Creativity – Why It’s For Everyone, Not Just For Artists


What do you picture when you think of someone highly creative?

Do you think of a musician onstage in the throes of performance? A painter with her dancing brush bringing life to a blank canvas? A photographer with sophisticated and expensive equipment capturing perfect landscape shots?

Most of us equate being creative with those in the classic and traditional arts. Like the musician, the painter, the photographer, and so on. Yes of course these are all creative careers. But what we then do is allow our thinking to discount all other kinds of creativity.

We convince ourselves that unless we ourselves take part in one of these classic creative pursuits – and unless we’re hugely talented in them – then we can’t possibly consider ourselves as a creative person.

The fact is, these artistic careers are only a tiny proportion of what we can consider to be creative.

What about the young mother who entertains her three children all day, prepares a different delicious meal every night and balances her partner’s business accounts?

Or the local gardener that takes neglected weed riddled gardens and turns them into glorious multi sensory environments?

Or the internet entrepreneur who has websites, products and courses in 7 different specialised areas, and is about to launch their 8th, 9th and 10th ventures?

Creativity is not an expensive suit than only a chosen few are allowed to wear.

Creativity is everyone’s right and can be everyone’s daily uniform. How you choose to explore and express your creativity is completely up to you. But it begins with recognising that you are creative in many different ways, and many times each day.

Creativity is a way of thinking, seeing, being, doing. It’s not a title on your business card. It’s so much deeper, more expansive and more encompassing than that. It’s in your blood, your breath, your DNA.

Choose to acknowledge your creativity from this point on.

Simply saying “I am creative and I choose to create” many times over will shift your thinking drastically. Following that thinking up with the actions to match will ensure you’re a creative artist – in your own unique way – for the rest of your life.

Creativity is for all of us, welcome to the party! And yes, that includes YOU!


Inexpensive Entertaining Options


Prices have been constantly rising, and it seems like everyone is struggling to make ends meet. Somehow our income is not going as far as it used to and our bills are getting higher by the minute. However, that does not mean that you have to be house poor and simply go home every night. You can definitely have a social life by simply creating some inexpensive entertainment options. The key is to be creative!

Game Night

A little healthy competition gets everyone’s blood pumping, so why not set up your own game night? Invite a few of your friends over by sending out cute invitations. You can put together a crossword puzzle invite or even a word search. From there you need to set up your evening. Pull together a variety of board and card games. For this evening you will want to have easy to eat finger foods and yummy drinks. For example maybe you want to put together some mixed nuts, veggies and dip, and cheese and crackers along with some delicious flavored sodas in glass bottles. When your guests arrive you can simply get down to the fun at hand!

Wine Tasting

If you are looking for a sophisticated evening with friends then you might want to look into hosting a wine tasting for your friends. A great way to do this is to ask all of your guests to bring their favorite bottle of wine to share. From there you can get started on the food. One of the best ways to handle the snacks is to do cheese and chocolate which both go with wine fantastically. Head to your local grocery and pick up a variety of different cheeses and crackers to display on different platters. Additionally, pick up several different types of chocolate that you can put out for your party. In preparations for your guests you will want to set out your food, and have a bunch of wine glasses out for your guests to begin tasting with.

Pot Luck

Food and friends is always a good combination so why not host a potluck. Potlucks are wonderful because it can save on costs, but more than that it gives everyone an opportunity to share some of their favorite recipes. Invite your friends to make their favorite dish, but also request that they write down the recipe for display by their dish. Then provide the rest of your guests with pens and recipe cards to write down and keep their favorite recipes of the evening. A great way to invite your friends to this is actually by creating an invitation from a recipe card with one of your favorite recipes on it that you are willing to share with your friends.

Entertaining does not have to be expensive. Instead, with a few great ideas you can set yourself up for an evening of fun interactions with your friends without spending and arm and a leg. Allow yourself to be creative and you will be in for a great time!


