By Lauren Peters
You are a creative
So you want to be a creative? Wrong. You are a creative. The moment you start thinking about becoming a creative, you’ll be one. Now go make yourself a business card.
Is essentially what Robert Rodriguez said in his ‘Ten Minute Film School’, a video recommended to us by Gus Guerrero a couple of weeks ago having flown 1 hour and 40 minutes across the North Sea.
Although only 10 minutes long, the video touched on some important points, points worth sharing I think.
- If you’re creative and technical, you’re unstoppable. We’re all creative since we’ve surpassed the ‘I think I’ll become a creative’ stage (see above). Sadly, being creative isn’t enough in this industry. We must learn to be technical too. If we don’t learn to be technical, we’ll become dependent on those that are. And whilst we’ll probably end up somewhere, it won’t be far.
- Mistakes for one person are art for another. Creativity is subjective. So when we make a mistake (be it on paper or on stage) we should run with it. Our shortcomings will be perceived as artistic expression by someone, and that someone may just be on the hunt for new blood. Gus’s mantra ‘failure is fuel’ has never been more appropriate.
- Take stock of what you have. This is paramount, especially given what Ivan said a couple of weeks ago about the decline of advertising budgets. It’s all too easy to make excuses for why we can’t do something. ‘I can’t find the right image online’ / ‘I don’t own a camera’. We must work with what we’ve got. We’ve always got more than we think. If your dad owns a pub, make an ad about a pub. If your grandma owns a nursing home, make an ad about a nursing home. Do you have a pet snake named Linda? Great. Make an ad about a snake named Linda. When Rodriguez made El Marachi he had a turtle, a guitar case and a small town. Whilst big production companies produce polished work, they have too much equipment, too stable a camera stand, often resulting in a lack of movement, energy and authenticity. Where possible, we should add life to our work by getting rid of the fancy stuff. We must learn to rely on our hands. That’s what they’re for.
- Visualise your ad. It pays to create a blank canvas. Sit there and look at your ad. Shut your eyes and stare at your ad, picture for picture, word for word. Look at your ad. Does it make sense? Would you stop to look at it? Is it funny? Does it need to be? Look at your ad and write down everything you see. Now go and make it.
Gus uses anything and everything he can get his hands on to make stuff. Lots of stuff. Lots of really cool stuff. As he rightly says: ‘work is the sum of the influences you choose’. I have chosen Rodriguez as an influence and hope my work will be a reflection of his teachings.
10 minutes is enough to influence somebody somewhere, Rodriguez is evidence of that. I’ve just saved you 10 minutes elaborating on a video you now don’t need to watch (although I’d highly recommend you do). How will you spend your influence?