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Jose Gomez

Jose Gomez is the Executive Creative Director of Dallas based design agency, ATK PLN. He’s won an Emmy, built a skateboard brand as a teenager and continues to push the envelope in the worlds of motion design and live action.

Tales From a Creative Director
Tales From a Creative Director

Tales From a Creative Director

Ep
89
Jun
29
With
Jose Gomez
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Tales From a Creative Director

Jose Gomez is the Executive Creative Director of Dallas based design agency, ATK PLN. He’s won an Emmy, built a skateboard brand as a teenager and continues to push the envelope in the worlds of motion design and live action.

This episode is full of great stories about the triumphs and tribulations of running a creative business in the advertising world. He and Chris swap stories about pitching ideas, working with nightmare clients and discuss how to take a loss and learn from it—even when it costs you $45K.

But it's not all war stories. Listen hard enough and you might pick up a few new tools to use in your own creative business.

ATK PLN is a creative design agency working at the intersection of entertainment marketing and commercial production. Funny enough, ATK PLN and Blind, Chris’s motion design studio turned brand strategy consultancy, pitched for the same projects back in the day.

Over the years, Jose and the team at ATK PLN have secured over a 50% win ratio on pitches, making them a highly successful studio. Looking back, Jose shares the secret to their success has been multi-layered.

The first: listening. “Really, really listening,” as Jose puts it. Understanding someone’s intent behind their words, not just the words themselves, has been pivotal in how Jose’s run his studio. When a client is speaking, for example, Jose encourages his team to poke and prod them to reveal more information than they’re trying to give.

In fact, not listening was what cost Jose’s studio the opportunity to create the show titles for the Emmy-winning hit series, Mad Men. Yeah, you know that one.

If you’re curious about how the world of motion has transformed over the years, and want to hear the full scoop from two industry veterans, this episode is a real treat.

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Episode Transcript

Jose:
I get on a call with a client and I'm like, "Hey, we're going to do XYZ. And this how we're going to do XYZ. We're going to do it ABC like this." And they're like, "Thank you so much. That makes so much sense. You guys sound like you know you have a plan." And then they might say something like, "All we heard on our last call was how short the schedule is, how we don't have enough money or they're nervous or concerned. And that just puts them off, right?

Greg:
Hello, and welcome to the Futur podcast. I'm your producer, Greg Gunn, and I hope you were having a good day. They're hard to come by. Today's guest is the executive creative director of Dallas-based design agency, ATK PLN. He's one of few people that have been in the motion design business just as long as Chris has. And that is a long time.

Greg:
This episode is full of great stories about the traps and tribulations of running a creative business in the advertising world. He and Chris swapped stories about pitching ideas, working with nightmare clients, and how to take a loss and learn from it, even when it costs you $45,000. Yeah, they get real.

Greg:
But it's not all war stories. Listen hard enough, and you might pick up a few new tools to use in your own creative business. So, without any further teasing, please enjoy our conversation with Director Jose Gomez.

Jose:
Hi, my name is Jose Gomez. I'm the executive creative director of ATK PLN. I used to have a studio named Shilo and been doing this since about 2001.

Chris:
What is the ATK PLN? What do you guys do?

Jose:
So, ATK PLN is a basically a creative design agency. And I think the best way to describe it is we work at the intersection of entertainment, marketing and commercial production. So, I think that's a little bit different than most studios these days where they're either doing commercial production and that kind of stuff. So, I mean, yeah, we kind of have a three-prong approach to our business. So, it's a little bit different than Shilo was.

Chris:
I see. Okay, so you mentioned Shilo twice now. So, maybe our compensation makes a lot of sense to begin there. I understand that you decided to go a different direction. Can you tell us a little bit about what led up to this and what the decision was like and how you are feeling at the moment? And why create ATK PLN?

Jose:
Yeah, I mean, as you know, running your own creative studios is a challenge. It always has been. And I think for me, doing my own studios for better part of 18 years, it kind of got to the point where I wanted to kind of make a change for the quality of our life, my family's live and have a little bit less stress in my life. And being when you're a self-funded entity, there's an amount of stress that goes along with it. Not that I'm saying that it's bad, but it can be a little bit taxing at times. But so, I think with ATK PLN, it gives me the opportunity to really focus on the things that I love and that's being creative and leading those teams.

Chris:
So, can I infer that now there is a business entity, somebody who's got a stake in it so you're not as stressed out over the profit or loss and all that stuff?

Jose:
Yeah. Yeah, so, ATK PLN is part of Reel FX. So, we probably have 300 plus animators that do film, animated films and whatnot, and we're the commercial kind of entity for that. So, one of the things is when Reel FX came, talk to me a little bit about the possibility of doing this, they gave me the tour. And what really struck me was the wherewithal and the capabilities that they had and being something that was coming from my small studio, I think we were probably at our height, maybe 30 people, it's pretty exciting to see the possibilities that could happen.

Chris:
And did this opportunity happen as you're contemplating about what you want to do with your life or had you already closed down Shilo? Can you take us through that thought process?

Jose:
No. Yeah. No, it kind of was serendipitous, I think. They had come to us a few years back about making a deal with Shilo and that kind of stuff, but it didn't work out at the time. And then this time around, everything kind of fell into place.

Chris:
I want to talk about the mindset a little bit, about how you felt because it's hard to let go of something that you've built for 18 years.

Jose:
Yeah, yeah, for sure. And I think it's one of those things where and I have to be completely honest, it was hard. It was a hard decision to make. But really, it was a decision that I made because, hey, I never thought I'd end up living in Dallas and we're based in Dallas, Texas. We had two studios and splitting our time between New York and San Diego was pretty taxing over the years.

Jose:
And although I love New York, it's kind of like chocolate. You love chocolate, but you can't just have it be your whole diet, right. So, it gets a little bit much after a while. So, we wanted to kind of have a change of pace and try not to be constantly on the treadmill, if you will.

Chris:
And so, what's your relationship with Andre right now? Is he involved in ATK PLN at all?

Jose:
No, no. Andre went off to do his own thing I think maybe five years or six years ago.

Chris:
I see.

Jose:
So, there was the time where we were partners and then he wanted to pursue live action direction. His appetite for animation, I think probably ran its course.

Chris:
I see. So, you were left to run this bicoastal office on your own and ...

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay. I see. It's starting to making a lot of sense for me now.

