Dear Bradford_WEB_840A4938

On client work vs personal work

Though working for commercial clients can be a fulfilling and lucrative path for creatives today, balancing this alongside personal projects benefits everyone, says Ravi Amaratunga Hitchcock

The client. All bearing, all seeing, all knowing, all funding. An object for our creativity to seek approval from, react to, or – on occasion – outright reject. But there’s no hiding when it comes the commercial world: there is no creativity without a client.

But what happens when there is no client? What happens when you have to figure it out yourself? When there is no deadline or product launch? What happens when you graduate this workflow from ‘side hustle’ or ‘passion project’ to a regular and important part of your day to day?

Well reader, I can tell you from my own experiences, that it forces you to become a whole different type of creative person.

Dear Bradford_WEB_840A7356
Top and above: Stills from the documentary Dear Bradford

Caveat: I began my career in feature films and moved to TV as a commissioner at Channel 4, before cutting my teeth during the glory days of millennial editorial media at Dazed and i-D.

The first half of my career had key creative gatekeepers, sure. But ultimately the only metric of creative success was ‘is there an audience for this?’ and ‘did it rate?’ Not creativity for creativity’s sake, but rather – is this going to impact people? Is this good enough?