Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for August: (8/3) Dianne Freeman (8/10) Daryl Wood Gerber (8/17) E. B. Davis's Review of Granite Oath, James M. Jackson's new novel (8/24) Rose Kerr (8/31) V. M. Burns.

Friday, August 30, 2013

60 Second Adventure Movies

60 Second Adventure Movies

I don’t drink alcohol.  It does not mix well with my cancer medications. Except for one year in college I hardly ever drank to the point on inebriation.  Drinking only made me sleepy and sloppy.
On the other hand I do enjoy good writing, and Jameson Whiskey has produced a series of television ads labeled John Jameson legends. In 60 seconds or less the watcher experiences an entire humorous and yet thrilling adventure. 

The first one I remember started when a barrel of Jameson’s Whiskey washed overboard off a ship in a storm.  The fearless hero kissed his wife and leapt over board to rescue it.  A giant octopus intervened but John Jameson won in the end.

A second commercial described how the Hawk of Ackle first carried off the miller’s daughter and then stole a barrel of Jameson’s whiskey.  The hero cleverly tricked the hawk and returned with the whiskey and the woman along with the defeated raptor.

A third commercial showed a runaway train with screaming passengers and, critically, a rail car loaded with, you guessed it, barrels of Jameson’s Whiskey.  Jameson finished his breakfast before jumping onto the engine from his horse. He tossed the engineer off the train and onto his horse.  Then he uncoupled the cars with whiskey and screaming passengers.  His actions unexpectedly saved Ireland from an unseen threat. 

I’ve tried to keep all spoilers from my description so if you haven’t seen the commercials, there will still be surprises in each one. 

The ads present short lessons in writing.  Start when the action is hot.  When you hero or heroine gets into trouble heap more trouble upon his or her head.  Humor and surprise increase your audience’s enjoyment.  Create a satisfying ending. Then stop.

What commercials have you seen that have lessons in writing?


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Great idea for those teaching creative writing--each student could be assigned to describe a commercial and create their own story based on it.

Jim Jackson said...

One thing commercials have going for them is the visual aspect of storytelling, but even so, your point is well taken.: There is much we can learn from commercials about telling stories.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I don't drink often or much. Usually wine if anything. It makes me sleepy, too, so that's why I prefer coffee when I'm out with friends.

I wish there were some way I could see those funny commercials without having to spend time in front of the TV. PBS that has the few shows I do watch doesn't have commercials, and I'm unwilling to give up an evening of reading to watch TV. It's all about choices, I guess.

Kara Cerise said...

Welcome back, Warren!

I think writing commercials is a great way to learn how to write flash fiction or very short stories. My friend, who has worked in advertising all her life, would like to write a novel but says that she can only tell a story in 30 or 60 seconds—no longer.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Good point, Warren. Maybe considering commercials could help with writing pitches, too.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Welcome back, Warren!

I enjoyed your synopses of the Jameson commercials, which do seem clever. Alas, I gave up TV years ago to find time to write and only catch favorite shows when they come out on DVD. I think this could be an excellent exercise, however.

Sarah Henning said...

I'm horrible about watching TV and pretty much only watch shows off my Apple TV (iTunes, Netflix, HBO Go, etc.), if I do watch it.

So, I barely ever see commercials.

That said, I have been watching the US Open this week and will definitely pay closer attention to the commercials (rather than getting up to do something) after this post!

Leigh Neely said...

Love those ads but never viewed them that way. Great advice.

Sara Hoskinson Frommer said...

Don't have to watch the commercials to take your writing lesson from them: Start when the action is hot. When you hero or heroine gets into trouble heap more trouble upon his or her head. Humor and surprise increase your audience’s enjoyment. Create a satisfying ending. Then stop.

Perfect story!

Patg said...

I'm sure those commercials were entertaining the first 3 times you viewed them, but now, most commercials run 20 times a show on 20 different shows for 20 days in a row. The lesson: Record and edit out.

Marja said...

There are, and have been, some funny ads on TV that I'll never forget. I guess when we write our books, we want the same reaction. Although, a 60 second book would be fun. : ) Great post!
Marja McGraw