Monday, 27 September 2010

Studio Playlist

Something old
Something new
Something borrowed
Something on blue limited edition vinyl.

Something you wouldn't buy
Something you'd never lend
Something you'd never actually own up to
And something you'd never really got into.

Something a bit jazzy
Something a bit brassy
Something a bit funky
Something just a teeny tiny bit folksy.

Something re-mixed
Something half-inched
Something on 9inch
And definitely something on 12inch

That one that she likes
This one that he doesn't
The one that goes like thingy
And the one sounds like whathisface

Something choral
Something classic
Something la, la, la
Something, something, something

Something different
Something obvious
Something weird
Something wonderful

A litle bit of Beefheart
A little bit of Bowie
A lttle bit of classical
But please. No fucking reggae.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Holiday Snap

I'm back. Back from hols, back in one piece, and straight back into doing what I do best: writing ads that will never get made, and blogging about the futility of it all in an irreverent/burlesque sort of way in the vain hope of entertaining someone enough for them to think - hey! now there's a clever, funny, thoughtful kinda guy. Just the kinda of clever, funny, thoughtful writer our massively successful creative agency should be using all the time. I wonder if he'd like to come and work for us in fact. Because we'd really, genuinely value his input on our projects since we really, genuinely value good writing unlike a lot of agencies who just say they do. In the North.

It's pathetic. But what do I care? I've got a sun tan, and a fortnight's worth of perspective on the whole sorry state of affairs.

I've been to beaches, bars, cafes, and one disgustingly fucking expensive restaurant. And I've returned -I'm glad to say- having put a fair bit of distance between me and this here (stagnating) media career of mine. I even managed to resist the temptation to tweet pics of funny foreign advertisements on my travels, which I'd somehow almost planned to do, and which again is utterly pathetic in hindsight.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that having a (currently) crap, marginal media career like mine is actually just massively exhausting. The whole business of advertising operates on a kind of "last one to the future's a bender" mentality anyway. So between blogging, tweeting, marketing oneself, one's opinions, and keeping up with shit there's virtually no time left for the more gentlemanly pursuits (women, wine, fine art, big game hunting - that kind of thing) we creatives need to temper our fearsome egos.

Unsurprisingly then, I didn't entirely switch off whilst I was away. I had an entertaining idea about re-theming my portfolio (more soon), and spent the first week worrying that I really should stop all this larking about and try and be more "commercial" in my ambitions. But then. Then I read Stewart Lee's book which (if nothing else) reminded me that that comedy is one of the purist and noblest of creative endeavours. It's ok to lark about. Trying to make people laugh is a good thing. And what's more, as I've said here many times before, the mechanics of comedy really do belong in advertising.

So, yes. Existential crisis averted, and I'm back. Back to the noblest of creative endeavours.

Wish you were here

Saturday, 11 September 2010

One for the road...

Here's a quick bit of homespun wisdom before I piss off for a week or so.

Always ask yourself does the script pass "The Blue Peter" test?

I'll explain.

If you wrote down an outline of Blue Peter in order to pitch it to someone it might go something like this:

"Three people, 2 blokes, 1 lass, in the studio. Maybe there's a dog. Or a tortoise. Each week one of them makes something or does a bit of baking. Another of them might interview a zookeeper. That kind of thing."

Sounds shit doesn't it. But we all know Blue Peter's been going for 40years and is still massively successful. Because the magic of Blue Peter is irreducible. It works because of the people involved; the presenters and producers.

So the next time you look at your script and think "They just won't see it," tell 'em about Blue Peter.

Not really a "test" I know. More of a device. But I've got a taxi coming in half an hour so I'm not really in the mood for pedants, ok.

Friday, 10 September 2010

How to write a TV script

Writing brilliant commercials for televisions, cinemas, and internets is easy. Christ, any Womble can do that! But writing a script you can actually sell - or at the very least explain- to your client is a very different kettle of fists.

However, very luckily, the following followings will help you create the kind of bland, unambiguous scripts that the unsophisticated young men who now run their father's business can understand first time. Which is to say, without having to blink or move their lips when they read it to themselves.

So. First of all, always start your script with "Picture of the product." Never say "shot" or "close-up" or anything faintly jargonistic. This isn't Hollywood. Just say "picture", since you never know where the client's comfort zone may lie. As there's a real chance he/she may never even have seen an advert before, you
really don't want to be running before they can crawl.

Secondly, never include anything other than the product itself and how much it costs. If you're the type of pretentious creative who feels the need to introduce the price separately (ie. after the picture of the product has been on screen) have the client's carer put them to bed significantly earlier the night before. Nervous exhaustion can easily kill a cosseted simpleton like the client. And if they die, so does the account.

Finally, as the client will never ever invest any significant time, effort or money in producing a television script, neither should you. Just show them a piece of paper with a description of their product and the correct price written on it and leave them be.

Always remember: this kind of rehabilitation takes time.

NEXT WEEK: Explaining a website through physiotherapy

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The REAL reason this ad that's been around for about a fortnight now I know but hey - is a load of ploppy plops

Brain says "Oh, look! Uma Thurman, look."

Ad says "I am Giulietta."

Brain says "No you're not. You're Uma Thurman."

Ad shakes head. Says "Urgh urgh. I am Giulietta."

Brain says "But you're not. You're Uma Thurman. The actress."

Ad says "I am not. Look. I am Giulietta. See?"

Brain rolls eyes, says "Ok fine. You're Giulietta. Whatever..." and looks at next ad, making a little "mental" gesture behind her back.

10 things to put on your blog to make up for not blogging for a bit

1. A pretty damn good excuse I hope for your sake young man

2. Something really zietgeisty like a penetrating article about that Tippex digital thing everyone's wah wah wah wah-ing over

3. £20 Argos voucher for every reader

4. A few dark secrets

5. Range of mugs to commemorate the hiatus like

6. Sneak preview of "Russ Abbott's Nut Allergy Balloon Diary"

7. Some other crap I've been working on

8. A sexy ghost story

9. Exclusive extracts from my shocking new album

10. The ability to vote for one of the above in the Comments section