1.17.2011

30 seconds handed me my ass


It's always good to try something new. They say that about preventing Alzheimer's. But we're talking about writing, so let's stay focused. You flex the muscles in a new way. You write in one format, then try another -- and BOOM. School is in session, bitch. That shit is rough. We all know this. But it'd been a while since I did it.

I'm taking a marketing writing class to broaden my horizons, explore my options, and to provide an alternative to the spinning suck-all vortex that is screenwriting in Los Angeles. That's, right, I'm talking about YOU.

So I had to write a 30 second TV commercial spot. I was excited. I mulled and pondered. I noted. I researched. And then when it came to writing something I froze like Colin Firth in an Oscar bait movie. Holy crap. A 30 second spot is one page of paper! You've got your title, your column for audio and column for video. One page. And nothing.

I spent 2-3 days in the muck of new before I worked my way around it and the gears started to turn. I ended up on the 4th day with six ideas and I blasted one out in about 30 min, which included 10-15 min. of writing. I still have to revise the thing, but man, there was some blank page panic in those first 3 days.

Thinking in terms of branding and a much more literal version of salesmanship was undiscovered country. And I was in the thick of it with no machete.

But now, at the end, I feel pretty good. That relief is beyond sweet, it's a total body rush. And I'm going to return to my regularly scheduled writing with a sharper vigor.

So go ahead and fight writer's complacency and Alzheimer's in one fell swoop. Try something new. Get your ass handed to you and then get back in the game.

ps. The commercial script format? Not my favorite.

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