Making videos leads us to all sorts of places and this week we had the pleasure of filming an operation in a hospital theatre. It was a minor procedure, with the patient under local anaesthetic, performed by a small team of just four nurses.
Operating is a very process-led task. Each step must be completed in the right order, each instruction must be followed exactly. Every person in the team has a specific job, respecting and allowing the other members of the team to do their own tasks.
To the outsider looking in, it seems there’s very little room for creativity such a job. After all, as the patient, it would be unnerving to find out the surgeon has just an idea and thinks it’s a good time to try out something new.
However, to the nurse performing the surgery, creativity is not just having brilliant ideas. Creativity to her is when her team performs at their best. In the theatre, she says, time stops. She doesn’t think about food or drink or going to the loo. When it comes together and every person in the process knows what they are doing has meaning, there’s a sweet spot of perfect harmony – when all the team are working at their optimum and creating something special for themselves and ultimately, for the patient.
When making videos, we know that sweet spot. Ideas are currency, yes, but in corporate video making, not every client wants cutting-edge, off-the-wall creativity. But creating even the simplest video of a person being interviewed can have that spark of specialness if every member of the team is working at their peak because they feel valued.
Unlike being in the operating theatre, videos are not life or death. Technology has changed dramatically and videos can be made on an iPhone. Video is now seen as a commodity. But there is choice; like food, a handful of baked beans from a tin will satiate hunger pains but a simple meal prepared with both good ingredients and, perhaps more importantly, pride and love, is usually more satisfying.
The team of nurses leave the operating theatre knowing they’ve done their best; they know all the skill and experience they have learned up to that point came together in that moment, ensuring the patient gets the best possible outcome.
So at first glance, working in an operating theatre is a clinical process. The creativity isn’t about designing great buildings or painting impressive art. That type of creativity could be described as fleeing, but there’s nothing clinical in the result. It’s the teamwork that’s creative, and even in a simple process like video, when all the skills available are used, the result is the best possible outcome.