Keep an anti-collection to improve your creative thinking.

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For a while now I have been keeping an anti-collection. A Pinterest board filled with works in which I spotted glaring faults. A collection of images that because of their mistakes, inspire me. It’s time every creative starts doing this.

Do the opposite

I get it, looking up to your favourite artists/creators/artworks/products … is easy and something we all love. They are so good they just DEMAND your attention and affection. But I’m writing to make you consider also doing the opposite. Because rarely do you ever learn from great things.

What happens when you take something broken or bad and fix it? Take all of the mistakes out of it… it becomes good. But where do you find those mistakes in the first place? You’ll definitely make a few blunders of your own but unless you plan on making each and every single mistake yourself – which might take a long time – you’ll have to look outside.

Learn from mistakes other people have made. It’s free, both from embarrassment and financially. Here’s how:

Kickstarter

It all began when I started prepping for my kickstarter campaign and had to settle on a style for the campaign video. The idea of quality being mostly defined the lack of mistakes, faults or short comings had been permeating in my thoughts for a while. With this mindset I began doing my homework, analysing other kickstarter campaigns, checking all their video’s and keeping notes specifically on what I disliked about it.

That list ranged from bad accents to slow cuts to over- or under-lit scenes. I wrote down anything that made me click away or say no to the product or project. With this list and ONLY these negative remarks to avoid did I embark on creating my own kickstarter video.

Viral It Goes

To say it was a success would be an understatement. I initially uploaded it to facebook. Normally my video’s would get about 200 views even though my page had about 900 likes at the time. So I put 20€ ad budget behind it so it was able to reach my entire audience and perhaps some more. The video eventually reached over 500.000 views in a four day span with several other facebook pages downloading and re-uploading it, cutting me out of the loop. Where the video got another estimated 100.000 to 150.000 views, it was hard to keep track of which pages got a hold of it and ran with it.
Later, I uploaded the same video to Youtube as a backup for future reference. It gathered another 1.2 million views over 2 years, resulting in plenty of sales for my project.

Quality is the lack of mistakes

This is a technique I fall back to not only when I’m preparing a project but also in the creative process itself. Every time I’m creating something I pass a point where I’ve built my foundation and transition into a phase of working out all the kinks, cleaning up the mess I made. It’s the 20% of the work that drives the 80% of the result. It is what takes it from okay to good and eventually to great.

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