A Copywriter’s Blog

Pretty much since college, I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by incredible people. People who never seem to stop moving, whose creativity and optimism are so much a part of who they are that you become inspired just by standing next to them.

Beau Bergeron is one of those people. He made this for a job interview, and projected the whole thing on his shirt. It is awesome. You should watch it.

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The Ballad of Sir Jurie Ben Levy 26, May

Place not ye faith in Hippocrates,
poor healer at best twas he,
I say to you sir,
tis no better cure,
Than that served by great Sir Jurie.
-From The Ballad of Sir Jurie

In my quest to try new things and break out of my creative comfort zone, I recently grabbed a Mini Munny. I discovered Kid Robot when I was interning with these people in NYC. There was at least one collectible, blind-boxed, designer-painted vinyl figurine on every desk. It was awesome.

I wussed out on buying a DIY vinyl for a few months, until a couple members of the old ICG crew picked them up. I decided it was high time I reminded myself why I’m not an Art Director.

I picked out a white MM, and was overjoyed to discover my “mystery accessory” was a bat. I immediately scrapped the lava monster design I’d been thinking of (I may do it later) and started thinking about what I could do with a Louisville Slugger.

I hate baseball, so making a ball player was out. I briefly considered painting him to look like a proctologist. But I would have had to make a white lab coat, and I really didn’t want to sew anything. Eventually, I thought it would be entertaining to make a knight, with a bat instead of a sword. When it came time to the name, I guess I was still on that doctor kick though, and I dubbed the little goof “Sir Jurie”.

I learned a couple of things:

1) Sharpies are not your friends. Using them is a one-way ticket to Smearsville. Population: you.

2) If you don’t paint well on paper, there’s no reason to believe you’re DaVinci on vinyl. My spray-painting went surprisingly well (I haven’t touched a can since college). The paint markers? Not so much.

3) Munnys are theives. I was excited cause a MM is only 10 bucks. Then I bought a can of metallic spray paint, two paint markers and a can of fixative. All in all, the shiny little bastard put me out about $25. A lot of this stuff I’ll use over, but I was foolishly thinking I’d be done with just the metallic paint and a six-pac of sharpies. (See item 1)

Overall, he ain’t bad for my first attempt. I kept it simple. After I had so much trouble just painting the black and brown, I decided to skip highlights and shadows. The metallic base is really what makes it, so I didn’t want to give myself any more excuses to screw it up. I ended up changing the visor at the last minute because I didn’t have faith I’d be able to do the sketch justice. Then I changed it again when I totally fucked up the alternative. But I am really happy with the “tail hatch”. That and “X-Calibur” crack me up.

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You kids today, think ya got it all. Well, maybe ya’ll have cellular phones tucked into ya diapers, but there’s one thing you don’t have: real toys in your cereal. Let Uncle Benny tell ya what it was like in the good ol’ days.

Back in the day, all the cereal boxes had prizes inside. Real prizes, not crap about “send in 300 boxtops and we might give ya sumthin in 6 weeks”. We didn’t wait six friggin weeks! No sir, if there was a prize you got it the day you opened the box. A physical plastic toy, hand-glued and painted by poorly fed orientals only a few years younger than you were.

I just bought a box o’ Cheerios. The box said there was a SPEED RACER TURBO CAR INSIDE! I opened the box, and here’s what I found:

Right from the start I can tell- childhood today sucks. Back in 91′, I once opened a box o’ cereal and got a painted figure o’ Ducktales. That masterpiece of plastic was like a tiny version o’ Michaelangelo’s David that was then painted by DaVinci.

But whaddya kids get? A single color piece o’ plastic. Inside the first bag, it’s shrink wrapped with- I still can’t believe it- directions.

In my day, cereal toys was awesome cause they was free. Mom paid for it, the Chinese built it, all you had to do was play with it. That’s how it was in my day. You kids have it that good? No, your toys today come with stickers. Like this:

I don’t care if you can hire pirates to download your free iPods off the interwebs, today’s childhood sucks.

My favorite part is how the stickers are on the flip side of the directions. So ya can’t look at both at once unless you have a sticker stuck to your sweaty little sausage finger, losing all it’s stickiness as you try and figure out where the hell it goes on your car. Don’tcha look at me like that, ya know I’m right.

If it was just that the stickers didn’t stick, I coulda understood. If it was just that the patterns didn’t line up no good, well, that’s how it was in the old days too. And if the wind up motor got stuck and it barely moved, I mighta said “yeah, these kids today got it pretty good”. All that stuff is tradition. Builds character.

Then THIS happened:

I know I put the sticker on right. It’s the only way it fits, and I checked them directions twice. But I don’t know if I should complain, cause that’s exactly how it looks on the box:

In my day, they had the decency to put in a little effort and lie to you about it. I guess they just can’t spend the trouble on youngsters these days. Makes ya wonder who won the war.

