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The beginnings of an anti-manifesto (or some principles made manifest)

November 8, 2010

I never wanted to do this, but a number of conversations have made me bubble over so much that I might as well write some things down.

Also, this is the most inopportune time, but I’m doing terrible things to AfterEffects right now… so I’d rather be doing this. Where is my video editing assistant? Anyways, though I think it’s needless to say this, this is AN OUTLINE.

My intentions made manifest

1. Above all, make beautiful things. Beautiful by my definition, which is generously expansive and leans to conservative avant-garde.

2. Make things that function and do what they’re supposed to do.

3. Make things that engage superficially. They can engage in other ways as well. But at least superficially. This is probably the same as number one, but it’s very important, so I think it bears repeating. (My sister claims this is unclear. So, something that works superficially means: something you want to touch, approach, poke, click on, would like having on your walls, would like having on your coffee table, would pause on for a second when clicking around with the remote, can’t get the tune out of your head, etc, etc.)

4. Make things that work in surprising and unexpected ways.

5. But that don’t need external training (outside of the object and its context) to use/operate/decode/understand. ***I have been formulating this of lately: Make objects that work on at least some of their levels without needing to be spoken about.

6. That are more or less or honest. That function in more or less honest ways. Whatever that means. But I’ve got some ideas. It probably means don’t use a nostalgic look for the sake of it; it probably means if you’re doing a movie and you’d rather be doing a poster, you either make a movie that’s a movie (and bury your poster lust) or make a movie that acknowledges it might have been fun to be a poster. I can go on, but hopefully those examples help.

7. Love the audience as if they were your parents. You know: they might be great, they might be just ok, might be not on the same page creatively, but at the end of the day: don’t you want your mother to understand what the hell you’re doing? So be nice to the audience. Be as accessible as you can.

8. In a similar vein, talk about your work as if you were talking to your mom. If you’re using big words, you’ve probably already lost.

9. Simplicity is key. If there are more than, say, three moving parts, you’ve already lost. Three is an arbitrary number indeed, but the thing has to be so, so, so light and so, so, so simple….

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