Tap Directly Into Your Creative Mind... And Easily Access YOUR Million-Dollar Ideas Ideas are the lifeblood of success... and the best ideas originate with brainstorming. Brainstorming can help you successfully fix any problem, build any business, generate any plan, or develop any story. But the problem is that most people have no clue how to effectively brainstorm - either by themselves or with groups. You can waste a lot of time coming up with old, boring ideas that won't work... and the whole time you actually believe that you are brainstorming.

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Life Does Influence

As this book's deadline was being met, America endured the tragic attacks that occurred on September 11,2001. Within the days and weeks following the attacks, an arts-and-entertainment task force was summoned by the White House and government intelligence specialists to help them brainstorm about possible future attacks from the enemy. As Allison Hope Wiener and Daniel Fierman wrote in an Entertainment Weekly article, Since 1999, the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) at the University of Southern California, has been operating as a brain trust for the U.S. Army, working in conjunction with academics and unpaid volunteers from the entertainment industry, including David Fincher and Spike Jonze as well as special-effects gurus like Ron Cobb. The institute, headed by Richard Lindheim, a former executive at Universal and Paramount, helps create virtual-reality-training experience for soldiers. (The ICT is operated by USC under a five-year, 45 million contract with the Army.) While...

Clear and Present Danger

When I first finished the cut, I sent it to Joe Eszterhas. I usually involve everyone in trying to get his or her responses to the material. I don't hide it from people. What's the use of hiding it, because, eventually, it's gonna be seen by hundreds of millions of people Well, Joe was really happy. He thought it was a great translation of his adaptation of Ira Levins novel. But after a few negative screenings, Joe realized that the film wasn't working. I can remember sitting in the office of Sherry Lansing, who was head of Paramount at the time, and we were brainstorming and trying to work out what to do. Joe said, Well, why don't we make Tom Berenger character the killer Won't that turn the whole ending on its tail It was such an outrageous idea that I said, Yes. Let's try that. I just didn't know what else to do. It wouldn't have been an idea that I thought of myself. Maybe, if I had been in a more rational place and not with all the pressures of trying to get the film finished for...

Keeping Yourself on Track

When it comes to certain aspects in my life, I'm very undisciplined. Sound familiar If you know you need to write so many pages, make so many calls or set up so many meetings each day or each month, and it's not happening, one way to keep yourself on track is by creating a support system for yourself. Get together with a friend or two who are all in similar situations and working toward specific goals. Start by defining your ultimate goals and then brainstorm until you can come up with a consensus as to what it'll realistically take to reach them. Set some quantifiable (and again, realistic) daily, weekly and monthly goals for yourselves and work out a system to check in with each other on a regular basis, so you can report on your progress. Define your biggest stumbling blocks as well, so you can brainstorm on effective ways around them. It's helpful having buddies you can call when you're stuck, overwhelmed, depressed or frustrated, because they understand

Movie Posters

Looking at existing movie posters will help stimulate ideas. Unless you are skilled in graphic design, you should have an experienced designer create your poster, based on the images and words you want to convey. Consider the following questions to help brainstorm layout and wording ideas.

The Educator

When teaching, you constantly have to stay on top of the latest industry news, views, films, books, trends, players and technology, so you never stop learning. Another terrific aspect of the job is the opportunity to design your own course. I was thrilled at the chance to create my one class, and Duke's been designing classes for some time now. In fact, he says it's the best thing about his job. He makes sure each class satisfies university guidelines endeavors to offer new, challenging and innovative courses for the students, and at the same time, slants the focus of each course to his interests. Mutually beneficial to him and his students, it's still a way to feed his own passions. While teaching various aspects of filmmaking, you're surrounded by the process, talking about it, brainstorming with bright students to come up with new concepts and ideas, getting involved with student productions, bringing in (and networking with) guest speakers to interact with the class and...