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Unlocking the myths of creative problem solving

 

We all know how to do it… but may have forgotten how

Matching shapes and colors seems simple right? But this is an extraordinarily complex task for a child. To be able to match the square peg with a square hole requires a leap of visual cognition. They have to identify what a square is and then match that shape with the square hole. No small task and requires trial and error to actually make it work. Like much of what we learn as children, adults tend to take this for granted. Somewhere along the way we lose sight of the value of being able to match our perceptions with reality (I tend to believe that the regimented routine and testing of traditional school is to blame but that’s another story). A creative individual who is actively engaged in abstract problem solving will unconsciously utilize these skills on a continuing basis. So, how do I improve my creative problem solving skills?

Identify every aspect of the problem

It stands to reason that if you...

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DEADLINES

deadlines Jan 08, 2021

How to embrace the pressure

I looked up from the desk. It was midnight. I was mentally drained and physically exhausted. I was falling asleep and didn’t have an idea in my head. My panic was growing because a messenger was scheduled to pick up my score at 6am and I was terrified at the prospect of not meeting my deadline. I had a LONG way to go to finish and I was hopelessly stuck. If i didn’t deliver on time I knew that my nascent career could be over. My wife and infant son were fast asleep. My only companion was the TV I kept on my desk to remind me that time was passing. I had to find a way to stay awake and finish the assignment on time. I was paralyzed by my anxiety. As my breathing became shallow and weak my body took over sending me into a fight or flight response.

I frantically began to contemplate my options. I could flee my discomfort and go to bed and let the chips fall where they may. Or, I could fight my way through my indecision and look for a new...

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What is the cost of kindness?

2021 blog Jan 05, 2021
What is the cost of kindness?
 
Not much for some...exorbitantly expensive for others. It really comes down to risk vs. reward, to love vs. fear and to lack vs. abundance.
 
It seems to me that the currency of kindness is acknowledgment.
 
It is possible to acknowledge others without being defensive, threatened or attacked.
 
In fact acknowledging others simply means: "I hear you". It doesn't mean I agree or disagree with you or, love you or hate you. All it means is "I hear you".
 
Perhaps "I hear you" is the place to start to mend our wounds?
 
Perhaps "I hear you" is the place to recognize we have more in common than not.
 
Perhaps we have lost sight of the power and benefits of "I hear you"?
 
Perhaps "I hear you" can make sharing a random act of kindness easier?
 
Kindness doesn't cost much...other than to listen with an open heart. Judgements about right or wrong, agree or disagree can come later.
Kindness...
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Who are you?

2021 blog Jan 02, 2021

 

I mean really: “who ARE you?”

Are you defined by your:

Looks?

Clothing?

Job?

Age?

I can’t speak for other cultures but I will generalize that in the Western world we like to think we are open minded. We would like to think we are evolved. We would like to think we are (you fill in the blank).  

But are we really?

We are human beings. Sure. But, like all living creatures we cannot escape the fact that we are not the sentient beings we would like to think we are. We are a product of our conditioning. 

If we see a stranger walking down the street or read a social media post do we not instantly assess their status in life? Do we not instantly compare ourselves to them? Are we like them? Are we different? 

To be fair, this is part of our survival instinct. We are hardwired to scan our environment. We need to determine if we are safe or at risk. But what if the perception of risk is the result of our conditioning? What if our conditioning has...

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What will you choose to take forward? 

2021 blog Dec 31, 2020

 

 
a brave new world awaits 

Leading up to the New Year has traditionally been a time for reflection. In the past our choices were fairly predictable. We could vow to lose weight. We could decide to join a gym. We could tell ourselves we should work harder, be better people etc. etc.

Once we get back to the routines of our lives those New Year’s resolutions are easily forgotten, replaced with the urgent needs of each day. And, it’s back to normal…for better or worse.

2021 will be unlike any other moment we have experienced in our lifetimes which requires a deeper level of thought.. New Year’s resolutions for 2021 will be different.Thousands upon thousands will continue to die from Covid. Businesses will close. Jobs will be lost. People will go hungry. Millions will face eviction. Fear of getting sick will permeate our lives for the next 6 months at least. We will continue to have to deal with conspiracy theories, anti-vaxxers, anti-...

