From the "I-Had-That-Idea-But-Someone-Else-Did-It" File.
Talk to anyone involved in the creative business and it won't be long before you start sharing stories about how one of their ideas never made it to fruition. That is until somebody else made millions of dollars off the same exact thought.
But, I happen to have a blog, a platform, "a showcase for my thin-skinned assholery" as one recent observer noted on Twitter, so I'm going to blather on about it.
Two weeks ago, short on ideas of what to do with ourselves and short on energy to take a hike, my wife and I sauntered over to the Culver theaters to watch the overhyped Stars Wars movie. It was awful. A tired, poorly-acted rehash of the original.
The scene comparing the original Death Star to the newly-improved, suspiciously similar Death Star was a laughable summation of the entire money-printing enterprise.
Prior to the movie, there was a trailer for an upcoming Pixar movie.
Perhaps you've seen it.
It may not be familiar to you, but it is achingly familiar to me.
You see, years ago when I was still being hired to come up with Super Bowl ideas -- now I'm brought in to do banners, tweets and the occasional FSI -- my partner and I came up with what we thought was a brilliant premise. I'll be the first to admit it was a premise that could've, with a little copywriting gymnastics at the end, been applied to anything from a car to a beer to a burger.
In a nutshell, a family goes on vacation to the Brazilian rainforest. Their four year old son wonders off into jungle and cannot be found. He survives however and is raised by a pack of Amazonian three-toed sloths. He eats, sleeps and lives with the sloths through his entire childhood. Until, through a miracle, he is found and reunited with his loving parents who must now cope with their long lost SlothBoy.
And it is from that painful slowness, a wealth of wacky vignettes are born. Set against the noisy bombast and stupidity of today's Super Bowl fare, I am convinced we could have produced a memorably funny spot.
To wit, the trailer for Zootopia produced ear-drum bursting howls of laughter. And listening to a crowded theater hang on every word made it impossible not to recall all the failed opportunities in my deeply-flawed career. It was nothing short of Chinese Water Torture.
And did I mention slow?
As the trailer faded to darkness, I could hear through half-eaten popcorn kernels, the couple behind me, "that was the funniest thing I ever saw."
Yeah, I thought, it would've been a lot funnier in 2009.