Why Is This Idea A Good One?
You know, you have to know why this idea's great. I think one of the biggest mistakes that people make are I won't say it's a mistake, okay, nothing is right or wrong, in my world anyway, I'm an art teacher. But basically I can't tell you if your idea's good or not. If we could stop everything and I could just take one of you and say, "Okay, you, tell me your idea, "and then I'm gonna tell you if it's got merit, "and then you can sell it," and that's not, that is not ever gonna be where I'm going with this lesson and if anyone ever offers to do that for you, you should probably run away, because some ideas seem really great, some ideas seem really awful, and they still take off. I mean it's really there's no such thing, really, as like an idea that has intrinsic merit, okay? So I wanna help you evaluate using other factors. We're not gonna be like good or not good. Again, so just use the Black Cat Alley as an easy example, like, I could easily explain the benefits of what I thought it ...
was gonna do, and why I thought it was awesome, and why my friends that were sort of co-chairing this thing with me, I knew it was going to be great for the artist. This is my buddy Jeff Redman in this picture. I knew it was going to be good for Jeff and Jenny Joe and all the other people whose names started with a J who were involved in this project. I knew it would get them exposure. I knew that it would activate the neighborhood. I knew that it would clean up the alley and give people a safer place to walk through. I knew all those things made it good for me. So when I say why are you doing this idea, why and what is so exciting about this idea to you, right? Are you able to elicit enthusiasm from others when you tell them about it? When you tell them, do you get the "that's nice," or do you get like "Oh my god," like really excited responses, and reading people's responses is gonna be one cue to help you know that it's resonating with people. So, here's your first little thing that I want you to write down, which is write down who you think will benefit most from a successful implementation of your idea. Who do you think this idea is for? We're gonna talk about that quite a bit over the next few minutes like. I want you to write down what those benefits are, and who they're for. So back to the idea of good and bad. Good idea versus a bad idea. Right versus wrong. I always love, I've taught elementary art and I've taught college art, never had to do high school, thank God, but I love teaching art at the college level and I love teaching it at the elementary level, because I love telling these students who are really in experimentation phases of their lives that this is the class where there is no right and wrong answers. This isn't math class. Math class is where the answer is 7 and 1/2, but that's not how art class works. You evaluate things based on much softer criteria. So you have to be your idea's advocate. You have to remember that there is no right and there is no wrong. Philosophically, right, it doesn't exist yet, your idea. It can't be wrong, because it hasn't been done. It's your idea, and so until it is actually out there, it can't be measured, and so that's exciting. That in itself should get you excited enough to want to go and sell this idea. But that is also going to be the thing that fuels you, I hope, or one of the things, but you also have to remember that it is going to be extra hard for people to understand for that exact same reason. It's hard for people to visualize, it's hard for people to understand your idea because it doesn't exist yet. So something has to exist in order to be judged. I mean, imagine when people describe a movie they want to see to you, it's a simple example. They kind of describe the plot and you're like, "What?" (laughs) "I don't think I'm gonna like that." And then you go and like, "Oh my god that was a great movie." So sometimes the description of something is super hard and you're gonna have to live in that very uncomfortable space, that's where I was between 2014 and 2016, just explaining this idea for a mural alley over and over again, when if people walked by it, they were like, "Yeah, I can't see it." You know, they'd look at that alley and be like "No, that's never gonna work." So again, assuming you're still in the pie-in-the-sky phase, I want you to at this point look at different approaches to your idea. And what do I mean by that? We talked about the idea versus the expression of the idea, right? So stay loose and experiment. Stay in the pie-in-the-sky phase as long as you can, because there's gonna be a point where you can't do that. There's gonna be a point where that's a liability for you, if you keep having new ideas in the process of trying to sell your idea, right, what's gonna happen? Right, that idea is going to be sabotaged by all the new what-ifs that keep popping into your head. So the longer you can stay in this dream phase early on and sort of, should I say get it out of your system? Get it out of your system like "Oh my god this could totally, she's right, "this could be an animated series! I was thinking book but it could be on Nickelodeon!" Like you need to do that now, because it's going to, it's gonna be a problem if you are already gathering sponsors and you're getting bored of the idea later because you've been talking about it ad nauseum for seven months, or 17 months, or seven years, especially if you're a movie maker, oh my god these things can go on a long time. So stay in the dreamer phase. I don't know if any of you heard this but there's when you're in brainstorming, they talk about three different phases, and I was told this came from Walt Disney. I don't know, I never worked at Disney, But apparently Disney had these three rooms, or the three phases, and it was dreamer, realist, and spoiler, okay? So these, if you've ever been in a committee meeting where people are talking about ideas, which we all have and it's the worst, those three people are there in the room always. There's always the guy who is the dreamer, and there's always the guy who is the realist, and there's always the guy who, and they may not be guys, but you know what I mean, a guy who's the spoiler, who just shoots everything down. Now you really do, actually, have to be all of those people, but you should do them in that order. It's healthy to do it in that order. Be the dreamer first, then be the realist, then be the spoiler. So if you imagine it as three rooms, and I've heard, I read somewhere, that this was done at Walt Disney way back in the day, so apparently, imagine this, so there's first room is the dream room. So everyone sits down and they just like free flow of ideas, there are just like, "Oh my God, "that's great, I love that, yeah, amplify that, "amplify that, and push push push push," and nobody's allowed to say anything negative, even if you kind of think the idea's stupid. You're not supposed to say that in the dream room, right? So it's all about just big ideas and encouragement and happiness. Then everybody leaves and sleeps on it a while, and then you come back, and then you meet in the realist room. That's after you've had a chance to take the ideas that you thought were the best, and you bring them to the realist room. If you imagine this class being in one of those rooms, this class is like walking between the dream room, and the realist room. Mostly this class is gonna be in the realist room, because the realist room is where you take dreams to action. It's where you take an idea into an actionable plan, which is really the whole thesis of this course, is how are we going to make it an actionable plan? So we're mostly gonna be in the realist room. And then the third room, which is like the nightmare room, is spoiler room, which is almost like the complete antithesis of the dreamer room. It's where everyone is invited to just shoot every idea down, like put as many bullet holes as they can in it. That is such a dumb idea, people are gonna say that it's racist, or people are gonna say that it's small-minded, or people are gonna, try and imagine what all the haters are gonna say about this idea. People are gonna say that it is cliche. They're gonna say that it's stolen from whatever. Think of all the horrible things that you don't really want to imagine people are gonna say about your idea, and then really question yourself and challenge yourself on that like, oh my God, maybe it is kind of stolen from Sleeping Beauty, or, you know what I mean? Try and imagine what the haters are gonna say, and then be ready for that. If you don't go into that spoiler room before you go up there into the big scary world, then you won't be ready, because, I mean, those people are out there and that feedback is out there. And maybe your idea does need to be torn apart. There may be, believe it or not, your idea may not be that great. Or maybe it is touching on things that it shouldn't. And you won't know that until you've really looked hard at it and tried to tear it apart. So we're not gonna go in the spoiler room so much today simply because we don't know what ideas we're dealing with, but I do want you to spend some time between the dreamer room and the realist room as we go through these lessons.