Quarter 1, Week 2, Clarence Bradley: ACD/Writer at 22Squared
“You cannot call yourself a creative person and be a basic bitch.” #preach
Clarence Bradley (who is ridiculously engaging and I could have listened to him speak for another 2 hours) laid it out for us like this: Basic bitches make basic advertising. Scratch that. Basic bitches make basic art.
Beyond making ads, (which in reality is just something creative people do to exercise their creative muscles and make money to support their creative endeavors) creativity cannot endure in a person who does not venture beyond the piece of the world they live in. That doesn’t mean you can’t wear Uggs and drink pumpkin spice lattes and “love fall,” just maybe throw in a few trips to Chinatown by yourself, or go to that Puerto Rican street festival as well. Make a conscious effort to talk to, engage with, experience, taste, listen to and touch things and people. Yes. Touch people, physically and emotionally. Be aware and take it in, absorb it, never assume you know what a person means or where they are coming from. I guarantee you, you don’t. This will allow you create work that goes beyond “solid” and ventures into “good” or even “great.”
“Solid” work, according to Bradley, is work that is generally like-able, can be acknowledged as an ad, but does little else. It’s basic. Your mom will like it. It’s references are to other ads or public domain, easy to understand pop-culture. A book of solid work will get you a job, make you a lot of money, even get you promoted, but it won’t win any awards, it won’t inspire anyone, and it will barely be remembered 10 seconds after it airs.
“Good” work is a step up. Good work requires thought. Good work offers a fresh perspective and invokes #allthefeels in viewers and jealousy in other ad peeps. Good work might wins some awards, but good is still not great.
“Great” work is full of layers, and reveals itself the more you see it. Great work is memorable, well thought out, carefully and meticulously executed. Great work attracts people. Most importantly, great work is what makes you proud to be a part of this industry.
To bump up your work from solid to good, even great, aside from practicing your craft, Bradley laid out some tips. (We circus freaks love tips.) Here they are:
- Read more – read things that interest you. Doesn’t have to be Hemingway or Faulkner. Just read for christ’s sake! Read!
- Constantly be making things – Your creative muscles will develop atrophy. Exercise them.
- Surround yourself with people who are better than you
- Study others work habits
- Discover your weaknesses. Strengthen them. – As millennials and young creatives we get really attached to our work and defensive when it is criticized. We tend to blame others and have a “me first” attitude. Those are weaknesses. Lets strengthen them.
- Listen when other people are talking. Be open to their words and experiences. – Like i said earlier, never assume you know where someone is coming from. Even people you know really really well. You don’t know, trust me, and assuming you do know shuts you off from a whole realm of insight and perspective.
- Ask questions
- Don’t complain
- Never be satisfied.
Bottom line: experience all you can as much as you can as often as you can. Don’t be afraid of people who are not like you. Embrace, nay, seek out difference and change. Don’t be a #basicbitch.
Well there you have it. Another delightful installment of #FridayForum.