In Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This! Luke Sullivan reminds us that it takes just as long to make a bad commercial as it does to make a good commercial. Whether it’s a brilliant, shining idea or a dripping wad of hair and toe jam, you’re still going to have to do storyboards for it. And present it to the client. And walk through a director through the idea. And sit through a pre-pro. And sit in video village. And edit. And revision after revision after revision.
So don’t cut corners on the idea. Make the idea solid. Because even if the client strips away your very best shots, and makes you change the music you love, and doesn’t want to pay $1 million for the celebrity voiceover, you’ll still have a strong idea.
If you spent the time to uncover it.
I’m starting a series of posts that ask a simple question: “If you could go back in time to when you were starting out in this business, what one thing would you tell your younger self?”
For the first one, I asked Luke Sullivan the question. Luke is an incredibly talented, wise, respected and beloved writer and creative director. He’s the author of the canonical Hey Whipple, Squeeze This! He currently teaches and chairs the advertising department at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Here’s what Luke said:
“The one thing I wish I coulda done different when I was a young ad geek, is to have shut up and listened more. Even if you’re fairly talented, just behave like like an apprentice oughta and learn from the journeymen and masters who surround you. I would tell me to quit gettin’ so bent out of shape every time one of your ideas gets axed. Deal with it. That’s how it is in every creative business. 98% of everything you ever come up with will die. The answer is to deal with it, shut up, sit down and come up with another idea. As they say, the best revenge is a better ad.”
Most of you probably already subscribe to Luke’s blog. But for those who haven’t discovered it yet, here’s a great piece:
One of the best pieces of creative advice I was ever given.
And yes, Anne Lamontt’s Bird by Bird is a fantastic creative help. Almost as much as Luke’s book.