Nov 2018 20

This is well-trodden territory this week. But I’ll stupidly wander into the pool anyhow.

The recent incidents at St. Mike’s College do not surprise me. Nor should they surprise anyone who attended any high school over the last decades or longer in Canada.

Although I’m not a fan of ‘All-Boys’ schools, or Catholic ones, this situation is not unique to them. I can’t speak for the girls locker room, but I know the middle-school and high-school boys change room when I was growing up was not for the meek. I wasn’t physically bullied, and I consider myself lucky for that one. But I couldn’t play hockey or soccer well, although I surprisingly had a decent basketball hook shot if I got a clear look from centre. But I was a reader, writer, was in the band, and smaller. I didn’t have ‘girlfriends’, I had ‘girl friends’. I joined the wrestling team as a smoke screen and had 1 match, then won every single other one by default cause no one was in my weight category (strangely, heavier and lighter). Anyhow, I saw other kids getting the gears from the bigger guys, knew it was a matter of time, and I would conveniently ‘forget’ my phys ed shorts or just skip gym class altogether sometimes. Luck? More like smart enough to just cross the street, avoidance. But who did that help? No one but me. That just gives power.

There is a culture of violence, dominance, competitiveness, and cruelty that is somehow passed down and purveys the ‘sports’ of men. It’s not just sports. It’s how we are teaching them to view the world. And what we teach them that society values in them.

This is about males, but imagine what women go through every day as they’re aware of this? Men, we even eat our own.

Changing this doesn’t start in the locker room, or school, or the media we’re consuming. Although those have to change. It starts at home, and with all of us in our daily interactions with young men (and women) and building a society of empathetic, sensitive, and respectful people. That’s true strength in a man, and woman, and fucking adult for goddsake.

This shit is gonna be hard, everyone. This is a system that has its tentacled roots firmly entrenched and growing for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. We’re just seeing the tree above ground.

You can grab an axe, but we may have to all get down into the dirt.

 

 

 

Nov 2018 20

My work with Mastermind Toys continues.

‘A Week of Fridays (Monday Offer)’ :30

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First off, I’ll say that I’m lucky to continue doing projects with this client. They’re a lot of fun to write for, and I believe in the power of play for kids. We worked together on a whole holiday radio campaign, but since they’ll be rolled out one at a time between now and 2019, I’ll only share the first one for Black Friday that already ran yesterday.

Just a fun retail spot. Don’t think too hard about it. We’re selling toys, people.

In addition to having a lot of fun, I like that I get to be a Copywriter and eventually the Audio Director on the day of recording. It’s a real challenge to join together skills I’ve learned on two sides of this industry – and also nerve-wracking to know I have no one to blame if the writing or directing sucks. Thankfully, I’m a control freak.

Okay, so some behind-the-scenes production notes for any budding Copywriters and/or Audio Directors (both possibly dying industries?)…

When I wrote this one, I was nervous about attempting it. I almost talked the clients out of it myself in favour of something a bit simpler. Kids are unpredictable in the studio. You never know how far they can push it as actors. And if they’re having a bad day (or I say something dumb to send the energy off in a bad direction), then you’re in trouble to try to get a performance, or even rework the script.

To complicate matters more I decided to recommend casting two kids that didn’t even audition. Flying without a net, for sure. But… these two kids were fantastic. It turns out they really were brother and sister (a complete coincidence), and we did a lot of fun shouting and screaming in the studio to get us to a place where I thought they sounded convincing. The girl was 5 years old. Her first radio spot, and I’m surprised I didn’t freak her off acting for life with my enthusiasm. I hollered first and acted like a complete goof just to show them it was totally cool and no one was going to give them shit for it. It’s our job. Yell your heads off. We’re even getting paid to do it.

Great cast. Fun day. And thanks to Mastermind Toys for allowing me to showcase our work – which they retain the rights to, of course. : )

Copywriter: Andrew Bradley
Audio Production: TA2 Sound & Music (Dave Clarke)
Audio Director: Andrew Bradley
Client: Mastermind Toys
Music: TA2 Sound & Music (original)
Exec Producer: Dana Gadsden

Produced November 2018

SCRIPT FOR REFERENCE:

Nov 2018 17

Paul

Posted In Blog,The world

Goodbye to a friend I had for almost seven years, whom I only knew as ‘Paul’

“Got any money?”

“Hmmm. Let me see.”

In seven years of living in Parkdale, I’ve learned that you never know what you’re going to encounter on the morning sidewalks around Queen and Roncesvalles during a dogwalk. The neighbourhood can change overnight like it got a fresh tattoo while you were asleep. Smashed liquor bottles, evidence of nightlife that went awry. Clothing – I’ve seen it all. Divorced high-heeled shoes, jackets, and underwear. Enough to complete a month of original outfits. New graffiti. And always, people with nowhere to go, sleeping in doorways or in the park near the bridge that leads over the Gardiner down to the beach.

And sometimes, him.

He’d stand there, with his hand out in anticipation, and anxiously shifting his weight from foot to foot. I’d fish around in my pockets. There I’d find dog poo bags, dog treats, lint, and sometimes a coin or a bill that I’d flip to him.

If I did, his eyes would light up, and a smile that would rival any kid’s on Christmas morning would form on his weathered face.

“Gee, thanks! Bye Henry.”

He always remembered my dog’s name. But mine, not always. Which was fine, cause I admit I couldn’t always remember his. And off he’d go to his day, and me to mine. Very different lives, but calling Parkdale our home bringing us together.

