fourthidea logo
Mar 20, 2024

Directing from Stage to Agency

Written by Monish Bhattacharyya | Associate Art Director

As someone who wears two hats – a creative director at an advertising agency and a director of local theater – I’ve discovered a surprising overlap between these seemingly disparate roles. In both worlds, the ability to craft a compelling narrative and bring a vision to life is paramount. As it turns out, directing a play has honed my skills as a creative director, with a focus on the power of vision statements and the art of storytelling. Here’s how…

1. Crafting a Vision Statement

In both theater and advertising, a clear vision is essential to guide the creative process. When I direct a play, I always start by crafting a vision statement that encapsulates the story I want to tell and the emotions I want to evoke. This vision statement serves as my North Star throughout rehearsals, helping me stay focused on the core message of the play from scene to scene. Similarly, as a creative director, I rely on brand position statements to align my team and clients around a shared vision for each project. Whether it’s a brand campaign or a theatrical production, a strong vision sets the stage for success.


2. Bringing Vision to Life

Once the vision statement is in place, the next step is to bring it to life on stage or screen. In directing a crucial scene from “The Lion In Winter,” I encountered a challenge that forced me to revisit my vision statement. The script direction for a particular scene wasn’t aligning with the overarching vision of the play. The vision statement reminded me that King Henry should always operate from a position of strength. With this clarity, I made a decision to deviate from the script and have the spotlights on each of the sons blackout as Henry rejected them. This simple yet powerful change transformed the scene, reinforcing the central theme of power dynamics within the play.


3. Collaboration and Communication

Directing a play requires collaboration with a diverse team of actors, designers, and technicians. Clear communication is key to ensuring that everyone is aligned within a shared vision. Similarly, as a creative director, I collaborate closely with art directors, copywriters, and clients to bring concepts to life. By honing my communication skills in the theater, I’ve learned how to effectively articulate where we are in relationship to goals and provide constructive feedback to ensure that everyone is working towards a common vision.


4. Adaptability and Problem-Solving

Theater is inherently unpredictable, and as a director, you must be prepared to adapt to unforeseen challenges. Whether it’s an actor falling ill or a last-minute set malfunction, the show must go on. This ability to think on your feet and find creative solutions to problems has proven invaluable in my role as a creative director. In the fast-paced world of advertising, unexpected hurdles are par for the course, and the ability to adapt quickly is essential to delivering successful campaigns. The key here is to be flexible. When you present option “A” but the client wants “B,” there’s usually a “C” option that satisfies everyone. Rigid thinking can derail any production.


As the Curtain Closes

Directing a play has taught me valuable lessons that have directly translated into my work as a creative director. From crafting vision statements to making creative decisions, the skills honed in the theater have helped me become a more effective leader and storyteller. Whether you’re directing a play or leading a creative team, remember the power of a clear vision and the importance of bringing that vision to life with creativity, collaboration, and adaptability.

Related Posts

Tourism in Totality

Tourism in Totality

There’s nothing more satisfying than the thought of thousands upon thousands of people flocking to a city or region, booking hotels and setting out, cameras in hand, to experience the sights. Until all those people decide to arrive in ONE DAY.

read more