The Process of Creative Writing: Enter Mike ‘Stretch’ Roberts
Writing? What? I love this fx….copy? hmm…this bed has a Killer bass drum…Storytelling….Actualities….Fun….Arghh..don’t….I just want to play around with my new toys in the studio. If your answers are those in bold! YOU have to read this. Stretch, Mike, whatever..god damn copy….is one of the best copy writers in our industry, he worked with legends like Scott Shannon and is ridiculously funny and still on top when the message should be delivered.
To me copy writing is a skill set, which is often overlooked and more important than ever. WHY ? This would be an extra post, but in SHORT: WE ARE LIVING IN A CONTENT OVERFLOW TIME, WHICH GETS MORE AN INSANE EVERY DAY, WE GET WHAT WE WANT, WHEN WE WANT + EVERYBODY TRIES TO SELL US SH** WHEREVER WE ARE!
So connecting with your audience is KEY and this is where you need to create great copy for. Be funny, entertaining, write great COPY AND CONNECT!!!! Learn how to avoid the writers block and much more. Enter MIKE!
Every week I write liners for the Rock and Classic Rock Libraries here at Benztown. I first started writing radio bits, liners, etc. a long time ago while working for Scott Shannon and have never stopped. Over the years these are some of the things that stuck with me and helped me in the Creative Process.
Write Like People Talk–
This was one I learned from Shannon, He would tell us, “write like People Talk! Don’t write all smart!” Lucky for me I was never too smart to begin with. I was however fresh from college and initially wrote everything as if I was writing a piece for the New York Times and not something that was fun, simple, and what the average listener would say to his friends when they were out or at work screwing around. ( One drawback to writing this way is that EVERYTHING I learned in school like grammar and spelling are now long gone)
BREVITY IS KING–
This Rule is especially important when writing bits. Bits are dangerous and if they are not HYSTERICAL they need to be even shorter. If you have ever tracked a person with a PPM device you see how ADD they are and how quick they punch out. So everything I write, I read it back to myself and then try and see how many words I can take out and get to the punch line faster. I also know that I am not nearly as funny as I think I am. Something my wife reminds of regularly. Knowing this allows me to get to the joke and get out! BOOM! Back to the Music!
The Smart Phone is the greatest tool EVER!–
I used to carry a small micro cassette recorder around with me at all times. Now I just tell it to that little tramp Siri and she remembers it for me! Trust me if I don’t record it or send it to myself via text message I WILL FORGET IT!
I always look a few weeks ahead for upcoming Holidays, Events etc. Mothers Day, Fathers day are always easy enough and I tweak them with Current events, like Mothers Day and fathers day Liners with a Bruce Jenner Twist for this year. However events like the Mayweather Pacquiao fight made it impossible to write in advance. I am blessed that the guys at Benztown can turn stuff around fast, because I knew everybody in the world would be talking about that for a few days solid and that gave me time to write some stuff, get it in and get it turned around for the affiliates. I also go over Pop Culture and Lifestyle stuff that relates to Dudes! The best part about this job is being in the demo and writing about things I find funny or like myself. Creative writing was harder when I was doing Mornings on a Hot AC.
On a good week, I will make enough notes to myself to have everything I need by the time my deadline rolls around. However I often find myself staring at a computer screen needing one or two more things before I can send it out. This also occurs when I am doing show prep, looking for topics etc. This is when I do my rewrites on stuff I have already done, fly my remote control helicopter around the man cave and bounce jokes off my dog Sarge! If this does not work I go outside and smoke a cigar. If I still draw a blank, I will go to my crutch topics- Beer, Boobs, Weed, Midgets, Porn and various others. I seem to always be able to find something when I go with one of these.
Swing for the Fence–
When I was hosting and producing Morning Shows I ran things through Multiple filters! For Instance at Star 98 in Los Angeles, I was the Executive Producer and the Co Host. This meant that I was the first to get yelled at, written up, and or fired when something to edgy got on the air. However writing for a service I use way less filters. I figure by the time it gets to somebody that can get in trouble for playing some sick joke I wrote, he or she will run it through their own filters before they play it. This really helps with the creative process and I recommend swinging for the fence even if you can’t use the stuff you wrote. The reason is, once it’s out of your head, it often opens the flood gates of creativity. Sometimes I will write a page or two of stuff that is completely inappropriate and I won’t even send it in. I have found that this gets the creative juices flowing and I just keep writing and pretty soon I have enough stuff I can use and I am good.
I hope this gives some insight in to the process that goes in to what I do here at Benztown. Now I got to go drink some beer and watch Midget Porn.