Not an ad

I wanted to take a moment from ads to link to this memo from David Mamet to the writers of the show “The Unit.”

Even though he’s talking about drama, I think there is a lesson for all ad makers and particularly political ad makers, namely: “THE AUDIENCE WILL NOT TUNE IN TO WATCH INFORMATION. YOU WOULDN’T, I WOULDN’T. NO ONE WOULD OR WILL. THE AUDIENCE WILL ONLY TUNEIN AND STAY TUNED TO WATCH DRAMA.” (his caps)

Now replace drama with emotion or connection, and I think you see where I’m heading.  The audience will not watch a commercial for information.  Look at that Reid ad from the last post compare it to the Lincoln ad, you think anyone was tune in for the information?

Another good lesson is this: “IF THE SCENE IS NOT DRAMATICALLY WRITTEN, IT WILL NOT BE DRAMATICALLY ACTED.

THERE IS NO MAGIC FAIRY DUST WHICH WILL MAKE A BORING, USELESS, REDUNDANT, OR MERELY INFORMATIVE SCENE AFTER IT LEAVES YOUR TYPEWRITER.”

This is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way (trust me).  If an idea doesn’t work on the page, it won’t work when you film it, and it won’t suddenly work when edit it together.  I wish it would, but it doesn’t.  I think that’s actually the problem with the Halter ads, they don’t quite work, and that starts with the script.

Mamet closes the memo with: “I CLOSE WITH THE ONE THOUGHT: LOOK AT THE SCENE AND ASK YOURSELF “IS ITDRAMATIC? IS IT ESSENTIAL? DOES IT ADVANCE THE PLOT?”

I might change that to, “Look at your :30 script and ask yourself, ‘is it emotional?’ Does it connect? Does it advance the message?”

That’s as good advice as I could give about political ads.

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