Improving Your Creativity: 5 Steps

Some of them may surprise you!

By: Peter Gray

By: Peter Gray

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Video production is an inherently creative profession. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss how to strengthen the creative ‘muscle’ as professionals in a highly artistic industry. 

This particular “C” word is thrown around quite often, but we rarely stop and think about its real meaning. Sometimes the execution of a skill or existing idea can be mistaken for creativity. Examples of mere execution of skills include reciting a poem, copying a certain video style, or quoting your favorite book. Skillful execution is vital in any situation; but the real magic happens when you can solve a problem by creatively applying learned skills in unique situations. Originality is another important aspect in forming a work of art that is truly creative. 

 

“the real magic happens when you can solve a problem by creatively applying learned skills in unique situations.”

While a rigid structure may seem antithetical to creativity, we think this is a trait that can be learned and improved over time. And the only way to improve is to practice! Below, we’ll outline a few specific actions you can take to nurture creativity. Some of them may surprise you! We’ll also highlight a few of the ways Gray Media has put these steps into practice. 

 


Set Limitations

This practice may jump out to you as counteractive to creativity, but hear us out. 

When there are too many ideas, tools, methods, or structures floating around in our creative headspace, it can be tough to come up with a cohesive, new idea. Limiting yourself will force you to think in a different way, and can lead to some pretty interesting outcomes. 

As a full service media production company operating in the competitive markets of Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Seattle, and beyond, we are equipped with the tools to execute very high level video productions. Our setups normally consist of a few cameras, tripods, gimbals, industrial grade lighting and audio, the whole nine yards… 

Recently, for our music series, The Old Still, we shot a professional live music video using the least amount of gear possible. We limited ourselves to one camera and two mics. No tripods, lights, or gimbals. And to add to the level of difficulty, this all would be shot outside. This forced us to make a number of new creative decisions that we rarely have to face. Without the ability to cut to different camera angles and control the lighting, we had to figure out how to capture an audience’s attention. Audio quality, especially in a live music video, is another component that we obsess over. Figuring out how to record guitar, vocals, and ambient park noise presented a fun new challenge as well. We shot a handful of songs all around the Point Defiance and Point Ruston area in Tacoma. These will premier on The Old Still YouTube page. Go check it out! 

For now, here is one of those videos shot in the Japanese Gardens at Pt. Defiance. This is a product of setting limitations…

“our vision is simple: inform, entertain, and engage audiences across the globe”

Start with a Simple Concept

A simple concept is a great way to kickstart the creative process. In The Old Still series, we decided to create a unique introduction video for each live stream. While each intro in some way reflects the personality of the artists, the concept is simple: the artist is late for the show. Starting with this concept provides a clear avenue for entertaining and unexpected ideas. 

Vision Statements: Simple Concepts on a Grand Scale

On a larger scale, vision statements are great examples of a simple starting point. Google’s vision starts with, “organize the world’s information”. This simple idea catapulted Google into its current form. This vision statement doesn’t tie Google down to just their widely known search engine either. If their vision was to “create the best search engine”, we wouldn’t have tools like Docs, Slides, Sheets, etc. 

A poor vision for Gray Media Productions would be, “make professional videos that help businesses sell products”. Instead, we should define our vision at the most fundamental level. Here is a revision: “inform, entertain, and engage audiences across the globe”. Working from that simple, yet expandable framework, we can start to brainstorm how to live out that statement. We are no longer merely in the business of making videos, but in the business of informing, entertaining, and engaging. 

 

Learn New Skills and Polish Existing Ones

At the beginning of this blog, we mentioned the distinction between creativity and recitation or executing learned skills. While these are different ideas, new skills can enhance creative potential significantly. Take a company like us that often creates photo and video content for small businesses and nonprofits. We could possess amazing creative energy, but if we don’t take the time to nurture our skills, we will never reach our full potential. For that reason, we are constantly looking for ways to improve and expand our collective skills whether it be in photography, shooting video, editing, audio recording, or the post video production process in general.

You could also consider a poet, for example. By continuing to enrich their vocabulary and knowledge of literature, they are unlocking all sorts of artistic possibilities. For all we know, newborn children could have some interesting insights on the human condition, but their inability to speak limits their creative potential. 

Reaching your creative potential is largely based on whether you take time to improve your skill set. Newfound skills open up a whole new realm of possibilities!

We have recently improved our audio engineering capabilities, which has allowed us to accomplish a lot more in our music series, The Old Still

 

Step Outside “The Box”

The common saying is “think outside the box”. We like the term “step” more as it implies a firm action. It means making the conscious decision to act and think in a way that goes beyond the norm.

In video production, it is so easy to follow a rigid structure with each project. However, if our goal is to inform, entertain, and engage, our work must be eye-catching, original and worthy of people’s time. While some projects are certainly more straightforward than others, we are constantly looking for ways to not just “check the box” but step outside it. 

This approach certainly takes a lot more trial and error. However, it yields a better result and is simply more fun. 

 

 

Fail, Learn, Repeat

You’ve likely heard this one before in one form or another (not very creative of us), but it is so key! 

Growth cannot occur without failure. The fear that things may not “work out” after hours of effort often keeps me from taking creative risks. “Not working out” should not be in the vocabulary. Instead, the attitude should be “not there yet”. This attitude implies that there are steps we can still take to improve our work and thought process. 

Sure, some ideas are just plain bad, but there are always lessons we can learn from taking risks! 

Creative energy allows Gray Media to meet and exceed our client’s marketing goals in Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Seattle, and beyond. Video production for businesses is a highly competitive sector, especially as barriers to entry are decreased. Regardless of industry, however, increasing creative potential with the above steps will yield noticeable results over time. 

As always, we’d love your feedback on this topic. If you have any tips or tricks for creativity, don’t hesitate to leave us a message or comment!