A Copywriter’s Blog
Technical Difficulties Ben Levy 31, October

…which are spelled W-O-R-K have prevented me from posting this week. Please check back later.

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Friday Feature: This is Hip Hop Ben Levy 28, October

In case you didn’t know. Which, honestly, I did not.

THIS IS HIP-HOP! from Airwave Ranger on Vimeo.

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Last week was so ridiculously out of control that I couldn’t even post a Friday Feature. In fact, the lack of regulatory behavior was so egregious that I still have not recovered, and find myself unwilling to sit down and write a post for Monday. Thankfully I, like Batman, am always prepared. Behold! The first BrokenJPG guest post- which I have been saving for just such an occasion. It is penned by one Isaac Pagan, and all formatting and words are his fault:

The Best Thing That Ever Happened

I was 12, riding shotgun in my dad’s 92′ Sunbird down an empty stretch of highway. It was early morning, my dad was on his way to work and I was tagging along. My seat was leaned all the way back, and I was sleeping – as any 12 year old should be at 6:00 a.m. As dad slammed on the brakes and put his right hand on my chest, I opened my eyes to a red Montero coming from the opposite direction, attempting a U-turn.

Dad was doing 60, and the big, blocky S.U.V. came to a full stop in the middle of our lane for some unknown reason. Things I remember are as follows:

Tires screeching.

Sphincter tightening.

Yanni’s “You Only Live Once” cassette playing (in slow-mo.)

Crashing sound from hell.


Tires screeching some more.

Deeper, even more unescapable darkness.

Oily smell.

Gasoliney smell.

Passing the fuck out.

I woke up to see my dad slumped on his seat. I couldn’t breath. The front of the car was mangled and all I could see was broken windshield, buckled dash and blue sky. I tried to move, it hurt. My seatbelt wouldn’t come off and the door wouldn’t open. The Yanni cassette was crushed inside the mangled radio.

I smiled the faintest of smiles. I would never have to hear that shit again.


Other facts:

- Dad and I recovered.

- Yanni still sucks.

Despite having known him (I thought) for years, Isaac surprised me with this tale a few months ago. He did so with such an uncharacteristically incredibly deft delivery that I felt it would amuse the tens of readers who visit this site. I hope I was not wrong.

Should any of you out there have any interest in sharing a story with the world, America, a number of individuals greater than one, simply send me the tale at name of this I’m still going to write most of what happens here, but It’s nice to have a post or two in the utility belt*, as it were.

*Get it? Cause I’m like Batman**.

**So, so much like Batman.

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Fear Ben Levy 17, October

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Perhaps you’re right, Mr President. But have you ever feared fear? It’s a horrible loop that demoralizes and immobilizes you. It means you’re constantly afraid that you’re going to be afraid. That if you get pushed, that if you have to stretch yourself just a little bit out of your (most likely imagined) comfort zone, that you’ll find yourself in the grip of fear. Even if we had nothing to fear but fear, I’d say that’s more than enough.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Frank Herbert, from the novel Dune. The litany against fear. It is truth. If you’re afraid, you can’t think. Your perceptions become distorted. You second-guess yourself constantly. Every time I let the size or scope of a really big project get to me, I can’t do it. I can’t be creative because I’m afraid. Afraid that what I’ve written already and what I’ll create in the coming days won’t be enough. And when that happens all the little things, the uncensored things, the things I have to just say and get out in the open so I can look at them in the light and find the parts that work- those won’t come. I’ll fall back on other techniques I’ve used or seen before. Things that I believe have worked, instead of things no one has ever seen that I think might work. I’ll be derivative. I’ll be safe.

Fear is the mortal enemy of creativity.

Alex Bogusky. I suspect he would enjoy Dune.

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Friday Feature: Conan Ben Levy 15, October

Dear Lord- May Conan O’Brien one day realize the sort of success that will allow him to beat the shit of his stunt double, pack a car full of things that go boom, and drive it off a cliff to the full accompaniment of – oh hey! Thanks, Lord!

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I am not your biggest fan Ben Levy 10, October

This year I’ve had the opportunity to hit a couple conventions and meet some people I really admire. Artists and writers I look up to. Creators that inspire me to keep making things and keep pushing myself.

And each time I meet one of them, I feel like an utter idiot.

Here’s the thing- I am not their biggest fan. Their biggest fans are obvious from half a mile back in the autograph line. They’re the ones dressed up as imaginary characters.

And then I feel like- since I’m not the biggest fan- why should they bother talking to me? Sure, I could babble at them about how great I think their work is, but they must have heard it all before. What’s one more fan? “Look, he’s not even in costume! Next!”

Of course, I could tell them they’ve inspired me (and I have), but what the hell do they care? What have I done with this inspiration they’ve provided? Who the hell am I?

I don’t want to just ask these people to sign something for me and awkwardly thank them for doing what they do. I want to be able to sit down with them and have a conversation. To let them know, in a non-creepy way, perhaps over a pint, about the impact they’ve had on my life and that I hope one day to maybe do something similar. And the only way that happens is if you’re more than a fan. You’ve got to be a contemporary.

Clearly, I’ve got a long way to go before that happens. In the meantime, I’ll keep showing them my love the best and least awkward way I can- by buying their shit.

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“With all due humility- I think this thing is gonna be bigger than Google.”

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A friend and I have been arguing about the merits of custom-made portfolio sites versus template sites like cargocollective and carbonmade. My feeling was that a custom site is more impressive to a potential employer. For one thing, it demonstrates you care enough to invest the time required to make one. Secondly, it shows that you’re capable of screwing around with html or css on at least a basic level. And finally, it’s another opportunity to show an employer how you solve problems.

On the other hand, recruiters wake up in the morning and surf cargocollective for talent the same way they do LinkedIn. So it makes sense to be there. Also, a template site has template navigation, which means that recruiters and employers will be familiar with the layout and won’t have issues viewing the work. Those are two very strong arguments in favor of a template site.

It’s also designed expressly for the purpose of displaying work.

I got great feedback on my old site, but there were a couple of things that I wanted to change:a flash header in an age of iPads, a layout that left half my work below the fold on the homepage, and occasionally slow load times. When I looked at the edits I wanted to make, I was basically going to recreate cargocollective’s layout anyway.

I think there’s benefits to both approaches, but in this case, there’s no reason for me to reinvent the wheel

The old portfolio site is dead (soon to be taken down). Long live the new portfolio site (still not perfect, but good enough to post here).

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I know it’s embarrassingly nerdy, but I figure any video you have to watch 8x to fully appreciate is probably worth sharing.

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