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My Creative Inspiration: Craig

This line of work is very unique to draw inspiration from because many forms of media are readily around us.  We see it everyday - on our phones, social media, television, billboards, movies, webpages, print, photography, and more.  As a video producer, it is helpful to acknowledge and absorb creative influences in any form of media, whether that’s a billboard with a great photograph and attention grabbing text, or an interesting music/script combination in a radio advertisement or even a seemingly random YouTube ad.  

Whatever we see digitally - we can appreciate, deconstruct, and emulate for future projects. We can acknowledge what we like, what we think is effective, what we think captured our attention and find a similar way to utilize these subtle concepts.

Moments from Real Life

But more importantly, on the video side, it is important to absorb creative inspiration from real life as it is produced naturally - how moments feel, how stories are told, and how events take place.  The beauty of videography is we have the unique responsibility to show how a moment in life is seen, heard, and more importantly, felt. I have to admit I am a very emotional guy - whether getting sentimental during a special moment with family, or laughing until it hurts with a close friend, or that proud feeling of professionalism when you connect with a colleague or new client.  When creating a video for any sort of purpose - whether for advertising, storytelling, process demonstration, product explanation, message-based, motion graphics, comedy - I always revert back to how we want the viewer to feel as they attempt to identify with the characters, images, and visuals we show them.

Everybody Likes a Hero

A great mentor in my career emphasized having the viewer identify with the hero of the video as they face an internal struggle.  Along the way, they meet a guide who helps them overcome the problem. It is simple story arc - but it’s a really important source to draw inspiration from.  We want to know how the main character feels and what’s important to them. But sometimes, I have not been in the particular situation that drives the purpose of the video.  If I’m creating a video about a disaster restoration company and I have never experienced a tornado ripping through my home - it makes it tricky to identify with those affected.  I think the important thing as a videographer is genuinely listening to people as they tell their stories. They are the ones who truly felt something.

From there, I attempt to understand the correct visuals or audio that evoke certain feelings in the viewer.  Whenever we feel fear, despair, joy, laughter, or any emotion - it almost seems as though we see certain things or even can hear music that accompanies it. Even if I haven’t experienced storm damage, I know I have experienced issues in life that feel similar. The feeling of worry, loss, and confusion.  That all translates to de-saturated, high contrast visuals - rough compositions, intentionally, shaky camera shots. And I understand how it feels when someone finally comes to help you with your problem. That inspirational shot of the disaster restoration pulling into your driveway, the music elevating.  

The same approach can be handled with any type of video and the emotions that can accompany them - whether that’s a pool party music video, an animated video about replacing old HVAC systems in the summertime, or demonstrating an efficient manufacturing process. Big questions to ask going into a video idea is how do we want the viewer to feel, what big benefit does the viewer get, and what action do we want the viewer to take.

Learning from Others

With all of that being said - I have learned this from a former colleague.  One of the most important sources to draw inspiration from is through team members.  I always emphasize the importance of learning from others - whether they have years of experience or new to the industry but have unique ideas.  When we attempt to be open in admiring work, technique, and ideas, we push aside our own creative pride and willingly absorb the best in everyone else.  All of these sources can combine for a strong creative approach to any project.

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