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
That's a lot to do.

Jose:
Yeah, yeah. And I think it was one of those things where it was me and my wife and I had to deal with having a bicoastal studio and especially in a marketplace that, hey, when we first started Shilo, I think it was what, Blind, Shilo, Stardust, right?

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
Yeah, right?

Chris:
Yes.

Jose:
And it's like, how many times have we pitched against each other? And I'm just like, "Damn it." Chris. Chris won this one.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
And we even shared an executive producer, right?

Chris:
Yes, yes.

Jose:
Do you know?

Chris:
Yes.

Jose:
A lot of it?

Chris:
Yes.

Jose:
Yeah. So, yeah. At the time when we first started, it was like, gosh, we were a handful of companies and budgets were bigger. And people paid their bills on time, which that's such a shocker.

Chris:
What a novelty, people paying their bills.

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
Interesting.

Jose:
Yeah, exactly. And the competition, you can't minimize how many studios started popping up. You really can't minimize that. Because, look, we did some great work. Blind did some great work. Stardust, Buck, Brand New School. We've all done great one, right?

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jose:
But then, as the years go on, it's like you have these studios that are like some guy, who him and his buddy are working in Houdini and they can pump out great work on their desktop. It becomes a diluted marketplace, right?

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
So, that's where dealing with the ups and downs of that was like, "Hey, I think doing this on our own is just going to stay stressful. So, let's make a change."

Chris:
Yeah, that makes sense. Okay, if you haven't figured it out, we're going to probably go pretty deep into the motion realms space. And it's not that often that I'm able to talk to somebody who's been doing this for as long as I've been doing it. And now, you're continuing on where I've kind of left that world behind. So, I think we're going to get deep guys. So, if this not your cup of tea, that's fine. Skip this episode.

Chris:
But if you really want to hear the trials and tribulations and things that both of us have witnessed over the two decades that we've been in this business, in this motion industry and have seen it from its high highs and low lows, and it's kind of funky. So, I haven't talked to anybody in the motion space at your level in a really, really long time. When I unplug, I really unplug. So, I'm curious more than anything else. And it's like one of these things where when I was still actively in this space, it was like a slow moving car crash.

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
I could feel it. And you pointed out to some of the things ready. When you and I are around in the early 2000s, it was just a handful of companies. The budgets were healthy. The creative was amazing. It was fun to do.

Jose:
Right.

Chris:
And like all things, the market becomes saturated. Clients are getting funky and the whole landscape has changed so much so that I'm still wondering like, are you still making commercials? Do you still enjoy this process? And what's that like now?

Jose:
The key to success that we have in ATK PLN and the things that we've found work for us is not only are part of our business is doing traditional commercials, but the way you even do traditional commercials anymore is so not what was happening in 2000. I remember everything used to be so tidy, hey, we need 30 second ... Happening in 2000. I remember everything used to be so tidy, hey, we need a 30-second spot and a 15-second cut down. Now, it's we need 32-seconds spot.

Chris:
Really?

Jose:
Yeah, just like random, they don't care. Less care about the time length and it's more of like, "Hey, this going to be on Facebook or Snapchat or whatever." And yeah, sure, it usually follows like that traditional timeline, 30 and 15 or whatever, but so we're doing a lot of stuff for social and those kind of delivery methods, right?

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jose:
So, the delivery methods changed, but the contents remain the same. And then also, we do a ton of commercial entertainment work for studios. So, we just did the Paramount animation logo. We did all the marketing work for Jumanji or all the marketing work for Scooby Doo or those types of animated movies. So, we'll animate the marketing work for those properties, a lot of Sony properties, a lot of Warner Brothers properties, those types of things. So, it's a mixture of those.

Jose:
And then layered in, I still direct a lot of live action. So, that's kind of like our calling card. It's the intersection between live action, design motion graphics and 3D animation.

Chris:
Okay, so the landscape has changed. It's getting messy.

Jose:
Complex.

Chris:
Yeah, it's getting complex and where you air these things, air in quotes, is no longer television or maybe that's just part of it. And it's all weird sizes and formats and orientations as I can imagine. What's the relationship like with your clients on the commercial side? Is it the same pitch process? Is it the same prove yourself every single time? Or is the relationship changing?

Jose:
Yeah, it's in a lot of ways, there's a definite mixture a lot more than previous. Because in one aspect, you're still having the bigger jobs, right? Because there are bigger jobs. And when I say bigger jobs, I'm saying over 300K, right?

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jose:
For those jobs are going to be triple bidding. And it's going to be the, what you're used to and what I'm used to and putting a pitch deck together, putting design frames together, perspective and all that other stuff.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
And then there's the, what we're seeing a lot of now and what's grown over the course of the last 10 years is this client direct, right? Like say, we do a lot of work for Lays and Pepsi. And they just have an internal agency. So, it's nice because sometimes it cuts out that step where you're just going, "Hey, we've done projects together. You want us to do this ..." They don't make us pitch the second and third time. They're just like, "Hey, we have this project. Let's execute." That kind of reproving yourself every time that's kind of fallen a little bit to the wayside when you're working client direct.

Jose:
Now on the agency side, I mean, geez, I don't know how many projects I've done for BBDO or Leo Burnett or Y&R, but every single time ... Or five companies bidding for the same project. So, that's a little bit nice working with client direct. And I think agencies have that as policy and whatever, but it's just like, it does get a little tiring when they're like, "Hey, can you send me a reel of your capabilities?" I'm like, we've done five projects together.

Jose:
But that's just the way things work. You don't make up the rules, you just live by them. I mean, you can break the rules. And there's some people that have done that. But at a certain level, on the smaller projects, there's sometimes where, and stop me if I'm rambling, there's sometimes on smaller projects where I'm like, literally, the cost of pitching this project is going to take a portion of your actual budget. I need to bring in designers or if the designers that I have are here, we're all on the clock.

Jose:
So, just even pitching your project, you're jeopardizing your project's success. Because if it's a really low budget, let's not waste the time. You know we can do it.

Jose:
So, sometimes we'll turn down projects that are very, very low level like that. But at a higher level, you're not dictating the course. You're competing for that job. If it's a half a million dollars or a million-dollar job, you're definitely competing.

