Adventure Required

70 hours, 87 hours, 75 hours, 71 hours, countless rough cuts, hours in traffic, tons of Telecine, oh ya more traffic. That’s been my life lately. Last week I wrote about finding other ways to create, but with a schedule like the one above how is one to find time? I also touched on the outlet last week and I wanted to expand on that a little too. You have to give up a lot to be in this business. Most of the things that I once considered essential to my creativity and expertise have taken a back seat. But the hardest thing in the last 6 months hasn’t been the work load, the hours worked or the distances traveled – It’s trying to remain creative. It’s really easy at 1am when you are sitting in an edit bay to say,”Yup looks great, lets get out of here.” And it’s even easier to fall into the trap of “I have a life, it’s time to go.” So, I guess I’ll start there. How do you take the time to remain creative when it seems there isn’t even time to even sleep?

Ill try to answer this with a little caveat; I’m sure it’s different for everyone but I like to attribute my creativity to life experiences. Those experiences help me to look at a problem differently. Wrapping those experiences into a relevant solution is essential to success.

Adventure required is my inspiration. When I get into a new city or somewhere I’ve never been I make a list of things to do or places to go. Knowing when I get the chance for an adventure, I know exactly whats up. But an adventure isn’t just found outside. Everyday will have its moments of down time (I’m in one now) so, find awesomeness on the www’s. There are countless ways to stay connected in this new age of ours, even to the places you’ve been. To capture all these adventures I keep a camera and a notebook with me, always. I find both good for capturing awesomeness and keeping track of people I meet and things I see. Even revisiting past adventures is fun. A notebook is a great way to make sure you remember everything.

I guess what I am saying or reminding myself is that, yeah it’s my job to make these spots. But it’s also my job to cull and mine inspirational stuff around me. Enjoy the quiet, embrace the lull, and find the adventure around me. Even if its just taking a few minutes out of each day and letting your mind wander.

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Find other ways to create

Humm. Well I was onto something at some point. I opened this “draft” to find nothing in the body. It’s certainly a provocative title and it’s as true as can be. We as creatives work our faces off in this business to create ads for our clients. By the time we are done with, whatever it is we are working on, there are so many thumbprints all over your idea it’s amazing you even got to where you are. So, my advice; create for you. It’s imperative to find some other outlet where you are the client, account team, project manager, but most importantly the creative on. Create what ever it is you want. Make something as awesome or as awesomely-horrible as you want. find something for you.
I do a few things. This blog is one. There are no proof readers here. haha. I’m sure that run on sentence up there needed some punctuation somewhere. But I wanted you to feel a little exasperated after reading it. It’s an exasperating business – but its fun. And having a creative outlet will keep it that way. I write here to help me translate my ideas into words. I don’t expect a million followers or fame to come from this. It’s a simple outlet. I also take little photoventures every once and a while. I absolutely LOVE being behind a lens. It’s so relaxing to me. Sometimes I even sell those images in my Etsy store. Its simple really – You just need to discover your outlet.

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Its been a while …

… And a lot has changed. One thing has remained constant though –the job. And for that I am grateful. I have learned a ton since the last time I’ve made an entry. Too many things to put in a post, so ill focus on one. The original reason for this blog.

That notion was so spot on and I lost sight of it. In the craze of work and the hustle and bustle of life, I lost sight of the single best self improvement idea that I’ve had. It’s time to keep writing. I’m back and I’m going to keep reflecting, thinking and most importantly keep writing. Stay tuned or don’t this bad boy is for me.

Muse

This entry is a little different than the norm. Usually I blog about little things that I notice about myself. Things that make me pause and reflect. But this time, I wanted to use this soap box to tell a friend to go for it. This didn’t come by chance. Go, become the luminary that you are.

You once told me that when you grow up that all you want to be is a Muse. I am here to tell you that you are so much more than that. Those of you who know me, know that I am pretty busy. This one – this person puts me to shame. You motivate me. You make me want to become a better friend, artist, designer, photographer, art director, writer and well – just a better person. I hope I make you want to be a better driver. I wish that I could keep you here, closer to me. But something as bright as you has to be shared. You are larger than life and I love you for it.

So, how does this relate to the blog? They say that good things come to those who wait – and Santa’s real. Good things come to those who take it. Those who step up to the plate and swing. Batter up kid.

Hello 2011, nice to meet you.

Well, its unbelievably 2011 already and time to get back to the grind. Lots of things have already happened this year that could make it even better than 2010. I can’t image what is in store for the rest of the year. As I said in my last entry, “I’m only going to get busier.” and that sure happened quicker than I thought it would. Some new and interesting opportunities have presented themselves – and I intend on fully taking advantage of them. It’s really amazing how one conversation can change the rest of your life and instantly swing you into a new mode.

Recently I was asked to display some photography in an exhibit that is taking place next month at Hybrid in Santa Monica (more info to come). I am very excited for the show, but I’m even more exited for what it has already taught me.

I have been culling, pouring and sifting through hundreds of images from my travels, adventures and random moments. During this process I have come to a realization; I have really just been taking pictures. Thought-out, controlled images that show you what I’ve seen – and demonstrate that I know my way around a camera. Not images that take you on an adventure and allow you to play in the theater of your mind. Not being a photographer. Now I have captured some interesting moments and people during my travels but not as well as I could have. Not moments that take you there. I’ve been a tourist that has a nice camera.

