Creatives: Is Your Work Becoming Dated?

Back in the 1990’s I had a painful realization. Even after working with national clients, filming all over the world, and winning festivals and competitions, I realized my video and film work was getting dated. The shooting style, lighting, graphics, and storytelling wasn’t keeping up with changes happening in the industry. A younger generation of filmmakers were changing the rules, and I hadn’t been paying close enough attention.

Fortunately for me, I have a great team that wasn’t afraid to push back on my creative decisions. I began to rethink everything about my work. I also started using younger shooters, editors, and designers who weren’t afraid to challenge my ideas.

Looking around today, I see a significant number of creative people in the same boat I was in decades ago – and like I was, they’re not paying attention either.

Whether you think you’re in that group or not, I challenge you to have that painful moment of realization. Look at your work, and then study what your competition is doing. Don’t be defensive. Ask for opinions of people you respect. Show it to your kids and their friends. Study featured projects on respected portfolio sites for designers or video creators.

Whatever you do creatively – writing, directing, designing, editing, producing, shooting, or anything else – never allow yourself to fall behind. I know too many people who were creative stars years ago who today are out of the business, simply because they didn’t keep up.

It can happen much faster than you think….

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  1. Great article Phil and definitely something we all need to be reminded of asking ourselves at any stage of the journey. Thanks!

  2. Totally. I’m in that headspace right now. I am asking myself, “How and in what way can I continue to be relevant for the rest of my career?” Irrelevance is a terrifying prospect. Do I just ‘keep up’ or should I do more than that? I may be wrong, but I feel like I need to think of being 5 steps ahead, not just 1 step.

    1. As stressful as that may feel, that’s exactly the right attitude. “Relevance” does matter, and it changes faster than ever. As long as you keep asking those questions I have a feeling you’ll be fine… 🙂

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