Monday, February 2, 2015

My apologies

I learned a lot about life working at Chiat/Day.

I learned about craft.
I learned about commitment.
I learned about unbridled passion.
I learned, or stole from other creatives, how to twist narratives and dig for the unexpected.
I learned about the incredible power generated by a group of talented people all working towards the same goal.

Later, I also came to learn about office politics.
The magical ascension of incompetence™.
And as Jay Chiat presciently predicted, how Creativity can be corrupted when supplanted by the blind pursuit of money.

But the one lesson I learned, perhaps the most important one, came to me in my first week at the old warehouse at 320 Main Street. A turn of phrase that might have been uttered by a senior creative, or more likely, one of the wily broadcast producers on staff.

"It is better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission."

I love this axiom and wish more people would put it to use.

In essence, it's a giant middle finger to those in power, or presume to be in power, and are fond of saying, "No."

It's a way of saying, I will do this the way I want to do this and it will be infinitely better than if I do this the way you want me to do this.

It stems from the philosophy, rightly or wrongly, that we, the art directors and the copywriters who have actually concepted, written and produced award-winning advertising might know a little something more than those who have never created or produced anything, with the exception of an Excel spreadsheet or a planning brief.

"Tone should be friendly, human and convey strong sense of industry innovation and thought leadership."

I still employ this guiding principle. But sadly don't see it evidenced in much of what goes on in today's creative departments.

We need to check with account people.
We need to run this by the CD.
We need to cross off all the boxes on this list of deliverables and go over the 249 page deck once more with a fine-tooth beard comb.

I realize that once again I've drifted into headstrong, cranky 44 year old man speak. I've charged ahead without giving too much thought to what I've said or even the consequences. And I hate that I've become the online embodiment of "get off my lawn."

To which I can only say, "I'm sorry."

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