We concluded last week at The 99% Conference, where the second day of speakers proffered even more sound advice on making ideas happen. Now in our third year in collaboration with Behance, the two-day conference always enlightens us with real stories from the field and bits of wisdom on how to move from idea generation to idea execution. While a slew of inspiring speakers rounded out the last day, below are four that really stood out.
Beginning with a riveting explanation of the “thought orphans” that live in her head, radio producer and writer Starlee Kine entertained the 99% audience with her descriptive analogy on abandoned ideas. A regular contributor to the applauded NPR show This American Life, Kine keeps her ideas alive until she finds a home for them in some shape or form. Encouraging the audience to “write your idea down,” Kine stressed the importance of getting your ideas out there and then getting on with it, stating “the hard part isn’t coming up with the idea; it’s getting out of your own way.”
Photographer Andrew Zuckerman posited his main motivations for staying productive are curiosity and rigor. Explaining that in the end, it’s “mostly moving all the cases around,” Zuckerman showed a behind-the-scenes photo of the 12 massive cases and camera equipment he hauls around the world to set up shoots. When manual labor outweighs creativity, Zuckerman thinks about this advice he received from Michael Parkinson while shooting his “Wisdom” portrait project—”It’s the aptitude for hard work that separates the ones who reach a different level of stardom.” The prolific lensman also offered a few more beneficial soundbites, saying “Don’t get stuck. There’s always a way to make something great,” “Learn from the subject of your work,” and finally “The most important thing when dealing with people is to be honest.”
Claiming “most people are bored,” author and digital strategist Aaron Dignan talked about this “epidemic” plaguing the nation in his speech about how games can help shape creative skills. Explaining “play is nature’s learning engine,” Dignan pulled from his book “Game Frame” to show how games induce a state of flow by increasing volition and faculty. Dignan summed up his merited take improving production through recreation with “Real life isn’t that satisfying, games are almost always satisfying.”
Dr. Michael B. Johnson
Leading the Moving Pictures Group at Pixar Animation Studios, Dr. Michael B. Johnson is a veteran designer and master at making ideas happen. Johnson jolted the audience saying “One-third of our movies have taken seven years to make,” as he led listeners through the extensive extensive process it takes to make just one animated feature film. Using digital tools that “make people breathe a little better and creative life easier,” Johnson explained how Pixar uses Pitch Doctor to create over 100,000 storyboards for each movie and leading him to quote former Pixar colleague Joe Ranft in saying “Story boarding is the art of story re-boarding.” Johnson suggests working hard to get it right, because after all “pain is temporary but suck is forever.”