ESPN – Planting seeds

Almost four years ago, we earned the chance to work on a brief for an ESPN International project. It was a great opportunity and an internal competition erupted. Ultimately the client liked two campaigns, and the race was on to find a production company to produce the work for very little or nothing. Jim Bosiljevac and I had one of those campaigns.

We created a quirky treatment, complete with my quirky storyboard illustrations, and began talking to directors. Most all were interested, but not many could fund the production themselves.

During the process, for one reason or another, the other campaign was produced. But there was still much interest in getting ours made as well. We continued to talk to directors and ultimately things stalled out once again. Shortly thereafter, I left the agency and went on to other things assuming the work would never see the light of day.

Recently I was made aware that Digital Domain had an interest in taking on the project. Very excited, I stayed at arms length as Jim and another Art Director produced the ideas we had nurtured for so long. Over a few months, once again things stalled and the idea fell off my radar. And yet again, I was surprised when I found out that something had gotten produced.

Our idea grew to be very different than what I saw in my mind. Even so, the produced spots are pretty darn cool. But the coolest thing to me, is that the idea was good enough that others stepped in, nurtured it, and kept it alive.

Many would say it’s the people, but for me it’s the sprouting ideas that make it hardest to leave an agency. Ideas with amazing potential, to be great. To be terrible. Here’s where one could easily digress into a parenting analogy, but lets keep it light for the moment. I guess the fear is leaving an idea with potential for greatness and having it go afoul under others supervision, or equally frightening, having it turn out brilliant without you.

As a full-time creative dividing my first 14 years in the business at just two agencies, this fear was hard to kick. As a freelancer, spending much of the last four years going from one agency to the next, it’s become addictive. I love seeing ideas out in the world, all grown up, embraced and nurtured by others.

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