Chris:
Yeah. So, I want to just say this for people who are curious about the motion design industry and you're like, what is this pitching thing about and just in a nutshell, the client usually advertising agencies will invite a handful and sometimes more unfortunately of companies to bid speculatively for a project by presenting creative that they have to put the bill of the creative and everything that goes into that in hopes of securing the job.

Chris:
So, when you talk about what Jose is talking about, is sometimes you can spend quite a bit of money on the pitch process itself. And that's going to come back out of the budget of the project that you potentially win. So, it's putting in jeopardy the resources and the talent where it's supposed to be, which is in the making of the thing and not the pursuit of a thing. So, that's kind of what Jose is talking about there, for anybody who doesn't understand the way it works in the commercial world.

Chris:
Now, I remember a time, I don't know if you knew do, but there was a time when you could just submit a number, maybe a one-page written treatment, a director's treatment as they would refer to it. And those years didn't last long. It was only a few short years before everybody started getting into it. And then somewhere along the way, the agencies realized and they still do this to this day, if we can get a bunch of companies to submit ideas for free, why not? And that was, for me the beginning of a long, long spiraling death. It was like, god, that sucks.

Jose:
Yeah, like 12 years of that, 15 years of that. Yeah.

Chris:
Yes.

Jose:
No, for sure. I mean, I think there was definitely times where we've done pitches where they've been very small one, two pages. And there's been times where sometimes on a project, we might have pitched just a two-page little treatment written and some mood boards, right?

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
So, you pull together some reference. You triangulate the intent of your message with mood frames and writing and that actually is pretty effective. We'd get some pretty big jobs. I pitched on the Ford F-150 campaign. So, that's like a couple million dollars in work and we spent $45,000 on the pitch. And we lost and that hurt really bad. So, that's the other extreme, where you're bringing in ... I brought in artists like ... I'm an artist myself.

Jose:
My background is in art, skateboarding, and an artist I admire, Evan Hecox, I brought him in to work on the pitch. And I'm like, he drew out of the whole campaign, custom painting, everything. And the agency loved it and whatever. But as you know, sometimes these things you could be the recommend and still lose the job.

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
So, that was one of those times where I was like, "Okay, well, you're not going to win any of the jobs that you don't swing for, right?" And that's kind of like been my mantra. And that's another thing. I refuse to do a pitch unless I'm in 100%. I'm not going to half ass it. Like, I'll just turn it down and then on to the next because I feel like it's too much of an expenditure of effort and brainpower to trivialize it in that respect.

Chris:
As a business owner, when you're running Shilo, you're pinching on jobs, you're losing, I think you have to lose a bunch of jobs. This is a numbers game. If there are five people, the way I always looked at is you have a one in five chance. I'd like to say that we always have a better than that, but I'm just looking at math, right? And you're going to win some and you're going to lose a bunch. Did you ever look at the number of jobs that you've lost? And how much money that was spent against that? And how did you feel about that?

Jose:
Yeah, I mean, I can't remember the numbers off the top of my head, but we were very buttoned up in calculating our pitch to win ratio. So, we had spreadsheets and I think, at our best time, yeah, I think our best average was 60-40. So, we were winning 60% and losing 40% and then that would fluctuate to winning 40% and losing 60%.

Jose:
And then the good times are like when you ... Like at ATK PLN, we have a gong because you have a lot of employees and everybody wants to know when you win a job. So, we have this big ... It's like a gong in our office and we gong the gong. But at ATK PLN, we won eight pitches in a row. And I was like, "Oh my gosh, this is great."

Chris:
You're unstoppable.

Jose:
Yeah, we're unstoppable. And then we won eight pitches in a row and then proceeded to lose four in a row or five in a row. And those are the times that you're like, "Okay, here's your slice of humble pie." I think even as a small business owner, even if you're a two man shop or whatever, I think even as a small business owner, even if you're a two man shop or whatever, you really need to focus on how you're winning, what's winning, what's the approach. Analyze that creative because it's an intangible thing. Every bit of creative idea, they're all different. Right?

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
But it's like, what did you do? What did you do differently on this pitch that made you win? And try to harness that? It's kind of like a nebulous thing. It's super hard to explain to someone why you win a pitch because I've seen some and I've been lucky enough to see some of my competitors pitches after the fact.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
The client might share it with you and you're like, "Ooh," and you're like, sometimes to be honest. I'm like, oh, okay. We won. You look at someone else's pitches, you're like, "That's pretty awesome. They did just as good a job as we did." So, sometimes I even think even when you're on a pitch, say with somebody, like when we were pitching against you guys, and we were pitching against, say Psyop or Brand New School or one of the other studios, and we still pitch against a lot of those studios still, like I'm under the realization that each one of us probably do just as good a job as the next person. Right?

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
So, you're going to knock it out of the park. We're going to knock it out of the park. But then it gets down to what can we offer the client that's going to entice them to pick us over the other folks. Because creativity and creative output is just like the base layer. It's the foundation. It's the given.

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
We're good, you're good, they're good. You're picking three good people. It's like, then what do you layer on top of that? Is it communication? Is it relationship? Is it your projection of confidence? Because that's another thing, like early on, in the early 2000s, even all the way through 2010, you can almost smell when a client was afraid. Because there's so many of them, especially at agencies, they're very afraid of making a fumble.

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
Right. So, a lot of the time, even now, it's projecting an error of capability and confidence and wherewithal that they know they're in good hands. Because sometimes even on I get on a call with a client and I'm like, "Hey, we're going to do XYZ and this is how we're going to do XYZ. We're going to do it ABC like this."

Jose:
And they're like, "Thank you so much. That makes so much sense. You guys sound like you know you have a plan." And then they might say something like, "All we heard on our last call was how short the schedule is, how we don't have enough money or they're nervous or concerned." And that just puts them off, right?

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jose:
So, to me, I kind of gathered the information first. And I'm like, I won't get on a call with a client unless I know we can make something of it. If we can't make something of it, I rather just be like, honestly, this is too big of an uphill battle for us to tackle right now. And we can't do this project in two weeks for half the budget. So, you want to engage the client when you're confident enough that you know you're going to be able to do ...

Chris:
When there was something that was being asked of you that was just based on your standards, not feasible, budget, and time. Because we say like with any amount of budget, we can make something work. But since that's never the case, it's a finite budget. And we have to fight against time and expectations. And so, you'll gracefully bow out of the whole process knowing like, okay, man, this not right for us. Good luck to whoever gets it.

