Selling Your Creative Ideas

Lesson 4/15 - Where Did This Idea Come From?


Selling Your Creative Ideas


Lesson Info

Where Did This Idea Come From?

Your idea doesn't have to be unique. I know that might blow some minds a little bit, especially when I'm dealing with younger students. There's a lot of pressure to... Especially in art class, to do something that's never been done before. Creative writing class is the same, it doesn't have to be a visual arts class. As musicians, as any kind of a creator. There's a lot of this pressure, to do something that is so unique and glittering and special and precious that people just can't imagine a life before it. And that isn't actually where ideas come from. That is a myth. Everything comes from something, even things that we consider really revolutionary like the iPhone? I've seen business books talk about this, I've seen Steve Jobs and others have talked about what was the natural progression? There some old thing in the... if you've ever been to the Computer Museum they talk about, there was iPad-esque type invention that actually came out in the 60's. But they couldn't support it and e...

veryone was like "What are you talking about? "Who would want a little slate like that, "that's so dumb", and it just didn't take off. The idea was ahead of its time. So, all ideas come from something. And that's what makes them good. They're a new mash-up of things that already exist. So your idea doesn't have to be unique-unique. It does have to be relevant, it does have to be in-season, and by in-season I don't mean spring. I mean, an idea that has really come to... It's time has come, right? And it is too early to judge the idea. Don't be too judgy. Don't jump straight to the spoiler room. Make sure that you allow judgements to kind of... Those of you who take yoga like I do, allow those thoughts to come in, recognize those thoughts, then let them float away. I'll just be your yoga teacher for a minute. It's one of those things where you want to allow that feedback in, you want to consider it judiciously and say "Okay I hear you, that maybe my idea is sexist". Or "Maybe my idea does sound like Sleeping Beauty" or whatever it is, I don't know what kind of feedback your gonna get, 'cause again I'm dealing with hypotheticals. But it is too early to judge the idea truly, because you have time to change it. Just remember there are no rules, you're dealing in a rule-free area because you're the one that's coming up with this idea. This thing only lives in your notebook. So, there aren't any rules for the things in your notebook. And there's no wrong or right right now. So, what I'd like to do now... What have we already done? We've already written down a little bit about... We're gonna do this more. The earlier time when I said write down who this idea will benefit? I'm gonna be expanding on that some more, but I do want you to already know. You need to know what the benefits are, and I want you to write down two or three alternatives to your idea even if you're like "No no, no Stacey, "I already this is gonna be a screenplay. "I'm already past that". I still would like you to think about that, because maybe it might work better, it might play better as a graphic novel or something else. So, try to imagine three journeys for your idea, so that you have alternatives. You have a plan B and a plan C, and again this is also partially for you, for you to just get this out of your system. You need to already know that there are other lives this idea could have, other expressions of this idea. And this flexibility in early days is a good thing. So, that's your assignment for right now. This idea needs you. So you're gonna hear a lot of self-helpy kind of stuff, yes? Stacey before we move on- Yes- Going back to that last idea of alternatives, can you give us an example, like say for Black Hat Alley is the one that we're using. Yes. What would alternatives of that... You mention maybe it's not a screenplay, it's some other form? Yes. But, could it also just be different takes on- Yes- A bigger idea, like maybe an example. Yeah, I'd love to go into that. So with Black Hat Alley the first idea was, why don't we have students paint the alley? I mean we're dealing with graduate art students. We'll light it up, it's a dangerous place, we'll light it up and we'll have students paint it. And it'll be a student art project. But the more we looked at other cities, especially west coast or even Philly I should say too, East Coast, we looked at cities who really had mature street art programs, it was world-class artists. This artist is from Buenos Aires, and this artist is from Paris and so on. And we started thinking, well why don't we just aim bigger? There are different varieties of community art projects. So we considered having it be a student-driven opportunity for them to get their art work out there in a really fresh contemporary way. That's got it's own benefits. We considered having a world-class... I do air quotes, mural alley where we have artists from all around the world. Then it becomes more of about the content of the art. Then it becomes more about what was painted there, versus the process of making it and how it benefited the students, do you know what I mean? And then we could have done also other tie-ins with the schools or had kids come in and do chalk-art while the... There are just several different flavors of doing public art so we considered all of those actually, and we ended up doing a combination of all those things. We had three invited artists, and then the rest were locals. If we hadn't gone through that process, and thought of those different things I don't think we would of come up with that. And we had a much more layered experience with the people who came to watch right? So they got to see an artist from Paris, and an artist from LA, and an artist from Philly, working alongside our local artists who were either pros or interns or whatever. Awesome, thank you. Yeah, you're welcome. It add layers, I guess is what I'm saying. So, I know what I was gonna say earlier. The whole idea of some of this class is gonna sound a little self-helpy? If we're gonna put this on a scale, from this is how you write a business plan in a really formal kind of business class, and then like a really self-helpy yoga kind of thing, I'm hoping I'm half-way (laughs lightly) because I do want this to have a little bit of a pep-talk feel to it, because you... Again the idea itself philosophically, I truly believe that it really isn't about the idea itself having merit. It is about the person behind it, and their enthusiasm, and their energy and their passion, or persons. It's about your drive and your ability to foster support, then it is about the merit of the idea. So that's why I say this idea needs you. There's an old saying, "You must develop a complete disregard "for where your abilities end". And I want all of you to really think about that. Don't think about what's possible. Don't get bogged down by reality too much, don't think about what you can and can't do 'cause you'll get