AdoramaTV: Behind The Scenes: Brainstorming: Adorama Photography TV

Uploaded by adoramaTV on 19.08.2010

Mark Wallace: Hey, everybody! I'm Mark Wallace. Well, today I'm taking a break from all the
shooting to actually do some brainstorming, and I thought I'd tell you my own style of
brainstorming. This is something that I've developed over about 20 years, a little bit
more than that actually.
So let me walk you through all these different tools that I have here and tell you some of
my methodology. So some of this stuff is based on this book by Doug Hall. It's called "Jump
Start Your Brain." This book was written in 1995, and I read it right when it came out
and have used a lot of the stuff that's in this book. I really recommend it.
There's a new version of this that you can get now, but this is all great stuff for using
in groups. So normally when I do brainstorming, I'm not doing it by myself. I'm a big believer
in collaborative thinking, but today I'll just show you some of the stuff that I do
when I'm working by myself.
Now I have a bunch of magazines here. These magazines are part of my stimulus--in other
words, all the stuff that I look at to give me inspiration and ideas. I also have music
and videos and all kinds of other things as well. But I have a huge library of books,
magazines, videos, movies, and things like that that are in my office, and I just grabbed
a bunch of these that are relevant to what I'm working on today.
The other thing I use a lot are these index cards. Now any idea that you have if you're
working on a team or by yourself, you have to put that idea into action for it to be
of any use. So you have to be able to communicate that to other people.
But one really quick and easy way to communicate is by scribbling down notes on little cards.
Then you can take those cards and you can rearrange them and scribble on them, give
them to somebody else. They can mark stuff out and augment. So I'm a really big believer
of a Sharpie and some three by five cards.
Now another thing I use, it's a really low-tech solution when I'm traveling on airplanes and
taxi cabs and things like that. I actually use just pen and paper. So this is actually
a moleskin notebook and a good old ballpoint pen. So I use these a lot, and I highly recommend
these because they're pretty inexpensive and they'll work anywhere.
Now I've got some other things here, and I use my MacBook Pro a lot. So let me tell you
what I've got on my MacBook Pro. Now I love my MacBook Pro because it's powerful enough
that I can actually do some production work on my laptop when I'm either at home or away
from my production machine.
It's powerful enough for me to edit videos and try different ideas. I can shoot some
maybe iPhone test shots and then actually edit those on this computer. But let me tell
you about some of the inspirational stuff I have here.
So one of them is called "Ted." It's a website,, and it's all about spreading ideas
that are amazing, so riveting talks by remarkable people. It's a totally free site, and I watch
this constantly. I really recommend that you watch it. One of the talks that I really like
is by this guy named Sir Ken Robinson. He's talking about education, how people think,
and how creativity can be developed or squashed.
So it's a video I really encourage everybody to watch. If you like that video, then check
out his book. It's called "The Elements," and it's at I've read it. I think
it's really, really terrific. It's all based on finding something that you love to do and
that you're meant to do and putting that into practice.
Then also you can get "Jump Start Your Brain" at I highly recommend you read
that. Now a lot of this stuff you're going to read through the book and you're going
to find that there are sections that you think are like "Ah, whatever." But there are some
real good nuggets of knowledge and wisdom in both of those books, so check that out.
Now as far as the tools that I use on my computer, I have a lot. I have the entire Creative Suite
from Adobe. I have the entire Final Cut Studio on this laptop, and I use both of those pretty
extensively. I also have this Wacom tablet, and I use my Wacom tablet for a lot of things.
One of them I use SketchBook Pro. Actually, this is SketchBook Express.
If I have an idea that I need to communicate really fast and I just want to scribble it,
and I need to get it out to people through email or something, instead of using my pen
and paper I can actually use my pen on my tablet here. I can actually draw little cartoons.
It's really easy. It works just like a pen and paper. I actually have an eraser so I
can erase stuff if I want to.
So this is an idea that I was working on. This took me about, I don't know, two or three
minutes. You can tell it's a really rough sketch of an idea for using a globe to light
a table of people, so I was using that. So that's SketchBook Express. Sketchbook Express,
by the way, comes when you buy an Intuos pen tablet. So it's free if you buy a tablet.
Another really important tool that I use is Adobe Illustrator. Now I use an illustrator
for doing lots of things like lighting plots and doing more refined illustrations. I'm
not a really good drawing artist, so I like to have tools that help me draw straight lines
and things like that. Illustrator really helps me get there.
So I use this quite a bit when I'm trying to communicate ideas with other people. What
I've done is I've created a bunch of templates for lighting styles and different things like
stands and tripods and things like that. Once I got those drawn, I can just copy and paste
them all around to make really, really fast sketches.
