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The 10 Creative Commandments

October 21, 2017

I have been inspired by a brilliant series of articles on menstoptens.com in which fashion gurus share their guidelines about how they build a wardrobe. G Bruce Boyer's article is particularly spicy, and is a great place to start. Even if you're not interested in dressing well, or you are not a man, these bite-size reads can provide new ideas to employ in any aspect of your lifestyle. 

 

The format is simple: keep it to a concise list of ten rules. Hopefully these can inspire and inform other folks who are looking to produce their own work and break into the field of content creation. Without further ado, here are mine:

 

 

Sam’s 10 Creative Commandments

 

10) Be both punk rock and smooth jazz. Interpret these as you wish.

 

9) Respect every second of your audience’s time. This means that you must trim all the fat in editing. Assure that everything you show or tell is worth the minute it took to do so.

 

8) You must be transparent about everything. People are very savvy, but also love to gossip. Give them no fodder to build conspiracies about you.

 

7) All feedback is good feedback. If your audience thinks your work sucks, then it does. If your audience says your voice is too loud, or your images look terrible, or you’re too energetic, do not take it personally. Assess the opinion and adjust. In academia, we’re told that “the editor is always right”. Your audience is your editor. 

 

6) That being said, do not bend over backwards for viewers. Personally, I respect most the creators who do not care about what I expect from them. Keep your spine rigid and stay true to the vision.

 

5) If you qualify or apologize about any aspect of your work, then the time it took to excuse yourself could’ve been spent making your work better.

 

4) Learn something new for every piece of work you produce. This could mean employing a sleek animation for your title screen or looking up the year the Titanic sank. You must continue to reinvent your craft, or it will grow mold.

 

3) Similarly, do not reuse old materials for a new project. Every ‘thing’ you produce must have its own personality. For me, this means finding a new soundtrack for every video, tinkering with new fonts, as well as building every image or graphic from scratch. I do not have a ‘cache’ of content in the same way a five-star chef will not use frozen peas for the evening’s risotto. 

 

2) If you want to write a mystery novel, do not read mystery novels. If you want to produce a Magic podcast, do not listen to Magic podcasts. Instead, go to an indie film, drink a new beer, and listen to Vivaldi, and your work will always stand out from the rest.

 

1) Do not tell people to share your work. If they like it, they will do it anyway. 

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