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
When you ran your company and your executive producer was working with you, did you guys ever get into points of conflict? And I ask this very earnestly because they want you to get the job, no matter what.

Jose:
All the time.

Chris:
Okay, and you're the owner and tell me that what that dialogue sounds like, so I can compare to the kinds of conversations I've had over the years.

Jose:
Sure. I mean, it could go both ways, too.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
Sometimes I can be like ... A producer might look at something and say, "Hey, this is totally impossible." And I'll be like, "No, it's not. We'll do it like this. We'll do it in 3D. Or we'll do it stop motion, or we'll do it like this." And there might be an argument of, well, the client doesn't want that. And I'm like, "Listen, I'm kind of always about like if there's a hope for a project, it's almost like, we can't do what you're asking exactly. But here's what we can do. And it'll be really, really awesome-

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
... if you just do these two things. Like for instance some big live action commercial and they want a helicopter and the whole spot has nothing to do with really a helicopter. It's just somebody who got an idea like, "Oh, we want a helicopter in the background." And you're like, "No, you don't understand. To rent the helicopter and to set up and the pilot and all that other stuff, that's a majority of your budget that you're blowing."

Jose:
So, I know that's a weird example. But yeah, it's trying to find those solutions that I think that I would push for as a business owner. Now, from a producer standpoint, some producers ... There's different types of producers too, right? There's like the relationship producers like [inaudible 00:26:34]. Right?

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
Very much about the relationship, very much sales, like pushing the ball across the line, very hopeful, and optimistic. And those are great to have. And then there's the, I like to call them like the line producers of motion graphics where they're just looking at every little detail, every little bit of time. And those producers kind of tend to be the ones that are a little bit more worried about whether we're able to pull it off in time and budget and whatnot.

Jose:
But there's a case to be said both ways. Because sometimes and surely I've made this mistake, where I get into a project and I lose money.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
Because at the end of the day, you agreed to do something and you've got to deliver. Now, whether or not you make money or not, that's not the client's problem. That's your problem. So, you learn those lessons and you confer with them. And you kind of make an educated decision together. But yeah, there was a lot of times that we had major, let's say, animated discussions about whether or not you do a project or not.

Chris:
But then you still get the final say, right. It's your company and you say, "You know what, I know, we'll probably lose money. It's fine. I still want to do it. It's my prerogative." And conversely, "Hey, we're going to make a lot of money on this," and you say, "You know what, it's not right for us. I don't feel it. Not getting the vibes, whatever. Walk away from it." And that's the natural push and pull of these kind of relationships.

Jose:
Yeah, for sure. I mean, there was definitely times where I remember, say around maybe 2007 or '08 or something, it was like, we had a really big job, but it was for tobacco. And at the time, I just didn't feel right. So, I was like, it's a very rare occasion. Because, I mean, I definitely am have my belief system. But in advertising, it's hard to pick and choose what is the point where you decide, "Hey, this is too much for me." Right?

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
And tobacco is one of them. And I've done beer commercials, I've done all sorts of pharmaceutical commercials and all sorts of things like that. But tobacco was the one where I was like, "No, I can't do this one." Big budget.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
It was very painful to walk away.

Chris:
They usually are. The ones like that are usually very painful because they're flush with money.

Jose:
Yeah. For a reason.

Chris:
Yes, for a reason. Now, I want to go back to this one thing because you were talking about your win to loss ratio. So, for every 10 jobs for the lifetime of your company, you were averaging about six of those jobs you would win and then you would lose four out of every 10 jobs, right? Sixty-40.

Jose:
Well, that would fluctuate.

Chris:
Right. And then you'd go on hot streaks and you would go on cold streaks.

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
So, we've seen the same thing. So, I wanted to ask you, and you talked about this a little bit, I'm not sure there's an answer for you. But there's this black box. And the black box is what we'll call the agency thinking creative process. You do your best. You show up every day that you decide, "Hey, man, we're going to go after this and we're going to give it our best." And it goes inside the black box. What comes out of it is they give it to company A, B, C, D or E.

Chris:
And sometimes it seems like you know what you're doing. Sometimes we have no idea why they choose the things that they choose. I wanted to ask you, what do you attribute to be the secrets to your success of getting a better than 50% win ratio over the lifetime of your company? What do you think that was?

Jose:
And that is a very good question. And I think one that is multilayered. It's not just like, "Oh, because we did we put this in our treatments." I've got a lot of stories. So, I'll share some good stories.

Chris:
I'm hoping that you will.

Jose:
The ones that paid me the most are usually the best ones.

Chris:
Okay.

Jose:
So, I think for me, what I learned early on was listening. But not listening, but really, really listening. Now, when someone says words, you get the words, right? But what is their intent? It's almost like, I got good. And this even today, I make everyone in our team, listen to what the client is really trying to say and poke and prod them to reveal more information on our team. Listen to what the clients are really trying to say and poke and prod them to reveal more information than they're trying to give you.

Jose:
Because usually they have this boilerplate and they're kind of spitting it out. And I learned this early on because, okay, so you're familiar Imaginary Forces did the main title for Mad Men? Right?

Chris:
Yup.

Jose:
And we were on that pitch. And we had won an Emmy for Showtime show called Huff, right.

Chris:
Oh, yeah. Beautiful job, by the way.

Jose:
Thank you. So, we were pitching Mad Men at the time. And I was just like, "What is this show. Who is this guy? Let's just get on the phone with him." And he starts talking and forgive me, I forget the show creator's name.

Chris:
Matt Weiner or something like that?

Jose:
Yes, yes.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
And so, Matt's on the phone with us. And he's just kind of telling us what the show is about, the context of it, the storyline, whatever, and I'm like, "Wow, this really cool. It's about advertising agencies and whatever." So, we go back and he's like, "You know, you guys come up with a bunch of ideas." He's all, "I don't know." He's like, "I kind of think it'd be kind of cool to see someone committing suicide or falling down a building and watching his life's work kind of flash by as he's falling, like the downfall of his agency or whatever, him falling down from building." And that was the whole thing.

Jose:
We did a huge presentation, but we didn't give that idea. We have all sorts of different ideas. Because you're like, I remember back then, the argument was on the team like, "Well, he spouted out, that was just like a toss away idea he had on the conference call." And there was this big discussion back and forth. I was like, "No, we should be safe. We should do a design and a concept based on that and whatever." And it was like this big kind of back and forth. No, we need to do all original ideas. We did like 10 or 15 different ideas.

