Creative Lives — Creative Lisa Turner-Wray on the joy of collaboration, and finding inspiration in the weirdest places
Communicating thoughts, dreams and product launches: Lisa Turner-Way's description of life as a creative at Mother certainly captures the imagination. Originally graduating in sculpture, Lisa started out in production, making props for shoots and sets. But frustrated with producing other peoples’ ideas, she joined forces with then-creative partner Raine Allen-Miller, and the duo were soon on the placement circuit, before landing full-time roles at Mother. Here, Lisa chats writing for cheese clients, shooting ads on rollercoasters and tells us why she finds more inspiration in Japanese GIFs than ads.
Creative, Mother (2015–present)
Junior Producer and Agent at Germaine Walker Photographic agency (2013–2014)
Prop Maker, Plunge Productions (2012)
BA Fine Art Sculpture, Brighton University (2009–2012)
Inside Mother, London
How would you describe your job?
I work with my partner Eduardo to come up with ideas for campaigns and work out the most exciting ways to communicate thoughts, dreams and product launches for our clients. We then see each project through to production, which is the super-exciting bit.
What does a typical working day look like?
My working day is technically 9am to 6pm, but often ends up being a little longer when working to deadline. Super-late nights are often easier with pizza and having a partner definitely makes them more fun.
My time is split differently each day, depending on how many projects we’re working on. I could spend a whole day writing TV scripts for a cheese client in a quiet corner, or my time could be split between three different clients and a whole range tasks such as brainstorming, image searching and presenting.
My commute is pretty easy as I live quite close; in the winter I get the tube and in the spring and summer I cycle, which is a good wake up.
What do you like about working in London?
Rent and transport take most of my salary but there is just nowhere else like London. I’m from here and I still adore it. There is so much art and culture, new restaurants, pop ups and parties. I love the chaos.
“I love working with another creative brain, inspiring each other and always being in it together.”
How did you land your current job?
I was working as a producer at a photography agency and my friend Raine Allen-Miller was working as a producer agency-side. We produced a couple of shoots together and were frustrated by producing other people’s creative work. We put a creative book together, quit our full-time jobs and went on the placement circuit. We did two months at Anomaly and Saatchi and Saatchi before coming to Mother and being hired after five months, when we wrote the MoneySuperMarket advert.
How collaborative is your role?
My job is so collaborative. I work very closely with a creative partner. It’s one of my favourite things about my job: I love working with another creative brain, inspiring each other and always being in it together. You learn so much from each other when you work that closely with someone, and you become friends for life. We also work collaboratively with creative directors, producers and strategists.
What are the most and least enjoyable aspects of your job?
I love working with people and seeing ideas brought to life. I’m less keen on the late nights and harsh deadlines – there is never really enough time, and thinking up creative ideas often needs longer than you think. Public speaking also terrifies me but it’s something that I’m slowly getting better at.
Inside the studio
What has been the most exciting project of the last twelve months?
Just before Christmas, we shot two TV ads in Mexico for Innocent. We had to shoot on a rollercoaster in a closed theme park, it was ace.
What skills are essential to your job?
Imagination and communication.
What tools do you use most for your work?
I use Keynote to put decks together and present work, Photoshop, Microsoft Word and sometimes Premiere, but my skills in that are quite basic.
How I Got Here
What did you want to be growing up?
I really wanted to be a set designer when I was little. I loved stories, and designing and making stuff. As I got older I was more interested in art and did a foundation at Chelsea, I then went on to study sculpture at Brighton.
What were your first jobs?
I worked in Uniqlo on Oxford Street when I was 17. It was Christmas. It was intense. When I first graduated I worked as a prop maker for a production company; it was my first real introduction to the industry as we would often make props for shoots and sets. Creative placements are basically paid internships and yes, I did three.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
I worked on my own for quite a long time and it was really challenging. Also makes you appreciate how amazing having a partner is.
“Creative directors and agencies are looking for fresh ideas that they haven’t seen before, find your inspiration not from ads but from Japanese GIFs.”
Is your job what you thought it would be?
I guess it is, all my preconception of the role all came from Madmen. It’s pretty similar I guess, minus the midday whiskey drinking, I often explain to people that my job is what Peggy does in Madmen.
What would you like to do next?
Move to Mexico and write from a beach.
Words of Wisdom
What advice would you give to a young creative wanting to do the same kind of work?
Feast your eyes on everything you can. Spend time being lost in the internet – inspiration can come from the weirdest blogs and memes. Creative directors and agencies are looking for fresh ideas that they haven’t seen before, find your inspiration not from ads but from Japanese GIFs.