Friday, August 19, 2011

A really nice commercial. Then I actually saw it.

Last night, this spot was on one of the TVs at the gym. I saw about 45% of it with no sound, from across the room, while I was trying to use the eliptical machine. But that was enough.

Enough to know that the line was going to be "Wash your day away."


I was intrigued enough with the spot that when I got home, I went onto YouTube to see the whole thing, top to bottom, with sound and no distraction.

You know what? It's worse.

I was right about the line, by the way. But 'Car Wash'? That's the music they chose? And paid to license? I would have lost that bet.

It's not just the music, though, that makes this spot a disappointment. It's the fact that there's a really unique (although in my mind, of questionable value) point of difference to the product being advertised, and yet the message is generic enough to have been used for any shower head. It's as if somebody had come up with this spot for the new business pitch, before they actually got into the tactical messaging, and trotted it out for this assignment. Which happens, by the way, more often than people will admit.

This whole episode reminds me of a moment I had when I first moved to New York years ago. I was shopping for a house plant and heard a girl's voice from the other side of a row of ficuses. She said, presumably to a friend, "That's my kind of plant."

Five words, but there was something about her voice, both the quality and the inflection, that touched me. The way she said that one sentence made me think that this was somebody I'd want to meet. Maybe even marry. But by the time I rushed around to see where the voice had come from, whoever she was had vanished.

For years, every girl I dated or even liked was unintentionally (and unfairly) compared to the hypothetical ideal that that voice created, until I ultimately ended up marrying someone whose other strengths compensated for a voice that –– next to Mystery Plant Girl's –– was brash and a bit nasal.

As I look back, I'm glad I never met the girl who said those words.

I wish I never saw the entire Delta Faucet spot.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More proof I have no clue what I'm talking about.

Not long ago I judged the Student Academy Awards. Which is a pretty prestigious honor, by the way, but not the point here.

One film in particular captivated me. I don't think I'm supposed to reveal which one because the awards haven't been announced.

The thing was, it didn't captivate most of the other judges.

One of the other judges liked it as much as I did, but she had to leave before we were finished, so it was up to me to fight for the film. Which I did. I managed to get it a second shot, to have it screened in front of the entire judging panel at the finals.

Where it went down to defeat.

The films that were selected weren't bad, but frankly, they didn't have something that this one did. They all had heart, story, and craft, but this one also had something extra. It broke ground. The filmmaker understood the potential of the medium and told her story (I think I'm allowed to reveal that she was a her) in a way that could only have been told on film.

Unfortunately, at the finals, I couldn't make that case. All we could do was vote.

So what's my point?

It's not that I don't know what I'm talking about. And it's not that the other judges were idiots. It's that my opinion is just that. My opinion.

This is a tough lesson to learn, especially when you're starting out. But most people you show your work to aren't going to get it. Those that do will never –– and by never I mean really, really rarely –– like it as much as you do.

I wish I could talk to the filmmaker of that film that isn't going to win a Student Academy Award. I'd tell her that she's a prodigy. That her audience, in spite of being a prestigious panel of filmmakers, wasn't sophisticated enough to understand what she accomplished.

And I'd tell her to keep working. Because the only way she'll ever find an audience is to create stuff and put it out there.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I'm back.

To all the people who send emails and messages, wondering why I hadn't posted in a while and asking if I were okay, thank you.

I'm okay.

Life has been pretty nutty and writing blog posts hasn't been much of a priority. But things are settling down. And the time away from posting has given me some clarity.

So I'm going to get back into imposing my opinions on anybody who cares to read them. Again.

Thanks for sticking around. I hope I make the wait worthwhile.