scared. And I don't want you to get scared. Where did this idea come from? So I'd like to assume that you can identify where this idea came from. So, it's not just like... I don't wanna hear you were having dinner one night, or you were in the shower and oh my God, this is such a good idea. I don't wanna hear that. What I'm talking about in terms of where it came from is not when did it come to you. When someone says where did the idea come from what they really wanna know is what influences led you to this concept? What factors in your life or your personal experience make you believe that this would work? So for example I have a very dear friend who's a special ed teacher, and she has had numerous ideas over the years. I've known her a long time and she's had numerous ideas of things that she feels would reach her students. I have another, actually a different friend who teaches music to kids on the autism spectrum. And she is always coming up with new musical programs, a music book idea, a game idea, a song idea, that she feels would reach kids with really severe Asperger's or autism. So that's something that she lives in her daily life, and that's the major factor that leads her to this idea factory that is my friend who is also named Stacey. A shout out to Stacey if she's watching. But you would have had personal experiences in your work or in your personal life, maybe as a parent or as a friend, or maybe your own parent has suffered from something and this led you to something. Those are the kinds of things that led to your idea. Your idea comes from the garage of things that is your brain. All the things that have gone into your brain, somehow one night they overlapped and you were like, (breath of exhilaration) "A new mash-up! "That's where my idea's from!" Know that, because that origin story is super important. And then the other big question is of course, just like the previous slide said with the cute little brunette on it, "This idea needs you?" Why are you the right person to do this idea? What makes you uniquely qualified? How are you uniquely qualified? They actually asked me that here, when they were asking me to do this class, and I got overwhelmed by the question where it was like, why are you uniquely qualified to teach a class called Selling your Creative Ideas? And immediately I'm like, "I'm not!" (laughs) So I'm sure you can relate to that. 'I'm looking at all the other Creative Live teachers on the roster, and I'm like "I-I don't- I-" But I do, I actually know a lot about this. When I sat down to write this course, I realized that between Black Hat Alley, I also had a kids publishing company... That's another story, but I have actually worked in this field and I've learned some really hard lessons, and I really enjoy sharing them with people. I will sit and have coffee with people and share these ideas. I care about this stuff, and I care about seeing other people succeed with creativity. So I was like, "Hey I'm uniquely qualified". So don't cut yourself down, don't think that you're not. You probably are the right person. If you have a ton of energy, you're already the right person for your idea. That's pretty much what you need. So, there's a book out there called Making Ideas Happen which of course I was gonna buy because hello, I love that topic. And it's by Scott Belsky, who is the founder of the Behance Network. Some of you may already have Behance profiles. But he wrote a book called Making Ideas Happen, which I highly recommend to the same kind of audience who would like this class. It's creatives who wanna bring ideas to fruition. And I love this quote, it's early on in the book. He says "The forces of community "are invaluable, and readily available. "Ideas don't happen in isolation". So, this is gonna be your inspirational quote. Think about what were your inspirations? Who is your community? Who is gonna support you? This is sort of a segway into the next thing we'll be discussing which is, how are you gonna get your own community involved to support you? We're gonna obviously start with friends and family, okay? But we're still talking about influences. So I want you to make notes, of all of those influences that you remember. Does your work environment for example present those specific communities like my friend Stacey who works with kids on the autism spectrum? Do you find yourself in situations that make you a subject matter expert at something? Maybe it was the perfect storm of a whole series of things in your life. Don't think that because you don't have a post-graduate degree in something that you're not an expert, okay? Life gives you post-graduate degrees all the time. You don't always have to go and get an MBA. That's one huge lesson I learned. 'Cause I used to beat myself up for not having an MFA. And now I'm like "You know what? "I have like 10 MFA's at this point". Because I've had to do some really hard things, and I've wanted to do hard things. So, if there was a perfect storm in your life, things you saw in your community, in your profession, write those things down and try and figure out how it came to that. Because you're gonna find yourself, if you truly are following through with what I'm doing, what I'm teaching you today, you're gonna find yourself in a lot of meetings and presentations. And you're gonna be under lights, essentially. It'll probably just be meeting tables, but you are gonna presenting this over and over again. Maybe you're gonna give PowerPoint presentations or maybe you're just gonna talk, but people are gonna ask you where this idea came from a buzzillion times. And if you don't have a really awesome story for it, or maybe even seven really awesome stories for it, then you're gonna feel like you're on the spot. So that's why I feel that this is important, because I feel that storytelling is important. Storytelling is crucial, people wanna know origin stories. So, context people.

Class Description

Ideas are the natural realm of creative people, but sometimes the toughest part is selling a new concept to the world at large. How do you convince potential supporters to get behind your idea? Learn to recognizing the importance of community and audience–Your idea has an audience, it has potential. In Selling Your Creative Ideas, with Stacey Williams-Ng, you’ll learn to find and connect to the right audience that can help make your dream project a reality, and get paid for it.

In this class you’ll learn.

  • Networking Strategies
  • Matching your Ideas to the Right People
  • Researching Potential Supporters
  • Going from Idea to Project to Profit
  • How to Define Success

Stacey Williams-Ng, the mastermind behind Black Cat Alley, an outdoor art gallery, will take you through the entire process of getting paid to create your art project.

In Selling Your Creative Ideas, Stacey will help all creatives get organized, and package their ideas to make them appealing to potential supporters. 



I really liked Stacey's way of speaking, her voice and energy! Thank you and congratulations making your projects real and good luck with your future ones!