Caffeine, you kill me.

Congratulations to my friend Jacob Shwirtz for getting engaged to Nicole, a girl I never met but I’m sure is dandy like candy! Lots of mazal. I hope you buy a new, bigger Television! And big ups on launching his company’s website: DEFINITELY SOMETHING

I went hiking last Sunday with Ryan C. and Kevin Freeman. We left with high spirits and plenty of sun in our eyes, and returned with new covalent bonds and POISON IVY on my right leg. Hydrocortisone is working it’s magic, and it’s looking a lot better now that the pus has stopped oozing out.

I highly recommend Satin Floss for all your flossing needs.

My portfolio for school is online. Have you seen the other website? www.digitalyogurt.com Bookmark that shit like, hella quick / cause I’m updating that shit / and I spare no wit.

It’s becoming more and more likely that I’m leaving this city in the next two months, and samsoniting it away to another city for school. Miami ad school has a quarter away program, and I’m shooting for the Congo.

But the best news? A few weeks ago I wrote and produced a :50 radio spot for Chipotle burritos. A letter arrived today, courtesy of the mail service person, containing not one, not two, but FOUR GIFT CERTIFICATES to Chipotle! 12 hours of work, and I’m eating again.

I’m quitting coffee. The poisons on my leg, the scratching, the suffering – were pacified by a Double D Dose of OTC Benadryl. I didn’t feel that groggy waking up, but counteracted any hesitation with a medium Peet’s coffee. There I was, sitting on the brown leather couch, when my hands were convulsing. I started focusing on them, then letting go, watching them quiver like a 5 year old who needs to make pee pee at Disneyland. I took an Advil and somehow that made everything worse – judging by my partner’s reactions, I needed to get out: so I booked it outside and ran to a supermarket. I called Varda Small, licensed mother and psychoanalyst, thinking it would help. It did. Sort of. What actually did help? Pretending I was living in slow motion. SLOW. DOWN. Caffeine, you kill me. And now, I’ve decided, to cut down down down on the coffee coffee coffee. Who needs it?

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Stop. Collaborate and listen. 12 things picked up in Miami Ad School.

indifferent1Portfolio school is a revolving door of people and personalities. Every class becomes its own family, full of laughter and smiles and enough drama to put my Iraqi aunts to shame. I met some folks from the first quarter in one of the classrooms, bombarded with questions. It was kind of surreal, and I remember doing the exact same thing when I started at MAS. I don’t remember the conversation verbatim (it’s been a long week and not over yet), but here are some things I’ve come to learn while studying at Miami Ad School in San Francisco. They’re fairly copywriter specific.

1. Learn the design programs. Your art director will appreciate it when you handle execution of a bullshit project, and come through when their expertise is most needed for the serious ones. ADs can sometimes let loose with art direction, and you need to be able to communicate why the second word in your headline is too slanted and illegible.

2. Write a ton of lines. Don’t write lines you think your teacher will like. Write lines you like, that are meaningful to you. And save everything. Microsoft Word doesn’t care about that extra bullet point item. I can’t tell you how many times my teacher saw treasure where I only saw trash.

3. WRITE IT DOWN. Carry a small book and mini Pilot pen with you everywhere. My neighbor Zeev told me a rule: 3 breaths, and it will pass. If a thought pops into your head, and you take three breaths without putting it to paper, it disappears.

4. Pay attention to what people say. Last quarter, I focused on design. Now I listen and observe, observe, observe.

5. Don’t suck up to teachers. Some of them are as old as you are. You can be normal.  Talk about stuff unrelated to advertising, share links, show them shit you’re working on outside of class. They have interests too.

6. If you show a line or idea to someone and they say it doesn’t make sense, trust them: IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE. Fix it, burn it, get over it.

7. Make friends with art directors, and give them changes in bundles instead of bits.

8. Speaking up helps. If a teacher asks for ideas, bring them to the table. But strive to shut up a lot more often than open your mouth. The popular kids at school are usually the nicest and friendliest, not the ones who need to prove themselves, their artistic talent, or comedic abilities during class. It’s annoying, we’re all artists here, and your parents are the only ones who think you’re funny.

9. Stay in your own world, while looking at what other teams are doing. It’s easy to be impressed, then jealous of how extensive and amazing your friends’ projects are. Be happy for them, and make your shit better. You’ll spend more time gawking at what they’re putting together than getting anything done.

10. Don’t talk shit about people. Everyone develops a reputation at ad school. The smiling nice guy. The IT person. The networker. The kick ass illustrator. It works both ways. The creep. The annoying one. The flake. The drama queen. The shit talkers and the gossipers. It’s unfortunate, but once you develop that brand, that shit sticks and that’s how people remember you. How do you want to be remembered?

11. Unless you’ve gone through a writing or design program, you will suck in the beginning.  Ad school is this introspective process, where you come in full of passion and life and unbridled enthusiasm. It’s so cute…But your work is a lot of crap. Most of it comes from regurgitated commercials and snazzy headlines you hate. The GOOD news is that you get better. You filter out more and more of the crap, realize that YOU DO have innate TALENT, and more importantly, start treating yourself, your reader and your teacher with respect. People avoid advertising. You are a person. Go from there. It gets easier, and you get better.

12. Read. Read fiction, books, nonfiction, magazines, blogs you like.  Read an assload. It makes you a better writer and is better than reading: Settlers nearly made all the buffalo extinct. Here’s how. (Product shot of a gun) Hey. That’s actually not such a bad line. I bet it will be in when I look at it 6 hours from now.

Writers I like to follow, and suggest the RSS: (There are others out there…But it’s fucking late and if I don’t stop this, this will become the longest post on this blog)

Andy Pearson

http://danbalser.blogspot.com/ (headline a day page)

Journal of a Junior Copywriter

Makin’ Ads

I came back with Plaid shirts, too.

My dad shaved his mustache. It’s been there as long as I’ve known him, and now when I see him open the refrigerator he’s someone else. An alien in Russel Sweats and a crumpled long sleeve denim shirt. The defining set piece of his face cut away. What will make you Hungarian now? He’s dieting again, seems serious about it, much like the last one. We had a talk in Santa Monica, with the mother, about confrontation.  One of those rare talks where the roles of parent and child are suddenly reversed. Quite jarring how seamless a transition it can be; time away does that.

My brother, on the other end, didn’t shave for 2 weeks. A real Grizzly Man.  He landed an internship with the census bureau and will be living in the same city as President Obama. Making history. Isn’t is wonderful when people around you win? It’s infectious, that energy of accomplishment. Gil and I sat in my, his, our Honda Accord outside Aroma Cafe doing nothing but living urban in the night, discussing life and growth and listening. Sometimes that can be dificult. I have an attention span of a retarded seal.

Now I give another 10 seconds before I open my mouth.

The tough thing about advertising is… (wait for it). Wrestling.

Wrestling with yourself sometimes. The concept of comedy and comedic timing, cleverness and subversiveness, is innate in most of us, but we are bogged down by, by what? By self assigned filters, second guessing, and a chemical blockage of some point. It’s like the pipes in my head are all there, but shit is blocked up if I’m not in the zone. That’s what I realized over the break, after writing and writing – stories + songs + music + ideas + advice + listening – to not care. One secret is to acknowledge that the voice is there, but then to tell myself that authority should have no bearing on creative thought.  No one is gonna look at this but me. And always write by hand.

It’s on motherfuckers!