About Me

Writer

A short overview

Hi, my name is JS Smit. I write satire and copy for clients in the advertising and publishing industries. My work sells products and entertains several tens of people every day. To tap into the power of words, contact me today for a FREE quote.

My Rates

Per hour

A steal

Writing: R550/h

Editing: R450/h

Proofing: R350/h

Deadlines

Words

A summary

I love deadlines. The more deadlines I meet the more I realise they’re nothing to be afraid of. Once I get to know a deadline, it becomes just another date to look forward to - like Christmas. No deadline can be yesterday. Anyone who tells you a deadline was yesterday is lying. Deadlines can’t travel time. They exist in the here and now reminding me there’s work to be done. They’re lifelines, really. For without them I’d have no work.

Skype

Online

Available

I am Skype-enabled. I appreciate the power of face-to-face meetings even if those faces are sitting at the far end of a boardroom table where I can’t see them. Extensive knowledge of ceilings and wall art in offices both local and abroad. I will nod profusely to keep the conversation going and hunch over pensively to indicate deep thought. Prepared to speak much louder than necessary, even in an open-plan office. Split screen savvy. Clothing below the waist not guaranteed. I look forward to taking your call.

Working

Hard

Flexi

I work all hours except late at night. I enjoy phrases such as 'copy approved' and 'proof of payment’ and can often be found writing naked or wearing a scarf. I work best when left to my own devices, which include a Bialetti espresso maker. Think a lot. Sleep a lot. I like to point out that my lifestyle is not a choice. Lots of experience. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Talking

Sense

Schooled

I’m schooled in the art of talking. I enjoy chewing the fat, bashing it around, talking it through, up and out, getting into it, unpacking it and dissecting it. Friendly tone before 3pm. I don’t mind conference calls provided everyone taking part in the call calls me separately. Love Skype. I think ending a sentence with 'I hope that makes sense' makes no sense. I think starting a sentence with 'I'll keep it short' goes a long way. Active listener. Can talk and drive. Won’t collect call.

Emailing

Saying ‘Hi’

Etiquette

'Good day' is not a great way to start an email. The universally accepted way to start a formal email is “Hi”. “Hi” is the standard; the norm. Not "Hey" or "Hey there" or "Hiya". Just "Hi". After a solid "Hi" you can continue and sound as formal as you like. Try to wrap things up in 100 words or less and finish off with a widely accepted and often insincere, "Regards, so and so”. Your regards can be "best" or "kind". I prefer "Best regards” over "Kind regards" and just a simple "Regards" over the lot. Under no circumstances should an emoticon come into play. Regards should end after the fourth email. When you’ve emailed someone and they reply and you reply and they reply you have established what’s known as a rapport. Regards now become redundant and should be avoided. Unless of course it’s part of your email signature in which case it’s redundant anyway. In extreme cases even "Hi" falls away and the emailing takes the form of a casual conversation. Sentences get sent back and forth with little or no punctuation. One word emails start to appear: "thanks" "ok" "excellent". This is where you want to be. It’s the digital equivalent of having a drink with your colleagues and clients on a Friday afternoon. Everyone chills a bit and conversation becomes easier. Just like with Friday afternoon drinks though, you want to avoid using swear words and gettng too personal. "What are you getting up to tonight?" and "That’s fucking great" are frowned upon.

