Tuesday, May 21, 2013

3 Examples of Creative People Embracing The Shake

The term Embracing the Shake comes from this TED Talk, and refers to an individual embracing their limitations to make something great. Here are three examples I've stumbled upon in the last 24 hours:

The Programmer: What do you if you're a programmer who realizes that creativity is essential for the work you want to do, yet don't have the resources to pay a pro? Naturally, you write software to be creative for you:

We are incredibly pessimistic about our own creativity. Yet, games clearly need some developer creativity to feel right: graphics, music, level design, etc. We cannot justify spending research resources on creating such content through traditional means: paying artists, musicians, and designers. Thus, we will restrict ourselves to using free resources (such as Creative Commons music and art) as well as algorithmically created content.

In fact, by using algorithmically created content---in particular, level design---we can learn more about game design itself. The best way to demonstrate understanding of something is to teach it to someone. The stupider that person is, the better a job you must do. There is nothing stupider than a computer, so procedurally generated content requires a great understanding of that content.

This will also help ensure that our games are playable by us. Since we can't pay anyone else to test them and we can't rely on others to be passionate about them, we must be our own testers. But if they had static designs---like most games---we would necessarily tire of them (as video game testers often express remorsefully.) But with procedural generation, we hope they will retain their excitement indefinitely.

Look at that: more testable software out of the limitation of not being able to hire a specialist.

The Playwright: Last night I was chatting to a playwright who participated in a most unusual project to create one of her plays. The project is called the A Train Plays and it works like this:

All of the [A Train Plays] are set on the A train and created on the A train. The evening before the first performance, three librettists meet the producers at 207th Street. Picking a number between 3 and 5 to determine the number of characters, the librettists cast their show by choosing that number of headshots in a blind draw. Cast in hand, the writers hop on the A train and begin writing the books for three 15-minute musicals.

When the librettists reach the Far Rockaway stop, they randomly select, through another blind draw, their collaborative lyricists, composers and choreographers, who have been awaiting their arrival at a nearby McDonalds! Now teamed, the collaborators board the train to head back uptown.

[...more rules trimmed...]

Each team only has until show time THE NEXT DAY at 8:00 p.m. to weave these newly-minted theatrical experiences into as show to be shared, fully produced and off book, with the audience at the Neighborhood Playhouse, 24 hours later.

So there you have it, a play written and performed about 24 hours later. I couldn't believe it, but NPR says it's true, so it has to be. Talk about limitations.

The Artist: And finally the example that gave me the name for this post. This is one enlightening and fun TED talk, well worth the 10 minutes to watch it. Go ahead:

Embrace The Shake. In fact, it's among the best entrepreneurial advice I could offer.

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