By Christine Smith
Writing in danish and in english
As a danish art director, writing in english can be quite tough.
Grammar is not the same.
I don’t know as much about english culture and phrases as people who have lived here their whole lives.
As you can see, I’m a bit (actually a lot) behind. However, last week’s masterclass with Caitlin Breeze inspired me to improve my writing even though I’m a foreigner.
Caitlin is.. how should I say it.. FU**ING AWESOME. An idol. Nothing less. She’s a copywriter at Saatchi & Saatchi AND the youngest ever Black pencil judge at D&AD AND a really really great presenter, storyteller and likeable person. What a woman…
Her masterclass “writing in the past” was focused on how great people in history have influenced the way we write today and what they’ve done differently to everyone else that made people love their writing. This included how Lord Byron got famous for his tone of voice, how Arthur Miller’s amazing love letters to Marilyn Monroe was something even I fell in love with because of his everyday-observation-details, to how The declarations of Independence made people fight. All because of how it was written.
As a communicator in advertising, we should write from one person to another. As Vikki would say “Human to human, not B2B or B2C”.
A good tip I am trying to practice is to write in different tones of voice.
For example; read some love letters from the past, find a brand that could represent this tone of voice (look at previous communication plus the brand personality) and write something from this brand to the consumer.
Picture the brand as a person and the consumer as their lover. How would someone win your heart?
If I find it hard to picture the brand as a person, I write a persona. Maybe convert the brand to someone you know or feel as though you know and write it as they would do. Put on their glasses.
Overall, one piece of advice from Caitlin kept crossing my visual mind: “Pick out words that touch you.” – This is where I needed to stalk the dictionary.
As I sat there, blown away by the deeper meaning of writing, I questioned what writing I as a Dane grew up with, that still touches me today. One specific story is something I can relate to even today. It’s written by one of the greatest danish writers, H.C Andersen – you probably know him; He wrote “The little mermaid” and other famous fairytales Disney have visualized afterwards.
The one I’ve always felt connected to is “The ugly duckling” which is a story about a duckling no one likes because it’s ugly until it grows up and becomes the most beautiful swan in the pond.
I kinda felt the same in a weird way before SCA. I knew I was good at being creative but no one really believed in me before I got into this school. Schools and creative directors have rejected me, so I’ve done everything I could to get to my goal in my own way. Whatever it takes. I just want to prove them all wrong and show how I can be the beautiful swan (or maybe penguin). And I have no doubt I am in the right place to do this now.
What I take from H.C Andersen’s writing is his way of telling a story that is not too obvious but contains content people can relate to. Simple.
So now it’s time to take on stories a little more advanced than fairytales, I’ve set myself the challenge to read some Hemingway.