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Opinion and Insight

Why You Should Dig Out Your Rolodex This Christmas... No, Really, 1 year, 10 months ago

Timber CD/Partner Jonah Hall thinks we should all try and make the work based friendships we build just a little more real

Why You Should Dig Out Your Rolodex This Christmas... No, Really

The holidays are when we start looking back at how we at Timber have spent the year and who we’ve spent it with. The business we are in can be intense and exhausting, but it’s also incredibly fun and collaborative. There aren’t many other industries like it that I can see. 

Projects come and they go and with them form friendships that can last for years, entire careers or lifetimes. For a brief moment in a calendar year we’re all thrown into a room together to draw, write, shoot, animate, curate, clarify, composite, explain, argue and reassess. We try each others ideas. We draw lines in the sand and then let each other step over them. We adhere to codes of honor that make creative negotiations possible and insure that each of us are being heard. 

A collection of vendors and agency professionals are, for a moment, a kind of hyper dependent family. Whereas a few weeks ago we were strangers, now we operate with an intense shorthand that was constructed on the fly. 

We analyze each other quickly to try and determine how to work together. Each of us dumps our own quirks on the table for everyone to see and compensate for. Creatives on all sides barter with ideas and vision while our producer counterparts peck and pull at a budget that was never really big enough to begin with. 

When it’s all over and done with we don’t just get a commercial or a pitch or a campaign. We’ve also formed the kind of friendships that were normally the sole domain of college kids who stayed up all night cramming for finals, only some of us look a little more like the teachers now than the students. 

What we’re thankful for is that flash of recognition that happens when you see someone on a call-sheet or cc’d on an email that you’ve collaborated with in the past. You get to reach out and say hello on a conference call or at a pre production meeting to someone you’ve done this with already. 

So familiarity becomes a precious currency we get to spend the next time around. You get to dust off old jokes and war stories. That was last year, right? Two years ago!? I can’t believe so much time has passed! Whatever happened to so-and-so? 

We compare notes on what happened then and what we’ve done since. Other members of the team become thankful that the awkward process of getting to know one another will be that much shorter thanks to the connections people are bringing to the table. 

Ideas are passed around earlier without as much hesitation. Problems with approaches are voiced earlier because we know each other better now. The fear of insulting somebody we don’t know very well becomes less of an obstacle to open discussions. 

So take a moment to glance over the names in your Rolodex (Just kidding. Your Google contacts.) Are there a few people you remember working alongside that you really enjoyed spending time with? Somebody who made you laugh late at night while the project was going sideways and everyone needed a moment of levity? Is there someone who stood up and defended your decisions with the client because he or she believed they were the right choice? All of these people remember you, too. 

Then ask yourself, what are we waiting for? Do we really need to wait for another Gatorade spot to see one another again? Are we so dependent on the ebb and tide of advertising that we can’t just pick up the phone and call one another without the protective context of a commercial to work on? Does our ability to have coffee with one another depend on an awarded bid or can we make it more than that?

This holiday season let’s all try and make the work based friendships we build just a little more real. We all need one another to get our work where we want it to go. Let’s just take a moment this season to remind each other that their presence during that crazy project was a big part of what made it fun in the first place.

Happy Holidays to the entire Creative and Marketing community.