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Friday, November 21, 2014

Moments of Conception 136 -- The Opening Scene from It Might Get Loud

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 opening scene from It Might Get Loud:



What can we learn?


It’s impossible to fail at self expression. I was recently listening to an interview with one of my favorite songwriters. He said he’d rather be on stage in front of thousands of people than in conversation with a few. And his reasoning was, on stage, there is no wrong. Maybe better or worse, but never wrong. Conversation, on the other hand, has rules and standards and boundaries. But in art, you can do whatever you want. It’s not about being right, it’s about being yourself. Jack is an eccentric guy, there’s no doubt. He got his start as a furniture upholster, where he used to submit invoices in crayon and write poetry inside the couches. He convinced the world that his wife was his sister. He frequently color codes his creative endeavors, like his recording studio which is completely outfitted in yellow, black, red, and blue. And in the opening scene of this movie, he makes a crude guitar out of a two pieces of wood, a few nails, an old wire, a soda bottle and a cheap preamp. Is it an act? Is it a persona? Is it just a clever way to sell records? Doesn’t matter. White’s relentless individualism is what matters. He refuses to be anyone other than himself. And it’s enabled him to enjoy both critical and popular success, winning piles of awards and being dubbed as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. And he doesn’t even need a guitar. If you’re just being yourself, how can anybody tell you that you’re doing it wrong?


The freedom to pursue what’s inside. The only artistic goal worth pursuing is freedom. Freedom over what I create, freedom over why and how I create it, freedom over whom I create it with and freedom over what I do with it once it’s created, that’s all I care about. Everything else flows from there. Macleod famously said tat the sovereignty we have over our work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will. Jack is inspiring to me for that very reason. He’s free. Not just in the way he creates music, but in the way he creates the opportunity to make music. His songs rock, but what I admire most is that he started his own independent record label, even established its first physical location, which is a combination record store, performance venue, and headquarters for the company. That’s freedom. Jack literally and figurative built the house where his freedom resides. He has complete sovereignty over his work, supreme, independent authority over his creativity. And so, watching this documentary as a guitarist inspires me to find new ways to express myself through the instrument. But watching this movie as an artist inspires me to find new ways to be free and to own my world. To own my media, own my platform, own my career and ultimately own my life. Tastes like freedom to me. Are you conquering your work, or is your work conquering you?


Constraints are catapults. White’s musical philosophy is to limit himself in various ways to force creative approaches to recording and playing. Whether he writes only three chords for his song, has only two members in his band, or plays only one string on his guitar, the constraint is what sets him free. I’m reminded of my favorite art book, The Art of Looking Sideways. Famed visual designer Alan Fletcher wrote that the first move in any creative process is to introduce constraints. It’s enormously effective. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I’m jealous of traditional journalists. They have deadlines. They execute against temporal constraints. They don’t have the luxury of even thinking about writer’s block, because if they don’t hit their word count by the end of the week, they’re fired. The same goes for farmers. If don’t tend to their crops and animals and land every day, there is no harvest. That’s a constraint too. The point is, all creators and communicators of ideas need to introduce constraints somewhere in their process. Whether it’s an output quota, daily deadline or accountability email at the end of each week, constraints are catapults. In the production management world, factories and organizations do the same thing. They identify their limitation, decide how to exploit it, and then restructure everything in the system around it. Are you running from your limitations or leveraging them?


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, November 20, 2014

Resistance comes in alluring packaging

I once coached a writer whose biggest challenge was creative procrastination. 

She was a master of artfully creating constant distractions instead of working. 

During our brain rental session, she showed me the list of her peer review team for her upcoming book. It was massive. At least twenty different editors intended to comment on her manuscript. Which seemed a bit excessive, considering for the scope of the book. 

So I probed deeper. And the irony was, she wasn’t even planning to listen to their feedback. She actually completely trusted her own voice as a writer. In fact, without her peer review team, she told me, her readers wouldn’t have noticed the difference anyway. 

However, by sending the manuscript out for three months of editing gave her another reason to procrastinate. 

Isn’t it astonishing the calories we are willing to burn in order to avoid the real work? 

We seem to spend half our time planning for things we could create if we didn’t spend half our time planning. And it’s not just planning, it everything on the day’s long list of distractions. 

It breaks my heart. 

I’m reminded of an interview I read with a startup founder, who said that releasing people from their dependency on email will free up the time and mental space needed to move the species forward. 

Amen to that. 

Every time I hear someone talking about getting their inbox to zero, I just want to scream at them and say, all the time you spent answering email, you could have been doing the one thing people really love about you. 

What excuses do you make to justify your procrastination?


* * * *

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 2015-201.6


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


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are you making your mission more than a statement?

What happens when we know who we are? 

Everything

That’s the upside of identity. Knowledge isn’t just power, it’s the engine of profit. 

That’s why I’m so adamant amount branding. Because it’s not about what you sell, it’s about the story you tell. It’s about knowing who you are, who you aren’t, and making sure that you’re giving those values a voice through every touchpoint. 

I recently consulted with a small marketing team at a large consumer products company. They hired me to help their employees become more intentional about their personal brands. And so, I facilitated a strategic planning crusade to help them make their mission more that a statement. Together we created a rubric for operable behaviors at all levels of the organization. A collection of mantras against which they could execute their interactions. 

By the end of the workshop, the team had completely inspired themselves with their own ideas. They used the company culture artifact we developed together as springboard for putting behaviors behind values. What’s more, the rubric became an organizing principle for their recruiting, onboarding and training efforts with new team members. And from that day forward, each employee was able to live the brand called me, while still remaining grounded in the brand called we. 

