It's half time during the NBA Playoffs. 10 million people are watching you at your desk making your Widget.
Hamish Hamilton is a Director whose work directing a U2 concert in Boston in 2001 was played live around the world during the 17 minute NBA half time. He was filmed at work and these images were included in the U2 Elevation DVD.
It doesn't take an expert to recognise that we are watching a pristine practical example of how good decision making, technical excellence, widget thinking, teamwork, structure and artistry come together to create excellence.
Listen to Hamish spontaneously and sincerely praise others' work as they do it. (He doesn't wait for the annual performance review to give them feedback.) Listen to him urge the team on with raw passion. (He doesn't need to act serious, aloof and boss-like when he's really feeling like shouting 'C'mon!') Watch him sway, gesture, dance and even sing in sync with the band, losing his body in his work while his brain stays focussed on the complex director's steering wheel. (He doesn't have to wait for the staff social event and a few drinks to be himself.) Listen to him drop expletives of delight at his team's work. (He's built enough trust with his co-workers not to need to worry about a bullying or harassment complaint.) Listen to him shout 'This is what we're good at!' because he knows the real meaning of team. (He doesn't have to take them on an artificial off-site, outsourced team building day.) Hear him say 'Thank you'. (He's not so self-absorbed in his creativity to not be aware that there are people at the end of his barked directions.) Watch how he harnesses the chaos while his Assistant Director Hayley literally calls a cadence beat of structure amidst the noise, lights and confusion. Watch his sheer joy as he executes responsibility for co-ordinating dozens of people and millions of dollars worth of equipment to produce a widget that will be expected to make tens of millions in sales.
Here is proof that we can make our serious widget and dance.
Hamish is a worker who loves his job and is exceptionally good at it. He has directed an Academy Awards ceremony among other high profile events including the London Olympic ceremonies.
Yet the most powerful evidence that he is truly in the élite is among the 42 comments below the Youtube video of his work. Amidst the expressions of appreciation and praise for his direction is the inevitable criticism posted in 2012 for the world to read:
'Sorry to say this, but Hamish Hamilton was the WORST ACADEMY AWARDS DIRECTOR EVER after last year!!! The execution was such a mess, especially with "And the winner is..." replacing "And the Oscar goes to", and although I taped it I won't even bother dubbing it to DVD. I guess Louis J. Horvitz and Glenn Weiss were too busy, which is why they tapped Hamish instead. Thankfully, Don Mischer will be directing and co-producing this year's Oscarcast.'
This is the comment that Hamish Hamilton posted in response:
'Glad you liked it johnnyafairbank ! Don is indeed directing and co-producing the show this year. He will do an amazing job - he is a fantastic director, a gentleman and crucially will also be a co-producer. It may be worth noting that the show was nominated for more Emmys than any Oscars ceremony ever so some people did like it. Enjoy this years show's - your obviously glad its not me ! I can send you a DVD of last years if you wish. Respect Hamish'
The level of self-confidence that produces this measured, dignified response - written with subtle humour yet without a hint of malice or attempt at public retaliation or humiliation of his critic - can only come from someone who knows in their soul that their work is very very good.
If Hamish Hamilton hasn't found who he is - then he's very close to it.
Hamish was not misplaced in believing in 2012 that his decision-making speaks for itself. A few weeks ago it was announced that he will direct the 2014 Oscars broadcast.