Last week, my kids' school (shout out to Highland Community School) held a fundraising event marking its 40th anniversary; it featured live music, an auction and tray upon tray of fabulous food.
My best friend, Chef Antonio Evans, was executive chef and I got to play the role of his sous-chef. I've never worked in a kitchen before so this experience was both a treat and a horrific nightmare. I started slowly by cubing cheese and worked my way up to working the oven and dressing main courses.
It was a large event with hundreds in attendance. Once the appetizers began flowing, we were flying back there in 100-degree heat. Huge pans of ravioli, meatballs and tortellini were going in and out of the oven in a blur. Servers were calling out orders for more this and more that (the "that" was quite tasty, by the way), and it became an unconscious act of movement and coordination that seemed second nature.
I remember from time to time drinking small glasses filled with scotch.
It was an exhilarating experience and the lack of thought and contemplation about the food (since we were moving so quickly) actually added value to what we were serving. The less I thought about how to build the perfect canapĂ©, the more perfect they became. At our busiest hour, we were creating the best eats.
This haphazard opera of creativity got me thinking about my own job.
In the ad biz, we attempt to work smartly. Generally, we develop a strategy, hatch tactics and produce appropriate, fresh, targeted work. Much thought is put into each word, color and visual. Everything is there for a reason and its form eloquently follows its function. But sometimes this process is anything but "thoughtful."
Sometimes it's more like working a kitchen. Sometimes, especially in the concept stage, throwing out ideas, designs or taglines without any real thought can lead to the best work. Tom Monahan, a nationally recognized creative guru, calls this sloppy approach "100 m…Read more...