What makes your mission more than a statement?

* * * *
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 2015-201.6


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

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tunnel of Love -- Chapter 8: Stolen Away (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 eight:


STOLEN AWAY


I don’t trust my legs
To carry me home
But you take yourself with you
Everywhere you go

Never wait in weakness
Never beg in pain
Whatever dreams are sweetest
Stolen away

We prepare to follow
Love wherever it goes
It’s mad enough to be mythic
This fragile bag of bones

Don’t tear the sheets to easily
Where’s my people?
Who hold a pair of eyes to see me

Chest fill with lanterns
What a dumb way to die
Restless right on schedule
A soldier for the lie


* * * *
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, November 14, 2014

Everything you do should lead to something else you do

Entrepreneurs must diversify and expand their offerings to broaden their appeal. After all, the more appealing you are to the more people, the more you will be sought out. 

And so, we’re obliged to constantly reexamine the smallest revenue centers of our enterprise. To make sure everything we do leads to something else we do. And to pose the crucial leverage question, now that I have this, what else does this make possible? 

Years ago when people started requesting to work with me one on one, I created a service called Rent Scott’s Brain. The program was unsystematic and unpolished, but it still created value for people. And it became a solid revenue stream for my company, despite its imperfections. 

Awesome. 

What’s interesting is, after several dozen coaching engagements over the years, I started to experience dimensional shifts as a service provider, as we all do. Since there were personal skills and wisdom I wasn’t tapping into to create value and build my business, I decided to diversify. To expand on my current offering with better and more sophisticated variation of my one on one service. 

Now the program is much more comprehensive. It’s part coaching, part mentoring, part consulting, but all strategizing. That’s what’s possible when we put our diversification caps on. With some reinvention, each of our revenue centers can become a entirely new business unit. Each of our offerings can give our artistic voice another outlet and therefore activate a new market segment. And each of our services can become another option for our clients to become involved with us in an inexpensive and accessible way. 

That’s how businesses evolve. We build organically, but we leverage strategically. 

What could you do today that would be a complete step forward in your brand’s evolution?

* * * *
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, November 13, 2014

Moments of Conception 135 -- The Voicemail Scene from Swingers

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 voicemail scene in Swingers:



What can we learn?


In that kiss I saw a vision of my future. A prospective client reaches out, shows an interest in your work, asks tons of questions, requests a price quote, emails you back immediately, gets your hopes up about working together, and then, they just magically disappear. No explanation. No apology. No nothing. They just go away. And despite your follow up efforts, courteous and professional and persistent as they may be, still nothing. This phenomenon infuriates me. And each time it happens, I can’t help but think to myself, what the hell? You’re the ones who came to me. But then I remember something I learned in high school. Just because we kissed once doesn’t mean we’re in love forever. That’s the thing about opportunity. It’s a fickle mistress. It comes and goes like the changing weather, swearing allegiance to no one, rarely with explanation or apology. And so, instead of twisting myself into a psychological pretzel trying to figure out what went wrong, maybe it was me, maybe it was them, maybe my email account wasn’t working, I’ve learned to just let it go. I accept the fact that so many things in life just go away. And I try not to take it personally. Then again, I also feel a puff of hope when I remember, the fact that it happened at all means that it’s possible. What can you let go of right now so that you can regain your balance?


I’d rather hear no than nothing. This scene makes my stomach turn. It’s quite possibly the most awkward three minutes in the history of film. Mike reeks of desperation, longing to connect, aching to engage, begging to be heard. But he keeps getting the damn machine. It’s interesting, no matter how many times I watch this scene, I always catch myself silently screaming to the screen, no, please, don’t do it again. But he always does. Every time. Because that’s the natural human response. People would rather hear no than nothing. I’m reminded of the old saying, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Completely bullshit. In my experience, absence makes the mind start to wander. And that’s when the waves of anxiety come crashing in. Because whether it’s a friend or a date or a colleague or a client, when someone leaves you in the dark, you engage in worse case thinking. You assume that no news is bad news. Psychologists call this negative bias, whereby the brain is built with a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news. According to their research, the human capacity to weigh negative input keeps us out of harm’s way. That’s why our brains have evolved to developed systems that make it unavoidable for us not to notice danger and, hopefully, respond to it. The question, though, is how can we accumulate enough positive experiences to override the tilt to negativity? I suggest using a victory log. It’s a small weekly calendar that you populate with any and all victories, large or small, that you achieve each day. Think of it as a visual record of progress that surrounds you with concrete evidence of positive improvement. How will you tip the scales toward happiness?


Go work on something else. Despite your most strategic efforts, you can’t will somebody to call you back. You can’t use the law of attraction to make the phone ring. What you can do, however, is turn waiting into working. You can give yourself permission to work on something else. I prefer the term polyamorous creation, which is the practice of pursuing relationships with multiple creative projects. It’s way to hedge your creative bets. To insure yourself against the daily discouragements, delays, distractions, depressions, derailments and disappointments of the process. Consider these common examples. New project receive an unflattering review? Go work on something else. Editor not calling you back with her notes? Go work on something else. Computer freeze at an inopportune time? Go work on something else. Client go on vacation and forget about your website? Go work on something else. Receive a rejection letter from a publisher? Go work on something else. Spirit won’t move the way you want it to? Go work on something else. Mike blew it. He put all his eggs into one basket. And as a result, he lost the girl. A smarter, healthier approach would be to always have something waiting in the wings, ready to be worked on. To differentiate and diversify between a number of main lines of activity. That way, when one enterprise grinds to a halt, productive work does not cease. How will you build enough momentum to keep the story moving forward?


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!