How you hanging dawg?
If these references are feeling tired, cut me some slack. It’s 2020. We’ve all got a lot on our plate. The last few months I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting about you/me. So, as you read this with your 30-something metabolism and robust attention span, know that I’m just trying to help.
Right now, you think that every big assignment will make or break you, so you tend to freak when things don’t fall your way. Which, in retrospect, makes sense. You’ve accomplished zilch. So your ego needs A LOT of love because you’re insecure about how good you are. About how good people think you are. Etc. Etc. But careers are long things. You’ll have a million more chances to prove yourself. And you will. So keep your wig on when things go sideways. The back of your baseball card has just begun.
And this long haul outlook especially applies to selling work to clients. If they’re not buying it, they’re not buying it. You can’t argue someone into liking an idea. When a client senses you’re being precious about something, they start questioning whose side you’re really on. And that’s the beginning of the end. So listen to Kenny Rogers. Dude has sold over 165 million albums for a reason.
And just empathize more. (Oprah is on at 10 am M-F) You’re currently convinced clients are all non-creative paper pushers who just don’t “get it”. Each of their comments is viewed as a stick of TNT blowing your creative vision to smithereens. In fact, these are the people who make all of your dumb ideas possible and are serving more masters than you can imagine. And you’ll be shocked at how many of their notes end up making the work better. Way, way better actually. Except that one about the TV spot needing a “pop of color”. That will always be lame.
And I know you’re desperate to make more TV. And that’s great. Do that. Work with smart directors, camp out in edit suites, stay at Shutters. Who knows, maybe you’ll even share an elevator with Cameron Crowe, and mumble something that you’ll regret till your grave.
But here’s the thing, those big TV budgets are a bubble. They’ll soon become an extravagant splurge that most clients choose not to afford as the entire industry looks to do more for less. Overnight you’ll see broom closets turn into edit suites. But it’s great. Because creatives get to be even closer to the work. Like, shooting-in-your-kitchen-with-your-wife-holding-the-boom-mic close. So enjoy those budgets. Just don’t allow them to make you complacent.
Oh, and stop calling it TV. Call it content.
And please stop rolling your eyes every time you’re asked to write banners and web copy. Instead, work on as much of that stuff as you can. Not necessarily because they’re the future. But because everybody who’s great at it circa 2005 will end up ruling the world.
And finally, you naively assume most agencies allow you to have an actual life while making great work. Unfortunately, sweatshops will become all the rage for a while as working impossible hours is seen as the secret ingredient to success. One tip here – try to avoid working for agency leaders who don’t have kids. Because guess what? You’re going to have some soon (CONGRATS!!) and your wife and little ones are going to want to see you every once in a while. So remember these are just ads you’re making. Work-life balance may be a lame HR term but it’s the only way to have a long, satisfying career.
Thanks for listening. See you sooner than you think.
And say hi to my thick, lustrous hair for me.
PS. Apple. Google. Netflix. Amazon. Tesla. Zoom.