Meeting

Boardrooms

Discussions

I believe a boardroom is an important space where important decisions get made. Deciding Thursday is the new Casual Day next to the water cooler simply does not have the same gravitas as doing so in the boardroom. The more glass your boardroom has the more cutting-edge your company appears to be. A glass table is non-negotiable. Glass walls are nice to have. Glass chairs, well, that’s the future isn’t it? Boardrooms are rectangular, never triangular and most definitely not round. The only round spaces of importance involving tables are found at the United Nations headquarters and around the Knights of the, you guessed it, Round Table. The President of the United States does have a round office but you’ll notice even he has to talk over a rectangular desk. Too much wood in your boardroom makes you come across as old, environmentally angry and frankly a little up your own ass. Add gold to the foyer and you’re basically Donald Trump with less money. A boardroom is a place of business where no one should laugh for more than 5 seconds; anything in polystyrene - be it human, beverage or food - is frowned upon; only one person should talk at a time. Experience has taught me not to fidget, stare or whistle in a boardroom. Quipping, “Nice jugs” when the receptionist walks in carrying two jugs of orange juice is also not ideal. Whenever I walk into a boardroom, I like to note where my superior takes a seat. The client will invariably take position opposite him, which means I must sit two positions down from my superior so as to avoid direct fire from the client, but at the same time not appear to be unwilling to engage. Art in a boardroom is to be appreciated from a distance. Stroking the art - or knocking it to the ground sliding against the wall trying to avoid physical contact – is not only unnecessary, but disruptive and potentially embarrassing. When the PowerPoint in the boardroom does not work, do NOT under any circumstance stand up to try and fix it yourself. Call someone from IT. Make a prompt apology for the delay and the IT guy who, no doubt, will appear wearing jeans and tekkies and commence with small talk. Depending on the quality of your IT guy, you could be talking for anything from 5 to 20 minutes. If you see a sign outside a boardroom with the words 'MEETING IN SESSION', it means the boardroom is booked out and occupied. If you see NO sign outside a cutting edge boardroom it’s easy to look through the glass walls to see it's booked out and occupied. Any boardroom occupied for longer than the allotted time is playing host to a discussion of such high importance that schedules become redundant. A boardroom in this state must be left alone. Any disruption subtracts precious seconds from the discussion, adding countless minutes to the time you are going to spend outside waiting. Once inside, people often suffer adverse reactions to boardrooms ranging from turning red to being unable to speak to falling asleep without intending to do so. In extreme cases, an individual not getting enough eye contact in a boardroom can drift off into their own thoughts for several minutes only returning to the boardroom when the speaker asks, "Garth, are you with us?" The victim will answer "yes" but the boardroom will know he or she means “no”. Anyone turning red in a boardroom not speaking or being spoken to is suffering an allergic reaction to nuts found in muffins found in boardrooms. This is a physiological response to the nuts and can not be directly attributed to the boardroom. It’s probably a good idea to evacuate the boardroom and call in emergency services at this point. Unlike most office spaces, boardrooms don’t have emergency evacuation plans. The general consensus is to go with the flow: board members first, executive committee members second, chief executive officers third and so on. Managing directors are required to switch off the lights. Managing members must please remember to put a dustbin outside the door to let everyone know the boardroom has, indeed, been evacuated. Cutting edge boardrooms obviously do not need the dustbin. It’s easy to see through the glass walls someone inside is suffering an acute allergic reaction to nuts found in muffins found in boardrooms.

Timing

Impeccable

Spot on

'Eczema' is a word best avoided early in the morning. Ditto 'hives' and 'agenda. Skin conditions, ideally, should only ever enter conversation well after 10am. Talk of meetings at a much later point. Joining a colleague in the kitchen early in the morning is a timme for light conversation, talk about the weather and deep, meaningful reflection on a good night’s sleep. Don’t burst onto the scene and go, "Wow, you’re here early." It's bad taste. Just say "good morning” and grab a cup. If the small talk does drag out – and you feel compelled to end it – avoid lifting your cup saying, "Well, back to the grindstone." Offices don’t have grindstones. In all likelihood, you are returning to a desk where you are free to use any words you can think of. For the words you cannot think of, contact me.

Kid Happy to Lose Parents in Shopping Mall

Pre-teen sets off on epic journey of self-discovery

Mark Shapsack, a 9-year-old from Cresta in Johannesburg, said losing his parents in a shopping mall was the best thing that's ever happened to him. Found shopping for socks, Shapsak claimed life at home with his folks was a "living nightmare" and that it was simply "time to get out".
"I just got tired of the grind," he said. "Every morning I wake up and there's these two strangers in the house telling me to get off the iPad, get dressed and go to school. It's bullshit."
Shapsak said he considered digging a tunnel to the playground from his room or stealing the family car, but settled on a mall run after he managed to shake his parents at a flea market once.
"The mall was a no brainer, really. It's huge. I'm surprised not more kids took the opportunity to make a break for it." According to the youngster, the future looked bright as he entered a time of "reflection" and "personal growth". Shapsak aimed to finish his shopping for the day before heading to a friend's house to lay low for a while.

Advertorial

Oooh. Mommy

The taste at the centre of Über Flavour is umami – a mysterious sensation that's not sweet, not salty, not sour nor bitter. It's the Fitfh Taste the one that's not from Earth. Early Japanese tea masters achieved umami with all-natural ingredients and great patience. Über Flavour is made the same way – infused with Rooibos – to produce an ancient tea with an African soul.