Chris:
Wow.

Jose:
And then, we lost. And then I watch it on air and I'm like, "Son of a bitch. Should have just done what he said to do. Right?"

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
And so, from then on, I'm always like, "All right, just listen. Listen to what they're trying to say. But not just listen really, really, really, really try to get in deep to what their meaning, what's the intent of what they're trying to do here." So, I think part of that is taking a layered approach where you're going out to pitch like, "Okay, we listened to what the client wants, what they need. We're going to build something against that. But then we're going to try to plus it. We're going to try to do something that they haven't thought of, or a little creative twist or a little hook."

Jose:
And that was my big thing. Every pitch had to have a hook. What was the creative hook that got them to be like, "Wow, we really loved what you did with our idea and how you took this and changed it just a little bit into that," and that kind of thinking. And then also, too, I think a lot of the stuff is the team that we built at the time was so ... It's almost like in the 18 years, you have seasons, right?

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jose:
You have seasons of it's like capturing magic. Somehow these people come together and you're like, you're just firing all cylinders. And then sometimes they disperse. And then it's kind of like up and down. But a lot of the people that worked over the course of the time, it really was more than just one person. It was like when you had a great team, they could come up with great ideas. Everybody vibed off each other.

Greg:
We're going to take a quick break. But we'll be right back.

Greg:
Hey, Greg Gunn from the Futur here. That's right. It's me again. Now, the Futur's mission is to teach one billion creatives how to make money doing what they love, without feeling gross about it. Now, maybe you're in school, but you feel like you're not getting what you need. Or maybe you're like me and sold all of your internal organs to pay for private art school tuition. But it's been a while and you want to sharpen up some of those skills.

Greg:
Well, fortunately for you, we have a bunch of courses and products designed specifically to help you become a smarter and more versatile creative. Design courses like typography, logo design and color for creatives go deep into the design fundamentals that you need to know and command in order to be successful.

Greg:
Check out all of our courses and products about learning design by visiting the Futur.com/design.

Greg:
Welcome back to our conversation with Jose Gomez.

Chris:
I want to ask you about this creative hook. But before I do, I want to ask what year was that you were pitching for Mad Men? And what was the budget like for you to be submitting 15 ideas?

Jose:
Well, the budget wasn't big, especially on main titles, the budgets aren't very good. But we knew that if we won, it would have been really good for our studio. And it was great for ... I mean, come on. Imaginary Forces really milked that one for a long time. It was great for their studio. Right?

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jose:
So, we kind of knew that going in. And it was a question of I did three ideas. Andre did three ideas. Nate did two ideas. We really got into it and did a lot of ideas. But I can't remember the time. It was before the show started. So, it was a while ago.

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
But it was one of those things like you know that it's a unique opportunity. And it wasn't about the money per se. It was about the creative and the exposure.

Chris:
Okay, so I think what you're saying is that you knew going in this is not a moneymaker because main titles are not lucrative.

Jose:
Never.

Chris:
Generally speaking. Maybe HBO pays a lot of money. I don't know how-

Jose:
We've done a lot for HBO-

Chris:
It's not.

Jose:
It's not much though.

Chris:
I tell myself this story before I go to bed that HBO pays a lot because the work that they did is phenomenal. But what we're talking about is there's a lot of cachet if you wind up working and attaching yourself to a project that winds up becoming a hit show. So, you read the premise, the synopsis, whatever it is, and you can't even know for certain it's going to be a hit show. You just think, probably it will be hit and I need to get my name attached to this. And so, we get into this.

Chris:
Now, I do want to do the creative hook thing. But since we're on this, do you think it's healthy for companies like yourselves, like us, because I'm in that space too, to look at it like this because now, we are subsidizing these projects. And there's no motivation for show creator, showrunners to say, "Let's put $300,000 in for that show a little bit because it's really important to that visual identity and the packaging of our show. But if we put $30,000 aside and we have 10 companies giving us 15 ideas each, why should we change? So, what do you think about that?

Jose:
What? About the kind of-

Chris:
Our mentality.

Jose:
Yeah, I mean, look, there's two parts to that. If they have a good show and you know it's going to come off really well, it's a calculated risk, because it's not about the money. And that's something that even we agree upon. Before we go in, we're like, "Hey, we're not working on this project, just so you know, because your budget isn't very good. And they know that, right? So, they already know that their budget is not good. And then what they mostly lean upon is, "Hey, we've got a great show. It's going to be a hit." Because I hate the idea of working for free, right?

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jose:
And it's one of those things where we go in, we're like, "Hey, we're a little bit more demanding," before we engage. So, we're going to pitch this project, but if we win, we want press associated together. Because sometimes what they try to do is they say, "Hey, you can't put this on your website or you can't show it. You can't PR it." No, that's not happening. We need to PR it in a very healthy way. So, we'll do that.

Jose:
But then on the flip side of that, like I was talking about before the larger budget jobs, let's say half a million on up, at that point, you're either participating or you're not participating. And you don't have that chance. It's almost like this industry dug its own grave in a sense when it comes to pitching. Now, we're lying in it. It's going to be really hard. Once you've dug that hole, it's going to take a collective effort of every studio to fill it back. Right? Because it took a collective effort from every studio to dig the hole.

Jose:
But guess what, now the agencies and most everybody else, they're used to that system. So, why change? And then also too, the amount of studios is so much higher, each one of them is going to do whatever it takes to get the job. And they're going to push and pull and they'll do whatever.

Jose:
At this point, it's either you choose to be part of it or you choose to not.

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
That's it.

Chris:
See, I agree with what you're saying, the summary.

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
But I don't remember stepping into that line saying, "Hey, guys, let's vote on this. Let's all start pitching for free."

Jose:
Oh, no, no.

Chris:
The studio does, you know? I know. I know. A studio did it. And they basically educated their clients saying, "Hey, one of these five studios just did animation tests. One of these five studios just did this whole animatic for us."

Jose:
The motion test?

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
You're taking it even to the next level, right?

Chris:
Oh yeah.

Jose:
Like, I've lost so many pitches because the agencies might have been a little bit more coy about what the other competitors were doing. Now, they'll tell you, "Hey, they're doing a motion test, you better do a motion test."

Chris:
Yes.

