One of the great joys in having intelligent, ambitious and earnest daughters who share their lives with me is that I often get a glimpse of the world as they see it. They, in turn, are often willing to get a glimpse of my world as I see it.
Many days our conversations turn to our jobs. Though they're students, they each have a job. To learn. To listen. To get good grades. And to explore while they're finding their calling.
Often our conversation turns to the pressures they feel. A paper due. A presentation. Or, most often, a big test.
My response might not be the most gentle and reassuring one but I think, in the end, it will serve them way better than a raft of platitudes.
Life, I tell them, is a test every day.
Something gets thrown your way--a challenge, a problem, a sticky situation.
You have to answer the bell.
Not long ago I was in the throes of producing six fairly complex spots in just six weeks. Ten times a day there were decisions that needed to be made. Do we do music or sound design? Do we open with the guitar scene or is it better at the end? Should we shave seven frames off the opening title and add it to the end frame?
These are the sort of test questions we face in advertising. Here are some others.
Do I listen to a client comment or do I fight it? Do I argue with my boss when I think he's wrong? Do I say 'fuck it' and phone it in?
These are test questions.
There's no end to them.