Since my early days as an adman, I’ve been a creative catalyst in one capacity or another.
As a director you’re being parachuted into a situation where there are many interests at play - often conflicting ones. You’re an outsider tasked with focusing the overall effort on the integrity of the project - the core of the idea, so to speak. You have to surround yourself with the best people, inspire them, and make things flow to ensure the execution of the script is flawless. At the same time you have to deal with all the production departments, the agency, the client, the talent - all the stakeholders in short.
Directing involves a great deal of managerial skills. In fact, if you’ve done the work properly, very little directing actually goes on during a shoot: at that point all decisions have been made, and you can focus on the experience, allow intuition to take over, take advantage of the small accidents and coincidences that can often make a great performance, a great shot, or an improvised moment that brings something fresh and unexpected.
My background as a creative, and my directing experience have given me the opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented professionals in the creative and production fields. In doing so, I have learnt that my role is to see projects through from start to finish, acting as the link that holds everything together with a common goal: making the best of the experience.
The same is true about longer term projects that involve creating or recreating a brand: as Creative Director for NBC News at TODAY, I led a creative department that redefined, elevated, and brought the TODAY brand to its rightful place: the number one name in morning news.
In just a little over two years, our work was nominated for three Emmy Awards, collected one, won Gold at Promax a number of times, and helped TODAY achieve an unprecedented run in the ratings - leading in the key demographic for one hundred straight weeks.
The business results and recognition sure are satisfying. The more substantial satisfaction though comes from transforming an entire department and making the TODAY brand a source of pride for the creatives, writers, producers, CGI artists and editors working on it.
Whether it be digital, experiential, virtual, or hard media, every creative endeavor is an organic process that is constantly evolving.
As my mentor Paul Arden would say, don’t wait until you have a perfect idea: run with what you have and perfect it along the way. To do that, though, you need to have a goal, and somebody needs to steer the process towards that goal from start to finish. You can’t do it from the top down. You have to get your hands dirty and do the work.
That’s what I do. And it delivers eyeballs and results.