How To Become A Graphic Recorder Who Gets Paid

Nick Navatta is a San Diego Graphic Recorder, Illustrator, Storyboard Artist, and Content Creator helping businesses connect to clients in ways that STICK.

Are you curious about how to get into graphic recording and start getting paid to do it?

Discovering Graphic Recording

I was at a Tedx event in Nashville, TN when I first found out about the field of graphic recording.

At that time, I saw this guy drawing what looked like cartoons of the main points of each speaker. I thought to myself ‘I want to do that!’.

Up until that time, I had mostly created art for arts sake. To see art used as a communication tool opened me up to new possibilities to help people move  forward and accomplish their objectives.

One year after I attended that TedX event, I was working with the same guy I saw graphic recording on stage (Peter Durand of Alphachimp Studio). And I was getting paid for it.

But when I started out, I wasn’t sure how to go about breaking into the field. All I had was my desire.

Where To Start When You Want To Start Getting Paid As A Graphic Recorder

You may be at the point where you’ve discovered this field and need some forward momentum to move toward becoming a professional graphic recorder.

At the time I discovered graphic recording, I was in a full-blown identity and career crisis. I had spent about 5 years studying art in San Diego, CA and had moved back across the country to live in my hometown of Nashville, TN. The idea of making it as a painter for was not in the cards at that point. I realized it was going to be a hill to big for where I was at in my immediate circumstance.

Graphic recording was a field that seemed to satisfy my urge to create, to help others, and create the kind of lifestyle I wanted.

So what did I do to get started?

I started with setting out to build a support structure that would ensure I would  be paid to be a graphic recorder.  I started with committing to breaking into the field and doing whatever it took.

If you want to sculpt your physical body, you would have a diet plan in place, an exercise regimen, and if  really serious, a trainer.

This is the kind of approach you will need to break into the graphic recording field and start getting paid.

Start with committing to doing whatever it takes to get paid. And go a step further and  ‘pre-commit’. That means that you set up conditions that make it inevitable that you will eventually be paid for your service.

There are 3 things I would say are ‘must haves’ to ‘pre-commit’ too so you can propel you to the point where you are a paid graphic recorder.

3 Things You Can Do To Prepare And Make Sure You Get Paid As A Graphic Recorder

When I started out as a budding graphic recorder, I put structures in place that made it close to inevitable that I was going to keep moving forward, build my desire, and get paid. Here are 3 things that I focused on and can suggest.

1. Get Support, Don’t Isolate.

I can’t stress this enough: DON’T ISOLATE. It’s just not smart.

I would suggest throwing out any romantic ideas of this being something you can do a a ‘lone wolf’. Why? Because you will get better and quicker results in a more enjoyable way.

Having ongoing support speeds up what is possible for you. Isolating slows you down – a lot.

The Isolated Graphic Recorder

A few things you can do are:

•Ask a Close Friend For Accountability.

The most simple place to start is to ask someone you know, someone who is close to you and you’ve already a built a rapport with, to check in with on a daily or weekly basis.

It can be as simple as creating an agreement to text this person what you are going to be doing to move forward each day. It can be a small action.

Accountability is about getting the momentum you can’t yet create on your own. You can offer accountability to the person who is checking in with you to get them onboard to help you.

If this works for you and you want to take it to the next level or if this approach doesn’t get you going, you may want to…

•Start Or Join An Accountability Group.

When I got started in this field, I was hungry for more. The more you want it, the more support will help and feed you.

Two people is great. But three? It’s greater.
You’ve heard the saying ‘three’s company’, right? It is. That is the point that you have a group and the group dynamic can fuel you.

When I was looking for work in this field, I started an accountability group with a friend. It was a men’s group with a focus on challenge.

We would have a weekly topic around major areas of our lives, talk about our relationship to that topic, and set a challenge. Every two weeks, we would check in and see how we did on our challenge. Several people in the group were able to jump start some major momentum in this group.

Here is an article by Ellen Bard on how to set up an accountability group and get results. Use a group like this to get a good start as a graphic recorder.

If you want to get really serious, I would suggest that you…

•Hire A Coach.

Hiring a personal coach would be on the high-end of commitment. They aren’t cheap. They can range from anywhere to 250-1000 or more a month, depending on the coach you choose. Do your research if you go this route so you know what you are paying for.

If you’d like to go this route but don’t want to spend a lot, you may want to check out the app, Coach Me. You can find coaches here that will help you focus on a specific area for a great price.  Finding something like a productivity coach could net you some insights and practices that could go a long way to moving you forward.

For me, I hired a coach to keep me accountable to do the things that didn’t occur to me, for insight, and for helping me build my fire and hunger. My coach helped me become a stronger graphic recorder.

As part of your support, you will definitely want to support yourself on the skills side. Next up is…

2. Develop A Solid Graphic Recording Practice Regimen

Getting your drawing and penmanship skills up to snuff is THE place to start so you can actually do the work when you land your first gig.

The first thing to focus on is making sure that your note-taking is readable. Second, you’ll need just enough (not a lot to start) drawing and design skills to make the presentations visually appealing.

Focus on the basics and don’t get into the fancy stuff to start. Here are a few things you do and check out.

•Penmanship.

When I began practicing graphic recording, I acted like I was learning to print my letters for the first time. My first tip is to SLOW DOWN – and practice making your letters look how you’d like them to look if you were a reader of the text.

I would pick up a surface from Writeyboard and just practice your penmanship with dry-erase markers. You can consciously practice whether you are journaling and using a pen or pencil too. It will translate to your work with markers.

Find a book or website that resonates you when it comes to improving penmanship and roll with it.

•Listen to Your Favorite Podcasts and Videos.

TedTalks are great resources for practicing as a graphic recorder. The good thing about practicing like this is these talk are pretty dense. Only in meetings where there is a lot of information will you scribe at this pace, so it’s good training.

One graphic recording company in the UK, Scriberia, offers a graphic recording test on their web page. They give you a 12-minute Ted Talk and some challenge parameters to test your chops against.

Also, choose your favorite podcasts to listen to. Make this fun and easy for yourself.

•Copy Fonts.

There are great sites like Dafont where you can find new fonts. Just Google ‘fonts’ and you will be exposed to quite a few.

Pick up design books for more ideas and if you want a style with a bit more flair, check out some grafitti books.

Choose a font you like, write it out by hand, and then use that font in your next practice session. Take action on what you learn as soon as you can to integrate the muscle-memory quicker.

•Cartooning books.

There are a lot of books from a lot of sources when it comes to cartooning. When I first began, I was recommended books by Ed Emberley for understanding some simple ways to begin drawing for graphic recording.

These books are great because the drawings are simple, they look great, and he shows you how to build these drawings very simply. It’s a great resource to begin building your visual vocabulary.

I would do that or..

•Do Master Copies.

When I went to art school, we had a master’s class where we would copy a famous drawing or painting to learn the calligraphy and strokes of the artist. You can do this with samples of graphic recording too.

Google graphic recording and see what images pop up under Google Images.

Or-if you prefer, find an illustrator or a cartoonist’s work you like and copy it. It will slowly begin to inform how you make marks with your penmanship and drawing.

And then next, make sure to…

3. Connect to Others In The Graphic Recording Field And Be Bold

All of the opportunities you come into as a graphic recorder are going to be because of a relationship you have. Whether you’re working for a company or building your own practice, relationships are going to be your currency.

When it comes to getting paid in the field of graphic recording, it pays to be connected to those who are already doing what you want to be doing.

A few things I do and have done are below.

•Email Other Graphic Recorders To Learn.

I usually reach out to people who I want to learn something from. And in reality, I can learn a lot from everyone. So if we have something in common and I can learn from you, I’m going to want to explore what is possible if we connect. There may be something there, there may not, but it’s always worth a shot.

So in order to do that-you need to talk to that person! Connect with them and ask them questions.

If you have a relationship with this person, there can be a give and take between the two of you. You can’t give someone something of real value until you know what would really serve them. And when people know what would serve you, they can give to you.

You can also use LinkedIn. Here is my profile. Add me and we can exchange some ideas.

•Take Courses, Read Books, Join Organizations

This is another way to meet people in the graphic recording field and study under people who have developed businesses in this field. One piece of great advice applied can really help you develop.

One course I can recommend is Become A Rockstar Scribe with Alphachimp Studio. I helped co-create the course and you will see some of my animations and ideas in the course. You will even see a young Nick in one of the videos! It’s a good course to get your feet wet if you are a beginner and feeling intimidated by this field. I don’t know about the online community, but the course claims to have one.

I haven’t taken her courses yet, but I’ve been told Christina Merkeley offers some great courses for beginners and veterans alike.

Lastly, join the International Forum of Visual Practitioners, or the IFVP, to be exposed to a wide-ranging network of people in this field.

