Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Street Creative

This topic has been covered by Scamp very good. I'd like to share my thoughts on it anyway since I'm in this situation right now.

It's tough. Choosing a new creative partner is difficult. You kind of know what you want, and what you don't. You meet a lot of diverse people, you do some trial working. Some stuff is good, some isn't. There are so many elements to it. First, it seems easy to find someone you get along with. It's much harder to find someone who you great work with. I think a good partner should be able to teach you a thing or two, and the other way round as well.

On one hand you want someone different than you, but then you need to be on the same level when it comes to liking certain ideas. Discussing and arguing is cool, when there is an agreement at some point. How different can you be? How similar should you be? It seems to be a rather difficult balance act. But to get that sweet spot right is crucial.

Having a partner who shares the same view on great advertising, is that good? Do you go with someone you do smart work with, or work that is more creative and 'different'. It all depends on where you want to end up agency wise.

Taking enough time for that process is important. Don't get me wrong, you shouldn't be sitting around for months and waiting for the perfect match to come along – always keep working. Work with as many people as possible, get the big picture. Be proactive.

Another point currently discussed with many of my friends, does the old formula or art director + copywriter still work? What about two art directors? Isn't that very helpful if you're going above the line where execution has to stand out and not much writing is necessary? Can art directors write headlines? Yes they can. Can they do it as good as a writer? It depends. I'm very curious about opinions on that.

Frankly, once you've been working with someone for a certain time and then you're on your own, it's kind of fun. But it gets boring after a while and you see the point in having someone on your creative side again.

In the end, it's all down to your gut feeling. A person who listens to you, and you like to listen to, is very valuable. Someone who is able to inspire you, is as well. It's and endless topic. Share your thoughts if you like.

Let's see where the creative partner search takes me in the end. I'm curious. It's exciting. Change is good.


proxikid said...

A wise man once said (sorry girls, it's almost always a man), this is work and you should go with someone you do good work with rather than someone you simply like. At the end of the day, you are not in this business to build friendships (though it's nice) but to build a strong portfolio and do some fantastic work that you could feel proud of.
And when it comes to 'smart' or 'different', well, what do You like?

Anonymous said...

I think it's a matter of trial and error, it's good to know what you want from a partner, in fact it helps a lot - and you should instinctively know if it's right.

Creativity is not a science, and finding a partner to work along side also is not. No matter how much planning, how much effort you put it, there's a huge element of chance. There may be a number of people you can work with, but with varying degrees of success - you may never know if it's the best it could be... To a certain extent, does it matter? (bit philosophical)

As for two art directors, or oppositely two writers working together - why not. I've certainly worked successfully alongside another writer. I think we all have an ability to perform the other role, it's all part of the same process of creating ideas. An idea involves both words and images, you think in both - it wouldn't work any other way. So, an art director can certainly come up with good lines, and a writer draw/scamp/art direct also.

Saying all this, i don't think the industry is ready for a team of two art directs/writers - it's a bit stuck in it's ways, which is very restricting and uncreative. Only once you break into the industry is this really possible, by then you tend to be in a traditional team, so the desire to push for this to become an option fades away.

Theres so much you can debate and talk about with this subject though, which is definitely a good thing :)

Best of luck with your book crit tomorrow - where is it at? or you want to keep it under wraps? Let us know how it goes, and good luck with your search for your partner (an AD or CW)

Anonymous said...

Difference is good. What would be the point in partnering with someone else who thinks the same way as you?

As long as you find someone you can sit opposite for many hours each day, and are aiming in the same direction career wise then I think you're ok.

Opposites attract as they say, surely this also applies to a working partnership also...

Anonymous said...

The best thing i ever heard was 'there is no perfect team partner for anyone.'

As juniors i think it's best just to work with someone who is committed. That means turning up on time, always willing to put in the extra hours and showing ur face for drinks even if your tired or don't even drink!

Although it would be nice if you got on, there are no 'for life' tags attatched to each other. Your main goal at this stage is just to get your first job, worry about the quality of your work first and friendship later.

The idea of 2 writers/art directors, is an interesting one. Personally it seems that being teamed up with anyone who hasn't done a traditional advertising course generally benefits you nowadays.

However being the best junior art director in the world won't get you anywhere if you can't write crappy tactical ads in half an hour. I think it's unwise to work without a copywriter who wasn't native to the language of the country you want to work in.

Adsurd said...

Rules are to be rewritten and lines to be redrawn.. we are here to break the rules even if you team up with a priest what matters is a big idea. Some skills needed, but in the end you'll never work alone. An agency has so many people that can do so many things. GOOOOOODDD LUCK TOMORROW!

