Creativity is Personal

Collaboration. Team. In-person. Brainstorm. Meeting. Session. Retreat.

All words that were figuratively “masked” courtesy of the pandemic. And we all found ourselves talking within tiny boxes on laptops and cellphones across the world. A novelty at first that grew old, but a necessity.

So imagine my pure delight when AgileCat was able to schedule actual video productions for brand videos for two very different clients — one a regional powerhouse law firm and the other a global chemical and life sciences company. And to make more things wonderfully hectic, filming would be done on back-to-back days.

As the CEO & Chief Creative Officer at the agency, though I’ve been at the helm for 20+ years since founding the business, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I woke up on day one of filming with a flurry of butterflies on a roller coaster. Did I still have the ability to walk into a room and — along with Erin Needham, our longtime Vice President of Creative — essentially “orchestrate” our production team, writers, managers, and of course clients who typically aren’t used to having the lens turned on them?

This question was answered the minute my wingtips (Imagine! And a blazer even!) were on site at the offices. In many ways it felt like the early days. It all felt so new and exciting. Naturally, we had all necessary safety protocols in place with masking, etc., but I had no doubt that there were smiles behind the face coverings.

Because we all missed each other. We missed “this.”

Branding, marketing, advertising, promotion. All words that are extremely diluted and I feel don’t describe exactly what we as agency cats do. What we actually do is make people, person by person, believe in themselves. We exist to inspire them to trust that they — and their organizations, products, and services, are truly unique, different, and special. And we are with them to give that figurative pat on the back and implore them to go for it.

This doesn’t work on Zoom or Teams of course. Energy works two ways and virtually, any time I’ve pitched an idea or proposal, I’ve felt like a plug hanging inches from a socket. My voice echoed in an empty room to the aforementioned laptop as my little bulldog looked at me, yawning at my efforts.

I recall telling my VP after one particular pitch, “I need to be in that *#*&% room!” That room is the battlefield, it’s the playing field, and it’s the box where you can actually look in someone’s eyes and connect with them.

So being able to whirling dervish my way through these productions, encourage our interview subjects, coach them and motivate them, laugh out loud with our longtime Director, it all in some ways felt like one hell of a vacation. A break from the work from home that hopefully is quickly coming to a close.

Magic only happens when we’re together. And I know that virtual meetings aren’t going away, but the real nectar and essence of creativity is far from virtual.

It’s personal.