Archive for the ‘words’ Category

writing tips for the criminally inclined

May 2, 2013

Great writing takes guts and danger and an edge of crazy. Not for the faint of heart. If you want to plunge into that world, here’s what you need to know.

1.     WRITE DRUNK

Hemingway said, “Write drunk. Edit sober.” Martinis aside, he meant don’t hold back in your first draft. Dump every insane, half-baked, inspired, stupid idea onto the page. Later you can carve it up with the exacto knife.

7567682-martini-icon-on-square-black-internet-button-original-illustration

 2.     STEAL

In his book, “Steal like an Artist,”  Austin Kleon claims that no original ideas exist. So seek inspiration everywhere: from that pop song, to the Chagall exhibit, to that trailer that blew you away. Don’t be afraid if something’s been done before. Steal, then transform.

cover

 3.     PUNCH

Forget soft, wimpy words. Seek out action verbs. Make your sentences brief and direct. Use short words—they get into the brain faster. If your sentence starts with “there is” or ‘it is” then, pal, your punch lacks power.

Screen shot 2011-07-29 at 3.22.29 PM

 4.     FAKE YOUR IDENTITY

Engage in identity theft. Try on other personalities in your writing. Personality inspires word choice, cadence, and can transform something dull into entertainment. Just ask Randall, the guy who turned a film on Honey Badgers into 59 million YouTube hits (and counting)!

  5.     MURDER

Once you’ve spilled your guts onto the page, go in for the kill. Axe those extra words. Strike out adjectives. Murder those ideas that you love, but don’t fit the goals this time. Kill your darlings. Only the strong survive.

What are some of your favorite writing tips?

Bare your assets

July 6, 2011
.
.
The room was buzzing at our Promax session in New York.
Were we in the buff? Nah.
We were stripping spots down to their bare essentials:
Message, Ideas, and Words.
The pictures were just a tease.
Click the bra to see what we showed.
Give it time to load. Chock full of fun spots!

writing bootcamp

May 26, 2010

This June we’re packing up our gear and heading to bootcamp in the tony jungles of LA.

Promax/BDA, the organization of TV promotion execs, invited us to put TV novices and honchos through some basic writing drills. Because, frankly, promo writing has gotten listless and lazy. Time to lose the love handles around the verbiage.

Ready for a bootcamp preview? Check here over the next few weeks. You’ll find out how to:

-Kick your spots into award-winning territory

-Pack muscle onto your prose

-Settle the showdown between pictures and words

-Tell a competent story, soldier.

And if you’ve got a spot that you think would be prime example of any of these topics, we’re paying attention and we love showing you off.

At ease.

endings+beginnings

March 22, 2010

3 brilliant spots.

Each makes a different point about beginnings and endings.

The first celebrates the end of a soldier’s tour of duty. I love how honest and simple the execution is.

The next is the perfect sequel ending to one of the most popular viral videos ever.

And the last sparked imitators world wide because–in a brilliant twist–the ending is the beginning. (Stay to the end, it’s worth it.)

All three  spots move me in different ways. Two of them cost almost nothing to produce. They inspire by strong writing and unexpected twists.

Flannery O’Connor once said “Beginnings+endings are critical moments . . . the shorter the narrative, the more important their function and their import.” These short ads make the most of both.

I hope they start something in you.

good morning, sunshine

March 15, 2010

We love spring.  Crocuses nosing up from the earth. Sunshine spilling onto the sidewalk when you leave work.

But up in Inuvik, the Canadian Artic, sunshine has an even greater power. For sixty-six days of winter, they’re encased in darkness. Which makes this documentary style spot, from Tropicana Canada, so charming. And their message about brighter mornings so meaningful.

Find a story. Or make a new story that meshes with your brand. Tell it honestly. You invite people to experience your message, instead of bracing themselves for your sell.

What story is waiting for you?

lingo stars

March 8, 2010

Give me fifteen minutes with a new on-air talent. I’ll tell you if they have breakout potential. How? By listening to them talk.

Breakout talent speak a different language from the rest of us.

Cruise the top ranked personalities of 2009. Rush Limbaugh? “Dittoheads” know their leader. Oprah Winfrey has her “aha moments.” John Stewart, “Not so much.”

