Restrained Creativity

I spent the spring semester of my junior year studying abroad in Dublin Ireland through Boston Universities internship program. I spent the first half of my program attending classes at a local university and the second half interning at a small film production company just off of O’Connell Street in the heart of the city center. The company I worked for specialized in both corporate promotional videos and horror feature films. Corporate - CommercialThese distinctively different focuses made it hard for the company to adequately market itself to potential clients, as they feared that too much of an emphasis on one focus would deter the respective clientele interested in the other from commissioning their services. A challenge I helped them address as they set forth on the daunting task of updating their website. I found myself thinking about my internship a lot as I read through David Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Baker’s book Creative Labor: Media work in three cultural industries as they laid out and examined the boundaries of good versus bad work in terms of a laborers commitment to the process and the product itself. One of the boundaries they set up for good work is the idea that, “working on a unique and individual product is almost inherently meaningful. It is more difficult to develop and maintain a sense of purpose in contributing toward a standardized product, since this inevitably involves repetitive work cycles (Blauner 1964: 23)” (28-29). They go on to say, “unalienated or good work was to be found where work was experienced as fulfilling in itself, or when, ‘the work activity is highly integrated into the totality of an individual’s social commitments’ (p.26)” (29). I was always under the impression that my coworkers at the production company, all four of them, were not entirely thrilled about the corporate promotional videos they provided and that their true interest lay in the horror feature films. This is not to say that these corporate promotional videos classified as ‘bad work’ but rather it became obvious that their sole function was a sort of forced labor taken on purely out of necessity to pay the bills in between projects of actual interest. That being said, the company approached each and every project they received with the same amount of enthusiasm and dedicated work ethic, the major differences being the amount of enjoyment they got out it and their level of attachment to the finished product. Hesmondhalgh and Baker would argue, and I would as well, that this could be attributed to the fact that the horror films allowed the company to really flex their creativity and bring their own personal brand to a project. They required unique ideas and true personal investment, which allowed for a lot of creative leeway where as the corporate promotional videos were pretty straightforward and standardized with little to no room for any real creative license. Personally, I think all of the work produced by this Irish film production company can be considered ‘good work’ but the projects my coworkers found truly fulfilling were the horror feature films.

Works Cited

Hesmondhalgh, David, and Sarah Baker. Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries. London: Routledge, 2011. Print.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: