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Friday, October 24, 2014

Moments of Conception 125 -- The Omnidroid Scene from The Incredibles

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today's clip comes from the Omnidroid scene in The Incredibles:



What can we learn?


Once you have some, you can get some. Omnidroid is an advanced self learning robot. It’s an artificial intelligence machine that corrects its own mistakes by collecting information on the opponents it encounters. That way, every subsequent model improves upon the previous one by correcting flaws found during fights. The creative process works in the same way. Once you have some, you can get some. Take filmmaking. I just finished my first documentary. But since I’ve never made a movie before, it’s all new territory for me. I have no frame of reference for this kind of project. My editor, on the other hand, is a veteran videographer. And he explained that in the filmmaking process, the more things we do, the more we understand what doing means, and that knowledge informs all of our subsequent decisions. Like the robot, with every modification, our creative mechanism becomes more capable against its opponents, solving more problems and fending off potential threats to its plans. And so, each day when we sit down in the edit bay, we learn something new. We discover an angle or a cut or a transition or a color correction that we’ve never tried before. That experience affords us context and understanding and a sense of what’s possible for the scene, which in turn populates our frame of reference and expands the palette from which we create. And this process ultimately allows us to go back and retouch the previous day’s footage with our new found knowledge. Are you flooding your creative process with intense learning experiences?

Be worthy of your advantages. This movie is a brilliant meditation on identity and mediocrity. Syndrome, the super villain responsible for creating the robot, is conniving, manipulative man who seeks personal gain without honest work or achievement. He doesn’t actually possess any special powers, he just has a ton of money. And so, instead of trying to raise the bar, he builds inventions so that everyone can have special powers. Because when everyone’s super, no one will be. Yikes. What a powerful reminder that if want to be special, we have to earn and deserve it. That operating from a mindset of intrinsic remarkability is misguided and even dangerous. Because contrary to what reality television might suggest, true and meaningful achievement isn’t something that just falls in our lap. It’s the result of creating real value for real people. It’s the byproduct of having the guts to risk and the willingness to fail and the desire to change the world for the better. It’s the consequence of doing things for the love and the journey and because we believe in their importance, not because of where they might get us. Syndrome’s goal isn’t to develop and protect his moral sensibility, it’s to pursue things with which to leverage his brand onto the superhero totem pole. And that’s why he ultimately loses. Are you climbing the mountain to see the world or so the world can see you?

The pile never gets smaller. Bob says that no matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy againInteresting, considering the same thing could be said about the creative process. Because often times, it feels like a tail that grows back everyday. Just one goddamn thing after another. It’s the pile that never gets to zero, no matter how hard we try. There will always be more to do, all the time, forever, until we die. It’s an infinite regression. Like two opposing mirrors. But over time, we learn to honor the pile. We make peace with it. We even joust with it. And we give thanks to the creative gods that we have because it certainly beats the alternative. Better to constantly have a world to save than to live in one that doesn’t need us. The point is, we all grow tired of cleaning up the mess. Bob doesn’t feel like fighting crime every day, but it’s who he is. The mess is what he lives for. The mess is what brings out the best in him. The mess is why he got into this business in the first place. And when it comes to the creative process––the pure, unromantic slog of sitting down and doing the work, every single day––we don’t have a choice. The world will always be in jeopardy. That’s why we signed up. Creators like their beauty strange, their plots unruly and their duty untamed. Which world is waiting for you to save it?

What did you learn?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.


Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Nametag Guy Live: Reinvention Means Living Larger Than Your Labels

I recently delivered the closing keynote address at the BeautiControl 2014 Annual Sales Conference. 

I spoke to 3,500 beauty consultants in Dallas, Texas.

This particular clip tells the story about an epiphany I had several years ago. How I learned that it's okay to be known for more than one thing. Ah, the beauty of reinvention.

Which labels do you need to rip off?

 


* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.


Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Moments of Conception 124 -- The Drawing Scene from The Peanuts Documentary

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today's clip comes from the drawing scene in The Peanuts Documentary:



What can we learn?


Volume to the power of consistency. The greatest force in the artist’s career is compound interest. Building our capacity to generate more and more value over time through the slow, unsexy, but consistent creative increments. It’s a long term, disciplined strategy, but if we stick to it, the compound interest does most of the heavy lifting for us. And the result will be more than worth the slog. Schulz was a master of compound interest. He famously said that the secret of his success was focusing on drawing one good comic strip every day. Not making millions. Not achieving fame. Not changing the world. Not advancing his personal agenda. Not making publishers and newspapers happy. Just the art. Just the work. Just one good strip, every day. That single goal governed his work for more than fifty years, and it made him one of the most influential, popular and profitable cartoonist in the history of the medium. The strip was his mission piece. That one chunk of art he committed to, focused on and obsessed over, each day, until it was done, no exceptions; trusting that everything else, including the television specials, the merchandising, the licensing and the books, would flow from that. Proof positive, that the best way to beat the odds is with massive output. That compound interest is what keeps the value growing. How are you incrementally approaching your creative breakthroughs?

