by Erin Rains on September 12, 2017

5 Places to Find Inspiration (without text)

For most creatives, inspiration comes from a variety of (sometimes unusual) places. It’s often elusive when you go looking for it, and often comes to you when you least expect it. I’m always looking for different ideas because, as a video production specialist at New Boston, I juggle a wide variety of client video topics and goals. Each one requires a different approach, so finding inspiration is a must.

Whether I’m creating something for a client or daydreaming about potential passion projects, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. Here are some of my top places to find inspiration for stories, themes, and visual aesthetics:

1. Music

Music is probably the biggest source of inspiration for me. Whether I’m listening for my own pleasure or putting together tracks for a client, I often run across interesting tones and melodies that spark an idea. I mark my favorites, even if they aren’t relevant to the project at hand. I imagine stories and styles that go with the music. (Sometimes I imagine music videos for various songs. Even if I don’t actually make the videos I have in mind, it keeps my creativity flowing. In high school, I used my camcorder to produce some beloved, and charmingly low-quality, music videos!)

Music videos with an unexpected or juxtaposed visual take on the song are particularly inspiring to me--like the video for Kimbra’s “Settle Down.”

2. Thrift Stores and Flea Markets

Pre-owned objects have a past, and that usually prompts me to imagine where they’ve been and the stories behind them. A couple of my favorite shops feature cool retro furniture and humongous supplies of costumes and outrageous vintage clothing. Exploring these places leaves me wanting to create a historical drama or a coming-of-age story set in a past decade. The shops even stage the furniture to create mini “scenes.” Mid-century couch, rug, lamp, clock, etc. I imagine the characters (clad in the appropriate attire from the costume area) breaking into a dramatic argument in their living room, complete with martini glasses on the side table.

3. Old Buildings

I love old and creepy buildings for the same reason I love thrift stores: old things have history, style, and secrets. This mystery element fascinates me. I always imagine filming a ghost hunt documentary or a gothic haunted house story in these locations.

4. Dreams

Dreams contain complex blends of moods and tones. I tend to have very vivid dreams that stick with me after I wake up.

Situations and environments you encounter in dreams would hardly ever happen in real life. Dream residue sometimes affects my outlook for the entire next day, and that changes my perspective, which can be helpful in my creative endeavors.

(I once had a dream about being chased around by zombies in an empty, dark high school. It also included a guy in a chicken suit. I wrote an entire screenplay about it. This serves as a good reminder: just because you don’t think anyone else will understand why you created something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create it. Just keep in mind that others might not be interested in reading your 15-page script about a zombie dream.)

5. The Shower

There’s just something about spacing out while you lather up that gets ideas bubbling. When your brain shifts into neutral, your imagination can go free. You might think you don’t have anything on your mind, but that’s when the best ideas can come to you.

Creating isn’t a linear process. Sometimes I have an idea for a video or story, and then a new stimulus changes the source of inspiration, and the finished product turns out very differently from my original idea. Sometimes I end up going in a completely new direction.

Keeping a list is a good way to make sure you always keep inspiration at your fingertips; you never know when you might want those ideas again!

Still at a loss for inspiration on your next project? Get in touch. Our team is full of ideas!

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