The Creative Funnel

Recently I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I and others like me “create”.  The creative process is something that has always fascinated me and I love the myriad of ways that people go about getting from concept to reality. More importantly, I think it’s essential that emerging talent recognize their own process and how they see the world around them.  While I was in school, it was very difficult to stay on task without some type of visual guidance to keep me within the paramaters of the project.  After time, I realized that my particular style and how I see the process working out falls in line with the way many movie directors and production people work.  I often describe it as the creative funnel, I start with the initial concept, which is just that- a very broad interpretation of what I want to accomplish.  This gets tossed into the “Creative Funnel” and from there it moves onto the next step, which is to physically sit down and sketch out on paper the concept (storyboarding).  This step is crucial to me as it translates my ideas into something more tangible.  I’m not dealing with lighting setups or anything like that at this point, this is something to strictly keep the concept pure in it’s intent visually.  Once the storyboarding is done I move on to the production details; how much will props cost, what kind of wardrobe will we need, makeup requirements, etc.  Its usually at this point where I decide if the majority of the image will be shot as a composite or as a whole.  Now that the concept is moving further down the funnel, all the unecessary information is being filtered out.  The final step is to decide on lighting.  The lighting is the piece that really anchors everything else together and it’s important that it falls in line with the mood of the photograph, which was detailed out in the storyboarding (see how important that intial sketch was!).  So, now when it’s the day of the shoot, I have a detailed plan of how I’m going to attack it (direct it).

Now that I’ve gone through my process, how do you do yours?  Is it something similar or completely different?  I’d love to hear!