Tell your prospective client that her project idea is "boring."
Points for honesty. Big demerits for lack of tact.
So here's the deal.
I met with a film director to discuss a video project that I'm developing on behalf of a new client in the architectural field. It was our first face-to-face. I really just wanted a feel for how we'd connect, relate, communicate.
I will own that I am a far better writer than a talker. I will also own that I have not fully articulated the creative treatment for these videos. It's evolving. I will lastly own that I was not prepared to share, much less sell, my creative treatment.
So all of this played a part on the reaction I got. Nevertheless, I felt completely put down by his response: "talking heads are boring."
Where have I heard that before?
Oh, yes. Almost every time I meet with a film or television producer.
Yet my corporate clients loved talking head videos. I created a highly imaginative showcase to articulate their ideas. None of my productions would win any awards, but they served my clients' purposes: to put a face on the executive team, to animate core values, boost morale and so on.
So my response this rather tactless put-down, unintended I'm sure?
It depends on who's talking, what he's saying and to whom?
Bill Clinton is one of the sexiest, most interesting talking heads I've ever seen. I would gladly watch Robert DeNiro read the phone book. And is anyone more captivating than Meryl Streep, saying anything?
I'm a very imaginative woman, knowledgeable and excellent at my craft. That doesn't give me the right to piss on anyone else's vision.
I don't want to dismiss my clients ideas; I want to draw out what's important to him, what he knows, doesn't know, what he cares about and what he fears.
Only after I've walked in his shoes can I hold his hand through a very unfamiliar process in what promises to be a challenging project and emerge on the other side tighter, closer and better partners than when we began.
He won't get a second chance.