Silence the Inner Critic

Crew Private Eye Case File

“I was thinking of talking about a few different topics of my interest today, but this morning I caught a flatvid that got me focused on a new topic today, one that I would like to share with you,” Drraagh says as he sits back in his chair, feet up on the desk, hat tilted sideways to block some of  the light from is eye as he almost seems napping but still is speaking.

“The reason I like this video is the idea as he is talking about how his mind works, how he is able to think as quickly as he comes across. I know I’ve talked before about information and acting and the like. The reason the late Robin Williams does so good is he gets past the filter that people put on themselves. We have an inner critic that tells you ‘Hey, this is not something you’re good at. You missed important details of the joke, your timing was off on this joke and now people aren’t going to be with you for the rest of the show.’ The worst part is, we created this critic,” he says and stands up, looking out the window to the sky around the airship and sighs softly.

“The sky is a great sight to look at. The vast, endless possibilities that are there. Even the opening to Firefly tells us so, in the lines of the theme:

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me.

“I don’t care, I’m still free, You can’t take the sky from me. Essentially, you can do whatever you want but I can still go to the sky and get away, go somewhere new. Now, look back at your life, didn’t you want to be something else when you were a kid. You wanted to do something, and maybe you got lucky and got the job you wanted. otherwise, maybe you didn’t and now you are making due. That little voice inside your mind telling you ‘Take the safe route’, ‘Don’t try to do this, its too dangerous’, various little things like that playing in your mind and you decided to follow that advice because hey, you had this time where things went bad and its better to play it safe as that way you’re not risking too much.”

“But let’s go back to Robin Williams improv for a moment.  We have one of Pixar’s rules of storytelling being as follows:

But what Robin is doing is looking at a situation or item and taking a leap to something that is somehow connected and going from there to make it matter, to make it count. Even something simple and obvious could be made fun, like his bit with the iron chef when he used the prop as an apron, but the idea is how can you push the envelope with that scenario? How can you make the restaurant scene interesting for people to see? Throw something unexpected in there and let the scenario grow and react. Take the risk and you’ll get someone to bite it and love it.”

“One of the biggest things about any sort of storyteller is the feedback,. Why do you think there are ratings? To see what is good and what isn’t, television shows live and bie based on the ratings… and perhaps the network, if you look at the various shows Fox has cancelled in their history that could have been great.. but that’s besides the point. Ratings in television and movies are delayed, so you don’t know how the audience will respond until they see the finished product. It is the same with video games, but with patches you do have some ways to change things as we saw with the Mass Effect 3 debacle. But much like a comedian, a live storyteller has immediate audience reaction to play off of. You can adjust the story to fit your audience, you can do what so many writers would kill for; you can make sure your audience is engaged with the whole story from beginning to end and you don’t have to change anything you are doing, except maybe one thing that Robin Williams shows us.”

“Be willing to fail, because the fact that you have failed just means that you tried. The saying is that Thomas Edison said ‘I didn’t fail, I just found 10,000 ways it didn’t work’. Then we have the inspirational quotes like the great speech from Rocky Balboa, the idea of falling six times to get up seven and all that. You find the quote you like to understand that failing at something doesn’t mean that you are a failure, instead it means that you are growing.. and you will begin to feel better about taking risks, about trying new things, about being an innovator. Think about that word for a moment, innovator. Life is driven by the innovators. Don’t believe me, take a look back through history at a few key moments of innovation and you will see how they changed the world, and they all sprouted from so many failures.”

“The Wright brothers made so many test flights and trials before the eventually succeeded. Ford’s Edsel bombed for so many reasons, but you still hear Ford being a big name in cars. Even in the video game sector, we have products like Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, the CD-i and so forth,  not to mention how many hundreds of failed games there are for one reason or another. So, bite the bullet, take a risk, run with something weird and different and people may enjoy it. If you want to see some examples of how that works in gaming, since that is probably why you’re here, let me give you a few examples, like this great write up on Chris Perkins, DM

“Basically, the idea is to be using these as end models, of places you could be, build to become like them but don’t measure yourself by the failure if you don’t get it right the first time. Instead, figure where you made a mistake and use that to move on. Live in the moment, focus on that moment and make it the best moment you can do. Your players will thank you, and if you can do it in your everyday life, you will go much farther.”