I never enjoy any pep talk, yet this one really wins my admiration. I could have just shared it on Facebook with this one-liner intro, but I have another motivation.
Jim Carey’s speech is an effective self-confidence booster if you do need one. In a different way, I find it inspiring for people who want to improve their writing skill, and Chinese copywriting in particular. But first, watch the video before you read further.
Now, see if you notice these.
His words are few.
His words are simple. (I used to tell writers to trim the fat and keep it skin tight.)
His words are carefully chosen, but they all come out naturally.
His sentences are short. No complicated structure.
He completes one thought with one sentence, or uses one to set the mood for the next.
His delivery is well-paced. There is a rhythm. (Think TV scripts.)
He sets the overall mood and tone right from the first sentence.
He sets the stage with a sharply focused overview and never wanders away from it.
He unfolds his stream of thoughts one after another without rushing them, nor repeating himself.
He finishes on a high note that concludes his speech spontaneously.
Now, step back. Can you see the blueprint of his speech? Organized and orchestrated. As skin tight as body glove. Perfect fit.
That is how we write effectively for the text of an advertisement, or a strategy rationale (if creative people still write them). Hundreds of exciting new fonts are created every month. But the basics to effective writing never change. Boring? Of course not. Fonts can excite the eyes but do not inspire the hearts. Your words can. The thoughts you convey can.
So where does craft come in? It will at some point. Never put craft first and do not fall into the trap of wordsmith. When you master the basics instinctively, your brain will choose the best word by default. What did we just learned from Jim Carey’s speech? “His words are carefully chosen, but they all come out naturally.”
The point is not whether copywriting can be taught or not, but to know where to peruse (even in areas totally remote from advertising). And to know how to learn. Jim Carey’s speech is in English and so is this short article. I hope they both can benefit your Chinese writing.
After all, advertising speaks only one language. Communication.
Disclaimer: 我沒有 Chinese copywriter 師傅。我的中文廣告寫作，全是從鬼佬英文學來的。