Now here comes the icing on the cake. Them Hollywood advertising people can’t even be bothered to put their own logo on the toy. No, they gotta have you do that for them:

I don’t know how much them child-laborers get fed these days, but it’s too much.

Look, I know you kids think your life is great. You’ve got that free porn you can load down whenever you want, and all the phones have texturing now. But let me tell ya sumthin: If ya ain’t got real toys in ya cereal, ya’ll got nuthin.

My advice? Don’t spend all your efforts putting upside-down stickers right-side up on plastic pieces o’ crap. Start working on a time machine and set it for 1985. Cause today’s childhood sucks.

Dear George,

If you F*CK up the new Indy Movie like you did the first three Star Wars movies, I hope an army of Fedora-wearing Ewoks pee on your lawn.

Love, Me.

Inspired by this news.

It was a brilliant idea. Brilliant.

He’d create stories of exactly 101 words each, written daily. Putting down exactly 101 words was no great chore, the hard part would be in the telling. Something short, but still sublime and wonderful. He’d label them as “fiction for the attention-deprived”. Most would be self-contained, but a few might be ongoing tales. It was practically made for the blog format. And if it did exceptionally well, the stories could even be sold in book format.

It was quite a shame someone beat him to it.

At least the post about it was only 101.

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In college, I knew a lot of people who wanted to be teachers. I had always considered teaching a difficult profession. But I had never before considered how nearly impossible it is to be a GOOD teacher. I remember one of my friends- a guy- telling me: “In the class I teach, I have an 11-yr old girl who lives with her single mother. She’s never met her father, and is an only child. I’m not just her teacher, I’m the only adult male role-model in her life.”

Let’s just let that one sink in a bit.

Why am I waxing philosophic about education? Last night I covered for my CD in his “digital stew” (ie-interactive concepting) class. That’s right. I held the power of life and death in my hands. Or at least the attendance sheet.

I was very conscious of a couple facts going in. First, I love to hear myself talk. So I had to make sure I knew when to shut up. Second, I think I’m funny. This belief is not universally shared (just ask my wife) so I had to watch the jokes. Third, I had to prove I belonged on the other side of the desk. See, 6 months ago, I graduated from MAS. I’m not so egotistical as to believe that 180 days “in the real world” had suddenly made me better than anyone in school. So I felt like I had to prove I was worthy of the desk I’d be temporarily sitting on (I hate chairs).

Truthfully, none of this probably mattered. I was a sub, for one thing. For another, I don’t think I can actually ruin these people’s lives in a single class. I would need at least two for that. But I always wanted to try teaching. And since I’m an egotist, I always felt the world could benefit from my wisdom, and that I’d be rather good at dispensing it.

I am definitely not a GOOD teacher. But if last night was any indication, I could be worse. Getting bored students to talk is damn near impossible. I was about to poke them with electric cattle prods just to prove they were still breathing. I looked like an idiot on three separate occasions (that I’m aware of) by mixing up words and failing to find a particular website I was citing as an example of something.

The good news is, I’m halfway decent about picking apart the good and the bad in work. Even more important, I’m halfway decent at expressing those parts verbally. It was great to sit there and be able to say “this was good, but here’s how you can make it better” and then watch the lights go on behind people’s eyes. Oh my g-d. They got it. I know they did, I just saw dawning comprehension. Holy shit, that one’s nodding! They’re nodding! They get it and agree with me!

Did I say that was great? That was awesome. I suspect this is what parents feel like.

There was one surprise to the whole evening. I’m not the asshole I thought I’d be. I imagined myself ripping into every student who did sub-par work, who didn’t care, who was going to graduate and go abso-fucking-lutely nowhere because- while they might have the talent- they lacked the drive. I thought I’d verbally shred those students because when I was in school, they were wasting my time. And I would pray for the day a teacher would call them out on it.

I saw a few of those students last night. And I could have shredded them. With my vocabulary and lung capacity, I could have made them cry and wet themselves. But you know what? Why waste the time? I gave them the attention their work deserved (30 seconds of criticism), I drew what lessons I could for the class from the examples they had, and I told them to sit down. Why should I go to the effort of working if they weren’t? Save my energy for the students who spent theirs.

Which was why, when I was finished with the class, I told them they could go early. But if anyone wanted to stick around, I’d go over whatever work they wanted to show me one-on-one. I took a 15 minute break, and returned to find 3 students waiting for me.

Three students that wanted to make an effort. Three students that were willing to put off the drinking and put in the energy. Three students who were under the (probably mistaken) impression I knew something worth sharing with them.

I’m really proud of that.

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