The idea is to gather where people gather, build relationships, and then if you’re feeling brave, work those relationships.

That is where the next suggestion comes in.

•Be Bold And Ask For What You Want

Ok, so you’ve got the skills, you’ve started to build relationships, and you have support.

Hopefully that support is goading you on to take some risks. But if not, this is the suggestion that will help you the most.

There will come a point where you will have to ask for something – a meeting, a referral, a sale, or even a job – in order to create what you want. There will be a time when you will need to be vulnerable and set yourself up to receive a YES or a NO.

This is how you create paid work.

It can be one big action or a series of small actions, but the idea is to ask for what you want. And to be willing to do what you need to do to create the outcome you want.

When I got my first job at a graphic recording company, I emailed them. I told them that I would be willing to work for free to learn the skills. I was hungry. They gave me a test job (which they paid me for) and then hired me. I went from having ZERO experience in this field to getting paid to learn on the job. It was an exciting time.

But none of it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t proposed or asked for something. I had to be bold. 

And you will too to start. It’s the act of getting out of your comfort zone. And as you’ve probably heard, everything you want is usually outside of it!

•••

Thank you for reading,

Nick 

 

 

 

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The Power of Ted by David Emerald – FISBE

The Power of TED by David Emerald – FISBE

The Power of TED by David Emerald is one of my favorite books. It has a prominent place on my bookshelf because it is so accessible and its ideas are easily digested. You can come back to the ideas in this book again and again to sharpen your creative self in life.

David Emerald’s book piggybacks on Steven Karpman’s already famous idea, The Drama Triangle. In the drama triangle, their are 3 roles: the victim, the villain, and the rescuer (or the hero).

The drama triangle is tricky because it’s actually something that can happen between people but also internally.

How You May Be Stuck In A Drama Triangle With Yourself

Like, for instance, lets say I want some attention from my significant other. Yet, the reason that I do is because I’m exhausted and not taking care of myself. In that moment I may abdicate a more ‘true’ desire, which is to feel connected and good, to what I think I want. I THINK this will make me feel good.

If I don’t get in touch with my real desire and latch onto the ‘lesser idea’ of what it is to feel good, I become a victim to my own lack of awareness. This could lead to pointing a finger at my partner if my strategy to ‘feel good’ fails (which ultimately it will), when I reach out to them from a place of disconnection. I then become someone who needs to be rescued-by my own self-because my partner cannot connect me to feeling good in my body. Only I can.  The only option is to self-rescue when I’m not in touch with myself. This will keep me seeking ‘rescue’ from without. That will keep me in the loop of blame, especially if I try to feel good and by getting another person to feel my cup.

What is the solution? To get clear on an the outcome I want.

Once you are focused on the outcome,  you feel passion, and then take baby steps. The very act of envisioning outcomes can lead to passion because it is a creative act of responsibility.

An outcome in this particular instance would be that I would want to feel energized and refreshed. Instead of depending on my partner to take care of me, I would take a baby step toward feeling this way and choose to say, take a nap.

The FISBE tool is important because it reveals my orientation.

FISBE stands for focus, inner state, and behavior.

I can FISBE in the drama triangle of the victim orientation or I can make the shift and FISBE in the creator orientation. My personal preference is to choose the creator orientation as much as possible.

The above video helps me easily remember one of my favorite ideas. I hope you enjoy it and it’s helpful.

Check out The Power of TED by David Emerald to get more into this idea.

P.S. Here is a downloadable image of the finished video graphic.

The Power of TED by David Emerald – FISBE

Nick Navatta

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What is Callibrain?

Callibrain. It’s the company I’ve been working for for the last 2.5 years and this video, What is Callibrain?, is the latest (and last) demo video I created for the company. I am leaving Callibrain at the beginning of 2016 and going onto the next venture, whatever that may be! So, let me talk about the video.

This was the third demo video I created as part of Team Callibrain, and it was created around the end of 2014. The messaging at that time was a bit different than it is now, as well as the product itself. After creating 2 whiteboard demo videos, I suggested we create a more classic motion-graphics video. I used After Effects to create the animation effects and Final Cut Pro for editing. We wanted to show how a company would actually use the product, so we focused not only the solution and the benefits of Callibrain, but how it works inside an imagined company(based on how we mostly used it internally at Callibrain). This video took about 2 months to produce, going through several iterations and feedback rounds.

