The Hip Blog

"When you work with words, words are your work."

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hautepreneur asked: Do you have a copy writer training program? I would love to join. Just found about you from Andrea Lee.

Hi hautepreneur…yes, my wife does coach people in writing copy as well as writing their own books.  You can contact her at lisa@copycoachlisa.com.

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Day of the Leno

Now that Jay Leno is caught in yet another psycho drama at The Tonight Show, I thought I would once again share my most bizarre celebrity encounter with Mr. Chin himself. 

It was June 2005.  Patrick Goldstein wrote an article in the Los Angeles Times Calender section critical of Michael Moore.  Among other things, it stated that Moore claimed that Jay Leno and Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly were feuding with him.  Goldstein seemed to think Moore was lying because O’Reilly and Leno’s producer denied the feud.  I thought that was unfair to Moore – why believe them over him without real evidence on either side? - so I wrote a letter to the editor.  It was printed in the Times on Saturday, 6/26 – below is the letter as it appeared:


Digging deeper on Michael Moore’s ‘9/11’

It seems Patrick Goldstein’s article attacking Michael Moore [“Truth Teller or Story Stretcher?” June 22] is as slippery as Goldstein claims Moore is. To refute Moore’s claims that Jay Leno and Bill O’Reilly have been feuding with him, Goldstein asks … Jay’s producer and Bill! And they … deny it! O’Reilly’s numerous falsehoods have been well documented, and Leno is the guy who basically kicked off our current Republican governor’s campaign.

Sorry, Patrick. You have to dig a little deeper than that. If Moore is the publicity-seeking goon his opponents claim he is, do you think he would really duck “The Tonight Show”? And if someone did a joke (with visuals, however ridiculous) about blowing up your house, would that perhaps make you feel … threatened?

Joel Canfield, Redondo Beach

 

Oooh, my first published letter to the editor.  I thought that was about as exciting as it was going to get.  Wrong.

The next day, Sunday, I spent about four hours cleaning the garage.  After washing the silverfish off me, I was relaxing – when the phone rang.  My wife answered it.  She handed me the phone.  I asked who it was.  She said flatly, “Jay Leno.”

Yes, it was, in fact, TV’s Jay Leno.  The first thing I said was that I had actually worked on the same show with him back in 1985 (not that closely – he was a comedy consultant and I produced the show’s promos).  He didn’t really want to talk about that.  He wanted to tell me, in a continuous relentless stream, about how he had had Janeane Garafolo and Al Franken on the show, and he wasn’t a Republican, and he didn’t know how people got this idea about him, and that he wasn’t feuding with Michael Moore, Michael Moore was the one that didn’t want to be on his show, Jay didn’t know why, he didn’t have a problem with Michael Moore (except he didn’t understand why Moore had to “cheat” in his movies, he’s already successful, why does he have to cheat, didn’t make sense), oh, and by the way, he’d had Janeane Garafolo and Al Franken on the show, and actually he’s an independent, as far as he’s concerned the presidential candidates are both rich white guys from Yale, his wife works for lots of liberal causes and, oh, did he mention, Janeane Garafolo and Al Franken had been on the show?

For the first minute or two, I was just plain shocked that Jay Leno, multi-millionaire wildly-successful network TV talk show host, had actually called Information to get MY number about a letter to the editor I had written.  Why?  Did he think I was going to write another letter to correct the first one?  I tried to explain that I wasn’t really insulting him in the letter, I was irritated with the reporter and all I had said was what was true, Leno had seemingly aligned himself with Republican politics with the Arnold Schwarzenegger deal.

Well, Jay explained, Arnold was just a friend, friend since forever, and Jay just thought it would be fun to help him out, and that’s all there was to it, he’d had Al Franken on the show, and, y’know, when he had Hillary on the show, everyone accused him of being a Democrat, oh, and Letterman got in trouble with the Democrats last year over something else and…

I explained my point of view (and that of many others), that when he had associated himself with Arnold’s campaign, he had crossed a line, whether knowingly or not.  It put him into the political debate and that’s why I thought my comments were legitimate.  That was pretty much all there was to it, in my head.

But not in Jay’s.

My initial shock began to turn to annoyance, when I realized Leno was talking to me like a salesguy wanting to sell me a new long distance service instead of actually having a discussion.  Over and over, he kept telling me that I misunderstood him (“Y’know, I have a kind of a reputation…people think of me as a nice guy or whatever…”), that he had no political leanings and…he had had Janeane Garafolo on the show!  I tried to engage him and say it wasn’t personal.  I said the political climate had made things a little crazy.  I even told him that he had bought my wife a drink once in a comedy club pre-Tonight Show, because his routine had made her laugh so hard that she had actually peed her pants .  No response.  He kept trying to make the sale.  And he kept saying, “I don’t know if you watch the show regularly or not, I don’t know if you watch the show…”   

My wife was watching me in disbelief because I had been on the phone with him for ten minutes.  He wouldn’t stop.  He was telling me the same things over and over.  Yeah, Janeane Garafolo.  Even when I tried to joke my way out of it by saying I was going to take down the Nazi poster with his picture on it, THAT didn’t stop him (at least I tried to make a joke – he didn’t make any, which is VERY bad form for a comedian).  And now I was in the uncomfortable position of wondering how to politely get Mr. Leno off the damn phone.