Anonymous said...

"Street Creative?" I was always pretty good with Ryu, and my Sagat wasn't too shabby.

I'm a writer and I've worked at four different agencies in my fairly young career, and only had a partner at one of them. It was wonderful to have that one partner. She was committed, hard working, crazy talented and above all for me, a joy to work with. We're not partners anymore, but we still get together for lunch sometimes and bash out ideas that have been giving us problems at our respective shops.

I do think it's harder for a partnerless writer than an AD. Maybe that's why I've leaned more towards radio; it's the one thing a writer can do sans partner.

Anonymous said...

Hm! Ponder...

arunchakkravarthy said...

I feel its beeter to have people with same thoughts and ideas, where both could create a great work out of it. 'coz sharing is important in everything and it is not a relationship, it is all the mental balance that matters. but as u said it is also good to work with many people and make ourselves broad and proactive, but there won't be a stability than working with a partner. art director + copywriter can only create a good child(ad).

Anonymous said...

great opinions & comments here, thanks a lot. They help me a lot.

I think I need to completely decide that I'm an art director, and that I need a writer. Not just a creative partner. It still feels very restrictive...

It's a tempting thought to get a partner from outside the industry, it could be a benefit. Maybe.

In the end, no theory can help, it just has to feel good, right?

Anonymous said...

Exactly - it has to feel right.

I think distinguishing the roles, what each person concentrates on i.e. AD or CW. Deciding a team is the best thing for you is also very important. You might do better freelancing or working with many people on different briefs throughout an agency.

Anonymous said...

What's most important is the quality of your relationship.

A partner must be as passionate and as happy to buy into, add to, edit and thrash around your ideas as their own, can spot a great idea and burn burn a bad one in equal measure (AND vice versa for you).

Maybe it's just me but when this happens it's hard not to get matey.

If you're at each others throats it makes projecting ideas more stressful than thinking of them. I've never found this as productive.

As for roles, it's what suits you.

It only gets restrictive for me when I'm pigeon-holed - 'he does the copy'.

I'm a 'writer' and float between two art directors/designers and we often play out all the roles from designer, art director to writer.

Sometimes it's even a solo effort but we're all cool with that and we never know what will happen each time!

Of course I know others who are purists and it works for them too.

I just wouldn't mix the purist with the multi-skilled.

Anonymous said...

thats a really good point, not mixing a purist and multi-skilled, it doesnt make sense. i'd love to have the freedom to work with different people on different projects, that sounds ideal. it's just too hard in london to get into a decent agency on your own.
the uk is the only place i know of where you have to be a team. in all other countries its the norm to be a ad or cw and switch around. london is all about fixed partners (for the beginning at least). thats good, and bad.

if you are a solo creative there are 30 teams wanting the same placement/job as you, agencies tend to go for the teams.

Anonymous said...

That's very true - it doesn't matter how good your work is for 99% of the time - agencies don't generally see beyond the traditional team, and will go for that over the different i.e. a solo creative.

It can be done though. i know of a few solo creatives of each discipline get jobs. If you'd rather work with many people rather than a fixed team, then it's probably better to do that from now. You'll only find it frustrating in a team, you might be able to work through that - I don't know.

it is strange how London particularly insists on teams. As you say elsewhere doesn't, who knows why?

Good luck with the job hunt, whether in a team or pursuing that role on your own.

Anonymous said...

I think the purists/mixed thought is really true!

As for getting hired on your own, it'd be great. BUT. From the agency's point of view, it makes a hell of alot of sense to hire teams already together. Why should they fanny about trying to find you a team partner when you're at such a junior level and you could do it yourself?

Anonymous said...

Just get a job then you can start questioning the deep and meaningful!

Anonymous said...

"just get a job..." that sounds easy, but it's not. I also believe that just getting a job won't solve any problems. You have to find a job where you like to be, I m not talking about a crazy creative hotshop, this is reserved for later when you learned enough. But a place where you have someone to learn from and look up to.

Anonymous said...

Priorities: (there is only 1) Get a job. Some very useful advice, ‘Who cares where, as long as you’re being paid to come up with ideas’

Anonymous said...

Can I ask why it must be a team. Wouldn't it work to 'get a job' as a lone creative and vary partners for each brief.

Why would you then HAVE to be teamed up? It's not necessary to work in a team, but can be restrictive.

Surely getting a job 'anywhere' won't work, if you want a career and to be successful surely you need to be in an agency that'll help you develop your skills, want you to improve, produce great work and also want you to succeed.

If you go anywhere, you could end up trapped sort of speak, you can end up not developing, wasting time and be in as difficult position if not worse trying to move jobs.