Learning about creative from Joss Whedon

March 10th, 2012

Joss Whedon SXSWI attended a SXSW with Writer and Director Joss Whedon. He has an amazingly quick wit and obvious passion for storytelling. Character development is critical in his writing. He feels that all characters in a film must have a reason to exist.

I found the belief intriguing in that as marketers we are also story tellers. Yet, it is very common for a brand’s messaging to become very thin. Ultimately we want consumers to respond to the story of a brand. How can they truly feel pulled and engaged if the story we tell is incomplete or borderline irrelevant? Perhaps we should take more cues from the creative visionaries within the entertainment industries. When a film is launched they really have one chance to connect with their customers. If they fail it will lead poor box office performance and a loss in revenue. In advertising you may have more opportunities depending on your budget but the need for financial success is still the same.

Joss also talked about his passion for different types of projects. For example he went straight form Directing the new Avengers movie to creating Much ado about nothing on a tiny  budget the following month. He has also worked on writing the graphic novel version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the past few years and is planning a web based series next. Having the ability to constantly move from one type of execution to another gives him the ability to learn more rapidly and become more flexible in his thinking and execution.

As a marketer I find this type of thinking refreshing. So many brands and agencies consistently work on the same types of projects for similar companies in similar industies. Not allowing yourself or your company to flex its creative and conceptual juices keeps you from consistently expanding your knowledge and potential. Make sure you give yourself a chance to mix things up and push to become a better thinker and executor.