What Does Your Creative Process Look Like?

Pictage is one of the leading companies on the web that enables and empowers professional photographers. Every year they have their PartnerCon conference for photographers to learn, network, and be inspired. Hundreds of photographers gather from all over the world to attend. We had the honor to produce a short film series that CEO Jim Collins used in his keynote at last November’s conference. The theme of the conference was Dream, Create, and Inspire. Each film represented one of these words. Last month I told you about how creativity under pressure shaped the making of the series. This month I’m going to share some insight into the second film in the series, “The Creative Process.”

What is perhaps unusual about this particular film is that, for a video about the creative process that was meant to be shown to over 500 photographers, there isn’t one photographer in it. We had originally planned (and actually filmed) some pretty big names in the pro photography world. Original cuts of the first film “Pursuit of Dreams” included these interviews. But, something special happened when this CREATE-themed film was shown to Pictage. (Even though it was the second film, it was the first one I finished). There was something powerful and poignant about hearing non-photographer creatives talk about their process, and have it still ring true to photographers. Furthermore, the audience could watch the films without any preconceived notions or attachments they would have had the people in the video been well-known photographer personalities. So we re-edited “Dreams” and made the remaining films so that all three were sans-photographers. Based on the feedback, it was the right call.

So, when you watch the film, regardless of what kind of creative you are, think about how their words relate to how you work and feel as an artist. Then perhaps share how your creative process works.


This film is part of the Inspire.Pictage.Com website–a respite for creatives to be refreshed, rejuvenated, and reminded about the importance of connecting to that part of you that makes you an artist. If you haven’t already, be sure to check it out.


Many thanks to the artists who gave of their time to be in this film:

  • Brandon McCormick of Whitestone Motion Pictures. An insanely talented filmmaker here in the ATL.
  • Nick Kirk, composer at Whitestone. The music he’s written for Whitestone’s films are epic.
  • Suzy Schultz, a passionate painter. She has perhaps the most profound statement in the whole piece. See if you can pick it out.
  • Blake Howard, creative director at Matchstic: a brand identity company that is really on the cutting edge of brand strategy and development. If you need some serious brand development (and you got the $$$), don’t hesitate to hire these guys.
  • Imahni Dawson, the musician “character” in the film. If you saw the first installment about Dreams, the fun story tidbit is that the song you see her writing in this film is the one given to her in her dream from the last film.


  • Except for one talking head interview, all footage was shot on the Canon 5D Mark II and graded with Magic Bullet.
  • The “dolly” shots at the beginning and end were done on my son’s Tonka truck. (No expense was spared for this project! 🙂
  • The piano playing you see Imahni doing at the end is real (though you can’t hear it). She’s playing the actual song she wrote. It is the song she sings a cappella in the next installment. (Stay tuned.)
  • At the end of the film you see a black and white photo of a little girl on the piano. That is Tasra. (Not now of course, but when she was a little girl. Just wanted to be clear about that.) And in the upper left-hand corner of the last shot you’ll see our family photo.
  • Part of my creative inspiration for the making of this and the Dreams film was the Nooma films–using visual imagery that has a somewhat narrative structure to illustrate some of the concepts being discussed by the talking heads. It’s a little bit more creative than straight b-roll (which is also used here).

5 thoughts on “What Does Your Creative Process Look Like?

  1. Next installment… you tease. Thanks, Ron. That really made me think. I loved the admission by Brandon McCormick that he is that guy in the Watchmaker's Son.You messed with my mind at 1:49 in where the artist “unsketches” on the board though!

  2. Glad you liked it Mark. I loved Brandon's comments in the piece. Hisadmission is a great one. (I'm totally that guy too.) And it's funny youmentioned the “unsketching.” It's very subtle. 🙂 Thanks for watching andcommenting.

  3. What an interesting experience. In the years since I've left school and become a professional, inspiration is the hardest thing to hold on to. It comes and goes, but it's not necessary to make money. Skill, effort, experience all matter a lot more in getting the job done. This is the kind of video that can inspire you again and give you passion again to do a great job. Plus, the video looks great. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for your kind compliment. It was the making of this film thatinspired me to change the direction do my company to produce films thatinspire, encourage, and convict people to betther themselves and theircommunities. I'm glad it inspired you too.

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