Leaving the World in a More Interesting Place

A tweak on leaving the world in a better place than you found it I learned from my mother.

(Note: I'm sure this is an idea many have had over the centuries. My mother owns the example she set by living her life in a manner consistent with her beliefs and thus transmitting this as tangible teaching to me.)

"Interesting" leads to a process of discovery where curiosity and ingenuity shake hands with knowledge and deliver new experiences for all involved.

Two examples of design of interesting in the world of cinema

The Name's Bond, James Bond


And so is the grooming.

The care taken with the sets, technology, and style in the movies depicting the adventures of the famous British Secret Service agent have established a strong following and created a lasting franchise for the Ian Fleming character.

Starting today and through the summer, the Barbican in London has dedicated an interactive experience to showcase the process of creation and development of the Bond Style.

The Bond movies contain all the elements of a good story: the good guy, the bad guy(s), protocol, honor, transgressions, the rescue(s), the romance(s). Yes, many possibilities, and all quite imaginative, some less credible than others, but certainly made believable for the purposes of our hero saving the day.

Wearing what Bond wears has long held appeal. It's a bit like being him, borrowing his qualities.

The video interview that follows is focused on fashion and specifically the sartorial consideration for the various actors who portrayed Bond over the years.

A trend I'm seeing in more places. It goes beyond the basic idea of product placement to design of experience leaping from a show to real life. Think Banana Republic and the Mad Men collection, and I was just reading about a show in Australia where the main character dresses so well that they started a blog with updates on where to find similar clothing and accessories.

The Barbican will all be showcasing the work of Hollywood costume designers as well as major fashion names.

In case you were wondering, some numbers on the 007 franchise from 2008.

"Can Do" Attitude


There's a great line in Disney Pixar Toy Story I, when Buzz Light leaps "to infinity and beyond" and by the grace of things finds his way around the room and back. As he lands back on his feet, Buzz Light says to the incredulous cowboy: "can"!

Pixar tried to be many different things before becoming a successful film company. Their imagination was lit up by the fire of persistence. 

Persistence means that you are willing to try many different things with an eye to an end goal. It spells the unwavering belief that you will prevail. 

One of the lesser known facts about the company is that it was Pixar, and not Apple, that made Steve Jobs a billionaire. Jobs bought Pixar in 1986 from Lucasfilm for $5 million. In 1995, the week after the release of Toy Story, Pixar went public and Jobs’s stock was worth $1.1 billion.

Think about meet Wall-E, the robot with a personality. He is curious about life and has a desire to connect to it. He is not willing to give up, he is going to persevere through it, ever the optimist. Watch this clip for a creative twist.

Emma Coats, a storyboard artist at Pixar Animation, recently tweeted a series of “story basics,” on how to create appealing stories [hat tip Farnam Street]. Among them:

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.


#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

Having a great story, believing in it, and connecting with people that way is part of leaving the world in a more interesting place. 



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.