Are You Desperately Seeking An Impersonation of Tony Soprano?
Fiverr bills itself as the World’s Largest Marketplace for Services starting at $5. And, it probably is.
For the uninitiated Fiverr is basically a website where people can sell their services for, well, for a fiver. It is, I suppose, a bit like a pound shop for freelancers.
It’s really quite a good, simple idea and one which can be a decent source of income for a sizable number of folk looking to earn a few quid online.
Browsing the site you will find people offering content writing for websites, logo designs, video editing and other types of business and marketing services that small companies might be looking to source at some very reasonable rates.
So far so normal.
But then, browse a little more and you will find that there are people out there trying to sell, pretty much anything. Which poses a couple of questions –
- Why Are They Selling This?
- Who On Earth Would Want to Buy It?
And so, here are 7 examples of real things you can buy on Fiverr for the princely sum of $5.
1. Record Anything You Want In The Style of a Horse Race
Yes, that’s right. For just $5 you too can select 6 names to be placed into a pretend horse race and have someone make a commentary on the ensuing mockery.
And, for just $5 more you can add a bugle and cheering crowd. Well, why wouldn’t you?
2. This Man Will Jump Around & Dance in a Chicken Suit.
According to the sales blurb this gig is a bit silly but damn funny. A bit silly?
At least 53 people have bought this ‘service’ in the past 12 months.
And, yes, I’m really tempted to make it 54.
3. Be Un-Cursed Forever!
If you happen to have inadvertently gotten yourself cursed by an ancient spell then this might just be the best $5 you will ever spend.
4. Customised Impersonation of Tony Soprano
I loved the Sopranos and was truly gutted when I heard of James Gandolfini’s passing. And, really, is there a more fitting tribute to the great man than to have a message spoken by someone who may sound a bit like him?
5.Solve a Rubik’s Cube in 20-25 Seconds While Saying Your Message
“Hi, you can pay me $5 so that I can show you how awesome I am at solving a puzzle that was big in the 80s. Oh, and I’ll say something while I do it.”
6. Create A Video of Steve Austin Saying Your Message
I like this one although, when I first read it I assumed they were referring to Lee Majors, The Six Million Dollar Man.
Which would have been better.
7. Just Give Me $5 Please.
This is a gig set up by Mandrak3 (who are the other 2 I wonder) who promotes herself as being quite a fast runner, fond of the colour green and the number 8 (and, presumably, Sesame Street).
Have read this a few times now and, as far as I can tell, she is asking people to just pay her $5 for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
So, I love Fiverr – it’s a place that can have potential value for those with a service looking for a bit of additional income but it’s the showcasing of ‘talents’ such as the above, which elevates the site to greatness.
James, my youngest son, was born eight years ago at the University Hospital of Wales.
About 30 minutes after he’d made his appearance we (his mum and I) noticed that he was making a funny sound; a sort of whiny wheeze (not an official medical term) that, even to his less than expert parents, seemed not quite right. The midwives, nurses and other medical sorts were quick on the scene – working with care on his tiny body to ascertain the problem.
The ‘grunt’ as they called it, was due to a build up of fluid on his lungs – fluid that really oughtn’t be there at all.
Within the hour James was on his little way to, what they called, The SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) – basically Intensive Care for babies.
As you might imagine this was, to say the very least, a disconcerting time for us parents. James was 6lbs and a bit and about as long as my forearm. He was too ‘ickle, too delicate surely for any kind of lung problems and the thought of him having to go into intensive care sent all sorts of dire thoughts bubbling towards the surface.
After all, the intensive care baby unit was for premature babies and babies with things really wrong with them, wasn’t it?
Well, yes actually.
As it happened James wasn’t seriously ill, but his condition was serious enough that it had to be taken care of fairly swiftly. He spent 5 days on the unit, his first nights in the world spent, not in the arms of his mum or the cosy warmth of a Moses basket but rather a see through plastic incubator with monitors stuck to his tiny torso and a plastic tube protruding from a small hole in his side.
