How “Clutter” Can Kill Your Creativity

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I’ve written many times on this blog about the danger of “clutter.”  Clutter comes in all forms – from the media voices screaming for our attention, to the messy desk in front of us (where was that file again?) to the million other options that keep us from pursuing our creative calling.  Now, The Wall Street Journal reminds us how William Zinsser, author of the writing classic “On Writing Well” (1976) and who died May 12 at age 92, felt about clutter in our writing.  It’s worth the read:

Why You Should Stop Complaining About Being Busy

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I met three different people today, and each time, when I asked, “How are you?” The reply was exactly the same. “I’m Busy”. Honestly, I hear the same answer from the vast majority of people I meet. So I started to think: “Guess what? Everybody’s busy!” I’m busy, you’re busy, everybody’s busy. So you know what? You being busy doesn’t make me sympathetic at all. Because

The Greatest Secret for Breakthrough Creativity

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While I believe that everyone is creative, the truth is, real breakthrough creativity is rare – because it takes work, skill, and courage. But many pursue it, and as a result, there are thousands of websites, social media feeds, books and other resources on creativity. But from my perspective, the greatest secret for breakthrough creativity can be taken from a quote from novelist Kingsley Amis:

The Secrets to Producing Successful Media Projects Overseas

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Shooting internationally can be an incredible experience. Over the years, our team at Cooke Pictures has produced programming in more than 60 countries around the world, and we’ve only experienced a handful of bad incidents. That’s not to say things haven’t been difficult – like when we did an interview with a Brazilian drug dealer while his gang held a gun on our cameraman, or when my crew was arrested at the airport in Lagos, Nigeria, or when we got caught up in a military coup. There’s been more, but you get the picture. During it all, we’ve learned a few things about how to keep those incidents to a minimum, so the next time you produce an overseas project, maybe this list will help:

Some Distractions Can Actually Help You Be More Creative

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Today, the world is filled with distractions. Email and social media are two of the biggest culprits that rob creative people of focused concentration. There’s also listening to music, watching TV, or allowing people to interrupt your work. I’ve written plenty on this blog about how to avoid distractions, but to be fair, I need to mention that certain distractions can actually help creativity. The fact is,

The 10 Keys To Shooting A Great Video Interview

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Some marketing experts are calling this year “The Year of Online Video.” It’s becoming one of the most popular and effective ways to tell the story of products, organizations, and ideas. 2-4 minute videos can be powerfully compelling ways to tell a story, but in many cases, when they involve interviewing people, they fall flat. Interviews with fascinating people can be the key to many successful video presentations, but most video interviews are boring, without emotion, and pointless. Here’s 10 keys to shooting more effective interviews – the kind of interviews that get a response from viewers:

What We Encountered At Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall

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For the last 10 days, we’ve been filming around Israel for The Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. We’ve interviewed archeologists, researchers, antiquities dealers, and filmed artifacts that date back to Abraham. We’ve also been to the most remote archeological sites, as well as deep into the Palestinian territory to film the remaining community of Samaritans. But no matter how far back into history we go, how deep into the desert, how remote the location, or out of contact the people, we can’t get away from

Ten Things To Remember Your First Day on a Film Shoot

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After decades working in the industry, I’m still amazed at the clueless production assistants that manage to get hired on video and film productions. No matter how low you are on the food chain, you’re there for a reason, and people are watching.  So to make sure your first day isn’t your last day, and with a hat-tip to DP and Director Brad Knull, here’s 10 things you should never forget: