In the Nutshell

January 14, 2010 at 3:50 am 1 comment

In what seems like a lifetime ago (but is recent enough that the twitching hasn’t completely abated), I worked in an agency.

An agency is a place where really creative brilliant people come up with amazing, delightfully unique ideas and hand them to management (the people who are in charge because of their creativity in lying, manipulation, and sunshine insertion) who place these ideas into a shredder, bag them up, throw them into the trunk of a ridiculously expensive car, and drive to meetings with clients who, if smart (as many of them are) will be disappointed or, if idiots, will say things like, “It’s great. It’s fabulous. I love it. But what if we change the concept, revise the headline, swap out the picture, tweak the layout, and make the logo bigger?” at which point management will grin and nod and say things like, “That’s a great idea. Sure. No problem. May I lick your feet. And we’ll have it back to you by end of day.” because they are too busy imagining the (misguided and mathematically impossible) profitability equation of multiple major revisions to think of anything like project management, common sense, responsibility, or the parameters of the space-time continuum that can make it somewhat difficult to complete 2 weeks of work in under an hour.

And that’s the agency world. In a nutshell.

So, where’s the life preserver here? Ah, I am about to tell you a secret.

Please don’t tell the management monkeys; they believe Their Employees would jump on a grenade or donate a kidney for them because they have rubber-stamped their name on the building, the letterhead, some pens, and the paychecks (which, by the way, they do not consider trade for talent but money they earned all by themselves which would be better spent on a big screen TV for their beach house).

Truth be told we’d rather see the kidney accidentally replaced with the grenade. But I do digress.

Here’s the secret. The only reason creative people stay in agencies (aside from love of the craft and an astoundingly robust hope) (and, paying rent) . . . okay, let me start that sentence over. The only reason you don’t hear about creative people throwing themselves from tall buildings on a daily basis is because of other creative people. Creatives are hilarious and smart and talented, and you will never in your life laugh so hard at the horrible, the absurd, and the searing pain of your soul’s rendering as when you are surrounded by these magnificent goddamn geniuses.

I do not miss the agency life. But I do miss the people. (I would venture to guess that it is not completely unlike how a soldier, home from war, misses the men he served with, fought with, dug latrines with.) I miss the wit; the crazy-awesome brains; and the home-made stuff.

Secret alternative layouts, really intricate practical jokes, costumes for Pez dispensers, etc., helped us survive our daily exsanguination.

One small thing I contributed was “Write The Headline.” If someone found a particularly odd piece of stock art, it would get posted on a wall on a piece of flip chart paper. And the graffiti could begin.

The bosses didn’t like it because the flip chart paper didn’t go with the “look how cool I am” artwork and custom lighting that was placed for aesthetics not for, say, easing the eye strain of dozens of people staring at computer screens 37 hours a day. I also think, like whispers of the emperor’s clothes, the scribbles made them nervous. They didn’t get it, but they can catch the scent of fun quicker than the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang could find a crying toddler in a dirty diaper, and they don’t like it.

So. For Fun. I’ve added “Write The Headline” to my blog.

So, click on the tab above. Look at the picture. Put a headline in the comments section. Be creative. Keep on keeping on. And cheers.

Entry filed under: Life Preservers. Tags: , , , .

Overnight Fun Night I Was a Sentimental Child

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. boatdrinkbaby  |  May 6, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    The Add a Headline section was removed until I can become a bit more adept at adding and organizing pages the right way.



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