Fred Bals's Home Page
 

I'm Fred Bals. Welcome to my place on the Web.

The services I provide include ..

Look over my background below, review my portfolio to your left.

I look forward to working with you.

Background - First, Writing

After graduating from college in the late `70s, I started my career as a copywriter at the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group advertising department in Boston. I eventually became Liberty's Director of Publications, where I was in charge of their annual report as well as a variety of customer and employee publications.

In the mid-'80s I I moved to Digital Equipment Corporation, becoming a "writer/program manager," for all intents a one-man creative agency. I had my own group of internal clients, and was responsible for producing whatever marketing collateral they needed. That could range from product data sheets to brochures, trade show presentations, and executive speeches.

My last full-time position was as a writer and creative director with Quantic Communications. Quantic started in 1991 as a spinout of Digital's Media Communications Group. Quantic's original owners - myself among them - sold the company in 2000. I stayed on in my creative director position as most of the senior managers did. Unfortunately, the combination of the high-tech recession and some poor business decisions by the new owners forced Quantic out of business in late 2001.

I've been freelancing ever since... and loving it.

I specialize in writing marketing communications collateral for large and small businesses. From 2002 through 2003, I was a contract researcher with Google Answers (under the pseudonym of "rico-ga"). I still love to do research, especially over the Web. With that experience I can provide clients with professional Web research to locate complete and relevant information on any subject.

As well as writing traditional marketing collateral, I also consult on or directly produce several business weblogs, more commonly known as "blogs." Blogs are a great communications vehicle which most businesses haven't thought to exploit. If you're interested, I can show you how.

Then, Multimedia

The first multimedia job I ever did was a demo to Quantic Communications in an attempt to convince my colleagues that it was going to be worth our while to get into the multimedia biz - or multi-media, as it was more commonly called back then. This was in 1991, lo those days of yore.

The demo worked. I eventually ended up becoming Quantic's creative director of multimedia, sometimes running a group of as many as five other people, sometimes when times were tough, being the group.

The first paying multimedia job I ever did was for Digital, not much more than an animated slide-show with music, done with a very early version of Macromedia Director, the premiere tool at the time for multimedia development. In fact, the version of Director was so early that it would only run on a Macintosh. Digital had a strong "don't use if not invented here" bias and we ended up hiding the Mac in a hollow podium, used a generic (that is, non-Apple) monitor, and I guarded the installation to make sure no one peeked.

Seriously.

These days I call myself a "multimedia producer." Like a video producer, a multimedia producer often scripts and directs the production of a multimedia presentation, but hires other people to do the technical work, such as Flash animation in the case of multimedia. While I don't do production work anymore, my background in multimedia makes it much easier to script and communicate visual ideas to programming, design, and animation teams.

And Now Podcasting

If you're not sure you know what podcasting is, you're not alone. Podcasting, as podcasting, has only been around since Febuary 2004, and only started gaining mass popularity in 2005. In brief, podcasting is a way of distributing audio over the Web. When a site offers a podcast you can subscribe and new podcasts will be automatically downloaded to your computer. Think of it as TiVo for radio -- audio on-demand that can be listened to at your convenience.

What's all this all mean in terms of me and you? Podcasting gives any company the ability to reach out and communicate to a worldwide audience and deliver marketing messages on a regular basis. Think of podcasting in terms of promoting your expertise to customers, to convey success stories, to communicate business trends, and to deliver information from conferences and seminars.

Finis

I'm fast, I'm good. And my rates are very reasonable; usually less than industry-standard and always on a flat fee rather than hourly basis.

Want to know more? Email me at fhbals@gmail.com.