O.R. Radhakrishnan, aka ‘Radha’, is an engineering student content virtuoso with a host of projects and vast experience in the advertising industry under his belt. He has explored multiple avenues in his career, from market research to sales to advertising to writing for cinema.
“In my corporate sales job, I hated wearing formals. And that, however lame it sounds, was why I decided to explore other professions. A friend suggested that I try advertising, and after a series of fun interviews, I joined a Delhi-based advertising agency called ‘Madhyam’, now Publicis, back in 1999″, Radha reminisces about his early career days.
Wearing Multiple Hats Throughout His Career
At Madhyam, Radha worked for about four years where he discovered his love for writing scripts.”I soon started writing scripts for ad films and enjoyed it quite a lot. But they ended up remaining on paper. To put my work out there, I turned to the radio”, he recalls.
He quickly found his calling in that space and did several award-winning radio spots. “In 2007-08, I moved to Mumbai for a gig at Rediff. Around that time, I longed to explore feature film script writing. And that’s how I met my better half, who also shared this passion. I enjoy writing with her, and we have written everything together ever since”, Radha says.
A few years later, Radha joined McCann with Radio Mirchi as his main client. And somewhere during that stint, his dream of writing a feature film came true for the first time. “My time at McCann was the most fun I’ve had in my advertising career”, he admits.
Juggling Advertising and Film
After five odd years at McCann, Radha joined Enormous, an up-and-coming young agency. “It was a different kind of energy altogether, and I loved every bit of it”, Radha shares as it was his first time in a startup environment.
Around that time, he was trying to juggle advertising and film writing. But he soon realized how challenging it was to do both with equal dedication. “So, I decided to give my entire time to writing for feature films”.
For the next couple of years, he and his partner created and pitched some high-potential feature length projects to established production houses. Later, Radha began working with ad agencies again as a consultant while dedicating most of his time to writing for cinema.
Honing His Skills as a Script Writer
In his two decades in advertising, Radha worked with many companies and clients. His priority has always been learning and polishing his writing and ideation skills. He learned by observing creative leaders around him and taking inspiration from impactful work in advertising.
“For me, learning comes from everywhere. I have learned from my bosses as well as my subordinates. I have learned even from the pantry guy who serves me tea. There is a teacher in everyone around us if we are ready to be students. In this profession, one has to find multiple avenues to learn. Nobody comes and takes the massive responsibility of teaching you things”, Radha explains his learning philosophy.
Developments in the Creative Writing Industry
According to Radha, the ad and film industry is seeing a drastic change in the medium of content consumption. “Screen size has shrunk significantly, and multiple formats have emerged altogether. We started with 30 seconders. Then we moved on to long 2:30 minutes storytelling formats. And now we are talking short, snackable 5 seconders”, he explains further.
Radha believes that ideas are the only thing that remains constant in the ever-changing ad and film industry. “Media and formats keep evolving. But there’s no substitute for ideas. You will need good content ideas in every format”.
Relevance of Advertising and Film Content
Radha emphasizes that creative writers are in the business of entertainment, and entertainment will stay relevant till the end of time. He believes that entertainment is also an integral part of the advertising industry.
“When a consumer scrolls through his social media feed or watches TV, he is consuming content. He doesn’t want anything to be sold to him. He just wants to be entertained. If you can entertain him, he will buy. As simple as that”, Radha explains.
Radha doesn’t consider sales as the primary function of advertising. He advocates for the kind of advertising communication that aims to keep the audience entertained. He firmly believes that you should engage first and sell later.
Feathers in His Cap
Radha has won many prestigious awards and accolades for his work in various creative verticals. His first international award was the ‘Young Guns Gold’ (first gold from India) during his time with DDB Mudra. Other advertising awards in his bag are Cannes Lions, One Show, London International, D&AD, APAC, AAAI, Clio, Mirchi Kaan, and Kyoorius.
In 2006, he found himself on the ‘Top 10 Young Creative’ list by Young Guns International. Later in 2017, he made his way to the list of ‘Top 50 Creative Directors of the World’. He is currently working on a few feature films and web series with renowned production houses apart from consulting for select clients and advertising agencies.
His Message to Fellow Ad and Script Writers
Radhakrishnan advises budding creative writers not to look for shortcuts. You will fail at many things before you find your calling. But failure will also teach you things that success won’t. He further emphasises that nothing is more inspirational than the world around us. However, if one wants to draw inspiration from the work done by the finest minds in the business, he recommends lovetheworkmore.com as a great source of inspiration.
“It’s the kind of profession where observing people, culture and society play a huge role in what we write. So, be an observer first and a writer later. Don’t let the world around you pass by; soak it in. Because you are in the business of ideas and insights”, Radha shares his perspective on writing.
Ad and film script writing is a thriving industry shouldered by creative minds like Radhakrishnan. We are bringing together a group of experienced script writers to help businesses communicate effectively. If you are someone who loves telling stories, join as a creator today!
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