The Difference Between an Artist and a Non-Artist

Earlier this week I met with a successful businessman. He’s built a virtual empire and I’m sure he’s earned enough money to live comfortably for a very long time.

The meeting was beneficial for both of us but it was interesting how I felt after meeting with him, and I found a few questions swirling around in my mind:

  • Why did that meeting feel so hurried?
  • What is the difference between him and me?
  • How do artists fit into a business culture? 

I came to a conclusion that was much bigger than a silly little business meeting… Continue reading “The Difference Between an Artist and a Non-Artist”

Big Pretentious Words are Big and Pretentious

Confession: I sometimes like to appear smarter than I really am. Rather than using colloquial language, I’ll toss in some three, four, and five syllable words to dazzle. I kinda just did it with the word ‘colloquial.’ Guilty.

Have you ever used “big words” just to impress someone?

Words like these…

  • Pretentious. Even using the word ‘pretentious’ is, in itself, pretentious.
  • Colloquial. See above. I used it a few sentences ago to make myself appear shiningly brilliant.
  • Nebulous. I’ll toss this one into a sentence when describing concepts and ideas that aren’t specific. As in: “I like the direction of this project Fran, it’s just a bit nebulous at present.” Just saying the word ‘nebulous’ raises my IQ. I’m sure of it.
  • Any Medical Terminology Picked Up from WebMD. As in “yeah, it was a post-roital laceration on my dorsal vertex.” Of course, peons who haven’t read WebMD feel their intelligence quotent drop with each and every syllable of our verbiage. Continue reading “Big Pretentious Words are Big and Pretentious”

Creative Community: 2 Questions, 2 Minutes, 1 Comment

It’s exciting to see the creative community on this site continue to grow.

Source: daniel.d.slee (Creative Commons)

The citizenry includes vibrant designers, inspiring pastorsfinancial coaches, imaginative writers, creative moms, blogging gurus, prolific producers, gifted graphic artists, and many more that we don’t know anything about.

But that’s about to change.

Continue reading “Creative Community: 2 Questions, 2 Minutes, 1 Comment”

Creativity and the Costa Concordia: Get on the Ship


January 13, 2012


Costa Concordia, Island of Giglio, Italy

(the setting could also be ‘your mind’)


Coast Guard: Captain Gregorio De Falco

(think of De Falco as ‘your coach’)

Ship Captain: Captain Francesco Schettino

(think of Schettino as ‘reasoning’)


Know Who You Are

De Falco: “This is De Falco from Livorno. Am I speaking with the captain?”

Schettino: “Yes. Good evening, Cmdr. De Falco.”

Continue reading “Creativity and the Costa Concordia: Get on the Ship”

Value of Art

[box options]Today’s guest post is by producer Jason Mundok at The Wood Stove House. I enjoyed working with him on a recent project, The 24 Hour Plays and will be participating in his podcast series “Conversations” later this month. Enjoy![/box]

The Value of Art

At the Wood Stove House, we have immersed ourselves in the performing arts over the past few years. We’ve hosted house concerts, helped promote and book public concerts, produced theater events, provided promotional and logistical support for other theater events, and produced several recordings for wonderful regional musicians.

One of the big questions that we grapple with when engaging in any of these projects is the idea of value. What is the value of what we do and how much should we be charging for it?

A Tightrope Walk

Continue reading “Value of Art”

Making Space for Movement

In order to avoid that terribly rude checked baggage fee, you’ve got to free up the extra space in that backpack/suitcase/mammoth-purse you’ve used for the past six to twelve months.

In my making-space-session a few items of note…

+Two cans of V8.

+Terribly stale gum.

+A key.


Continue reading “Making Space for Movement”

5 Steps to Creating a Memorable and Effective Company Video

Corporate video.

Those two words might as well be substituted by other equally exciting pairings such as root canal, boring lecture, or chalkboard nails.

Most companies just need a creative, like yourself, to take some initiative. I currently hold the title of ‘corporate sales trainer’ at my organization, yet part of my job description now includes making monthly video productions for trainings, meetings, and even company parties. It’s a great way to express my creativity, get paid to do it, and create a corporate culture of honor, respect, and professionalism.

