Things I wish I'd known before becoming a creative

By Mac Nixon

Establishing Shot

2 min read

Sept 22, 2022

Hey, I’m Mac. I’m one of the creatives here at Storm & Shelter, and these are a few things I’d wish I’d known before starting.

Not every piece of advice is going to be right for you. 

When you first start your career, it can often feel like you’re drowning in a mass of words of wisdom, and conflicting advice. And the real challenge can be understanding which one to listen to.

I’m not saying all advice, or all words of wisdom are bad. 

Great advice can be invigorating. It can be inspiring. It can give you the kick up the arse that you need. 

It’s always worth remembering that there’s one voice that you could always, always trust and that’s your gut. 

It’s going to tell you when that job offer isn’t quite right for you. And they’re going to have fluttery feelings of excitement and fear telling you that, yeah, this is scary, but this is going to be right for you. 

When in doubt, listen to the butterflies.

It doesn't have to be either/or

When I graduated from film school, I left feeling like I only had two options in front of me. 

I could either go off and become a serious artistic filmmaker and make works of importance or I could sell out and go make money and buy a flat and have a house and do all those things that society often tells you that you should do.

But it’s only till recently, only until a couple of years ago, in fact, that I understood that’s bull****. 

There is a world that exists in which you can have an artistic voice and produce commercial work. That you can be making really creative pieces of work and still making money and putting a roof over your head. 

The client's a collaborator, not an obstacle.

You’ve just sent off those exciting creative ideas to the client and you think it’s the best work you’ve ever produced. And when they come back with a bunch of nos and a bunch of negativity it can leave you feeling dejected. 

The role of a creative in the commercial world is to provide a creative voice for the brand, and nobody knows that brand better than the client. So work with them, not against them. 

Go in expecting notes

When you’re making artistic work that comes with subjectivity, and subjectivity means thoughts.

Client’s thoughts. Lots of clients’ thoughts. 

I’m talking about bosses, their bosses, their bosses’  bosses’ bosses. 

It can be overwhelming If you can change that mindset and look at it from a new angle and walk in expecting a thousand notes, you’re going to be far better equipped in responding to those thoughts objectively.

The scariest thing is having no notes and having that big thumbs up and the plus side with a thousand notes, at least it means they watched it. 

Get the balance right

When I started my career, I had tunnel vision. I was overly ambitious and overly driven. 

I thought I had to give all of my energy, all of my focus onto that one thing of wanting to make movies, of wanting to direct commercials and everything else; My friends, my family, my social life, it was easy to see them as a distraction. 

It was only when I took those blinkers off and started connecting with the people around me did I realise that that stuff not only doesn’t dilute your creativity it can help strengthen it. 

I hope you found my ramblings helpful. And until next time, remember, stay classy, San Diego.

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