At the beginning of any assignment, I flail around. Lots of false starts. Lots of looking for inspiration. Lots of scribbly sketching as I search for that image that is going to hook me and give me my starting point. In animation projects, when I finally create the style sample that is going to inform all the images to come, I feel giddy, itching to get to work, relieved that the search is over and content that what I have is a winner. And then, sometimes, the client rejects it. But, but, but, my heart screams, I am so excited to make that thing that way! How can I possibly shift directions? And, what do you mean you want her to wear skinny jeans and a leather jacket???
But then, after a little break, I reread the client’s comments and really try to hear what they are saying about what it is they want. When I start sketching this time, it is from a more humble place. Not from an “I am going to make the best thing ever” place, but from an “I am really going to give the client what they want even if what they want sucks” place. Paradoxically, when I do that, when I take my ego and expectations out of the project, I find that what I end up making is stronger, more authentic work. Though I still wouldn't mind making a film in the other style someday.