The explosion of software programs make creativity a lot easier that it used to be. When I started in television, we had to create print graphics – white letters on black cards – and shoot them and chroma-key them over the video. And getting graphics to move? That was funky. In those days there were no character generators, Photoshop, or After Effects.
Today, creativity is still an art, but it’s much easier to execute. As a result, there’s a lot of creative people out there doing amazing things. The only problem is, there’s too often no point to their work.
The best creatives use their ability to serve a greater good. It’s one thing to be flashy, shoot hand-held, and use edgy animation, but it’s quite another to make those techniques actually mean something and tell a story. Their work has meaning beyond being “cool.” It’s been true for thousands of years, and you can see it from the earliest Greek sculptures, to Renaissance paintings, to the novels, movies, and music of today.
By all means, be creative. But don’t do it just to make something look cool. Ask yourself: What am I really trying to communicate? Does shooting it hand-held convey that message better than shooting on a tripod? What does my lighting style say about the story? What style of graphics and special effects best communicate my message?
When you move beyond creative for creative’s sake, your work will take on a whole new meaning.