This past Friday I wrote about what it takes to maximize your creative output: that is to maximize both the quality of your art and the satisfaction you receive from it. One of the best ways we as professional creatives can do that is personal work. Work we do for the love of the craft. Work where no outside party has a say in how it’s made. It’s all your vision and your passion.
This week I want to highlight a few personal projects that will not only inspire you to do your own personal work, but will teach us some valuable lessons about life and/or business.
Today I’m starting with Caine’s Arcade.
Chances are, you’ve seen the video and/or read a number of articles about this amazing story already. How do I know? Because it’s gotten 2.5 million views just on Vimeo in the past week. The story has been on local news stations, Forbes.com, Seth Godin’s blog, and Reddit. So I won’t go into detail about the making of it or the backstory. I just want to give you some key lessons we can learn from both the subject (9 year-old Caine Monroy) and the filmmaker, Nirvan Mullick.
7 Lessons Caine Monroy Teaches Us About Life and Business
- Take Initiative. Caine had an idea and he did it. He saw a need he wanted to fill, and he filled it.
- Utilized what he had. Caine used left-over and forgotten junk to make his arcade. All going to show, something beautiful can be found in the dregs of society. It also shows that you don’t need the newest and the best to make a business.
- Incentives. At 9 years of age, Caine instinctively knew to offer his customers incentives with his “fun passes.”
- Listen to your customers. When the few people who tried his soccer game said it was too easy, he changed it up to make it more challenging. A 9 year-old knows to listen to his customers. Are you listening to yours?
- Innovate. Innovation is essential in any business. Caine used innovation to create his claw machine. He even created a system to verify the authenticity of his fun passes using cheap calculators and the square root symbol. (I still can’t get over the ingenuity of this one.)
- Social media still works. The filmmaker, Nirvan Mullick, used social media to get the word out about the arcade and build its business.
- Never give up. Perhaps the most telling lesson. Day after day as people passed Caine by, ignoring his inquiries to play his arcade, he pressed on.
What We Learn from the Filmmaker
We also learn a valuable lesson from the filmmaker, Nirvan. The reason this film succeeds on so many levels is not because of the stunning cinematography (visually speaking, the cinematography itself doesn’t blow me away); there are no fancy dolly or camera slider shots; no timelapses; no cool motion graphics. It’s old fashioned filmmaking at its best. A great story. A great “character”. Good editing. Good music.
I would hazard to guess the majority of you filmmakers reading this could make a similar film. The difference is, Nirvan did it. He was inspired by Caine’s story, ask permission to film it, then did it. I wish I had a nickel for every film idea I had that I knew would be relatively easy to do, but then never did it.
Lastly, Nirvan is using the virility of the video to help Caine go to college. Go to the Caines Arcade home page and you can donate money to contribute to his college fund. Nirvan is using the power of his art to make a difference. I’m sure he’ll benefit somewhat from the attention. But that wasn’t the reason he did it. He did it to help a little boy.
So my dear blog readers. You’ve seen Caine’s story. What are you going to change in your life or business so as not to be shown up by a 9 year-old?