What are the most significant advances in the creative industry? In this episode Don and Rob share their perspectives about tools, technology and changes in the creative industry.
Rob Broadfoot 0:20
All right. Welcome, everyone. Episode 45. We’re back. We’re back on a rainy rainy Friday.
Don Mock 0:28
Yes, we are. It sounds like we’re on public access radio.
Rob Broadfoot 0:32
NPR. Yeah. Brought to you by
Don Mock 0:35
Birdcalls. All right, what was that SNL skit where they? I mean it was Pete Shweddy. I mean, we all know that, but I can’t remember anybody who was on it was, I mean…
Rob Broadfoot 0:47
You mean the shweddy balls?
Don Mock 0:47
Yeah, the shweddyy balls. That was a funny one. Where they’re just really quietly talking into the microphone.
Rob Broadfoot 0:54
Wasn’t that Alec Baldwin?
Don Mock 0:56
Yeah Alec Baldwin was the guest.
Rob Broadfoot 0:58
Don Mock 1:00
We’re dating ourselves. But speaking of dating ourselves…
Rob Broadfoot 1:02
I thought it might be interesting topic today to talk about tools of creativity, and maybe look back on advances in our industry, technological or otherwise, totally, that have helped further the creative industry. It doesn’t have to be our industry. It can be any industry.
Don Mock 1:24
Rob Broadfoot 1:25
I think about the fact that we have this. Right? Which is helping us podcast.
Don Mock 1:29
Totally. We at a mixing board, awesome mics, and rascal things are happening.
Rob Broadfoot 1:33
Right. So I thought that might be kind of interesting there. There’s certain things I know that come to mind for me.
Don Mock 1:38
Yeah, of course.
I will start by asking you the question.
Rob Broadfoot 1:43
What do you think is the invention or advancement has had the single greatest impact on our industry?
Don Mock 1:54
Well, the obvious answer is going to be the internet, obviously.
Rob Broadfoot 1:57
Don Mock 1:58
But I think if we throw that out the window, and we talk specifics about our industry, I would say digital photography, has probably impacted our industry the most. Now I’m a little biased, because I grew up with my father being a photographer, and whatnot, right. But from my early days of a career, I worked on some dog food pad, I worked on a bunch of stuff. But we would do a photo shoot, and it was, you would shoot black and my Polaroids. To get all the light and you go in, we’d be ready to shoot whatever it is, models or products or whatever. You’ve got a two and a quarter old school Hasselblad camera, and you are shooting Polaroids to make sure the lighting is all correct. Then you swap out the back of the camera with your transparency film, or two and a quarter transparencies, or whatever the case may be. And then you shoot all day. And you kind of are just hoping that what you got is tied back to the to the black and white Polaroids. Right. I mean, even though now we’re shooting color. So you shoot all day, you have to send your film off to a lab to be processed and developed.
Rob Broadfoot 3:08
Don Mock 3:09
Then you get back your transparencies a few days later. It depends on where you are in the metro market, if you rush things, but you get your photos back a couple days later. Then you’ve got loops and light tables, You’re looking at your photos, at a little two inch square, a little magnifying glass right to look and try to figure out which ones you like.
Rob Broadfoot 3:30
What your selects are.
Don Mock 3:31
Yeah, exactly. Then you’ve got to send those things out to be drum scanned, so that you can actually get a file that is worthy of making an ad. I mean, it’s insane that you’ve got call it a week and a half with kind of a hope and a prayer. And oh, you know what, the color lab screwed up the film, you’re done. I mean, anything could happen in those things, right? Versus now where you do a photo shoot, you see every single photo, the second it’s happening. Everything full color. And then I’m walking at the end of the day with this with gigantic 16 bit TIFF files, 200 meg files. There’s no color labs to the detriment of Western processing.
Rob Broadfoot 4:14
Yeah. The whole processing component has been completely eliminated.
Don Mock 4:18
Exactly, exactly. So Photoshop or other sorts of technological advances, digital revolution helped streamline not only our workflow, but everybody’s workflow. I would say digital photography probably has the biggest impact for me. That’s what I would say, and sometimes you could argue to the detriment.
Rob Broadfoot 4:40
I was Just thinking that.
Don Mock 4:41
Cause it’s, oh, we’ll Just fix it and post. Change that green to red. Oh, you know, retouching that glass
Rob Broadfoot 4:46
Or also the idea that because everybody has an amazing phone in their pocket now.
