Show your work: The Force Awakens edition

I love seeing how creators create.

I appreciate a master pulling the curtain back and letting us see at least a bit of the behind-the-scenes process. The chaos and messes and wayward first drafts that lie behind the art are just as instructive as, if not more than, the inspiration and perspiration.

I preordered on iTunes the digital download of the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, so it was waiting on me when I woke up last Friday. My family enjoyed a movie night together as we watched the film again for the first time since we saw it in the theater on Christmas day.

And it was entertaining the second time through. But the next morning I got even more enjoyment out of watching the documentary that was packaged with the extra features, Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey.

It’s an hour-long documentary about the making of the film, and it was better than most “making-of” films I’ve seen.

The documentary spotlighted a visceral enthusiasm among the film’s makers. They all seem like kids let loose in the toy factory, from the young lead actors to the veteran director and producers and writers.

There’s a great scene in the documentary of the key cast members reading through the entire script together before the shooting began.

I was most intrigued, though, by the way designers and artists were let loose to create compelling images, of potential characters and sets and scenes, even before a script was in place.

The director and writer were inspired by these images which often ended up informing the story.

A light saber duel in the snow? How cool would that be? How can the story take us there?

And, indeed, that was my favorite scene in the film, and the turning point in the plot.

When I’m creating a presentation, I’m often inspired by disparate, seemingly unrelated ideas and images. Even honing the typography of a slide or stumbling on a compelling image I find online can propel my narrative in a different direction than I originally imagined.

In the discovery phase of your work, feel free to ramble and collect and follow what delights you. Consume voraciously. Make note of every little thing that sparks your curiosity.

The small details can support the big picture, but it’s possible for those details, even seeming tangents, to give life to a big picture you haven’t yet imagined.