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4 Questions with Doug Pray, Director of Art & Copy (part 1)

Filmmaker Doug Pray, Director of such films as Scratch, Hype! and Surfwise talks to Rebecca Micciche of Modern Edge about his newest documentary Art & Copy and gives us a hint about his upcoming projects. In a unique look at the people behind the scenes, Art & Copy introduces the audience to the visionaries who have created some of the most influential ad campaigns of our time. Creating a successful dialog between brands and consumers is fundamental to the creative process at Modern Edge and we’re happy to present this interview in 4 parts that will be posted weekly to our blog.

Art & Copy

Modern Edge: There were many inspiring moments in the film.  Of all of the memorable quotes, was there any single quote that particularly resonated with you based on your personal experience as a professional creative?

Doug Pray: There are many quotes that inspired me: such as the one we put on the poster, George Lois’ “Creativity can solve anything!”  But the ones that have stuck with me and I hope to be able to apply to my own work came from Portland, coincidentally. Near the end of the film, Dan Wieden says, “If you can speak honestly, and use this profession to do that?  Weird shit can happen!” It’s a weird quote in itself, but I take him to mean that the more directly you can put yourself into your work, and “speak honestly” through that work, it doesn’t matter exactly what you’re doing (selling shoes, painting a canvas, or writing a screenplay), that work will resonate– and it will have power and take on a life of its own. It will affect people. It’s a simple principle, but hard to do. The second quote is the one that was spelled out on the wall in pushpins at Wieden+Kennedy: “Fail Harder.” Otherwise known in sports as “no pain, no gain” and in creative work as “no risk, no reward”, but I like the idea of facing potential failure as hard as you can, for when you do succeed, the achievement is so much greater. When we premiered the film at Sundance, we made a bunch of buttons that just said “Fail Harder”– everyone wanted them.

Check back next Monday for more of our interview with Doug Pray. For more information on Art & Copy and Doug Pray, visit or