“To take responsibility for everything…. That’s hard going. It doesn’t seem like it, of course, but it’s hard going if you care about it.
That’s what hard means. It’s an expression of how much you care about the result.”
– Hugh Laurie
An actor talking about how difficult his job can be isn’t always the most edifying experience.
As with advertising, ‘no-one died’ should be sufficient to puncture any self-importance.
But Hugh Laurie is the most awkwardly self-deprecating performer in the world and there’s something about his definition of difficulty (from his experience working on House) that rings true for our world as much it does his.
(Read the full interview at the Guardian here),
If anything starts to feel too easy in advertising it’s probably because either we’ve already done it loads of times, or because we’ve started to care a little less about the result.
Or perhaps both. Maybe they are the same thing.
It’s often easy, too, to assume that someone else, somewhere, is caring about it more than you.
Or at least caring about their bit.
But that’s not always true.
I’ve found lately that the people I want to work with most are the ones who care about the stuff that’s nothing to do with them.
Because that’s not just busybody-ness.
That’s giving a shit.
It’s the mark of someone, I think, who has a vision.
A vision of the project, rather than just an understanding of their role within in it.
They have a sense of responsibility of how the whole thing should turn out, not just the constituent parts they’re directly responsible for.
This isn’t a function of seniority, or even how ‘central’ their discipline is deemed to be.
These are simply the people who make life hard for themselves because they care more than they have to.
They are people who represent the future of agencies.
Because the future of agencies is made of people who are more than excellent practitioners.
They are people who transcend disciplines such that they see projects as representative of something bigger.
They believe sufficiently in something to to see a project through its necessary resistance: conventional thinking, departmental interests, outdated measures.
Or just the fact that it hasn’t been done loads of times.
That can be hard going.
But the best people care more than most about the result because they know what the real result is.