A few lessons from Spike Jonze

The New York Times has a great article on Spike Jonze. It’s worth reading, because as a creative in advertising, you probably have (or should try to have) a lot in common with him. Here are some excerpts:


Spike is described as chatty but not particularly forthcoming, asking nearly as many questions as he answered.

When he was just starting out, He was always experimenting…climbing on top of something high or hanging out the door of a van or lighting a fire or wrapping somebody in tinfoil and shooting him with flashes.

He didn’t cave into success: Movie offers began pouring in, mostly for studio comedies like a sequel to “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” but Jonze rejected them one after another.

And Spike knows what it’s like to have a project compromised: TriStar had been pressuring him to make the [Harold and the Purple Crayon] script jokier, he said, and he’d given in to the point where he barely recognized his own work. “I realized only then that it happens millimeter by millimeter,” he told me. “If you compromise what you’re trying to do just a little bit, you’ll end up compromising a little more the next day or the next week, and when you lift your head you’re suddenly really far away from where you’re trying to go.

And ultimately killed: Two months before principal photography was scheduled to start [on Harold and the Purple Crayon], TriStar pulled out…There’d been a regime change at the studio and Jonze’s vision was a bit too ‘bold’ for the new executives.

Let the wild rumpus start.

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