Weird Al Yankovic On Parody In the Age Of YouTube

Actually, I don’t view it as a competition at all. I think it’s wonderful that there’s a level playing field now. Anybody can upload their videos to YouTube and you don’t have to get the blessing of some record executive somewhere to get your stuff heard. If your stuff is good, chances are people will hear it.

Weird Al’ Yankovic in a piece on NPR about his latest album, parodies and the YouTube age.

I’m always interested on how the web intersects with creativity and publishing. It seems to be a similar story in many industries.

When’s the Last Time You Pumped Up Your Creativity?

Rising Creativity image

Can you build up creativity, like a muscle?

I watched a video interview with one of my favorite authors, Po Bronson, on TechCrunch yesterday. He talked about the nature of creativity, and how creativity in America has declined. In the interview, he speaks about how engaging in creative activities can help people become more creative. He also points to how being open to trying new experiences can aid creativity.

All this made me think: how can storytellers constantly work on their creativity? I think the answer remains different for everyone. Here’s what I do:

  • My storytelling involves a lot of writing, so I blog in several places.
  • I keep an online learning journal, so to speak, where I post links and thoughts that I find interesting. I also try to post what new things I’m learning about there.
  • I read as much as I can.
  • I try out new technology. One of the latest social networking tools I’ve tried is Cliqset.
  • I run. This gets my mind wandering, and it sometimes fuels great ideas.
  • I’ve tried to take on a few freelance projects, especially those involving web design. Designing sites means I have to come up with something out of nothing – an important task for improving creativity.
  • Oh, and I like to scribble ideas and things in a notebook.

So what’s your strategy for building your creative ways?

Image by Ba1969.

Why Chaos Can Make a Storytelling Project Work

Buckingham Palace guards marching

Sometimes chaos can be the best thing for a big project.

My classmates and I discovered this today as we finished our first day on location at Barrow Hill Junior School in London. We gathered content today for a digital prospectus we will build the school as part of Elon University’s interactive media master’s program project for public good.

We arrived and received a warm welcome by the head teacher and staff at the school. We took a tour, brainstormed and attacked several different mini-projects.

As the day went on, some chaos was unavoidable. We all had landed in a new place (the school) today and an entirely different country less than four days ago. We all had to get acquainted with everything.

We did.

And the first day’s chaos – the rushing around, the meeting new people, the action of finally shooting something on video after mostly planning and brainstorming – felt wonderful.

We all have a hundreds of ideas flowing, and we can’t wait to see where the project takes us tomorrow.

Like I said, sometimes, chaos in a project can be an amazing thing. Welcome it, because it can fuel you and your colleagues like nothing else.

To follow my journey in London, and the creative project my classmates and I produce, be sure to check this blog regularly. You can explore all the posts about London 2010 here. Also, please follow me on Twitter.

The Most Important Non-Digital Tool for Any Creative

Closeup of a Notebook

It’s easy for us to become immersed in the digital world.

We have to be.

From social bookmarking, social media, blogging, designing via different software and so much more, the majority of tools a professional uses in this realm have a digital aspect. However, what happens if the digital world ended tomorrow?

If all the bytes, jpegs, tweets and so on ceased to exist – where could you still go to get your work done? What would be your number one source for inspiration?

The notebook.

Yep, this handy tool comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You can personalize it however you like too.

Seriously, if you create in any way, shape or form, you should have one with you at all times. And I’ll be honest: I don’t. I have just realized I need to make it a reality.

Some reasons notebooks rule:

  • Their battery never dies.
  • Putting pen to paper feels fantastic.
  • Write, sketch, this thing is multidimensional.
  • Crumpling up paper and throwing away your bad ideas is therapeutic.
  • Ideas never escape you.
  • You start developing a timeline of creativity. Learn how, what and where you’re most creative!
  • If you put something in it every day – you’re productive.

Being a writer, I have heard this advice over and over. I have done it at various points in my life, but lately I’ve realized I need to reacquaint myself with the habit of carrying paper around.

I’m missing out on too many of my own ideas.

I had one at my side all the time when I worked as a reporter and I didn’t realize just how handy it proved to be. Despite the fact digital technologies rule the world these days, ideas serve as the oil that lubricates technology and every other industry.

We need them and you have them. So make sure you jot them down, will you?

Ideas will become the currency of the new economy. Make sure you share the wealth. Carry your notebook.

Image by iprole.