‘Be a producer’: RPA’s Sarah Bates on what it takes to be a great creative

To Sarah Bates, creative director at RPA in Los Angeles, being weird is perfectly fine. In fact, it’s pretty normal and desirable — especially those “non sequitur adventures” that make a person interesting in a creative field.

This is one thing that makes a great creative — the actual authenticity of a human pitching another human in a real, honest way. Additionally, Bates, who has been at the Los Angeles indie shop for almost 7 years, feels that this engenders a unique take on creativity.

Another aspect that makes a great creative, according to Bates, is fighting responsibly. This is the art and craft of what the work at an agency is ultimately about, helping find solutions — but in a way that carries both the potential for success and the ideas that creatives know can work.

Most importantly, though, Bates believes that being a producer first is the best way to be a great creative. Getting dirty and learning as many disciplines as possible is critical to a creative’s success because, as she notes, there may come a day where knowing the lay of the land is the difference between making something and not making something.

All said, though, it all comes down to finding solutions, which is one of the best reasons to be a creative person in the first place.

See what other creative pros think it takes to be a great creative, including Nick Burd, creative director, digital/social at Ignition in Los Angeles.

Doug Zanger

Doug Zanger is the Americas editor for The Drum. He leads the Americas editorial team’s content activity in the growing region. Based in Portland, Oregon, he is committed to sharing the most meaningful stories that benefit the global industry and its people. A Minnesota native, Zanger has covered a wide range of brands, issues and personalities, including Aloe Blacc, Seu Jorge, Wendy Clark, Susan Credle, Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and more. Fiercely dedicated to diversity, equality and talent, he has interviewed several women in leadership roles through his Exceptional Women of the World podcast.

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