Despite what the makers of Lego movie would have us believe, “Everything is not awesome”. In fact, thinking that you are awesome or rather that your work is awesome, tends to be a recipe for disaster.
Let me explain.
When I first started my career as a video editor I was enthralled with the world of video editing. Honestly I would wake up most mornings and hardly believe that this was my job. (I would even have dreams about my AVID timeline. Sad but true.) I got paid to edit video. It didn’t matter what I was editing: corporate videos, music videos, interviews, local television commercials I really didn’t care what it was I saw each project as an extension of my creative expression.
However, this passion for video editing seemed to create some roadblocks for me. I often found myself frustrated arguing with my clients over the reasons why I chose certain shots or why the music needed to be a certain way or why the video really didn’t NEED to be cut down or the graphics change, etc etc. I found myself saying things like “they are destroying the integrity of the piece”. I felt like I was this independent filmmaker arguing with the studio who just gave him money to produce his life’s dream.
This went on for years. I would pour my heart into projects and clients would crush my sweet little dreams with each ensuing conference call. It’s funny now but this pattern left me jaded and frustrated.
However, over time my perspective began to change. I began to realize that I was measuring the wrong thing. I was measuring success in the wrong way. I was seeing my projects only through my eyes rather than through the eyes of my clients. It reminds me of being a brand new parent who just had their first kid. Everything my kid did was amazing and special (even if it was boring and very not special) Every video was this perfect snowflake, that was unique and perfect in it’s own way. So, I really didn’t want someone telling me that it needed to change. I spent time on these projects, I thought about them, I planned it them out, I poured my heart and soul into each one and I was constantly asked to change it. Change my art.
So what happened? How did I change?
After a few years I was fortunate enough to work in a very critical production environment. After joining this team I was incredibly frustrated because everything I did, every decision I made was under the microscope. Every edit, music selection and creative decision was critiqued. If it didn’t have a purpose it got cut. If it didn’t have a reason it was redone. While, I found this process painful it began to open my eyes to a new concept “Everything I did was NOT awesome.”
Fortunately or unfortunately this is something that I’ve carried with me over the years. I think this is a difficult tension for anyone who gets paid to create art. It’s hard to be constantly putting yourself and your ideas out there. It can be discouraging and physically draining if you find yourself missing the mark or constantly having to make adjustments to your vision. From the first day we opened the doors of Between Pixels I was determined to try and solve this problem.
Over the years in order to reduce our margin of error and general team frustration we’ve develop a protocol or a checklist to help keep things in balance. In the next post we’ll explore 5 practices to help avoid these frustrations and protect client satisfaction.