Steve Hudson and Victoria Fallon were one of the best teams I ever learnt from at Abbott Mead Vickers.
When I could find them.
They were only ever in the building for briefs and reviews as AMV didn’t mind where you worked.
So Steve and Vic worked in the real world.
Not the agency’s ivory tower.
Cafes and buses mostly.
Picking up insights and dialogue as they sponged away, before crafting amazing campaigns: One2One / Levis / Audi.
By keeping in touch with reality they could write ads that resonated with real people. Not just ad-land.
One day I finally managed to show Steve one of my scripts.
He read it in the lift as he was leaving the office at 9.45am to go to work.
He smiled to himself as he digested the idea before frowning and saying it was too long.
He then showed me one of his scripts for BT.
It was four lines long.
I was shocked by its brutal simplicity.
Victoria is a great writer.
Why so few words?
Steve told me they always stripped their scripts right back.
Not only did this make their scripts easier for clients to ‘get’ and ‘buy’.
But more importantly when the directors got on board, there was room to add their creativity.
So for a 30 second ad they’d write a 20.
Then a director like Steve Reeves could add some touches. The cast could improvise and add a gag. And the editor could cut in a dramatic pause for comedy timing.
All this made the work better at every stage of the creative process and resulted in what appeared to be effortlessly great work. BT Rollercoaster.
I immediately put this into practice.
And one day managed to get Mike Leigh to shoot my BT script.
I often think he wouldn’t have done it if it didn’t have room for him to add his genius.
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