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Top 5 Websites I Visit Weekly

There are two things that I love to do when I open up my laptop. One is to interact with beautiful well made websites. Websites where a lot of time was put into the typography choice and the user interface (UI). The second is when different types of content is displayed well and easy to discover related content. This time I just wanted to share with you some simple links to my favorite websites that I read on a weekly basis that meet this criteria.

  1. The Great Discontent – (TGD) is a magazine featuring interviews on beginnings, creativity, and risk
  2. 99U – 99U is a site dedicated to bringing “the action-oriented insights that you didn’t get in school, highlighting real-world best practices for making ideas happen”
  3. Ted.com – Ted is “a platform for ideas worth spreading” where written word and videos help share these ideas
  4. The Sweet Setup – Sweet Setup states that they “enjoy spending an inordinate amount of time and energy to research, test, and find the very best apps”
  5. Signal & Noise – Signal & Noise is brought to use by Basecamp and it’s staff where they dive into a little bit of everything

And those are my top 5 go to websites right now for inspiration and learning. What about yourself. If there is any I missed please leave a comment below and let us all know what we may be missing.

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Laugh, Think & Cry… Jimmy V + Church

Jimmy V’s speech is my favorite speech of all time (behind Martin Luther King) and has been challenging over the last year for me. And and it came up again the other week as I was sitting through one our services at PC3. I was taking notes on my phone and evaluating during our 9:00am service when Jimmy V’s three points during the beginning of his speech at the ESPY’s came to mind…

When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.

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Getting Out of a Series Branding Dip

Let me get straight to the punch line…

the last year or so has been rough for our media department concerning series branding.

There are a number of reasons for the struggles and we have begun to correct those with greater focus/vision and hard work, but for now I will share just two with you.

Quality + Stimuli

The level of quality our series bumpers/title packages has dropped below our standards of excellence as a department. And when I say our department I am referring to the six staff members charged with branding our series and no one else. I am not speaking for anyone else on our staff, yet we have heard the quiet conversations happening from longtime artist and some attenders at our church.

“Remember that ______ video they made? I miss videos like that.”

And the funny thing is… we have started saying the same thing about our own pieces of work.

Example #1: Below is a video from a series titled “Just Read” that I feel is one of our best from idea to execution. This bumper still to this day helps me focus in on my quiet time.

Example #2: Below is a video from a series titled “HotHeads” that we lost track of time creating. Multiple ideas fell through and we ended up filming something quick a few days before the series began. The branding itself I honestly love and the music track for the actual bump below was great. The problem was as a team we know we could have done much better with the concept.

So the questions are:

  1. How did we get here?
  2. Where did we go wrong?
  3. Are we just not getting any better at what we do?

I would answer the last question by saying no because we are better telling stories now than we have ever been. We have better gear than in the past. We also have grown in our technical skills. Where I believe we have failed is summed up by Todd Henry in his book “Accidental Creative”.

“Creative work requires that we stay ahead of our work. Tomorrow’s ideas are the result of today’s intentions. When you rely on a “just-in-time” workflow, you will quickly find it difficult to do quality work—and you’ll also find yourself lacking the drive to do anything about it.”

Excerpt From: Henry, Todd. “The Accidental Creative.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/lsZSy.l

What we have done over the last 18 months is to begin working in the “just-in-time” workflow and it has sucked out what feels like every ounce of original creativity as well passion for what we do. We know we have stuff left in the tank and love what we are apart of at PC3, but if we don’t correct the current problem the tank will dry up.

So we are now in the very beginning stages of refueling our creative tanks and re-focusing on the vision of our department. And since we are just beginning this refueling period I will not have a real tangible group of takeaways here today. Today I wanted to share honestly where we are at as a department in a relatively large and what I believe creative church. You see every church/organization/creative department can hit a dip in their lifespan. And it’s how you respond in those dips that you get to show your true chops.

So if you have the same feeling regarding your own teaching series branding or maybe your stuck on that second worship album. Maybe your small group structure was alive and well for the first five years of your church’s life, but now you are completely lost in the why. I must say to you, do not give up.

Every organization can choose their way of getting out of the dip, but here is what we are beginning with.

  1. Stimuli & Planning – the Todd Henry quote above speaks of working in the “just-in-time” workflow. We have begun restructuring everything we can to begin stimulating our creative brains daily around the office. Inspiration ideas walls are going up. Basecamp mood boards have been created. Tactical meetings have been placed on the calendar weekly. We have begun to set into place ways to stimulate our minds before they are called on.
  2. Quality – simply putting more time, energy, and a critical eye into our work before we ship it. Quality is another way we refer to as excellence around the office and excellence is different for every organization and person. For us excellence has begun to be defined as “doing your very best with what you have been given”. Below is another quote from Todd Henry that I have printed out and framed in my office.

“There is much advice on how to organize your time to conquer your tasks, but it is mostly predicated on the assumption that your goal is simply to get through the work, with little regard to the quality of that work. But this is simply not the case. As a creative, you are held to account for the quality of your work, not just the quantity.

Excerpt From: Henry, Todd. “The Accidental Creative.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/lsZSy.

That turned out to be much longer than I expected and I only touched the tip of the iceberg. I am stoked about the next year at PC3 and the media department. I see some incredible content coming down the pipe and into the public eye. But that feeling was not there for a while until the team got very honest with each other and we regained our focus.

[highlight]Are there any times you guys have lost focus in what you were doing as a church/organization? How did you overcome it and gain that passion and drive back?[/highlight]