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By Doug Zanger | Americas Editor

May 22, 2017 | 2 min read

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.

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Other episodes in the series

Episode 1

‘It’s about asking a lot of questions’: Deutsch’s Winston Binch on what it takes to be a great creative

The Drum recently caught up with Winston Binch, Deutsch North America’s chief digital officer, to find out what he thinks it takes to be a great creative.

Episode 3

‘Distill the brief’: The Mill’s Phil Crowe on what it takes to be a great creative

Are there bad briefs? That’s likely up for all kinds of debate but, to Phil Crowe, ECD of The Mill in Los Angeles, it’s less about the brief and more about the interpretation of the brief.

Episode 4

Saturday Morning leaders on being a great creative

It’s not difficult to be inspired by Saturday Morning, the movement for peace founded after a spate of police shootings against African-Americans including Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and others.

Episode 5

Lola MullenLowe Madrid's Pancho Cassis on what it takes to be a great creative: 'It's not about ideas anymore'

The Drum caught up with Pancho Cassis, executive creative director and copywriter at Lola MullenLowe Madrid, to find out what he thinks it takes to be a great creative.

Episode 6

Colle+McVoy’s Laura Fegley: 'Being a great creative is all about endurance'

Laura Fegley, ECD at Colle+McVoy in Minneapolis, treads a path of undeniable success.

Episode 7

‘Mind numbing patience’: Kirk Kelley, HouseSpecial CCO on what makes a great creative

Browsing through the work of Portland’s HouseSpecial can become a walk through a creative candy shop — starting with (pun kind of intended) iconic creativity for M&M's, including the well-received Candyman spot featuring Aloe Blacc and Zedd.

Episode 8

"Great creatives need a partner": OKRP leaders on becoming a great creative

What Does It Take To Be A Great Creative? is a video series that highlights the thinking of global creative leaders on specifics actions that can build a successful creative career in the industry. See what other creative leaders had to say in past episodes.

Episode 9

'Stick with your gut': Pereira & O'Dell's PJ Pereira on being a great creative

What Does It Take To Be A Great Creative? is a video series that highlights the thinking of global creative leaders on specifics actions that can build a successful creative career in the industry. See what other creative leaders had to say in past episodes.

Episode 10

Hunger, passion, curiosity: MullenLowe Singapore’s Shengjin Ang on being a great creative

What Does It Take To Be A Great Creative? is a video series that highlights the thinking of global creative leaders on specifics actions that can build a successful creative career in the industry. See what other creative leaders had to say in past episodes.

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