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the way of water?

“The ultimate goal is to be like water.”

— Kanye West

On a rainy day in Florida last week, Peanut and I decided to go see Avatar: The Way of Water.

James Cameron did it again. There was not a dry eye (besides mine) in the theater at the end of the movie. But even though the movie was good, it suffered from a fatal problem that many copywriters just so happen to struggle with themselves.

The problem?

I’ll give you a hint:

It conflicts with one of the major “Squishmallow Lessons” I shared with you yesterday…

Too much story!

(Don’t worry, I’ll keep this analysis as spoiler-free as possible.)

Avatar: The Way of Water clocks in at a gross 3 hours and 10 minutes. They could’ve cut 15, 30, hell maybe even 60 minutes from the movie and the movie wouldn’t have suffered. In fact, it would’ve been tighter because of it.

Copywriters make this same mistake in their copy too. Stories are too long, and not filled with enough emotion. They take too long to get to the point. They bore their readers instead of preparing them to buy.

Now, Avatar 2 had a saving grace:

The special effects in the movie tempered any boredom I had with the story. We saw it in 3D (and we both hate 3D, but this movie was an exception).

During the stiffest and most boring parts of the story—which admittedly went on for far too long—Cameron showed off his impressive FX world. Most of the movie takes place underwater, a side of Pandora we didn’t see in the first Avatar movie. And despite me checking my watch every 30 minutes to figure out how much longer I’d have to sit in a movie theater chair, I enjoyed seeing this side of Cameron’s fictitious world.

But this movie still suffered from the same mistake other auteur directors like Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorcese, and now James Cameron commit:

The movie was just too damn long.

For example, in Once Upon A Time in Holiday, Tarantino could’ve cut the entire Sharon Tate character and the movie would’ve been better off for it.

I couldn’t even watch Scorcese’s The Irishman movie in one sitting. 3 hours and 29 minutes is simply too long to keep my attention.

But they’re auteurs, so they can get away with it.

Most copywriters aren’t, which brings me to my point:

As a copywriter, you make your money by editing, not necessarily writing. Plus, you don’t have the breathtaking underwater scenes of Pandora to keep your bored-to-death audience somewhat engaged with your content.

That’s why you must be ruthless with your eraser. Cut anything that does not bring your ideal customer closer to whipping out their credit card, punching in their numbers, and ordering your product, service, or course.

This is easier said than done, as most things are.

But it’s an important lesson nonetheless.


Hit reply if you need someone who not only understands the power of story, but also understands the power of editing.

It creates a lethal combination that makes your ideal customers salivate through the entire email, sales letter, or ad.

The result?

They whip out their credit cards and pay. Your piggy bank grows fatter. And your audience becomes more addicted to you and your products with each message.


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