12. Don’t sling filmmaking jargon in scripts
Our job is to create a colorful mental image, not direct it on the page. Also—if your client doesn’t know what whip pan or B-roll or crash zoom mean, they’ll be confused. And if they’re confused, they’ve stopped listening.
13. Write out your montages/vignettes
In commercials, every second must be accounted for. Write out the action so we know specifically who, what and where things will happen, even if it changes later (it will).
14. Push past the familiar (aka how to avoid being outwritten by a chatbot)
If you’ve read it, don’t write it. This is tough to pull off, but worth striving for. If the thing you’re writing feels familiar, find a way to add something (anything) unexpected to make it feel fresh.
15. Sometimes a good headline can be the whole idea
The best headlines are a concise expression of an insight. So are the best ideas. You’re Not You When You’re Hungry could’ve easily been a print headline. Instead, it became one of the most successful global campaigns of the last two decades.
16. Write things that aren’t advertising
Write stuff all the time. It can be anything: scripts, prose, blog posts, children’s stories, tweets, scenes, random dialogue, things you find dumb and funny walking down the street. It will make you better at your job, I promise.
17. Read more
Don’t punch me. Hate reading books? Read song lyrics. The good ones are amazing examples of word economy and visual writing.
18. What’s the point?
At Mischief we have a two-step creative process. 1. What are we trying to say? 2. What’s the most interesting way to say it? You can’t move on to 2 until you’ve figured out 1.
19. Learn to present your work
Read things out loud all the time. Slow down. Don’t robotically read the words on the page. Play with inflection to give the words personality and timing. And pause before the payoff or tagline to give it weight.
20. Dumb setup, straight delivery
Unless you’re ’90s Jim Carrey, comedy works best when you set up an absurd situation and have the characters play it straight. It heightens the absurdity of the situation, and it’s that contrast that makes it funnier. Don’t believe me? Google the words Skittles Pinata commercial, in that order.