You won’t find his obituary. I’ve looked.

But Paul died some time in the last couple of weeks. The news was relayed to my partner, Christine, by his two friends Brian and Andrew, who were frequently with him on the streets of Parkdale. The three of them, an unlikely circle of friends and ragtag posse that seemed to help each other out. All in their late 40s or 50s. Andrew, sometimes walking his bike. Brian, with his beard and hat (sometimes you’ll see him at the foot of Jameson, asking for change while cars are stopped on their way to the Gardiner). And Paul. The one who always seemed like he was happily on something like good dope or cough syrup.

I first met them down at a deserted Sunnyside Beach on an early morning dogwalk. The three of them were sitting at a picnic table, sharing a joint, and they started to cheer as Henry (in his prime) would track down tennis ball after tennis ball as I chucked them further and further down the large field by the boardwalk, proudly letting Henry showoff. The three of them clapped and hollered, and Henry ate it up. For those 15 minutes, he was a Superdog.

Maybe I’m a reverse-snob, but early on in living in Parkdale I learned that I didn’t care much for the more affluent people who lived further up Roncesvalles. I tried out the fancy dog park on Sorauren only once and left, already tired of the pure-breds and talk of smoked salmon, gentrification, and top-of-the-line strollers. Lower Parkdale, that was my jam and still is. The people are more real.

And that’s why I went over to talk to the three of them for the first time.

Over the years, that was pretty much the way it went. Occasionally I’d hear some shouting ‘Henry! Henry!’ and I’d see the three of them together, waving to Henry and I’d go over to see them. They’d maul Henry – he loved them – we’d talk a bit about the weather and the neighbourhood, and Paul would ask for some money. I felt like it was a lucky morning when I’d run into them, a sign I’d have a good day. I’d leave feeling good about the world, and my dumb luck to somehow be holding my own shit together while these guys were facing real challenges on the street.

But then sometimes weeks would go by where I wouldn’t see any of them. One Christmas, Christine and I had their gifts – some McDonald’s or Tim Horton’s gift cards – well into February or March before they’d surface like a strange Parkdale version of Where’s Waldo, the corners of the gift envelopes now rounded from being stuffed into our jackets morning after morning in anticipation of running into them.

So it wasn’t strange to have not seen Paul for awhile.

“Natural causes in his sleep”, Christine was told by Brian and Andrew.

“We’re doing okay,” was all they really divulged about their friend, gone.

There’s a lot of talk about gentrification of Parkdale. And how people on the fringes are being pushed even further out and have nowhere to go. I attended an an all-candidates City Councillor debate for the recent municipal election and one woman (from further up Roncesvalles) stood up and in the heart of Parkdale bemoaned that an overnight shelter was being built close to her home at Dundas West and Bloor. She sat down to smattered boos and lots of shade, as hopefully she realized she was in the wrong neighbourhood and place to be calling for an end to human compassion and basic rights to be moved somewhere far from her children, whom she deemed in danger from the dreaded transients.

The last time I saw Paul, I’m proud to say I snuck up on him. It was around 5pm on a weekday and he was standing outside the Burrito Boyz and asking people waiting for the 501 streetcar for change. I had a $5 bill in my pocket so I walked up behind him, tapped him on the shoulder and palmed it to him, secretly, like a drug deal going down. He beamed. ‘Thanks, Andrew!’ and off I walked without looking back and just waved. It’s embarrassing to reveal how little I need to do to feel proud of myself that I’m making a difference. But these are the little games my conscience plays, as I feel my heart hardening as I get older, and sometimes I feel like the world is on an irreversible crash course of selfishness, and well, what can I do?

I haven’t seen the two remaining ‘Three Wisemen’ as I called them, yet. I’m not sure what I’ll say. More than any business that has closed, or neighbour that has left, I’ll miss Paul.

In many ways, he represented Parkdale to me.

A bit rough-looking at first glance. Maybe you’d be reluctant to make eye contact or you’d grip your purse a bit tighter. But friendly, sweet, in need of a good scrub, and just happy to be aknowledged. There was a lot in his heart to give, a no-doubt fascinating backstory, and hopefully someone out there cared for him and showed it more ways than just reaching for a coin at the bottom of his pocket on the morning streets.

 

 

 

Nov 2018 15

 

I know what I do. I sell stuff to people through advertising. And sometimes I try to pull on their heartstrings to do it. When I watch ads, I know too much. I’m very aware of the ways advertisers try to affect me. But every year, despite this, the John Lewis Christmas ad gets to me. All my cynicism of being in advertising, and being a human on this planet at this time, at the age I am, just melts away.

Am I a huge Elton John fan? Not really. Major respect though. But recently one night in downtown Toronto, I was caught in a river of people as they streamed up Bay Street after leaving his concert at the Scotiabank Centre. And the energy they gave off into the early autumn night and how I was swept away into it, made me forever appreciative.

 

 

Creative Agency:adam&eveDDB

Art Director:Ant Nelson

Chief Creative Officer:Richard Brim

Nov 2018 14

Hangry

Posted In Blog,The world

No time for a real, insightful post today as I’m bogged down with some advertising work stuff. So… drivel, until further notice.

10:30 am – Had a banana for breakfast, but just full of that hungry anger. No wonder monkeys fling poo all the time. They’re getting by on just bananas and eating lice out of each other’s fur.

Of course, it’s possible they’ve just got a poo fetish. But I suspect it’s hunger.