I entered Phase 3 – after Shock and Annoyance, I went to Analysis.  As he kept trying to make me believe he was just an apolitical guy with a nightly audience of millions who just happened to show up at rallies for a Republican candidate for the governor of California, I quietly began to try to psychoanalyze him.  If a heavyweight celebrity like Jay Leno feels he has to call some guy who wrote a letter to the paper just to explain himself, there are some serious issues brewing inside that giant chin. 

That’s when I suddenly realized that during the phone call, I had never answered his repeated musings about whether I watched the show or not (I don’t, we’re Letterman people, and I didn’t want to get into THAT with him).  Also, neither my wife nor myself had acted amazed and excited that he was calling us out of the blue - we had been working in the TV business for a long time and had many random celebrity encounters.  Worst of all, I had not laughed once at any of his almost-jokes (like I said, there weren’t any actual ones).  In other words, I had not given him one shred of validation.  I had tried to be nice, I had tried to calmly explain why I wrote the letter and that was it. 

Now I knew what I had to do.  He was acting like a salesguy and I had to treat him like a salesguy.  And, whatever else, the salesguy…has to make the sale.

So…I finally laughed at something he said.  Yes, just because I decided I needed to laugh at something he said.   

And the scary part is, as soon as I laughed, he quickly said his goodbyes.  “Yeah, I was just making some calls and thought I’d call Joel Canfield in Redondo Beach, so you have a great day.”

I’d say “weird and interesting,” but not quite “great.”  

Postscript to all this:  Lisa wrote her first letter to the editor to the Miami Herald last year - and it got published too!  And she got an angry phone call from the high school principal who got in trouble with the school board because my wife wrote about how none of the kids were getting textbooks anymore.

But at least Jay Leno wasn’t involved…image

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Our 2012 Top Ten!

Our 2012 Top Ten!

We didn’t think we would be writing this, SO convinced were we of the world ending a week or so ago, but turns out we didn’t end up as charred corpses who are bereft of the ability to reminisce.  So, without further ado, let’s look back at our top ten events of 2012!  

#10: Joel joins Pinterest and starts a board consisting entirely of pictures of John Boehner.   No one, including him, understands why.

#9: We get our mirror fixed after two years, much to Lisa’s delight.  We can finally continue with our dreamquest.

#8:  Lisa briefly goes into a coma after waiting in line for four hours to audition for The Amazing Race.  Hilarious punchline:  All we get to do is jabber in front of a camera for a minute and a half.

#7:  We lose our junior writer prospect to New College of Florida, where hevigorously pursues an alternative lifestyle as well as many snacks at the Four Winds Cafe.

#6:  Yes, we do miss out on the end of the world, but we do get to witness the Miami Marlins concoct their own Apocalypse.

#5:  We somehow manage to vote in Florida without waiting in line for four hours, something we only do for TV Shows.  Others are not so lucky.

#4:  Inflatable hot dogs.

#3:  David’s scholarship award dinner provides us with what is possibly the worst meal of our lives.  But - it’s free…?

#2:  A.J. Canfield becomes a design legend by providing one of our clients with layouts for four one sheets, a brochure and a media folder in one day - the same day that we get our first Hollywood job in years, thinking of names for anABC Family theme week.  Spoiler:  He does a lot better than we do.

#1:  Legendary game show host Chuck Woolery personally replies to one of Joel’s tweets - and exposes the truth about ANOTHER game show legend!!!!   

Oh, and last year, we also wrote about 4 billion pages of books, blogs, sales letters, bios, website copy, brochures and more for our wonderful clients.  We’re looking to boost that to 8 billion in 2013 if we don’t fall off the fiscal cliff (ever notice that there’s always another apocalypse to look forward to?).

Happy New Year, everybody!

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This mirror has been with us from California to New Zealand to right here in Miami.  Unfortunately, an idiot broke it during one of our moves here (you can see his legs in the mirror; apparently, he wears the same sandals as I do for some reason).  We finally got it fixed about a month ago - so the Canfield House of Art is almost completely back and intact (we still have the frame of a Keith Haring left to fix, but that was a recent donation anyway).  The words surrounding this mirror speak to our lives, so it’s an essential centerpiece.  We have been through all sorts of situations, predicaments and just plain hellscapes, but we’ve also had a ton of wonderful, interesting experiences that we’ll write about just as soon as we’re done writing for our clients.  That may be never, but come over and buy us a drink (or three) and we’ll talk.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying the first day in about five months that I’ve had to catch a breath and write a post.  I’m going to celebrate by backing up my files…BECAUSE I KNOW HOW TO HAVE A GOOD TIME.  

