Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Chiat/Day turns 50

A few months ago I received a rather unique invite.

It came from a producer at Media Arts Lab (an offshoot of TBWA Chiat/Day.) And asked if I would be interested in attending a lunch with Lee Clow, as well as other Chiat/Day luminaries, to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary.

This was an honor reserved for a select few. So naturally, I thought an error had been made. And that someone had transposed the list of People We Like with the list of Fat Bald Guys We Never Want to See Again. But, as you can tell from the picture above, I went anyway.

Damn, I'm glad I did.

First of all, there was so much free sushi. Like an all you can eat raw fish buffet. Salmon, tuna, yellowtail, and those fancy rolls where they combine exotic slivers of seafood together to form one piece of bite size goodness.

Plus, there was wine.
Free wine.

Red, white, whatever I wanted. And when the glass ran dry, a waitress or a waiter, there seemed to be an entire crew at our disposal, would just come by and give me a refill. FREE. I didn't even have to ask. Nor did I have to look at the menu and pretend I knew the subtle differences between a Syrah and Pinot.

If that wasn't enough, I'm told there's also going to be a free commemorative T-shirt coming my way for participating in the affair.

Sheeeeet, it's a shame these 50 year soirees don't come around more often.

Of course, this tongue-in-cheek recap would not be complete if I didn't mention the company I had the pleasure to enjoy. All former partners, in one sense or another.

Rob Schwartz and I wrote spec TV scripts together and even got hired by former SIMPSONS producers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, to write an episode of their show, MISSION HILL. Had things gone a different way (namely had they paid us more money), Rob and I could've embarked on a different career path into television. Considering the demise of the sitcom, perhaps it's a blessing we didn't.

Jerry Gentile and I were partners for a brief period. But were more often found jabbering and playing pool, first at the warehouse building, then the binocular building and then again at the Playa Vista headquarters.

And John Shirley and I were linked at the hip, sometimes like partners in a bad marriage. We fought, we argued, we grew weary of each other's personal ticks. But mostly we laughed and produced the best work of our careers. Work that still brings us each enormous pride.

And of course, there's Lee Clow. Who was always my internal partner. Meaning he lived in my head. Always judging the work and always demanding excellence. And always in the best way possible. Not by demeaning, not by yelling, not by being unreasonable. But by setting a standard. Of finding truth. Humor. And always an unexpected way to tell a story. A Chiat/Day standard that has stood the test of time.

For all that and so much more, I'd like to lift a glass of Merlot and say thank you, Lee.

To which I'm sure he would respond...

"You're welcome, Brian." 

1 comment:

Toby the Wonder Horse said...

Just out of curiosity: How many times has Lee Clow been mistaken for Jim Henson?