Tourist Spends Day
Re-Folding Brochure

German man discovers best way to ruin a trip 24 hours or more

Saying he regretted opening the thing in the first place, German tourist Hans Utge, spent a day trying to get a travel brochure back to its original form.
According to Utge, the ordeal started when he folded the cover of the document to the left after which he proceeded to unfold the brochure to its full size.
Witnesses described the tourist reading the brochure in full before attempting to re-fold it by folding it back on itself. According to reports, this only made matters worse.
"He got his arms twisted in a very funny way," said Betsy Clemens who watched the drama from a shop window. Around mid-morning, Utge experienced a brief moment of hope when he managed to manoeuvre the

cover of the booklet to the front and the back page to the back. It appeared to have done the trick, but the brochure bulged in the middle which suggested there was still a problem on the inside.
Asked to comment, brochure expert Steve Rhemy said he expected better from a seasoned tourist such as Utge, but that folding a brochure was not any man's game.
"As soon as there are more than two pages you have to really pause and think about what you're doing," he said. "I like to think of it as a Rubik’s Cube with some phone numbers on it."

Promotion

Coinstantia

We’ll get the most for your house

Big-Game Hunting Shifts Focus To Little Game

Hunting fraternity re-thinks what it means to go big

The Professional Hunter’s Association of South Africa (PHASA) has decided to lower its scope to focus on little game. The decision comes in the wake of a public outcry resulting from the killing of a collared lion named Cecil that stood about hip-high. The association will also not be killing any animals wearing collars for "the foreseeable future"
"We've decided to give animals on any sort of radar a break," said association president, Theo Bronkhorst. According to Bronkhorst his association will target animals like rodents and birds as part of its ongoing commitment to conservation. "You kill an eagle, you save a rabbit," he said. "It's simple math." PHASA will communicate their decision with the help of an infographic showing the size of animals considered "fair game for now"

and where to look for collars and other tracking devices. Bronkhorst said the association regretted the killing of "a lion with a name" at the hands of a dentist and reiterated that PHASA members are but "reasonably skilled". "Our guys are middle-management at best," he said. "Hunting is not a thinking man's game."

Advert

The Department of Home Affairs is not the place to go if you want to go places. Unfortunately, it's the only place that issues passports so here I am moving at 2m/h in a Line that stretches halfway to the moon.

The mood in our queue is pretty glum, which probably comes as a surprise to our beaming president smiling down at us from a framed photo on the wall. Life's always rosy from up there it seems.

I shift my weight from side to side trying various breathing exercises to ease the searing pain in my back. I steer my thoughts to the tranquil water outside the Taj Mahal. The Delhi backpackers I booked for the first five nights. Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore.

Our line moves forward 10 centimetres igniting a wave of hope. It's small-scale hope, though. Nothing like the hope I felt when a bag of blood saved my life. Geez, if I could, I would take the donor with me to India to show him or her what they gave me: a chance to see where I come from.

And a lifetime to figure out where I'm going.

Workforce Slows Down After Brutal Festive Period

Period after Christmas a time for rest and recuperation

Holidaymakers across South Africa returned to work today with the express aim of slowing down for the Easter holiday coming up in April.
Describing severe levels of fatigue and burn-out, employees expressed relief to be back at the grindstone following a gruelling 2017 festive season that simply didn't seem to stop.
"Look, it's been bumper to bumper for the past two weeks, said Sandton IT specialist, Garth Myburgh. "I just want to go to work for the next couple of months, kick back and take a break for a while."

Karen Mackenzie, a magazine editor from Durban, echoed Myburgh's statement saying the period between Christmas and Easter could not have come soon enough. "Every year I say to myself 'I need a holiday from my holiday' and this is it," she said. But not everyone was happy with the amount of time available to clock in for some much needed rest. "I don't know if 3 months will be long enough to fully recharge," said Peter Masike, a quantity surveyor from Springs. "It's frankly sad how little work days we get per year."

Promotion

Claremint

We’ll get the most for your house

Study Shows Remarkable Similarities Between Snoring and Whale Song

Subtle but definitive link between way large mammals communicate

Anew study conducted by a team of scientists and marine biologists has uncovered an uncanny resemblance between snoring and whale song. Presumably developed over many millennia, both snoring and whale song travelled vast distances to reach an audience.
"It was remarkable," said lead scientist at the Cape Town Centre for Advanced Science, Wendy Karstens. "When we compared the charts they were almost identical."
According to Karstens, some snorers were able to get their message across to a mate a staggering fifteen kilometres away raising the possibility of a global network of mammals in constant contact from around midnight until dawn and again over lunch breaks.

"We're not sure if they operate in pods or whether each snorer has a unique sound," an excited Karstens said claiming the scientists were days away from cracking the ancient dialect's secret code.
"A sort of deep gurgling sound expresses the desire to have the light switched off, whereas nasal sounds appear to indicate there is someone downstairs," she said. "As is the case with whales, wheezing means a blocked airway."
Researchers called on the public to send recordings of snorers in their area to the centre for further analysis to help them understand how snorers communicate across continents and why they do it.

