Saturday, February 5, 2011

Declarative methodology.

About a year ago, I made a fairly bold statement when introducing myself to the Denver Ad Club board of directors. It went something like this, "I'm with Burns Marketing. If you haven't heard of us (insert dramatic pause) you will."

Those that had heard of us believed me. The others probably just thought, "Uh, who the hell is this chick?"

Since then, I've been on a mission to deliver on my declaration. To get us into award shows, up our game, and raise awareness. I'm very happy to say we made it into everything we entered last year: the Denver 50, ADCD, AMA, and BMA awards. I blogged here and there. And, along the way came across some great new talent and visionaries through the Ad Club's NEXT creatives program, the HOW Conference, our design internship, judging, and presentations.

So now what? 

Well, apparently we take it to the next level. We work harder. Bring on the creative briefs. I'm refining my methods. Again.

Approaching a creative brief is like method acting. 

You train yourself. Get in the mindset of your audience. It's metamorphisis. Improv with a set of parameters. If you can't relate to your audience, read autobiographies. Find relevant personal blogs and see what motivates them. Learn how to think like another person thinks.

Best transitional actor example? Christian Bale, hands down – even though he claims to just wing it. Not only does he drastically transform himself physically to support a part, he also dramatically changes from character to character personality wise. There is a deep, underlying character motivation exposed in each of his roles. He masterfully instigates battles between internal and surface emotions.

If you stumbled upon The Machinist after seeing him as Batman or Patrick Bateman, you might not even recognize him. I will always be amazed at how he brought American Psycho to the screen. After reading the book, I didn't think it would be possible to make his character's violent narcissistic absurdity likable or believable without it going in a wild cartoon-psychedelic-dream-state direction. He made a monster into something real. Something you wanted to understand. I read somewhere that he based the character on Tom Cruise. Drawing from Cruise's projected warmth and friendliness oddly counteracted with blank nothingness behind his eyes. Intense, charismatic energy on the outside. Neutral, character-shifting mystery inside.

So, how far are you willing to go? 

Can you care about everything and nothing? Can you tap into your inner child on command? Can you set your own point of view aside for a moment and dedicate yourself to your client's audience?

Can you deliver on your crazy declarations?

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  1. I completely agree about Christian Bale and The Machinist. Starving yourself for a role is an amazing commitment. I heard he almost died as complications to his role in the Machinist. And American Psycho is one of my all time favorites. I had similar thought when I watched a video of a musician investing herself completely in a song. There is such a difference between a good effort and a total investment of yourself in your work. Hopefully that's what we can do at Burns this year!

  2. Yeah, I'm a big fan of Mr. Bale, especially in those films. It's an amazing thing when someone is completely invested in something they're passionate about. And, we're very glad you joined the Burns team. You're killing it!