Learning Something New

I’ve just been hired for a new project, isn't that a lovely feeling?

I’m particularly pleased because I’ll be working with people I like, people I’ve worked with before, and learning by doing something new.

But then I remember times in the past when I have done something new. Those times when I have not quite understood the learning before I started.

Once upon a time I was a video producer working on material made or captured at events. I was good at it, I felt comfortable with it, and my order book was never empty. Then I changed to the slightly different task of producing a corporate video for one of my event clients.

I knew the clients, and they knew me. They clearly trusted me to produce the work. I was using all the cameras, editing and graphics equipment I was familiar with, and working with a talented team whose work I could trust. Full speed ahead.

Although we delivered the project on time, on budget, and fulfilled the brief, I really had to work at understanding how to deliver what my client wanted. All the same elements with just one little change produced a remarkably different process. I’m glad to say that no one really knew how hard we worked to make that client happy. And how supportive my team of freelancers were in delivering the final product.

The behaviour I observed – in myself that time – was how when presented with a new process the brain seeks the comfort of the familiar. Several times I obsessed about irrelevant details, details that would have been important in the “old” process but which were irrelevant in the “new”. A waste of time which felt like I was being productive.

I'm excited by my new commission and I’m looking forward to learning new stuff. But with my experience comes caution. I will begin by knowing that I don’t know something.  The first step will be to find out what that something is, because it’s going to trip me up eventually so I’d better identify it right away.

Like any creative process we start with the confidence that we will find the tools we need as we progress. I hope I’ll embrace the newness and both deliver and learn.

Wish me luck.


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