Lora Faris is an award-winning creative director at Deloitte Digital. Over the course of her writing career, she has turned young homeowners into their parents with her Progressive’s Parentamorphosis campaign, built literal worlds in Minecraft for girls in STEM, and most recently, she helped successfully Rickroll the world. Lora has had the opportunity to create across dozens of industries and brands including Progressive, CSAA Insurance Group, Jack Daniel’s, Pepsi, and the Ad Council. She’s also an award-winning children’s book writer, to which she credits advertising for giving her the skills to tell a compelling story succinctly and her nieces and nephews for being tough, but fair, critics.
Get to know her and her creativity here.
Go and be bad at things.
I’ve always been a very go, go, go person. It’s difficult for me to slow down and nearly impossible to shut my brain off. I write a lot on my own time. I make bad pottery. I’m trying to turn my black thumb green. Everything is a medium. And I’m certainly better at some mediums over others.
In fact, I’m bad at most of my creative endeavours. It’s always incredible when other creatives turn their hobbies into side hustles or businesses. I’m always in awe, but that will never be me. I’m just too good at being bad at things. As a perfectionist at work, that’s important for me. Being bad at hobbies helps me fear failure less. If you saw my pottery, you would know I’m well-practised at messing things up.
There are two factors for me when judging a piece of work:
1) Do I immediately get the idea and the bigger picture behind it?
2) Does it make me feel something?
I know; there is nothing revolutionary about either. But that’s the formula for me. An intelligent, clearly communicated idea that hits me in the gut. Everyone has different interests, varying taste levels, and unique perspectives on what makes an idea good. But those two pieces should feel relatively universal.
I approach concepts with the confidence that Lora’s three days in the future have solved the problem and I need to figure out how she got there. It makes big ideas feel less daunting.
I had a calculus teacher in school that would be furiously solving a problem on the whiteboard, only to stop in the middle of a problem abruptly, step back, and aggressively slide the whiteboard out of the way while shouting, “And the rest is magic!” Because while the half-finished equation still looked challenging, everything remaining was algebra and arithmetic.
That’s how I feel about the creative process. The first part is calculus, and the rest is magic.
Finding the big idea is still daunting, but the ability to get there is built on a solid and sturdy foundation we’ve created from years of practice, endless curiosity, and hard work. We need to trust the foundation. The magic will come.
When I was in fourth grade, my older sister and I were at my brother’s basketball tournament, and we were incredibly bored. And, like all instances where we were incredibly bored, something horrible was about to happen to me.
She ended up convincing me to step inside a school locker. I knew it was a bad idea. But she was confident in her approach, so I stepped inside. I ended up being trapped for over five hours. A crowd had gathered when she finally told my mom, and they finally got the janitor back from his weekend fishing trip.
It remains the only standing ovation I have ever received.
All this to say, you need to stand up for your creative POV. You, your partner, your boss, your producer, your client, everyone is looking at a subjective piece of work with a unique opinion. It’s hard to have the confidence that yours is the right one. And who knows? Maybe it isn’t. But the last thing you want to happen is to follow an idea into a metaphorical locker without first saying, perhaps this isn’t the best path forward.