Sep 12, 2008

Self expression Trilogy #2: A picture's worth

Often times people feel tempted to finish that sentence and say a picture is worth a thousand words. They say it cocksure and quick firing because it's second nature to them. But what happens when a picture leaves you speechless? Are you at -1,000 when that occurs? What happens when you see a stock picture that doesn’t even inspire 8 words? There’s great incentive in leaving work early, if you can finish it that is. What if a picture inspires a gasp, a shudder, a smile or an erection? Is there less merit if you don’t get to 1,000? Would a client ever say that they’d rather a visual that inspires more or less than a thousand words and use that as a directive for a revision? What if you inspire 1,000 words that aren’t what the client is looking for? Then you’d be up Shit River without a paddle because you’ve gone long past the creek. If you’re a copywriter, words are your business, your bread and butter and the way you are able to bring home the bacon. It’s sad though that after endless revisions your work inspires much more than 1,000 words of contempt or frustration (lord knows how many such words are contained within this blog).

Take a look at your desk and see what can inspire a thousand words and surely if you’re in dire need of expressing your creativity or simply under the influence of narcotics, you’ll find that most things in the proper context can inspire a thousand words. You might see a pencil and think of what processes were needed to produce the little wood coated carbon stick you use to write down messages or write doodles. You might think of all the times you’ve broke the tip circumcising the defenseless writer and all the ways you’ve sharpened a pencil while trying to do the same with your skills. Hell, you might even think of a magic trick to make the pencil disappear.

You might look at the bouncing Entourage E and what it might mean. A memo, a job description, an offer on a used toaster or Cialis for under $5 a month. You might look at that green musical note and wonder what will pop on next on your track list shuffle. The empty water bottle reminds you of Wall-E and how possible of a future it seems. Your cellphone buzzes with a new text message. Is that your significant other writing sweet nothings via SMS, is it an invite for a house party, is it an offer to be part of the coolest crowd by texting to 50/50? You have no clue when you see the picture of your mom and brothers with you smiling out from the frame. This surely must provoke more than a thousand words, and it’s just a little picture.

You see a tacky painting hung 10 degrees off center to provoke a more unique perspective and spit at the fucker who charged lord knows how much to decorate your little creative cage. You look at your cubicle and realize that it isn’t as bad as some others you’ve had. The air is not as stale and you don’t have to see guys with short sleeve shirts and ties. An artist bites into his 5th Krispy Kreme donut and you wonder how long it’ll take for that laxative effect to get a hold of his colon. You look to your left and see your ACD stomping like some maddened rhino off to defend her younglings from the carrion eaters that are all executives and even you have to say, chill out lady. An obnoxious ring tone sounds off to your right and thirty seconds into the phone call, you see watery eyes and choked words. A death in the family, an accident, Scraps got run over, a breakup? Any and everyone is possible but the picture is worth more than a thousand words simply because of the confusion it inspires, much like every time a client wants to justify a whim with logitalk which sounds like common sense until you listen to exactly what they’re saying. Key words are used along with scare tactics and the brat with the spending power wins again.

Almost in perfect visual stereo you see the traffic manager’s crack showing while the grungy art director sticks two fingers in his armpit for a routine BO check. An AE suddenly arrives boasting about his new son and decides to show you pictures that probably inspire a couple thousand words, starting with what the hell is that, what breed is this? And I’ll be damned if that kid doesn’t look one ounce like you. The self righteous copywriter sends a power point presentation showing the latest 9/11 conspiracy theory and you can think of a couple thousand words to offer him as well. At lunchtime a bum careens on a single leg like some junked flamingo still capable of swerving a crinkled carton cup that serves as his branded piggy bank. That certainly deserves a cool thousand.

How bout that wonderful SPAM mail you receive? That surely deserves 1,000 words to offer to Ngoudu Monganga and his offer to share his fortune with you since he is the sole survivor of a Nigerian ruby dispenser and needs to transport the money stateside. Maybe you can think of a thousand words to offer to the idiot that still sends Colon Cleansing offers back to back with breast enhancers.

When it comes down to it though, I don’t need to inspire a thousand words to be happy. Neither does a painting, a sculpture, a story, or a picture. Bullshit aside, if I decide to really think about it, I realize that with just a couple of genuine words I would be what some people deem as a smiley guy, a happy camper, a giddy fuck, a rejoicing joker or just a guy trying to get to a thousand words just to make a point.


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