C grade movie gone viral … are you too close to your brand?

What do you do when a crazy pandemic hits planet earth, your business is upside down, you’re in a fog and lost in your own lounge room somewhere between the laptop and the sofa. 

AND you don’t know what to do next!

You have tried to figure it all out through the endless opportunities online but you have become way too close to your brand. 

A year ago this scenario would of seemed like a screenplay for a low grade movie except that right now we are all in the movie. 

So let’s change the scene…

Recently I was that person lost in my own lounge room, working on my business, doing projects for my clients but I was lacking new inspiration and spark. Walks in the forest, yoga, creative podcasts and workshops online were not igniting anything new or giving me energy. 

Then one evening I saw a post on instagram from a photographer I follow. He posted about about a public street art project happening every night during the month of September down at the port in Rio de Janeiro

16 massive murals along 1.5km of walls were being painted by 18 artists who had come from all over Brazil. 

This event was LIVE, not online and REAL PEOPLE were involved.

I felt really excited for the first time in ages. I had to go.

OK so it all sounds easy enough but the actual event was on a major Avenida in a tough area from midnight to dawn, so as a solo ‘gringa’ i could not just arrive unannounced with a backpack and camera equipment.

The next day when I woke up I couldn’t stop thinking about this ‘RUAWALLS’ project and I felt really energised, so I contacted the production team and basically invited myself. 

After a bit of an awkward start I mentioned that I had a blog to write which luckily got my name on the list with the security people. (note: all done in portuguese so way out of my comfort zone).

I then spent 7 nights over the next 3 weeks going down to the port at around midnight to document this incredible large scale project. I was lucky to interview many of the headline artists plus chat to other creatives in their team about the message in their murals, how they got started and what their secret dreams were. Though mostly I acted like a fly on the wall watching what they were making and how they went about it. 

It was nothing short of amazing each and every time. 

The scale of some of the murals was impressive, 350m x 12m high and literally tons of paint were used to cover these walls as many were made of old brick which required several coats. 

However the energising part, aside from the exceptionally creative people, was I had never done anything like this. I had no idea how to take decent pictures at night with very little light. Yes I could use my iphone but to film and interview some of the artists I had to do a quick study of how to use my SLR camera at night with the right lens to maximise the street light scenario.

Additionally I prepared questions to ask the artists (once again in Portuguese not my native language) knowing that most of it would be done very ‘on the fly’, so i needed to be able to adapt to who was available, how much time they could spare and respond in the moment with equipment set up and audio.

A self initiated ‘sink or swim’ situation.

I also had to drive there at night and navigate the safest way to arrive. All of these things were stretching me and taking me out of my lounge room physically and figuratively speaking.

Most importantly being involved in a short term project with a focus on others, away from my own ‘what next’ scenario allowed me to have some healthy separation from my brand.

It also gave me time to reflect about my own truth and purpose. 

Being alongside dedicated, passionate people, transforming spaces through colour and art was the best thing to ignite my own creative spark. 

Are you too close to your brand?

Ideas to help you feel sparky again!

Option 1: Take the day/week off and find your own oasis. 

(time to reflect in a different environment can never be underestimated)

Option 2: Do something way out of your usual field. Get involved in an event where you have to engage in a ‘sink or swim’ approach. (creatively challenge yourself)

Option 3. Create a ‘happening’ with a few other people doing something you secretly wish to realise or learn but never do it. 

(structure a time and commitment with others for your passion project)

Option 4. Lie on the sofa and hope it all goes back to ‘normal’.

(action speaks louder than another Netflix video)

Brand Oasis


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