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Preview: The Creative Spin

The Creative Spin

A marketing and creativity resource for artists, craftsmen, musicians & entertainers - anyone dedicated to making a living from their crafts and talent.

Last Build Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2018 23:03:48 +0000


We're Moving...

Fri, 23 Apr 2010 16:31:00 +0000

The Creative Spin is now hosted on my new webpage at  You can still subscribe to it via this feed:
or view it directly at

Facebook Changes "Become A Fan" Button to Like

Wed, 21 Apr 2010 20:12:00 +0000

I don't like the idea of making my friends become fans, and I'm not sure some of my friends have necessarily gained my respect enough to consider myself their fans. I've seen this complaint on the FB news feeds a lot!
With Facebook, suddenly any artist can have a "fan club", converting all their "friends" to "fans" and shifting how both fan and celebrity view their relationships with each other.
Well, now FB has changed the "become a fan" button to a "like" button as a way of garnering new members.
A bit deceptive, perhaps.  Just because I "like" someone, doesn't mean I want to hear absolutely everything about them.
Still, the "like" button does take things down to a more rudimentary, broader level. your friends just "like" you or at least something about what you do.
For you - the artist or business owner - your job is think of how to keep people liking you. Consider what that takes when you are determining what to communicate to your audience.

Google Sites - Embed Multiple Calendars (and other things)!

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 18:51:00 +0000

My friend passed along this neat little guide for embedding in Google.

Association Of Book Publishers of BC Launches New Site

Sun, 10 Jan 2010 07:51:00 +0000

(image) All you writers out there should check out the Association's spiffy new site.  Lots of resources there.  The website is

Groups or Pages on Facebook Explained

Mon, 28 Dec 2009 18:10:00 +0000

Found this useful article from Social Media Strategy and Marketing consultant Howard Greenstein. It helps to de-mystify these too FB functions.  One thing he doesn't mention is how Pages also offer "Insights" about visitors to the page gleaned from what FB already knows about these members, like age and gender.  Similar to Google Analytics.

“Should I create a group or launch a Page?” It’s the eternal question that gets asked as often as, “What is Twitter?” at introductory social media training classes. Ever since Facebook launched their Pages product as part of their larger advertising strategy (along with the ill-fated Beacon) in November 2007, there has been confusion over which to use. Because
 Groups and Pages have an overlapping feature set, even senior social media marketing consultants are sometimes stumped as to what to tell their clients. And Facebook continues to make changes to how Pages function, complicating the matter even further.

 Read more here>>>

Elizabeth Gilbert on Nurturing Creativity

Mon, 14 Sep 2009 18:39:00 +0000

Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

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About Elizabeth Gilbert

The author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert has thought long and hard about some large topics. Her next fascination: genius, and how we ruin it. Full bio and more links


A Simple, Slick-looking Document Viewer by Issuu

Fri, 11 Sep 2009 16:04:00 +0000

(image) It's Fringe Festival time in Vancouver and so I took myself to the festival website to check out this year's program guide.

They use an interesting viewer to display their program guide which I thought was worth mentioning.
A website called Issuu lets you upload any document you want to an online Flash player which has different page display options, is intuitive and is free to use unless you want the ad-free full version.
The nice thing is that the ads are relevant to the document, employing some Google AdWords-type of platform. The Fringe site had thumbnails of other arty documents in several languages and when you rolled over one a pop-up balloon would have the name and description of the document. Some documents were in foreign languages, which gave me the impression that the Vancouver Fringe was part of a much larger and diverse community.
My one complaint was that I had no quick Table of Contents to link me to what I was looking for, i.e. a map. Instead I had to eyeball the table of contents then go through 2 sets of pages before i could get to the page I wanted.
But it still looked good and I saved a tree.
Here is the Issuu website:

Reading on the Web

Thu, 14 May 2009 14:33:00 +0000

First published in 97, this article about writing better website copy is still very relevant. Much of what Jakob Neilsen talks about also holds true for press releases and print promotional material as well. - Ed.

How Users Read on the Web

They don't.

People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences. In research on how people read websites we found that 79 percent of our test users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word. (Update: a newer study found that users read email newsletters even more abruptly than they read websites.)

As a result, Web pages have to employ scannable text, using

  • highlighted keywords (hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others)
  • meaningful sub-headings (not "clever" ones)
  • bulleted lists
  • one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
  • the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion
  • half the word count (or less) than conventional writing

We found that credibility is important for Web users, since it is unclear who is behind information on the Web and whether a page can be trusted. Credibility can be increased by high-quality graphics, good writing, and use of outbound hypertext links. Links to other sites show that the authors have done their homework and are not afraid to let readers visit other sites.

