Showing all posts tagged #ideation:


Leadership no no

Posted on July 18th, 2016

My goal as a leader is to never say "no." Rather even if I know with certainty that "no" is the correct choice, I prefer lead through the situation by considering the possibility of a yes. I try to lay out the best few options that we can see and what the benefits and consequences are from each.

Most choices to try an enhance a plan requires a choice to abandon another part of it. If someone does pose a truly good idea, we'll all probably agree that it's an improvement. If the culture is created that all ideas are considered, then there will be a better chance of good ideas being offered.

If change is always squashed, then ideas for improvement will never be revealed and we will die in status quo…

If an idea is suggested that I know (either because of intuition or previous experience) is a poor choice, I am a better leader if I steer them (be they a subordinate, a peer, or a superior) toward realizing the choice on their own.

Summarized, I'm the best leader when I am optimistic and disciplined enough to choose not to say "no."

My Professional Vision & Personal Values

Posted on December 31st, 2015

I focused a lot of energy refining these in 2015. Here’s to 2016 being a year of flourishing in commitment and execution.

VISION (This is my professional vision. Any “tentmaking" responsibilities I commit to should support my vision)
maximizing ideation and strategy
coaching and revealing beauty to enhance story
achieving the greatest intersection of stewardship and creativity


VALUES (a sketch of my personal values that I realize is a filter for me in all I do)
  • Believe in the one who is sent … remember Jesus’ authority; be one who is surrendered … be courageous and without worry
    • John 6:29
    • Matt. 28 ... Gal. 2:19-20 ... John 15
    • Luke 12:31

  • Love with 100% - live with passion & peace … be salt & give grace … The Church Universal - ecclesial community at the fractal level … disciple (and humbly study) in every possible context
    • 1 John 2 ... John 10:10
    • Eph. 1:23 ... I John 1
    • John 16 ... Luke 2:22 ... Titus 2 ... Matt 9:38 pray for the workers

  • Pioneer; be a first follower of the Lord - every new day commune constantly; prayer without ceasing ... be authentic
    • Gal 1:10 ... Psalms 33,40, etc. ... Is. 42 ... Rev. 5
    • Romans 8:26-28 ... I Thess. 5:17

  • Maximize every context and opportunity … stewardship with the purpose of reconciliationinnovate reveal beauty (even if only to the subconscious) with the purpose of redemption
    • Romans 8:6 ... Col. 1
    • John 1 ... John 4:23-24 ... 2 Cor 12:7-10

Dealership Production Design

Posted on October 29th, 2015

Last night we transformed one end of the dealership to celebrate momentum. Red, silver, and white branding is maintained for this main event stage and the rest of the dealership.

VIPs are enjoying catered small plates. The president and others just completed their speeches. Guests are about to experiment the main event.

Pre-show look. Lights are slowly strafing across the ceiling above the “stage" that we made. Truss warmers are twinkling white on the silver sticks of vertical truss and anticipation is in the air (or is that haze?)

I prepared myself in position at lighting control (my Jands Vista S1 - I and/or my console are available for hire/rent) back stage. I transitioned the lights as the intro video played and encouraged the talent to break a leg...
Actually, I took this shot well after the event just before we tore down - through the veil of the CrushedBlack fabric, you can see the car already on stage - in the moment I was too busy firing off a barrage of lighting effects; as well as cuing dancers, actors, and a driver for their moments of the production.
I’m really bummed not to have any photos to share of the live number we performed. Hopefully I can get some shots or video from one of the guests. I wish I had thought to set up a GoPro or few to record.

After the event, I hurried to offer photography to guests as they all wanted to pose with the cast. I managed even to get a #castandcrew shot taken of me (in the coveralls that was part of the branding) with the performers. These guys are great, by the way. If you’re looking for actors and/or dancers (and/or hamsters?) contact me and I can refer you to some great Metro Detroit talent.

One of my other responsibilities was to take photos of the president and leadership holding their awards at the corporate stage for earlier speeches at far end of the room. This is my view walking back toward the main stage. I share it to give context of the space. Even at the end of the night, the mood still feels good in the transformed dealership.
Interesting to contemplate that two hours later, everything is packed up and the morning crew will be able to bring cars back into the space for normal operations.

