Many years ago I used to work as a video producer/editor or what we used to call “Predators”. I was involved in the whole process of the video from the script, lighting and camera work. Then doing all the post production myself: editing in Premier and doing all the motion graphics in After Effects. Subtitling. I’d often be in control of almost every detail even down to the wardrobe or the casting (which is why so many of my friends appeared in corporate videos.)
It meant that once a project was briefed in I owned it totally. More than likely I would work on nothing but that project for at least a week. Taking care of every frame of animation, every word spoken, every piece of music, every cut. Everything. I lived and breathed the project.
Then someone else would come in, think they owned the project. It was about them or their team or product. They’d demand changes.
It would go to my boss. They’d have their own suggestions. They didn’t think the music was right, they’d want the text to be bigger, or more 3D.
Quickly my masterpiece would start to get diluted. Changed from my original vision. Occasionally whole projects just got cancelled. Once I’d spent 2 weeks working on an interview only for that person to leave the company and the video no longer needed.
I’d get quite downhearted. Why were they making all these changes? Didn’t they like what I’d produced. I’d spent hours on that music library picking the perfect piece – then I’d timed all the animation perfectly! Why couldn’t they see it?
Then my boss and mentor, Gerry Yampolsky, gave me a piece of advice: this is work. This isn’t your baby, this isn’t your art. You get paid whether they use it or not. You still have it for your showreel or portfolio but you don’t own the finished piece. It’s owned by the company and the company is made up of other people who are paid for their knowledge, opinion and experience.
In my case everybody involved owned the video: the person who briefed; the interviewee; me, the “predator”; the head of video, whose team I was in; the head of creative; the CMO who showed the video to the sales team and even the sales man who asked for a copy to show to a customer.
Learning to let go was hard but it was vital. Do good work, stand up for what you think is right but remember you are just one of many owners.