Faking Vs. Making Creative
I gave a talk today to a class at a local university about the creative process. I gave them the standard advice of learn photoshop, pick the idea then the photo, don't parody etc... But then I wondered, what if nobody in their groups was creative? The teacher told me beforehand that the reason he wanted me to speak was that this class didn't have much hope, that they were dire in creative and that he was hoping to see excellent work in the research, pr, media parts because he knew he wasn't going to see it in their creative. He was hoping I'd provide a spark but I'm from the school that creative can't be taught.
So what did I do? I told them to copy. That's right- I told them that there are a lot of good ads out there with their theme and that they might be better off following a former great idea than a crappy one of their own. I told them how Shakespeare had updated old fairy tales into great plays, how the art masters would copy former masters before adapting their own style and finally I pointed them to Joe La Pompe's website to show them how many times its been done by big professional agencies.
I didn't know what else to say. Apparently none of these kids want to be on the creative so I don't think I did a disservice but at the same time I don't think I set a very good example. My opinion is that I gave them great short-term advice but following this advice forever would really mess up a career and that's not what I wanted to do. So what would you have done? I'm interested to know how other people would have handled this situation.