Now all of that stuff really works when I put it into another piece of software I have,
and this piece of software is called Celtx. Now it's for doing screenplays, for A/V on
things, voiceovers, and things like that; any kind of thing that's going to be filmed,
or read, or maybe podcasting. Any kind of scripts, or things you would act on a stage,
you can use that for Celtx. And Celtx is absolutely free, so that's just a big bonus.
Now the nice thing about Celtx is you can write your screenplay, and you can actually
storyboard as well. So I've taken a lot of those sketches that I've made, and I've put
these into all my storyboards. So then I can communicate all the ideas I have for this
particular project to all of our production staff. So all of the camera operators, I have
directions for them. Photo assistants are going to be setting up and working with our
lighting equipment, and they'll know exactly what to do. The models, the hair stylists,
and the wardrobe stylists - all that stuff is in Celtx.
It even has - and I haven't worked on it in this one - a production schedule. So you can
schedule moving days, and when you're going to be driving from Location A to Location
B. And when you're shooting on Location A, there are all the different scenes and all
the different plot lines. It's a really, really robust application. And it's free, so you
can't go wrong there. And we use Celtx quite a bit.
You can even check in projects and share them across people using Celtx Studio, which is
a subscription. It's, I think, 20 bucks a year, or something like that. But then you
can have a whole team of people working all over the world, checking in and checking out
stuff, and so, there's source control built in. So Celtx, I highly recommend that.
Now there are some other applications here that I use.
One of them is called MindManager and this is for doing mind mapping. And that's another
utility tool that comes out of Doug Hall's book and other people have talked about it.
But you can take something that's very simple like creativity, and expand those ideas, and
expand them a little bit farther. And you can even - and I'll zoom this all the way
out so you can see the entire thing - make this a pretty complex map and start looking
at all the different ideas you have in making associations, and adding priorities, and notes,
and links.
It's a very, very robust application. I've used it for years, and years, and years. I
used to do this on pen and paper until I found this application. So I really, really like
it. So that's MindManager.
So along the way, I'm going to have things that people are going to call me on my phone
about, or I'm going to get an email about, something that I'll have to follow up on that
might be part of the brainstorming, or it may not be. I don't want to forget those,
but I don't want to hang on to those because I want to keep my brainstorming going. So
what I use is something called OmniFocus. And what this allows me to do is quickly just
throw in a task, or an idea, or a project, and then I can come back to that later and
put it in context. I can prioritize it. I can add notes. I can put due dates. I can
do all kinds of things.
So everyday, I come into OmniFocus and I look at what my day is going to be like. I figure
out what tasks I have to work on, what's due, what's overdue, who I need to call, who I
need to email, and different projects. And from that I can set reminders that interface
with my iPhone and iPad, so it's also a really, really nice application. So OmniFocus is for
all my task management, and it's based on "Getting Things Done", which a lot of you
are familiar with. It's just a workflow methodology.
So those are some of the things that I use for all my creativity and getting things done.
And last, but not least, I use iTunes. So iTunes is invaluable to me because when I'm
working on something, I like to listen to a lot of music. Music really motivates me
to work, especially when I'm writing. And so, I have a very, very large library of music
that I can just pull out and listen to.
So right now, I'm listening to "The Thin Red Line" soundtrack. And I like listening to
a lot of soundtracks because a lot of them don't have lyrics. And so, if I'm writing
something, I don't like the words from the music to influence my writing. So I like to
have instrumental music, and so, that's what I was listening to while I was working.
Now last, but not least, two other things; one is have this LaCie rugged drive here.
I just have tons of ideas. I have so many ideas that I actually can't store them all
on my laptop. I've run out of space, so I store those on my external drive. This is
a rugged drive, so it's going to last, and it's going to take all the bumps and beatings
of me putting it in a bag, taking it out of a bag, and putting it all over the place.
So it's made for carrying all over the place.
And then last, my watch. So what I like to do is block out a big chunk of time, and then
take my watch off and not pay attention to the time. And if I have enough time, I can
do that. If not, I'll set a reminder, or something that will tell me, "Hey. You've got about
20 minutes left" and that way, I can come back to the real world.
And I also like to take my phone and turn it off, or at least, turn it on silent, and
so, I don't have a lot of interruptions from phone calls, or instant messages, or text,
or things like that. I just take all those distractions and get rid of them until my
time is up, and then I come back and find out that I have 500 emails.
But that's how I do it. Those are some of my strategies for just thinking of ideas,
and getting those ideas into practice, and creating something that is actually useful
and productive. So there you have it. Again, check out "Jump Start Your Brain" by Doug
Hall. It's highly worth it. And that's my method for picking up new stuff.
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