Hello, I am Theo. Yakk’s resident weirdo and copywriter.
I want to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart … Shit writing.
I’ve done plenty of it.
But it’s nice to know, if I ever get really, really “good,” the rewards are ridiculoussss.
$8 million dollars.
That’s how much the guy who wrote the X-Men scripts “Days of Future Past” and “Apocalypse” was paid.
Do you think that pay-day is excessive?
$1.29 billion USD.
That’s what the films grossed.
Now, you may love that sexy Huge Jack Man …
Or think those X-Men stories are A-grade rubbish …
But one thing is hard to deny:
Stories are big business.
Arguably, that’s all a brand is.
A story someone buys.
A story someone buys because it does something for the story called “my life.”
A story someone buys using another story called “money.”
The world’s biggest corporations are story empires.
Disney (which owns Star Wars) is a $300-billion-dollar story empire.
Do you think their studio executives have a passing interest in good writing?
(Well, one would hope.)
The writer is, after all, the one telling the story that makes them all that cash-money-bling-bling.
Studios can leverage A-list stars and special effects, but a weak story can undermine everything.
It’s the foundation of the creative enterprise.
If your business is a movie, who’s writing the plot?
Is the narrative interesting and meaningful?
Would you buy it – knowing nothing about you?
If you pitched your business to Disney, what would they say?
“We love it – but where’s the rest?”
“What’s original about that?”
“Shut up and take my money!”
“How did you get in here?”
What is good writing (or story development) worth to your business?
If you added up every failed sales pitch and missed lead, what are you looking at?
Imagine being 10% more effective at communicating your ideas.
Couldn’t that be worth millions?
Here’s what I’m getting at:
Words can kill.
They can kill your email pitches.
They can kill your sales presentations.
They can kill your marketing campaigns.
They can kill billion-dollar franchises.
Anything made from thoughts and ideas.
Everything that’s a business.
Words can kill.
Some parents tell their children not to become writers.
“Study something valuable.”
In an age of story empires, what area of study could be more valuable in today’s market than learning persuasive and effective story craft?
I make my living as a professional “Copywriter” or “Dreamsmith” (like a Wordsmith, but weirder).
If someone were to ask me:
Hey, what good is writing?
I would stop, raise my eyebrow, twist my neck around like the demon child from The Exorcist, and say:
MY DEAREST DREAMER,
I write to dreamshape.
The world, in words.
What can these mind shapes do?
In a word … anything.
Open the sea.
Swallow you whole.
Erect a home.
Pay the bills.
Sell a show.
Curl a lip.
Furrow a brow.
Wake a sleeper.
Mute a movement.
CV your skills.
Box you forever in someone’s mind.
Make you an “Olympian.”
Or a “Failure.”
Impose “Ferrari” over a red rectangle with gears.
Fight them on the beaches.
Take one giant leap for mankind.
Open your heart.
Or lacerate it.
Till death do you part.
Tell the story of a time long ago.
Monetise your hobby.
Found a nation on a piece of parchment.
Criminalise your speech.
Legalise your rights.
Enslave a race.
Unite the workers of the world.
Put the “Great” in Alexander.
Grow a thought seed into an empire called “Disney” or “Rome.”
Coin something billions call the “21st Century.”
Revise a history.
With a single keystroke, anything could happen.
Create a dispute between you and me.
Annihilate a distinction between one and all.
Collapse a self, or a planet, by the power of a single idea.
What you say isn’t cheap.
It can melt the borders of our world, and kill everything in its path.
Ours is the age of the Storytellers.
When writers ruled our minds.
And the dreamsmiths changed them.
I’m glad to learn what I can from the guild.
* * *
“There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.”
— Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones
* * *
(This episode was written by our resident copywriter and movie lover, Theo Winter.)
Broden and the Yakk team