1. Posting online
In 2009 I joined LinkedIn. In 2017 I wrote my first post.
In 2009, very late to the party, I also joined Facebook. My first post was “Birdie Hall… ‘isn’t’.” Not much of a stance now I look back at it but I guess that set the tone for my future relationship with online social. I suppose I just haven't always been that comfortable with that type of sharing, whether it’s intended for friends and family or for my professional network, even though I hugely value the thoughts and insights I get from others.
As a visual person, I am generally happier drawing a diagram, badly sketching something out on a whiteboard or creating a film rather than writing stuff down. I’m an editor at heart and that means I like to tinker. I like to think things over and try them out in different ways.
Even though I find writing my thoughts down difficult, over the past few months I have realised that doing things out of my comfort zone has generally brought up surprising results.
2. Industry talks
Oh god no. Did I sign up for this? Arse-clenchingly awkward moments designed to take you out of your comfort zone and get you thinking differently. Mostly by creating such a high level of anxiety in me that my only thoughts are on the different ways i can get the hell out of Dodge.
But I don’t want to hug that stranger next to me and I know they don’t want to hug me. Did I just let slip that I love killing things in a ‘stream of consciousness’ storytelling huddle? What’s going on? I’m never doing this again...
Then you get back to the office and it's great that you have an experience to share with them. Then you tell your partner about it when you get home… then a few days later you’re in a meeting and one of those techniques or small chunks of advice suddenly comes to mind… and then you realise, it was worth it.
3. Doing our own work
We make stuff, that’s what we do and that’s what I have always loved doing and that’s why everyone works here at Contented Brothers - I hope. The trouble is being an agency with (wonderful) clients means it’s very hard to find the time to make your own stuff. How do you ask yourself and your team, already stretched on client projects to spend more of their time on something that on the face of it isn’t bringing anything into the business?
In the early days we used to make stuff because we had more time and I was relatively competent across most areas of production so could do it all in house. Tom had the drive and the contacts so it made sense for us to make stuff when we could. We made weird stuff like this which I still love: 'Honky Tonk Music Knight'
So, now we have put some time into building the business and growing the team, it’s time to start doing our own creative work again.
4. Trying new things
“Sure, we can do that…” I have wanted to kick Tom under the table many times, but more often than not this is the best way to approach things. It does, however mean you don’t sleep and you live in a world of blind panic; Sure, let’s make “ The World's first AR Hotel” why not? How hard can it be in 2012 with an untested workflow and technology that’s not quite ready? But we did it and it helped push Contented Brothers into the new territory of immersive media.
This approach has also been the starting point for the projects I am most proud of and that have changed us an agency. So, we’ll keep doing it. Sleep be damned.
5. Writing lists of ‘5 things...’ like people do on LinkedIn
I nearly couldn’t make it to five things and I need that for it be a ‘5 things…’ post. So here is the 5th one. I’ve never done it before but I have now; organising my thoughts into 5 things. It's more fun than I thought.
I am sure this list could grow from 5 to 20 'things' had I dug deeper, however I'd be interested to hear about any challenges that you have resisted, and if embracing them has been a positive learning experience. Answers on the back of a postcard.
By Birdie Hall, Brother & Executive Creative Director