BrokenJPG

A Copywriter’s Blog
Don’t wait Ben Levy 17, June

The thing I’ve found with side-projects is that you can’t sit on them. If you don’t strike while the iron’s hot, get a jump on them, or make the most of some other crappy cliche, you wind up finding your old notes like 4 years later and going “oh yeah, that would have been cool.”

About a year ago, someone told me I should make a mobile game based on the dick book. I laughed. “How would I even make a game out of that?” I said, “It would have to be something like 20 different bras you would need to open, each with a different clasp that would basically be a puzzle. And for each bra you unlocked, you’d get a free chapter of the book.”

There was an uncomfortable silence. My friend was staring at me with a slightly open mouth.

“Look- no,” I began, “I haven’t even finished the first mobile game I started, and this one isn’t…I mean, sure it would be easier to build but…-”

He was still staring at me.

“…crap.”

I got excited about it, but I didn’t move on it. I came up with all sorts of reasons not to. I couldn’t decide how best to display the book pages. I wasn’t absolutely sure it would work. I’m not a programmer. How could I make the puzzles intuitive but still hard enough to be entertaining? Would anyone ever play it?

A year later, it’s made.

Oh, not by me. No. You see, I was too busy asking myself stupid questions. The game that was made is called 100 Floors. The puzzles are elevators, not bras, and you have unlock one floor to move to the next. Many are not particularly intuitive. Your only reward is moving on to the next one. And for a week it was the most popular free game in the android store.

“…crap.”

Comments Off
Same, yet different. Ben Levy 30, May

This morning, when I got in from walking the dog, I found The Wife standing in the living room without pants.

There was a time in my life when this would be amazing. That time is over.

You see these days, if The Wife greets me without pants, it is because The Spawn has ejected bodily fluids on them.

I could tell it had been an impressive payload, since The Spawn was wriggling on a changing table without any clothes on at all.

But it was the fact that the couch was also missing a cushion that indicated this particular broadside was one for the history books.

Comments Off
Oof. Ben Levy 23, May

I was gonna wait to write a post until I could write something that wasn’t about fatherhood. But everything’s about fatherhood these days, so that’s retarded. I think instead I’ll just run down some highlights from the last month.

-People won’t tell you if your breath stinks, if your fly is down, or if your boss is standing behind you while you rant about what an asshole they are. But they’ll tell you in a second how to raise your child.

-Before I had a kid, I would listen to people who had kids. They would say things like “I wish I could find the time to work out.” And I would secretly think to myself “You have the time, you’re just prioritizing sleep. Cut out an hour of sleep from your schedule, you have the time. It’s what I do. If you wanted it badly enough, you could make it a priority, and you could work out.” Dear people who had kids I secretly thought that about- I am so, so sorry. Please forgive me. Love, Ben.

-The Spawn rolled over at the age of 7 days. No, she hasn’t repeated it since. But we put her on her stomach and she flipped the hell out and did a push-up at the same time her legs spasmed and over she went. It counts. My child is a genius. Alert Yale.

-In the last week she’s discovered how to scream in her sleep. She’s not unhappy. If you go over to the crib, she’s got both eye closed and isn’t moving at all. But she’ll scream. In her sleep. She gets this shit from The Wife.

-A lot of parents write some sort of letter to their child every month. I guess I could do that, but even if I did, it seems weird to post it in public. Also, I managed to work as hard as I think I ever have in advertising, while still having to get up every 3 hours to feed The Spawn. My feelings on this are mixed. On the one hand, now I know I can do it. On the other hand, ouch. So, I put this post up instead, and that’ll do for now.

Comments Off

Screen Shot 2012-05-14 at 11.03.17 PM

Good lord, was that a chore. Someone once said “When you’re 95% done, you’re halfway there.” Dude knew what he was talking about. But it’s done. Finally up and available. Click, buy, etc. If you don’t want a silly overpriced physical copy, or if you have embraced the digital apocalypse, imma have a super cheap ibook version up in a few days weeks whenever I get around to it. Gotta go feed The Spawn.

Comments Off
Friday Features: Diapers Ben Levy 4, May

This is exactly what it feels like to change a diaper.

Only if you screw it up, instead of getting crushed by a boulder, you’re peed on.

Comments Off
Molly Jean Levy Ben Levy 27, April

IMAG0369

Born at 1:12pm on April 26, 2012. It’s been a little over 15 hours since she came.

I’m fairly certain I’ll never sleep again.

Seems like a fair trade.

Comments Off
End Chapter 2 Ben Levy 25, April

My wife is resting in a hospital bed across the room, and I should probably be doing the same. Then again, this is the last day of my life as a not-parent. I feel like I should say something about it.

I won’t ever be the person I am tonight again. My priorities, my focus, my entire approach to life will change once my daughter is born.

What’ I’m saying is, this is sort of a Big Deal.

If she’s born tomorrow, that actual date won’t hold much importance to her. Beyond using it as proof of identity, I don’t attach any real emotional significance to what happened on June 20, 1983. June 20, 1996 was pretty great. And 2004 was epic. But it never occurred to me until tonight what that birth date must mean to my parents. To me, it’s cake and presents. To them, it’s the day their son was born.

