52 Weeks of Creative: Week 11

PLANET COMICON.

AKA, we waited in line for my friend to get his picture taken with Jewel Staite.  From Firefly.  And Stargate: Atlantis.  Who turned out to be really nice.

What does Planet Comicon have to do with my creative project?

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I made things for it.  I posted the skirt a while ago.  And that was my hat before I finished it.

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And here we are at Planet Comicon KC, costume all finished, even with things added to the skirt I made a few weeks ago.  I had a lot of help with it, though.

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I like nerds.

Things learned at Comicon:

1.  Sometimes you will be surprised by the Foxtrot creator, Bill Amend, and turn into a blithering idiot.

2.  Will Wheaton is super nice.  And likes small children.

3.  If someone in your small group of 3 sees someone they know every 5 minutes, you’ve probably got too many nerd friends and shouldn’t change a thing.

Feel free to comment with feedback, ideas or share your own creative projects!

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52 Weeks of Creative: Week 5

You thought that maybe I wasn’t posting this week.  That maybe I chickened out or got distracted or wiped out on my longboard.

Well I did wipeout on the longboard, (that’s not me though ^).  But I’m fine.  Like him, I know how to land dramatically.

This week I decided that the world, you actually, needed a bit of an introduction into the art of writing for the media.  I work for a company that creates commercials and web ads (also other things media related), and I’ve trained extensively in writing.  I guess you could call it a strength.

So I wrote a TV ad this week.

I’m really fascinated by the ads that are able to tell an entire story in such a short amount of time.  The ads that at the end you almost want to clap or cry because in those brief moments you were able to see into the human experience in a funny or touching way.  Yesterday the Superbowl brought us a Budweiser ad about a puppy who is best friends with a Clydesdale.

Some of the group around me found this ad very sweet.  I’m sure that the makers thought that this would cause sales to go up.  (I thought it had creepy subliminal messaging contrary to the song in the background.)  Why did they create this ad in the way that they did?  Well, let’s chat about that.

Fact #1:  Ads exist to cause people to spend money on the product.

Fact #2:  Ads are supposed to be geared toward the specific people who might want/need the product. Example: diaper ads are usually geared toward women between the ages of 18-35, who are pregnant, or just had a kid (or adopted).  I say usually, of course.

How do you get people to take notice of your particular product?  First you find out who wants/needs it.

If I’m a gourmet coffee company, who drinks gourmet coffee?  This isn’t the moment where you get judgy.  Generalities are just what they are–generalities.  It is accurate to say that most people under the age of 14 don’t drink coffee.  So I’m not likely to write a commercial to entice 6-year-olds to drink my company’s coffee.

I choose to market my coffee to adults between the ages of 17-35, who might be skaters, hipsters, artists, careerists and dreamers.*  Okay, now what?  What do those people like?  What do they value?  What do they relate to?  Who do they relate to?

These questions will help me as the writer determine how to craft my ad.  Because I know a lot about this “category” of people (I’m in it), it’s easier to imagine what they will or won’t like, and the images to which they will relate.  Of course, I also know that this group of people is EXTREMELY diverse.  I could write a funny story, like the Allstate commercials with Mayhem, or the Budweiser ad with the chainsaw man.  Or I could go for beauty and realism, like the Honda commercial about how today is pretty great.

There’s a lot of options.  But as long as I know my audience, I can move forward with my idea.

One of the harder parts of writing ads is the length.  There are different venues for ads now, which allows some companies to expand on the length.  Like Hulu.  Hulu ads can be 90 seconds long (or longer), which is on the long side of advertising.  I like them for that reason–they can tell more of a story.

I had trouble making my ad short enough and still conveying everything that I wanted to convey.  It’s about 90 seconds long, and I bet it could be edited shorter if it needed to be on TV or in front of a Youtube video.  If I make it this year, I’ll post the results.

Until then, here’s a mock ad that I made.