Promotion

Duurbanville

Ons sal die meeste kry vir jou huis

Sharp Spike In Traumatised Children Following End Of Movember

Child services struggling to keep up with deluge of bewildered kids

Panic ripped through South African households when a host of "new faces" made appearances in kitchens and living rooms across the country.
Described as a yearly event, the unexpected manifestation of a stranger in the house left many children in shock as they tried to make sense of it all.
"'Stranger danger' is all I could think," said 10-year-old Melissa Muller from Durbanville. "When I got a glimpse of him in the hallway I was, like, what the hell," she said claiming the assailant then went into the kitchen and kissed her mom. According to child services representative,

Claire Clarens, the period after Movember is a trying time for many children as they adjust to their dads' second metamorphosis in as many months. "After three weeks most kids return back to normal provided there's no more surprises," Clarens said. "A clean-shaven Father Christmas will be an absolute nightmare for us," she said.

Opinion

Life's a Glitch

Over dinner the other night my girlfriend and I had a lively discussion on Elon Musk's theory - which she believed to ring true - that life is a computer simulation. I told her not to trust the opinions of people named after deodorants and that civilisations normally wipe themselves out before sending thrill-seekers to places like Westworld. She didn't seem to buy into the logic of that and shot back. "It's pretty obvious if you think about it," she claimed.
"What happened at the Oscars has never, ever happened before neither did an oaf like Trump geting elected which means there's a glitch in the matrix – a big one."
"Even gamers have off days," I said, sarcastically, to try to lift the mood, but the gesture was met with a cold stare I've come to associate with the start of an argument.
A muscle in my shoulder twitched a tell-tale sign that I was under pressure brought

on by the fact that I'm not exactly sure what a matrix is. "I hate to break it to you honey," I went on against my better judgement “but besides those two things nothing else out of the ordinary has happened in the world which once again proves that Americans think they are the centre of the universe." "Oh, so Zuma and his cronies bleeding the state dry is a perfectly acceptable narrative for very ordinary times," she said combining irony, anger and defiance to great effect. "And 17 million people not receiving pension next month and cell phones exploding and cars burning and Brexit and One Direction – these are all perfectly normal phenomena indicative of a perfectly normal society." My stomach dropped and I felt what I thought was the earth move beneath my feet followed by a strong sense of déjà vu that that exact thing had happened before. A

song I had in my head since kindergarten days started up as hiccups from eating too fast pressed up into my chest. A hadeda sounded in the distance, crossing Hout Bay in the middle of the night; a bruschetta fell from the table and hit the floor face first.
"I like your sex pack," I blurted out suddenly. "Must be from all the crosstit." It was getting awkward. The fridge whirred to life and a car alarm sounded in the distance.
I tried to figure out what my partner was thinking, but couldn't. My face was burning up as I sat in every-man's land not knowing what to do or say next.
The thought of spending my golden years wilting away in an old age home with Alzheimer's - a life wasted on resetting modems - flashed through my mind. A neon light on the kitchen ceiling pinged off and came back on again. "It does that," she said.

Contact

+27 (0)60 663 8224

info@freehance.co.za

My Quote System

Three simple steps

Send me an email with 'Quote Request' as the subject. I'll know what you mean. In 5 sentences or less, tell me what you require. For example, "Hi there, we require three headlines for a major car retailer. Kindly send us a quote." Upon reading your mail, I'll get my quote chimp to draw up a quote and send it on to you. If it's a go, the chimp goes back in its cage and will get busy writing at which point you should give yourself a pat on the back. You've succesfully completed my Quote System.

What My Clients Say

Kind Words

"Incredibly quick."

Carmen Lerm, Fusion Design

"Top-notch copy."

Karen Jeynes, ZANEWS

"Dynamite articles every time."

Shaun De Waal, Mail & Guardian

"Brilliant... a one-stop shop for words."

Elna Smit, Columinate

How-To Check A Brief's Vitals

How to series

Turn the brief on its side. If you notice swelling there's a problem. Swelling is caused by too many revisions and means the brief is choking to death on its insides. Hold the brief upright again. In the top-right corner you will notice a date. If that date is crossed out, it means the deadline has been moved. The brief is now in a critical condition. This is a problem. Client service is losing hair it doesn't have and client is foaming at the mouth. Now carefully look the brief up and down. Doodles and phone numbers mean the creative team has lost interest and the brief should be considered dead. This, again, is a problem.

