When God was dishing out stuff there were a number of things he clearly decided I could do without.
A few examples that spring to mind: an understanding of math’s, physics or anything mechanical, a head of hair that would last past forty, an appreciation of rap music. I could go on! But the one thing he did bless me with (and I thank him every day for it) is imagination.
What did Einstein say? “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Very true. Where the hell is B anyway?!
For as long as I can remember I’ve been making up stories. I started to write my first book at the age of six or seven.
It was called “Ten Man Army”. OK, so I may have borrowed the basic premise from “The Magnificent Seven” but this was the first time I realised I could create all my own characters (OK, I may have also borrowed the knife-throwing guy!)
I could even put myself into the stories and make myself do amazing things (like the time I saved my baby sister from a troop of evil, coconut-throwing monkeys).
Suddenly, armed with only a pen, I could shape my own destiny, create new worlds. I had awesome power – and it was fun!
I think I was the only guy at school who really loved writing “English compositions”. I know – that is sad. My mates would be sweating to complete the obligatory two pages and I would be asking Mrs McDonald for more time because by Page 10 my heroes still hadn’t quite managed to lay their hands on Lobengula’s Treasure!
Yes, sad but true, my friends.
After school, I went travelling – hitching around Europe and the States. For some reason I just had to hit the road. Maybe I was looking for something to write about?
I never kept a diary but I would describe my various escapades in epic letters to my family. Letter 1: “In hospital after the Royal Wedding”; Letter 2: “With the Moonies in San Francisco”; Letter 3: “Stranded on a Greek island without any money”. The last one resulted in a transfer of funds – does that mean it counts as my first paid writing gig? Only joking Mum!
On my return I thought it would be a good idea to go to university – although I wasn’t exactly sure why. I did a Bachelor of Arts (English Major) at the University of Cape Town.
The only thing I consumed more than the excellent Cape red wine was all the great literature. I couldn’t believe that reading these wonderful books was actually classified as studying! Brilliant!
After graduating (yes, I couldn’t believe it either) I decided I needed to find a way to get paid for using my imagination and the obvious answer was advertising.
I joined an ad agency as a junior copywriter and soon realised that the work was right up my street. Coming up with concepts for ads, writing brochures, etc – it was all good fun and I was soon working on national campaigns incorporating TV, radio and press.
Over the years I must have written literally hundreds of ads for every type of client and product imaginable (you can see a few samples in my COPYWRITING section) and I even won a couple of awards.
Then, about a decade ago, my wife, Lara, and I started up our own small agency, Blue Apple (www.blueappleprojects.com).
This has enabled us to focus mainly on what we call “Projects with Purpose” which has been immensely fulfilling. With Lara doing the graphic design and me doing the copywriting we have created many ads, brochures, manuals, websites, etc. over the years. And today I still do a lot of freelance copywriting.
But, throughout my career as a copywriter, that burning desire to tell stories has never gone away. In fact, as you will read in the SCREENPLAYS and BOOK sections of this site, my advertising career has often had to take a back seat to my writing.
Over the years I have written a number of screenplays as well as a children’s adventure story – and I feel like I’m just getting warmed up. We are now living in a beautiful part of Australia and the creative juices are flowing like never before.