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*Just because an ad is geared toward a certain audience doesn’t mean that it won’t appeal to people outside that audience.  The special thing about the Superbowl Budweiser ad this year is that it seems to appeal to a much wider audience than they usually go for.  Keep this in mind when you write your own ad.

52 Weeks of Creative: Week 2

I know some of you were expecting this post to be a sword fighting video.  Sorry, that’s not this week.  Though we did film some sword fighting yesterday.

I’m keeping very quiet about it.

This week I quarreled with myself about whether or not to post my creative project.  I’m not a huge fan of putting my face or myself on camera or on the Internet, which is why you see very few pictures of me on this blog.  But as a personal challenge this week’s creative project features, well, me.

Singing.

Please forgive me this moment of narcissism.  I really don’t think of myself as the premier singer, but I’ve always liked it, and I did a lot of musical theater in my teens.  I wrote a song once when I was 19 or so and I write a ton of poetry.  A few months ago I found this song that I loved, but it’s just music.  And it intrigued me.

So I wrote lyrics.

I guess I was pretty frustrated at the time with some people in my life so these lyrics are not exactly…nice.  But it was fun to sing and record them to music I really like.

I’ve never made a legit music video before.  I don’t recommend trying to make one by yourself of yourself.  There’s some logistical issues with that plan and it ensures that a lot of your footage will be out of focus, especially when you use a lens with such a short focal length.  It does mean that no one else will see or hear you pretending to be Lorde or Pentatonix, but then you also have no way of knowing how much you’ve failed in this pretension.

Here’s some of the color correction I did on the footage:

Before:

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After:

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Before:

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After:

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The Sony FS100 is a delightful camera.  And I do love editing on FCP7, even though it is a bit older.  Color correction on it is very effective.

The original song is called Celestial Soda Pop and was written by Ray Lynch.  This man is a genius and of course owns all the rights to the song.  Thank you, Mr. Lynch, for writing something that inspired me to make up lyrics and then be brave enough to share my performance with the whole Internet.


Feel free to jump in and join me in creating something every week this year.  Or offer creative ideas in the comments.  In case you missed out on why this is week 2 or what’s going on, here are the rules I set down from last week’s post:

“My goal is to create and finish something “creative” every week.  That’s 52 things.

1.  Must finish by 11:59pm on Sunday of the week (Yeah, I edited that because 12am didn’t make any sense).

2.  Must accept a CHALLENGING project, not something like “draw one picture of a dude.”

3.  Must post by the following Monday.

4.  May work with others on any project.

5.  May work in area of expertise, as long as the project still offers a degree of complexity.”

52 Weeks of Creative: Week 1

This was a very weird way to start my 52 weeks.  Firstly, I have an eye-infection that brought me a lot of pain the last few days.  Had to go to a doctor and everything.  That was very unexpected.  Never had one of those before.

Don’t start copying me, ya’ll.  It’s not as fun as I’m sure I made it sound.

Secondly, I picked a creative project that I have never done before.  The goal was to write and illustrate a children’s picture book.  This required the conceptualizing and drawing of over 19 pictures, partially colored.

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At the end of all this madness, I realized that designing a complete children’s PRINTABLE book was beyond my ability and software ability at the moment.  So I settled for a sorta comic-book, internet-illustrated story approach.  Some people may have a lot of experience with photoshop for this kind of thing, but I didn’t.  I didn’t even know how to import a picture into a separate project file.

But I finished the story and the pictures and the importing and combining and cleaning up and…well, I finished my first week of 52 creative projects.  And I guess it’s time to lay some ground rules:

1.  Must finish by 12am on Sunday of the week.

2.  Must accept a CHALLENGING project, not something like “draw one picture of a dude.”

3.  Must post by the following Monday.

4.  May work with others on any project.

5.  May work in area of expertise, as long as the project still offers a degree of complexity.

And here is my finished project of Week 1:  (View as a gallery.  The single-file version won’t upload at a high enough level.)

Inspired by and dedicated to my cousin, Sarah.  Thank you for Markus.

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