How Creatives and Suits Can Play Nice
May 21, 2009 11:29 AM
Like every industry I’ve seen so far, Hollywood is a combination of two sides: On one, the creatives. On the other, the suits.
In the Internet world, it’s the suits versus the geeks. In media business, it’s the suits versus the writers/journalists.
What it really boils down to is money and product. There are those who handle the money, those who create the product. It’s the universal peanut butter and chocolate of every industry.
Lots of elements come together to create the world we live in. Sometimes they do so calmly; sometimes it’s combustible. Gas is converted into a vapor and then lit on fire, more or less, to make an engine move. Naturally there are times when all the elements come together with the right intentions and instead something catastrophic happens.
In the TV world, I suspect that comes in the form of a failure, lawsuit or some other unhappy outcome or union.
A lot of really good companies and organizations are run by people who are a mix of both suit and geek. The guys from Twitter or EQAL are as business-smart as they are geeky. But far larger is the number of people who on one side or the other.
From what people keep telling me in the television business, this is what is killing TV.
As someone who speaks a little of both creative and suit, I’m not sure I agree. But remember, I’m still a bit of a rookie in the business. I marveled at the terms “showrunner” and “leave behind” for months.
I think there is a down market that’s also a disrupted one. It doesn’t matter if you are a suit or a creative—if you can make money right now, you are a genius.
Nonetheless, it’s a pain point I have heard regardless of industry. Getting the creatives and the suits to play together well anywhere is almost as hard as it is to get a show on a network.
The ticket is in everybody changing their mindset a bit. I know the big hit is something that does a lot for a company, but it doesn’t mean steady progress to a big hit does any less. Wouldn’t you love to own Twitter right now? Funny—it was virtually unheard of for more than three long years.
Just the same, as a creative one has to understand that a product’s success is ultimately determined by the outer market and other conditions. This isn’t controlled by the creative or the suit, but the audience, the money, and all kinds of factors.
It’s where the term “perfect storm” comes from. If you want to create, create. If you want to focus on making money, focus on making money. But regardless of which you choose, you must do it specifically for the climate, whatever it may be at the moment. That alone is where to find hits.
It’s not a question of thinking like one or the other, but more like a meteorologist. A project I’ve created is built from this. We’ll see if I’m right! I’ll post more soon about it!