This is my second year participating in GISHWHES. I agree that the scavenger lists are very badly un-thought-through -- both years, items have been included that have had to be withdrawn or amended because of actual danger to participants or incitement to harassment. As an example, one of last year's items included persuading an astronaut in orbit to pose for a photo holding a sign. This was not cleared with NASA in any way. Needless to say, it was quickly withdrawn once NASA started getting inundated with e-mails. (Under the rules of the game, I'm not at liberty to disclose this year's item list until the competition ends.)
I'll be the first to admit that Misha Collins' sense of "whimsical humour" gets on my wick. Not to mention the level of attention-seeking, which is high even for an actor. I fully agree with you there. And I've never heard of him outside the competition, either.
I suspect the intention behind the "have a published author write a story" item was that participants were supposed to use their personal networking skills to find a contact who fit the description and would be happy to dash off a couple of paragraphs as a favour to a friend. (Note that the required length is 140 words or less.) That's certainly what my team is doing. Unfortunately, nobody on GISHWHES management considered the inevitable consequences: that some teams would simply bombard every science-fiction author they could think of.
If the competition is going to survive more than a few years, they're going to have to spend a lot more serious thought about the scavenger items, working through the foreseeable ramifications. Otherwise they're going to end up with a lawsuit on their hands, I just know it.
But I have to disagree about your comments in the last part of this article. Participants are not, on the whole, professional creatives. We're doing it for the challenge of being creatively stretched, and the hilarious togetherness of working as a team to do a rush of mad activities, running on caffeine and adrenalin -- not even in hopes of winning the prize holiday, just purely for the fun of the thing.
Take the brochure item you mention. Some random person is going to sit down with MS Paint or a box of felt-tips and fill a sheet of paper with something vaguely resembling a brochure. It's not spec work. We're not submitting mock-ups. The result won't be evaluated for its suitability for future GISHWHES marketing -- assuming GISHWHES ever actually does any marketing beyond Collins' blog and fan word-of-mouth.
I like to draw but seldom allow myself the time. This week I'm drawing. Other team members are staging weird photo shoots. Still other team members are doing goofy things with their kids. We're not creating content. We're indulging in hobbies.
I think the ellipsis is to imply that your "journey" never ends. Well, not until you kick the bucket, anyway, but then they won't be interested in your business any more.
Every ad in this series (which has been running for years now) implies it's only a small episode out of the characters' lives, with lots of rather mysterious backstory and a clear sense of going on into the future. The very first ones were more obvious, centred around a journey on "the train of life" that's glimpsed in this one.
Yeesh. It's interesting to compare this with the UK version:
Length apart, the US version seems to be much more sexist about insisting on the qualities that make a man a "real man". The UK version traces the same archetypal journey through life, but has a much less prescriptive feel.
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Never mind the blowback, I'm still trying to figure out why Lush thought removing their window displays was somehow a sensible way to make a stand on any issue. Except maybe the issue of overcrowded shop windows.