By thesanfranciscoegotist / /
A couple of months before all hell broke loose in March, I started a new gig. Perfect timing. I left my cozy Aeron at Venables Bell + Partners and took the elevator down to Lumberyard (VB+Ps production house) to head up creative and help drive new business. I was forced to learn a lot quickly, but I also got to relearn a lot of the things that made me love this business in the first place.
I learned to love small budgets and fast timelines again. I began my career at creative boutiques where money and time were short, and it was so fun and formative. We never stopped making stuff, and we got it done despite the limitations. I didn’t realize how much I missed that. Working on big campaigns with big budgets can be great, but it also takes months of meetings, handwringing, and preparing countless decks. Now I’m working on projects that can take a week or two from start to finish. It’s a different kind of busy, but I love it.
I’ve learned how much I missed being hands-on. I’m writing more, directing a little, set decorating if need be and learning so much from the talented editors, producers and creators around me. I even did some actual puppeteering for a shoot. And I’m normally not down with puppets at all because they are terrifying.
I learned that remote work is really working. It’s not perfect and we’ll need to get back to seeing each other in person to touch base and connect. But I think a really interesting hybrid will emerge. I hope companies can embrace that. They may have to.
I learned that we still need to laugh. During every national crisis, most brands get real serious. It’s reflexive, and I get it. But we are also humans, and most of us can find a laugh even in the darkest times. After months of seeing “pandemic” advertising, I perked up when I saw a herd of Motaurs stampeding through a canyon, thanks to the good folks at Arnold. What a breath of fresh air. More of that, please.
I learned that I have so much more to learn about social justice in this country and diversity in our industry.
I learned that I like being around my family 24/7. Who knew? I love working away knowing my kids will soon slink by in the background of my Zoom meetings like imperious cats on the hunt for snacks.
I learned that for all our self-loathing, this industry is full of kind, funny, committed and empathetic people. They are the ones helping their friends find jobs. Demanding more diversity. Caring about each other’s mental health. Despite the occasional charlatan, the holding company octopi and, ugh, procurement, there is a lot of good around us if we choose to notice.
I also learned that 2021 can’t come fast enough.
Tyler Hampton is Head of Creative at Lumberyard Productions