Writing Good Copy Requires Nudity...for Shakespeare


The Scene

Me in the basement of The American Repertory Theater at Harvard University.

The class was Acting Shakespeare with the king of Shakespeare, Mr. David Hammond. David is *that* acting teacher - armed and ready to rip your performance to shreds at a given moment and always eating a chocolate chip muffin.

At the same time somehow.

It’s my turn to “act”. Up I go to the center of the rehearsal studio/basement space to perform Hermoine’s monologue from The Winter’s Tale. (For my non-shakes folks - she’s fighting for her life and defending the wrongs against her by her husband...)

David says to me: "Ok, Marisa…”

Uh oh, here comes the verbal scissors about to make me question how on earth I was one of 16 people accepted into this program…

And William Shakespeare himself is sobbing into his grave about how it’s possible I’ve been let on any sort of stage - even a basement one.

(These thoughts all happen during David’s 2-second pause)

“I have an idea,” he continues. “What if you’re about to be executed?”

Ok. What? (my head’s next thought)

“The soldier is your ex-lover but he became a Nazi. It's freezing outside. It’s about the 2nd week of January. You don't have a coat on...maybe you’re naked. Now do the monologue. " He takes a bite from his muffin.

Ummm...holy shit!

I do the monologue “naked” in the basement of Harvard.

The Applause

Suddenly, the character came alive. Hermoine wasn’t playing games. The fight for her life was ON and I was so in it, I was like someone hand me a TONY award stat.

When I was finished, David says: "Sooooo, what made that a night and day performance?"

“It was specific!” I say (wanting so badly to add… specific as fuck...but I didn’t)

“Yep,” David looks at me. “You took a one-way ticket to Specific Town!”

And I’ve never looked back or tried to refund my ticket.

The Lesson

YOU can do the same with your writing.

This is one of the main focuses of my Writing The Website class at Copy U!

Here’s 2 ways to think about it:

Let’s say...

  • You work with women: what kind of women? Millennials? Career-driven? Travel lovers? Moms? Dog owners? Menopausal? Think of a specific client you love working with right now → use this person to help you get more specific with who you want to help.

  • You’re destined to help people find their dream job: when did it happen for you? What month was it? What were you wearing? (Maybe you were naked performing Shakespeare) What time was it? How did you feel? Use your story to relate to the audience you want to help.

Grab a one-way ticket to Specific Town in an email to your list this week and see what happens.

(Spoiler alert: good stuff will happen!)

Pop your fav emoji in the comments if you’re with me!