Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Saturday, March 9, 2013
- You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
- 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.
- Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
- Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
- Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
- What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
- Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
- Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
- When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
- Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
- Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
- Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
- Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
- Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
- If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
- What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
- No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
- You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
- Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
- Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
- You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
- What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Amazing Coke Zero marketing, challenging unsuspecting train passengers to unlock the 007 in them for their chance to win exclusive tickets for the new James Bond movie SKYFALL.However, the exclusive tickets weren't free. People had to go the extra mile and unlock their inner 007 in less than 70 seconds to win.
Would you be up for it if it was you?
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Image from LA Times
Quality over quantity
Many companies get lost in keeping up with new platforms like Pinterest or Instagram, but the fact is that platforms will continue to be invented everyday. It's important to keep up with what's going on in your industry and be timely with everything you do, but to "keep up" by building products and services around the the new and coolest is the easiest way to digress your company culture.
How Tim Cook sees it:
"Apple has changed every day since I have been here. But the DNA of the company, the thing that makes our heart beat, is a maniacal focus on making the best products in the world. Not good products, or a lot of products, but the absolute best products in the world."This is why Apple is one of the greatest companies - it reinforces its persistence in company philosophy from top to bottom. Apple ensures that it takes into account new popular apps and user behaviors when building new user interfaces, but refuses to release a new product until it's at its perfection at the time. While other companies continue to push out new products and services every quarter, Apple releases ONE new product every year or two.
Focus on how to make people's lives better, profits are just byproducts
When you're blinded by how your product is going to make money, you're likely to lose focus on how to make the best product so it'll actually sell. I heard about the Convenience Quotient at a mobile conference recently, and it states that any time you build a new platform or product, the benefits provided for the user has to be much larger than the barriers to adoption. In other words, it's great to provide innovation, but keep in mind your user habits, and how difficult it would be to adopt your new product.
How Tim Cook sees it:
"In creating these great products, we focus on enriching people's lives - a higher cause for the product. These are the macro things that drive the company. They haven't changed. They're not changing. I will not witness or permit those changes because that's what makes the company so special.Creativity is not a process, it comes from everywhere and everything
We want to really enrich people's lives at the end of the day, not just make money. Making money might be a byproduct, but it's not our North Star."
The key to the best innovation is simplicity.
How Tim Cook sees it:
"Creativity is not a process, right? It's people who care enough to keep thinking about something until they find the simplest way to do it... A lot of companies have innovation departments, and this is always a sign that something is wrong when you have a VP of innovation of something... Everybody in our company is responsible to be innovative, whether they're doing operational work or product work, or customer service work."