Vision is the art of creativity. Confidence is the marketability of direction. You need creative ideas, but also the ability to convince others to let you lead. Creative direction is problem solving and then raising new questions. Questions that evoke high concept thinking long after the presentation ends and you leave the room.
Sometimes creative direction is spontaneous. “Hey everybody an idea just popped into my head while we are talking.” Other times it inspires methodical research. “I was watching this documentary the other day and it made me think about this book I read in high school.”
Creative direction is progressive even when it hurts or it is outside of your immediate frame of reference. “I have never been to a developing country but I can only imagine what it must feel like to struggle just to find drinking water.” One of my favorite shots I ever captured was a young girl in Zambia walking in the early morning to find water for her family. She carried a five-gallon container on her head everyday before she walked five miles to school. I never had a moment of my life so challenging but my creative sensibility told me to shoot her in wide shot walking into the distance looking queen-like and majestic. My direction inspired me to edit that shot with a close up of her smiling face. The message here is simple. In the face of unfathomable adversity we must push forward with our head held high and a positive disposition.
Creative direction is not bound by status, culture or lifestyle. As a creative director you must know when you don’t know.
Perception is nine tenths of the law. In life we must become the curator or expert in something. Hopefully, it’s something that propels us forward. Camera was that for me. It has been the vehicle for me to emancipate myself from boy to man and from American to citizen of the world. The camera founded my company and the camera continues to bring attention not only to me, but also to Tomorrow Pictures. What you see through the lens may be more meaningful and influential these days than what we see in real life. With that comes a responsibility. Truth may not be what you always believed. The camera does not lie. Perception has become nine tenths of the law.
A+B=C! In our minds there are hundreds of thousands of songs, video games, TV shows and movies. An editor accesses this data in order to tell story or make order out of disorder. Maybe they don’t know what they want but they know what they feel. Editing is feeling. Each edit decision is like a piano player striking a key or a guitarist strumming a chord. Not because it’s on a music cue sheet but because it’s in their heart. Most things that we make sense of these days we make sense of through media. That’s the point of editing.
In courage there are only two paths. The lady or the tiger, door number one or door number two. You can hit the snooze bar or wake the hell up.
With vision comes courage and the understanding that you can do what others see or what you see. Vision is hopeful or hopeless but it always makes a point and holds a position. Direction without vision has no real courage.
Real stories have a beginning and middle and an end. Real stories mean something to someone other than the director.
Somewhere in the journey of great story you become lost and have no idea how all of this is going to end. The killer is the lover and the lover is the thief.
Your disbelief has been suspended. You believe Darth Vader is Luke’s father and Iron Man can fly. Love wins and good triumphs over evil. We are all beautiful or ugly and there just may be life on other planets. Visionary directors make the impossible possible. The most remote of ideas and belief systems become crystalized in a universe that may be unfamiliar to the viewer but somehow still feels like home.
Vision is a ride that needs a direction. The director has the courage to take control and say, “Follow me.”
Most information is now derived from visual images but the need for engaging scripts is at an all time high. Ask anyone over 50 and they will tell you, “They don’t make movies, music or television shows like the use to.” In this illustrious digital age, why is that?
Answer. Engaging writing. Everything starts with a story. The imagination is limitless. What you can do with a reality TV show has a limit. The universes of super heroes have boundaries. Being naked for no reason is basically being naked for no reason.
Engaging writing takes you into the paranoid and tortured mind of Macbeth, into the motivation for murder in the shower scene in Psycho and delivers Rhett Butler’s classic post-civil war line to Scarlett O’Hara, “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.” Why?, why?, why? These are the questions of the engaging writer. The smart ones know when to answer and the great ones know when to not say anything at all and just leave it up to the audience to decide.
We write before we can speak. We form thoughts and compose context in our mind and then we project them into the universe by speaking. When we don’t write our thoughts down, in our minds we speak out of turn and project poorly formulated thoughts into the universe with our big mouths.
If you can write you can listen. If you can listen you can learn. If you can learn you can change the world. Yes I said it, “An engaging writer can change the world.” You can quote me on that.
Well somebody has to do it. Somebody needs to take the bullet for the music in that scene or video. Pitch, tone and flow at the speed of life. It changes every second, every measure and every frame. Finding the music that makes you see things, at times, can be more important than the picture it accompanies. Jaws without the creepy shark music? The greatest motion picture visual works have some of the greatest music ever found or made.
How do you become a great music supervisor? Well you listen to and know a lot about music . . . Music in the big picture sense . . . Music as a way to move mountains and say the things that we can’t seem to express in real life.
Maybe supervisor is not a fair and complete understanding of what it means to score music to picture. Supervisor implies over seeing the finished product. A music supervisor is so much more. They decide what goes where, who plays and more importantly what goes. What is not working is the hardest part of music supervision. In an age where anyone 50 years and under was raised on MTV everybody has an opinion about what the opening sequence music should be. A cooler head prevails with a music supervisor. They know what a moment calls for and they can put themselves in the position of the audience member experiencing the story. Music Supervisors watch from a theatre seat, eat popcorn and have their headphones on.
What the heck does a producer do anyway? They produce duh? They produce a product, a idea and or a concept. In the music industry and the visual arts business that carry the biggest stick. While everybody else is running and fighting for the director’s chair the producer is counting their money. The producer is the apex of commerce and creativity, They gotta get it done on time and it better be amazing. Or make a ton of money. The producer knows when the script is right. They know who is the right director for this opportunity and no actor gets on the producer’s set without meeting for lunch.
Cecil B. DeMile, Harvey Wienstien or Oprah. They all run the show and you know it. The producer is omni present and invisible. They are God in the truest form. Just but vengeful. Loving but rigid.
Producers control time and space. They know who lives and who dies. From
These are the rules and you must follow according to their gospel. Why, well its their money and time is money.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the core values of any democratic society. It is up to its citizens to uphold them. We are all endowed with inalienable rights but not all of us based on circumstance are given the choice to embrace them.
Some must provide the platform so we can hear the unheard voices and stand up for the many. The activist is active in the bigger picture. The activist thinks of others first.
The activist platform is protecting the constitution for all and the mode of justice in the new millennium is content media.
Images speak louder than words in an era where people don’t do the right thing and people are willing to follow the richest person in the room just because they are rich.
Activism is not just good business, it’s the only business. We are all here because someone in our past was active about shaping and molding our future.
What we do for ourselves is important, but what we do for others leaves a legacy.
Activist never go gently into that good night. Activists burn and rave at the close of day. Activists rage against the dying light.
Activists call action but never cut.
Sit up straight, chin up, make eye contact and speak clearly.
The eloquent public speaker projects the sentiment of every person who has ever had a positive effect on their life. Public speaking is the spirit of mothers, fathers, teachers, spiritual leaders and friends.
Public speaking is love. It has been said, “God does not speak to us, God speaks through us.” What someone says to you that resonates with you that moves you always means more to you than you think.
What is the greatest moment in the history of humankind? Invention of the wheel? The discovery of fire? Maybe hunting and gathering or living in communities? The answer is none of the above. It’s the public speaker who has something to say that benefits the public.
Those that speak eloquently can make fire, invent the wheel, hunt, gather and build communities.
Eloquent public speakers love to speak. In public, of course.