My internship with OTLK Media has taught me the difference between being a junior designer/art director and being a creative director. I remember one particular conversation I had with Steve, the CEO of OTLK, on a beach in Florida. That conversation changed my perspective on what I hope to accomplish in my career. Steve and I were discussing the possibility of me being brought on as a full time employee after my internship was over. I thought I was saying all the right things. I told Steve, “I can design your website. I can take photos. I can take video. Whatever you need, I got you.” Steve, though, had the bigger picture in mind. He basically said, “Dude, if I wanted my website designed, I’d hire a web designer. If I wanted photos, I’d hire a professional photographer. If I wanted to produce a video, I’d put together the crew and produce the video. I need you to be my creative director. I need you to manage the designers, photographers and videographers I hire.” Managing people, eh? I do not have much experience managing people. My whole college career, I’ve been the dude getting my hands dirty, staying up late working in various Adobe applications, doing the work. I think this sort of nitty gritty experience is absolutely necessary. But Steve, along with everyone else at OTLK Media, is about working smarter, not harder.

A few weeks after that conversation, we were back in Florida shooting a commercial for Tiburon Golf Club. I was directing the commercial, which meant I was the one that the cameraman, lighting assistant and photographer answered to. It was my first time in this role, and there were certainly a lot of decisions to make in a given day. At first, it was overwhelming to be the guy to make all the crucial decisions. But after a while, I got used to the pressure and grew to like it.

Below is a picture of me manning the drone on location at Tiburon Golf Club.

The experience was eye opening to say the least. I now have a better idea of what my end goal should be in my career. I don’t want to be a dime-a-dozen designer. I want to be the guy who hires the designer and directs him/her on what sort of work to produce. This is not to say that being the designer isn’t an admirable career. I just know that I can be more valuable as a creative director.