I think this image is hilarious; this pair of hamsters remained at the ready long after every guest had taken photos and the catering had been cleared.

It was a fun event. It always is when a producer tells me they want to drive a car on stage!

My Production Design Algorithm

Posted on May 17th, 2015

A stream of thought listing things I consider with every design:

  • Context of organization
  • Context of event
  • What are the “budget" parameters?
    • Cost for the event?
    • Budget for series? for year?
  • Who is on stage?
    • who’s the teacher
    • who’s the worship leader
    • play to their style
  • Topic of the day…series
  • Branding...
    • How do the visuals identify with the mission?
    • Achieve continuity with the rest of communication
  • What are my resources?
    • existing materials?
    • budget for new?
      • I suppose I ought to ask about rental budget; however I’m rarely a fan of such...
    • lighting inventory?
  • What is the rep plot?
    • How do we play to the strengths of the lighting system?
    • A good rep plot is arguably the most important asset to your venue.
    • Certainly right up there with a good PA.
    • The good news is that that it costs way less...
  • What are video requirements?
    • IMAG
    • broadcast
    • camera positions
  • What are audio’s needs? What will help them succeed?
  • who is the producer?
    • What are their visual preferences?
    • what “lens" is the story told?
  • Who is on lights? Maximize their strengths...
  • What is the timeline for setup? for strike?
    • Is it a stage turn situation? If so, what is the design that precedes and follows?
    • How do you design in the timeline of multiple turns?
      • Hang the rig points 2 weeks out
      • hang the truss 1.5 weeks out
      • hang the lights 1 week out and use as backlight for the Midweek stage
      • Finally, hang hard goods and refocus lights in the turn for the target event
      • then hang a screen and soft goods from the same truss in an upcoming design.
  • What are transportation and storage logistical considerations?
  • Who is the crew? What are their strengths and experiences?
    • Artists vs. engineers
  • Materials
    • What materials have been used recently?
    • What materials will the upcoming holiday be using?
    • Use something different than either of these.
  • Mood
    • Honestly more important than materials is the mood.
    • It’s possible to create multiple moods with the same materials.
      • That’s what we do in a series: I brand a series with a palette of materials, and then craft the set for each day to support the unique story of that specific event...
  • Inspiration
    • What is inspiring me recently?
      • Architecture
      • Nature
      • Window displays
      • Trade magazines
      • Cinema
      • Renaissance paintings
      • Industrial dumpster
      • Pinterest
    • What's an archived idea that I might finally have the chance to try?
      • Evernote
        • Anything that inspires me tends to end up in Evernote
        • I use tags such as “design ideas"
    • I hate copying (plagiarism) and go to great lengths to make sure my art is authenticity mine. However, I think being inspired by other designers is completely appropriate.
    • Who can you connect with to bounce ideas off of one another? #ctln
  • Passion
    • I want people to pull their phones out.
    • I take pride in my discipline - the pursuit of creating something beautiful.
    • A design certainly should look good
      • Visual interest, shapes, patterns, textures, Layers, Depth behind every camera angle, etc.
      • However I suggest there are transcendent considerations that can be woven into the scene - metaphor, symbols, numerology, etc. Hide "Easter eggs" - it's fun and it will inspire someone, I promise.
        • break the 4th wall - immerse them in the story
        • target people’s subconscious

Danny Cox Album Release Concert

Posted on April 25th, 2015

It was such a privilege to be part of this event! My friend Danny released his recent album “Fighting for the Beauty" last night. I was honored to be asked to be Production Designer for it.

I reprised some of my favorite ingredients for this show:
  • Persian Rugs (various sizes and colors from (5’x7.5' all the way to 12’x23')
  • Gothic Chandeliers (custom made for Easter’15)
  • Gothic Lanterns (custom made for Easter’15) on the floor and atop our Iron Candle Stands (custom made many years ago for a Good Friday)
  • ADJ Z7s (LED zoom mover - I love the value of these instruments) atop our custom moving light cages (ask me about these cages sometime)
  • Black Tergalet and Silver Batiste (Rosebrand)
  • Elation 300s (profile mover) and 60s (LED wash mover)
  • And a very generous demo (thank you Advanced Lighting & Sound) of some ADJ beams

Here’s a phone pic of a nice moment near the end of the set. Hopefully I’ll add a few more from my real camera soon.

