When one has the same lesson over and over, it becomes known intimately. A person will know exactly how something will end, when it is experienced again and again and again. They will know the effect it will have, what the idea behind it is and eventually, even if it was at first, it becomes very unintelligent. It becomes stale, boring, obvious and foolish. This isn’t a secret by any means, yet many seem to forget about this little fact when it comes to dealing with clients, who haven’t had the lessons we have.

He doesn’t laugh at movies anymore. He said it so easily.

Well, that’s not completely true, he assures us. He says that this one film—he’s a film critic, you see—made him laugh once or twice, which was worthy of praise because he doesn’t laugh at movies anymore.

That’s a little jaded, isn’t it? That’s not a rhetorical question – I’m genuinely wondering if he can be labeled as jaded?

I watch this man and his co-host often. He, well, both of them, but it’s not her we’re talking about, has a very respectable intellect. He laughs and cracks his wit like a whip and has a joyous time with his on-screen partner, so clearly he’s a happy man, a man able to jest and smirk and laugh. So no, perhaps he isn’t jaded.

But, the thing is, he doesn’t laugh at movies anymore.

If one were to lend their thoughts to it for a moment, an easy discovery can be made – he doesn’t laugh at movies for the same reason doctors don’t shed tears for death. Which is the same reason a farmer isn’t bothered by going shoulder deep into Bessy. And why an electrician will happily play with that which can literally shock the life out of him

We’ve seen it before and know how it’ll work

It’s the same reason why designers aren’t phased when the abilities and daily routines of many Photoshop-wielding creatives make the skin flawless, bust bigger and stomach flatter. Or why when a client gives us their request to make this bigger, that multiplied and everything brighter and bubblier, we cringe. We’ve seen it before and know how it’ll work out.

The reason this is all so is because all these people, these professionals, have seen it before.

Our film critic David probably sees every joke being set-up by the characters on screen twenty minutes before it’s delivered. He probably knows the type of joke it’ll be too. Hell, he probably knows the punch-line or could deliver or reference a better one from another film.

Thats his job – to have knowledge of his field

And it’s all because of experience. He’s seen all of it before and he probably saw it before the majority of the population did. After all, thats his job – to have knowledge of his field that far surpasses that of most everyone else, of those he’s talking to.

But let’s discuss the population—the general public. The non-experts. And lets cut the crap. Ever notice how dumb people like dumb things? And smart people like smart things? Dumb and smart are extremes of the spectrum, so perhaps it’s better to say uneducated and educated. Or unexperienced and experienced.

There’s a reason Eddie Murphy’s audience didn’t all meet up at the Darjeeling Limited screenings. Eddie Murphy (now, anyway – 80s murphy was a genius) is the shortcut to laughter. He’ll deliver a thought-free joke. There won’t be a second of brain-power wasted. BAM! Fat person says something in a funny voice—Ha-ha-ha-ha! Eddie knows that even if it isn’t great or memorable, it’ll work. To those uneducated by the lessons of the maestros of comedy, it’ll work. They don’t know any better.

They are experienced hunters – they need a meatier challenge

Yet those who dip their toes into the more challenging of films aren’t going to laugh at such a trick. They aren’t to be fooled! They are experienced hunters – they need a meatier challenge—something only they, they who have seen the trap-door jokes before and have the skill and knowledge to avoid them—they need something only worthy foes are capable of giving. More intelligent comedy, original comedy. Then they’ll laugh. At this David will laugh.

But what does this have to do with clients and their lust for the ludicrous?

The reason the client requests thirty photos on a page, bigger fonts and Photoshop embossed text and what is nothing but unoriginal, cheap tricks to the experienced designer is the same reason why David the movie critic won’t laugh at Eddy Murphy in yet another fat suit.

You are paid by your client to tell them
that their ideas are … cliche, tired and ugly

The critic is paid for his opinion and knowledge. The designer is paid for the same. Professionals are paid for these things. You are paid by your client not to tell them that their ideas are brilliant or that you can ‘work it in’, but that they are cliche, tired and ugly. That they’re the unconcealed trap-door jokes. The awful shortcuts that hold no long-lasting or deep value. Don’t get fed up with them when they request absurdity—be honest and try to educate them a little as to why the fat suit isn’t funny. You are the professional, remind your client of this, not with such words, but through demonstration and understanding of your craft. Of knowing how to do what they want, but better and smarter and in an original way. You are the educated one, you are paid because of this, so don’t let your client make, or force you into, uneducated mistakes. And for all that is of value, stop laughing at Eddie Murphy.