Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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 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?

unleash your writing genius

April 2, 2012

Hola from Barcelona!

One of our favorite cities for architecture and inspiration.

When we weren’t cruising the city, we were soaking up the sights and sounds of Promax Europe. Including the awesome Reep One. The conference was jamming!

Then we shared our tips for unleashing your writing genius. First step–find what inspires you . . . (click the picture to see the graphics and spots from our presentation).

Write with 3 Balls

June 28, 2010

This year the Promax/BDA conference in LA brought in great speakers from around the world and smashed last year’s attendance numbers. We felt honored to be included.

We had a blast presenting “Write with 3 Balls” to the audience of marketing executives, and they returned the feeling. Loved seeing that SRO crowd. As promised, here’s what we showed. Enjoy and please let us know what you think!

[The presentation is packed with good stuff and videos–please give it a few moments to load up.]

Promax Presentation

Add New Post ‹ sharpen your tools — WordPress, posted with vodpod

aim true

May 31, 2010

Promax Boot Camp preview


Every award-winning spot shares one thing in common.

You’re probably thinking big budget, but not so fast. What’s the one single thing award-winning-wows-around-the-water-cooler spots have?

They have a single message. One point. One idea.

As Grandpa Button used to say, “You can’t hit two targets with one arrow.” It only looks easy. Nailing that single message takes plenty of practice so let’s give it a go.

Here’s a kick-ass spot. You tell us the single message. We’ll bet four to one you get the answer.

What is the main message?

A. OMG, there really IS a water shortage!

B. All my voice-overs should have a French accent.

C. Axe=Sex

Think you’ve got the hang of it–good. Next, how do you decide what that single message should be? That, my friend, is for Boot Camp.

At ease.

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.

let’s talk

October 23, 2009

Nyc_transit_authority_token

We’ve talked about conversational writing. Now, let’s talk conversation. Part 4 of our Write With Balls session (from Promax/BDA) is all about getting the dialogue going.

Imagine running to a train when, suddenly,  other commuters break into a fox trot. What would you do? I’d take a picture and call my friends. That’s what T-mobile hoped for–and they turned it into a viral video that circled  the globe.

January 20th. I was sitting in front of the TV, laptop open and, while several million huddled together  in the Washington,  I was with all my friends watching the event with CNN and Facebook.

It didn’t matter that all the comments flying by were just a virutal version of “Can you believe this is happening?”

The ability to connect with my friends and strangers made a great moment even more memorable. And it was a perfect fit for CNN’s brand.

Finally, this spring, I felt like the world had taken a weird turn when I saw this video on youtube. But of course it was part of another massive plan. This time for True Blood, a revolutionary and virtual ad campaign.

Shared moments,  virtual moments, vampire moments: They’re different sides of the same subway token. Kind of crazy, totally exciting and here we are with the best seat in the house, witnessing this new frontier.

What’s your favorite shared moment?

uncorking ideas

October 15, 2009

It’s spring in Johannesburg and if that’s not enough to put a smile on my face, new friends and fantastic wine does.

Preparing another session of Write With Balls, this time for Promax/BDA Africa and I turn on the TV. What’s on in the southern hemisphere? Plenty of channels and a familiar line-up; Discovery, Nat Geo, Cartoon, and CNN. But I watch for the ads.

So, how does Coke talk to its customers? With music of course. There’s a detergent for doing laundry in a bucket vs a washing machine.

Plus ads for a very special kind of bra. Well, not exactly a bra — something you wear over a bra. These print ads show you what you need to know.

push_up_bra

push_up_store

More from Jo-burg in a day or two. In the meantime do you ever turn the TV on when you travel, if so what do you like? I once saw a game show in Italy that was over the top. You?

SouthAfrica

our favorite ‘lil spot this week

September 16, 2009

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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?

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.


begin with personality

June 23, 2009

We gave a session on brand personality and writing at the 2009 North America Promax/BDA conference last week.

The conference was terrific and our morning session was SRO for the second time in as many years. Think the a.m. crowds were hoping for free cappuccinos? Note to conference committee, next year larger room and Barista. Nary a tomato was thrown. In fact, the crowd wanted more. Actually they wanted a link. So, due to popular demand and the bing of our blog here are some highlights.

Part one.

Picture 10

In the future, everyone will have balls.

We will have them. You will have them.

By balls, we mean personality. First, a quick question. Do you have a personality?

Please watch the following.

Did you find either one funny? Phew. You do have a personality.

Personality is what makes us distinct. It’s  how we relate to each other.

And the root of personality?

Personality.

All media is becoming more personal.

And so are brands.

Ever wonder what the opposite of balls, or personality, looks like?

Voila.

BUDWEISER

Those old ads make us laugh because they’re devoid of personality. Everyone is too perfect, and perfect just isn’t human.

Perfect balls.

So, when you’re filling out your creative brief, forget  “engaging, upbeat and likeable.”

Think cranky teenager, like Adult Swim.

Or . . .fun loving predator,

Shark

Or bitch.

PerfectBitch

Remember, you’re the mastermind of your brand’s personality.

When it comes to Network brands, their balls are in your court. Proof positive your job is more fun than being a massage therapist.

For a copy of the entire session and some unforgettable (but liscensed spots) check with Promax/BDA.

If you would like information on our critically acclaimed workshops on brand personality, writing and creativity, click here.