It is absolutely vital that you believe in the products or services your clients ask you to help them sell. You must ‘eat the dogfood’.
I did a project for a credit card company. I didn’t have much experience with them, so I took out a credit card with their company.
A sports drink company wanted us to help them re-brand. I drank an awful lot of their drinks.
A sunglasses company wants a video- guess what? I bought a pair to try out. On my own dime.
If a client is trusting you to market their product, you absolutely MUST find a personal connection to their product. You need to use it. You need to believe in it. Otherwise, you’re a liar and the work will suck.
Well, who are you?
I really wanna know
Tell me, who are you?
‘Cause I really wanna know
– The Who
Something interesting happens when you become successful. Which, sometimes, happens really fast. A whole lot of doors open. Opportunities you’d not have been considered for in the past become possibilities. It’s a heady feeling, like a wavefront of cool wind that you swear you could almost fly upon.
This sudden realization that you can have or do almost anything has its downside, though. That cool wind can become a hurricane, blowing you off course and into places you really shouldn’t go. Unlimited opportunities combined with lack of vision can rip you apart and bury you as surely as not having enough opportunity can.
I’m in that spot right now, where I have been presented with what feels like unlimited opportunities. It feels like everyone wants to work with me. And I appreciate that, having been though times when it felt like nobody wanted to. And I have learned, that to ensure that I don’t get blown around by the hurricane of good fortune, I need to look at each opportunity and ask questions like ‘is this a good project for me, does it take advantage of my strengths as a director/writer/producer?’ ‘Does it offer me something beyond the money it would bring?’ ‘Is it a cause I believe in?’ ‘Is it a project that would be high-profile?’ ‘Is the client someone with whom I could work long hours?’ ‘And will this project interfere with me having a life, in the meantime?’.
Lots of questions, and to honestly answer these questions, I need to be incredibly self-aware. I need to know who I am. Everything flows from that. It’s the best way I’ve found that helps me, when things get real, figure out which way the true wind blows.