Radio Hed: Write a Really Bad Commercial

Radio-Hed-Logo-2By Jeffrey Hedquist

Writer’s block often occurs because the voice of our inner critic is so loud in our heads. You may not be able to ignore that critic, so just tell him or her (and yourself), “I’m going to write a really bad commercial.” This is one way of removing the pressure to create a work of art (as well as commerce).

As you begin to write your bad commercial, don’t go for clichés, for a formulaic spot. Go for adventure; go for broke. Be willing to try things that you’ve never tried, or even heard anyone else try. Don’t be afraid to write awkward, boring dialogue, with stilted expressions, or wild untamed stuff. Remember, you’re going for really bad here. Focus on drama, conflict, and interesting situations. See what happens. You can refine it later.

If you’ve done your homework, developed back-stories for your character(s), and built in some confrontation, the story will write itself.

As you write, don’t clean it up or try to make it perfect along the way, just let the story flow. See what happens. Discover it as you write. Just tell your story.

You’ll end up with much more than you need. When you see where the story has gone, you may want to go back and redo the beginning, fix the end, punch up the drama, add to the conflict and exaggerate the reactions.

Now go back and edit. Simplify. Clarify. You may find that you’ve created a campaign of several spots.

While you want each commercial to have the structure of a play, for the most part they will be powerful scenes in that play.

Notice how much easier it is to write without that critic jabbering in your ear.

When you’re done writing your terrible commercial, you may have broken through blocks to creating a great one. Tell that to your inner critic.

© 2003 Hedquist Productions, Inc.

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