Friday, March 02, 2007

Everyone's a Creative

A team of guys showed up to my house to do some tree trimming. The lead guy who would do all the climbing and directing of the guys on the ground stood in the yard quietly looking up. He saw a canvas, and he knew exactly what it would look like when he was done. He excitedly conveyed his vision to me for approval and went straight to work once I said, "Sounds good." I had a couple of suggestions that he listened to and incorporated into his plan. The end result was just as he said it would be.

Everyone's an artist. I mean it. Everyone you know, no matter what they do for a living, has a creative side. The humorless lady from accounting might be a magician in the kitchen. The truck driver might be a master woodworker. And it's not just the obvious things like cooking and woodworking. Watch how someone does a task as mundane as stacking the dishes in the rack once they're clean. The end result of balanced glasses, pots and plates could pass as a temporary modern art installation.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise to creatives in the ad industry when everyone, from the account guy to the office manager to, yes...The Client...wants to have a say in what you're doing. I can't lay out a magazine ad, design a logo, write a press release or develop a web page without someone from outside of the creative department saying, "It needs more this," or "It needs less that." If I'm not careful, I can get pissed off, but lately I've been trying to listen. The account guy who wants a bigger, louder call to action may not get what he wants, but I'll still listen.

Most of the creatives I know keep some sort of artistic endeavor reserved for after work hours. How many musicians do you know in the ad world? Yep. How many copywriters are writing a book? Yep. How many designers paint, draw or shoot pictures on the side? Yep. To them I say, "Keep it up." If the only creating you do is for money, with a bunch of other people involved wanting a say in what you're trying to create, you'll end up frustrated.

Now look around your office. That dork from IT who smells funny and laughs too loudly at stupid things? What do you bet he's a wizard with a bottle of Elmer's and some popsicle sticks?


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  • However, I found a plumber not very appreciative of my ‘creative’ suggestions in fixing a leak when he came out. I believe his words were, “You called me because you couldn’t fix it, remember?”

    By Blogger Make the logo bigger, at March 2, 2007 at 4:55 PM  

  • I'm with you on this. Over the years I've come to believe that professional creativity is really just problem solving. In my limited agency experience I can say we did our best when all departments used their creativity to solve the problem. Small shops or ones with lower turnover can feel like a family, which encourages creative problem solving from everyone, I think. Lastly, one problem with a few creatives, I think, is that the only problem they're trying to solve is that of getting respect from their peers, which ideally should be accomplished by solving the client's problem. In a perfect world, I mean.

    MTLB -- as for plumbers, I pick their brains so I can figure out how not to have to call them again. Latest tip -- a substance called propox 20. Seals the sink drainpipe that fits inside the larger pipe in the wall. No charge for that tip.

    By Anonymous captain flummox, at March 2, 2007 at 9:10 PM  

  • c - My plumber was not interested in leaking any info that day I will tell you.

    By Blogger Make the logo bigger, at March 2, 2007 at 11:34 PM  

  • Jetpacks:
    Have you seen this, yet?
    I was a little annoyed when I saw it, too (my reasons forthcoming on my own blog soon).

    By Anonymous Robert, at March 2, 2007 at 11:36 PM  

  • Yeah, Robert. I even pre-ordered it. The author contacted me a long time ago trying to buy the domain from me. Not selling. He wrote another book that is being turned into a movie starring Mike Myers. He ended up buying the domain

    Every day, someone arrives at this blog searching the term "where's my jetpack." I suspect it's Daniel Wilson, or someone working for him, trying to optimize his site and beat me for that search term. So my other site also carries this in the description tag:

    "Don't be fooled by cheap imitations or cheap books by the same name - this is the first -the only and the original Where's My Jetpack. Daniel Wilson is a nice guy I'm sure, but we don't like it when his site shows up first on Google when we have had this name in our domain cache for many years now. Good luck to Daniel Wilson on his book - maybe he might even drive traffic our way. Where's my Jetpack? is a division of Radio Free Babylon. And by the way, Daniel, if you're reading this, I pre-ordered your book at Amazon. You're welcome."

    And as long as I keep typing where's my jetpack here in the comments section, I'll probably keep beating him. No one owns the phrase...yet. But owning the domain is the next best thing.

    And where is your blog, Robert.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at March 3, 2007 at 10:40 AM  

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