Jose:
And there's been a lot of times where we've lost pitches where it's like, hey ... And also too, when I lose a pitch or when we lose a pitch as a studio, I love to gather the information like, "Hey, why did we lose?"

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
"What did we do wrong? How can we do better next time?" And a lot of times, it could just be the other studio did a motion test and made the client believe in them more. And you're like, "Well, okay. I didn't know we were doing motion tests," or, I guess, fair game. But it's very rare to be paid for pitches these days. And when we have and it's still it happens sometimes, the money is really not enough to even cover the pitch.

Chris:
It might buy the lunches, right?

Jose:
Yeah, exactly.

Chris:
Oh my god.

Jose:
Thank you for that.

Chris:
So, in a way, we've dug this hole ourselves unwittingly, collectively, whatever because supply is so far outstrip demand. And there's a few people offering work. And so, there's so many mouths to feed that it's warfare. And it's I guess, all is fair in war and everybody does whatever they want. Some people will fly out and present their fully baked idea in person.

Jose:
Have done it.

Chris:
At the cost of tens of thousands of dollars themselves to hope to secure it. And you're back there in the studio submitting for boards. And so, it is kind of a thing. And that's why like, "Okay, look, you have a decision to make. You want to be in business, you accept the rules of warfare, or you get out or you go client director. Or you do something different." And that's the way it is.

Jose:
Well, and also too, it's like, I feel like complaining about it is wasted energy. Because either you're doing something to affect change or get out of the way. Or mind your business and try to win more. But to complain only, yeah, it's wasted energy. I mean like, when we're pitching jobs with Warner Brothers or whatever, they're so used to, if we have a million dollars for this campaign, we're seeing three different options. If you don't want to pitch, then goodbye.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
We'll find 20 other studios that'll pitch your idea. And at that point, we're like, "Okay. We're going to pitch." And quite honestly, the only part that bends me a little bit is the expenditure of the pitch and not being compensated for creativity is one part that really chaps my hide. But on the other side, the most favorite part of the whole job for me is the pitch. It's almost like I love the hunt. I love competition. I love winning. I love losing. When we lose, yeah, nobody likes to lose, but I'm like, it's such an emotional roller coaster. You know what I mean?

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jose:
And that's what I think sometimes really great creativity comes out of that. Because basketball players go out and they play all year to get to the finals. They get paid before the finals. So, it'd be nice to be paid for getting to the point where you're at the job.

Chris:
Yeah. I think they get paid whether they play or not.

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
So, that's a whole different ... I mean, you're talking about different universe.

Jose:
Yeah. Maybe that's not the best example.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
You know what I mean?

Chris:
I know what you mean.

Jose:
You're getting compensated enough to cover your costs, that would be fantastic. But again, to complain about it, it's wasted energy.

Chris:
I agree. I still want to know what you mean when you say, it has to have a creative hook. How do you explain that to somebody who's two years out of school? And when they present ideas to you and you say there's no creative hook here, work on it. What does that mean?

Jose:
It's kind of like when I'm talking to the designer and they'll make beautiful frames, I'm like, "Yeah, these are fantastic looking frames, my man. They look great, but it's just a big nothing. It's just beautiful and beautiful only gets you half the way. What's the story? What's the hook? What's the concept? Where are you planting your flag in the ground in their creative? How are you plussing it? For instance, this is like something ... I'm just going to use this as an example.

Chris:
Sure.

Jose:
There is this job for a paint company, like Valspar paints or whatever. And they had this concept where a hand came in and started deconstructing a patio, moving the patio furniture around and rearranging the windows on the house. And their idea was, "Hey, we're going to have this hand come in and move all this stuff on the patio. But it was all just like pictures of patio furniture, whatever and the hand would pick up the picture and move it around. So, I had this idea like, hey, how can we plus this without changing their idea?

Jose:
So, I proposed making everything out of miniatures, right? So, the hand could actually touch something in the parallax and it gave it just enough difference that they were like, "Oh my god, this is genius." That's kind of what I'm talking about it. It's not necessarily changing their idea, it's plussing it and doing it in a way where you can say, "Hey, that's XYZ. But I'm going to add this fourth layer on it. You know?

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jose:
So, it can even be as simple as that, or is it something like the way you approach the creative. What is the angle you're taking at it rather than just regurgitating to them what they told you? You got to do something to plus it. Right?

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
So, I hope that answers.

Chris:
It does. And the example made it more concrete for me, that the idea was preserved. The technique that you propose, the creative approach, it's this marriage of form and function that just made it seem like, uh-huh (affirmative), of course, that's genius in its simplicity.

Jose:
Yes.

Chris:
Now, it's going to take somebody years of experience to figure this thing out because some people do literally what the boards or the client will say, and so they've not plussed it in your words, or they think plussing it is, hey, I got this totally different approach. Let's just blow the whole furniture up.

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
You sit down and so that's what we're doing.

Jose:
Yeah, and that's how I lost Mad Men.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
Because we were pitching Mad Men and rather than taking his idea and plussing it, I was like, "All right, we're going to go nuts." And the team were like, "We're going to throw them with all these genius ideas. And we're so smart. We're so brilliant. We're going to come up with all these creative ideas."

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
And then you get slapped with a big slice of humble pie. And you're like, "We should have just listened and brought something more." When you're swinging, you could totally ... You don't want to be off in left field. You want to be inside the house. You don't want to be knocking it down. You want to be beautifying it. So, you want to be making it better.

Chris:
So, maybe in a way that you're talking about this when you say you want to be able to do more, so, you're looking for something to add to it to make the concept stronger versus doing something totally out of left field, which is to me is subtracting from it. It's like you're pulling away from the core idea.

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
Okay. So, for all you aspiring people who want to win more pitches, that was probably one of the most insightful key things that you're going to take from this conversation. But can I ask you this question?

Jose:
Sure.

Chris:
I'm glad you really brought it up. Huff, beautiful, conceptual, all of it. And we've lost to you guys. And when I saw what you guys did, I was like, "There's no way we could have done that." I'm not even talking about, do we even come up with ideas. It's like the amount of love you put into that main title, I was like, "Damn, that's so good." That's one where we just take off our hat, we bow to you gracefully and say, "You know what? The best person, and it doesn't always happen, won." You deserve to win. What was the idea for that? Can you quickly describe that?