That’s really pretty awesome, in the original sense of the word.

If the first chapter of my life was growing up, and the second was independence and marriage, tomorrow or the day after will clearly begin the third chapter. So, here we go. I expect the next post will be the one introducing my daughter.

End Chapter 2.

Comments Off
Pre-press Ben Levy 24, April

If you’re wondering why I haven’t pushed the “Owl Book” more, it’s because I’ve discovered it is fucking expensive to print color. It’s looking like this 24-page book is going to cost something like $15. That’s ridiculous, but it’s a whole other order of magnitude on the ridiculous scale when you realize my last book was 100 pages and sold for $10. What the hell do they make color ink out of anyway? Baby harp seals?

With shipping, it cost me an absurd amount to get my proof copy from Blurb. Something like $22, after coupons. The printing is gorgeous, and the quality is amazing, but I can’t even sell that to people “at cost” with a straight face. I found a way to shave at least $3 off the base price with Lulu, but for some reason their book upload process shits the bed when faced with CMYK files, and all my colors turned neon.

As interesting as my new book about a radioactive owl was, it’s not quite what I had in mind. As was evidenced by my stream of consciousness tweets.

Screen Shot 2012-04-24 at 10.55.03 PM

Don’t worry, the neighbors don’t even have a cat. (any more)

So I converted everything, and now I’m going to sit here wondering what the hell the colors in this book will actually be when it shows up on my doorstep in a week. And then, if it looks as good as it should, I’ll put up a site and pimp this owl properly*.

If you people didn’t keep liking this stupid shit I do, I wouldn’t have to go to all this trouble.

Thanks for that.

*I am totally going to start a gameshow called Pimp this Owl Properly. Who’s with me?
Comments Off

So, how about them timely updates? Eh? EH?

Sorry everyone. I mean if any of you are still here. Since I haven’t bothered to do even a Friday Feature in like, a month.

Much of this is due to the insanity that is my life right now. The sad thing is that insanity makes for good reading, and so the blog should be bloggier than ever. Chock full of blogginess. It should be blogglutony up in here.

But things are happening at the speed of life these days, a velocity with is entirely outside of my control no matter what the odometer reads. And I feel it’s more important to live the experiences I’m having rather than spending time recording them. In a world of social media this is perhaps a revolutionary act. If so, hand me a torch, and point me towards the occupation.

At the end of last year, I started to get really burned out on the blog. I didn’t like the quality of the posts I was putting up, and I often found myself up until midnight trying to dash out a post just to meet my own arbitrary deadline. That seems dumb. Bad enough I submit the internet to my narcissistic ramblings, they should at least be well-written ones.

So it’s time to switch things up. This is still my home on the web, but blogging itself is no longer my creative focus. I want to do stuff that scares me slightly, and this format is too familiar. A few years ago I read this post on Wil Wheaton’s blog, and it mildly changed my life. I published my first book. Now I’ve published my second one. There are other firsts and seconds of things in the works that I won’t tell you about right now. But they’re coming. And right now, they’re way more interesting to me than making fun of myself in long-copy format.

I like that too, and I’m sure it will still happen. In fact, once the kid comes next week, I bet it will happen a lot. But forcing it to happen every Monday? No longer the goal.

The new goal is to keep creating stuff that excites me. And to make sure that the posts I write here are worthy of being read by you all.

PS- Did you read that part about me becoming a father in a week? If anyone needs me I’ll be over in the corner hyperventilating into a paper bag.

Comments Off
Signs of the times Ben Levy 11, April

It’s interesting that the busier I am, the less time I waste spend talking about what I’m doing. I mean, I finished my second book over a week ago, and I’m just posting about it now. (I just dropped that shit like it was nothing, didn’t I? That’s how we experienced authors roll, bitches.)

IMAG0154 copy

The proof copy did just come in this evening, so that’s part of my excuse. I had it as an iBook on The Wife’s iPad as soon as the pages were done, but there’s something special about holding a physical copy. I don’t even know if I’m going to make the physical one available for purchase (all the color options I’m finding are laughably expensive) but I’m glad I have one for myself. Maybe I’ll do a limited run or something.

IMAG0155 copy

Why’d I do this, you ask? Because the only thing I could think of that would screw with people’s heads more than being “the guy who wrote the dick book” was to be “the guy who wrote the dick book and a children’s book.” Also, it was because I felt the need to do something really special for my unborn daughter, something that we could share even before I knew what she was like. But don’t tell people that. It’ll totally ruin my street cred.

IMAG0156 copy

So, maybe I’m a slightly more legitimate not-at-all-legitimate author now. That’s two books. Neither of which have what you’d call plot, exactly. And they’re surprisingly heavy on illustration for a guy who dropped out of graphic design in college, and claims to be a professional writer. But still, they’re books. I’m pretty proud of them.

Like I said, I’m not sure what the sales options will be like for this one. I see a few very minor tweaks I’d like to make to the physical version, and there’s been a surprising amount of talk regarding board-books and plush Little Owls. There’ll definitely be an iBook version out, but I need to make those tweaks first.

Comments Off