Table of contents
Creative Ops

HelloYoung Films’ Ernst Bernard on recognizing your worth as a creative

March 01, 2023 · 4 min read

This is part of our 100 Creative Directors interview series. It has been edited for length and clarity. To return to the series homepage and browse other interviews, click here.

How did you become the creative director you are today? 

I graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor's in advertising. During school I had a friend who was working for BET in New York so I ended up interning for 106 & Park and Rap City. 

That wasn’t even what I was supposed to do. 

I went up there to work in their creative agency because that was my degree. I got there and the person running the internship program was like “Hey, we’ve got 19 people. Everyone wants to be in the creative agency, since your resume is a little bit different — you don’t seem the type to get starstruck — would you mind working on the video side?”

I was trying to focus on graphic design but I asked what I would do there and they said shadowing set directors and working with producers. So I was like “Alright I’ll do it!” 

It ended up being exactly where I needed to be. It was the best twist of fate I could’ve imagined.

What would you say is the most difficult part of shipping good creative work?

My biggest challenge would be really figuring out what the client wants. 

If you don't know exactly what the goal of the video is or what the client truly wants because a lot of time they think they know. They saw something and they’re like “Hey that’s what I need to do!”

But if you don’t know where they’re posting it and how they’re posting it. Is it top-of-the-funnel marketing? Are you trying to hit somebody specific?

If you don’t know those answers and you develop some creative and you think that you hit the mark and then somebody in the room says that you didn’t… Well, you just spent 80 hours on it.

Getting the client to really understand what they want so I can produce it is crucial. So I’d say that discovery — just trying to figure out exactly what they want — can be the hardest thing.

How do you measure success on a project? 

Some people look at the views but for me, it's when we get that email from the client and they’re like “Wow, you really hit the mark.”

The ultimate match for success for me is when somebody preemptively books me in the future because they’re happy with what they just received. 

The rehire means we must’ve done a really good job; not just with the videos themselves, but how we acted on set, how professional we were, and how comfortable we made everybody feel. 

Once everybody’s on that same page and I get that email, I think that’s when I feel the most proud. 

What are three things that you can't do your job without? 

  1. I have to have a good team. I cannot do it myself. I tried that and I ended up being the bottleneck in my own business.

  2. That leads to the second thing which is time. I know that’s vague but I need time to create, time to brainstorm, time to finish. I just need more time. I’ve learned to delegate responsibilities. Instead of me shooting and filming, I’m hiring or using my staff and being okay with someone else directing the project while I edit it, and can act as more of a bird’s eye view at the top. 

  3. Good quality gear. I know that's really literal but for me it’s been difficult lately because everybody thinks they can film and that it's easy. They’re using their iPhones to do a lot but I'm just big on quality. People think their phones are shooting 4K but it’s not true 4K!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Recognize your worth. Don’t be afraid to quote your potential. 

Figure out what the real rates are across the board if you can. That’s the hardest thing as a video production company. Different states have different rates. Different jobs have different rates. 

But really it's what is it worth to that company? What is that company going to use it for? They're using your product to make millions? They have it. This job is going to get them X amount of dollars, they’re willing to put this amount of money into this project.

Don't be afraid to go there and as long as you're providing good quality work. You gave them exactly what they wanted and they're happy. 

So that's what I learned over the past few years: just knowing your worth and not being afraid to go there.

Related posts

Unblock creativity.

Everything you hate, we automate

Need to talk to a human first? Request a demo →

Air workspace