Jose:
So, essentially, Huff was a show about a psychiatrist but his own psychosis. It was kind of like this weird thing. So, we presented like six different concepts. And the concept was like compartments of the mind and memories and those floating bits of your memory and of your mind floating in this kind of nebulous space framed in these pictures of moments in time.

Jose:
And I think before that, that was one of those spots too where we did a lot of parallaxing. And we did it all on After Effects. The tools were not as abundant as they are now. But that technique, oh, man, it was copied so much after that. I would see like 20 different versions of that spot. It was pretty amazing how prevalent that design kind of took off.

Jose:
But yeah, I remember, it was pretty much Danny Yount. He helped us on that pitch. And his contribution was the concept for that.

Chris:
I see.

Jose:
So, Danny, definitely, he deserves a lot of credit for that. He came in and helped us and he was a good contributor on the idea stage. And then we took it off and we produced it and whatever.

Chris:
Yeah. So, I'm going to have to look at that thing again. Because when I looked at it for many times, because I was a fan of the show as well, I was thinking, oh, there's some 3D trickery. There's a lot going on here. It was beautiful. Just when you talk about an idea and meets ... I was thinking, there's some 3D trickery. There's a lot going on here. It was just when you talk about an idea and meets its form and execution, again, hats off to you.

Jose:
Thank you.

Chris:
Let's talk about another thing that we have some crossover. This time not so sad for us, because we worked on a campaign together for Zion with Attic.

Jose:
Oh, yes.

Chris:
And I saw what you guys did. I was like, "Wow, these guys are good. My god, that's good."

Jose:
You know what, I mean, likewise. That was one where it was blind. Stardust and Shilo doing the whole campaign.

Chris:
Yes.

Jose:
And Simon Needham.

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jose:
Bless his heart. He knows what he wants. And let's say, as a client, I'm going to use the word "demanding".

Chris:
He is.

Jose:
Very demanding, very succinct too. Like he was not wishy washy with what his words chose. He was just like he knew exactly what he wants. And he wasn't afraid to tell you if something wasn't up to snuff. Right?

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
So, that project really changed our studio in a lot of ways. I mean, it almost broke us. It was like, "God, we were really pushing hard on that one." Back then too, the tools weren't as fast. So, 2:00 AM was the norm. Buying dinner for everybody, the norm. Those projects were awesome to work on.

Chris:
Yeah. I'm glad that you're saying some of the things that you're saying. So, I'm going to say some things and we're going to have to figure out whether or not we want to leave this into the edit here.

Chris:
Okay, I'm not a big fan of Simon. I'm not a fan of the way he manages people. I think he's a former creative of himself running his own design studio. So, you would hope that as a person who has been on the line before that now that you become the client that you would have some semblance of, man, we could change things from the inside out. But actually, he became the worst kind of client possible. When you say demanding, I think that's a very polite way to say it.

Chris:
So, if I remember correctly, if I remember correctly, it was a $200,000 budget to do a car commercial back in the 2000s. And that's a ridiculously low budget for a car commercial, ridiculous, okay. It'd be probably pretty good these days. But back then, that was just stupid.

Jose:
Junk.

Chris:
Right. And we would do this and we would present things after one after another. So, here's a couple things he did that I just can't let go of, which is first, it was bidding out of the 720 HD project, and then it became an full 1920 HD project and back then, it was still relatively new.

Jose:
That's hard.

Chris:
Still transitioning, man. It's like we're talking about double the rendering, everything. And like you said, the horsepower wasn't there in computing. He just snapped his fingers and said, "That's the way it's going to be." There was no sense of fairness like, "Hey, man, you change the spec on us." And then he's like, "Oh, yeah, you know what, we're going to shoot this shark and we want to robot shark and make it."

Jose:
Yup.

Chris:
And we're already deep into now. So, what are we going to do? And here's the worst part. It's one thing to say here's some new creative things, but to acknowledge it, that, "Guys, I'm sorry, there's no more money, just roll with the punches with me. I do appreciate that." Versus like, "No, you should be so grateful that I'm throwing three times as much work on top of you for no extra money."

Chris:
And here's the last little bit, we would present boards to him and he's like, instead of reacting like a normal human, I mean, he was getting off on this, he would say, "Oh, this doesn't offend me." FU, dude, FU. You go do some boards and let me see what you got there.

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
So, that was rough.

Jose:
I think your recollection of that time is just as crystal clear as mine is.

Chris:
Yes.

Jose:
But I think you're a little bit more revealing. So, I mean, there's been times where Simon, he was the worst kind of client.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
The absolute worst.

Chris:
Yes.

Jose:
Like it didn't get worse. I don't typically, especially in a public forum like this, I would never talk bad about anybody. But those projects were, you busted your ass. And we knew they were good.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
But he never told you they were good. He never would say, "Man, you guys kicked ass" or "This is great." And those spots really helped their agency a bunch and we all kicked our asses for those things. And it would have just been nice to have been a little ... Because clients, it's so nice when clients will say, "Oh my god, you guys killed it, so appreciative." I know he didn't make a lot of fans and I don't know, I think it faded away.

Chris:
It did.

Jose:
But those were rough days, man. I mean, they were great. It was great creative and that's why you did them.

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
It's one of those things where you go back and you're like, "God, I hope not everybody is like this."

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
I mean, because with clients, I will do just about anything to make a client comfortable and happy. And a couple times with him, I would just have to just stand my ground I think, is the best way to describe what I'm saying. You have to stand your ground sometimes. And there's been times where I've had to hang up the phone with clients where they're like screaming at producers. I'm glad those days are done because that doesn't happen anymore.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
When a client starts screaming and the junior producer is crying in the corner, and I'm like, "You know what, we're done. This conversation is over. We're not having this conversation anymore."

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
In New York, people are a little more gruff. They're a little more forthcoming with their opinions.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
And I remember saying something like, "Oh, we'd love to do this project, but we're booked from X date to this date and we need to just push it back a week." And he's like, "Look, man, I could throw a quarter out the window right now, it's going to hit a director in the head. So, either you want to do the job or you don't want to do the job." And I was like, "Okay, thanks for that. Thanks for reminding me of that."

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
I could see you're still a little scarred from Simon Needham saying.

