Thinkers and Makers: In Pursuit of the Divine
When you really look at it, the creative process is a futile one.
Having tapped into the most glorious of ethereal creative thought, we are then tasked with providing it an earthly form. Unfortunately for us, this process strips the previously pure and unblemished intangible of its seemingly divine nature. As Ben Lerner describes, the human world is full of ‘inflexible laws and logic’ leading to a result that is often a mere echo of the original creative thought.
Lerner sums up this process in his book ‘The Hatred of Poetry’: ‘Poetry arises from the desire to get beyond the finite and the historical - the human world of violence and difference - and to reach the transcendent or divine...But as soon as you move from that impulse to the actual poem, the song of the infinite is compromised by the finitude of it’s terms’.
How often have we awoken from a dream state grasping on the remnants of a thought as we try to piece it together into a pastiche of its original form. Perhaps it’s not that we have forgotten the dreams, we simply don’t have the language or ability to represent what can’t be represented.
Now granted, these lofty insights may seem somewhat excessive in the context of selling toilet paper, but I believe the premise can be applied to the broad spectrum of creativity including advertising.
Thinkers Need Makers
However do not despair and let this somewhat bleak realisation demotivate or detract from your noble attempts to produce the aforementioned ‘Creative Echo’.
In fact quite the opposite. Let it spark a contagious desire to seek out the best craftspeople to produce your ‘Creative Echo’ as close to its original form as far as this flawed realm will allow. It’s by engaging with ‘Makers’ at the top of their game that we can increase the chances of creative fulfilment.
Herein lies the importance of the relationship between thinkers and makers; creativity and craft. In the right partnership, the thinker and maker are able to capture and replicate the essence of the thinker's ‘Creative Echo’, in large part thanks to the highly honed craft of the maker.
A good maker is also a curious listener. They’re able to absorb and understand the thinkers intention and apply their unique skill set to the daunting task of bringing it to life. Whether they practice the art of film, photography, illustration, music or experiences, a good maker will have also surrounded themselves with a network of like minded and talented professionals all up to the task of realizing the thinkers and makers vision.
But where does one draw the line between thinkers and makers? The two functions naturally overlap after all, but for the sake of this article we use the terms to refer to the relationship dynamic of one person enlisting the services of a production specialist in the hopes of realising their Creative Echo. For example a director may be a ‘Maker’ to a creative directors ‘Thinker’, yet a DOP or production designer may be a ‘Maker’ to a director’s ‘Thinker’.
To Make Things Worse
Whilst the solution to the Creative Echo conundrum is quite straightforward; to partner with the best possible Makers around, we must also overcome a gauntlet of deadlines, budgets, geography and clients. Unfortunately for us, all of these hurdles strike directly at our attempt to engage with the very Makers we so desperately need.
Thus our search for the perfect thinker/maker partnership became stymied and we reverted to what we know, rather than who we should know. And when we do summon up the courage to venture outside our shortlist of usual suspects, we’re faced with a paradox of choice; an endlessly growing talent pool of Makers screaming for our attention, often pushing us back towards the familiar, tried and tested corner we came from.
Find Your Chisel
So we must be active in our search for the right maker, that perfect chisel who will release our Creative Echo from its surrounding prison of marble.
We are both obliged morally, professionally and financially to search for the best possible makers. If the above limitations then rule out the best possible Makers, you must then find the best possible maker within your search criteria.
From a moral perspective we owe it to our Creative Echo to sift through the sea of mediocrity for the right partner. Having chosen a life in the creative industries, the alternative is to live a life unfulfilled, never fully satiating that inherent need to bring ideas into the world.
Our professional obligation is best summed up by Paul Arden: ‘We are always waiting for the perfect brief from the perfect client. It almost never happens. You’re probably working on a job or project right now and saying, ‘This is boring, let’s just deal with it and get it over with. We’ll make the next one good.’ Whatever is on your desk right now, that’s the one. Make it the best you possibly can.’
Finally there is financial motivation. Competition grows daily and as brands are given access to the same marketing toolkit, it is the execution of creative thought that will be the differentiator when vying for consumers attention. Thus those who accept the futility of the process will be lost in obscurity, whilst those who constantly strive to ‘represent what cannot fully be represented’ will stand victorious, well fed and creatively satisfied.
After all, that toilet paper isn’t going to sell itself now is it?