Okay, so a job position in the creative department opens up.
On one hand, I wanna hire only the most techno-geeked-out, mobile-ready, code-slinging web brat I can find.
On the other hand, I want to hire a writer or an art director who knows how to take a blank sheet of paper and make something interesting and beautiful happen.
The place where these two skills overlap is the sweet spot. The ones who can do both of these things are the creatives of the future.
As for us creatives here in the present? What can we do to align ourselves with reality right now?
For now, I find myself pushing either group towards the middle. Pushing traditional creatives to use, study, and learn the emerging technologies. And pushing digital creatives to learn how to create things that are delightful and conceptual on paper; things that are still cool even before any coding happens.
I’ll use myself as an example.
Having come up in this business during the ‘80s and ‘90s, I think I’m probably pretty good at looking at a brand brief, figuring out the single most important thing to say, and then making something interesting happen: in print, on TV, outdoor or radio. I kinda know what I’m doing there.
But I won’t kid myself. I’m still a digital immigrant, probably with a heavy old-world accent even the guys at the corner deli couldn’t understand. Yet I am not content to sit on Ellis Island wondering what delights await discovery on the new digital shores. I’m swimmin’ across. Meaning, I stay very busy learning everything I can.
I am busy actually using the new media. I am busy reading about it. I am busy blogging about it, tweeting about it, and watching “webinars” (I still can’t say that word with a straight face) – online seminars broadcast from cool places like Boulder Digital Works. I read Edward Boches’ blog (the guy’s brill). And Boches’s’s site is just one of the websites I visit regularly to find inspiration and education. (The list is over there to the right). When I can talk my company into paying for it (they came through big-time on SxSW) I attend seminars and conferences in person. All of this so I can learn the new media, experience the new technologies, and help take my agency’s brands out into the world to meet its customers.
I do all this hoping my self-guided education will push me towards that sweet spot in the middle.
I’d probably start by studying the print of the ‘80s Fallon McElligott, I’d watch the TV of the ‘90s Goodby, and understand how they tell an integrated story at today’s Crispin. I’d learn how to write a headlines as good as the work Abbott Meade Vickers did for The Economist. I’d learn how to say something really provocative in a 10-word headline. I’d learn how to tell an interesting story in 30 seconds.
I’d push myself towards the middle.
Ultimately, for an open job position in the creative department, I’ll hire someone who is – drum roll – creative. But the tie’s gonna go to the person who can express creativity over the widest variety of media.
That’s just my two cents. (Or to borrow from that stupid Second Life thing) that’s just my two Linden dollars.
(Seriously, it’s okay to roll your eyes. Not everything digital is great.)