Worry about the what first, if the idea is strong, the how will present itself.

After almost 20 years of screen-printing, I still have yet to acquire a heat curing lamp for when I print t-shirts. I have this bitchin' Hello Kitty hair dryer that works just as well though. What's more important is that I have the ideas.

People who are truly creative are compelled to create, it's what we do, with or without "proper" tools or even an assignment. I frequently remind myself of this as I look around my studio and gripe in my head about not having this piece of equipment or needing a better this or that. Or as I dig through my stack of paper at the last minute and realize that I don't have enough of what I had in mind so I shift to printing on an old stack of vinyl records instead. It's the idea that matters most. If you have no ideas, knowing how to use the tools is pointless unless your interests lie in the production process and taking creative direction from someone. There's nothing wrong with that at all.

This takes me back however to the young designer who griped awhile back about needing their phone to work on an interface design during an analog working session because they had no ideas of their own. Without ideas, the best dev team in the world has nothing to build, photographers have nothing to shoot, printers have nothing to print, etc. 

Back when I was working on the Harley-Davidson Dark Custom campaign and we were brainstorming for the launch video treatment, I had a flash of a daydream then jokingly suggested that we have some biker/skater guys roll up with their boards to skate a half-pipe in an airplane hangar-like club-house out in the middle of the desert. I say "jokingly" because I was inexperienced to the possibilities back then. I thought half-pipe and immediately imagined a real halfpipe and the expense and labor that goes into them. I almost kept my mouth shut thinking "there's no way in hell that will happen our budget is too low" but I decided to throw it out there anyway.

Fast forward a month or two. I'm eating a breakfast burrito at 4 a.m. outside an airplane hangar in Bakersfield, CA. Why? You guessed it, there's a half-pipe that the set crew built the night before in the hangar and our biker/skaters are arriving for the shoot. Granted the ramp was paper thin and to actually skate it would have destroyed it. It didn't matter as none of the cast could skate worth a damn anyway. They were cast for their ability to pilot a motorcycle as that's what we were selling (the idea of biker/skaters) and the half-pipe was simply about setting. What's important is that I didn't worry about "how" and focused on "what" and because of that, the idea was brought to life. Being able to sell the idea through was a whole other matter to consider but regardless, as creative professionals, we can't allow the "how" to dictate the "what." That is exactly what sends good ideas to the grave. Believe that if it's a good idea and you can sell it, people will get behind it and make it happen.

-ST