4 Foolproof Steps to Borrowing Your Next Great Video Idea

Do you need some fresh ideas for your next video? Are you trying to avoid making another “talking head” video or typical typography animation?

Well here you go…

What, do you think I’m going to just give my new ideas away? Heck, no. I’m going to give you other people’s ideas!

The concept is this: look around you, find creative examples on TV, the web or anywhere else, imagine how these ideas could be tweaked and used for your project, then combine the ideas and present them as samples, so your client understands your new approach.

People have been using others for inspiration since the beginning of time. Here are 4 easy steps to borrowing ideas and creating new ones – then having them at the ready to pitch your colleagues and clients at a moment’s notice.

Step 1: Find Ideas

I used to walk around taking pictures of sunsets, people, and interesting vistas. Now, I also photograph advertisements, and I’m always on the lookout for something new. I recently snapped a photo of a Dunkin’ Donuts poster promoting their new Almond Joy drink. It’s a top-down photo of their drink (looks like hot chocolate) with a smiley face created from the bubbles in the foam. What a simple but engaging idea. I snap pictures of billboards, posters in train stations, or book covers – to hold on to ideas that could be built upon for a future project.

Step 2: Remember What You Found

I used to see commercials all the time and think “what a funny idea, I should do something like that”. Problem is I’d forget the name of the commercial or who made it. Now, I make a point to jot down the tag line and company so I can look it up later on YouTube or iSpot.tv. It’s amazing how useful that can be when you suddenly need an idea. Instead of saying, “Ever see that commercial with the hilarious lady in the glasses?”, you can show the Hunter Douglas commercial with Iris Apfel as an example of quirky humor and great set design.

Step 3: Organize the Ideas

Create a folder on your desktop, Dropbox, wherever you want, and put your favorite creative ideas there. It’s a reference guide for the new inspirations that could one day be useful for a client project.

Step 4: Pull it all Together

You never want to rip someone off. You want to combine ideas and add your own twist. And by having the ideas library at your disposal, you’ll have ready-made concepts to present to your team or your client as examples of what you can do. “Let’s make something that looks like this… with the humor of this… but with a creative call to action like this…” Ideally you combine ideas to create something new that meets the goals of the project and makes it unique.

I leave you with a quote that I found in a great book called “Steal Like an Artist”:

“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.”

-David Bowie

Most people would agree that Bowie was one of the most unique musicians of our time. If he can steal ideas for his creative vision, we all can!

By John Lawrence, Creative Director

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Stock Footage

Stock footage.

To me, and others like me, using stock footage always felt like…cheating.

Let me explain.

If you know anything about MK3 Creative, you know that we’re a digital marketing agency that specializes in many things, but mostly video. And we do everything in-house – concept, copy, casting, production, design, animation, shooting, directing, editing…and everything in between.

All three of our Creative Directors are award-winning field directors who love to crank up casts and crews and bring our visions to life. When it comes to a live action video, our motto is “shoot first, ask questions later”…so using stock footage always felt like shooting blanks. Where’s the pride of authorship? I always considered it cheating – the easy, cheesy way out. Until it wasn’t.

Recently, a few projects came my way with tight budgets, tighter turnarounds, and aspirations to create a global look and feel – something that could only be achieved with stock, given these real-life constraints. I had to change the way I flexed my creative muscles and take pride in the stock footage I found and how I chose to use it.

All stock footage is not created equal, so to the sharp eye of a Creative Director, footage research took the place of casting and directing – with look, lens, and lighting playing just as important a role.

And using stock also enhances the design/motion graphics challenge. On-screen text call-outs and graphic framing devices become even more important as elements of visual consistency.

So the next time clients, concepts, or budgets paint you into a corner, stop worrying about library footage and take stock in it.  It’s not as bad, or as expensive, as it used to be. Embrace the power of stock footage…as long as you promise to use this power for good and not for evil.

By Jonathan Markella, Executive Creative Director

Embrace the Box

Think outside the box.
Meh.  Enough about the box already.
For years, “think outside the box” has been the measuring stick/mantra of creativity.  It’s become a catch phrase, a meme, and ultimately, meaningless.

But then again, I’ve never felt it held any meaning at all.  It’s easy to be creative with no real world boundaries.  It’s harder to light the idea bulb in the pitch black that only a box can create.  Close that cardboard up with industrial strength packing tape and Houdini your way around in there.  That’s creativity.

And by the way, there’s always a box.  Budgets, print ad space, commercial running time, and corporate brand standards – they all box you in, or out.  Only the Rolling Stones always get what they want.  The rest of us need to work with “what we got.”

So, don’t try to excite or impress me when you offer, dare, or demand that we “think outside the box.”  Show me someone who can hop in the box and stick his or her creative elbows out – that impresses me.

Bring us your boxes, large and small.  You’ll be amazed at what we can do with a little corrugated cardboard.

By Jonathan Markella, Executive Creative Director