It’s been so incredibly challenging to focus the message and create a thematic presentation of my imagery. I’m not sure I have it down yet, but I now understand a greater concept behind the images that I create. I want to shoot imagery that takes you places. Not images that show you places. Images that pull you into the moment. Images that allow you to capture something.

This newfound insight will make it profoundly harder to shoot, but that work on the front end will make the next show that much easier. In the 13 days that have been 2011 some interesting things have appeared on the horizon.

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The perfect priority

Unfortunately I don’t even need to ask myself “what did I fail at today?” It’s been weeks since my last blog. Not to say I haven’t thought about it. I just haven’t acted on it – even worse. Granted we have been slammed rolling out the Hyundai Holidays Pomplamoose campaign, but that is no excuse it’s really not even a reason. I expect myself to only get busier. To top it off “The Perfect Opportunity” isn’t the only thing that I said I would do – that am not doing. Time to get focused again.

In the last four or so weeks our team has rolled out a plethora of work. The holiday TV shoot, Print shoot (which was me and some christmas lights… awesome) Six or so TV spots, rebranded the YouTube channel, national and regional online banners, dealership POS and some social strategy. All with only 5 of us creatives. So ya, I guess you could say we were busy. And in all that busyness there were a ton of lessons. All shadowed by one. Priorities and knowing them.

Know the important tasks, when are they due and what are elements of those tasks that are worth fighting for. I’ll admit it’s hard for me to not want to fight for all of them. It’s hard to let some things go when you know they should be another way. Having the ability to recognize their importance will take some work, but mostly vision.

What it really boils down to is knowing the difference between being right, and being happy. I could fight till I’m blue in the face on something that I am never going to win. On something that is undoubtedly going to frustrate me and those I’m working with. For something that is probably not even that big of a deal. So why fight those inevitable battles? What’s the point? I need to learn to pick battles – know how to frame my debate in those battles all while keeping the big picture in mind. There might be other things that I am not privy to that effect more than my current project. It’s probably one of the most important lessons I can learn in my career. Not only will it help me stay sane but it will probably help me even more when the politics of this business weigh more heavily on me and my work.

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Trigger happy

If there is one lesson that I think I can take from the time since my last entry, it’s that you have to be able to recognize opportunities – commit to them and pull the trigger. The last couple of weeks were full of little opportunities, trigger pulls and misfire’s. Now, the funny thing about misfire’s are, well one day they will make great stories and you have to be able to recognize that it’s really not a misfire.

I had an instructor once tell me that Advertising is like being a professional athlete. And honestly when heard that I thought he was crazy. Now it’s completely apparent as to what he meant by that. It’s a little funny actually, we are referred to as talent, we are partnered up on a team – which is a breakdown of a larger team, and we compete to get ideas produced to “hopefully” win some awards. What happens though, when your idea doesn’t get sold through? Well, some might consider it to be a misfire, and some, might see it as an opportunity to help make the idea that was sold -even better. Campaigns are not just the TV portion; they are the awesome YouTube experience that you create, the POS kit, the banners, the print, the everything that makes a campaign – a campaign. There are to many moving parts of any single idea for one person to do it all – it takes a team to win awards not an just an idea.

So I guess what I am saying is there really is no such thing as a misfire. They’re opportunities taking on a new shape. So keep pulling triggers and recognize that even If you missed the first target you might have hit the one behind it right in the center.

Progress

So I have decided that it’s blog time.  Why now? Why at all? A couple of questions that I try to ask my self before any venture, and the answer came from a very unusual place – A graduation speech that I read almost 2 years after graduating. There was one line that seems to have stuck with me: “You have to ask yourself the hard questions every night. What did you do today to get you closer to reaching your goals and what did you learn today?”

This immediately got me thinking – I don’t think I have ever asked myself that question. Everyone has been asked, “What did you learn from [insert experience]?” but how many times have you asked it of yourself? So, I decided to ask myself the “hard” question. “What have I been doing to get me closer to my goals?” I quickly discover that’s an impossible question to answer unless you have your goals laid out. Which led me to another even harder question. What are my goals? I thought; the same as everyone else – get a place I would be proud to call home, find someone to start a family with and hopefully do some good out there.  Now, those are pretty standard goals, and solid ones at that but a little ways down the road and awfully vague (Vaugé for some of you). What is something that I want to accomplish that is more immediate? Now, having a blog was not on my radar. I didn’t even think I was that good of a writer. And then it hit me. Goal number one; become a better writer. It’s the perfect answer and opportunity to the question that started it all.

I have decided to write about the “hard” questions. What did I learn today? more importantly, I think – what did I fail at today? What are my real goals? What did I do to get me closer to them? How did I help someone today?  Think of this as a career journal not only for me, but hopefully you – My friends, colleagues, and fellow students of life.

Now lets be realistic. It’s going to be almost impossible to write everyday. I’ll just chalk that one up to the goal column. Once a week seems to be reasonable. I’m thinking Saturday mornings, I will write about my week. For you young advertising professionals and students – what I learned in the seed of my career. And how those lessons get me closer to moving up the ladder. I hope this will help you to avoid some trip wire.

Lesson number one: Be a good writer, even if you are an Art Director.

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