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Feb '18 | Curious Thinking Leads to Creative Breakthroughs

Don’t be afraid to pivot. It’s an essential part of the creative process.

In the case of Workspot, we all went into the studio thinking we were filming another set of corporate training videos. But the moment Patina heard the scripts prepared by the Workspot marketing team, we knew we had to pivot. The scripts, and the subsequent performances, deserved a place on top of the marketing funnel, not on the bottom. Pivoting wasn’t an option, it was essential to the success of the project.

A quick caveat, before we move forward: there are two ways to pivot.

  1. Pivoting after seeing the initial iteration, before any notes have been implemented is called a pre-mature pivot. This is when the client gets scared after seeing the first draft and decides to chalk it all up and go in an entirely new direction. Remember, the creative process is, in fact, a process. Sometimes we need to throw things on the screen in order to jumpstart a real conversation.
  2. The real pivot happens often during the creative process. It’s what naturally happens when you direct multiple creative minds on a single problem– you come up with a solution far better than the original plans laid forth. It’s something to embrace, not shy away from. After all, this is the process you’ve paid for.

Our Challenge

In the case of Workspot, we had a real pivot. And everyone could see it. We might’ve gone in with the intention of creating a series of corporate training videos, but we all came out realizing we’d taken a full 180. Which caused it’s own set of challenges, of course, because changing direction and scope mid-way through a project is never easy. Especially when there’s a deadline.

Tips for Marketers Who Skim:

Pivoting is an essential part of the creative process. Follow these three steps in order to pivot without total project paralysis.

  • Get everyone on the same page. Again.
  • Don’t be afraid to hire additional creative minds mid-way through the process.
  • Review your iteration schedule, and define your key iteration members.
San Francisco Production Company

Patina Pictures founder, K’Dee Miller, directing the talent.

Getting Everyone on the Same Page. Again.

In this case, Patina took a leap of faith and pitched an idea to the marketing team. Instead of incorporating power point like visuals, which no longer support the story we’ve captured, how about we create a new visual language using iconography and animation. But the idea wasn’t good enough to sell the team. They needed to see it. So we created a prototype using Google images and placeholder text. Within 1 day we had something to show them, and it worked.

Getting everyone on the same page is mandatory for the project’s success. And sometimes these steps needs to happen multiple times throughout the process. But without it, failure is almost always inevitable.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Mid-Hire

After our prototype was green-lit, we reevaluated the plan. And that’s when we started discussing options in which to incorporate a graphic designer. Branded Iconography is its own language, a language that needs to be specific to Workspot. After taking a week to discuss overall look and feel, we involved the Workspot designer and they created approximately 40 icons that each represented a specific key phrase.

Early Iterations Are Not for the Faint of Heart

This is a lesson Patina has learned well, and often. Which is why, during every project’s kickoff discussion, we define the iteration process by splitting everyone into two teams:

  1. Our Key Creative Stakeholders: Typically members of the marketing department, this team can stomach rough drafts without heartburn. This is our first line of offense when bouncing new ideas onto the screen.
  2. Our Primary Stakeholders: Typically the CEO, members of the executive team, or the person ultimately paying the bills. It’s important to keep this teams eyes’ fresh so they can weigh in without knowledge of the entire creative process. This fresh perspective is immensely important, especially when a number of iterations have taken place.

“I’ve worked with Patina Pictures for years now, first at Citrix, then at DocuSign, and now at Workspot. I can’t imagine creating a video without them. Where ever I go, I’ll bring them along.”

~ VP of Marketing, Workspot



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K'Dee Miller is the Founder & Creative Director of Patina Pictures.

Her feature films have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, AFI Fest, Newport Beach Film Festival, among others. Her corporate video clients span from technology companies such as Microsoft, RingCentral, DocuSign and Adobe, to Bay Area nonprofits such as Team4Tech and Hamilton Families.

She's studied her industry from every angle, receiving production training from The Juilliard School, an MFA of Writing from University of San Francisco, and a BFA of Acting from Marymount Manhattan College.

She is currently in the process of writing a memoir about growing up in the wilderness of Alaska.