The Little Things - Our Clients Don't Know When We've Done Them But We Do

06-18-2013 10:28 AM

Perfection is said to be as much as curse as it is a blessing, especially for creative types. We record, edit, mix audio or shoot, cut and grade video and often we just can’t leave it alone, or indeed be satisfied with the end results. When asking many creatives if they happy they are with their past work many will tell you no. I listen to albums I made 10 years ago and want to go back and replace snares, or watch videos I cut 5 years ago and want to re-grade them.
Add money into the equation and the problem gets even harder, we strive for perfection but within limited time and financial constrains, in fact the two are intrinsically linked when you work as a professional. There is a danger to cut corners, especially when on tight deadlines, however in reality many of us simply work longer and inevitably for free to deliver a great project.
For many of us (and partly why so many creative businesses fail) our primary motivation is not money, it is our desire for excellence, if not perfection.
This weekend I spent hours cutting videos which required some complex audio work too. I was on a tight deadline, but the reality was I just got up at 5am and worked until midnight to make sure I was satisfied that every video edit, dialogue stream, music bed, colour grade etc. were as good as they could be. I know I’m not the exception, that many of you reading this are exactly the same, you too will work more hours than you should, or are indeed getting paid for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining simply stating the facts.
Our clients often never know the lengths we go to when working on their projects, they certainly won’t pay for half the work we did in the name of perfection. It’s a difficult balance being a creative professional with budgets on the one hand and a personal desire to do the best we can on the other. It’s the little things that take a project from good to great, as I’ve already alluded to most of us seldom feel we have done that, despite our best efforts.
Our desire to do the best we can drives us, perhaps clients know this and take advantage? I’m sure some do, but I also know that most of my clients are hugely appreciative of creatives who are conscientious in their work, it is why they keep using us.
There’s a lot of stuff we do on projects that take them to another level, often little details, but it’s those things that make the difference. Most of the time our clients don’t know when we’ve done them, but we do and that’s what matters most.