Small times long equals big. Schulz started drawing cartoons when he was a young boy. But he didn’t go full time as comic creator until he was in his mid twenties. Meaning, he must have logged tens of thousands of hours putting pen to paper before he earned a dime. And that’s the part nobody likes to talk about. Because it represents the pure, unromantic slog of sitting down and doing the work, every single day. That’s what it all boils down to. Not unlike the recovering alcoholic who asks himself if he took a drink today, the successful artist asks himself if he created today. If the answer is yes, and continues to be yes, then there will be a bright, green light at the end of that sweaty tunnel. Schulz saw that light. He knew that his art would take a long time to pay for itself. But he kept cranking out that strip. And its peak, his comic was syndicated to nearly three thousands newspapers in seventy counties and twenty languages. He was earning forty million dollars a year. Even after his death, his brand now generates an estimate two billion dollars in revenue every year. All because he did the work. The work that nobody asked him to make. Paid today for the free work he did yesterday. Are you willing to give your work away for free until the market is willing to pay for it?


You give me the seed, I’ll cultivate it. Schulz started out in the fifties with a comic strip. He had no intention of branching out into other media. But when he started created the animated television programs in the sixties, that new channel gave him the opportunity to add new dimensions to his work. Additional characters, personality elements, interesting actions, diverse voice talent, and of course, the distinctive jazz music. Schulz even said it himself, his animators could do things with characters that he couldn’t do in the comic strip. And that’s precisely why the brand became such a colossal success. Schulz was humble enough to ask for help. To raise his hand when he surpassed the perimeter of his competence and enlist other people to fill in the gaps. That’s a hard thing to do. Especially for creators, people who are notoriously independent. People who hesitate to bring others into their dream, because it represents a loss of control. But the reality is, we can’t do everything ourselves forever. What we can do, though, is build a vision that infects people and transfer enthusiasm and inspires them with the purpose behind our work so they can cultivate the seed we give them. When you’re ready to start stretching other muscles, whom will you enlist?


What did you learn?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.


Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Moments of Conception 123 -- The Morning Routine Scene from Wallace & Gromit

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today's clip comes from the morning routine scene in Wallace and Gromit:



What can we learn?


Eliminate the roadblocks before they even exist. Wallace may be an absent minded inventor whose elaborate contraptions rarely work as intended, but the man understands the value of routine. After all, he makes a living by his wits. The quality and frequency of his thoughts determines his livelihood. He can’t afford not to create. And so, he’s built for himself a framework of discipline, in which enthusiasm grows on its own and builds on itself. And yet, as ridiculous as his morning routine seems to the outside observer, it’s exactly what he needs to cultivate the optimal conditions to make his work happen. In fact, every creator has their own version of this. Even if it’s something as simple as wearing the same pair of boots or waking up the same song. Ritual isn’t about size and duration, it’s about thoughtfulness and regularity. It’s about creating a foundation of security and a ongoing sense of safety. A bliss station where inspiration can flow as a natural consequence of your surroundings. Because you can’t invent your sock off until you invent a contraption for putting your socks on. What structure might provide you with a prepared environment for inspiration?


Free to be mentally active. Wallace and Gromit has been translated into over twenty languages and has a massive global following. They’ve won dozens of awards. And due to their widespread popularity, the characters have been described as positive international icons that have inspired a whole new generation of innovative minds. As a kid, I never watched this show. I don’t even remember it. But looking back, the theme is right up my alley. Because I came from a family of artists and thinkers and entrepreneurs. In our house, encouraging creativity was always regarded as a worthwhile endeavor. We were free to be mentally active. We had physical space to engage in the life of the mind. And people were constantly pushing each other to see how far they could go with their ideas. As a result, each of us developed the empowering habit of exercising the part of our brain that was most original. Each of us learned how to grow up, but more importantly, how to grow into ourselves. As a creative kid, you can’t ask for much more than that. Except maybe some cheese. Who was the first person that gave you permission to take steps toward your own creative health?


Corral your duties into daily routines. Wallace’s morning routine is a finely calibrated mechanism. It’s his personal on ramp. A consistent, repeated sequence of thoughts and actions that activates the creative subroutine in his head and snaps him into the appropriate state of mind to start his day. The secret, of course, is that he doesn’t have to think. Not about his clothes, not about his food, not about anything. Gromit and his various contraptions do that work for him. And that’s the whole point. Because nobody wants to have to wake up and look for options of what to do first. The mind is a terrible office. Allowing unnecessary thoughts to take up residence in your psyche, especially right as you’re getting out of bed, is an unhealthy habit. And trying to engage your brain at six in the morning around menial mundane decisions an exhaustive process that wastes valuable energy that should be dedicating to making things. The goal, then, is to relieve your brain of the necessity of remembering. To hold onto the deep grooves of holy habit. To minimize thinking wherever possible. Even if you have to invent your own dopey contraption for doing so. What morning routine helps you unlocks the door to creativity?  


