Christmas Gift for any Content Creator: Help from Charles Dickens

Writing favours for people like you – who create quality content – is easy. It can be boosted by one author (today), Charles Dickens.

Read on … it’s not too high-brow!

Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens, a writer and friend for creators

  Let me explain before you click me. I am on your side.

Since the 1960s – about when the Beatles were stumbling out, towards their world fame, I have used quotes from literature (and journalism) to boost my business and non-fiction writing. Looking around in what, for me, is newish territory, after ten +  years away from it – the internet world I mean – I find that I was wrong to think that the idea of remix was widespread. It’s re-mix after all! (Lessig uses it a lot.) Take an idea, a piece of prose for example. and put it in a new context.

With a very slight twist. it can spur you to come out with a new way of saying even the mundane. This is ‘remix’, as US  information and content  law expert, Lawrence Lessig, has been saying for years:  Remix and Thinking Sideways lie at the bedrock of creativity.

Google seems not to have heard of such a thing. And that is a headache, when people like the web
GURUS ram the importance of key words down one’s throat.

I have welcomed Charles Dickens to help me out – to demonstrate how books and plays, ads and designs … cartoons, comics … anything called arts can generate the fresh ideas for effective copy – the kind that you must produce day in day out, for effective business communication.

So …  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Remember it?

A reformed Scrooge with Bob Cratchit
A reformed Scrooge with Bob Cratchit

Perhaps you skimmed over that  man Dickens at school  in your rush to get to something more contemporary.

This mini-refresher could boost your everyday work in communicating your ideas.  Rinse your taste buds and taste anew what you had forgotten in the grind of the year’s toil! Take a fresh look and inject some of the Christmas Carol spirit into your work.

Replace the stale taste with toothsome new recipes for the words that demand market attention. See Christmas through the wide eyes of a child as Matisse put it.

An idea older than Dickens can boost your copy

  • This is the approach to communication brings art into the business realm or business into the arts realm.
  • It’s easy enough and absolutely free. It’s just what Mr. Scrooge would have  cheered about before Charles D. had finished his Chapter 5.

Ready then?

Continue reading “Christmas Gift for any Content Creator: Help from Charles Dickens”

Walt Disney 1942 cartoon “Bambi” – can boost your communications

A common image of Bambi
A common image of Bambi

This post has been updated as the writer rejoined the blog. References to our previous web site at professionalwordcom please ignor, until I work through this blog site. We currently run no web site at all. What a relief! We are looking at Genesis.

Bambi? You are kidding me!

People have asked, “Are you serious about these methods of producing effective business communication or any other sort? What is the point you are making in this post for instance?”

OK. Of course it looks a little un-orthodox (at first glance perhaps, but this is not GLANCE material) to advocate using a book from 19th Century novelist Charles Dickens or the “sideways thinking” approach of graphic designer Alan Fletcher to boost creativity.

The fact is that I am sharing techniques with you that I know many creative business communicators around the world are using right now. They produce killer copy that way, every day. Sometimes it has become so automatic for them that they no longer realize what they are doing: they think their ideas flowed like water. Well, I don’t ever think that. This approach is one of many that are around, to stir you out of old habits for a minute or two. It helps you to construct a map that fits the new territory of your own communication-task-of-the-day.

Try it, see if it fits. Even if doesn’t shake something loose in your head, at least the change of perspective will jolt your creativity that day more than somewhat. It could become addictive, as it has for me.

So, how can Bambi help business communicators of today?
Simply put: Walt Disney’s team of “creative” devised an opening panning-shot of three minutes for the famous “Bambi” animated movie in 1942. It is a stunning model for how an important speech could open; a sales presentation might begin; a company announcement to shareholders might kick off; how your next product roll-out or your next ‘good news’ press release should flow: like a continuous panning shot from left to right of screen. And it was “only a cartoon”.


“Bambi”, the cartoon about the life of an antlered forest dweller; the Prince of The Forest, opened during World War II in 1942. Work had started way back in 1936 on the storyline based on a book by Felix Salten (Dunlap, New York) while “Snow White …” was still in production.

Notes from Disney’s production conferences for “Bambi” were preserved. They were recently brought to public view in a special Double DVD Set of Bambi from the corporation that flowed from those initial Disney blockbusters made sixty years ago.

Here is how it runs: “Say we open with the morning in the forest – maybe it could be something sort of mysterious. I like this atmosphere in the morning,” began Walt. “Taking time to get your audience in the mood – you have a mystery and you ask ‘What’s going on?’

“This could be effective if we have a multi-layer shot, that could be your opening pan and you move right up…” “Keep the background simple, not very graphic. At the end of the pan, we being a lighter mood … you come into a lighter patch somewhere, up to a tree in the multi-plane shot and make direct cut up to the Owl. He says nothing, just a little yawn, then to the Chipmunk. We introduce all the characters. “

How would your rough notes look for a presentation opening? Would they carry the audience from their own distractions and concerns into your story’s first incident in such a seamless manner? Would the fine details of your piece be painted into the flow that leads to your first main statement – your first big close-up of your central point? This opening scene rewards close scrutiny.

In the next post, I will give you two short examples of the technique of the “Bambi” opening – to consider: from John Berendt’s highly- successful amalgum of two arts: journalism and the novel, in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” (1994) and Ron Powers, author of a recent biography of Mark Twain, who produced a fine piece of passionate journalistic and historical writing in “White Town Drowsing” (Penguin 1987). I have kept these two items as private sources of creative energy behind work as a writer, journalist and business communication consultant – since those books landed on my shelves.

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