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The Influencers

Start Stopping to Start Going

MPC London, 3 months, 1 week ago

Make room for some brain space, urges MPC Creative’s Head of Creative Development Richard Skinner

Start Stopping to Start Going

It’s like the great sage Ferris Bueller once said: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Whatever role you play in this crazy ad/production/creative/post/audio/editing game we’re all too busy worrying. We worry about hitting the numbers, or, ‘will my idea I’m about to pitch suck the big one?’ Will it rain on my shoot when I don’t want it to? Will we get more than five minutes to do a treatment and budget it properly? Will my Ocado delivery have any substitute items? Or will I ever get more than 23 seconds to actually think about what I’ve got to think about between all those damn meetings about meetings. We can all relate to that, right?

With all of the above swirling around, finding (or in some people’s case, forcing) some brain space into your life is never an easy feat. There’s just no time to think. You just have to ‘do’. 

Apart from just ‘doing’ being unhealthy as hell, it’s unproductive. Counterproductive, even. And let’s be honest, we all work in a game where you need to be creative, have ideas and think properly about stuff. 

So sometimes you do just have to stop and look around, and what you find helps crowbar a mental holiday into your brain because you’re so taken away by it that all other thoughts are squeezed out like a rat out a drain-pipe. 

For some, it’s big shit. For others it’s trivial. But one thing’s for sure, it’s more often than not, right in front of your eyes. Or in my case, under your feet. Either way, you’ve gotta be ‘looking’ to see it. 

Hopefully this little thing gets your brain ticking like it did mine, and it forces you into a moment of contemplation and brain space. Making room for other more important thoughts to rush in before the frigging ‘doing’ starts piling in again. 

Whatever part you play or wherever you’re based, the chances are you’ve trodden the sadly fading streets of Soho at some point. Perhaps for a voiceover session, a grade, an agency briefing or just a cheeky half, err, I mean client entertainment meeting. 

Next time you’re in town, standing on the ancient curb stones about to cross the street to grab a mocha choca spiced latte and ginger bread panini lollipop. Stop. Breathe. Look down. What do you see? 

Well, if you’re in the right place, you might see some strange markings etched into the road’s stone curbs. And I’m betting you’ve never noticed them before, or have you? 

If you haven’t ever noticed them, you will now. And you’ll find them all over. Go take a look. 

Triangles, crosses, random letters, lines and dots. 

What are they? Where do they come from? Who put them there? Why are they there?... Alien messages? Ancient Wi-Fi nodes? Crackhead turf boundaries? Bored traffic warden Morse code?

See. It’s working isn’t it. When you find them and start thinking about what they could be, where they could be and why they’re there, you start forgetting about ‘doing’, and focus, if only for a minute, on working them out. Allowing other valuable thoughts and ideas to come rushing back into the momentarily unclogged brain hole. 

Well, I’m not saying it’s gonna work for everyone. But for me, thinking about these strange symbols that are below my feet everyday going unseen and unnoticed by almost everyone, I find that tiny chink of brain space that allows me to actually think and not just ‘do’. 

Now. Back to reality. I do hope there’s no Ocado substitutions… 

(PS. I actually did find out what they are and why they’re there. But that, you’ll have to discover for yourselves…)