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Posts Tagged ‘copywriting for video’

The photographer was sober. They tilted the camera for effect!

I guess it is part of the copywriter’s creed (mine anyway) of Never Saying No. Ever write for beer before? Wine? Spirits? No, but there’s always a first time for everything  (another one of my highly original maxims.)

I have done several campaign rollout video scripts for Anheuser Busch, Miller Coors and Kroger Supermarkets, as well as some web work and in-store promotional stuff for the Kroger wine and beer departments. Even so, I hadn’t considered them part of a specialty or trend – they were just some interesting individual gigs.

Then the geniuses at look-listen creative hired me to do a big splashy press release for a new kind of rum. It begins thusly…

Every armchair entrepreneur dreams of taking the thing he loves and turning it into a successful business. For Todd and Zach Kane, that dream is becoming reality. The father and son team are the founders and inventors (as well as consumers) of Cayrum, a new brand of premium liquor. Cayrum, a cleverly unique blend of dark Dominican rum, fresh ginger root and natural honey is now available in the US.

It was a fun process, working with the agency, getting to know the client duo, crushing their life stories into 1000 words, and seeing the result splashed ALL OVER the web, thanks to PRWeb.  Now that it’s done, I guess I can say I have a sub-sub specialty in beer, wine and spirits writing – for web, video, in store and public relations.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am suddenly very thirsty!

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Thirsty for compelling copy for web, print, social media or video?

Please contact LivelyExchange (at) gmail.com!

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Today, an old compatriot chimed in about particular aspect of my resume. And I suddenly realized I once blogged – that is, TYPED, onto PAPER, and FAXED to someone, for PUBLICATION, on PAPER – about an ITVA meeting that his company had sponsored. It was the dawn of non-linear video editing, and a bunch of us tape-to-tape editors were gathered around a first-generation nonlinear system, poking at it with our spears and saying things like “Unh! Magic glow-box make pictures be!” Anyway, this one’s for you Tim, AKA T-Bone Malone, AKA Tim-Tim-Sala-Bim! Please to enjoy this 1995 REWIND Classic!

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What’s a non-linear editing freak to do? There you sit at your Mac, which has been tricked out with all the latest software. Sure, all those bells and whistles (not to mention the flame decals on the sides of your monitor) seemed like a good idea when you misappropriated your office furniture budget. But now it’s time to use the stuff, and you don’t have a clue. If you’re like me, you’re not about to read a 600 page manual just to figure out how to make your logo spin. However, the sheer statistics regarding spinning logo injuries require you to receive at least a little instruction, for safety’s sake.

So where do you turn? Well, if you attended our February chapter meeting at Park Avenue Productions (and a surprising number of you did) you got the lowdown on the Digital Production Academy. Bill Wells, the Dean of Men at the Academy, was our featured speaker, along with Joel Embry of sister company Television Systems Inc (who also serves as DPA’s Athletic Director.)

Founded in the late 1950’s, the Academy was the haven for radical thought and the gathering place for all sorts of creative weirdos who could not otherwise make it through college (funny how some things never change.) According to records, their first graduate project was a black and white , 2-D treatment of the word “NEW”, which was supered over a box of laundry soap. It required a computer as big as a two bedroom house in Cheviot, and twelve weeks of rendering time. Also, an engineer died when a paper cut he received from one of his punchcards became really infected.

The DPA has come a long way since then, and was recently ranked in US of A Today’s Top 25 Schools Which aren’t as Geeky as You Might Think. Unlike some schools Back East (Rockport) and Out West (AFI), the DPA is geared toward guys and gals who make TV, corporate and otherwise, on a daily basis, and who don’t really care what Scorcese had for breakfast the day they shot the kitchen scene in “Raging Bull.” Instead, you get an intensive two to five day seminar that speaks directly to your immediate production needs. By the way, Mr. Embry had too much class to name the offending schools, so I did it for him. This is the sort of bare knuckled journalism which answers the question “exactly what am I getting for my $150.00 ITVA membership?”

In the course of the evening’s presentation, one very important question was answered: Just suppose my $440 million company had, I don’t know, a bake sale, and came up with a couple of grand to spend on software: Where would we begin? The answer came without hesitation. Photoshop, for around $700.00, is known as the “Swiss army knife” of production tools. Comet CG, at $1200.00, and Adobe AfterEffects, at around $1,895.00 (the “Soviet assault rifle” and “German Panzer division,” respectively) round out the package. Why these particular systems? Well, TSI sells them, for one thing. But they also feel that they are tools which do the job of making TV well, and inexpensively. Of course, there are other choices. You could go down to Steinberg’s and pick up a Flame suite, but you’ll probably have to root around behind the couch cushions for that extra few hundred thou. And while you’re back there, could you look for my virginity? It’s been missing since 1980.

Overall, it was a very informative presentation. It was also a bit of the old deja vu for me. Later that evening I sat in the drawing room of stately Lively Manor, sipping General Foods International Bourbon and leafing wistfully through my yearbook from the Digital Production Academy. Instantly I was transported back in time, to a scene reminiscent of a digitally remastered version of “The Day the Music Died” crossed with “Revenge of the Nerds.”

