TALENT IS LAST
As a graduate of Art Center in Pasadena California, I was privileged to be in the presence of the the most talented artists from around the world, working side by side for many years, yet as I look back at my education and the various Art Director positions I have held, I came up with a list in my head that I used to pick what is referred to as "talent".
I have had discussions with fellow Designers and Directors and all seem to match up to what I have concluded, namely that in a production environment, "Talent is Last".
The list is short and goes like this:
First- Work Ethic: Are you a hard worker or just doing the minimum?
Second-Do you take direction well, namely are you able to take a critique and are you teachable.
Third- How well do you work with others, specifically with a team.
If you work hard, but don't work well with others, it is of no consequence how talented you are if I have to fix your work, or wait forever to finally get it from you.
If I can't Art direct your work, you are useless to a team, especially the Art Director.
If you suffer from "Freelanceitis" where you have worked alone so long that you are difficult to fit into existing production models[ read: flawed], you become a liability to the production budget and schedule and all the talent in the world will not fix that.
If you do great work and take my direction, but every time I turn around you are on eBay, you become a deficit to the production and myself and others end up picking up after you.
This isn't professional sports where you see the "Talent" run rampant with lack of work ethic, unwilling to work with others , and a lack of teach ability.
If you lack the talent or skills that others around you have, keep working hard and remain teachable, and soon you will find that your ability is growing, and in many cases you will pass the naturally talented obnoxious slackers that we all know.
If you currently employ a "prima donna", and your budgets are destroyed , look no further as to the fixing and work arounds that everybody is forced to do around that person, and in this economy that is just Bad Business.