Chris:
You know what, I've had really great clients. I've had really bad clients. But what's interesting and I have a pretty good memory. So, it was interesting to me for you to share a little bit and tip me on like, I think we went through the same thing because you never know, we're one of the three companies. I assume Stardust was like having champagne and caviar, and as you guys were, and we're the only people getting wrecked on this thing.

Jose:
Oh man.

Chris:
Right?

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
So, there's no point to air dirty laundry, there isn't. The point here is to find some learning lesson from this. And my learning lesson and whatever little influence I may have into the world is this, is that it's tough to be a creative person. And if you hire creative people, all they want to do is make you ... They'll bleed for you. And we would.

Jose:
Yeah.

Chris:
We would.

Jose:
Because creative people are hyperemotional.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
Right? It takes a lot of emotion to create something out of nothing, and to create a language from something that is unexplainable. We're not engineers. You don't have a process where you're going two plus two equals four on the X-axis and blah, blah, blah. Creativity is something unexplainable. It's lightning in a bottle. So, that takes so much emotion to get that to come forth, right?

Jose:
So, when you have a client just beating you down, beating you down, and this happened early on, right? Clients were, especially pre-us, right, when I was directing live action, all I ever heard about was, "Oh, [inaudible 01:00:09], the director, he was so mean to clients. And then clients fighting with the directors and screaming at each other. And that was like, late '90s. And then early 2000s, it's like people still really aggressive, kind of do our bidding type stuff.

Jose:
And then over the course of the years, you might still find that now, but it's smoothed out a little bit, where they're not as aggressive. You can't get away with that in this day and age. And especially the things that they used to say, I'd be like, I remember some of the things I'm like, "That would be a lawsuit." He told this lady X, I was like, "This wouldn't fly today," some of the stuff that happened.

Jose:
But you're right, it's like just a little bit of emotional ... If clients give a little bit, even with art directors, I'm always like, "Man, make these guys want to work for you."

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
If you don't get them behind you, the job is going to fall off the rails.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
Because some art directors or some creative directors, they'll just bark orders or be hyperaggressive. And then I'm like, man, you really need to make some sugar with your soul. You can't be too salty. Because no one's going to back you at that point. They're just going to be like, "Oh, this guy's a dick." But then you can't be too sugary because then they'll just not listen or just kind of take advantage of you. So, you have to find the right balance.

Chris:
Yeah. So, here's my love letter to advertising, so to speak, tongue in cheek. I think advertising for a really long time was the center of a certain creative universe where some of the most talented people from directors, editors, colorist, to designers, directors, we're coming together to work to create the singular thing. And they were all handsomely rewarded for it. That time is over, because advertising and you may feel differently is completely irrelevant. Advertising pushes people away today.

Chris:
So, we have had a period where emotionally immature, morally corrupt people were in that space to make the decisions and we're completely abusive to creative people and to their own, to each their own, their just rewards are waiting for them on the other side of karma on that front.

Chris:
Now, on a management note though, I think there's a time and place for you to be very direct and clear with what it is that you think in your expectations. But that's not necessarily a management style to motivate people. So, that's what it is that you think in your expectations, but that's not necessarily a management style to motivate people. So, there's a guy like Kyle Cooper, Danny Yount, who you mentioned. They have really freaking high standards, I totally respect them for it. So, when you fall short of that, they're going to let you know.

Jose:
Oh, yeah.

Chris:
Conversely.

Jose:
Yes.

Chris:
Right. Conversely, if you do something that meets or exceeds that expectation, they will shower praise upon you because they're being real about it, not just as a management style to try to motivate people and be all stick. What would you want to say to that, Jose?

Jose:
No, I mean, I've heard a lot about Kyle Cooper and working for Kyle Cooper is one of those things like you have to realize who you're working for, right? You're working for one of the best there is or there was or ever will be, right? He's great.

Jose:
So, there's a certain level of expectation, and especially even from, say, East Coast to West Coast, even in our office now, you have to be able to take criticism and constructive criticism in a very direct manner without getting upset about it. Because I always tell everyone that I work with, I'm like, you guys need to push me as much as I push you. If you see something that's happening and you need to speak up about it, and you need to be very direct and concise and respectful, right?

Jose:
But I'm going to press you to get the best out of ... Like, if I don't feel something's up to snuff, I just don't sugarcoat that because it doesn't need to be sugarcoated. You need to be able to say, like, "Look, this isn't working because this, this and this." And sometimes when you tell that to people, and like I said, creatives are very emotional. We're all very emotional, me included. I have all sorts of different emotions.

Jose:
But when you're trying to get, especially on timelines, you're trying to get to a very sustained message and you don't have time to kind of beat around the bush and you have to be very clear and concise and that's something I've been say to my clients. Don't beat around the bush with us. Just tell us what's going on. Just tell us what's not working and we're going to fix it.

Chris:
Right.

Jose:
So, anyways, it goes back again to what I was saying. It's like, we're all adults here.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jose:
Right? But at the same time, we have to mix some sugar with our salt. Can't be too salty, can't be too sugary, just got to be right down the middle, direct. And this is what is expected.

Chris:
Well, here's hope to a more modern style management, I think and I'll try and sum it up like this with Simon Sinek's thing. He's like, it's not a question of who's in charge but who's in your charge, and to take care of people that way. And then we could build healthier organizations that people care about one another, that we're in this for the long haul, not the short term.

Jose:
Yup.

Chris:
So, Jose, I want to thank you. We're way over time here. But I do appreciate you-

Jose:
Yeah, well, thank you.

Chris:
... taking me down memory lane here. It was really fun to kind of see what the other side was like. And I wish this conversation happened a lot sooner in our careers when I was still kind of in it. But best of luck to you and what you're doing with ATK PLN.

Jose:
Thank you for taking this time with me and appreciate it.

Chris:
Thank you.

Jose:
Hi, I'm Jose Gomez and you're listening to the Futur.

Greg:
Thanks so much for joining us in this episode. If you're new to the Futur and want to know more about our educational mission, visit the futur.com. You'll find more podcasts episodes, hundreds of YouTube videos, and a growing collection of online courses and products covering design and business. Oh, and we spell the Futur with no E.

Greg:
The Futur podcast is hosted by Chris Do and produced by me, Greg Gunn. This episode was mixed and edited by Anthony Barro with intro music by Adam Sanborne. If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favor and rate and review us on iTunes. It's a tremendous help in getting our message out there and lets us know what you like. Thanks again for listening and we will see you next time.

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