Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I happened across the new first quarter Portfolio Center writers' blogs today via some other blogs. I only read a little tad of each of them but hearing them talk about their Clermont Lounge visits and all, I thought back on when Josh and Erik and I went there. Three strangers, three years ago. Three guys I'd end up going through the wringer with. Three guys now scattered about at ad agencies doing cool stuff that I know I wouldn't trade for anything. But there's something about the purity of the writing in those first couple of quarters that I miss. No clients, no account people, nothing but storytelling.

Yet every day I use those lessons. That's what I do. For instance...

In developing a recent spot, we've had to get our head around the motivations of the three principal characters. To do so, we've developed their fictional backstories. They're quite detailed, really. We've thought of everything from where are they from to what kind of things they do on the weekend to what are their values and their pet peeves, their educations? One person saw one of the guys in the spot as "he probably sings in the church choir." That's exactly how we had him written up. The guy develops good characters, you know.

So yeah, the same structure, character development and word choices and all that from Emotive Writing still apply. And one day, you suddenly realize that having to write a story about a 45 year-old kindergarten teacher and a coke dealer set in an Irish pub or a trip to a seedy, rundown strip club wasn't so silly, was it? It's all just observations and interpersonal dynamics made interesting.

Take something as simple as that Cingular "Battle" spot with the mom and daughter arguing (that's been going like gangbusters I'm told). It's nothing more than a dialogue between two personalities set in a entrance hall.

Or take something as inventive as the whole Counterfeit Minis campaign, which spent the spring racking up more hardware than an Ace store. It's just a story about people knocking off these cars because they're so desirable. The only trick is telling it not in one medium but several simultanaeously that cumulatively make up something grand.

It's all just stories.

Tell good ones.


Blogger Tania Rochelle said...

Thank you, Howard. I feel validated.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Howard said...

That one was for you. But it's totally true.

12:52 PM  

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