Create something beautiful today

Posted on March 27th, 2015

Create something beautiful today.
Whether a photograph, a spreadsheet, performance art, or leadership moment.
Make sure to care...

a journey in pursuit of the higher standard

Posted on February 27th, 2015

Sometimes the best path is nonlinear. Process matters. Effective is more important than efficient.

Life is too short to allow people to cherish the lesser. Break paradigms. Call people to the higher standard.

The filtering process of creating

Posted on February 21st, 2015

I've been pondering creativity recently. I suggest that creativity is more than an act: Creativity is a process.

That statement made, creativity is more than useless imagination, it is something tangible. Something is new that was not realized before! Creativity is turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. It is the ability to perceive, the vision to find hidden patterns, the action of making connections between seemingly unrelated phenomenon, the capacity to generate solutions.

It is not a single magical moment (though there are wonderfully encouraging moments of revelation along the journey) but rather the commitment to the process that is what defines the genius of the artisan who gifts us with her prose, his construction, their song, etc.

The creative doesn't start with nothing however. Usually (speaking for myself and for many of my friends) "writer's block" is the cause of to much "cluster" and a lack of focus for where to begin. Narrowing down the perameters is often the best way to begin. What are the core themes to be played with?

The process of creativity is a "filtering process" that begins with everything. Whittle away at the whole to focus in on the core beauty to be revealed. Then, when the creation begins to take shape, refine, refine, refine...

Hands Head and Heart

Posted on October 27th, 2014

He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
-St. Francis of Assisi

Thoughts to Remember When Creating a Space for Worship

Posted on September 30th, 2014

I rattled off a stream of thought in response to my friend asking me what things I think about when designing. He took that email and compiled it into this list; which his organization now uses this as part of their planing meetings. Perhaps it is a helpful guide for you to consider as well...


Thoughts to Remember When Creating a Space for Worship

  • The end goal of the services that happens in the space.
  • The vibe/feeling you want to help communicate.
  • Who is the target demographic?
  • Who in the audience will be reached regardless of the branding, environment, and artistry? These are not people to design for. Do not be influenced by them.
  • Who might only be opened up to the communication by the environment you present? This is who you must go after.
  • How might you use resources you already have available to support your vision?
  • What alternative ideas might convey such themes with increased beauty/power/depth?
  • What ideas might work well because of how clear the symbolism might be?
  • What of those ideas would be so cliché that it would actually turn off the artist in the audience?
  • What metaphors can you weave into the design to add depth of beauty (and meaning) ...even if only for you?
  • How long do you want to live in the look? A series? A season? A weekend? Indefinitely?
  • How will you light the set? How will you light the art and communication? Will the lighting on both feel unified?
  • Make sure to design scenic elements that will be enhanced with the lighting tools available. Also, design scenic with consideration of who is designing/operating lights. Try to play to their strengths.
  • It needs to look good in the room, to be certain. Are you broadcasting ever - stream, IMAG, record for later release?
  • Lighting for video requires thinking beyond what looks good to the naked eye; and lighting for both video and still having everything look good in the room requires some real finesse…
  • Think through positioning of each person who will be on stage. Where they stand/sit/dance should feel like it connects with the scenic elements and help visually connect the guests with the communication on stage. Break the 4th wall.
  • What scenic and/or lighting might be considered in the room? In the lobby? Before and after the event with advertising, social media, etc. How does the branding transcend the stage experience?
  • Think through everything that people might see. Certainly do not let anything be a distraction; also push into every opportunity to help enhance the story...

Eric Wolfe

Visual Artist. Production Designer and Consultant. Developer of Ideas. Maximizer of Resources. Strategic Thinker. Creative Innovator. Husband. Father. Philosopher. Photographer. Backpacker. Athlete. Cook. Artisan. Catch Eric’s sporadic musings at egwolfe.com or follow him on social media platforms as @egwolfe