Friday, February 13, 2015

Ronnie del Carmen and the Risk of Making Mistakes

Last Tuesday, I was fortunate to be invited to listen to Ronnie del Carmen. He is an animator and film director at Pixar Animation Studios. If you visit his Twitter account, he has a very cool description of what he does and what he is. He is a Quantum Temporal Continuity Engineer. Simply put, he is a storyteller.

For forty five minutes, he talked about his history as a creative and the back stories of the works he has done in the Pixar and Disney studios. It sounds like ordinary stuff, something that can easily be accessed, but what made his presentation meaningful was his talking points about the creative process. Here are snippets or "sound bites" I got from his talk:

* You felt it. You experienced it. That is storytelling.
* You need to hear from your storytelling brothers and sisters to know what is working and what is not.
* Creativity thrives in exploration.
* Prepare to be wrong.
* Storytelling and creativity are valued in any industry.

By the time he was at the Q and A part, I was already welling with pride to be a part of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY), because, our current effort in promoting quality children's literature and young adult literature has been very creative. The attempt to try out new things and innovate began with the National Children's Book Awards of 2010. It is not perfect. It presents many challenges. But the process of instituting this new mechanism of raising the bar in children's book publishing in the country involves collaboration (particularly with the NBDB), a lot of mistakes and a tremendous courage to take risks. As far as my experience goes, limited as it is, we have kept our ears on the ground. True creativity begins when one listens, empathizing with people who are at the battle field.

I look inward.

There is nothing else to do but to go back to the origin of things.

My what if: research plays a big role in the creative process. Introduce and present research writing as a way of telling a story. After all, what is personal touches on the universal.

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