Cracking Briefs in Medieval

Back to basics

Oh, they used anything. Catapults. Stones. Donkeys. Even hot oil. It wasn't strange to see freelancers go at a brief with actual lances. On Sundays the village idiot stabbed at it with a spoon. Really hard briefs were put under a guillotine and cracked using the strength of ten men. Famine meant staying after hours cracking briefs late at night had to be done on an empty stomach. Creative directors annoyingly insisted being called sire; suits wore cloaks and daggers. Creatives complaining how they were "working their asses off" were sent to leper colonies to find out what it really meant to walk around with your ass off. Here they received a brief via messenger. Forced to use their heads they cracked it with an idea. The work was strapped to the messenger and sent back to the agency. If the agency didn't like what they saw they not only killed the idea but, you guessed it, they killed the messenger also.

Copy in the Morning

Speed

11:15am

I get an SMS during the last scene of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Katniss comes across Peeta convulsing on a bed he's strapped to after he attacked her. Oh yes, spoiler alert. The SMS reads "Hi Hansie, I need copy by 13:00 can you help?!" I don’t respond immediately out of respect for my fellow moviegoers still basking in the afterglow of that last scene. There were four of us. People don't watch movies in the morning anymore.

11:20am

My sister and I leave the cinema discussing the movie. She reckons it's better than the book (she’s read all three). I comment on the amazing special effects and how well they managed to keep things interesting although half the movie takes place underground. I start texting while walking careful not to bump into things or lose track of what my sister is saying. My reply reads, "Sure, no problem. I'm online in half an hour. Send the info."

11:30am

My sister and I are heading home on the R44. I get another SMS calmly asking if I can send something by 12:30 instead. I tentatively reply "Yes." Conversation in the car turns to cars. My sister says it’d be cool if the next VW beetle had the old vintage shape with all the add-ons of the modern era. We reminisce about an old family beetle that used to break down every week. I remark how that's part of the lifestyle if you own an old beetle. We both chuckle because it’s true. I tell her she can go a little faster there are no cops around this time of year.

11:45am

We arrive home. I tell my sister I have some work to do thanks for a great morning and she's off. I open my inbox. Apparently SARS owes me money. I ignore that mail and shift focus to a mail from client outlining the job: Gordon’s Dry Gin needs a press release to announce their new "Next Legend". I get to work.

12:15am

As it turns out using the word "distinguished" more than once in a press release takes away some of its power. I resign to that fact and bang out a 370-word release also featuring words like "trailblazing pioneer” and “true legend". I give it a once-over for grammar errors and print it out for fine-comb treatment. Checked I send it off in 12pt Calibri font and make coffee. The email from SARS turns out to be a hoax. No surprise there.

12:45am

An email from client comes in. They love the press release except the part about Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe and Ernest Hemingway being world figures who enjoyed great success and Gordon's Gin. I don’t argue since I can't, in all honesty, speak to the drinking habits of either of them so I take it out and send the revisions on. According to IMDb, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is being released on November 15. I SMS my sis to save the date.

Two Boardrooms

True Story

Boardroom #1: Colour

Walking in I was struck by the table and chairs. In quick succession.

The table got me just below the hip pushing me off course into the uppermost chair on the side of the table facing the window. The wall on the opposite side was painted green.

My client sat with his back to the green wall creating a green screen effect which made it hard for me to focus on what was said. I imagined all sorts of things on that wall.

Braveheart came in from the left riding a magnificent horse to meet up with Jon Snow from Game of Thrones of all people. Together they rode to the North to fight the wildlings. David Attenborough's voice – sounding eerily similar to my client's – talked us through a caterpillar traversing a money tree. A synoptic chart came up. A beast of a cold front was pushing in from the west making landfall just above my client’s head.

My client. The brief.

We were discussing paint. Specifically, names for a new paint shop in the north, our north: Mpumalanga.

The Colour Lab and Top Coat were on the table.

I suggested Hue and Me and The Green Room.

Boardroom #2: Caffeine

A small space, but big enough to swing a young lion if you're careful not to hit the big screen to the right and the huge pencil sketch of New York to the left. Sliding doors made for a good escape route should it come to that.

I was there to discuss web copy for the coffee shop across the street. A PA – as is custom – asked what I would like to the drink. I ordered Rooibos.

The Rooibos arrived in a branded paper cup, which was weird. The owner of the coffee shop walked in. I noticed the logo on his shirt matched the one on my paper cup of tea.

It was awkward.

We watched some cartoons on YouTube for inspiration. I remarked how the coffee shop was a light-hearted space with a sense of humour. The owner agreed, but added that the coffee was serious. Very serious. I moved my Rooibos to the farthest end of the table and assured him I took coffee very seriously.

I told him I'm going to send him two coffee copy samples: a dark-roasted think piece and a lighter cafe blend for everyday use.