We’re big fans (and proud sponsors) of Creative Mornings Melbourne, a monthly breakfast lecture series for creatives. Centring on a different theme each month, Creative Mornings invite a different creative professional to expand and unpack the monthly theme, giving patrons advice, inspiration or just a different approach to a nagging challenge. You always leave a Creative Mornings lecture feeling excited and reenergised — all before 9am!

We chat with the host of Melbourne’s Creative Mornings, Jeremy Worstman, on the importance of collaboration and his views on productivity.

How did you get involved with Creative Mornings?

When the core team in the US wanted to expand they sent out a call-out for applications. At the same time, we had just established our new co-working space in Collingwood, The Compound Interest, which had a massive space which we wanted to hold events in, so the timing was ripe!

I sent in an application, and in a few months we were the 27th Creative Mornings chapter. There are now over 180!

Creative Mornings

Photography by Mark Lobo

On top of hosting Creative Mornings, you’re also the founder and director of the Jacky Winter Group, who represent artists we have collaborated with such as Beci Orpin and Marc Martin. How do you manage to prioritise your time so you get everything done?

There’s definitely a lot of balls in the air! Jacky Winter has many different branches and standalone businesses inside it. At this stage of things, however, I’m fortunate to be supported by an amazing team of producers and other amazing staff members so that really enables me to keep driving our vision forward with adequate resources on the ground to actually execute it.

The majority of my role is now quite responsive in terms of just keeping everything going, but at the same time ensuring the bigger picture thinking and planning is always happening. It’s a delicate balance, but it seems to be an organic process where things naturally just rise to the top.

We chat to award-winning illustrator and artist, Marc Martin about his inspiration. Read more.

What’s been the best advice you’ve ever received about productivity? And how do you face a challenging problem?

I think productivity is such a catch-all term for many different personal and professional characteristics, and can mean different things to different people. It’s highly subjective in that way, and it’s not something I have ever really focussed on in my career, so to that end, I’ve never sought-out or received advice on that as a subject.

I often cite a passage from the story Hey, Kookaburra by David Sedaris where he talks about the ‘Four Burners’ theory. The theory asks you to imagine that your life is represented by a stove with four burners on it – one burner represents your family, one is your friends, the third is your health, and the fourth is your work.

The gist is that in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two. I think the same thing applies to productivity in some ways. You focus on what’s important to you but it needs to be a deliberate decision that you actively make, not just something you let happen to you.

When it comes to challenging problems, my first inclination is to find an expert in that field, and get them to help! I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m good at what I’m good at, and I leave it there.

Working with experts is a very rewarding experience and I always learn something from it, so when the time and money allow for it, that will always be my first tactic.

Creative Mornings with Jeremy Wortsman

Photography by Mark Lobo

Collaboration is an integral part of Milligram’s ethos, which is why we love what Creative Mornings represents. How has collaboration helped with the growth of both Creative Mornings and the Jacky Winter Group?

With Creative Mornings I think it’s just part of the charter that started it so many years ago as set out by Tina Roth Eisenberg (Swiss Miss). It was always about creating a creative community in real life and acknowledging that everyone is a creative, so collaboration is really baked into that idea.

We especially want to make sure that we are pushing outside of our comfort zones with the speakers and disciplines we are representing, which has in turn grown the audience and community.

Jacky Winter has a very similar approach, but is definitely more commercially minded. As a company that represents commercial artists, we relish in the idea of a true commercial collaboration where an creative and client come together to realise a commercial outcome.

It’s a fantastic model that allows for the sustainability of many creative careers, and stands in stark contrast to the traditional fine art model which is much more isolated and singular in terms of an artist exploring their own aesthetic.

Being able to refine and perfect that experience has been paramount to out growth as a business, which in turn allows us to participate in Creative Mornings and the other more cultural activities and side-projects that Jacky Winter is involved in.

Creative Mornings entry

Photography by Mark Lobo

You’re originally from New York but now live in Melbourne. What are you top 5 places to hang out at or visit in Melbourne?

1) Cameo Cinemas Belgrave — Our local movie house and an absolute hidden gem!

2) Grants Picnic Ground — Love taking guests here to feed birds out your hands. It’s a bit confronting at first but an absolute unique experience that never gets old.

3) Cibi — A Collingwood institution for a good reason.

4) A bit of a cliché, but you really can’t look past the original NGV. Such a landmark and some amazing shows there especially in the past few years.

5) Otherwise, If I’m not at home or at work, I’m probably on the ice at the Obrien Group Arena.

Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own enterprise or agency?

I think as long as you are starting something to solve a problem that you yourself have struggled with, then you’ll be doing something of value. Every project or business I have seen fail always fails because of the incorrect motivation.

What is next on the horizon for you?

We recently celebrated our ten year anniversary, so we’re actively planning for the next decade which involves some very exciting shifts in terms of how to best prepare ourselves for the challenges that new technology will bring for our industry. It’s a really exciting time and there’s quite a bit that we are looking forward to sharing in the coming months and years!

Milligram and Milligram Studio are proud sponsors of Creative Mornings Melbourne, which takes place each last Friday of the month in Collingwood.

Enjoyed this interview? Read our chat with philosopher, Tim Dean, from The School of Life Sydney on the Milligram Journal.