Pop songs put shit in its place

I had two moments in the last two days that put shit in its place.  You can work on something over the years (whatever it is you do that you care about, for me it’s writing), and then all it takes is something small, like a pop song, to remind you that not all shit is equal. 

Let me back up.  I’m using pop songs as an example because pop songs are kind of the quintessential, vapid candy art.  But a good pop song is, of course, hard to write.  And a good pop song blings more than almost anything else, that shit shines effortlessly, like it was as easy as an easy bake virgin birth.  No assembly necessary, just add water. 

The first is the new Nook commercial from their “Read Forever” campaign.  It feels really simple, but it also has the elegant sweep of a children’s book classic.  I’ve done a bit of advertising writing (and by “bit,” I mean you’d need an electron microscope to find it), and that shit is HARD.  Trying to write a TV spot sample made feel like I was in fourth grade again and writing my first short story (only that first story had a much better end result).   

Now I’ve never worked at an ad agency and who knows how long the writer of this spot has been honing his/her craft, but there’s a grace to the spot that I picked up on instantly having tried it myself before.  And when you read up on the spot on the internet, there’s all sorts of unique elements; such as, everyone in the spot is a non-actor (and not actors playing non-actors, as in most other such spots), and they don’t hang a lantern on it at all.  But in the end, it’s just a commercial I’ll remember, and I fast forward through commercials.  I went back to watch this one.  That’s something.

The second is the upfront teaser for Awake, Kyle Killen’s new show this coming Fall on NBC.  All you really have to do is watch the teaser.  It’s damn good.  


Anyone who’s read Kyle Killen’s previous work (The Beaver, Lone Star (formerly Midland)) knows that this guy can write.  But this teaser (and the script for the pilot) just screams quality.  I hope this one sticks for him, because I’ll be watching.  This teaser was one of extremely few of the those for next season’s that really stayed with me.  It made me want to watch, and it made me rethink my own current project.  Not because of the content or the genre or any of that.  Just because this was a shiny pop song.

So every once in a while you come across something that reminds you that the good stuff flows with such ease.  It sings.  And it can put your own work in perspective, as well as the work of all the people around you that you’ve come across in the past month, year, decade.  It’s not easy.  Grace is just that, or maybe it’s a serendipitous hocus pocus.  Who knows. 

All I know is that I saw both of these two things in the last two days, and they made me pause. 

Ps.  It’s quite possible that Awake will show what a monumental movie Inception could have been if it had had any substance or heart whatsoever underneath the smoke and mirrors. 

1 comment:

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