By Miranda di Carcaci
Cain is Able
As promised, my journey, reflected through each SCA mentor continues…
After Vikki, the next mentor I was fated to meet was Pete. I had just begun my transition from the office ICE queen (a title I gave myself, which neither resonated or caught on with any of my co-workers) to penguin.
My feet had began to web, but I was a far cry from being able to dive between icebergs, avoid orcas or perch on drifting sheets of ice like the rest of my waddle. In fact, having just joined, I was deliriously ignorant of how far behind I even was.
I was jolted out of this ignorance when I proffered a series of half-baked scamps to Pete.
Though I don’t intend to defend the work I produced that day, in fact I can’t even remember what it was (God bless repression), it should be noted that even in the last couple of weeks Pete has not merely shut, but literally burnt down scamps that didn’t meet his discerning standards.
This is related to his unrelenting quest for the perfect proposition, the thread that loops through the eye of the needle in one swoop and once tied goes on to create a rich tapestry.
When he was in the studio his attention was always (and now in his cameo return, still is) clamored for to the extent he had to use a ‘lottery’ system (numbers folded up in an ex-rocky road container) to keep it fair.
The time he was studiously avoided was pre-deadline day, when everyone feared the Achilles heel of their idea would be flicked, and they’d be left, defeated, in the rubble of their good intentions and ‘insights’ now rendered meaningless, having been asked over and over again, ‘But what does is MEAN’.
My learning from this period of negotiating and fretting is two things: 1) Don’t stop until your proposition is as watertight as a mermaid’s brasserie. 2) Don’t let your mind play tricks on you, or lull you into the false sense of security that your idea is good and / or interesting enough for anyone to watch apart from your own mother (tbh she’ll probably check her phone half way through, then lie and say she loved it).
But Pete continues to have a much bigger part in the studio that the shaping, tweaking and shattering of propositions.
In one his first talks he asked everyone to choose an archetype to represent them. He said he was the fool who cries out ‘but he’s wearing nothing at all’ in ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’. The fool’s allowed to speak the truth unpunished as long as they continue to educate and amuse. In the process, we have all learnt from advice only he could give.
My favourite piece to summarise is (on account managers): ‘Try to make it harder for them to say no to you than to the client’, a comment that sometimes being creative isn’t changing your idea but your attitude.