Don Mock 4:52
Everybody’s a photographer.
Rob Broadfoot 4:53
Everybody’s a photographer.
Don Mock 4:55
Yep. Exactly. Exactly.
Rob Broadfoot 4:56
Much to the chagrin of actual photographers. I think sometimes clients aren’t as informed about the skill level and what it takes to actually pull off a great photo.
Don Mock 5:11
Yeah. So we do a lot of consumer retail packaging, food based business, and nothing sells food, like big, beautiful photography of food that looks delicious, that hits all your flavor triggers. So hey, you need a photographer, you need a food stylist. You need assistance. You gotta be cooking. There’s a whole thing that goes into making that food look amazing. That might be taken for not for granted, but not necessarily as appreciated. Because yeah, to your point, everybody’s got an iPhone 14 Max, you know.
Rob Broadfoot 5:43
with like, 10,000 photos on my phone at any given time.
Don Mock 5:47
Yeah. I would say digital photography, from an agency perspective. What about what about your thoughts? I’m coming at it from a design perspective.
Rob Broadfoot 5:55
My quick anecdote to that is that, Katie Ross’s is my daughter. For her 18th birthday, she wanted a film camera. She was like, I’m tired of my iphone, I want an actual film camera.
Don Mock 6:07
Dude, That’s awesome. I love that.
Rob Broadfoot 6:08
Which you can’t really buy new anymore. The market for new film cameras. I mean, you can, but it’s super high end stuff. So if you want Just like the Nikon classic SR/SLR kind of thing, you got to buy a refurbished one.
Don Mock 6:24
That’s interesting. Now, are we talking 35 millimeter, there?
Rob Broadfoot 6:27
Yeah, We’re 35 millimeter. So I bought her one.
Don Mock 6:30
Where do you get film for that?
Rob Broadfoot 6:32
Great question. So a week and a half ago, she had she had played around with it, noodled around with it. And she’s like, Okay, now what do I do? Yeah, I’m like, well, first, we’re gonna call CVS and see if they still develop. I mean, because we grew up going to the drugstore.
Don Mock 6:49
Yeah, for sure. For sure.
Rob Broadfoot 6:51
And that was the other thing too. All the clicking. Yeah. Well, when you’re done, you got a pop up on the camera, just to get the film out. It’s so great. You rotate the little thing, you gotta wind. It’s very mechanical feeling.
Don Mock 7:02
Rob Broadfoot 7:05
So anyway, good news, CVS still develops film.
Don Mock 7:08
Okay. Fascinating. Awesome.
Rob Broadfoot 7:09
Which is great. Same thing. There was nothing like hoping that the roll of film you’re dropping off comes back great. And you wait for three days or four days and then go pick it up. And you got your envelope and you’re flipping through, and your negatives they always gave you your negatives, too.
Don Mock 7:26
Yeah, yeah. No one ever saved their negatives or knew what to do with their negs. My dad to this day, I pretty sure still has boxes and boxes and boxes of negs.
Rob Broadfoot 7:36
It’s time to get rid of those down to get rid of those, Dad.
Don Mock 7:38
I love that. I love that story about about kicking it old school with I should do a do a day class with Matt Brown.
Rob Broadfoot 7:46
Oh, yeah. That’s a good idea.
Don Mock 7:47
He would love that. And we should have Matt on the podcast sometime. He’s got a full cabinet of all the old cameras. He’s got the spy camera like the little miniature camera. He’s got all sorts of crazy stuff over there. Which is cool.
I guess if you’re a photographer. You kind of have to have a collection. Yeah. Anyway, typewriter.
Rob Broadfoot 8:12
That was my quick shift.
Don Mock 8:14
Rob Broadfoot 8:14
Don Mock 8:15
Yes. Going from a typewriter to-
Rob Broadfoot 8:18
Typewriter. I’m typing now. I’m not writing anymore. That’s a huge one, I think.
Don Mock 8:24
When you grew up, did you have a typewriter in your house? Like an old school typewriter?
Rob Broadfoot 8:28
Don Mock 8:29
Yeah, we had one as well. I don’t know why we had one though. I used to type on it and type things up and do whatever.
Rob Broadfoot 8:35
The metal arm? Ching Ching?
Don Mock 8:37
Where you where you push it back?
