Showing all posts tagged #ideation:


My Professional Vision & Personal Values

Posted on December 31st, 2015

May this next season be 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...

A Challenge to Myself

Posted on July 23rd, 2014

We artists are responsible for being the spark of hope that will change futures.

Eliminate everything that makes you less than the best reflection of your humanity. It is your responsibility is to be a good steward of every opportunity.

Own your contribution. Do not allow cynicism to "protect" you from having to try. Cynicism and hope cannot coexist. Embrace the new present and pursue the future without fear.

If you complain about something (especially more than once) you’re allowing it to continue. Instead, look for how you can solve the "problem" and lead into a new future… Future based language changes present results.

Do not be lulled into accepting the good. Instead, search out the hidden potential for greatness. Greatness is revealed by the discipline of whittling away at the idea and not settling for the first draft.

Tell a story. Be an artisan. Craft the magical.

Give good notes; be a good coach. Do not "play small." Give the gift of honest and constructive criticism - it is a real gift if your team trusts that you are for them.

Strive to do what only you can do. Gather and invest in great teammates. They too are creative and uniquely gifted. Be intentional and mine it out of them.

Being full of hope, bring your full self to any and every situation. Know your unique talents and steward them well.

Use your creative mind as a gift to the team. When at your best, you'll ask helpful, focusing questions that will guide us toward a better future.

Always take a chance on better, even if it seems threatening. Break paradigms - dare to bend the implications of what people think they know.

Ideate where we might go as we consider "hopeful, unknown, future possibilities."

Tomorrow is not rooted in the past unless you are lazy in your vision. May we call each other to the higher standard. Let us reach for the stars.

May we be known by love. May ours be a collective voice of hope. May we realize our potential to create a beautiful future.

Do not hesitate to step up where others shrink in fear. Charge as a warrior in the service of joy. Never cease speaking up and offering your very best work. Be relentless in generously sharing the gift you uniquely can be - to your ecclesial community and the world beyond.

You are designed to imagine and create the future.

You are not your idea. Be openhanded with everything. You are not what you do. Do not forget that the Work of God is to believe in the one who was sent.

As a creative who seeks to live life to the fullest, you must always pay attention to the world. See the big picture. Never cease to to be awestruck at the beauty of nature. Practice gratefulness; recognize gifts even and especially in the midst of chaos. Share in the celtic tradition as you journey.

Be not prideful; be courageous. Live unhindered. Your life is art.

Continue dying to yourself and live every new day in a posture of surrender.

Keep your integrity bounded and your imagination boundless. May your dreams be big - rooted in not in your past but in the One who was and is and most importantly who is to come.

Love with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.



*The above is curated from my various journal entries, notebooks, and underlined passages from books I've been reading. Along with a few "original" thoughts of my own, much of the above is derived with paraphrasing (and a few direct quotes) from some people who have been inspiring me over the past few months. Thanks in particular to Oswald Chambers, Seth Godin, Erwin McManus, Ann Voscamp, Ed Catmull, Aaron Sorkin, Marcus Buckingham, Michael Dauphinee, Jason Jaggard, Jessica Wolfe, and Jesus of Nazareth.


Eric Wolfe

Creative Director and Coach. Production Designer and Consultant. Developer of Ideas. Maximizer of Resources. Strategic Thinker. Creative Innovator. Visual Artist and Leader. Husband. Father. Philosopher. Photographer. Backpacker. Athlete. Cook. Artisan. Eric shares thoughts here about all of the above. He would love to connect to partner in coaching and revealing beauty to enhance story and experience. Please do reach out!