It was a brilliant autumn day as the DPA Fighting Pixels took to the football field bearing the school colors (Red, Green and Blue) on their jerseys with the pocket protectors. Meanwhile, a marching band full of guys with their eyeglasses taped together blasted a bad brass version of their fight song, Black Sabbath’s “Digital B*tch.” It was a hard-fought but ultimately disappointing gridiron match against Starfleet Academy to decide, once and for all, whether Kirk or Picard was the better captain. Later the crowd stormed the field, destroyed the uprights, and burned and looted well into the night. In all, it was a Homecoming I will remember as vividly as if it were a bit I made up right before my deadline.

Anyway, DPA is located in Sellersburg, Indiana (that’s Louisville, KY to you and me.) They can be reached at (812) 246-1075. The number for Television Systems, also in fabulous downtown Sellersburg (near the theater district) is (800) 545-6949. Mention this article and receive a 5% discount on all orders over $350,000.00!  Lastly, call our gracious hosts, Park Avenue Productions, at (513) 281-4888 for production services, or to merely borrow their studio for an ITVA meeting and grind a big mustard stain into their carpet (sorry, dudes.)

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A while back during one of my carpet-bombing cold call email blasts, I got this reply: “Thanks for contacting me Michael. I like your experience and your samples – so much so that I am going to overlook the typo in the opening paragraph of your cover letter.”

Now, this guy had me dead to rights. I had made the type of error I always do – something along the lines of “I’m responding to YOU ad for a copywriter.” A missed keystroke, nothing more. A dumb mistake but, really, what douche makes such a point of calling it out? Well, apparently, THIS douche, because I never heard from him again.

So, fast-forward to today. At a meeting with a potential (and totally non-douchey) client  he remarks: “I’m glad I was able to reach you through (a mutual acquaintance.) Did you know that there is no simple, clear way to reach you on your blog? No biggie, just something to think about.”

And he was right. First of all, thanks for the CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. But DAG, how can I have been at this blogging thing for 2.5 years without a contact page? The problem is, you only get so many navigation tabs on WordPress (with my specific template.) So I went through all my pages and inserted “Please contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com.”

Appropriate? Tacky? Who knows? All I have to say is “Please contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com!”

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Re-using old Baby New Years: Part of the "new austerity"

January 2011: New Year, new resolution to blog more consistently, blah blah bling bling blah.

Anyway, so far so good in the new all-freelance era of Freelance Copywriter Charleston SC (see what I did there?) The Philips stuff is less prominent but more satisfying, pound for pound, so there’s that.  The healthcare client is undergoing some personnel changes, but I am confident it will find its equilibrium.  My Charlotte web marketing client is hitting the ground running in 20-oh-11, and apparently they aren’t sick of me yet.  I’m doing a couple of web and print projects for a giant Midwestern grocery chain.  A law firm in Columbia SC needs some web copy. A Charleston realtor needs some blogging, a mental health professional needs web content, and so on. My biggest new project has been cooking along for about 4 months now – social media coordination for a marketing website. Nice steady tentpole gig, Praise Be, though the workload and the success of it is a primary reason for my lack of personal blogging lately. What, you mean I have to log out of THEIR WordPress site and log back in to MINE? That reeks of EFFORT!

So, that’s the update. I actually have several ideas for blog posts upcoming, so consider yourself warned! Talk soon!

Please contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com

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Between the usual freelance load and my half-time gig at the Global Giant Consumer Electronics firm, the blogging has been next to nil. Well, the Global Giant thing is winding down, as the office is pulling up its Charleston roots and moving Up North. But it’s all good.

It’s been an OK ride. Good people, downtown location, good schedule, GREAT money, etc. But as for the work itself…meh. Unfortunately, conditions on the ground did not quite match the job description at the outset. It wasn’t a matter of misrepresentation, but some big changes in business conditions that shook up the job mix.

Basically, what promised to be a healthy mix of web, video, brochure, point-of-sale, trade show, special projects and technical writing became overwhelmingly technical writing. Nothing against tech writing, but it’s not my strong suit, and not what I enjoy.  You can read my thoughts on that here.

So, after enduring it for a while and pushing through some huge projects, I turned in my notice. The timing seemed right; freelance, which had been kind of sleepy throughout the summer of 2010, was making a comeback. I gave a healthy 4-week notice and suggested to my boss that he try to find a true tech writer to do the, you know, tech writing, and perhaps save me for the creative stuff. He agreed, and… and… and then they announced they were closing the Charleston office.

Funny, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, you wail and gnash your teeth and cry out in anguish, “How much LONGER can I do this job?” Then you get the answer: four weeks. And you’re like, “Cool.”  So, I will be in the office until the first week in December or so, and then go home and wait for those creative projects the boss promised. Will they come? The office is supposed to be closed by spring, so we will see.

