No. 75, Friday, November 18, 2011
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Over the years we've written, directed and produced hundreds of commercials and films for various clients and we thought we knew what we were doing. Sometimes we did, but more often than not our successes came despite the process, not because of it.
There were always practical considerations that made it difficult to do satisfying film and video work: budgets, deadlines, copy-points, client "rules," "make-the-logo-bigger." You know, compromise. But now that we've spent quite a bit of time working without clients, we've realized something else, something that we've always suspected.
All of the plans, rationales, research and background information we presented to sell ideas to clients over the years were crap. We spent more time and effort justifying a good idea than we ever did executing it. And because of that, we executed our share of crappy ideas too. The things that worked the best were the ones we came up with for ourselves. All the supporting data, and in many cases "the brief" itself, were created after we had the idea.
These days we don't have to answer to anyone and our work is better for it. The approval process on film ideas goes like this: "Maybe we should try this?" "Sounds good."
Two recent films we have made for our Field Notes Brand are examples. There's no listing of product benefits, no starbursts. In these cases, there isn't even any copy. The only rule we have for Field Notes films is "no fiction." Everything else is fair game. We try for a feeling that evokes something about the product and try to do it in an artful, professional way. We're making films we would like to see and we just take it on faith that other people like us will appreciate them.
Here are the two films. One for our fall release, "The Fire Spotter Edition," which sold out in just two days and the second for our new winter release, "The Northerly Edition," which went on sale yesterday.
We like them. We hope you do too. Maybe even enough to buy the product. For us, that's a creative brief we can get behind.
As usual, thanks for paying attention and Happy Thanksgiving.
The Coudal Partners Crew