Creative Events Vs Logical Events


Many times when I meet with a company or non-profit about their event marketing I find that they do one of two things: (1) they are too creative and the event/program has no direct correlation to their products or services or (2) they are so laser focused on their mission that the event is boring or bland.

This is what I call the “Creativity vs. Logic” battle. Do you ever wonder which side of your brain truly runs your business marketing? How do you think when it comes to your products or services? Is it more logical or creatively? In the world of business events, which makes more sense: being lead by logic or creativity? Keep reading and learn how both are useful to your reaching your end goal.

Creative: Everyone loves the creative side of events! For most that’s the FUN part when you get to use your imagination. People often think this is what planning events are all about: the color scheme, the entertainment, the food! In most brainstorming sessions the creative side is 90% of the conversation.

Logical: This side of events is the science. Budgets, event purpose, attendee demographics, tickets prices and even how many porta-potties per guest is discussed. This is the thinking that only a few (or one) in the room is concerned about. Although it’s only 10% of the discussion it’s probably 90% of what attendees remember if executed inefficiently.

Creative Reasoning: This is how you should think when forming an idea for your business event. It’s a way of looking at your products, services or situations from a fresh perspective that suggests unorthodox solutions. Unorthodox for you is “new event idea unique to your business.”

So which side of your brain should you use when planning your business even? That’s right: both! If you want it to be successful, your event must appeal to the reason behind the event (your products or services) and the presentation of your event (the creative way in which you represent your business).

Remember people want to attend events that are creative and entertaining, but as an organization you need your event to make sense. If it has no purpose then what’s the point?! So during your creative brainstorming session never forget WHY (logic) you are hosting your business event. Use creative reasoning instead of just creative and logical thinking alone.

Tip: Think outside the box, but stay within your company’s mission/purpose! No matter how fabulous or swanky the idea If it doesn’t fit your overall mission then chuck it! It’s the WRONG event!


Host a Birthday Party in a Creative Place


There are many reasons that hosting a birthday party at your home will not work. You may have a small space to entertain in. The idea of cleaning for a week straight before the party may make you stress out. Or your home may be a long distance from the majority of your party guests. Whatever the reason you will need an alternative location to host your party at. Here are five suggestions for a creative place to host a party.

1) Kid Friendly Restaurant. There are a number of chain restaurants that cater to children as well as locally owned ones. The best place to start looking is at restaurants that you already eat at. Ask if they have a birthday party package or a special room that you can rent. This is a great option as they take care of the clean-up, food, party supplies, decorations, and sometimes even the entertainment and games for you.

2) Local Park. Having a party outside works the best when the weather is nice. If your park has pavilion rentals that is the best option. That way your party guests will have some shelter in case of rain. Restrooms are also a plus. Parks usually have a playground. That will be a hit for children. Potato sack races and water balloon tosses are perfect for this type of party.

3) Children’s Museum. Museums can be stuffy places where children are not allowed to touch anything. A children’s museum is another story though. Everything is made for touching. This is a great place to host a birthday party at. It is both fun and educational. Call yours to see if they have a party room that you can rent.

4) Bounce House. This is a great place for children to run, play and jump. It is excellent for burning off all that sugar high energy after birthday cake. They often have inflatable moon walks and slides that children love.

5) Bowling Alley. Bowling is a fun sport that many children probably have not had the chance to play. Your local alley probably has a party package that includes bowling shoes, balls, lane time, and food. Kids will have a great time seeing how many pins they can knock down and trying to figure out how to keep score.

There are many different creative places to host a party. These are just a few of them.


Why the Entertainment Industry Should Care About Pc Over Ip


Film, animation and television industry creatives should take notice: new technology is now available that allows you to instantly share dailies in full HD, work with remote studios or work from home – while keeping your movies secure.

* Keep large video and animation file sets in the server room and off the desktop
* Protect against pre-release piracy
* Enable free seating for creative collaboration

The technology has been available for a while which allows companies to centralise their desktop IT, removing the computers from under people’s desks and replacing them with an energy efficient, small, quiet box called a “thin client”. A thin client is basically a screen directly connected to the internet.

Remote working

Many companies are choosing this strategy for their desktop computing because of the advantages of centralised management (no more crawling under desks fixing computers), as well as the ability to access a remote desktop from anywhere, allowing for remote and home working.

Technical limitations of thin clients

Hardware manufacturers are well aware of the current limitations of their technology, especially in terms of displaying streaming multimedia. Although standard thin client technology works really well for 90% of the cases where companies need to perform the usual office functions, there are some industries which have had technical issues which prevent them from fully adopting thin client technology. This is especially the case for the entertainment industry, which relies heavily on having instant access to large files of content rich multimedia.

New technology

This is where PCOIP comes in. PC-over-IP is a new technology that allows the desktop computer to, effectively, be moved to a central computer room so that the user only has a “thin client” on their desk. This is the same concept as with standard thin clients. The difference is that PC-over-IP uses a new technology which allows for improved streaming multimedia.

The performance of this technology is impressive. At a recent demo, the author saw a large monitor attached to a thin client the size of a VHS cassette (and mounted neatly to the back of the screen), with 3D animation, CAD imaging and an animated film streaming in realtime from a server in Canada. The one concern is network bandwidth utilisation, and any company considering this technology should make provisions for a very fast network.

This has some massive implications for the entertainment industry.

For animators, this means that remote animation teams working in different continents can now have centralised desktops located at the company headquarters, all working on the same servers and with all data stored centrally – and closer to the render farms.

You can share dailies in HD without file uploads. Because the compression used in this technology doesn’t effect the final pixel colour, you can review dailies in native playback.

You can relocate to your home studio. Because the experience of working on this system is just as it would be in the office, you’re no longer tied to your desk at work.

—- Amanda Dahl, Director at AWIC – Optimising your IT

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TV 2.0 – The Future Of Television And The Genesis Of A New Entertainment Form – Part 2


Though still in its infancy, the World Wide Web has already become a significant feature in all of our lives. The majority of us now access the Web throughout the day, both at work and at home. It’s profoundly altered the way we conduct business, and how we communicate with family and friends. It’s also changed how we entertain ourselves, but this paradigm shift has only just begun. As I wrote in the conclusion of Part 1 of this article, the Web has the potential to become its own entertainment medium, sharing content with movies and television, but also providing its own unique programming. So where will this new content come from?

Like no other distribution outlet before it, the Web offers the independent, semi-professional or niche video producer an ideal venue for reaching an audience. This is great news for young filmmakers, new talent, and artists who want to concentrate on reaching viewers beyond the film festival circuit. With distribution access on the Web, screening in a theater is no longer necessary. The economics of this are a potential boon for independent producers because, even though digital technology has made filmmaking cheaper, it is still by no means cheap if you want production values that rival what audiences are used to seeing in a theater or on their TV screens.

The same is true of music on the Web: more artists now have the chance to be heard, but the business is becoming more fragmented as a result. Apart from the purely manufactured and heavily produced acts that the major labels distribute, it will be harder to achieve the kind of recognition and fame that was possible in the past. The critical and financial successes bands like U2 or Coldplay eventually achieved will be harder for new acts without the support of an industry marketing machine behind them. Likewise, though young filmmakers don’t need to worry about finding distribution, it’s doubtful that most will ever get the kind of budgets and recognition most Hollywood filmmakers take for granted.

With the Balkanization of entertainment comes a problem in terms of content visibility. Right now, there are so many independent Web sites around, that it’s easy to miss great work. Most independent, producer-driven sites have relatively low traffic, certainly not enough to generate interest from significant advertisers which is the only way such producers can see revenue from their efforts. Getting quality content out of the niches and into the mainstream will be the domain of a new breed of entertainment provider: the Web video network. Like MySpace and sites like it have done for music, the successful Web video network will find, aggregate, and distribute a wide variety of fresh content to both niche and general audiences. As they serve various demographics, these new networks will have the ability to connect programming and advertising in a way that isn’t practical for an individual producer.

True, this system exists to some extent already, and has for quite some time (Atom Films and iFilms come to mind), but these currently function more like magazine racks than dynamic media companies. The new Web video network will have to be more than just a library if it intends to enable the future of Web entertainment. It needs to provide a branding experience similar to television, but with all of the choice, flexibility and scale that I talked about in Part 1. It also needs to actively pursue great, original programming. In order to make Web video profitable for the network and content producer alike, it also needs to connect content, viewers and advertisers with precision.

One of the great features of the Web, and what has been so refreshing about it, is that we have less interaction with traditional advertising than in other formats such as newspapers, magazines and television. Having been bombarded with an ever-increasing number of ads for decades, the public is becoming resistant to them. This is especially true of younger audiences who, studies show, are distrustful of advertising and therefore harder to reach. Traditional commercial advertising is an area of concern for broadcasters because of this, and no doubt the way in which television programming is paid for will undergo radical changes in the coming years.

TiVo has allowed people the option to skip advertisements that in the past they’d be forced to sit through. Watching programs through video on demand allows the same bypass, as almost all VOD programs are either commercial free, or very nearly so. However, as video sharing sites have proven, good commercials can be as engaging as the best programs, and be as frequently watched if the content is compelling enough. What we may see happen with TV 2.0 is that commercials will be fewer but better, and more expensive for the advertisers to buy time for. Product placement will also become more ubiquitous, with name brands liberally spread throughout a given program.

On the Web, commercials need to be more targeted, more precise and for an advertiser to try to do this would require more time and resources than they would be willing to allocate to the task. Likewise, for an independent content producer to attract the attention of advertising that might actually generate revenue, they’d have to be able to attract significant traffic beyond the reach of most stand-alone websites. Enter the Web video network. By aggregating content from various producers, and creatively approaching advertising in a method unique to the Web environment, these content providers can make entertainment advertising profitable without losing the consumer-driven focus that’s so crucial to captivating an audience.

By its nature, the Web will continue to be a democratic entertainment medium, but this doesn’t mean the major media companies can’t have a significant role to play. Though it’s hard to envision now, given the structure and economics of the entertainment giants, the short form, which is ideal for the Web,has potential even for them. Few realize it today, but daytime soap operas such as “The Guiding Light”, began as fifteen-minute daily installments (the soap opera format coming originally from radio). It wasn’t until 1956 that the first half-hour soap opera debuted, later expanding to the hour-long format we’re now familiar with. The short form has continued to be common overseas, where networks such as the BBC routinely schedule short-forms like “Story Makers”, a fifteen-minute per episode children’s program. “Creature Comforts”, which many Americans are familiar with as a half-hour program on BBC America, originally aired on the British network ITV in ten-minute episodes.

Just as iTunes changed the focus of music from the album back to the singles of yesteryear, I would say that original Web content is and will continue to be about the short and not the feature.

Short programs can be both entertaining and profitable, and offer new creative avenues for writers, directors and talent. Imagine a series like “Creature Comforts” being produced specifically for the Web, or a soap opera or drama made compact. The idea of quality episodic programming is realistic, and presents new creative and financial possibilities for everyone involved. The programs can be self-contained stories, known in television as anthologies (think “The Twilight Zone”), or episodic programs with a stable cast of recurrent characters. Soap operas, reality and lifestyle programs are an ideal place to begin and are already appearing on the Web. The short form opens up great opportunities for motion pictures as well. Prior to the changes brought about by TV in the 1950s, movie theaters screened feature films, cartoons, newsreels, comedic shorts and serials. It was only after television borrowed many of these formats and made them more profitable on the smaller screen that the motion picture studios stopped making them for theatrical release.

Obviously, redefining entertainment to include the short form as a stable product would require a significant shift in the way the major entertainment companies do business. As with most innovation these days, the early pioneers of original Web programming will most likely come from independent producers. Over time, as these shows prove themselves to be profitable, the networks and studios will come on board, operating cooperatively in much the same way as the motion picture studios, television networks, and indie production companies do today. Far fetched? It is not at all. It required the same imagination to take film out of the Nickelodeons and into the theaters. And what about television?

