How stepping outside your comfort zone can sometimes lead to the unexpected
I was given a lead by an industry colleague recently and got more than I bargained for, but in a good way. He basically forwarded a tweet he had seen on Twitter. It said they were looking for a writer to come up with a video script for a guru in the online gaming industry to perform, along with a couple of press releases to support various activities that this company were involved in. Now, whilst I have written for plenty of different marketplaces in my time, this potential assignment was well outside my comfort zone. Yes, as a sideline to my day job I have had a sitcom in development with the BBC and written sketches for radio, even nearly had a show accepted for Radio 4, but I had never combined business with pleasure, or work with humour before.
The beauty of what I do is that on any given day I get to turn my attention to many different industry sectors. I could be writing for a social care organisation, a government department, a high street retailer or one of the country’s leading breweries, I just don’t know what’s round the corner writing wise some days. Yes, I am used to donning different hats and facing up to a whole range of challenges, but this sounded like a very different kind of proposition altogether – A 1000 word script that had to contain elements of humour yet be professional AND informative – and all captured on camera for a niche audience who really look up to this ‘dude’.
I bit the bullet and decided to take the brief. It resulted in a trip up to sunny North London. Then, during the course of the meeting, the client, the owner of www.oggs.com, a gaming review site, just happened to mention in passing that he had negotiated a few golden tickets to enter some online contest and that he might invite me to be in the team.
I thought no more about it until a few days later when, script (click on link below to see youtube video) and press releases duly cracked and submitted, I got an email confirming that I had indeed been invited to join ‘Team Oggs’ – a seven strong team brought together to try and win a million euros in the Grand Final of Microgaming’s Million Euro Slots Tournament at the end of last month.
I accepted the invitation but quickly came across a stumbling block. . The online gaming industry may be very technically advanced, but their software doesn’t like Apple Macs – and I use….an Apple Mac!
Fortunately that particular dilemma was solved when an agency where I take desk space a couple of days a week kindly offered to let me chance my arm at winning the million from the comfort of their offices in London in a tournament where1500 finalists from around the world played a selection of some of the best online slots games in the business in the hope they would walk away with the big prize.
There was, however, a twist where my participation was concerned. (my life is never ordinary) Each player in ‘Team Oggs’ had to sign a contract in advance stating that if they won, they would take no more than 5% of the winnings, with the rest of the money going to charity. It was an unusual collaboration to say the least, but there really was nothing to lose and a lot to gain. So I signed up.
What’s more, the client was so pleased with the video and releases that he paid me double, yes that’s right, DOUBLE, what I originally quoted. Another first for me! And, it all only came about because I stepped out of my comfort zone.
Did I win? Er, I’m still here aren’t I? No, I didn’t, but hey, I didn’t even expect to be competing. The point is, stepping outside of your comfort zone needn’t always be a scary experience. It can reap rewards and lead to the unexpected. Getting paid double was good enough for me, although the 50,000 euro cut of the prize would have been nice. Oh well, onwards and upwards!
(incidentally the dude in the video, one J Todd, normally wears t shirt and jeans. Yes, I even got him to stand in the middle of a field wearing a suit!)
- Alasdair Murray, Freelance Copy Writer, alasdairdmurraycopywriter.co.uk