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Archive for the Category "Creativity"

A different way of looking at creativity Jul 29

Creativity CatWhat’s the job of a creative person?

When you think of what it means to be creative, your mind might run to fanciful worlds that have never been seen before, or stories that have never been told. The more original, the better, right?

Well not according to John Cormack, creator of popular video games such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake. He has something different to say about it. Granted, he’s talking about video games, but the same principle applies to movies.

“If they buy the next Call of Duty, it’s because they loved the last one and they want more of it. So I am pretty down on people who take the sort of creative auteurs’ perspective. It’s like ‘Oh, we’re not being creative.’ But we’re creating value for people – that’s our job! It’s not to do something that nobody’s ever seen before. It’s to do something that people love so much they’re willing to give us money for.” [Emphasis mine]

[full article]

In reference to the above quote, Sean Malstrom goes into quite an insightful discussion of Cormack’s philosophy on his blog. He reminds us creative types that while we need to be inspired by what we write, ultimately our enjoyment needs to come “from the audience getting enjoyment.”

Are you writing for just yourself? Or are you writing for both yourself and a mass audience?

Photo: YJGM

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29 ways to stay creative Jun 17

Feeling creatively stifled? This quick two minute video gives you 29 terrific ideas for keeping the creative juices flowing.

I used several of these ideas to break through a recent case of writer’s block. Which ones did you find helpful? Are there any tips you would add to the list?

via Neatorama

29 ways to stay creative

Why Screenwriting Is So Difficult Feb 07

The ThinkerIn Temple Grandin’s TED talk, that I watched recently, she discussed her inspirational experiences with autism and how she came to realize that people think in different ways.

According to Grandin, there are 3 different types of thinkers.

1. Photo Realistic Visual Thinkers – poor at algebra

2. Pattern Thinkers – music and math

3. Verbal Mind – poor at drawing

That got me to thinking — no wonder screenwriting is so difficult. You have to be all three!

1. Photo Realistic Visual Thinkers

As a screenwriter you must be able to think in pictures. After all, in each scene, you are literally describing what the motion picture camera will see.

Are you a Photo Realistic Visual Thinker?

Do you have an easy time “picturing” exactly what happens in your scenes? How things look and sound? Do you have to suppress that natural tendency to describe elaborate camera angles, visual effects and micro details? Do  you have a photographic memory for events?

2. Pattern Thinkers

Similar to most successful songs, most successful movies are not free form experiments. They have a necessary underlying structure, pace and rhythm.

Are you a Pattern Thinker?

Does a 3 act structure feel like a natural framework for the way you tell a story? Are you zealous about formatting and consistency? Do you enjoy setting up payoffs in your script? When you watch movies, can you usually predict the plot twists? Do movie clichés or tropes jump out at you?

3. Verbal Minds

In the end, we are writers that rely on words to tell a story. As such we have to both engage the reader with our word choice and provide an authentic experience when choosing the words of our characters.

Are you a Verbal Mind?

Do you have a good ear for dialogue? When you read a great script, do you sometimes slow down or re-read a passage simply to relish the language? In conversations with your friends, are you able to bust out relevant movie lines? Do people ever compliment you on your diction or vocabulary?

How many categories do you naturally fall into? Can the other ways of thinking be learned? Are great screenwriters the ones who excel in all three areas?

Flickr Photo by innoxiuss

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Category: Career, Creativity, Writing  | 8 Comments
Use Eye Movement to Boost Your Creativity Sep 30

Can this dot improve your creativity?

Creativity DotNeed a creative boost? According to a recent study published in the journal Brain and Cognition, scientists may have figured out a way to dramatically increase ones creativity: “Boost the level of communication between the right and left hemispheres” of your brain.

And it may be as easy as following an object back and forth for 30 seconds.

Sixty-two subjects performed a creativity task, where they had to come up with as many alternate uses for common objects like, a paper clip, pencil, shoe, etc. as they could in one minute.

After this initial task researchers asked subjects to move their eyes to follow a target as it moved horizontally left to right for 30 seconds. This exercise is thought to increase the cross-talk between the hemispheres.

Then the subjects completed the creative task again. Results were surprising. Subjects came up with significantly more unique uses for the everyday items, than the control group who stared straight ahead.

After trying this out, I was recently able to break through a story issue that I’d been fighting with for two weeks. Placebo effect? Coincidence? Or hard science? You be the judge… and let me know if it works for you.

via Fresh Creation (Original article in Scientific American)

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How To Be Creative May 12

How to be creative

I was going through some of my old emails the other day and found one with the subject line: “I’d like my crayons back, please.”

It was an excerpt from an article entitled, “how to be creative,” by Hugh MacLeod, that offers 30 great tips and insights for us creative types.

Here are some of my favorites:

3. Put the hours in.
Doing anything worthwhile takes forever. 90% of what separates successful people and failed people is time, effort and stamina.

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.
Nobody suddenly discovers anything. Things are made slowly and in pain.


6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.
Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with books on algebra etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the creative bug is just a wee voice telling you, “I’d like my crayons back, please.”


9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.
You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don’t make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow-line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.

10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.
Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece on the back of a deli menu would not surprise me. Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece with a silver Cartier fountain pen on an antique writing table in an airy SoHo loft would SERIOUSLY surprise me.


13. Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.
The more you practice your craft, the less you confuse worldly rewards with spiritual rewards, and vice versa. Even if your path never makes any money or furthers your career, that’s still worth a TON.


25. You have to find your own schtick.
A Picasso always looks like Piccasso painted it. Hemingway always sounds like Hemingway. A Beethoven Symphony always sounds like a Beethoven’s Symphony. Part of being a master is learning how to sing in nobody else’s voice but your own.


29. Whatever choice you make, The Devil gets his due eventually.

Selling out to Hollywood comes with a price. So does not selling out. Either way, you pay in full, and yes, it invariably hurts like hell.

30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.
If you have the creative urge, it isn’t going to go away. But sometimes it takes a while before you accept the fact.

You can read the complete list here, along with links to more in depth explorations of each tip.

Which one resonates the most with you?

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Category: Creativity, Motivation  | 3 Comments