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How To Go From Good to Great With The MAGIC 5%

In my line of work as a Chief Creative Officer, there is nothing more exhilarating than finding what I call the MAGIC 5% on a project.  It’s that last 5% that takes a project from something good to great!  It’s the MAGIC 5% that ultimately creates an extraordinary experience and captivates your audience (and exceeds everyone’s expectations). And who doesn’t want that outcome for every project!

Jurassic Inspiration

My journey to find the MAGIC 5% on every project began years ago after watching Jurassic Park over and over again (nine times to be exact). I give credit to Stan Winston and his incredible special effects as the inspiration for what got me to where I am today. There is a great story that happened during the making of the iconic Jurassic Park T-Rex. One of Stan Winston’s artist, who was responsible for hand sculpting hundreds of thousands of scales on the T-Rex, completely lost his mind in the middle of the project. The artist was fed up and refused to put on one more single scale.  Stan reportedly took the guy outside and said “I know… nobody is going to see the scales, nobody is going to see that one last scale. But everyone is going to feel it.” So to me that is the last 5%– that is the difference between creating something good versus something great. This is what started me on my journey in finding the MAGIC 5% for every project.

Go From Good to Great With The MAGIC 5%

3 Principles For Creating The MAGIC 5%

Every project begins with a VISION.  People often come to StarBeast with a good idea for their Vision, but they aren’t sure what approach to take to achieve it.  We like taking a good idea, finding the right approach and transforming it into a great idea.

At StarBeast, our approach for developing projects includes a blend of 3 principles: ART, TECHNOLOGY, and EMOTION.  Every project has Art, Technology, and Emotion — although sometimes these three principles are not always obvious. It’s maintaining the balance of these 3 principles during a project that ultimately creates the MAGIC 5% and takes a project from good to great! I strongly believe when you lose one of these three principles in a project then you ultimately lose the MAGIC 5%.

Every idea you have for a project needs to fall within this triangle.

Go From Good to Great With The MAGIC 5% - StarBeast

Principle 1: Art

Art is the creative element of a project. It’s when you let your mind go wild with possibilities. You explore a lot different things to capture the vision of a project. Exploring is good, it’s a chance to look for things that other people haven’t thought of doing before. Explore every aspect of every idea. Explore things that don’t make sense.  And some times when you come up with a cool idea, you might need to trash it and decide to explore something even better.

That to me is the alchemy of an idea and you convert it to something that creates an emotional response from your viewer.

Principle 2: Technology

There are so many impressive technical tools and strategies to use in today’s film and production world. This is where it is wise to down the gimmicks and start with the basics: WHO WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW and, most importantly WHY?

  • WHO are you connecting with? WHO do they want to connect with?
  • WHAT is their story? WHAT is important to them? WHAT is our shared story?
  • WHERE are they in their lives?
  • WHEN do they feel understood?
  • HOW are they feeling?
  • WHY are we telling this story? WHY is it important to the tribe we want to reach?

The answers to these questions become your filter–the tool through which you pour every decision about the project. If it doesn’t go through the filter, it’s not right for the project. If it does, then you’re on the right track! We filter every decision through the answers to those questions.  Our team thrives on being Artist with Technology in order to apply the right approach to find the MAGIC 5%

Principle 3: Emotion

For me, Emotion is the hardest principle.  Every project has it own way of creating emotion. I used to rely heavily on the art and technology in order to find ‘where’ the emotion lies. I started to change my approach and now often look to people to create emotion.  I love using people to create emotion. People are very emotional for me. So if I can connect ‘people’ to the art and technology then I start to find the emotion. Another place for emotion is the music and sound. I feel that music and sound are the soul of your piece. if you find the right music, then you can apply the right tone and emotion that you’ve never seen before.

Remember, your goal is to maintain the balance of these three principles: ART, TECHNOLOGY, and EMOTION during a project that allows you to find the MAGIC 5%.

Finding The MAGIC 5%

In my travels as an artist, I’ve discovered several different ways to help you find that Magic 5%. Sometimes it’s just rolling up your sleeves to put in those extra 2 hours at 2am. Sometimes it means listening to an idea that is better than the one that you’ve been working on for a long time. It’s understanding, that you might have to take a couple steps back to move forward to greatness. Sometimes it’s going back to evaluating if what you are doing today, this moment on the project is serving the initial core idea and vision.

I admit, it’s not always easy finding the MAGIC 5%, but when you do it certainly makes all the difference and worth it when you create an extraordinary experience that captivates your audience.

The Art of Feeling

If you’re inspired to learn more about  ”The Art of Feeling” — Discover why it’s The MAGIC 5% that creates extraordinary experiences for audiences” — here’s a talk I presented this month’s at the LA GLUG* gathering

*In case you’ve never heard of GLUG, it’s an awesome organization that champions creative communities around the world.

Nick Losq
StarBeast's Founder & Chief Creative Officer. Nick is an accomplished director who possesses a rare combination of artistic vision and technical expertise. He continually pushes the boundaries of digital technique to create visual stories that draw audiences in. Nick has worked on campaigns for clients including Disney, ESPN, VOX, Blizzard, Overwatch League, Anheuser-Bucsh, Nike, Acura, Honda, Guinness, HP and more.
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