Ad scripts & Artists: the connection (+ disconnect) between content creation and real Art

Dia Beacon art

Over the past few months I’ve been approached by three different entities asking if I’d submit scripts for three different 30-second ad spot projects. One project was for Visit Bend, another for a cultural tourism fund, and the last for TEDx Bend (OK, the latter two were pitched more along the lines of: poems, we want your poetry for this script work).  

In response, I was clear about never actually having written an ad spot script before, and then promptly accepted the opportunities and got to work. While I didn’t and still don’t consider these scripts “poetry” per se, at least not in terms of craft or content or difficulty, I did, as with most things in life, use my skills as a poet to conceptualize and create them. I mean, like CA says, and like what I’ll always circle back to: artists are useful. For these projects, my content creation process yielded stanzaic results and, among other things, included use of the following:   

  • Rhyme, meter, and syncopation
  • Strong imagery and juxtaposition
  • Lineated verse    

This kind of work, producing creative content through my own poetic conduit, is something I like doing, a lot. Maybe even love? And I know when I write this, that I’m in turn also speaking for the other half of this content creation company: Irene. In fact, she’s probably reading this right now and nodding. Because that’s what we do: write poems and essays and short stories and content that we can feel in our bones. For us, even if we tried, there just isn’t another way. Yes, we each freelance on the side in order to keep things afloat, and that isn’t always something we feel in our bones, but rather something more utilitarian. But still, when it’s work that has our name on it andthat's a platform for saying something of worth, you better fucking believe we’re going to write from our marrow.

While I do not consider ad scripts “art”—in the same way that Kobayashi Issa didn’t either—I do consider them a win for the usefulness of writers and poets and artists in a labor-driven society. At our creative content agency in Bend, Oregon, we are artists and we are also creative copywriters and while the work done on either side of the tie is audibly, intentionally, and distinctly different, there is a definitive space where those two worlds crosshatch. Where they feed one another through a tiny or spewing underground spring. And that, amigitos, is a beautiful thing.