It was upsetting and worrying but, ultimately, a happy outcome was achieved. An outcome the result, in more than a small part, to the amazing, gentle and loving care that those who worked on the unit gave James and all the other babies on the ward. Babies that, for the most part appeared to be in a more precarious state to James. Premature babies so small that you could scarcely believe they were real human beings.
I don’t know what became of the other babies on the unit that they shared with James, my suspicion being that for some, the outcome was not as happy as ours. What I do know, however, is that all those babies were given a truly remarkable level of care – that everything that could be done, was being done.
Furthermore, the empathy and support that parents, siblings and family members were shown provided a vital crutch at such a time of worry.
Which is why it has been my absolute pleasure to have recently been working on the website of the Heath based Charity Special Care Infant Parent Support (SCIPS).
SCIPS is run by staff of the very Neonatal Unit that James spent his first precious days. They raise funds for equipment vital to the care of the babies and materials that can make the life of the parents going through the trauma just that little bit easier. Equally important however, is the care and support that they provide within their tight community to the parents who have gone through the experience, the parents who are going or about to go through it, and to the parents who’ve been tragically bereaved.
The support they give and indeed receive is really amazing and the service they provide is beyond value. Parents past and present routinely raise funds on their behalf, running marathons, climbing mountains and what-not; a testament to the impact the staff and the unit has on people’s lives. In August the Cardiff Devils hosted a charity ice hockey match between Wales and the Rest of the World that generated more than £12,000 for the charity.
The website is another facet of how SCIPS are looking to engage with their donors and, more importantly, the parents – providing a resource for help, info and support and a forum to chat, ask questions and remind each other that they’re not alone.
SCIPS website will be live in the next couple of weeks and it’s been a pleasure to have worked with Louise Bridge and to have gained further insight into the incredible work she and all her colleagues do.
Eat Yourself Healthy with the Lashford Technique
Sometimes you get writing assignments that really pique the interest.
Over the past few months I’ve had the great pleasure to have written copy & content for Stephanie Lashford and her health & nutrition organisation – The Sanford Clinic.
The clinic itself has been in existence for over 20 years and, through Stephanie’s own ‘Lashford Technique’ has helped thousands of clients to better health & well-being. The treatment is founded upon Stephanie’s background as a nutritionist and teacher and is based on investigating an individuals eating habits and lifestyle in order to find things in their diet or environment which may be causing problems to their health or general vitality.
It’s been a fascinating process and a thoroughly enjoyable experience where I’ve learnt a huge amount about just how impactful our diets, lifestyles and environment can be on our health.
The project thus far has centred upon the re-launch and re-branding of the Sanford Clinic. Based in Cardiff the clinic has always been a fairly standard type clinic with in-person, face to face consultations and investigation. However, Stephanie has been keen to move the process into the 21st Century, digital age by introducing the clinic as an online operation where clients can be taken through their own personalised plans via online communications. This of course widens the scope for new people to have access to the clinic and cuts out the need for people who may be suffering with their health to travel any distance at all.
For my part, I’ve been writing the content for pages of the new, soon-to-be-launched website – a job that has been as educational as it has fun.
As I say, it’s a fascinating area of the health industry to be involved and one in which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to more projects with the Sandford Clinic in the future.
I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front of late. In fact, taking a quick glance at the calendar I notice that more than a month has passed since I put finger to keyboard for the purposes of this little portion of the webosphere.
Not that I’ve been idle in this period you understand – not a bit of it. For starters I found myself in the entirely pleasant situation of being hired for a content writing project from the good people of UKChina Investments in London. This is a company set up to encourage investment into the UK (mainly London) from financially successful individuals and companies in China. I’ll be honest, at face value this is not a field I have enormous experience in, having never been to China nor, for that matter, ever looked to invest in the London property or financial markets.
