By Trent Rentsch
Here’s a rarity for you… my wife and I never fight. I know, just the fact that she’s married to ME makes that sound like something out of a fairytale, but it’s true. I’ve had friends question it, “Come on, you’re a guy, you probably just don’t notice it!” or, “Sure, you got that bruise from tripping on the cat! Uh huh.” They can say what they want, but the fact is, we just do… NOT… fight. Oh, and I am clumsy...
Not that we don’t disagree on some things (“Ah HA!” friends scream, “A disagreement… must be some knock-down, drag out fights over THAT!”), but nothing worth fighting over (“Well… why not?”). Honestly, just little things… she hates mushrooms, I hate Brussels sprouts. She is obsessed with true crime stories, I’d rather read blood and guts fantasy. She’s a Gleek, I’m a Trekkie… there are a couple more, but you get the idea. We’re good with our differences and revel in common interests… and, we’re really, truly in love (“Blech! I just threw up a little in my mouth!”).
I suppose both coming from a Radio Creative background, surviving in different trenches in the same war for years (a war she continues to fight daily) gave us some serious common ground to base a great relationship on, but even there, we have our differences. “Can you BELIEVE it?” she said, “They expected me to put a SIREN at the beginning of a spot today! PEOPLE LISTEN IN CARS! It could be distracting! WHERE’S THE CREATIVE RESPONSIBILTY?!”
“Yeah! Uhm… what’s wrong with some, ah, clients?” I asked. I left out the part about the siren I used on an imaging piece earlier that day. She has a point… it is Creatively Irresponsible. In the particular piece I was producing, it was also more than a little funny. So, yes, I hang my head in shame at this moment, while giggling like a 10 year old at a fart in church…
It’s true, in the heat of the Creative moment, I sometimes have let bad judgment get the better of me. For instance…
“Honestly, it was the worst copy writing EVER!” she said.
“Really? One of those?” I replied.
“Yep! They actually had one of the characters saying things like, ‘And did you know that you can get the complete system for half off… but only for a limited time!’ Why not just have an announcer? Horrible Creative!”
“Wow, yes, that, ah, is, uhm, the most horrible thing I’ve done, er, heard in a while,” I stammered… knowing full well that I had written something similar not a week before. Now, to be fair, mine was written as a send up of all the spots that do that… the words really went to an absurd extreme, and the listener would certainly realize that it was a joke… right?
It is interesting that we all have standards, and common, if unwritten, “rules” for Creative, yet we all interpret them differently. My wife is a very smart person, who does everything she can to be the advocate of great, effective, responsible Creative on the stations she works for. I also do my best to make it good AND right, but unlike my bride, I’ve been known to fall off the wagon.
I won’t disagree that we’re all part of society, and our Creative should reflect social responsibility, or at the very least be grammatically correct. Then again, maybe it’s because I’m a guy, but sometimes I can’t help breaking the rules.
Yes, I admit it… I can be a heartless, irresponsible Creative jerk for the sake of a joke. I’ve committed nearly every politically incorrect gag in spots and promos over the years, my characters have butchered the English language (oh, AND had names), and have used nearly every screaming sound effect at the opening of a piece to grab attention (and yes, that includes screaming). I’ve ignored the rules of responsible Creating over and over, simply to grab attention… and odds are, I’ll do it again.
Does this mean that I disagree with the way my wife conducts her Creative business? (“YES! FIGHT! FIGHT!”) Nope (“Awwww!”). What it means is that she keeps a tidy house… her station has always been family friendly, and she works hard to keep it that way. I admire that, and I’ve learned a lot about Creative responsibility from her over the years. Still, she has her way, and I have mine, and sometimes I have to make a mess of things… get a little crazy and break the rules to push my Creative further than she (or her management) would allow. I only do it for the clients who appreciate such things, and play nice for the others, and it all seems to balance out.
I’ve learned that a good business relationship is like a good marriage… if both parties understand each other and provide what’s really important, it’s all good.