Rob Broadfoot 8:39
The MTV News?
Don Mock 8:40
Yeah, it goes to the end. And then you push it back to whatever.
Rob Broadfoot 8:44
Then it was the word processor.
Don Mock 8:47
Yeah, absolutely. Right.
Rob Broadfoot 8:48
Then it went word processor. So anyway, I think about that if I think about one of my skill sets- just straight copywriting. Of course, the pencil would be a great advantage.
Don Mock 9:02
You’re going all the way back.
Rob Broadfoot 9:04
I’m going all the way back.
Don Mock 9:05
You’re not writing with charcoal anymore.
Rob Broadfoot 9:08
I’ll tell you this whole chat GBT.
Don Mock 9:11
I talked to Mike about it.
Rob Broadfoot 9:12
That’ll be interesting to see where and how that goes. Because now, from a writing perspective, it just writes for you, which is terribly dangerous.
Don Mock 9:25
Absolutely. Write me a blog post on something and it does it.
Rob Broadfoot 9:29
It’s like a logo generating software.
Don Mock 9:31
Well, this will show you how fast this is moving. Mike and I did a podcast about both sides, the Chat GPT. It was only version three, the word base version, like we’re writing. Then we also did one on a sojourner and image base. Since we did that, which is only a week or so ago, Chad GBT has, has gone up to number four. We spent a lot of time talking about how the image based one couldn’t do hands and fingers and stuff. Now they’ve fixed all the hands. Maybe it’s Just happenstance, but in a week, it’s already leveled up. So it’s only going to keep going up and up and up and up in terms of, here’s videos of things that didn’t even exist.
Rob Broadfoot 10:15
I’m an old guy, and-
Don Mock 10:18
You’re not that old.
Rob Broadfoot 10:19
Technology is passing me quickly. I don’t understand what it is. I mean, I do understand what it is and how it works. Now, I understand what it does. I don’t understand how it does what it does.
Don Mock 10:35
I’m kind of with you on that one. Is it open to the internet? Or is it its own closed ecosystem, its own machine learning? We’ve worked with other agents or with other agencies, excuse me with other industries, where it’s machine to machine learning. Where machines are diagnosing problems with other pieces of equipment out in the field, cellphone towers, things like that.
Rob Broadfoot 10:57
Don Mock 10:57
So it’s a level up of that. All right, you’ve got the pencil, you’ve gone from charcoal to pencil, and then from pencils to typewriters.
Rob Broadfoot 11:07
And there’s a pen in between in there.
Don Mock 11:09
and then typewriters to computers. I think outside of digital photography, it definitely is Creative Suite. If we’re talking about software, GBT and whatever. I mean, I’ve been rocking it since the beginning. Pre Photoshop layers. In Photoshop three was when layers came into existence. And Oh, my word!
Rob Broadfoot 11:31
Dude, that was a game changer.
Don Mock 11:32
That was a game changer. Now we’re at I don’t know, Photoshop 25 or something along those lines. Keeping the image base thing going, it would be outside of digital photography, it would be the advent of stock photography. At the beginning of the career, I was a proud hoarder. Meaning I would find things all over the place all over the field, I’d be like, Oh, my God, look at that cool gum wrapper in the gutter. Then I’d run back to the office and scan that in, to get that texture, that crackle. Or we would, take photos, we would take paper and crumple it up and scan it in. We had to basically create all of our own textures and systems for clients. You were kind of always like an antiquer or this kind of Junker. Fnding things in the world that you could use in your digital asset files. Now it’s Rob, if you want crumpled paper texture, which one of these 10,000 files would you like? You know what I mean? So I mean, stock photography and whatnot definitely has transformed workflow, I think for the better. And it is definitely, I think, speedier.
Rob Broadfoot 12:49
I think so. And it’s more affordable. When stock photography first came out, there really wasn’t royalty free stock. You had to go to Getty and pay.
Don Mock 13:01
Well, the big jump was Photo Disk. You used to be able to buy the album of Photo Disk, and they were all theme based. It’s kind of like the Now This is Music Volume. 26. It was like that for stock photography. At the beginning, it was so limited, when we were working on pool care stuff. Remember, it was like, oh, there’s only so many pictures of little kids underwater with goggles on. Yeah. And unfortunately, you’d go to like a trade show, and it’s like op, there’s the pic-
Rob Broadfoot 13:29
Wow, we’re all using the same picture.
