A little backstory: I recently led a workshop for adults on creativity. The primary message of that workshop was identical to what I tell my students: if you want to be more creative, you need to practice using your mind in non-routine ways. If you want to come up with new ideas, you need to abandon all your existing ideas and seek new ones. You need to play, basically, and give your brain an opportunity to make connections it’s unlikely to make during the routine work of the day. This post will give you some ideas on how to do that (if you need them).
This week's pick is the video for Kurt Vile's "Pretty Pimpin," which technically came out last week, but because I spent this entire week watching the video over and over, it gets a spot as the pick of the week. There are so many things to love about this video: the song; the camera moves; the gradual ramping-up of complexity. Plus, what's not to love about a video that has shots like this one:
I watch a lot of videos. A lot. So how about this? Every week I'll post the best thing I've watched that week. My criteria will be completely made up and subjective, and there will likely be a disproportionate number of music videos with dancing, but that's how it goes.
Not a brand-new video this week, but this one has been on my Watch Later list for a while. It's all about how to structure a video essay, but it's also good advice for how to structure all sorts of communication that needs to pull someone in--stories, obviously, but also other structures and rhetorical modes. After seeing this one, I watched (or re-watched) all the episodes of the excellentvideo essay series Every Frame a Painting , but this was probably my favorite of the bunch. As an instructional companion, it's perhaps the most useful because it demonstrates exactly what it describes. I'm pretty sure "analytical exemplar" isn't really a thing, but if it were, this video would be one.
I haven't shown this film to my classes before, but after watching it a few times over the last few days, I'm seriously considering it. My orientation w/r/t creativity and problem solving/problem finding is shifting (it's becoming obvious that those need to be the central focus of the class), and so this film, which seemed before like something of a strange discussion prompt, now makes much more sense to me.
There's a lot to like about this short, which introduces itself as "A series of explorations, episodes & comments on creativity." The first sequence, "The Edifice" is famous in its own right, but the rest is, in my view, just as good.
And this time through I noticed a bunch of hilarious gags that I had overlooked before, like this terrific transition, which pulls a man from a passing crowd, locks frame, and then superimposes an awesome phrenological/meat graphic. Love the handmade feel of this--charming and effective. And its another handy reminder of how the "value" of a film's "production value" is sometimes the strong personal vision that emerges. The film's tone is just like most smart people I like to hang around: serious, funny, irreverent, and mischievous. This film has it all. So good. If you have 25 minutes, give it a watch.
Charlie Huette is a public school teacher who also keeps a notebook. He dreams about making school just a little less terrible. Many of the posts you find here are based on notebook entries. You can learn more about Charlie by visiting the about page.