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How to Fix a Broken Project by 3 Montreal Creatives

We’ve all been there: a project just doesn’t come together. The pieces just won’t fit. Staring at that blank page, canvas or monitor begins to feel like staring down the barrel of a gun. We asked three Montreal creatives how they push through a creative block, make the pieces fit, and fix a broken project.

 

Steve Villeneuve – Video Editor

According to Steve, video editors routinely face situations similar to writer’s block. “You just don’t know what to put next so that the scene makes sense.”

When faced with such a challenge, Steve councils stepping away. “Go get a glass of water, go outside, watch a bit of TV. Just don’t sit there staring at your monitor.” Putting some distance between you and the project—actual physical distance—can give you a new, clearer perspective on the problem.

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He also follows the rule of diminishing returns. “Editing for too long and too late into the night is rarely worth it.” Your intention may be to power through the problem, but, as Steve puts it, “Ninety percent of the time, you’ll take a look at what you’ve done the next day and think to yourself, ‘Oof … this is terrible.’”

Steve is president of Digger Films, an independent film production company in Montreal, and a video director and editor in the video game industry. His short film, A Quiet Moment, can be seen as part of this year’s Fantasia Film Festival.

 

Maude De Larochelliere – Account Executive

Maude, an account executive at Karelab, has formed habits to help her not only lay the groundwork for a new project, but also to facilitate breaking through inevitable creative blocks. “To be inspired, she says, you must seek inspiration.”

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To Maude, inspiration is found through experience. “If you don’t live new experiences, don’t meet new people and don’t try new activities, it’s impossible to be truly inspired,” she says. “It’s like juggling the same three balls when you could be juggling a dozen flaming torches.”

Those new experiences act as fuel and the mind does the rest. “You focus on the problem at hand intensely for about thirty minutes, Maude explains, and then you do something else and let your mind wander.” Maude’s mind does its best wandering in the shower. “I get all my best ideas in the shower.”

The most important thing, according to Maude, is to turn the process into a habit so that, when a creative challenge arises, the ability to be inspired and find a solution has been internalized.

Maude is an account executive with Karelab, a local company which creates web products to boost employee engagement and performance, and Director of Experience with CreativeMornings/Montréal.

 

Marie-Claire Lynn – Communications Advisor

As a communications consultant, Marie-Claire’s challenge isn’t simply developing a new communications tool, but developing a tool designed to promote someone else’s creative project.

Designing and implementing such a tool requires a holistic approach: “From being visually pleasing, to telling the story of the project, to making sure the communication goals that were established are being met.” If a single aspect is out of balance, it can render the entire project ineffective.

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When faced with a project that isn’t coming together, Marie-Claire suggests seeking a fresh perspective by taking a step back and distilling the project to its core components. “I go back to basics and remind myself of the objectives and origins of the project. I look for solutions in elements that might have been put aside too early in the process.”

It’s easy to lose sight of a project’s basic purpose—to inform, entertain, sell, engage—and recalling the project’s reason for being can help refocus your energies while offering a brand new perspective.

Marie-Claire is a communications consultant, a message creator, a storyteller and is passionate about passion. Find Marie-Claire on LinkedIn.

Take a step back, return to basics, and make inspiration a habit: each of these practices is easy to adopt and apply to nearly any creative endeavor. We’d love to hear from you, to hear about the tricks and techniques you have used to overcome a creative challenge. 


Text: Sophia Kapchinsky & Andre Farant

Photos: Steve by Max Juneau, Maude by Tora Photography, Marie-Claire by Nicole Provençal