Don Mock 13:31
Yeah, that’s when clients kind of became aware of Wait a minute, the difference between rights managed and royalty free. If it’s cheap and readily available, other people are gonna use it, that type of thing. But stock photography, I think when utilized correctly is definitely an advantage for us and for clients. You get a good, great high quality image now.
Rob Broadfoot 13:53
I think, just on the whole, you’ve got advances. Again, the internet is really the provider of most of these advances, but everything from, we’re sitting here recording, and it sounds really good in our own little space. Yeah, like voiceover stuff. You can go anywhere online and get voiceover stuff done, you no longer have to go out and cast the talent, bring them into the studio.
Don Mock 14:18
Be in the same room.
Rob Broadfoot 14:19
Be in the same room, direct them and do all that kind of thing. That’s a good thing. It’s also a bad thing. It just sort of depends on the task at hand.
Don Mock 14:29
Well, it begs the question of quality, a lot of things, as things get more and more readily available.
Rob Broadfoot 14:36
Don Mock 14:37
Does everything become the McDonald’s of that version, where it’s everywhere? But that doesn’t mean it’s great anymore.
Rob Broadfoot 14:44
So then if you think about, just from a straight technical standpoint, what Photoshops and some of those programs have allowed to do. And if you think about the advances in animation, and 3D and production value? It’s absolutely through the roof. Just look at the Marvel movies or Avatar or any of these things.
Don Mock 15:10
Yeah, all this stuff, the production value is incredible. I would say Just to flip the script. My own personal opinion, I would say that a lot of this stuff, has there been any negative, adverse effects to any of this stuff? I would say printing has gone backwards because of all this. And I don’t mean that printers have gotten worse, I’d say that quality control for printing.
Rob Broadfoot 15:32
Don Mock 15:32
Sort of the arts and crafts side of printing has gone backwards, where people don’t necessarily care as much about the quality, they certainly don’t care about the paper. You had asked me a question on a way earlier podcast. Hey, when was the last time you went on a press check. It’s not a hot button issue anymore. So certain brands- we pick on the Coca Cola is of the world. Brand asset- Coca Cola red’s gotta be Coca Cola red. When you go to a grocery store, you want to make sure all of that lines up across all the different substrates. But for the most part, clients can say “hey, send me that file” and then God -knows-where that thing gets printed.
Rob Broadfoot 16:11
Yeah. You’re sending off your your business card to get Vistaprint or wherever is digital printing. Your business card isn’t gonna line up with this. But clients are okay with that. That used to be a no, no, no.
Don Mock 16:23
Yeah, it used to be a hardcore No, no. Everything had to be printed at the offset printing two-color Heidelberg press for your business cards, that type of thing. Now, it’s Mary Jo’s card in Seattle doesn’t look anything like Fred’s card in Tampa, that type of thing,
Rob Broadfoot 16:36
Also, depending on what you’re sending off to print, oftentimes, we don’t even get asked what type of paper? It’s Just kind of assumed now, where it used to be you have books of paper and samples and things, and so many choices and varnishes and coatings. You still have those, depending on what you’re doing. I would tend to agree with you.
Don Mock 16:57
When was the last time was a press check? 10 years ago. But when was last time I did an ink draw down? Oh, God, right, where you have your corporate colors, and then you do a draw down on different substrates and different papers and different whatever to make sure it is what? Dude, 20 years.
Rob Broadfoot 17:13
A long time.
Don Mock 17:12
I don’t know if any printers are listening to this, but they might be chuckling in their car right now. I think that that was a tough industry to be in, because it is a commodity, it’s volume-based and a speed-based business for sure. But I do miss a little bit of the nostalgia of the craft of printing. Versus the immediacy speed of just command print. Ri
Correct. Correct. All right. Well, all good conversation. I think we could probably continue and talk for ad nauseam about these types of things.
I think these are some good highlights.
Rob Broadfoot 17:52
I think so. I think so. All right. We’re gonna wrap it up. On this rainy Friday, we’re gonna go back to the low voice-
Don Mock 17:59
Rob Broadfoot 17:59
I’ll take us out of here. I’ll tell the people where they can find us on the interwebs at mocktheagency.com or on the socials @mocktheagency. I love it. Send us your comments, feedback, questions, concerns, and we’ll talk to you next time.
Don Mock 18:14