Posts Tagged ‘close up’

Take the bull by the horns. Spitzer’s first ad

July 23, 2013

When I talk about confronting the elephant in the room, this is exactly what I mean. I when I said Weiner needed to own his mistakes, to incorporate his fall into the rationale for running again, this is what I mean. This ad grabs you right from the start, and it leads with the most important information in a direct way.

“When you dig yourself a whole you can either lie in the rest of your life or you can do something positive….” That’s a great line. Spitzer appears to be talking to an interviewer, but regardless of whether it was written for him or he came up with it, it’s good copy and it’s well delievered. In fact, this ad reminded me of what I like about Spitzer. As I said to a friend, he may be a son of a bitch, but he’s a son of a bitch who’s on my side. That’s really important in politics, but especially for a position like Comptroller, where,… well let’s face it nobody really knows what they’re supposed to do, but you know it’s about making sure things run the way they’re supposed to.

This ad also does a great job of telling a story. Who’s side is Spitzer on? Yours. Who’s he against? Wall Street, big banks, special interests. I think that works because it doesn’t confuse listing issues or accomplishments with telling a story. The subtext could easily be… Once upon a time there was a guy who went after wall street and took on the powerful interests. They didn’t like him very much. Then he made a mistake… Now, he’s risen from the grave to right that wrong, they still don’t like him very much. Good, fuck ’em.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what he says in that section, but what he says is less important than the sense it conveys. (Frankly, I’m not sure what the lesson here is. Is it just a well delivered line? Is it his conviction or past story that we’re familiar with?)

The spot loses me about 40 seconds in when he starts listing his accomplishments, “When I… blah… blah… blah…” Maybe it’s because it seems more about him than us? Or maybe it’s because it’s a little on the nose, a little too much 4 instead of 2+2.  I’d be alright with ending it with “Everyone deserves a fair shot.” Think the “… even me” not only should have been left unsaid, I think it weakens everything that came before it. Is it about him or us? Is he the fallen hero seeking selfless redemtion slaying demons? (They do a great job of tapping that archetype, btw) Or is he a self-absorbed egomaniac who can’t stand being our of the limelight?

I should also mention the visuals, the close up of the glasses, the empire state building shot, which are really good.

All in all, I think this is a really good spot, that has flaws, but also addresses the biggest hurdle Spitzer would face his own fall from grace.

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We interrupt our regularly schedule programing…

April 28, 2010

I was going to post about this ad from Pete Domenici, Jr.

This ad is a prime example of teleprompter gone bad, I swear you can see him squinting to read from the prompter.  The long and the short of it is, if you’re running for governor your ads have to have enough gravitas for the office (especially if you have a famous last name).  Now there are exceptions to that rule, but those exceptions must portray the candidate as viable and be authentic.  This is almost a bad parody of a political ad.

This is the ad that bumped the teleprompter gone bad series:

As tough as it is, I’m going to leave the controversial issue of English only aside.  This is going to sound scary, but I think this is a pretty effective ad.  There’s one too many close up shots of Tim James walking towards the camera, but other than that, I can see this ad connecting with a lot of people.  My old film school teacher Boris used to say, “Guys, close up is mystery.”  Here the close up creates a connection, and I think the mystery is that you can read into Tim James the qualities you want.

I appreciate the close-up only because it indicates that the director made a choice.  It would have been easy (and safer) to shoot this wide, then go close, then wide, standard stuff.  The fact that they stayed close and had James walking tells me that they were thinking about it, as opposed to doing the same old.  I appreciate that kind of thoughtfulness.

I think Tim James himself does a great job of delivering the message. Again, politics aside, he’s believable and tough, but he also he comes across as strong and not an asshole or some hair on fire radical (again, politics aside).  That’s a tough act to accomplish when you’re talking about English only.

I find the ending particularly compelling. While the pause (or “beat”) may be slightly longer than I would have liked, I think it’s effective, “Maybe it’s the businessman in me, but we’ll save money and it makes sense…*beat*… Does it to you?” I think that pause, the line helps to draw the audience in, gives them time to engage with the argument, and makes James seem even more reasonable, he’s asking what I think —  wow he must really care.  The soft ending helps defuse the hard message. If tea party politicians start figuring out how to put a candy coating on their message it could be a real big problem for progressives.

My partner (the Rabin part of Rabin Strasberg) reminded me of the similarly themed Buchanan for President ad “Meatball”:

The ad is similar in that it takes the same inflammatory issue and deal with it in a soft way — in this case humor.  This ad is also a good example of a gimmick that actually works. It’s memorable  and on message. Of course, the argument didn’t take Buchanan very far in 2000, I’m curious how it’ll work for Tim James.


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