I’ve spent a good chunk of my life telling stories in one form or another. What time I didn’t spend telling stories was spent reading them. I could consume good books at a rate that would have bankrupted my parents if I didn’t know where the library was! David likes the story of my 8 year old self declaring I was going to read the entire children’s library in my town of Belmont. I smile now, but I’m also proud of the fact I made it through the A’s and had made headway into the B’s before I realized I’d bitten off more than I could choose. Go ahead, ask me about Aardvarks, Ants, or the Appalachian Mountains.
These days I’m spending my days weaving different kinds of stories. We started a company recently called Visual Creatives, and it’s based on using “story” to communicate better, clarify what it is we are trying to say. It turns out story writing is sometimes called “branding” in the adult world. Who knew.
Stories have a lot of value, too. Jesus was a pro at knowing what kinds of stories would tug on heartstrings, or perhaps reveal a flawed and decaying heart. He knew how to hone his message down into a few simple words that pierced to the soul. Above all, Jesus always knew who his audience was, and who he was talking to.
That’s what we are doing for the Visual Creatives clients. We’re helping them see themselves clearly so that the stories they tell (their brand) are authentic and honest and have a purpose.
When I was a little girl reading those books in the back of the library, I didn’t realize I was setting the course of my life through high school, college, homeschooling and beyond. I didn’t realize that I was steeping myself in the dreams and forms I would need for my life. I did know, however, that I loved a good story.
I still do.
It’s been awhile since I have done a book review, and this isn’t one either. Not really. But I recently read The Pixar Touch by David A. Price.
I picked up the book a week or two ago…but wait…that isn’t true. Sitting in my QEpiphany conference I realized I wanted to read more about Pixar. After all, we were deconstructing Toy Story 2 and learning the backstory of the process. I wanted to know more. So I grabbed my iPad, searched Amazon Kindle and downloaded what looked like the most appropriate book. I have never held the book in my hands.
A perfect illustration of the first lesson I learned from both the book and from Pixar: technology disrupts. It makes the “good old boys nervous.” Some people will tell you that the technology is ruining the integrity of what came before. What would animation be without hand drawn cels? It would be different. But equally amazing. And that gets people’s feathers ruffled.
Lesson: When you are going to venture into a whole new world, be prepared to spend some time bringing others along and smoothing down their feathers.
The second lesson quickly follows the first: yesterday’s skill set may not be enough to meet today’s challenge, but it will probably provide the foundation for the skills that will meet the challenge. Without the skilled hand animators, Pixar would never have been able to hit the right balance in their computer generated characters. It required the eye, the deep background and the artistic sense that only animators possessed.
Lesson: Don’t despise the skill sets of yesterday. Figure out what they knew. It may be crucial to you today.
Finally (because research tells me your attention has already waned)…
Lesson: Nothing — repeat — NOTHING beats a good story, well written.