I’ve always been happy to help other creatives achieve success. Read about my motivation in this blog post 5 Reasons Why I Love Being A Creative Coach.
1 – Being A Creative Coach – It Chose Me!
I’ve always been happy to help other creatives achieve success. Approaching 20 years in the Creative game, I’ve come to realise that my ego isn’t that big. I’m confident in my Creative ability and feel my career has been successful due to the way I collaborate with teams. I think of myself as a Creative leader, one that acts as the glue, to hold the many moving parts.
I am lucky enough to work with a great team of assistants and crew. I always encourage my team to speak up and share their ideas on set, and plenty of occasions using their suggestions. I continually motivate my team to practice, be creative and learn ‘how to be a Creative.’ I am immensely proud that many of the team have gone on to be successful in their own right.
One of my favourites is a young shooter named Phil Dunlop. I first met Phil painting the floor at Big Sky Studios. Immediately he was personable, hungry and a bit cheeky, all qualities that I love in a Creative. If I remember correctly, after our chance meeting, Phil went on to collaborate on roughly 80% of my projects over the next 4-5 years.
Phil is now an accomplished photographer. His work is very consistent, definite in style, beautiful and advancing all the time. At the start of our time together, I would casually coach and encourage Phil to shoot and discover his style and motivations within photography.
On a recent trip to Singapore, Phil popped by for a coffee and ‘catch up’. We discussed his photography and career. I congratulated him on the impressive job he is doing while adding the need for his website to be up-to-date all the time! Go check out Phil’s excellent body of work here.
2 – I Love To See Other People Succeed
Picture this, its a long hot summer in London 2005. I am sharing a studio with three other photographers, one, the go-to guy for super high end still life (yes, think Apple!) A shooter who produces beautiful sports and fashion photography (yes, think Nike and Adidas!) And one chap who was a top photographer in snow based extreme sports.
The sports guy was looking to switch agents and in the process of putting his print portfolio together for a crucial meeting. (Yep, in 2005 we all had beautiful print, leather-bound portfolios. I miss these, will write a post on this in the future.)
Having intimate knowledge of his work, I felt the version he had put together, didn’t represent the best aspects of his stunning photography. Dropping what I was doing, I spent the afternoon trawling his print archive to produce a new version of his portfolio. The meeting was a success, the agent greeted him with open arms, and a new collaboration ensued!
It is easy for me to create another Creatives portfolio as I took an objective view. The memories, good or bad, did not affect me. Maybe one of the shoots the guy had a super fun time, maybe earned a big payday or on the flip side, the shoot was difficult and no fun. Either way, I was free and could judge the work on the aesthetic and commercial factors.
Need an objective view of your portfolio? Check out my portfolio review service.
You may argue that this generosity is unusual. For sure established creatives may mentor growing talent, but for me to support another photographer who was equal, if not further up the food chain than I, was indeed not the norm. However, I enjoyed this process and was very comfortable with his positive outcome.
In addition to this act of generosity, there are many occasions, where I continue to share my creative knowledge, resources and give access to my in-demand contact list.
As Creative professionals, it’s cool to be open with our shit. We may play the same guitar, but the tune will always be different, right!
3 – I Met My Wife Because Of It
Fun fact, I met my wife while we were both walking our dogs in the fall of 2009 in the East Village, New York City. We struck up a conversation about dogs which soon moved on to what we did. I was a photographer and affected by the devastating financial crash of 2008; she was an out of work Architect.
Immediately I began seeing the bigger picture, assuring her, it wasn’t a representation of her skills and abilities, she was merely a victim of the crash, and I prophesied the good times would return. But really what did I know? I didn’t know this woman. However, her confidence assured me; she was a great woman just experiencing a bit of bad luck. I wanted her to feel good about herself and put her situation into context. All this took place in a 30-minute chance meeting between 2 strangers walking their dogs.
Ten years on we are happily married with a young family, my wife is a successful Director Of Store Design and VM for a global beauty brand, and I continue to informally coach her, as she does to me. We motivate each other every day to achieve success in our chosen careers and sharing our life.
4 – I Love To Teach
Something I love to do is teach design classes at General Assembly. I went to university and achieved a BA Hons in Photography. However, I am a self-taught graphic designer and art director. Graphic Design is something I picked up along the way through seeing friends practice, watching YouTube and collaborating with design talent.
Arriving in Singapore, I took a few classes with General Assembly, as our relationship grew, they offered me a chance to teach a Visual Design Fundamentals course. However, my immediate reaction was I’m a photographer, not a designer! However, I spent a couple of weeks collating a design focussed deck for the 2-hour class and soon discovered I had a natural affinity for teaching. After a few classes, I analysed my performance, and with feedback from students, I found a positive flow and confidence. Delivering education is something that you get better and better at.
5 – You Give and Receive
Of course, being a Creative, you are expected to know all the answers. To be successful, you must know your shit, right!
But, here’s another thought. Learning and receiving advice from folks that have ‘been there and done that’ is fantastic. I have a few guys here in Singapore that coach me. They provide me with the steps and process on developing my shit, be it a business or creative idea. As part of the coaching process, we periodically check in with each other to ensure I complete the goals and achieve the tasks.
Being a coach and mentor is pretty dope! Feel like you’re stuck and unsure of the next Creative step to take? Want to know more about what Creative Coaching can do for you? Take a look at my One on One Coaching programme for Creative Professionals and please do reach out with any questions you may have.