© Copyright, Writers Guild of America, west, 2003. All rights reserved.
As the Guild approached this milestone, it looked for a new and different way to recognize the creativity and imagination of writers. The idea was to create something broad in scope and accessible that would share the celebration of all writers and the art of writing.
Oscar-winning writer/producer Marc Norman (Shakespeare in Love) served as the architect behind the project. Norman worked closely with Ron Tammariello, creative director of the WGAw, along with a committee that included Ron Bass, Tim O'Donnell, and Terry Curtis Fox. Together they helped shape the original concept into a viable campaign.
The campaign is different from any other public relations effort the Guild has done in the past. It is centered around familiar lines from film and television shows. These lines are so memorable that they've left the arena of entertainment and entered the very language we speak. Norman notes, "These lines have trickled down from the movie screen into our consciousness. They're quoted around the watercooler, used in emails or heard in elevators. The way these lines have entered our culture speaks to the power and pride of writers and of their Guild."
The campaign matches these lines with striking black and white portraits of the writers who authored them, and the Guild to which they all belong. The bold simplicity of Norman's vision allows for a kind of connectivity between the writers on the billboards and the public. Norman says, "I'm hoping that audiences will get that pleasure of anticipation as they're driving by our billboards: 'What's the line this time'?: 'Do I know it'? And who's that writer?"
Writer/director Amy Heckerling, one of the writer participants, notes, "Many times I've read books of quotations or seen articles where great movie quotes are attributed to the actor, not the person who wrote it. This campaign takes the writer, and makes them more visible. I like that."
Next, the team wanted to find a photographer who could creatively capture the essence of what he was proposing, while still maintaining an artistic interpretation of the project. Mark Hanauer proved to be just the photographer they were looking for. With an already impressive client list including 20th-Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, and Nike, he was more than prepared for the challenge of this assignment. With Hanauer on board, the committee began the exhaustive task of researching memorable lines from film and television.
In the fall of 2003, Norman and the committee's vision becomes a reality with the first of several billboards perched high above the bustling streets of Los Angeles. It will be the debut of a simple concept, an eye-catching campaign, and a declaration of "Where it Begins."