June 2018

Don’t Just Sit There

How to Achieve Proactive Post-Production

by: Daniel McNeill, Senior Editor @ fogomotion

My Main Role In Post-Production is editing but I have experience from ideation and production to motion graphics. If I’m not proactive, I find that it is common to become isolated or to be typecast and ignored apart from my specific role or expertise. I’d like to share some tips to keep you refreshed and energized for every project that comes your way. This will help you push your creative contributions farther and step out of your traditional role as a contributor. If you are in the business of hiring post- production creatives look for these triggers when you’re selecting your next team.

1. DIVE-IN

Too often post-production creatives aren’t consulted during the projects conception. It’s not until you’re in the edit suite that an editor gets to contribute. This can inadvertently cause us to be reactive rather than proactive. Whenever possible I request to be involved in the initial ideation phase.

“Contributing from the beginning will help you engage in a whole new way.”

Throw in some ideas for the visuals or propose a new way to tell the story. Some of my most creative and successful projects were the ones where I felt a sense of investment from the beginning. When you’re fully able to catch the vision of a project at the start you’re more likely to succeed. There will be times when the concept is locked in place before it gets to post-production, but don’t let that cause you to just go through the motions. Think about how you can advance the client’s concept. Suggest a unique edit style or add a visual effect and make it even better than they originally envisioned. An unexpected sound effect or a unique cut can really set the project apart.

2. TRY SOMETHING NEW

It is easy to get into a creative rut so be proactive and try something new. When- ever you start a new project set out to do something different than what you’ve done in the past. Look for a new effect, design, or editing style that you can implement. There are a lot of different ways to use a fade to or from black. Don’t just slap on the default and resist just laying in a music track without cutting it up and switching it around to enhance your story. Look around at the creative work other people are doing. Plan to spend some time each day looking at designs, videos, photography, or whatever gives you inspiration. Be intentional.

“Use other peoples work to get your creative juices pumping.”

You’ll find shortcuts to Behance, Motionographer, Vimeo, and Instagram on my browser that I explore nearly everyday. I often find inspiration from a single image, a video, or a movie trailer that I’ve seen. Strive to make every project original. You’ll stay engrossed in what you’re CREATING and your client will be pleased.

3. WORK AS A TEAM

Those dark edit rooms and quiet audio suites can be very isolating, but don’t let that dictate how you work. Get up out of your chair and ask the opinion of others. Check with your colleagues if they have any suggestions or ideas on how to make your creation better. Talk through your challenges and acknowledge that other people have good ideas too. You don’t always have to implement every idea that another editor or designer suggests but take into consideration their thoughts. My greatest ideas almost always come through collaboration. In my experience, the moment you think you have the most creative solution and others cannot help you is the moment you’re beginning to lose your edge. Producers and writers, I also suggest you ask your designer, editor, or audio engineer how they feel about the project. Including others in some of the decision making can help push your creative over the top.

Connect with Daniel McNeill if you’re looking for more creative strategies. Have a project that needs our touch? Hit up Footy to chat about new projects.

Creative Breakthroughs

Three Steps to Creative Breakthroughs in a Pinch

by: Jeff Strong, Creative Director @ fogomotion

Plant The Seed

There is a notion that true creative inspiration comes not from your active thinking mind but from your subconscious mind, and it’s true. That’s why you often hear people say their big idea came to them in the shower or while running. They turned off the creative tasking in their “front mind” but the rumination was still subconsciously active. If I’m searching for a creative spark for a particular project I’ll plant the seed in my head. Whether it’s the need for a great song, a particular angle/voice for a script, or a visual wow that can turn a mediocre project into a great one, I leave it in my brain to gestate. This is especially helpful if there are a few days built in before a brainstorm. Planting the seed that an upcoming idea is needed manifests an intuitive, cosmic magnet, of sorts, which somehow results in the idea, song or visual inspo turning up on its own. In short, try to keep the “executive functions” of your brain from steering you creatively and let the uncensored free-flowing part take the wheel. David Lynch speaks philosophically and wondrously about this approach in his book, Catching the Big Fish.

Walk It Off

This part of the process dovetails with planting the seed, but focuses more on straight up clearing your head and letting thoughts pop off. It can be whatever mindless activity you choose, preferably something outside where fresh air adds an oxygen bonus. Walk the dog. Run. Chop wood. Grocery shop. I find this especially helpful for scriptwriting. Words and turns of phrases begin to tumble out. One will spark, two, then five. (While there are arguable downsides), the beauty of having a phone on you at all times is that those thoughts, phrases and nuggets can be recorded immediately. Recently, I went on a 20 minute walk to stretch my legs and poke around at an idea. By the time I finished, I had three unique ways in to an idea that had been eluding me. Distraction + dopamines + fresh air = creative incubator.

Hit The Deck

I came across this fist-sized, little gem at a museum gift shop years ago. It’s a deck of cards called The Creative Whack Pack. It looked a little silly at first, but I’ve wound up using these seemingly simple cards to shake off the rust more times than I can count. It’s a deck of 80+ creative thinking strategies that will have you re-questioning and reframing your assignment enough to approach it from an entirely new and clever direction that might not have occurred to you, otherwise. It basically unlocks notions and options you were too stuck in a creative rut to get to in the first place. How does your problem smell? What if it were the size of a pea or the size of Pluto? How would you approach it then? Consider it bite –sized stories and nuggets for you to chew on that will give you a creative kick in the pants. And it’s now available as an app; grab it!