“My desk at Tribal is in an office that features a surprisingly comfortable blue couch that somebody left here, a sunny view of midtown Manhattan, and mirrors next to the windows that give the room a nice 80s-condo-coke-party vibe.”
Eric Schlakman is an Associate Creative Director at Tribal DDB in New York City, where he develops innovative advertising campaigns and experiences for the NFL and Reebok. He also scribes ecards and topical ballyhoo as a contributing writer for someecards.com. He loves all things LEGO, new restaurants, and huevos rancheros.
FROM YOUR DESKS: How do you work?
ERIC SCHLAKMAN: I believe that you are the company you keep, so I try to surround myself with intelligent, forward-thinking people. I also try to immerse myself in as many things as possible outside of work, since there’s no telling who/what/where might spark the next great idea. Sautee those notions in some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease, add a dash of late-night magic, and you have my recipe for successful work.
ES: The gentleman creative sitting across from me is Michael Evashevksi, my superbly talented design counterpart at Tribal. We brainstorm together and then divide and conquer, with him handling the art and me handling the copy. He also tolerates my uncontrollable need to blast Celine Dion and DMX on Friday afternoons, which is always the sign of a good office mate (or deaf person). Also pictured is Ken Hamm, a masterly freelance creative director. He’s a fantastic guy with fantastic hair.
FYD: “James you are not the father,” talk to me about that one.
ES: I’ve liked plastering my office and apartment walls with work created by friends. Having art like that is one of the perks of working in a creative industry. The poster you’re mentioning was a gift from Minneapolis-based graphic designer, Ben Hribar. It always makes me laugh (and use birth control).
FYD: What would Don Draper make you change about your office?
ES: He’d make me use my laptop as a coaster.
I believe that you are the company you keep…
FYD: Take us through the day in the life of a copywriter?
ES: Every day is different, and that’s why I love it. One day I might be working with a team on a brand strategy, the next I might be working with Peyton Manning on a shoot, the next I might be working with a developer on a mobile app. The challenge is rarely the same, but the objective is always similar: develop something that’s going to blow people’s socks off (unless I happen to be working for a sock-making client).
FYD: How were someecards born?
ES: In co-founders Brook and Duncan’s own words, the company was started “with a dollar and a half-assed dream.” I never thought I’d be so content to be part of two older men’s dreams.
FYD: How does it work and does it resemble The Office set?
ES: As a member of the writing team, I submit ideas remotely in response to upcoming calendar events, newsworthy happenings, and specific assignments. If all of the contributing writers sat together everyday, we’d never get anything done – too many smart asses trying to one-up each other with one-liners. We save that scenario for the Christmas party.
FYD: It must be pretty great to be witty and funny. What are your top three favorites thus far?
ES: It’s difficult to choose my favorites, I truly do like them all. But maybe: “Best of luck finishing a marathon that doesn’t involve episodes of Law & Order”, “My alcoholism supersedes my Judaism on St. Patrick’s Day”, and “I’d pay much more attention to your birthday this month if it was a college basketball team” (for March birthdays). Those seem to do the best job of summarizing my life.
Good ol’ fashioned elbow grease, add a dash of late-night magic, and you have my recipe for successful work.
FYD: How much do pop culture and current events play in each ecard?
ES: Staying on the pulse of what people are talking about or going to be talking about is a huge part of writing for Someecards. The more relevant the cards, the more reason to send them. The more reasons to send, the more I get to keep writing.
FYD: I love the idea of Ben Franklin and other historical characters paired with pithy sayings.
ES: I wish I could take credit for that idea – the contrast works so well. There’s just something perfectly amusing about illustrations of prim and proper people relaying your irreverent wishes. And it’s arguably a more practical use of bustles and frock coats.
FYD: How do you stay in the know?
ES: I dance with the usual suspects for news and trending lunacy: Twitter, RSS feeds, CNN Newspulse, popurls.com. I also use fancypipes, a site where a few former co-workers and I stay in touch by posting links, photos, and videos tilled from the Internet’s most unkempt fields.
Develop something that’s going to blow people’s socks off…
ES: They both make puberty seem wrong.