This mirror has been with us from California to New Zealand to right here in Miami.  Unfortunately, an idiot broke it during one of our moves here (you can see his legs in the mirror; apparently, he wears the same sandals as I do for some reason).  We finally got it fixed about a month ago - so the Canfield House of Art is almost completely back and intact (we still have the frame of a Keith Haring left to fix, but that was a recent donation anyway).  The words surrounding this mirror speak to our lives, so it’s an essential centerpiece.  We have been through all sorts of situations, predicaments and just plain hellscapes, but we’ve also had a ton of wonderful, interesting experiences that we’ll write about just as soon as we’re done writing for our clients.  That may be never, but come over and buy us a drink (or three) and we’ll talk.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying the first day in about five months that I’ve had to catch a breath and write a post.  I’m going to celebrate by backing up my files…BECAUSE I KNOW HOW TO HAVE A GOOD TIME.  

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Kiwiball

Click on the link above and, courtesy of New Zealand Baseball, you’ll see the 2006 documentary we wrote and produced (and even partially filmed with a crappy camera) for about $4000 US.   Someday when we’re not writing other people’s books, we’ll write our own about how kids’ sports can absolutely be the most horrible thing in the world…but, in the meantime, enjoy!

Filed under Joel Canfield Lisa Canfield joined at the hip copywriting baseball little league new zealand ghostwriting

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Travel tip of the day:  Always choose a hotel that has a TV embedded in the bathroom mirror.

Travel tip of the day:  Always choose a hotel that has a TV embedded in the bathroom mirror.

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The Top 10 Reasons We Hardly Blog Anymore

Okay, we have a blog site and, like millions of other Americans, we hardly ever blog on it.  Why?  Well, we thought long and hard and came up with the following ten reasons (and we’re not going to apologize to David Letterman about this because he never apologizes to us).

#10:  WHO WANTS TO WRITE MORE?

We spend all day ghostwriting for doctors, lawyers, auto dealers, real estate agents, dentists, entreprenuers and real-life everyday people.  Any more typing and our fingers will start bleeding - which will really cut into our productivity. 

#9:   WHO CARES?

Seriously, we have plenty to say, but so does everyone else - and half the time, they don’t really need to say it.  Which makes us very suspicious about ourselves when we do this…

#8:  EVERYBODY’S SOMEPLACE ELSE

If we took the time to blog every day, maybe we’d develop a following here, but, quite obviously, we don’t have the time.  So nobody stops by.  Wait, I think a piece of virtual tumbleweed just blew by here…

#7:  WE HAVE TO CENSOR OURSELVES

Potential and current clients sometimes visit to check us out.  That means we can’t say anything that will alienate someone.  That leaves out politics, religion and why we hate Matthew McConaughey movies.  What’s left?

#6:  CELEBRITY DEATHS

Everyone online felt it necessary to comment on Whitney Houston’s recent and tragic bath/death.  We don’t know what to say.  We’re sorry about it, but we didn’t listen to her music and we really only saw her over the past decade or so being made fun of on “The Soup.”  What if Matthew McConaughey dies?   We’ll be obligated to express some sort of thought and we’ll just end up with something like, “Well, his chest looked really good in that magazine…”  Who is that going to make happy?

#5:  THERE ARE ALREADY 10 BLOGS FOR EVERY HUMAN ON THE EARTH

Blog control should be as important as population control.  When there are too many words, sense will go hungry.

#4:  ACTUALLY, WE DON’T HAVE THAT MUCH TO SAY

I know, back in Reason #9, I made the statement that we have plenty to say.  That was just posturing.  We don’t have anything to say, really.  That’s why we play “Fortune Street” on Nintendo for hours at a time.  We’ve already had to think way too much for people our ages.  It’s time to give it a rest.

#3:  WRITE FOR FREE?  WHAT’S THAT ALL ABOUT?

I think this speaks for itself.

#2:  CATS.

We’ve been increasingly dismayed as well as alarmed by the extent to which cats have taken over the internet.  We’re not cat people, we’re dog people - even worse, we’re dog people who have never been able to have a dog because we’ve moved so much in recent years.  Blogs are expected to have funny cat stories, funny cat pictures or funny cat videos.  We even saw this thing on TV about people sticking pieces of bread over their cats’ heads and posting it online, which seems to indicate cat humor is really at the end of the line as far as inspiration goes, but we’ll wait until it’s official, thanks.

#1:  FORTUNE STREET

Did I mention “Fortune Street,” the most amazing Nintendo game ever released, kind of like Monopoly on steroids and you can be either Mario or Luigi?  Even Birdo, for God’s sakes?  Why would anyone take the time to blog - or stick a piece of bread over a cat’s head - or react emotionally to Matthew McConaughey’s impending demise - when THEY COULD PLAY FORTUNE STREET?

If you’d like to interrupt us just when we’re about to get the $20,000 we need to win, we just have to get back to the bank and hope we don’t land on that stupid chicken’s property that’s built up to a $2500 rent, we’d be glad to take a break and take on your writing job.  Contact us at info@gethipcopy.com.  Have a nice day and see you back here in three months or so.

Filed under copywriting gethipcopy.com ghostwriting joel canfield joined at the hip lisa canfield fortune street matthew mcconaughey whitney houston