First Blog Entry...Cates Creative Juices

So this is my first blog entry. People have been telling me for a long time now that I should write a blog, but my response was always, "What on Earth would I write about?" Suddenly, one day last came to me! Everyone always tells me that I have such a wide range of talents, interests, and skills, and that the way I learn new things is fascinating, so I've taken that aspect of "me" and decided to write about it.

I'm the type of person to decided WHAT I want to do, then I discover HOW to accomplish it. This applies to just about anything. If I want to have Hungarian goulasch for dinner, I troll the internet for just the right recipe, then I play around with it and experiment until it is the way I remember having it in Europe. If I want a certain feature on my website, I read books, search the internet, and ask colleagues how to accomplish what I want. This keeps me in a constant state of learning, and it is this process I have decided to write about.

My early career was spent mostly in food service management, but I've always been a creative person. Beginning in childhood, I wrote poetry, short stories and always had some sort of art project going. When I graduated high school, I did a brief stint at art school (The Art Institute of Dallas) but opted to quit for a number of reasons. Many years later, I decided to go back to school. This time, I enrolled in the Art Institute's online program in Interior Design. My reasoning for this was that I could use my creativity, but I didn't feel my actual art skills were good enough to become a full time artist or designer. About three terms in, I encountered a surge of confidence and switched to the Graphic Design program instead. In 2006, I graduated from the Art Institute with a B.S. in Graphic Design.

Shortly after graduation, my home and family situation was deeply disrupted and this prompted me to reenter the food service industry, as this was the fastest way for me to gain the best pay, given my 10+ years experience in the field. I still took freelance jobs on the side under the name Cates Creative Services, but food was paying the bills. Once again, my home and family situation was devastated. I found myself the single parent of two small children, thousands of miles from my nearest relative and out of work. For months I looked for a job, any job, but finally I came to the realization that something in the universe was telling me to jump off the cliff (or into the void). I began focusing all my efforts into building Cates Creative Services.

Two years later, Cates Creative is a successful design firm which publishes a regional magazine (KiP Magazine) in Central Pennsylvania, and I am also the co-owner of The Lazie Horse Club, Inc., a small clothing accessories company with a newly developed publishing division. In addition to my business ventures, I am earning an MFA in Web Design and New Media through the Academy of Art University.

I work very hard every day, and I try to find new and innovative ways to promote my business, my clients' projects and make my work better. Below are a few snippets of the projects I'm currently working on, which are previews of some of the things you are likely to read about in the blog. Hopefully it will at least be interesting to read, but I would be thrilled if my readers were able to gain something more out of it.

    KiP Magazine
  • The Goal: My New Year's goal for 2011 is to develop a mobil app for KiP Magazine. People are always on the go these days, and not everyone wants to pick up a printed magazine. For those who want to have their news sent directly into their phone, I'd like to have an interactive KiP app that allows for just this.
    The Challenges: Based on the research I have done so far, building a mobile app (I'm starting with Blackberry since I have one) requires programming in Java. I am not, nor have I ever been a programmer and Java is a long, far cry from HTML.
  • Four Words by Demetrius O. Davis

  • The Goal: Create a 30 second trailer for my business partner's book Four Words by Demetrius O. Davis. The book was released in May 2010 and the publisher has been less than stellar with providing any kind of assistance, so we've decided to make a 30 second trailer for the book to get a more vivid message out there about it.
    The Challenges: I'm going to be using Adobe After Effects to create the trailer, and while I've used it for school projects, I have never done anything this complex with it. The storyboard I have worked out so far includes a video clip, several still photos and about a 5-10 second spoken part. I've bought a book. This is how I plan to overcome these challenges. This project is at the top of the list, as I will be doing the voice recording this coming Tuesday (March 15). You will likely hear more about this very soon.
  • Lazie Horse

  • The Goal: Publish said business partner's second book through our own company. Given the lack of support from the publisher of the other book, we've decided we can do just as well or better on our own. In May of this year, we hope to release "The Dark Ones" in paperback and on Kindle.
    The Challenges: Obviously, it is difficult to get started as an unknown author. Our marketing efforts for Four Words have actually gone over pretty well, and I've been doing a great deal of research on different ways to get the word out, so we'll be trying out several strategies to boost sales and let people know about the book. Although I did the design for the cover of Four Words myself, we've decided to go with a different style for the cover of The Dark Ones, and we've been lucky enough to find a very talented artist to handle this for us.

So there's a little preview of things to come. Don't forget to subscribe to the feed and tell all your friends!