Users detested "marketese"; the promotional writing style with boastful subjective claims ("hottest ever") that currently is prevalent on the Web. Web users are busy: they want to get the straight facts. Also, credibility suffers when users clearly see that the site exaggerates.

Read the full article here >>>

Charlie Brown Ad Agency

Sat, 13 Dec 2008 23:20:00 +0000

I found this fun little video that puts a new spin on "It's a Charlie Brown Christmas". Very well done!

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Coffeehouses circa 1969

Wed, 10 Dec 2008 05:18:00 +0000

Came across this facinating film from 1969 that shows various coffeehouses created by churches etc. to entertain and educate the young folks at the time. I like it that you can smoke in church.
One kid even got his parents to give him their entire basement to put on a coffee house. Now that's teen spirit!

(Had to remove the player since it kept autoplaying whenever you hit the site. Got to be real annoying, really fast!)

Disturbing Deaths In the Literary World

Tue, 09 Dec 2008 23:08:00 +0000

Being a writer getting you down? Take some tips from these writers who managed to find interesting ways to end it all.

Inspiration for the following list of dead literary figures came from Charles Bukowski’s poem, "Beasts bounding through time," specifically the lines "sylvia [plath] with her head in the oven like a baked potato . . . Shakespeare a plagiarist . . . the impossibility of being human." Some may call it morbid, some may call it truth - either way I don’t give a damn.

  • Euripides [480-406 B.C.] Greek Playwright - Mauled by a pack of wild dogs owned by Archelaus, the King of Macedonia.
  • Dante Alighieri [1256-1321] Italian Poet - Fell ill and died about an hour after completing The Divine Comedy.
  • Francis Villon [1431-1464?] French Poet - May have been attacked by a mob of bandits or hanged by authorities after a brief prison stay for murdering a priest. Take your pick. Left France at the age of 32 and was never heard from again. "Where are the snows of yesteryear?"
See the full list here:

Don't Forget About

Wed, 03 Dec 2008 20:06:00 +0000

(image) I've been trying to figure out how to get my Twitter updates away from a computer, without having them come to me as annoying and continuous text messages.
I already figured out that you can send a text message directly to Twitter by typing 21212 in the "To:" field, which is cool on it's own, but might not work for people who pay for text messaging.
Then I thought, maybe I can access the Twitter home page from my smart phone's browser, and Bob's your uncle, there it was. There is a standard view and a mobile view, and i find that the latter much faster and more compact for my Palm Treo.

By the way, if you use FireFox I found a neat little extension called TwitterBar, which lets you comment and post to Twitter right from Firefox's address bar. Pretty cool!

50 of the Best Websites for Writers

Mon, 01 Dec 2008 06:59:00 +0000

Came across this resource page and thought folks might be interested in it.

Arts News: Ballet BC Lays Off Entire Company

Thu, 27 Nov 2008 07:44:00 +0000

This week's announcement from the province's top dance company has sent the Vancouver Arts community reeling. As the article linked below states, the organization's board has blamed low ticket and subscription sales - which was obvious from the low turn out for the recent remounting of the Faerie Queen. They gave away a lot of free tickets that run.
I'm sure the recent world economic unease has made all but the crustiest of the upper crust look hard at how they are spending thier discressionary funds these days. The majority of us artists who view life from the bottom of the pond certainly are watching where we throw our shekels of late. But let's face it, the company has been riddled with internal problems for the last couple of years, around the same time most of the long-term staff jumped ship with the appearance of a new ED.
Frankly, I don't think the company is making smart decisions with it's programming and the proof is showing in their numbers. The Faerie Queen is a remount, as are most of their ballets this season. Although I don't know for sure, I have a hunch that budget considerations were a large part of the equation, since it's often easier to remount a production then to premiere a new one. I'm always a little torn when things like this happen to the big "Prime Performers" in town.
When I think of the Ballet's 2.4 milion dollar budget, I weep in my Lucky Lager, imagining what any producer in my community could do with that kind of coin, but a ballet company is very expensive. The rental of the Queen Elizabeth for one run is more than most small companies spend on their entire budget.
But large companies set the bar for the arts in most cities. They create good paying jobs for local artists, and artistic tradespeople, and they spend a great deal of time nurturing the arts in younger people.
Most artists would say that art shouldn't have to justify it's existance financially,
I'm inclined to agree.
Buy Nutcracker tickets!

