I learned a lot working with the FrackNation team. (Not the least of which is that there’s always time for margaritas.) But one of my favorite lessons came from writing press releases for director Phelim McAleer.
I drafted a release for some summer screenings and sent the text to Phelim for review. He responded:
“Not exciting enough.”
Not a lot to go on, but he got his point across. So I redrafted the release, added some “exciting” language, and sent it back. Phelim’s response:
Agitated but determined to get it right, I typed another draft, filling it with superlative and explosive rhetoric. It was over the top. When my Gmail notifier dinged it was Phelim with his signature pith:
“Good. Punch it up a bit and send.”
What did Phelim know that I didn’t? Something very important about rhetoric and human action: People need motivation. They don’t just want a reason to act. They want an overwhelmingly important reason to act.
They want controversy, intrigue, explosions, destruction, mayhem, wild and crazy good times, deep emotions, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, romance, passion, etc.
Here’s the final press release and what I learned from Phelim about superlative rhetoric: