My name is Felix Randerath. I am a DOP and I run a Video-Production-Company based in Germany. In addition I am the Co-Founder of Vamify, where video-editors can find unique Video Assets and professional crafted After Effects Templates, that are made to enhance all kinds of video-projects.
Finding this article at filmlifestyle.com I assume you are – like me – working in the film-business. If my first assumption is right, you might be working in a profession, which requires you to be more or less creative.
But sometimes we get stuck. No brilliant ideas, no inspiration and no motivation will find its way to us.
But fear not! There are ways to boost your creativity and work-output. Read the following, if you want to find out about ways that may help when you reach one of those undesired creative-blockades.
Our main goal as “Creative Workers” will be to accomplish creative output whenever it is needed.
I myself do not count among those “gifted people”, that do not have to “work hard” for their creative output.
Therefore, I really need to focus and plan projects ahead to receive satisfactory results for my work at Vamify.
Read the following text, if you would like to learn from my experience in creating scripts for our commercial productions or our design for our Video Assets. Maybe one or two points will be helpful for you in the future.
Being Creative – Have the right mindset
View your creativity as a muscle you can train. Therefore, activity on a regular basis will lead to great results. Being creative should become a habit, not a happenstance.
Still, like with your muscles, make sure to give your creativity well deserved rest days! Read more about the right mindset as a filmmaker here: How To Think The Right Way As a Filmmaker
1. Be prepared when creativity hits you
The first tip is an obvious, but very helpful one:
The best ideas will come to you, when you have time to think without distractions. For me that’s oftentimes in the shower or right before falling asleep.
That’s why I placed a notepad and pencil next to my shower stall and on my nightstand. Knowing, that I wrote my ideas down helps me conserve them for the next day and in addition it lets me fall asleep better.
No mater where creativity strikes you – make sure you are prepared! Take a quick memo, so you can come back to your idea when you have the time to think it through. Find more helpful tips for writing preparation in this article: Writing preparation.
2. Finding inspiration for your creativity
If you are stuck and cannot find a good resolution, try taking a step back. Give yourself the chance to find inspiration for your project. This is best achieved by the following strategies:
Try talking about your project with somebody. Simply explaining your problem, why you are stuck and getting questions about it, can really help finding a new perspective.
Try reading articles or books with topics related to yours. People writing articles and books ought to have put a lot of thought, time and expertise behind it. Why not profit from the work that has already been done?
If you need to be alone to clear your head, try having a walk in the nature. But make sure to leave your phone at home and enjoy the moment.
Another way that might help you, would be finding a mentor, who can teach or just share some of his/her experience with you. A mentor does not have to be a huge number in business. Even a colleague, who is just very knowledgeable in a certain field that you are not, can make a great mentor.
Sometimes you will have days, where you can’t seem to be creative at all. It happens to the best. Go to the movies, a museum and the like. Enjoy the work of someone else. It might fuel your own ideas. If all fails, you will at least have had a nice trip and some time to unwind.
3. Take your tools with you
Try to have your key tools with you. So for example, if you work with cameras, try spending a lot of time to get to know them or try out newer models.
If you carry your working-tool along, chances are good you actually put it to work. If you are a writer, try writing little short stories or if you sit somewhere in a restaurant or a coffee try to write a short piece about the people around you.
Challenge yourself and see where it leads you. Lots of practise makes the pro.
4. Creativity takes time and space
Take time to think things through. For me that entrails being alone with my thoughts. But everybody works differently. Find the work-atmosphere that suits your needs. For me it’s a tidy and quiet room. No distractions while listening to my own thoughts, works wonders for me.
That means -no tv, no smartphone or other background noises like music, podcasts or the like.
Sound boring? Perfect, boredom is the biggest creativity boost! Let your thoughts wander, create a mind-map or just write down notes. One hour of focused boredom can easily be much more productive, than 8 hours of unfocused procrastinated work.
5. Let me squeeze in one last tip
At the beginning being alone with your thoughts and without distraction might lead to unplanned naps! (Happens to the best of us).
So if you feel like falling asleep, stand up and do some exercises, like pushups, to get your blood flowing again. Focusing on your thoughts needs practise. Make sure to keep plenty of water, tea or coffee at your disposal, as well.
If my tips sound to much like “theory” let me try to explain how they play a role with two examples of actual Video Assets I created for Vamify:
Most of the time, when we are creating Video Assets or After Effect Templates we get our inspiration from the outside. So for example, when we created the “Stranger light leaks” I was binging “Stranger Things” on Netflix.
I was very impressed by the effects shown in the series and therefore inspired to try and find a way to recreate stranger things-like effects of our own. Our main focus was to create a kit, which was easy to use for video-editors on their projects.
While working on our stranger light leaks project we went through a lot of trial and error. We tried using different filters and recorded them with the RED. As you can see, we received a neat pack of 150 light leaks, that enable everybody to use them individually and to their liking. They are a great asset if you want to step up the look of your video.
Our “Handmade transitions” are another great example, how we find our inspiration at Vamify. The Idea for those fluid-like transitions came to me and my coworker, when we had a lunch break and walked along a wall with lots of graffiti.
We admired the artwork and discovered paint drippings. While on our way, we where talking about the idea of finding a unique way of transitions.
Long story short, after lunch we went to the Home Depot and bought some paint and different canvas and headed straight to our little studio. There we started experimenting with paint-drippings on different undergrounds and textures.
Even though we worked a little with After Effects on the resulting transitions, we received great, natural looking transitions which are one of a kind.
So going for lunch with our eyes open, really served for a great end result.