Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Screenwriter Smile

Have you seen it yet? The toothpaste ad that interviews ‘a normal person’ who then says something along the lines of how their teeth would have fallen out if they didn’t use THAT particular brand on their brush. Pretty standard practice for products of this type: soap, tampax, shampoo, you know the drill.

The ‘normal person’ they interviewed in the ad was a bloke, which was interesting in itself as it’s usually lots of smiley girly girls doing the selling. But what’s really freaky is that underneath his name they put his profession down as: Screenwriter.

I don’t remember people’s professions being important or being used for these kind of ads but when I saw ‘Screenwriter’, admittedly after a few Stellas on Saturday night, I thought I might be seeing things, y’know obsessing about myself that little bit too much.

But no. People are talking about it. Sad people like me and the crew at Shooting People. And we’re asking important questions: does this mean that ‘Screenwriter’ is as commonplace or as ordinary as any job occupation you might want to drift into after you rustle up a few O levels?

And who is this guy anyway? Did the advertising and production team deliberately target a screenwriter (“they don’t go out, they’ll have good teeth”) or is he the boyfriend of the production coordinator and she said: “my boyfriend’s a screenwriter and has done some acting, he’d be good? He also needs the money.”

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great and fair dues on the bloke, whoever he is (if you’re reading, say hello and tell us how you got the gig - oh my god, did you write the advert?), but if it’s a con, then shame on you toothpaste people (I forget who it is, I’ve only seen it once) for putting a shiny smile and presentable sheen (who did his hair?) on the typically miserable and jaded band of screenwriters around the globe.

Something a bit more ‘on topic’ from The Observer where they interview six leading UK TV writers to ask them what they think of what’s going on, what’s hot, what’s not, and who really holds the power in TV drama. Interesting stuff from Andrew Davies, Paul Abbott, Tony Marchant, Abi Morgan, Neil Biswas and Paula Milne. Click HERE to read the article.


Anonymous said...

toothpaste guy actually owned up to his identity on SP(screenwriters)recently - and revealed a few tasty details of his CV

James Moran said...

So he actually is a screenwriter, then? Blimey. Haven't seen the ad yet, can't wait - though I presume he's ridiculously handsome and charming, like the rest of us. I never go anywhere without my personal hairstylist, masseuse, tooth-polisher and tooth-polisher's assistant.

Danny Stack said...

This from Paul Khanna, for it is he, from Shooting People:

"...I thought I better inform the UK's screenwriting community that I'm genuine, and am in fact a fellow member of Shooting People.

I'd also like to state that lines like "I noticed that my teeth were yellowing, but I didn't want to choose between whitening and protection" weren't directly from my pen! However to Colgate's credit, the testimonial results were genuine. I actually used the product and visited an independent dentist twice.

In terms of the ad being a sideline, that's true also. As is winning game shows (Weakest Link), winning filmmaking competitions (Heinz Short Film Festival) and winning writing competitions (Ideas Factory / RADA last year). I'm currently waiting to hear back from the BBC after submitting to their Evening Play Commission (has anyone else heard anything?).

The reason I put screenwriter as my occupation is this: I couldn't put actor (not on a testimonial), I couldn't put director (the ad's director wasn't happy), and I certainly wasn't going to put "Usually Unemployed". So I thought I'd tip my hat to the great unsung, the screenwriter. Hopefully my canny move has single-handedly changed (and raised) the profile of the lowly dishevelled writer for good!

Burn those corduroys, get a haircut and go buy some Colgate. It's my choice :)

Paul Khanna"


Maura said...

Thanks for this Danny. This was a topic of conversation in my household every time we witnessed the advert. I began to suspect that there was a hoax being played - first off the guy seems too well groomed for a screenwriter! ;) It does appear from what he says that he's an actor as well, which explains a lot.

Personally, I don't use any toothpaste that incoperates floride. I'd recommend more natural products made by Tom's of Maine, Kingfisher or Weleda. (Nope, they didn't pay me for this endorsement) :)

James Moran said...

Fantastic. If any agencies are listening, I'm happy to endorse Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, or those Marks and Spencer wafer curl things (payment in kind, obviously).

James Henry said...

I seem to be endorsing lego a lot without trying, but yes, something cooler would be good.

Maybe we could do a big group shot? Standing around... an armoured personnel carrier, I've always wanted one of them.

Or a coelocanth.

Danny Stack said...

Coelocanth: n. a large bony marine fish, formerly thought to be extinct, having a trilobed tail-fin and fleshy pectoral fins.

Stephen Gallagher said...

To be honest, I'm a bit disappointed. I always assumed they made up the professions of these testimonial figures to make them seem vaguely aspirational. Thought we'd made it up there with the models and photographers and fashion designers at last.

Turns out it's merely the truth after all. What's advertising coming to?

Anonymous said...

Paul is real and he does look like that - I have a friend who used to work with him.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe people are so wrapped up in Paul's advert. Has the kid finally made it, fame at last? If he is now officially famous, I know he has said that he wants to thank nobody. So thank you Nobody. And thanks for all the fish!

Rich said...

It's true, this "GUY!" is a screenwriter. I should know, he's my friend :) We made the Heinz film together.

And yes, his teeth are very white in real life.

Anonymous said...

I just googled my friend's name, and people are actually having a conversation about him! Most bizarre.....!

Anonymous said...

well i feel privaliged to have been close enough to these famous gnashers to say that, yea they're ok but mine are better : P I much prefer his lips.