At every big serious gig I take, I am always trying to figure out “why I am here.” What is the lesson I am supposed to be learning? How will this benefit me in the future?  In some ways I think the “purpose” was that I needed to support myself throughout a sleepy freelance period.  Another thought was that I always said I could never, would never, do technical writing. But I did. I didn’t love it, and I never felt very proficient at it, but I did it. And I suppose I could do it again if absolutely necessary.

So, soon, it’s back to the full time pursuit of freelance work. And blogging more regularly, because I need to rebuild my Google strength.  So stand by for more pearly pearls of freelance copywriting wisdom, fans of freelance copywriting wisdom!

Contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com!

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Well, dang. The thing I was having the most fun writing has gone dormant. The Charleston dining/entertainment/ real estate/ what have you site has gone on hiatus while the owner concentrates on his paying business (the NERVE!) Frankly, in a town as  dining/entertainment/ real estate/ what have you as Charleston, the field of dining/entertainment/ real estate/ what have you websites is crowded, to say the least. Every time you turn around, a new one has popped up. Just the other day, I saw a CARTA bus with the full screen print wrap treatment advertising a new site – and this one had local geriatric newscasting legend Warren-freaking-Peper endorsing it! Grrr!

Well, it all goes naptime on good terms and, if it revives, I am sure I will be included in the festivities. I sure hope so – it’s a great gig! I invite you to check it out, because there’s a whole lot to like – even in limbo!  PremiereCharleston.com

Contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com!

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I don't carry a lunchbox. But if I DID...

I have copywriting clients from here (Charleston SC) to hell and gone – corporations, MarComm agencies, web design/marketing firms and so on. I have never been one to place all of my ova into one woven cellulose conveyance.

As the recession wore on, that policy served me well.  One client might be booming while another was dry. Other times, several of them might all be running at a middling pace. It all evened out somewhat.

But as the downturn continued to, um, downturn, it seemed like all of them were drying up at the same time. And suddenly I started paying attention to all of those annoying “Copywriter Jobs in Charleston” emails I subscribed to but never opened.

On a sleepless Saturday night about a month ago I saw and ad for – get ready – Copywriter Charleston. It was a blind recruiting agency ad looking for copywriting experience in web, print, video, packaging, point of sale, and trade show materials. It all seemed like a good fit, so at 3:30 in the A of M I rifled through my archives and uploaded resume, references, samples, etc. I hit submit, and commenced the Waiting Game. (“I’m sick of the Waiting Game! Let’s play Hungry Hungry Hippos!” – Homer Simpson.)

It’s a month later, and I am working for a global consumer products giant based in Europe. The local branch does consumer electronics accessories. Good folks, lots of creativity in the air, cool downtown location. And, though you might not see this as a benefit, I work half time so I can maintain my current clients. Of course, the moment I begin this new endeavor, everybody who was dormant suddenly started calling again. This is a problem I can deal with!

So that explains my absence for the last month. Going forward, I think for the time being I will do some repost-with-comments from the last 2.33 years of Lively Exchange. So if you are down with a little short-term rehash, stay tuned!

Contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com!

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Frank DeFord definitely has nothing to worry about from me. Still, I had a crapload of fun summarizing my first  Charleston RiverDogs experience for PremiereCharleston.com.

As Tom Hanks once declared, there is no crying in baseball. In Charleston, however, there is sweating. There’s a lot of sweating, and not just in the cheap seats. Even non-VIPs like me who somehow scored a spot in the air-conditioned luxury box were gripped by the Sweaty Fist of Oppression™.

Please take a look at my latest blog post, Panting Like a RiverDog. Until next time, this is the old left-hander, rounding third and heading for home!

Contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com!

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The Charleston portal site I write for assigned the task of describing Charleston’s Coastal Beauty and Diversity entitled, appropriately enough, “Charleston’s Coastal Beauty and Diversity.”  Inspired by the BP oil spill in the Gulf, obviously.  Too late to include in the article, I just saw a TV commercial for “Northwest Florida: NOT an Oil-Stained Wasteland Yet.” So, you know, pack up the kids and head for Marco Island…quickly! Here’s an excerpt…

Dateline: Kiawah Beach, SC. Moms and dads sizzle in the sun. Diaper-butted babies splash in tidal pools. 10-year-old boys wipe out spectacularly on boogie boards. People of all shapes and sizes bob in the waves. Farther out, the occasional dolphin fin breaches the surface, and pelicans do that insane kamikaze dive of theirs. Out on the misty horizon, a half-dozen shrimp boats ply their trade, harassed by squadrons of gulls.

It’s weird to imagine the possibility of this all simply going away.

Read the rest of  Charleston’s Coastal Beauty and Diversity  HERE.

Contact livelyexchange (at) gmail.com!

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Well, the dumb-guy’s perspective on e-commerce draws to a close this week.  Four parts, five weeks and 4300 words later, we come to the stirring conclusion: e-commerce is good…so, like, do it!

So, just for the sake of completeness, here is the entire four-part series in its entire entirety. Enjoy, e-geeks!

Part One: History and Growth of E-commerce

Part Two: Niche Marketing and E-commerce

Part Three: Tools of E-commerce

Part Four: Potential Benefits of E-commerce

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