My favorite part of this video was playing with how the story was told and creating the characters, and adding sound effects to have them come alive. Go ahead, give it a watch! Here is the video:

Thank you for watching,

Nick

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Become a part of The Alliance

The Alliance by Reid Hoffman is a sharp and smart book. This is a book written by the CEO of the biggest business and professional social media platform, LinkedIn. I really liked reading this book. It has a lot of great concepts to take action on, and I imagine it being very powerful for those who do take action and implement some of its principles. As for creating this book review, I took a more straightforward approach and let the information be the star of the show over the illustrations.

I don’t think it is one of my favorite reviews that we created, but I do think its information is some of the best. I especially like the ideas of negotiating very clear agreements and expectations up front with employees, and making it all explicit. So many companies and workplaces are not even in touch with this kind of thing. I love the idea of Tours of Duty, where shared objectives are explicitly agreed upon by employees and managers, and these objectives are agreed upon with input from both parties. Reid Hoffman wrote a book I will refer to in the future!

Here is the review for The Alliance by Reid Hoffman:

Thank you for watching!

Nick

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Linchpin by Seth Godin – Animated Book Review

Here is the review of Linchpin by Seth Godin that I created for Callibrain, Inc:

Linchpin by Seth Godin is a book that is insightful and fun to read. If you like Seth Godin, this is more of the good stuff he has to offer.

I love the ideas that Godin talks about in this book and I particularly like the idea of ‘work as art’, and the call to bring our most artful selves to our work and life from this book.

My hit on this book is that it asks you to continually come back to what you have to give as art. It is the holding back of what each of us has to give that hinders the success of individuals and companies. Seth Godin talks about some big ideas in this book and asks you to reach down deep and do your best work yet.

This review was fun to create. The way the book flowed, I just chose the ideas that seemed to be talked about most often and those that I connected with, and created my own structure out of them instead of going chapter by chapter.

I really liked playing with the characters in this one-and especially liked creating the resistance-lizard! I love books that come from a lighthearted place when sharing their ideas because it is so much easier to bring those ideas to life.

Thank you for watching my summary review of Linchpin by Seth Godin!

Nick

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First Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham | Animated Book Review

Above is the animated book review I created for First Break All The Rules By Marcus Buckingham while the Creative Director for Callibrain.

First Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham is a book that you will want to read if you manage people and you want to get some ‘inside pointers’ from a great source. What I like about this book is it provides people who manage others with a ‘place to come from’, when it comes to understanding being effective as a manager and understanding people.

Marcus Buckingham helps you do this by providing ‘stages’-from Basecamp to Camp 3-that help you check-in with the 12 Gallup ‘engagement questions’ and their corresponding requirements for fulfillment. If you get answers with a ‘5’ or strongly agree in response to each question, the employee is engaged at that level. Each level encompasses a certain amount of questions, and it helps because a manager has to get confirmation before assuming a person/employee is engaged. Pretty deep and smart stuff if you ask me!

My favorite part of creating this First Break All The Rules review was playing with illustrating how the process I talked above, works. I drew a ruler, to indicate ‘measuring’ engagement, which also happens to have 12 inches, or the #12 on it. From there I transferred the 12 engagement questions over to it, going from bottom to top and then was able to illustrate the ‘stages’ of engagement’ over to the right side of the ruler, using the mountain metaphor the author used. It was fun!

 

Thank you for watching!

Nick

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What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith | Animated Book Review

What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith is a wake-up call to each and every one of us who has pursued success in one form of the other. I love his idea of the ‘success delusion’ that leaders and succesful people labor under because it is basically a reminder to always, always, be on your toes. While creating this review of Marshall Goldsmith’s book, I wanted to communicate to the viewer that by continuously ignoring the behaviors that ‘get us in trouble’ when we are successful and slip into ignorance (what he calls the ’21 habits that hold you back from the top’), we slowly but surely dig ourselves into a hole.

I played off of the powerful symbol of a ladder and a leader climbing the ladder, which was on the cover of the book to illustrate the hole a person can dig themselves in when indulging in these poor habits. As the 21 habits are listed, I drew a leader interacting with an employee. The employee just wants to help the leader, but the leader won’t get out of his own way. As such, he begins to literally and symbolically descend the ‘ladder of success’. Watch the review of What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith now:

Thank you for watching!

Sincerely,

Nick

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People Follow You, Yes YOU

People Follow You by Jeb Blount is a great book. Great because it’s positive, the concepts are both high-level and actionable, and it is relevant to our world today. The thing I liked most about creating this review was playing with the 5 levers of leadership in a visual way. I think it is important to come up with a couple good ‘hooks’ in every review and I felt this was a strong one.

