Tag Archives: writing

The Content Creative Process that Delivers a Larger Audience

By: R. Michael Brown

Medici Gardens in Florence, Italy

Medici Gardens in Florence, Italy

Most 8 year-olds learn how to write, draw, and paint by grabbing a piece of blank paper and just get started. Not me.

I grew up in Italy and in 3rd grade I found out how Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci started a creative project. They learned it in the Medici family gardens in Florence where they were apprentices.

The rich Renaissance family set up the garden as a teaching studio.

Student artists were assigned to master artists and the apprentices leaned their craft by copying the work of their mentors. The masters taught them to immerse themselves in a subject to learn everything about it. They studied not only the form but the history, stories, everything they could find out about a subject they were going to produce.

I call this “immersion therapy.”

Medici family home Florence, Italy

Medici family home in Florence, Italy where art apprentices learned their craft.

The combination of immersion and copying the styles of the masters helped the apprentice learn the techniques of discovery, learning, materials, tools, and technical craft to paint, sculpt, and more. It helped them learn how to feel a subject and see it deeper from many angles.

The young artists found out how to visualize a story in their work.

Michelangelo The Last Judgment

Michelangelo “The Last Judgement” Sistine Chapel in Vatican City

Apprentices did this until they were competent enough to create their own style. They continued immersion therapy on each project but no longer needed to copy. They created from the knowledge and feelings they had about the subject and could tell stories with a painting or statue.

Leonardo da Vinci invention drawingLeonardo da Vinci took it to extremes and it inspired him into engineering, architecture, and invention – well beyond art.

Leonardo da Vinci 2 Wheel Paddleboat

Leonardo da Vinci 2-Wheeled Paddleboat

This model for learning and the creative process has been the most effective method I’ve seen or used for producing content – writing, illustration, painting, sculpture, video, film, and photography. Most of the best producers of content use this process to learn and continue it throughout their careers.

I use it every day.

The process helps especially in producing in-depth content marketing material like feature stories.  It inspires ideas for creative non-fiction, not just straight, grind it out, news or marketing copy.

The Galapogos: Connect & Conserve. R. Michael Brown, Writer & Producer. Picked up by Discovery Channel International.

Galapagos Composite w=800

My story in the Galapagos Islands is a modern day example of “immersion therapy” to produce the story.  My cameraman Abdiel Vivancos, audio Frankie Linero, and I were there for 2 weeks getting aerials, chartering boats, hiking mountains.  But I studied the islands and project for 3 months in pre-production, plus worked with Equador government agencies, before going.  The islands don’t have electric power…. interesting logistics to charge camera batteries.  The segment was picked up by Discovery Network International.

When used effectively, I’ve found that producing content using immersion therapy makes a more emotional connection with viewers, attracts a larger audience, encourages more engagement, and works to draw customers to a story and brand.

Immersion therapy isn’t easy to master, and takes time and effort, but the benefits of richer and more insightful stories will payoff in a stronger brand connection with the audiences you want to reach.

The First Blogs and Bloggers?

Blogs are considered to be a relatively new phenomenon in the last 20 years.  But are they?

In the 1500’s through the 1800’s, Ben Franklin, Samuel Sewell, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine, Adam Smith, and many others published what were called pamphlets – short small booklets with their news, ideas, and opinions (their content) about contemporary affairs.

Sounds like a blog doesn’t it?

There were thousands of these printed. In one reference they have more than 15,000 titles: Pamphlets in American History

Read More (Marketing Works Today)

“I was the first multimedia producer at the IBM PC Division. One of my roles was managing editor of one of the first professional blogging groups – 15 full-time freelance journalists that wrote about our products, services, and customers – in 1987.  The first brand journalism group that I know of.

We published on Internet Newsgroups, Forums, and Weblogs. Some of the content was used in an old medium: print [press releases… plus brochures, magazines, newsletters, and product packaging.]”