You see the title Creative Director in many artistic fields. And while the technical job description varies widely from film to advertising to publishing to concert production to fashion, the core attribute of the role remains the same: To inspire.
Creative direction is cheer leading. Easy enough, if the assignment and team effort reflect and affirm the cheering. When you’re in the 10th round of revisions, or the footage got lost en route to the edit, an unbridled yet constructive optimism is worth gold.
Creative direction is nurturing. It can take the form of divining actionable insight from 500 pages of research. It can take the form of the kind editor who helps you “kill your darlings.” It might mean managing the dizzying shift from a 50,000 foot macro cultural view to microscopic technical mumbo jumbo in a heartbeat. And vice versa. Many times a day. It is helping others to see — something — they can use to move ahead.
Creative direction is rarely about the exact doing. That’s what the writers, designers, dancers, editors, camera operators, choreographers, painters, art directors and engineers do.
Creative direction is showing the way. It is leading. It is sticking your neck out there and owning an opinion, hopefully with grace and dignity and strength.
In many ways, creative direction is a role in the middle — uniting a need, an assignment, with all manner of talent — towards shipping an inventive, refreshing solution.