Feeling a little La-la

santa-monica-cacti

I have been holding on to my jet lag quite well while here in LA; getting up early and going to sleep most nights before ten. Still my internal clock has slowly drifted west a little more each day; I’m probably somewhere over Oklahoma today, rising at 6:30 and feeling rested (last week it was 4:30). It’s been great to get up at dawn and have a couple of hours to myself. I usually walk along the beach for forty five minutes; to the Santa Monica Pier and back before breakfast, passing the homeless people still in their sleeping bags under the palm trees.
After breakfast, I work on my book. I am able to dart on to my computer several times a day to make adjustments to the work in progress, rewriting, redesigning, lettering and drawing elements to insert into the layout. Last night, while waiting for a final meeting on casting, I finished my final read through and am pretty much satisfied. The book is 208 pages long; each with a unique design, rimming with drawing and colors and thoughts and weird lettering. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and I feel deeply satisfied by it. I could go on tweaking forever and yet it also feels quite complete, organically whole. I will look at it on the plane again tonight and then send it off to my editor.
I’ve spent most of my days over the past week and a half working on the campaign we are set to start shooting next week. We’ve figured out every shot and transition, pulling the spots apart and reassembling them, challenging them to their basic premises and seeing how we can plus them. We have dozens of roles to cast across the campaign and each day look at DVDs full of actors in LA and New York. Last night was our last round of callbacks and we are in pretty good shape. This afternoon we will take our clients through all of the decisions we make and on Tuesday the cameras will start to roll. We have tested so-called ‘animatics’ (basically cartoon versions of the spots that let us see how people respond to the basic plots of the spots) with consumers and they have all done exceptionally well, hitting historic highs for communication, persuasion and likeability, so we are hoping that our clients will be filly on board with all of the subsequent decisions we’ve been making. But, of course, one never knows. Our director has just finished shooting a movie and every day must meet with the studio and discuss the edit; he says it is a horrible experience and one he won’t repeat any time soon.
This evening, I’ll be on the red-eye back to New York. I’ll get to spend a few days with my family (who I miss terribly) and to duck into my office and straighten out some things on the other parts of my account. We are in the midst of launching a huge print campaign too and have photographers to hire and many, many details to work out.
It has been a very stressful experience because so much is riding on our efforts both at the clients and at the agency. Hopefully things will all go smoothly and the tension will subside.
My book is keeping me sane, quite honestly. It is like a quiet lagoon I can dive in to when all around me is chaos. It’s not just the fact that it’s a real project that has been met with so much good energy so far. It’s also that it’s mine; a little world of my own making that reflects nothing but my own experience of reality. It’s also something I hope will be very positive for those who share it and will help them to embrace their own creativity and make lagoons of their own. Drawing has always brought me such peace and happiness and the further I wander into the Valley of Darkness, the more important a beacon it becomes.
Sure, my book is going to be published — but that’s not it; all of the books that precede it, the 38 volumes of drawings I have filled in the past few years, have all brought me this satisfaction, helping me see the world as it truly is, not a tangle of subjectivity and judgment and tensions and ego, but a place of peace and great beauty, even in the smallest things.
That said, I’ve finished my breakfast now. I’m going to go and do a little drawing in the sunshine before my day takes off.

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