Monday, October 27, 2014

Let's make a movie -- Homestore Part One

I've been thinking about obituaries lately.

Perhaps because we just said our goodbyes to my mother-in-law. And perhaps because I'm scheduled to go to a memorial for a colleague who tragically passed in a car accident a few months ago.

I knew her casually and had the pleasure of working with her on the ABC campaign, years ago. She worked on the voluminous ads done to promote individual shows and evenings. I'm hoping the one I've yanked from the files was hers.

And if it wasn't, it is now.

What I will say about Sheri, and I'm sure this will be mentioned at the service, is she had a great laugh. An infectious laugh. A glowing infectious laugh that continues to echo. If she was in the room or anywhere in the vicinity, you can be sure someone was going to try and say something that would make her laugh. It was that sweet.

Not a bad memory to leave behind.

And so, as any self-respecting narcissist would, I started thinking about my obituary. Even though I'm only 44 and not planning to go anywhere soon.

A few weeks ago, a young copywriter, who is quiet by nature, came up to me at the coffee machine.

"Hey, you're the guy that did that ABC campaign, right? We loved that stuff. Our professors at ad school used to bring that up all the time."

Which roughly translates to:

"…And now you're here writing crappy dealer retail ads, man what happened to you? You big fucking loser!"

Well, I don't want my professional legacy to be a campaign that was, on one hand incredibly good to me, but on the other was too simple, too easy, and frankly, too one dimensional.

As my friend George often points out, for work to have worth it must have a degree of difficulty. It requires sweat, persistence and a vision that remains untainted by the inhabitants of the Nincompoop Forest.

For me, and my partner John Shirley, that was our work for and the production of the documentary, Home Movie.

A Sisyphean effort if there ever was one.

For years the Director of the film, Chris Smith, would tell me that I needed to write a book about the Homestore story. It was so indicative of the dotcom bust and had all the elements of a great novel, including the tale of the CEO who is now serving time in a Federal Penitentiary for embezzling millions of dollars.

I'm not sure how many of you know the sweet pleasure of seeing a former douchebag client wearing an orange jumpsuit and doing the perp walk, but I do.

The truth is, I would love to write that book. The other truth is I don't have the notes, the facts or the memories of everything that transpired to do it any justice.

But I do have enough for a 5-Day Series, a travelogue if you will, of the journey that took us from the crooked corporate headquarters in Thousand Oaks to a rustic treehouse nestled in the rainforest of the Waipeo Valley to the tony town of Park City, Utah where we celebrated the wrap of the film as only abused ad agency people with an unlimited budget could…

"Waiter, can you please bring us a ninth bottle of that $200 Opus One. Oh hell, make it an even 10."

Coming up tomorrow, our first stop on a cross country tour -- a cathouse in San Diego.

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