This, though, is the challenge, the pleasure and, ultimately, the rewards of being a writer – in my humble opinion. To research and learn about something new; be it a business, subject, culture, person or environment and to then back your own ability to be able to apply your skills as a writer to create something legible, coherent and readable for the desired audience.
Now, of course, working with UKChina Investments wasn’t a complete leap into the dark for me. I’ve worked with businesses and groups of many a varied background and understand how companies tend to run, what they tend to be looking for. Nevertheless, this was still a new type of project, learning about areas of service that I’ve never personally worked in, and indeed, dealing and liaising with people I’ve never met before, not to mention the fact that this would be writing for an audience (namely wealthy Chinese business people) that, to my knowledge, I’ve never had to specifically tailor towards in the past.
This, I believe, is what the content and copywriter does – this is the value that he or she brings to a business or project. A writer who’s worth their salt will be able to learn about the needs of a the client, the nuances and particularities of each specific job, to research the subject area – after which they can apply their craft to the task, providing exactly the right voice, delivering the message to the required audience in the manner that the client wishes.
Which is why, if you’ll forgive the self-congratulatory tone, at the end of the project, you receive an email saying
“You’ve done a brilliant job! Thank you. We would definitely recommend you to friends and business colleagues. Many thanks again for your work and help”
it really does make it all the more worthwhile and doesn’t half encourage you to keep tapping away on that keyboard.
EDIT – Uk China Investments is now live – click here to take a look.
I was back in Cardiff High School on Friday (4th Nov) on the kind invite of Samantha Williams (that’s Miss Williams to you) and her colleagues in the English Dept.
A 2 hour workshop with the Year 12 English Lang/Lit class on creative writing and story-telling. For those of us standing on the wrong side of 35 years of age, it should be pointed out that Year 12 is what we used to refer to as Lower 6th. In real terms, this meant standing in front of a class of twenty-six 16-17 year olds. A potential tough crowd you might think. That particular age group have been given something of a raw deal in the media of late. If you’re unfortunate enough to get your news from certain outlets you’d be forgiven for thinking that trying to engage with this particular demographic was akin to trying to take a zebra from a lion’s mouth (edit. really no idea where this analogy came from).
Of course, for the rest of us reasonable sorts, we know that nothing could be further from the truth. The simple fact of the matter is that not only were the kids (yes, they are still kids) entirely engaging, they also happened to be a thoroughly likeable bunch with a great deal of intelligence, creativity and, dare I say – thought.
We opened up with a quick brainstorm about how and where we get our ideas as writers. The class was a little quiet at first, a tad reluctant to offer an answer. Frankly, who could blame them – a strange man appearing in their class like the shopkeeper from Mr Ben asking them daft questions – why should they? The fact that they are of a generation that grew up without Mr Ben, incidentally, breaks my aging heart. But, slowly they got into the swing – hands crawling upwards, shyly spoken answers coming forth. Good answers as well – correct answers (in as much as there was no actual wrong answer). We moved onto a few written exercises around memory and current affairs – an opportunity to let the creative juices flow. And, as Yoda might have said: disappointed I was not.
The writing produced from fairly limited prompts, taking recent news stories that they’d all heard of:
- Be a character involved or caught up in a riot situation
- Be a character involved in a protest
- Imagine being an astronaut on the last stage of the imaginary trip to Mars
What materialised was really impressive – sketched out scenes vividly created through action and description. The variety of scenarios and sty
les provoked from a limited amount of information and guidance demonstrating just how rich and imaginative our minds can be when given the opportunity. From a shopkeeper crunching on broken glass, to a boy reluctantly dragged into trouble – the mixed emotions beautifully captured simply by seeing a bin on fire, through to tell-all wordplay – broken phones, imposing uniforms and clever internal monologue from stir-crazy spacemen all providing entertaining and truly original work that was a joy to be a part of.
Not a bad way to spend a Friday morning really.