What did you learn?


* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.


Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tunnel of Love -- Chapter 4: Opening & Closing (2014) -- Scott Ginsberg Concert Documentary

Tunnel of Love is a feature length concert documentary written, produced, directed and scored by Scott Ginsberg. The film explores the intersection of identity, belonging and creativity. Through live performances, playful and romantic exchanges, unexpected creative moments of conception and behind the scenes storytelling, Ginsberg’s film takes you on a heartfelt journey about what it means to be an artist, a romantic and an opportunist.

Watch the trailer. Meet the creators. Go behind the scenes. See the episode schedule. Download the discussion guide.


Tunnel of Love will be presented as a serialized, episodic documentary. The movie’s centerpiece is a live concert, so I’m premiering each song as a stand alone chapter. There are 14 songs in the concert, so the distribution timeline will occur over a period of 14 weeks, from September to December 2014.

Here's chapter four:


OPENING & CLOSING
Shattered a dam I built in my mind
Tip the world on its is shoulder
Labor of love and labor of light
All this rational thought makes me so sober, my lover
We came through the door fists and hearts first
Stuffing our eyes with wonder
I stood around you like a windbreaker
The past cozy up and interrupt our future, you sir
When my heart is always opening and closing
There’s part of me that’s overly exposing
Now everybody’s shoveling for gold
You get what you don’t’ pay for
The future is the place where we get sold
With them tiny side effects, this complicated mess, we’re into
With sick sweet gratitude
When my heart is always opening and closing
There’s part of me that’s overly exposing
Nothing to fear
Nothing to lose
Nothing to hide
Nothing to prove
* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.


Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Moments of Conception 122 -- The Final Scene from Le Ballon Rouge

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today's clip comes from the arcade scene in Le Balloon Rouge:



What can we learn?


Be there before the lightning arrives. Pascal’s balloon is the perfect emblem of inspiration. It has a mind and will of its own. It’s colorful and unpredictable and sprightly and graceful. Sometimes it follows the boy wherever he goes, sometimes the boy follows it wherever it floats. But he stays with it. And that’s the lesson. Because inspiration is the fundamental human survival mechanism. It’s the only way we can cut loose from the dead hand of the past, ratchet up our species and let the best have a real chance at us. But inspiration can be fickle like a balloon in the wind. The moment we try to catch it, we miss it. Because any over determined action produces its exact opposite. On the other hand, if we’re always with it, moving at its speed, as much a part of it as its own shadow, then it becomes easier to seize. Wherever it goes, we go. And so, our job as creators is to stay with it. To never to allow ourselves to rely on inspiration alone. To build a routine and ride it. To be there before the lightning arrives. And to approach out work with the right lens, posture and filter, that way inspiration can seek us out. Sure beats chasing inspiration around town, waiting for it to settle. Are you placing yourself at the mercy of inspiration or teaming up with it?


Where my dreams begin to turn outward. This movie won tons of awards and received overwhelming praise from the critics. Not just for it simplicity and humor and color symbolism, but for its poignant message about dreams and the cruelty of those who puncture them. Pascal’s dream is the balloon. It’s the one thing he longs and aches for. So strong is his devotion, that there is nothing that is not part of it. But his dream draws inquisitive looks from adults and becomes the envy of the other children. At one point in the film, we see it floating outside his bedroom window, but his mother will not allow it in their apartment. And by the end, the balloon is actually hunted down and killed by slingshots by a mob of cruel boys on a barren hilltop. If that’s not a metaphor for dreaming, I don’t know what is. Because just like the boy, we become devastated when things pop. When our one and only dream in the world gets punctured and deflated by those who feel disenfranchised by its power, it makes us want to drop down to the dirt and cry our eyes out. But that’s precisely when the magic happens. That’s when we look into the sky and watch as all the other balloons come to our aid and take us on a ride over the city. Dreams are like that. Once we commit to them, the world reverberates with the sound of our purpose. Where will your dream carry you?


Dreaming isn’t dead. I hated this movie when I was a kid. Our elementary school teachers played it for us every single year. And it always took me on an emotional roller coaster. First, I was frustrated that the balloon was just barely out of the boy’s reach. Then, I was angered when the bullies tried to pop it. Next, I was sad when the balloon eventually popped. Then, then I was inspired when the other balloons formed a colorful cloud around the boy. And then I was jealous when they carried him over the city. But I’m sure that’s exactly what the director had in mind. Delightful manipulation. Rewatching this movie as an adult, however, is a different story. Because now I understand it. Now I appreciate watching the boy’s imagination literally taking flight, floating him off into a feeling of escape and peace. Perhaps the was also the director’s intent. To remind us that there’s nothing wrong with trading in our smallest dreams for better, bigger, more colorful and more voluptuous ones. If you dreamed in terms of your potential and not your limitations, how would that change the dream?


What did you learn?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.


Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!