Creative Mondays #055 – New way to look at things.
One of the greatest things about creative types is that they always seem to have a knack for looking at everyday objects or things made for other purposes and finding new creative ways to use them. Some creative types do this with a little more whimsy and imagination than others, but we are all capable of doing it.
One of the main examples of a creative type using everyday things creatively is Jim Henson. Now, I never got to meet Jim Henson and I haven’t read his autobiography yet (yes, I know, bad Grant) but I’ve been fortunate enough to work with and talk to people who did work with Jim Henson as well as those who’ve researched his life. Something I’ve gleaned from these conversations is that Jim loved technology and loved finding new ways to use this technology in creative ways. He was interested in stop motion so he got his own stop motion set up and made his own films on it. Some of these became pieces that were shown, others were just experiments for him, but he was fascinated with the technology of the time and using it to be creative.
Another great example of Jim using technology creatively (and being decades before his time) was his Handmade Video project. In 1990, with the advent of smaller handheld video cameras, Jim foresaw that soon young filmmakers would go from merely watching TV and Film to making it. So he got three young actors, one a young Dana Gould, and gave them a video camera and let them hit the road and film their adventures. In on fell swoop he’d invented a form of the modern reality show and pretty much the concept for YouTube and internet video. All because he looked at these new fangled video cameras and thought of a new and creative way to use them.
I am in no way comparing myself to Jim Henson but I try to live by that example. When I see a new piece of technology or social media service, the first thing I always do is try to see how I can creatively use it. For example, when I first heard about Twitter, I was deep in production on the Dr. Floyd Podcast and I immediately set up Twitter accounts for all the main characters. Occasionally, I’d send out tweets about the show, but one day I thought it’d be fun for Dr. Steve to start razzing Dr. Floyd on Twitter. People who followed both of them would see it and those that were loved it. They also joined in the conversation.
Then I stumbled on the idea of using Twitter to tell as Dr. Floyd story. It’d be told solely in Tweets and those following all the characters would be able to see it. So on Christmas Eve one year, there was a Twitter-sode all about Dr. Steve and Fidgert trying to capture Santa Claus when he got to their hideout. The fans loved it and I felt it was a really fun and unique experience to test out.
I did the same thing years later when I discovered the Social Media service Tout. Tout lets you put out 15 second videos, much like Instagram does now. I created an account for my character Uncle Interloper on Tout and began trying to find new ways to use their unique video reply feature. One thing I did was start a sing a long. Uncle Interloper sang the first verse of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall and then people replied with the next verses. We got all the way down to one in about a week. It was so much fun and Tout even contact me privately to commend me on the idea. I later went on to create the first Tout series with Uncle Interloper. It was a daily show, Monday through Friday, that told one continuous story in 15 second increments. Again, people loved it and it was all because I looked at a new piece of technology and tried to find a creative way to use it.
Technology is all around us.
What have you looked at differently and put a creative spin on? Let us know in the comments below.