Here's a link to the news story:

Thought of the Day

Wed, 01 Oct 2008 15:08:00 +0000

Carl Jung
The foundation of all mental illness is the avoidance of legitimate suffering.
- Carl Jung

The Almighty YouTube

Tue, 09 Sep 2008 07:28:00 +0000

(object) Over 9000 hours of video per day are uploaded to YouTube. This important tool is explained by an antropologist, Michael Wesch. Really interesting commentary. Definately worth a watch.(embed)

Also, here is the fascinating video about the evolution of web communications and the impact of Web 2.0 on just about everything - from Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University.

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Lemonade Stand Marketing Lesson from a 14 Year Old

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 23:07:00 +0000

I came across this neat little article on Jason Drohn's blog: MarketingHackz, and I thought I'd pass it on to you.

That’s right! Some times the best way to see marketing well done is by watching couple kids run a lemonade stand. Although you might disagree with my statement that children are marketing geniuses, it is true. We tend to ignore this fact simply because unlike grown adults they don’t have to try as hard and they just don’t. It comes to them naturally - the art of selling!

This post is based on an experiment that was run by Bob ( 14 years old ), one of the neighborhood children. The plan was to sell lemonades as you can figure that out from the title itself. It was pretty interesting to see how he successfully carried out this experiment and made money simply by working a lemonade stand. I had no hand in this experiment but Bob decided to share it with me while I was at the park. I was so fascinated by his approach I asked him to write an essay for me on how to sell lemonades and make money (image) . He wrote one and I typed it here. Read it guys, this kid knows marketing and how to add value to an existing product.

Read the whole article here >>

Find Unclaimed Money Online

Thu, 10 Jul 2008 17:24:00 +0000

The Bank of Canada is holding millions of dollars from dormant Canadian bank accounts, and they will return the money to its rightful owners free of charge. The Bank of Canada provides an online search tool and detailed instructions on how to claim money that is yours.

Dormant Bank Accounts in Canada

Dormant bank accounts are accounts that have no owner activity in relation to the account. Canadian banks are required by law to send written notification to the owner of a dormant bank account after two years of inactivity, and again after five years. After nine years, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) publishes all unclaimed balances over $100 in the Canada Gazette, which is available at public libraries in Canada. After 10 years of inactivity, unclaimed balances of all amounts are transferred to the Bank of Canada.

Unclaimed Balances Held by the Bank of Canada

Unclaimed balances held by the Bank of Canada are Canadian dollar deposits in Canadian banks at locations in Canada and negotiable instruments issued by Canadian banks at locations in Canada. This includes bank drafts, certified cheques, money orders and travellers cheques.

Length of Time Bank Balances are Held

The Bank of Canada holds unclaimed bank balances of $500 or more indefinitely. Unclaimed balances under $500 are kept for 20 years from the date of the last transaction - 10 years at the original bank, and another 10 at the Bank of Canada.

Search for Unclaimed Bank Balances

The Bank of Canada provides a free online Unclaimed Balances Search database for unclaimed bank balances.

How to Look Good in a Photograph

Sat, 05 Jul 2008 04:33:00 +0000

Looking to get promo pictures done? I know an actress who recently spent over $300 to get shots taken. That can be a big chuck of coin for most artists, so it's important that you look your best. I came across this interesting little video at Video Jug. That I thought I'd share. It has some valuable and simple tips for you and for your photographer (should you go the cheap route).
Check it out here >>>

Fri, 20 Jun 2008 18:06:00 +0000



Sun, 15 Jun 2008 07:52:00 +0000

Between the Civil War and World War I, advertising grew tremendously as a field, though no one thought of it as a science. The United States experienced a boom in newspaper and magazine publishing funded largely by advertisers. Every major city had inexpensive competing dailies and a national magazine industry grew. Advertisements at this time were text-driven with perhaps an illustration of the product. Extensive information, the kind one might find on a patent application, was included, as well as information on price.

Read the rest of this fascinating article here>>>

Facebook In Real Life

Thu, 12 Jun 2008 19:53:00 +0000

Facebook makes it seem like developing friendships is easy, but look what happens if Facebook seeps into the "real" world in this comedy sketch from BBC's the Wall.

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Tue, 20 May 2008 07:30:00 +0000

Twitter Explained in Plain English

Sun, 18 May 2008 08:27:00 +0000

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I am having a hard time figuring out what the hub bub is about Twitter or even why it is supposedly so useful. But this video does a good job at explaining what it is, if nothing else.

What Blogs Are All About

Tue, 22 Apr 2008 21:16:00 +0000

I found this great little video that explains very simply what a blog is and why you might consider trying one for yourself.(object) (embed)