One of my favorites, Rachael Ray, brings a whole new vocabulary to cooking. When she calls olive oil “EVOO,” or declares “Yummo” after tasting a “spoonola,” she’s telling us that food isn’t serious. It’s fun and colorful and just us guys hanging around the counter.

What’s your brand lingo telling everyone?

our favorite ‘lil spot this week

September 16, 2009

aids ribbon3707

We’re soaking up the love for Australia, as we look at spots from around the world.

A few simple words in this PSA transform nice pictures into personal stories.

Can you think of other spots where a few words make all the difference?

experience that

July 22, 2009

My cousin sends his kids to Harry Potter Camp. A dear friend is partial to Disney Cruises. Recently I saw that Red Lobster was offering menu items pulled straight from Food Network’s hit series the Next Food Network Star. And, since we all know Times Square needed one more thrill, Discovery introduced the Times Square Titanic Exposition.

titanic

Meanwhile, I am shaking my piggy bank in hopes of gathering enough tokens for a stay at the lovely Hotel W in South Beach. The “Entourage Bungalow” is the ticket. A personal driver,  yacht,  and unlimited alcohol. Agent Ari not included.

entourage

Many of you know this already – I don’t have new ideas. I take old ones and throw them together like an odd couple; imagine basil and tequila.

Unusual pairs had me thinking. Entertainment brands have long partnered with lifestyle brands. But, Pharma has been left out of the mix. So, put on your thinking caps and imagine the partnering possibilities. I’ve started a list.

pillsOnce a Daily, a complete Multivitamin unleashing humor and mental agility with 100% of your daily dose of irony. From the good folks at Comedy Central and Bayer.

Zooloft from Animal Planet.  This drug, like its well known sister, calms even the most agitated cats and canines. Perfect for car rides or when you can’t be bothered. Suitable for both pets and pet owners. Comes in liver, beef, and mint.

Vixena. From the folks at Desperate Housewives. This Rx is like another popular enhancer beginning with V, but after the affair you get amnesia.

You can do better, so show me.

apply attitude

July 1, 2009

Attitude can have an amazing effect on your voice, tone, and manner.

So take your personality (see “begin with personality”) and strike the right ‘tude.

 

Picture 3

Here’s more fun from our popular Promax/BDA session . . .Picture 10

Sister networks, TNT and TBS, know how. Like most sisters they share things; sweaters, boyfriends and movies. But one is all laughs, the other a drama queen.

Recently, both aired “Titanic.” Remember– Big maritime disaster? Leo DiCaprio dies slow icy death?

Here’s how TNT (We Know Drama) promoted it:

 

and here’s how TBS (Very Funny) handled the same movie.

Like two different movies, right?

Attitude frees you up to romp in your creative playground. But like cosmetic surgery, you can go too far, and your audience might not even recognize you. 

Not sure what we mean? Here’s another “surprise endings” for you. Can you guess which network this spot is for?

Really, who needs Viagra.

Ever see an identical product or program promoted differently? Sure you have – let us know what you’ve seen and what you like. We love attitude and are always searching for brilliant examples.


reverse the suck

June 26, 2009

“I try to think of things that suck.” That’s what inventor David Levy says—he helped to create the PowerBook. In other words, confront the problem—that which sucks—head on. Then use it for the basis of your solution.

powerbook_g4

When Henry Ford went into the car business, the typical factory floor was peppered with workstations and folks mulling around. Toes were stepped on, coffee spilt, and time wasted. So Henry, efficient man that he was, thought to bring the work to the people. He invented the assembly line and carpel tunnel.

Model_T_clean

Even the Middle Ages had it’s share of “aha” moments. During the Black Plague, it wasn’t always easy to tell who was holding on to dear life and who was actually dead. Huge issue here when folks started being buried alive. So, one clever soul stood up and said “Hey, let’s make sure people are dead before we bury them!”  A cheer rose from the crowd and they began systematically driving stakes through the coffins. From that day forward, no one was buried alive. 

coffin_~coffin_c

So, what’s the worst thing you’re dealing with right now? Turn it around, stick a stake through it, and be willing to look at it in an entirely new way. It works, cross my beating heart.