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If you go back through history, you will see a constant forward shift in technology and a dynamic shift in how creatives adapt and expand their creativity with this tech.

Before the invention of the camera, the only way to capture a moment in time or the impression of something they saw was by capturing it in a painting.

Once the camera was invented, all that changed. Now a creative person could capture a moment or scene without years of developing the talents of an artist. They could document the world around them with an accuracy never before seen.  

Remember, there were no courses in photography at that time. No manuals. No, YouTube videos. They had to just put their hands on the device and try different technics while measuring and judging their results. “Wow, wouldn’t it be cool to shoot in low light?” So, someone came up with the idea of lighting a tray of gunpowder just as they exposed the light-sensitive material inside the camera box. I wish I was around to see how those trial and errors happened.

Creatives found hundreds, thousands of uses for this new tech, from documenting never-before-seen vistas of the new frontiers in the West to the horror of fallen soldiers on the battlefield to Wanted posters of outlaws. Their efforts left us a legacy of tangible impressions of the people, landscapes, and history of our country and countries worldwide.

In the late 1800s, motion was added to still image capture. When this tech was first introduced, no one understood what it could be used for. The creatives quickly evolved this little-known technology into a dominant entertainment source. Motion pictures expanded the experience of capturing historical reality. But, it was the creatives who used this new medium to tell stories.

Side by side, the proven partnership of creative storytellers and creative technologists began to expand the commercialization of motion pictures. Soon there was a need to design and build motion picture theaters. Better and bigger screens had to be fabricated. Studios had to be made to accommodate the shooting of these motion pictures. Scripts had to be written. New lighting and cameras had to be designed and built. The cool look of director Cecil B. DeMille with his

puffy pants, knee-high boots, and a Bret hat had all had to be hand-crafted. (I wish I could rock that look today. Hahaha)

The list of new technology that followed is never-ending. Color correction, film formats, theater projectors, etc., etc.

In the 1900s, audio was added and ushered in the era of the “Talkie” Again, the creatives were the first on the scene supporting the dialogue with music, special visual effects, and sound effects. These expansions meant the creative technologists had to develop new film playback devices, edit machines, ADR technics (Automated Dialogue Replacement), and sound systems for theaters, all extending the list of new technologies while the creatives were constantly developing ideas that pushed the limits of those technologies. 

Around 1920 commercial radio began broadcasting to a small market. Rinse and repeat the above film expansion but this time the end product ended up directly in the audiences’ home. Game Changer!!!

Speaking of Game Changer, the first television broadcast was introduced at the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing, NY. We all know the impact that had and still has on the world. 

All are still driven by the unbeatable team of creative storytellers and creative technologists. 

Breakthroughs like color were added in 1953. The invention of recording on videotape rather than film gave creatives the ability to instantaneously view the image. Imagen shooting and never really knowing what the final product looked like. Oh wait, that’s what all film photographers, still and motion, had to do before digital. YIKES!

In 1877, Edison’s lab, located in East Orange, NJ, recorded the first audio track on a metal cylinder wrapped in aluminum foil. That cylinder gave way to a flat disk in 1887 that today we refer to as an “album.” From there, we jump to magnetic tape, adopted as the standard for recording sound and music. Eventually, that gave way to the development of digitizing an analog signal and printing it on a compact disk, “CD,” in the early 90s. From there, it was only a hop, skip and jump to today’s MP4s.

Now think about the fact that all those recording and playback technological advancements only took a century and a half to develop and the impact they’ve had on the world. How many markets have they influenced and created? How many thousands of creative careers were formulated around these advances. It’s insane!!!!

When I started this blog, I thought, “Oh, cool, I’ll talk about how creative storytellers and creative technologists have worked together and their impact on the entertainment world.” Once I got started, I was quickly overwhelmed, realizing the impact that just one of those simple inventions had on the world and how that impact still reverberates through the decades, altering the path of creative evolution.

Another fascinating fact as I poked around gathering some facts about the timelines. Most of these inventions were never indented to be used for what we now know them to be. It was the intuition and vision of a second or third party that identified a different use for the tech that the inventor would have never seen, like a thousand-dollar laptop computer replacing a million-dollar video editing suite or a million-dollar recording studio.

Why did I drag you through this long but not even close to a complete summation of how tech has given creatives new tools to create with? Because throughout my career/life, I’ve always said, “I wonder what would happen if I plugged this into that?” Or I have no idea how this synthesizer works or what these camera switches do, so I’m going to push or turn all of them and see what happens.” That curiosity usually led me to someone who knew how to use the tech and began lecturing me, “That’s not how you use that!”  I replied, “May not be but look at the cool shit I’m doing with it. Bet you had no idea it could do this.”

Sometimes you need to throw the rule book out the window or, like in my case, just do it and read the manual later. When I began co-authoring the fifteen books with Steve DeFuria we always agreed to start the books with what we called “Instant Gratification.” 

We knew if we were to teach creatives how to use technology creatively, we needed to get them hands-on quickly.

So, when no one is looking, push buttons, turn knobs, and plug something into something else. Lay on the floor and take a picture. Turn a speaker in the corner of the room and hear what happens. You will never break new ground or do something no one else has done unless you take some risks. What is the worst that can happen? You might break something? Then again, you might break new creative ground.

OH, last piece of advice. Write down everything you do. Just in case you do discover something cool, you will know how to repeat it, and if you do get caught touching stuff you weren’t supposed to, you can always find your way back to normalizing whatever you were tinkering with.

Fast track your entertainment production career