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Posted by on Apr 28, 2014 in Creative Process | 0 comments

Great Photos Tell Stories

Great Photos Tell Stories

Most photographers just point and shoot, then hope something turns out. Regardless of how advanced your equipment might be, failing to pay attention to basic design elements weakens your ability to tell stories with photographs. In his article, The Secret: What Makes A Great Photo, professional photographer, Ken Rockwell (kenrockwell.com), points out that… Every image needs a basic structure. Without an underlying structure, it is just another boring photo. Every image needs strong underlying compositional order so that it grabs the eye from a hundred feet away. If it can’t grab the eye from a distance, it will never be an interesting photo, regardless of how many fine details it might have. Details don’t matter if there’s no story behind it. The goal is to make sure your photos grab your viewer’s attention and visually hold their interest in your story. Most photographers don’t even know that there are fundamentals, like light and dark, colors and shapes. You have to get this underlying structure right, otherwise the photograph has no basis...

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Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in Creative Process, Featured | 0 comments

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling

In 2011, former Pixar storyboard artist, Emma Coats, Tweeted this list of 22 Storytelling Guidelines she learned while working at the studio. Since then the list has been all over the internet. Just in case you missed them, here they are. No matter what your role is in the creative process, these guidelines can help you take your ideas and projects to the next creative level. 1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes. 2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different. 3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about until you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite. 4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___. 5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff...

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Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Creative Process, Featured | 0 comments

Everybody Has A Story

Everybody Has A Story

Every week on The Early Show (CBS), correspondent Steve Hartman tosses a dart over his right shoulder at a map to determine where he will go for his next story. The segment is called Everybody Has A Story, and when Hartman arrives in town he chooses a name at random from the phone book, calls the person up, and begins the interview process. As a result of his skill as a journalist and reporter, Steve has produced 100 of these stories, and has won virtually every major broadcast journalism award there is — including an Emmy. Everybody Has A Story has taken him off-the-beaten-path to places where television simply doesn’t go. When asked what he has learned, Steve replies, “I guess one thing I’ve learned is that people are just a heck of a lot more interesting and a heck of a lot more newsworthy than I ever thought they were.” Steve is responsible for two stories a week and faces this unique challenge: he is not allowed to...

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Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in Creative Process, Featured | 0 comments

You Gotta Fail To Succeed

You Gotta Fail To Succeed

Every creative person has to learn to deal with failure. “If you’re not failing, you’re not taking enough risks,” says Tony and Emmy award-winning choreographer, Twyla Tharp. “Especially if that view liberates you to fail too often.” In her book, The Creative Habit, she goes on to say that… The best failures are the private ones. Private failures are the first drafts, sketches and manuscripts that get tossed on the floor. They are the not-so-good ideas you reject en route to finding the one that clicks. The more you fail in private, the less you fail in public. The creative act is editing. You’re editing out all the lame ideas that won’t resonate with the public. It’s not pandering. It’s exercising your judgment. It’s setting the bar a little higher for yourself, and therefore your audience. When you fail in public, you are forcing yourself to learn a whole new set of skills, skills that have nothing to do with creating and everything to do with surviving. Failure creates an...

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Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in Creative Process | 0 comments

Toss Out Your Microwave

Toss Out Your Microwave

If you’ve ever watched the Food Network program, Dinner: Impossible, you might have seen the vanity plate at the end of the show for the production company that creates it. If not, let me describe what happens in the five seconds it’s on the screen… A microwave timer goes off. Ding! A hand quickly opens the door. And a voice says, “That’s done!” The message is, “Ok, I’m done with that! What’s next?” Watching it always leaves me feeling like the show I  just viewed was made by someone who didn’t care about what they created. Ding! And if they didn’t care about the show, why should I? Ding! Don’t get me wrong, I understand deadlines, and the importance of being efficient. I also understand formats and styles are necessary when you’re producing a television series. But too often creatives settle for mediocre when they say, “That’s done.” Open the door. Pull out the project. Box it up. Start the next one. What would happen if instead of microwaving projects, creatives took...

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