Calling Card

I call this one "Blank Canvas"

I call this one “Blank Canvas”

I was having a meeting with a director about a potential film project that he wanted me to produce. I asked if he had other team members in place yet: cinematographers, production designers, sound, etc., and a student who was sitting nearby got up and gave each of us a business card.

“I’m a cinematographer, if you need one.” He said.

I thanked him for his card. It was printed on a thin sheet of translucent plastic instead of paper.

“It’s diffusion,” he explained. “You can put it over the flash on your phone to get softer lighting.”

This, I thought, was genius: memorable and appropriate- not only would I remember getting his card, I would remember what job it was for and I had a superficial excuse to keep it with me and near my phone. You know, in case I needed to take a picture. Or make a phone call.

This got me thinking about business cards. Being a student I’ve gotten away from using them. I hear that it is possible to get USC business cards (I’ve received them from other students) but it would feel… inappropriate for me to give them out: I don’t actually work for USC. By the same token, I’ve been away from my old production company long enough that it doesn’t feel right to hand out those business cards either. But more than that, I’m finding that business cards occupy a funny grey area between trash and treasure: it is either something that you are going to hold onto forever or something that you will forget about the moment that you receive it.

Unless it’s good for diffusing the flash on your camera phone.

I got to thinking about what it would be like to hand make every business card that I handed out: to make each one an original work of art. I would order a rubber stamp of my name and contact information and I would emboss it onto the cardstock that I wanted to use (because printed text is more professional than handwritten text and texture is more compelling than just printing them on a printer, but I would still be able to do it by hand.) Then I would draw on it so that it would have an original work of art on it.

I wouldn’t be able to make very many. If I’m going to go around handing out pieces of original artwork I wouldn’t want to give them out willy-nilly anyway. Then again, why do I hand out business cards willy-nilly in the first place? So that someone *might* have my contact information in case they wanted to hand me an opportunity on a platter? Shouldn’t I be giving my business card to someone that I’m cultivating a meaningful relationship with? In which case, shouldn’t my business card be meaningful to begin with? Shouldn’t I be giving out a card that not only says what my name is and where I can be reached but also that I have skills to offer and that ought to be kept out in plain sight?

I might be onto something.


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on February 1, 2015.

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