Friday, 25 December 2009



See you in the New Year!

PHOTO Nieve 44 La Luz

Friday, 18 December 2009

Time to put the lights out?

CC director Ali Muirden joins the debate about Stephen Covey's latest digital deal and what it might mean to traditional publishers.
Well, the publishing world was all a-twitter this week following the news that Stephen Covey (author of The Seven Habits of High Effective People) was to eschew the traditional publishing route and go it alone on the digital highway.

The blogosphere is awash with various writers debating what this means for struggling authors everywhere and vowing the time is approaching when they can be masters of their destinies!

Somehow I don’t think the major publishing corporations will be switching off the lights, turning off the water supply and putting the cat out just yet.

As my business partner Lorelei and I know, digital publishing is not without its challenges and the need of some industry knowledge. I give thanks daily for the rigorous training and skills I managed to accrue over my 27 years with the Macmillan Publishing Group.

One of the most brilliant things (and there were many) was that the company allowed me a great deal of freedom and the space to learn the business - sometimes at great expense to them!
During my time at Macmillan, I learned many skills - including negotiating, communicating, selling, presenting, project managing, audio producing and directing, production methods, copy writing, understanding the finance of the business and jargon-busting, to name just a few. There aren't many industries left where you are given this kind of support - and I look back on my time there with huge affection and gratitude.

But getting back to Stephen Covey: We should not forget that he is already a huge, best-selling author, whose name is known globally. He is not a struggling writer trying to make his mark in the world and to get his work recognised.

He’s also likely to have a great team of people to work with in order to get his book edited, designed and put into production. And we haven’t even covered sales and distribution which is another huge and complex area of the process of selling a book, even digitally.

These are skills worth their weight in gold and without which most authors would be lost.

Let’s face it, most writers gratefully recognise the value their editorial team give to their work. Check out most “acknowledgments” sections in any book and nine times out of ten you’re bound to see a list as long as your arm of people the author wants to thank “at my publishers”.

And there’s a very good reason for that! - AM

We’d love to know: Do you think it’s time for publishers to shut up shop?

Friday, 11 December 2009

When Control Freaks Collide

This week, CC director Ali Muirden blogs about what it's like to work with a control freak. It takes one to know one!
In theory, being in partnership with Lorelei shouldn’t work!

I’m sure if the two of us took one of those psychometric tests, all the experts in the land would say 'you’re both way too similar in terms of personality traits for this to ever work!'

For instance, I’m bossy, controlling, decisive, impatient - and that’s just for starters! And, quite frankly, so is Lorelei!

My family would say that “you don’t suffer fools gladly” and my husband would definitely add “you hate being in the wrong!” and I hate to admit it, but they are so right!

So how do Lorelei and I manage to work so well together and not spend our days battling to be the Alpha female in our business?

Well, I really believe reason we don’t, and this is the crucial point, we both totally and absolutely respect the other’s abilities and the skills they bring to the partnership.

I respect her editorial abilities and her meticulous attention to every grammatical detail, her quick responses and speed of turn around of a task, her humour, her willingness to learn new things, her eye for detail especially when it comes to design and, most of all, her skill at charming the best out of everybody we work with.

So, for the purposes of this Blog entry and with some trepidation, I asked Lorelei what she thought about me and she said:

“I agree with you – it’s all about respect and trust. I respect your expertise, and trust absolutely that you will do what you say you will. You’re also the least neurotic person I know – and I think that’s key. A control freak who’s neurotic is a nightmare – but a ‘control freak’ that’s as balanced as you are is a force to be reckoned with! If you want something done – ask a control freak! I wouldn’t want to work with someone who had to be led all the time… I’m much happier working shoulder to shoulder with someone I admire!”

I also think that when we do disagree, because of this admiration for each other’s abilities we’re able to be rational, consider the other person’s opinion and discuss our views calmly and reasonably. To date when we have disagreed over something we’ve always found a solution that leaves both of us pleased with the end result and that’s what really matters. - AM

We’d love to know: How do you cope with disagreements with colleagues at work?

Friday, 4 December 2009

Is it lunchtime yet?

This week, CC director Lorelei King continues her occasional series of blogs on her life as a voiceover.

As a voiceover and voice director, I spend most of my working hours in the recording studio – and today I’ve been thinking about some of my favourites, and what makes them so great.

Here’s what I think makes a good studio:
It’s clean and looks loved.

The coffee is real, not instant!

They have muffins and croissants, but make them a little bit hard to get to so I’m not constantly tempted.

There’s a bit of natural light somewhere!

The staff love their jobs.

Examples of studios that get it right: there are loads of great studios in London, but I especially like Heavy Entertainment – chic design, great green room, espresso machine, staff who can’t do enough for you – and great lunches!

In New York I’m always happy at John Marshall Sound – loads of laughs, fabulous people, sensational view – and great lunches!
I have a great job – but a good studio makes it even nicer to go to work...
In a nutshell: creature comforts and pleasant people! - LK

We’d love to know: What do you like in a recording studio?