Frome, Shelley (2009). The Art and Craft of Screenwriting: Fundamentals, Methods Advice from Insiders, 214.

Story behind the Passage

Yesterday in my Social Entrepreneurship class we talked about THINX and Miki Agrawal’s book. No worries, the semester is going to be over soon and I am not going to start that many more posts with “yesterday in my class….” In fact, there will not be any more classes like this one. So, what I still feel I want to talk about is the amazing marketing that is related to the brand. And when speaking of a “brand” in this context, there are actually two related ones: The company which Miki Agrawal founded and herself. The latter seems to be a brand in continuous making. The first one is the foundation of the latter.

The students yesterday had researched about the first major campaign THINX had run in the subways in the U.S. This campaign ran into trouble because it was considered inappropriate. You have to know that THINX is extremely difficult to market because the company is selling a taboo product — underwear for women who have their period. But the coolest thing we found out during the class was actually a TV commercial they did with a huge marketing agency some years after the previous one. We watched it together and it was superb. It was smart, it was funny, it was critical — it was everything that a great TV add can be.

What I started realizing then was that I never really paid attention to screenwriting and movies. Yes, I very much enjoy watching movies once in a while but I am so far from really being into movies. Neither did I ever think much about screenwriters. Yes, I do love good movies with great dialogues but the entire story behind it; the market, the business, the major players — I never paid attention to all this, even though I have been influenced by actors very much. My life indeed equals the one of an actor, and so does my soul. I just have not really displayed it to the outside.

Now, when I saw the TV ad yesterday, I immediately noticed that I had discovered a new stage of my artistic soul searching process. After I let go of some things — some very crucial things — I immediately noticed how new and great things entered my life. This is nothing surprising, obviously. Still, it is awesome to experience it. I did not have to do much about it, I just had to let it come and remove all the obstacles. And now, I feel I have really thrown all the inner barriers over board. I mean this inner barrier and stereotype that marketing is yucky! No, it is not. And yes, it is. As with anything, it depends on your perspective. The point is: I see much value in marketing now. Not only because consumers (B2B and B2C) need to be educated better, I also see more clearly because I am really understanding now what marketing actually is if it is done well:

It is an ART.

My Learnings

“I’ll tell a story in any format you want.” This tiny sentence is so crucial. Why? Because I had rejected so many different formats before because they were not books and I am obsessed with books. But really, what I did not notice was this: Even though you might end up seeing a TV ad in the end or even the cover of some product: It all starts with a book of some kind, at least with writing. If you love stories and therefore think in stories, the story always finds its way to paper somehow in order to be shared with other creative souls. There is hardly any way around it. Even in the YouTube and over-visualized age we live in — everything still starts with words on paper.

How could I not see this for so long?

Again, I gave the answer myself: I did not allow myself to see it. Now that the obstacles are out of the way, the sky is clear to really see the beauty of all the creative tasks that lie ahead. Right now, this still sounds pretty weird to me. A year ago, I never even thought I would mostly work on creative projects with creative clients. Now that I do, the next steps are not far away. I will get there somehow but only if I do not want to get there. That is the trick. I am enjoying the ride and if that continues, the rest will follow.

There is only one thing that keeps haunting story lovers, I guess. I wrote about it before: The fear that you lose the storytelling ability; this particular look at the world which is the basis of the words forming in your head and then flowing on paper. As with anything, fear is just a thought, however. You can decide to not get into it. And I have decided to not do so. Instead, I am just about to break all the chains and get deeper into all the creative adventures ahead of me. Maybe I will write a screenplay some day, maybe not. Maybe I will get to write a TV ad first, maybe not. It does not matter.

There will always be stories to be written and read.

And they move people

That moves me.

Reflection Questions

1) If you were asked to write a screenplay — what would be your dream project?

2) What is the best TV ad you ever watched?

3) Do you think that great storytellers can write stories for any format? Why not?

Founder & CEO of Companypoets