This SCAB has had a number of different titles because I just started writing about one thing and then got caught up on something else so I’ve just brain dumped the most exciting stuff that I’ve learned at SCA so far. I guess before I got here I thought I wouldn’t be too surprised about what I would learn, I’d read hundreds of SCABs from past students and I felt pretty confident I had a good grasp of what was to come. But on the first day Marc said there’s two types of knowledge. 1) Experienced knowledge where you learn how to do something but don’t necessarily understand the theory behind it and 2) received knowledge where you know it in theory/academically but not necessarily practically.
The small amount of knowledge I had from SCABs and books before I came to SCA was received knowledge and without practising the creative techniques and seeing what comes from them, I really was pretty clueless. So jumping in and gathering all this “experienced knowledge” from the school and the mentors has been awesome.
On Friday we had an incredible day with Mark Palmer. What an absolute legend. I’ve always been really sceptical about the whole concept of creative techniques. Surely if it was as simple as a technique then anyone would be able to do it?
Well… I think more people can come up with brilliant ideas than we realise but they don’t because we’ve all got very good at blocking them before they even leave our head. I kind of see it backwards now to the way I saw it before, it’s not really about using a magic formula to have good ideas. These techniques that we are being taught are more like ways to fight the inhibitions that we’ve collected as we’ve got older. It’s about going back to being a “playful child” before we developed all these censors that society told us we should have. They’re not techniques to make us magically good at coming up with ideas, they’re ways of unblocking and linking the ones that we’ve got but haven’t been able to express.
Now I feel like coming up with good ideas seems to be a combination of:
- – Having an unwavering curiosity about everything around us,
- – Squirrelling away all the interesting stuff that we see/hear/feel/smell/taste,
- – Practising, prototyping, scamping and free-writing without a filter. Finding a way that works for usto get everything that’s in our heads out of it so we can then sift through it and find the good
- – Playing with and connecting unrelated “dots” like Marc’s analogy about the seeds that float intoother fields,
- – Enthusiastically exploring ideas inside out by asking the right questions, using the right languageand bouncing them off other people,
- – And most importantly, TEAMWORK.I think the last one is the one that I never fully appreciated until being at SCA. People always say that working in teams creatively produces better results but I’d never actually done it. I just presumed that 1+1=2 when it comes to teams so obviously it’s better. But having worked in groups and pairs on various things in the last couple of weeks I’ve realised it’s more like 1+1=10. Especially when we were working on improv in the first week which has still stuck with me as the lesson that’s surprised me the most. We were given the task of walking around the room, pointing at objects and naming them anything that wasn’t that object. I had the option of anything in the world but was sometimes totally stuck, staring down a water bottle trying to think of a word for it when the only rule was that it couldn’t be “water bottle”. And then when paired up, Holly and I were somehow in an igloo with a Mum and her daughter who’d become disillusioned with society and moved to Iceland to start a penguin farm and were tripping on mushrooms while trying to be penguin midwives.
I can’t even put into words how much more imaginative you can be when you work with someone else and also being comfortable enough to “leave your inhibitions at the door”, trusting each other and just brain-dumping everything that comes to mind.
The brilliance that comes from a team compared to an individual is kind of like a match and a matchbox. Saying that one person could come up with half the amount of brilliant work as two people is crazy, it’s like saying if you just have a match or you just have a matchbox then you can make half the amount of fire that you could make with both. It doesn’t work like that at all. You could probably still make a fire somehow but it’s much more difficult, and requires some complicated Bear Grylls tactics.
Another thing that has stuck with me is Deanna in general. When she stood up and performed her poem in-front of us, the emotion in her voice and body language was so powerful and then when she made eye contact she almost made me cry. I felt like I was frozen to my seat. I guess I never grasped the power of words well crafted and expressed until that moment. It made me realise how beautiful and incredible work can be when you pour the core of yourself into it and confidently put it on display for everyone to see and partake in. I am so excited to have her as a mentor and with her and Vikki around I think I may run the risk of being converted in to a copywriter.
And my last point of learning for this reflection… I came to Marc with an idea that I want to make happen. It’s something that I’m very passionate about so I was a little hesitant to share the idea before it was ready. But he went through the “SUCCES” checklist to evaluate it with me so I’ve now learned I should just do that before I approach anyone with any ideas. And then he simply said “have you thought about telling the story backwards?”. That was a massive “duh, why didn’t I think of that?” kind of moment because it made it ten times better. So before I move further with an idea that I feel has potential I’m always going to see if it works better when turned on it’s head. And even if I don’t end up doing anything with this idea in question I am so glad I went to Marc with it rather than being precious and keeping it to myself.
I also sent Marc a topical ad and he simply said that the art direction could do with some work. I think he purposefully didn’t give me any details on what could be improved to see what I would do with it. I worked on it and changed a few bits and it looked so much better even though there was no detailed feedback so the improvements were all things I could see myself. Before I put anything out there I need to remember to iterate and iterate and iterate and then ask myself if someone said it could do with a bit of work, what would I change?
Anyway this is so long but as I said it’s a bit of a brain dump of some of the incredible things I have learned in just two weeks.