Are You Basics Enough To Be Creative?

Basics = Instinct = Time = Creativity.

It’s a pretty simple equation.

I consider myself a pretty creative guy, backed up by some big names giving me props on that front (cheers CB!).

Who would’ve thought that upon reflection I owe it to two things:

1) Being a fishmonger

2) Being a fishmonger taught by my old man

My family has run seafood businesses as long as I’ve been alive so I’ve grown up in them, working in them, eventually running one of them for a time.

But let’s go all the way back to where it all first started, I was 14 and we had just opened up a new shop in Midland.

You’ve probably heard the stories about parents who spoon feed their kids into their business, paying them good wages for doing FA, setting them up (to fail more often than not).. usually what ends up happening is they come in, look around, tell some staff to do something and then collect the cash at the end of the day.

For me the story is very different. The end goal was always to end up on the bench cutting the fish and controlling the shop like a maestro does an orchestra.

The only way to get there though was through dad and his way, and it wasn’t easy.

Before I was allowed to have a knife in my hand I had a broom. Before I was given access to the til I was given the mop and bucket. Before I was counting coins I was counting how many how many jars needed to be restocked on the back of house shelves.

I wanted to be the guy who could run that place and it took years to get there.

Years of practising the basics over and again…

See where I’m going here?

Reflecting on it I realise now that my dad was building me a foundation for good work ethic, however one thing he probably didn’t think of was that he was also training my instincts.

Because I cleaned the shop before I ran the shop, I could walk in of a morning and notice what was out of place from the ground up with a simple sweep of my eyes. It became instinctive.

And because my instincts were so well practised it meant the simple day to day mundane activities (that were important and necessary by the way) became so easy and second nature that I didn’t need to spend much time on them anymore.

Guess what happened?

I had more energy, time, and basic knowledge to spend on unique and creative ideas and executing them.

Radio is the same.

Nail the basics to the point where they become instinctive.

I’ve been a jock, and am now an anchor and co-host who delivers content while running the panel.

Over and again for years while I was ‘just a music jock’ I pumped as much work into honing my instincts as I could. You’ve probably heard your CD call this ‘nailing the basics’.

In my opinion the basics are everything from turning the desk on to crafting a standard in and out one thought break, and I trained myself to the point that I didn’t have to think much about how to do it.

It became instinct.

Guess what happened?

I had more energy, time, and basic knowledge to spend on unique and creative content and executing it.

Particularly when you’re in a show and you’re behind the desk you have to be able to think on your feet and work quickly, instinctively – not just for your own content but for that of your team.

Radio doesn’t wait until your ready, you have to be ready when radio tells you. You have to be ready to go at any moment with a great idea or you’ll miss the opportunity. If you have 30 seconds to go before your talk break and an idea pops into your head, do you know the basics enough to concentrate on that idea and get it done?

Will you be the music jock who now has time to consider what else you can bring to the break?

Will you be the show anchor who can say ‘yeah I can make that happen’ when your on-air team thinks of something next level with 30 seconds to go before you turn the mic’s on?

Will you be the show producer who can balance and re-balance your show on the fly when that big story breaks?

Nail the basics.

Train your instincts.

Then make some noise.

About: Pete Curulli

Pete has done a heap of radio stuff but all you really need to know at the moment is he’s the co-host and anchor of Perth’s #1 commercial FM drive show Lisa & Pete on Mix 94.5. You can catch him on facebook, twitter, linkedin and all the other socials or drop him an email at [email protected]

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