Continue reading “5 Steps to Creating a Memorable and Effective Company Video”

Recipe for Creativity: Willy Wonka, Jelly Belly, and Avoiding the Freeways

“Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it in dew,      

cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two?”

“The candyman. The candyman can.
The candyman can cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.”

Maybe I just love candy way too much, but those lyrics are brilliance. He ‘mixes it with love.’ Folks, he ‘makes the world taste good.’

Goodness. I’ve got to watch it. Thankfully, somebody took the time to put it on YouTube…

Grow down. Let’s take a few minutes and watch it together… (if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, at least watch around 1:58 when a little girl gets an unintentional uppercut by the countertop.)

Though most of us will never meet Mr. Wonka (or Gene Wilder), we may meet David Klein. He truly made the world taste good when he reinvented the jelly bean in the 1970’s with his famous brand Jelly Belly. Klein’s story is expertly told in the film of his life Candyman: The David Klein Story.

Quotes from Mr. Klein to feed your creativity…

“I always like to do things in new ways. Always.”

“I like to be as creative as possible in anything that I do.”

“I never like traveling freeways. I like going side streets because you’d see something different every time. You go on the freeway, you eliminate your choices.”

Quirky, childlike, and a bit of a salesman, Klein revolutionized a few simple ingredients and, yes I’m gonna say it, made the world taste good.

Isn’t that what we want as creatives? We want to take our creativity… our screenplays, our recipes, our sales presentations, our paintings, our teachings, our pottery, our books… we mix them with some passion and love, and we want to see a change in someone by what we do.

We want to enliven the senses of the world with our creativity.

For Wonka/Klein, they did it with candy through the five senses. They truly made the world taste good. I’m so glad they did. So glad, in fact, that I’ll most likely eat some candy in their honor today.

I’m curious. Why do you create? Why spend the time, the work, the energy?

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Speaking Fake English and Other Fake Languages

Have you ever tried to mimic a foreign language? As in: you don’t speak French, Chinese, or German but you attempt to sound like you’re speaking the language?

I’m guilty. I’ve done this on several occasions. This past weekend I made a baby giggle by performing my faux Chinese for him. He loved it. Best thing he’d ever heard in his less-than-one-year-old life. Giggles galore.

There are numerous You Tube clips of people speaking fake English. If you have a few minutes, watch this video. It’s a short film of actors doing a scene in fairly convincing fake English. Fascinating. Here’s one viewer’s comment…

Two other times in my life, I’ve publicly spoken fake langages.

Hotel in Des Moines. I was in high school at the time and was attending a function at a convention center. I don’t remember the function. I don’t even remember why I was there. I do remember my friend Jason and I were extremely bored. In our boredom, we masqueraded as foreigners in the opulent lobby by chatting in a quasi-something language as people walked by. The passers-by either thought “wow, they’re so foreign that I don’t even know where they’re from” or “what’s wrong with them.”

Rehearsal for a Play. A director once had the idea to have the actors focus only on the intent of our lines without using the lines themselves. She told us to use gibberish instead of our actual lines; our communication limited to nonsense sounds and physicalization. It’s a decent idea… until you start cracking up while trying to communicate frustration, joy, and other emotions while looking into your fellow actor’s eyes as he says “gerdarbul ferndig blarstic. Blarstic! Narful blads tog infel daldig rerg. Gowtow.”

Langauges fascinate me. I’m always amazed how humbled and awkward I feel when I’m in a foreign country where everything, including the language, is different from my normal. It’s refreshing to learn again. To communicate in broken sentences. To push through all those mistakes and uncomfortable moments.

Isn’t that what we do each and every time we create? We find our legs again and we start from scratch. We seek to communicate using our chosen language: written words, paint, ingredients, presentations. Sometimes we feel foolish. Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes our message may seem like gibberish.

But sometimes we bring a smile. Sometimes our seeming nonsese makes someone laugh. Sometimes we change something in someone. All because we spoke the language that only we can speak.

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