interrogations by Phrank Castle, Vigilante Poet
"Part 2 of my interrogation with creative professional Derek Prospero, NYC artist / designer / photographer, and leading contributor to my crusade of vengeance."
PHRANK: Back for more huh?.
DEREK: Hey Phrank! It’s been a while. You look fit.
DEREK: What’s your secret?
PHRANK: I do a lot of deadlifting. You look soft and weak. What’s your secret?
DEREK: I switched from coffee to tea. I think it’s helping with my sleep cycles though.
PHRANK: Tea huh? That’s adorable. Let’s get this over with, I gotta be somewhere soon.
DEREK: Sure thing, what’s up?
PHRANK: Round 2, punk. It’s time for your checkup. Still in NYC?
DEREK: I am indeed.
PHRANK: Me too. Tell me what you’ve been up to in 2019. And don’t lie. I’ll know.
DEREK: Sure. Well, I’ve been—
PHRANK: Nobody cares. But go on.
DEREK: Right. So, I’ve been busy with work of course.
PHRANK: And tea.
DEREK: Yep, lots of tea. Did you know that some teas have just as much caffeine as coffee?
PHRANK: Drink your truth, Tinkerbell. What do you do again?
DEREK: I’m a freelance creative. I help brands with design, photography, stuff like that. Right now I’m working with a friend who opened a restaurant / cafe lounge in Brazil. I am building her website and creating social media campaigns. But I do all kinds of stuff, it can vary a lot from job to job.
PHRANK: I hate every single word you just said.
DEREK: Really? I always figured you to be pretty brand-savvy. I’ve yet to design a logo as widely recognized as yours.
PHRANK: I’m black and white and read all over. Which reminds me, you got some questions in the mail from all three people who read your previous interrogation. The first one comes from Werner Von Dumbass in Camden, New Jersey. “Hi Derek, I’m interested in getting into photography. What kind of toothpaste do you recommend?”
PHRANK: Real question, I swear.
DEREK: Alright... well I’m no dentist, so I’m gonna say that the cheapest toothpaste is best for aspiring photographers. Gear is expensive. As for cameras, you know, just in case you’re curious, I’m pretty brand agnostic. All the major ones are pretty equally good. If you’re contemplating your first serious DSLR, it’s better to get a cheaper or older / used body and invest the savings in a good lens. They keep their value and never go obsolete.
PHRANK: No doubt. Gimme a tungsten-core armor piercing round over a flashy tracer any day of the week.
DEREK: I’m not sure what that means but I take your meaning. There’s a reason it’s both called shooting. I imagine that photography can be very well-served by infantry skills, how to aim and track and move. I’ve heard that many of the best war-time photographers had military training.
PHRANK: I mostly just took photos of my family. Before they were murdered by criminals.
DEREK: Yeah. I heard about that, man. Rough. It’s never too late to pick up the camera again though. I bet you’d be great.
PHRANK: Next up, Crodfoller T. Rhubarb from Sunburn, Florida writes “I’m a communications design major in my freshman year. What number am I thinking of between 1 and 100? Hint: it’s not 24.”
DEREK: I think you’re making some of this stuff up, Phrank.
PHRANK: Look pal, these are your people, not mine. They ain’t writing to me.
DEREK: Let’s skip to the third question.
PHRANK: Taking the fifth on the second? Suit yourself. The last question is from NobodyLovesMe in Sob Story, Michigan. “Dear Derek, are you my mom?”
PHRANK: What, you want a lawyer?
DEREK: *looks at clock*
PHRANK: Let’s assume that real human beings wrote those questions. For instance, you were a teacher for a while?
DEREK: That’s right, I taught design classes at a couple of colleges for a few years.
PHRANK: What career advice would you give to the freshman student?
DEREK: If you’re looking for a salary position somewhere after graduating, don’t be scared to reach out and introduce yourself sooner than later. Ask them if they have any tips for preparing for the workforce, or if they have any intern opportunities. Keep in touch with places you’d like to one day work at. It demonstrates sincerity, drive and passion that will give you a strong foot in the door. If your goal is to be a freelancer, you’re gonna want to get some experience on the logistical and managerial side of things. Donating a few pro-bono jobs in the beginning is a great way to learn the ropes without much risk of pissing anyone off. It also frequently leads to paid gigs. And for anyone in the NYC metro area, there is a great scholarship organization for high schoolers interested in communication arts.
PHRANK: You’re talking about the Graphics Communication Scholarship Foundation. My intel says that you’re a board member and mentor there.
DEREK: Yes. It’s a non-profit and I volunteer on the committee.
PHRANK: Sounds like noble work. Are donations deductible? Kidding. I don’t pay taxes. Anyway, here’s a little something for the cause.
DEREK: Phrank this money has blood all over it.
PHRANK: You ever seen any that doesn’t? Grow a pair and rinse it off.
DEREK: Still a poet I see. Is that a new haiku?
“No Derek, it’s not.
Haiku is five, seven, five.
DEREK: Ah, syllabusted.
PHRANK: I really wish people would stop assuming that I like puns.
DEREK: I think it’s called a portmanteau. That’s still pretty funny though.
PHRANK: Hilarious. But I’m not changing my name to the Portisher.
DEREK: No I guess that doesn’t have the same ring to it. Plus you’d have to replace all your business cards.
PHRANK: And underwear. Speaking of which, tell us some things about yourself that most people without advanced reconnaissance training wouldn’t know.
DEREK: As a consultant with a lot of different experience, I find that many people—even my own clients— don’t know that I do a lot more than photography and design. I’ve worked as a copywriter/editor, an illustrator and a brand strategist. I’ve written curriculums, delivered lectures, painted murals, published fiction, even carved an ice sculpture once.
PHRANK: Have you ever had someone die in your arms after they’ve been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade?
DEREK: That is definitely outside my areas of expertise.
PHRANK: How do you inform people of all this weird stuff you do?
DEREK: I try to keep my website and social media presence updated. I also try to apply the same kind of creative approaches to my own work as I do to my clients. For example, I recently finished a promo video to accompany some portfolio mailers. I made the video so that I could link it via QR code on the package. This allows recipients of the mailer to see how it was hand-crafted, as it underscores a theme of working in both digital and traditional media.
PHRANK: Anything else?
DEREK: Hmmm… I prefer vanilla to chocolate. I hate the word “literally.” I’ve never taken a selfie. I don’t have any tattoos but I have a big scar on the back of my left leg.
PHRANK: Scars are just tattoos for bad-asses. I have 194, not counting the fiery abyss in my soul that never heals.
DEREK: Phrank, I always knew you had a tender side.
PHRANK: Yeah. Pretty soon I’m gonna be drinking vanilla tea. On that note, I’ve been thinking about what you said earlier, and maybe I will pick up photography again.
DEREK: That’s great Phrank. Start small and just have fun.
PHRANK: Exactly. I’m thinking there might be a way to attach a tiny camera to the tip of a bullet. I’ve killed hundreds of people, but I don’t have any Kodak moments for the refrigerator.
DEREK: I, uh... that’s—
PHRANK: Times up, I’m out. Stay legal.