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The Power of Motion

As a classically trained visual communication designer, I work with a lot of static things: imagery, color, type, physical pieces, etc. But you’re only a good designer if you’re constantly expanding your skills and gaining interest in new creative fields. Most recently? Motion. I still remember a RIDICULOUS project I had to do in Flash in undergrad that included moving letterforms, some jazz music, and a lot of cussing. This certainly wasn’t my forte, but I was fascinated by the prospect of what it could do. I do believe I got a B+ on that project…But I digress.

Since then, I have made friends and professionally worked with with quite a few talented people that work with video and with the invention of video being on DSLR cameras, some very talented photographers that made the jump from static imagery to moving pictures. It is such a different way of thinking. You would think that it would be easier, since everyday is one big film of moving pictures. But it takes a certain eye. It’s being able to envision composition after composition (think Wes Anderson films), layering them end to end, to be able to tell a story.

It always comes back to a story. What story are you telling? Why are you telling it? How does it impact people? These are the same questions that tons of creatives ask themselves everyday and in their own special medium, they tell those stories. Each of us tries to communicate an idea, by way of understanding humans, their emotions, and connecting in some way through our creative medium. It’s a powerful task and pure joy when it works.

I recently came across a short (that’s proper film jargon right there!) on National Geographic’s website by English filmmaker, illustrator, and composer Temujin Doran. This short is based on neuroscientist David Eagleman’s book Sum: Forty Tales from the AfterlivesThrough a lyrical approach, Doran presents what life would be like if we took the sum of activity spent on seemingly mundane activities, like trying to remember someone’s name, and reshuffled them so we experienced those sum’s sequentially in a single life. It’s truly fascinating and better explained by viewing.

Throughout the entire video, I couldn’t help wanting to overlay infographics that represented the data the narrator was speaking to the audience. We always interpret the world how we know it best. However, that need soon dissipated and I was swept up in the story he was creating. Between the music, the beautiful imagery, and the narrator, I was in the story, rather than just experiencing it. After being released from my mesmerization, I had a little pang of envy. The work I do is just different. Not less, but different. But there are some capabilities that motion brings that seems to heighten the senses and that emotional connection I always try to obtain through my work.

But that’s when collaboration becomes the key. I like knowing and gaining new skills, but I also know that simply working with someone that has made motion their career-driven passion in life…well that is just as amazing to experience. It expands my view of the world, introduces me to another creative medium, and another possibility appears on how to tell a truly fascinating story.

Do you have a favorite short (or even advertisement)? Perhaps a cinematographer that you follow from film to film? Please share it in the comments below!