From Gene Wilder to Mel Stuart, director of Willie Wonka.
It's pretty much the clearest, most respectful but sharpest creative feedback I've ever read.
Strong point of view, but respectful of his partners.
I've just received the costume sketches. I'll tell you everything I think, without censoring, and you take from my opinion what you like.
I assume that the designer took his impressions from the book and didn't know, naturally, who would be playing Willy. And I think, for a character in general, they're lovely sketches.
I love the main thing — the velvet jacket — and I mean to show by my sketch the exact same color. But I've added two large pockets to take away from the svelt, feminine line. (Also in case of a few props.)
I also think the vest is both appropriate and lovely.
And I love the same white, flowing shirt and the white gloves. Also the lighter colored inner silk lining of the jacket.
What I don't like is the precise pin pointing in place and time as this costume does.
I don't think of Willy as an eccentric who holds on to his 1912 Dandy's Sunday suit and wears it in 1970, but rather as just an eccentric — where there's no telling what he'll do or where he ever found his get-up — except that it strangely fits him: Part of this world, part of another. A vain man who knows colors that suit him, yet, with all the oddity, has strangely good taste. Something mysterious, yet undefined.
I'm not a ballet master who skips along with little mincy steps. So, as you see, I've suggested ditching the Robert Helpmann trousers. Jodhpurs to me belong more to the dancing master. But once elegant now almost baggy trousers — baggy through preoccupation with more important things — is character.
Slime green trousers are icky. But sand colored trousers are just as unobtrusive for your camera, but tasteful.
The hat is terrific, but making it 2 inches shorter would make it more special.
Also a light blue felt hat-band to match with the same light blue fluffy bow tie shows a man who knows how to compliment his blue eyes.
To match the shoes with the jacket is fey. To match the shoes with the hat is taste.
The following post is an adaptation of an email to my colleagues at work based on a great article forwarded to us by our awesome colleague Mark Avnet, Dean of 360iU, former head of the Creative Technology track at VCU's Brandcenter and all-around guru (as well as musician)
This is the link Mark sent around from Forbes. Here's a shortened link for those of you reading this on Facebook: http://is.gd/DiQsef
Go read it.
Now that you have, you should know one thing before we start: male mosquitos don't bite.
And, the point that I made to my colleagues is that unfortunately for those of us who do what we do to create a new part of our somewhat moribund industry this: most of the ideas that our clients and most business managers in general want to buy don't have a bite either.
Here's part of the reason why.
A lot of businesspeople (especially on the corporate level, not just marketing) are incentivized to MITIGATE risk, not CREATE risk (it's why they pay their lawyers more than they pay us). Yes they want revenue growth, but they want steady revenue even more.
Risk creates reward (yay!) but it also creates uncertainty, and possibly failure (boo!). Those of us who are on the creative idea production end of the business do a lot to train ourselves to be more creative.
But what do we do to help our clients and partners through risk? We need to consider risk more when we evaluate our ideas and how clients are doing so. (Roger Martin has a lot to say about how to create a culture amenable to risk, and how risk is really necessary in his book The Design of Business)
So how can we encourage decisions that will be, although good, risky?
70% resources in a low risk, highly brand relevant environment,
20% resources in a high risk, highly brand relevant environment,
10% resources into highly risky relevant initiatives, being brand new ideas that celebrate failures and successes
So, in other words, I don't think you can fight the psychological bias against creativity.
What we can do, however, is give people enough reassurance that what we're doing isn't COMPLETELY risky. Just saying "just think of what you'll miss if you don't make a bet on this idea' OR 'because it's fu**ing kool" isn't enough.
It's why we write POVs. By defining new trends or technology, we make them a little less risky.
It's why we show ideas and create comps. This is why we push our design skills as an agency. When we SHOW people an idea and involve them in it, it immediately becomes less risky. Especially when it looks great.
It's why strategy needs to tell a story, not just a collection of facts. Stories help explain new ideas in a way that feels comfortable and relatively safe.
We don't have to create a false sense of security, but putting new ideas in context and showing how they might work, how they might come to life creates an atmosphere of trust where creativity of any kind can take root and perhaps even flourish.