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Monday, February 18, 2008

Magic Third Thing

venn diagram

I've been meeting a lot of people recently making a series of corporate docs - and also meeting fellow bloggers and writers.

One thing I've noticed. The most successful people, doing the most interesting work, have a kind of 'magic' ingredient. Yes they are good at writing (or directing, or whatever their profession is) and they also have a good life and draw inspiration from that and other story dust type things.

But then there is this other thing. This 3rd part, equal to the other two, making it a big part of their life. This is what makes them different. It makes them more than 'just another writer'. Someone like Hugh has it. He is an adman, a blogger, but also now a wine seller. Clay has it. He was in the US Army, is a trainer, but also a poet and an artist. L-J has it. She is a presenter and a technical expert, but also a musician.

The other two parts are great. You need them. They make you competent, they make you okay, they deliver good solid work. But the magic third thing is 'your voice' or your unique angle.

I try to have it. I am a writer and blogger - but someone who also works for large companies creating training materials. This third circle is what creates the interesting 'centre'. It creates The Scriptwriter's Life. It creates the story for "Circumference" and also a new feature idea in development - more of which to come soon. If writing is a formula - the magic third is what allows you to break it.

What is your 'magic third'?


Elinor said...

Interesting post Tim!

And I agree, a full life makes for good writing both to oneself and hopefully others. My own magic third is the fact that others confide in me. All I do is listen but it makes for some fascinating insights into human nature.

Jon Peacey said...

My tuppenethworth...

I went to 'screenwriter school' for a couple of years and I despaired of some of the people there. My intake were reasonably aged and we all had our own thoughts, were strong-willed and were a bit obstreperous; the following years' intakes were all straight from degree (Ba.) courses and all around the 21 year old mark.

What I found alarming was that not only did these people have no life experience; they also lacked any cinematic frame of reference before Star Wars and, most importantly as far as I'm concerned, they believed in nothing... no politics, no religion, no opinions, no viewpoint, nothing. They were amoral, self-absorbed and impossible to talk to- like talking to particularly boring children.

I reckon I've led a pretty dull life, I've not lived much but I told a friend this and they laughed: they said I'd seen far more than I really should have...

As for the magic third thing: I don't know what mine might be... maybe it's that I watch the world or maybe it's that I still care as to where the world is heading...

Clay Lowe said...

Is it the magic third thing that drives us? that keeps us forever questing and striving to push the boundaries of our existence?

And Tim, for you to recognize it means you have it. We see the world not as it is, but as we are.


Tim Clague said...

Jon. I agree with your observation (although generalization is dangerous obviously). I think that there are two ways to look at this. The first is that you can only teach people the craft - they must find the story and the passion themselves. The second way is to think 'yes, we should talk about passion and influence when we teach'. Perhaps if it is explained that you do a Star Wars you need a wide breadth of influences then that may inspire students. It was this thought that led to the scriptwriters life diagram

Tim Clague said...

thanks clay