Sunday, September 21, 2014

Writers are a loved-up bunch

image source
I think writing is one of the only professions where competitors - for want of a better word (ironically) -  actively praise and promote one another. I would like to take full credit for this revelation but I'm pretty sure I read it somewhere recently. Maybe it was on Seth's blog? Not sure. Ironically (again), in the same paragraph as I pontificate about how great writers are I am ripping off someone's idea and not attributing credit. Which is nice.

But you see it all the time; writers loving on other writers. The Sun Herald has a double page spread every week dedicated to authors sharing the BEST BOOKS EVA!!! that weren't written by them. Journalists can't stop themselves from quoting and heaping praise on other hacks and bloggers are always listing and linking to blogs that they themselves j'adore.

When you are paid to thump out copy onto a screen, you're constantly given other people's paragraphs to edit, to work with, or - as one of my clients was oft fond of directing me - to 'fluff and finesse'. And much of the time you are editing you can't help but think of the text before you, "this is shit" before weaving your own brand of word nerd magic over it.

Please don't take this as a sign of mal-informed egomania dear reader. Not at all. No one notices just how lacking a piece of writing is, more than the person who spewed it out. No page is ever perfect or ever will be, and the balancing act of the writing profession entails getting it good enough to be enjoyed and effective and for you to get paid but not to spend so much time going over it again and again and again and again that the value of your time decreases.

Furthermore, there is nothing more bittersweet for a writer than reading someone else's masterfully crafted script and thinking, "Damn! I wish I wrote that."

And in that spirit, let me share with you 5 items I wish I'd penned:

  1. Man and Boy by Tony Parsons
  2. Notes from the Chairman by Bono for the New York Times
  3. This ad
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  5. This song:

If you like this you're probably best advised to click on this little beauty from the archives:
With all due respect, Stephen King was dead wrong

Monday, September 15, 2014

Margaret and David leave businesses with 10 valuable lessons

The credits are set to roll on the finale of At the Movies. That show has been such an outstanding success in Australia thanks mostly to an inimitable partnership between Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton. 

ABC aren't going to bother even grasping at a single straw and weaving that straw into a new set for a couple of potential Margie and Dave replacements.

No point.

The very definition of that adjective I used above - inimitable  - is "so good or unusual as to be impossible to copy". The ABC is smart enough to know that and Aunty is probably just saving the budget to invest in another fabulous Claudia Karvan series.

Still, while the curtain is lowering on At the Movies and we will no longer have any clue as to whether it will be worth forking out $150 to go to the movies this weekend, the dynamic duo still have one parting gift for us.

10 lessons the Margaret and David partnership can teach businesses:

  1. Two capable entities can unite to deliver more as a whole than separately.
  2. Be pompous enough to seem authoritative but no so much that people didn't want to listen.
  3. Be passionate.
  4. When one door closes in your face (SBS), if you're good enough, another door (ABC) will open to let you in.
  5. Great partnerships can form when an employee (Margaret) backs herself as a valuable contributor and a boss (David) is smart enough to hear her out.
  6. Employees over 50 can still be valuable as hell.
  7. Heated debate in the workplace can be respectful and productive.
  8. It's fine to enjoy the Sex & the City movie even if it isn't a masterpiece (ok, this isn't a business lesson but I wanted to make the point)
  9. “Self indulgent clap trap.” Is a great put-down in any decade.
  10. Never write off the promise of success because of a weak start.

It's hard to make film review video snippets interesting for a blog post, but David's impression of the Rage scream is pretty entertaining:

And, even better, here's Margaret:

See also:
Things I'm pretty sure I know. Yeah no. I do. Know ...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Prada retail art installation in the middle of the desert

Little Prada in the desert

This got my attention. It's a "permanent art installation" by Scandinavian artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. Located just off U.S. Route 90 in West Texas, about 60 km northwest of the city of Marfa, parched shopaholics may be excused for mistaking this for a mirage, but essentially, it is a window display of Prada shoes and handbags (there's no door to let you in).


You can read more about it here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Words of the Week

Am I the real Darth Vader? I'll slay dragons too. If that's what I've gotta do. Doodooodooodooodoooodoooooooooo 
-                      -  Darth Vader by Highasakite

Onya Dads.

See also:
Words of the Week

5 Quotes to get you through a stressful creative process

Getting your branding identity and marketing content just right is rarely smooth sailing.

Sometimes things don't look, read or sound like you thought they would and you don't know why.

Every now and then the creation leg of the journey can drag on. It can seem like a drag. Am I right? Slowly tweaking and changing the work in progress can be an exercise in endurance. It makes you want to tear your hair out. Scream. Wimper. Curl up and rock back and forth in the corner. Throw in the towel. Just forget the whole f&#king thing! Right?

I'm sorry. What?

Let's just dial things down a notch, shall we.

The creative process is not an exact science. Try to enjoy it even if it is taking longer than you thought it would ... it can be fun if you let it be. Remember, you're striving for sweet words, pretty pictures and exclamation-pointed reactions - not a cure for cancer.

When you're down and troubled and you need some swiftly resolved creative, try to calm down. Eliminate negative, emotional words from your thought process. Move away from the computer. Go for a walk. Clear your head. Listen to a great song on LOUD. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write in short points what you want to achieve with this project. Now go to the creative causing you angst and identify the aspects that are jarring with you. On a new blank piece of paper write in short points why they're not working. Remember, no emotion - just constructive feedback and if possible, some direction.  Don't resent the process - enjoy it.You'll get there and when you do you'll feel quietly proud. 

Also, keep these little gems in mind:

And when all else fails, call your trusty comms professional.