Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Playa Vista 90094

So this picture made its way around the internets last week.

It's a screen grab from the new movie, "HER"and it shows Joaquin Phoenix walking around Amy Adams fictional office.

Those of you who work in advertising, particularly in Los Angeles, will recognize the surroundings as the TBWA Chiat/Day office in Playa Vista. There was a time when only a select few established ad professionals got in the building or made the payroll.

That was before the agency went public and grew exponentially, hiring every kid out of college who had ever touched a banner ad or had some inkling of digital/social media expertise.

It didn't seem to matter whether they knew the legend of Jay Chiat and Guy Day. Or Bernbach's revolution of the '60's that gave birth to west coast creativity.

They were young.
And they could stylishly sport a beanie cap or a tatted sleeve.

Oh, and they were tantalizingly inexpensive.

Today, it's the largest ad agency in LA. An industry juggernaut. You'd be hard pressed to find someone in Southern California who hasn't received a paycheck from Chiat/Day.

Suffice to say the photo brings back memories, good and bad.

The office that I shared with John Shirley is circled in red. It was perhaps the best of all the cell blocks, which was no misnomer, on Main Street.

It was close enough to Lee Clow's office to hear his occasional and always-colorful rants.

"Why the fuck would anybody use Papyrus? I hate that typeface."

But more importantly, it was closest to the exit tunnel.

With one slick move behind the ancient red Datsun that was parked in front of our abode, John and I could dart behind the car and sneak out of the office before 7 PM and the second shift and the arrival of this cold, shitty foodstuff that Californians insist on calling pizza.

John and I were by no means the smartest people in the creative department, but we weren't the dumbest either.

Update: After writing this post, my wife and I went to a crowded theater to watch HER, a movie that examines the often difficult work that goes into maintaining a relationship. I don't know we accomplished it, but through a series of texts from our teenage daughters and some logistical miscommunications, my wife and I were able to have a full blown fight right there in the theater.

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