Here’s how it goes.
I work with clients to realize their own visions. I translate their thoughts and ideas to moving images. I strive to achieve the things they have in their head through the digital medium.
In essence, I am a mirror. I attempt to reflect their ideas back to them. The mirror changes from client to client. Sometimes it’s clear, sometimes cloudy….sometimes the reflection is accurate, sometimes it’s on a distorted surface. The thing about my job, at least, to the level and extent of my expertise, is that I am somewhat tied in my creative efforts to those of my client. Its always a balancing act. I can be as creative and innovative as possible, I can pour hours into the work, lost in the act of creation, only to have the fruits of my labor spoiled, either because of differences in the vision, or just different interpretations of the reflection I provide.
The reflection is only as clear as the subject. I have clients that provide a clarity of vision that enables me to provide a polished surface and an accurate reflection, whether I want to have creative license or not, I am inexorably tied to the plan laid out for me. I can provide my creative embellishments, perhaps a guilded frame around the mirror, perhaps show it in a nice environment, but the mirror is clear and realized ahead of time.
There are mirrors that are unclear, cracked, left in a dark corner, disused. More often than not, again, this is a reflection of the project. If a client is unclear, unsure of their vision, or approaching their subject without knowing what the outcome will be, then the reflection will be distorted, and the client will not be happy.
This isn’t to say that I am shifting any kind of blame or responsibility solely to the client. I have gotten things wrong multiple times before, misinterpreted the signals, the signs, gone in the wrong direction, and I take that into account and attempt to rectify it. But more often than not, my output reflects the clients input.
For 8 years, to a greater, or lesser extent, I have been a mirror. And I cannot complain. It has paid the bills, helped me grow artistically, enabled me to re-invest in my equipment, learn new skills. But I must evolve.
I have realized, I must change the reflection, I must turn the mirror upon myself, I must shine a light into the mirror and become a beacon, become a shining light out into the darkness. I need to attempt to transition from my clients’ employee to a creative light, and start reflecting myself. To open myself up for critique and let my work stand it’s own ground, to unleash it from the shackles of my clients creative vision, and begin to show my own light.
I’m not sure how, but it has to begin soon.