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Stop Thinking Of Yourself As "The Talent"

In the enterainment world there is this thing called "The Talent." What we mean by calling these people "The Talent," is that these are the folks who are the focus of everyone's attention. "The Talent," Don't have to worry about getting crap done like rigging lights and or setting up cameras or lugging amplifiers. That's not their job. "The Talent" only need to worry about showing up on mark and performing. 

Now often "The Talent" fall victim to the fact that everyone caters to their whims. Peope who think of themselves as "The Talent" can often become shallow and petty. "The Talent" may even have bad behavior and fly into fits of rage when things don't go their way. And in their defense, who can blame them since the entire industry caters to the needs of "The Talent."

The problem for me in advertising, though, is that many of the people in our industry are also called, "The Talent." And just like in the entertainment world, "The Talent" in our industry fall victim to their own press and believe that they really are something special. 

So let's get this out in the open: Advertising is NOT cool. It's a job.

They have cameras. We have cameras. They have craft tables. We have craft tables. I can see the confusion. But just because you are shooting a million dollar commercial, doesn't make you an auteur of great cinema. You're shooting another crappy advertisement. It's the kind of thing that real talent poop on and only do if they have gambling debts to pay off. Of course, you're work may be lucky enough to one day end up on one of those "Great Ads of the Past" shows that the networks pull together during the Summer schedule because the real talent is off in Thailand lounging on a beach somewhere. But most of us will be lucky if anyone even remembers what the commercial was for, let alone that witty bit of dialog you inserted in at the end.

I know some people are simply more important than others in business. It's the way of the world. But advertising could stand a little less of "The Talent" attitude and a lot more of "The Professional" attitude. We need more people with an understanding that what we do is just as much science as it is art. It's artistic, for sure. It's can even be creative. But it's business first and foremost.

I know that's a strange concept, but don't feel alone here. Most other lines of work require people to show up on time, get stuff done on schedule, justify the effectiveness of their work and play well with others. You'll have plenty of good company with the accountants and real estate executives. And who knows? Maybe being professional will actually produce better work. No one ever said that professionalism and creativity couldn't go hand-in-hand. 

Well, maybe someone said that. But I'm pretty sure they're wrong. 

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