Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Are you in the 75%?

According to this global study from Adobe, 75% of people think they are not living up to their creative potential. Makes me happy to be in advertising. But I still wonder if I'm doing all I can be doing.

What are you doing when you're feeling most creative?

Friday, April 20, 2012

DDB San Francisco Summer Internship

DDB San Francisco is accepting applications for our summer creative internship program which, like other DDB offices, we're calling LaunchPad. We're looking for writers, art directors, designers, digital wizards, tinkerers, thinkers, jugglers and pyrotechnic experts. Last year's program was a big success for us (and our interns--we ended up hiring five out of six of them, and that's only because one of them had to go back to school), and we're hoping to keep the streak alive. If you would like to apply, send your name, special powers and a link to your work to intern@sf.ddb.com. Please spread the word.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chipping Away to Find Your Voice With Moshe Kasher

All creative people know the importance of generating lots of ideas to get to the good stuff. I think the same is true with writing, whether it's a script or a setup or some copy. I've always found it easier to write the first draft long, then edit it down.

I was listening to the podcast Bullseye with Jesse Thorn today, and he was interviewing comedian Moshe Kasher. This is what Kasher had to say as he was describing how he honed his voice:

“There’s this story of Michelangelo, that somebody came up to Michelangelo and said, ‘How do you make something as beautiful as David?’ and he goes ‘Well, I took this piece of marble and I chipped away everything that wasn’t David, and that’s what was left.’ I sort of feel like that’s what you do on stage, to find your voice on stage. That’s what you do as a writer, to find your voice as a writer. And that’s what you do as a human being to find your voice as a person. You start chipping away things that aren’t useful and aren’t you.”

The next time you sit down to write a script, think of it as a block of marble. It doesn't have to be perfect. The shape doesn't have to be defined yet. Just give yourself enough to work with. Get it all out there on the page. Don't chip until you have a big, nice block. Then take out your chisel and go to work.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Exploited by Masters

I just finished watching a documentary on Charles and Ray Eames. Many of those interviewed were designers who had worked with the Eames, collaborating on projects and helping them develop ideas. But no matter how much they contributed, the work was always under the name of Charles Eames.

One designer, Jeannine Oppewall, said, "He may have been exploiting us. But if you are not stupid, you are also exploiting that relationship. I was happy being exploited by a master."

I've worked for creative directors like this - where the entire creative department felt as if it existed only to bring the ECD's ideas to life.

What do you think about this? Would you be happy being exploited by a master? How would that fit into your career?



(By the way, this film is streaming on Netflix. I highly recommend it.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How to Start Writing Scripts

As a junior with very little script writing experience, I found it challenging to get into the spot. I'd have an idea for a spot. But getting to that idea always seemed clunky.

Recently, I was invited to speak to a class at the Temerlin Advertising Institute at SMU, and we talked about writing scripts for radio and TV. Here's an exercise we did together.

First, watch this classic SNL clip.



Okay. Now, take out a piece of paper and write the first sixty seconds of this skit. It's not a memory game; you don't need to remember the kids names. But how did the skit begin? Go ahead, try it.

When you come up with a great idea for a TV spot, it's a lot like saying, "What if Chris Farley were a crazy motivational speaker who really lives in a van down by the river?" It's a funny concept. But that's not the first line of the script. You have to begin with "Open on a living room." And you have to write some dialogue that's not all that funny, or even memorable. But it gets you to the funny and memorable part.

As you watch TV - sitcoms, dramas, commercials - pay attention to how they begin. What are the first lines spoken? What is the first image you see? Figure out how how those elements serve as a base, and how they lead to the parts you really remember.