In the review, a woman leader is making the rounds with her team, demonstrating ‘high-touch’ leadership, and in every cell, she has her hand on a lever. In the middle of the page, there is a wheel/gear-like item which she is pulling/pushing by engaging with the lever. The idea I wanted to convey hear was that she was ‘hands-on’ and engaged. If I remember the book correctly, a lot of the book is about being aware of yourself and your impact on others and this is a step to getting  people to follow you. Through influence and care rather than coercion.

Another great thing about creating this review was that Jeb Blount himself commented on our video and loved it! That feels great to hear and to receive praise from the author himself!

Here is the review for People Follow You by Jeb Blount:

Thank you for watching!

Nick

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Life and Progress: The Movers of Cheese

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson and Ken Blanchard is a charming book and fable that packs a punch. Its punch is that change is inevitable, and it happens when progress is being made, and adapting to that change in a positive spirt and with a willing attitude is crucial.

Creating this review was a blast. Books that are fables or are story based offer a straight-line interpretation, the challenge is choosing what to include and what to leave out. This review challenged me and those I work with at Callibrain to only choose what it truly relevant to communicate the story. Creating fun characters was priority #1. Priority #2 was designing this review so that it flowed well, looked cool, and felt digestible to the viewer. I wish more books were written like this because they are just fun to read. That, and creating my own interpretation of the characters was a fun challenge. Here is the review of Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson and Ken Blanchard:

 

Thank you for watching!

Nick

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It’s Time To Change, so Switch!

Switch by Chip and Dan Heath is a powerful book on changing your own behavior and the behavior of those you lead. Our review of Switch, in my opinion, is the best book review we’ve created so far. Why? A couple reasons. One, I think its because the book is very straightforward and well-written. It has 9 key points  divided into 3 sections of 3. Very easy to digest and follow. Two, the flow of the actual review follows the simple flow of the book. Three, the content is FUN. One of the key ideas in this book by the Heath Brothers is the idea of the Elephant, our emotional self, and the Rider, our rational self, and how these two selves interact. That concept lends itself to a simple, but clever and already catchy way to understand the concepts in this book. In a sense, this is the book where the least amount of ‘processing’ had to be done to summarize it. That, and sometimes you just hit your ‘zone’. This is one of those reviews.

I had a blast creating this review, particularly drawing the elephant and the action of the elephants. I went a little deeper to learn about the behavior of elephants too so that I could glean more possible story lines. Knowledge of the subject at hands opens up the potential for story lines!  Lastly, we’ve gotten around 50 emails asking for this image, which I’ve been happy to give to people. People in corporations to people in classrooms to students who use this image in presentations. That lets me know we created something valuable here! Here is the video review for Switch by the Heath Brothers:

Thank you for watching!

Nick

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Leadership in 21 Laws

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell is one of those books that just does a good job of summarizing what it takes to be and practice leadership for a lifetime. It has that ‘bible’ quality to it, where you can just keep coming back to it again and again. My favorite part of creating a review for the 21 Laws of Leadership was putting together the storyline for this video. Some books tie up their concepts nicely and are more easily interpreted and translated. This is one of those books. This is the first review where I created an ‘office setting’, with an eye to create this for people in the workplace. A lot of our content at Callibrain was aimed in that direction because we had made software for organizations and well, most organizations do their work in an office setting!

John Maxwell has created a book that is easy to read and understand and this review is pretty easy to understand. The drawings and writing are clear and uncluttered in this review, something that doesn’t happen with every review. Here is the video review of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell:

Thank you for watching!

Nick

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Art meets War

This was a really fun review to create. The Art of War by Sun Tzu is a classic in the strategies of war BUT it can be mined for it’s leadership insights. In this review, I did my best to link the ideas in the art of war to modern-day ideas in the field of leadership. Some of them are probably a bit general or obvious, but I think it works. I did this because I wanted the viewer to be able to translate the ideas of Sun Tzu,  rooted in war, to ideas rooted in actionable insights in the leadership field. The idea is to make the content actionable-and it is hard to do that if you are talking about war because rarely are we engaged in that kind of combat!

A lot of people seem to like this review, even though it is ‘low’ on the actual illustration-side. The plus is that the theme makes up for that. This book has a lot of spirit and lends itself to mystery, history, and its own style. The drawing of the dragon in this, along with putting the review on a ‘scroll’ was just a blast. I think that is what gives this review it’s edge. Even the music is tailored to the unique and ancient spirt of this book! Here is the video for The Art of War by Sun Tzu:

Thank you for watching!

