Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I'm flying solo

If you came here for a review of the new Star Wars movie or some other gushing fanboy drivel about the over-hyped sci-fi franchise, you came to the wrong place.

I simply found a good pun and couldn't resist using the topical ploy.

There was a little voice inside my head telling me not to, but I ignored that little voice and most others when it comes to telling me what I should or should not write.

This goes a long way to explain why I am still living in Culver City, why I drive an 8-year old car, why I am struggling to put two kids through college and why I spend my weekends creating banner ads or knocking out social media ideas for the local mattress store.

Or, if I may quote my student evaluation from my 3rd grade teacher:

"Rich does not like being told what to do. And he eats too many Ding Dongs and Yodels."

Recently I was reading a HuffPo article written by a colleague who is funnier, thinner and has more hair than me. He was a copywriter but left the ad world a long time ago to pursue a career in TV writing. That was a path I always thought I'd find myself on.

This former copywriter, let's call him Ryan for those of you who like to solve mysteries, details his 20+ year journey through the TV world. As you might expect there were stops and starts and ups and downs and lots and lots of network notes.

"This could be funnier."

"Can't say that."

"The character is too dark. Can he have a lisp and a pet canary?"

If you think that makes no sense consider who is writing these network notes -- Network People. Executives, development people, political opportunists who by and large have never, ever written or created anything in their entire overpaid, self-important careers.

And yet that is de rigueur in the world of television and movie making. Frankly, I'm surprised that disgruntled postal workers were never supplanted by disgruntled sitcom writers.

Surely, you say, there are similar situations in the ad world. And of course, you'd be correct. But here's the difference. A TV script or a movie screenplay entails days, weeks and sometimes months of thinking. Remove one thread and the whole thing can fall apart.

A commercial is much more disposable. Kill one joke and I can replace it with another. Hell, I've got a million of them. Somewhere on this hard drive.

Perhaps it's why I enjoyed writing my book of short stories without the aid of literary agent, a publisher, an editor or even a proofreader.

"Yes, I could omit the story about my masturbatory adventures at Southern California's whack shacks in order to produce a baby, but I don't want to and it stays in."

And it's why, after close to seven years I am still plugging away at this inconsequential blog. I enjoy having the freedom to say, think and write whatever the fuck I want. It's the most satisfying job in my entire career.

I just wish it came with proper dental care.

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