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What Will You Do Today?

daily thoughts Dec 23, 2020

What will you do today?

Will you check in on someone who is fighting Covid alone?

Will you offer a kind word to someone you disagree with?

Will you remind yourself to be patient if you are frustrated?

What will you do?

Will you make the choice to work within your limitations?

Will you choose to make the best of the bad?

Will you choose to reach out if you are overwhelmed?

What will you do?

Will you choose to smile instead of frown?

Will you choose to love instead of hate?

Will you choose engagement over ambivalence?

What will you do?

Will you choose to be aware of the intent behind your words and actions?

Will you choose to be grateful?

Will you choose to live a day of joy?

What will you do?

Will you see the good in people?

Will you act with kindness without seeking validation?

Will you remember that you are loved and that you love?

Life is finite. If we are lucky we get 29,000 days. The energy we bring to every waking moment is our choice and our choice alone.

What will you do?

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Why Is There Music In Film?

film music Dec 15, 2020

Music is a curious thing. Ask a million people what music means to them and you’ll probably get a million different answers. This is largely due to the fact that music subconsciously triggers our memory. Understanding how music relates to memory is crucial to understanding why filmmakers rely on music to help tell their story.

“There are different kinds of memory, including explicit and implicit memory. Explicit memory is a deliberate, conscious retrieval of the past, often posed by questions like: where was I that summer? Who was I travelling with? Implicit memory is more a reactive, unintentional form of memory.”

When someone hears a piece of music their memory is involuntarily triggered.

Think about that for a second.

Every audience member can have a different response, recall a different memory, to every piece of music they hear.

This idea alone will give you a sense of how powerful music is in film, and why it is so important to interpret the wishes of your...

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A word about discipline

defining your purpose Dec 15, 2020

We’ve all heard the word. Usually it refers to chores or obligations. But how does it relate to the creative person? Or, to the freelancer?

By definition, “discipline” is tied to conforming to a specific behavior. This can feel incredibly restrictive to anyone with an artistic temperament. People gravitate towards the arts because they have something they want to say...a burning desire to be heard. So, the natural inclination is to rebel from anyone or anything that is restrictive. Why not flip this to use the concept of discipline towards something YOU want instead of complying with someone else’s rules?

So, how can we use the negative energy of resistance in a positive way, channel the need for personal expression into value for ourselves and others?  How can you create positive results if you are rebelling from a conditioned response to a word or idea? 

The difference is that you will be responsible to yourself for the results you achieve. Your...

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Sunday Morning Coffee Vol. 1

2021 blog sunday musings Dec 06, 2020
 

A weekly musing of art, music and life in the 21st Century

6 December 2020

I am hopeful

Like you, some days I wake up and can’t wait to get my day going. Then there are some days that I don’t want to get out of bed, And then there are days where I have to get up but need copious amounts of caffeine to get me started. It seems like Pandemic mornings slide into the latter rather than the former. I am my most vulnerable because I know I have to find a way to keep going even though everything I’ve known to be true in the past is now uncertain. I can waft into a depression or avoidance at the drop of a hat. Then I remember I have to try to figure out how to pay my bills, stay healthy, deal with isolation and worry about my friends who are sick. Survival is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. So where do we go from here?

“In an event horizon the status quo is detached from the future”—Nolan Bushnell

The term “event horizon was...

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Matching the emotional intent of a film- Part One

2021 blog Nov 30, 2020

Part 1. 

When I was a wee lad trying to figure out how to get into the film scoring business I had met an amazing woman named Else Blangsted. I used to walk with her in Coldwater Canyon near her home. A feisty, wiry woman with piercing blue eyes, one day I asked her: “how do I get into the film business?” Without hesitation she said:: “read a lot of books” and “getting hired is like dating”. The first comment was about craft. The second was about getting hired. Today I’m going to talk about craft. We can get to the dating part another day.

Read a lot of books.

What in the hell does that mean? At face value it has nothing to do with music. At the time my mind was full of orchestrations, arrangements, writing songs… anything and everything you can imagine. I didn’t need a practice room. I lived in one in my head 24/7.  I loved to read though… so I kinda knew where she was going with her comment. But I wasn’t...

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