Your art is secondary.
If you’re not making it secondary – it’s my opinion that you’re doing your work wrong.
That might surprise or anger you, and you’re free to disagree, but let me explain my rationale.
Have you ever thought about what the word client actually means?
Merriam-Webster defines it as such:
“One that is under protection of another.”
Was that what you expected? It wasn’t what I expected when I first read it.
How often do you think of the person who pays you, as someone to protect? What about the business that pays you?
Do you instead argue that you should get paid more? That the job your client has offered you isn’t inspiring or exciting enough or what you really want to do?
Do you take gigs just for the money, and the high paying “suck” jobs exist to “pay for the passion projects”?
How often do you villanize your client instead of honoring, lauding, praising, or thanking them? How often do you treat those who write your check with respect for their vision – not with how theirs fits with yours?
It’s a bit of a running gag with audio departments – audio is always thought of last. It’s perhaps the most important thing that nobody focuses on until it’s bad. It’s that way in every industry, and every audio professional fights for and dreams of the day where that isn’t true anymore.
But that starts with respect, humility, and understanding that your job is to protect your client.
“But what does that mean exactly, Adam?” Well, let me spell a bit of it out and then I expect you to run with it:
- When speaking to or about your client, be respectful in your words and honor them. Build their reputation.
- If they treat you unfairly and still pay you, bring your grievances up to them privately.
- If those grievances don’t get sorted and you choose to walk away, don’t be rude when others ask about the story. Be honest and fair.
- Care more about their project than you do about how you fit into their project.
- Honor your end of any signed contract, and always overdeliver.
- Ask about their grander vision, not just about the job you were hired to do.
- Always err on overcommunication until told otherwise.
- Meet or beat your deadlines.
- Try and solve problems before you even communicate that they exist, if you can.
- Be looking for problems and opportunities your client doesn’t see, and help them where they don’t have vision or expertise.
Those things are just a small, small start. But I’m guilty of violating these things, just like I know you are.
What are you going to take action on now? What are you going to add to this list? I’d love to hear about it – right here.
Copyright 2016-2017, Adam T. Croft, all rights reserved.