Calendar Boys – the Christmas gift that could help tackle cancer!

Post #10: And why a total stranger said to Justine – “I wish I had your job…”

A couple of weeks ago I was on a plane on my way to the Falcon Windsor party, catching up on a bit of work, when the lady next to me leaned over and said “I wish I had your job!” That doesn’t often happen with my day job, project-managing annual reports – but then, these don’t usually involve paying close attention to artistic photographs of semi-nude, fit young men!

So what was I doing? Well, before I became a project manager, I trained as a designer, which is why I am able to turn my hand to typesetting when the reporting season really gets going. I also love to use these skills working with charities who couldn’t otherwise afford to hire a designer. Particularly when the project is for a Zürich rugby club’s charity calendar…

It all started off as a bit of a laugh amongst the lads in the pub: “Hey, let’s get our kit off and do one of those nude calendars!”

But it soon turned into a serious project when they realised that they could raise money for a local cancer charity, the Krebsliga Zürich, while also raising funds for their club and an awareness of rugby in general, which is very much a minority sport in Switzerland.

Nine years ago I had breast cancer myself, and Krebsliga Zürich supported me just as they are now supporting some of the friends and relatives of the rugby team – so when they approached me for help, what else could I say but, “yes, of course”. Then the project manager in me couldn’t help adding:  “as long as we do it properly.” And ‘properly’ meant having a clear objective, a sales target (500+ calendars – see link below!) and a professional creative team, so that we could realise the full value of everyone’s time and effort.

The most crucial task was persuading a professional photographer to do it for free – thanks Oistin, friend and ex-Zürich resident – and planning it like any other photoshoot. Hence the storyboards my fellow traveller was so interested in, although at that stage all kit was still on!

The shoot itself took place on a Monday evening, and we had four hours, 24 lads and 16 shots to get in the bag. The professionalism shown by the players was outstanding. By all accounts taking their clothes off wasn’t a problem, but getting them to cram into a lift in front of camera and crew, and all look the same way, at the same time, was quite a challenging request! But we got the shots, and, after two hours, we realised with increasing astonishment that we were actually on schedule to the minute – and indeed we finished bang on time.

I’d like to claim it was excellent project management – but perhaps being in Switzerland had something to do with it…

However, there’s more to publishing a calendar than a great photographer – and we are lucky to have an expert retoucher in the Falcon Windsor team. So Pete, much to his [un]amusement, found himself with a folder full of mostly-naked men and a list of requests to tidy up backgrounds, disappear the odd tattoo or moustache (thank you, Movember), tone down the shine here and there (the oiling team were particularly enthusiastic) and apply some modesty on certain areas as necessary!

This wasn’t a vanity project, though, and we wanted the players to remain real… and the results are amazing. It really shows what can be achieved when everyone pulls together and puts charity at the top of their agenda. A particularly fitting theme for this time of year.

Our target is to sell at least 500 calendars, so if this sounds like just the stocking filler you were after please order your copy here.

It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face for the whole of the coming year.

Falcon Windsor and GC Rugby Zürich wish you all the best for 2018!

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