On September 7, 1927, Philo Farnsworth transmitted the first television image a simple straight line few could have realized how much this new technology would change our lives. Even when the first regular broadcasts began in the United States in 1928, with W3XK in Wheaton, Maryland, only the most visionary people could have envisioned the medium’s possibilities. Soon, however, television appropriated the news, soap opera, and game show formats from radio. Dramas came from live theater, and comedies initially followed the variety format laid out by Vaudeville. Over time, television refined these and it’s programming developed its own unique style. TV is now such a fixture in popular culture, that most of us can’t imagine living without it.

The Web as an entertainment medium has equally enormous potential, and can become something very different from the TV of today. It can provide a forum for amateurs and semi-professionals to share their work, and can also allow professional producers the chance to create profitable content. Just as television can take advantage of the computer screen and cell phone to make its content more portable, Web-originated content can flow in the opposite direction from your computer to your TV. Web networks, functioning much like cable providers, can aggregate and monetize Web programming unlike individual producers. Where and how we view a program will be up to us, and the Web’s potential as an entertainment medium of the future will only be limited by our imaginations.


A Guide To Creative and Radical Thinking


Radical thinking – that is, “thinking outside the box” – is where the great leaps forward are made in science, technology, art, and society. Creativity is the core of radical thinking, and creativity is more important than the average person believes or is aware of. “Be creative” is a phrase that we hear tossed around a lot, but the deeper creativity that drives the soul and inspires new ways of perceiving and living is really not appreciated as it should be, generally speaking.

Don’t believe this? Look at “American Idol”. Look at “reality TV”. Listen to pop music. You may like some or all of these things yourself, but no matter what your tastes are the fact is that these forms of expression don’t have much in the way of deeper creativity. They have nothing of radical thinking in them. Yet they are highly popular. Their popularity reflects our society in general, and it does not reflect a society of deep creativity or radical thinking.

Most people are fearful of thinking that is too far outside the norm. They might not even realize that they have that fear, but most people do. In fact, the fear of radically creative thinking even permeates the world of science. If a scientist challenges the notions that the Darwinian paradigm of evolution, the Big Bang, or the existence of dark matter are true (all of these concepts have serious holes in them), he is likely to be laughed at, ridiculed, or ignored. He may even have his career jeopardized.

The arts, too, suffer from blandness much of the time. Pop culture and music are really not about art and creativity but about entertainment. The same goes for Hollywood.

Conformist thinking is ubiquitous. The fear about radically creative thinking lies in the fact that it threatens people’s sense of security with its non-conformity.

But there are still radical thinkers out there, helping us along to higher perceptions and new breakthroughs. Radical, outside the box thinking is really glorious and liberating. How can you take part in it?

Instead of looking at the world the way it is and sadly asking “why,” get in touch with your own dreams and visions about how things can be and ask yourself “why not?”

Learn to be inspired instead of wanting to escape. This may mean radically changing your tastes and habits in viewing TV, listening to music, the places you travel to. True creativity is about inspiration, not about escapism – but most popular culture is about the latter.

Learn how to waste time creatively. Not everything you do has to be for the sake of a practical purpose, going from A to B. Don’t think of doodling as unproductive. Don’t think of just sitting and listening to music by yourself as lonely.

Read, listen to tapes, watch videos about something that you feel passionate about. Never stop learning, and don’t be controlled by what the media or the general populace tells you about the subject. Learn, absorb, and make up your own mind.

Learn a new creative skill such as writing poetry or playing a musical instrument. You’ll find this process can shake up your whole consciousness and get you thinking radically.

Learn that whenever someone appeals to “the consensus” or uses the phrase “I am entitled to my opinion” they are lying to you. They really are threatened by your non-conformity to their beliefs. Walk away from them.

Take the time to fantasize.

Apply these tips for radical thinking to your life and become a creative thinker.

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