email with a link to view their quote online. They can add comments, and accept or decline the quote. When they do, you’ll get an instant email notification and can action the quote.

We’ve also added a small detail that we think will make your life easier: When you’re creating a quote for a new client or prospect, you can add that client when creating the quote – no need to create the client first.

Collaborate with your clients and your team

Today we release the first of a series of features that will be web only: collaboration on quotes – the ability to comment both privately within your own team and if you choose to, with your clients. These two-way comments will be visible inside Streamtime Web and client managers will also receive email notifications of comments as they are added by clients. For now, notifications only occur between the Client Manager and the client. Your team can comment on the quote, and we’ll be building in team notifications in the next release.

Start timers on tasks

Also new today is an update to our already successful online time entry tool: the ability to start a timer on tasks. So now in addition to seeing your assigned tasks and adding time against them, you can start a timer on those tasks, or on any new task you choose.

If they aren’t already, these new features will be winging their way to your browser very soon.

If you’re already a Streamtime subscriber and don’t have Streamtime Web, our Streamtime knowledge base has all the information you need to set this up, or alternatively give our support team a call for assistance, we’d love to help get this in your hands.

Highlights of the Australian Design Biennale Creative Forum 2014

Streamtime loves creatives and their work. In line with that statement, we try to show the love to the talented individuals within the creative industry and the little island at the bottom of Australia was packed to the brim with very special talent for the 2014 Australian Design Biennale in Hobart on November 13 – 16.

Streamtime partnered with AGDA, the Australian Graphic Design Association, as a sponsor of this biannual event, sponsoring the Design Crafts category at the AGDA Awards. Streamtime Community Manager, Kye Hush and I attended the three day event which included an exclusive after dark visit to MONA, the D20 Creative Forum and the AGDA Awards themselves.

Danielle (left) & Kye on their way to MONA

The highlight for me was the D20 Creative Forum, the theme of which was ‘Crossing the Line’. Curated by MONA and hosted by Emily Sexton, previously of Next Wave Festival, this forum really resonated with me.

When deciding who to work with, the possible confrontational nature of your work, when to back down and apologise or when to stand up for your beliefs because they align with your values, are questions that every creative must face.

Some highlights from the forum included:

• A panel on Change and Resistance where MONA’s Leigh Carmichael asked “are you a lone nut or a first follower?” To illustrate his point he showed an entertaining video of a guy dancing on his own at a music festival. His belief was that while it’s risky to be the lone nut, it’s riskier to be the first follower.

• Former Greens Leader and Senator Bob Brown, gave an inspiring keynote where he said ”we’ve got to be risk takers, this planet is at stake and it requires thoughtful people to take risks.”

Bob Brown photograph by Remi Chauvin, MONA

• The Activism Incorporated panel was particularly interesting as it posed the question ’When does aligning your brand with a cause ask you to cross the line?’

L-R Juliana Engberg, Marcus Westbury, Casey Jenkins, Elizabeth Pearce and Emily Sexton.

Speaker Elizabeth Pearce, Senior Writer for MONA, is fortunate to work for the incredible, yet elusive David Walsh who encourages crossing the line daily. Yet there was a time when David removed a piece of art at MONA that controversially invited DNA testing for Aboriginality. After consulting Aboriginal Elders he felt the line had been crossed and that it was disrespecting Tasmanian Aboriginals and their heritage.

Casey Jenkins, founder of Craft Cartel and best known for her artwork Casting Off My Womb, saw her artwork and intent questioned by the masses when SBS’s The Feed did an online segment called Vaginal Knitting. Viewed by over five million people, many of whom reacted and commented with disgust, Casey asked herself whether she crossed the line. Her conclusion was no she didn’t as she’d created the piece with the intent on casting off the social taboo about menstruation and the word vagina.

Marcus Westbury, Founder of Renew Newcastle and Renew Australia, still questions whether they are crossing the line in their work of taking unused properties in Australia and working with the owners to negotiate making the space available to creatives.  Working with good intentions and working with those who may not always have the best of intentions is something that they still struggle with.

Working as the Artistic Director at ACCA, The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Juliana Engberg, is always encouraging others to cross the line, but only for the right reasons, not for ‘shock value’. When artist Mikala Dwyer, wanted to lift the social shame behind defecating by doing it in public at the opening of her Goldene Bend’er exhibition at ACCA earlier this year, the ACCA agreed.

Juliana Engberg photograph by Remi Chauvin, MONA

At this year’s Biennale of Sydney, Ms. Engberg as Artistic Director and the exhibiting artists were at the forefront of controversy as Founding Partner, Transfield Holdings were discovered to have links to offshore detention centres through its parent company. The outcome, after ten artists withdrew from the event, was to cut ties with Transfield.

Rarely is there an industry where you can push the boundaries of society, normality and human and consumer perception on a daily basis in your work. Being creative, whether it’s working in a conventional agency, working for yourself, as an artist, for a museum, (the list goes on), you are given this chance. I’m sure this is one of the reasons people pursue a life in the creative industry.

We left the Creative Forum with minds churning, wanting more.

Bring on 2016.


It was big night in Hobart on Saturday 15th November as the winners of the 2014 AGDA awards were announced at a dinner in Peppermint Bay. The awards were the perfect end to the three day extravaganza that was the Australian Design Biennale.

This year we were sponsors of the Design Crafts category and we were delighted to hand out Distinctions to Studio Round, Alt Group, Re, Klim Type Foundry and M&C Saatchi. We were also lucky enough to hand out Pinnacles to Hoyne Design and Christopher Doyle & Co.

In total 67 Distinctions and five Pinnacles were awarded with Alt Group taking out eight Distinctions across five categories. Pinnacle winners were Garbett in the category Graphic Design: Posters for their Mandela PosterChristopher Doyle & Co in Design Crafts: Writing for Design for their Natasha Cantwell IdentityHoyne Design in Design Crafts: Photography for Design for Dinosaur DesignsRe in Graphic Design: Stationery for Steve Li Acupuncture and Reactive, Sydney in Digital Design: Technological Innovation for The Most Powerful Arm Ever Invented.

These awards showcase an immense amount of creative talent and we were proud to support that talent and be part of this great event.

To see a full list of winners and finalists check out the ADB website.

Photograph courtesy of Foundry.

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