Nick

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How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie | Animated Book Review

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a classic. I would say this is the review that opened the floodgates for how I and we chose to review books at Callibrain and also opened up the vision for the books that we wanted to review. This review is unique because it is the first review where I chose to change up the style from a more general and conceptual style to a more literal and story-based style. The key is to still illustrate what is going on, along with the voiceover, but taking an extra step in ‘mirroring’ the voiceover with text bubbles helps a lot. It especially helps when delivering a LOT of information in content. So, with this review, it was a step toward covering more information in our reviews instead of just pieces of books. That could be good or bad, but that is what we chose.

My favorite ideas/parts of this review are the storyline-a young, budding alarm salesman is being mentored by a Dale Carnegie disciple, who happens to be his boss and a sales manager-and the sheer volume of good ideas in the book. I think all the ideas in this are great IF you are coming from a place of being yourself. I don’t think using ideas to manipulate, people-please, or make yourself look good are lasting. BUT-if these things are something you align with and want to do, they can be really powerful. You may find this review will help you win friends and influence people! Here is the review:

Thank you for watching!
Nick

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It only takes One Minute

Here is an animated book review for The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. My favorite part of creating this One Minute Manager video was coming up with the characters-particularly Mr. Trenell, Mr. Levy, and Ms. Brown. I like creating videos with a cast of characters because it is fun to draw different types of personalities. I also like the simplicity of this review. Nothing fancy, just presenting some information in a structured format. Once you meet the managers, there is a hand that is taking notes from them as they unload their insights. I chose to do this because there was a lot of information and this was the quickest and easiest way to deliver the essence of the book to the viewer.

My favorite idea  in this book is the One Minute Goal. I especially like the idea of putting your goal down in less than 250 words. I like this idea because it forces you to simplify your end result and it seems it would lead to a whole lot less confusion and more action. Any time I have put a goal into more than 250 words it has become a plan with multiple steps. Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson have given me a concept I will use! Here is the video:

Thanks for watching!

Nick

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Drive!

Drive by Dan Pink is a powerful book that helps us understand motivation and what drives our behavior and gives us some ideas to optimize our sense of meaning. The thing I liked about creating this book review is the way the book is laid out. It had a good introduction to how motivation works and then three powerful ideas that the rest of the book was written around. Those ideas are Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. Some books lend themselves to being interpreted a bit better than others based on how they are written. I felt that this was one of those books. I enjoyed doing the drawings in this one because I didn’t necessarily have to ‘over-interpret’ to get the point across.

In my own experience, having a solid framework to understand this framework of Autonomy is my favorite part of this book. I liked it because it explains that autonomy is not just ‘do whatever you want’, but a frame in which I or you are given free reign to do the things we do in the way we know how to do them best. Based on my own experiences of having autonomy in the workplace, it’s something that I need in my working style to really give my best. I appreciate having a reference for it! Here is the video:

Thanks for watching!

Nick

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Going from Good to Great

The next book review up is Good To Great by Jim Collins. My favorite idea from this book is the concept of the Level 5 leader, which Collins says is a leader who builds enduring greatness through a blend of personal humilty and professional will. This idea provides a good, broad vision to work to as a whole person, providing a picture to strive towards for both the both the personal and professional realms. I personally like it because its a high standard to  aim for and it takes a lifetime to achieve it.

Another favorite idea is The Hedgehog Concept, which asks ‘What are you deeply passionate about?’, ‘What drives your economic engine?’, and ‘What can you be the best in the world at?’. To me, this offers a logical approach to choosing and committing to what I can be the best at, how I can offer the best service in the process, and all the while considers how to do that so that I am taking care of myself and those around me. That just feels like a good idea! Here is the video:

Thank you for watching,

Nick

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Getting in the Habit

It’s been a good 2 years since I’ve posted here and it hasn’t been because there is nothing to post. I’ve just been in the habit of cranking out videos, one after the other, working for Callibrain, Inc. and helping build a content library of  over 30+ leadership and management book reviews. So, I’m going to be updating with a daily post for the next 20-30 days to share the videos that I and we created as part of the Callibrain Content Team. I read the book, create the script, work with our content editor to tighten it up, create a storyboard, title screen, and voiceover, and then send the materials over to our video editor to tie it all together.

I’m sharing our most popular book review to date, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey, today. This video was created back in 2013 and was popular right off the bat. This is one of those cornerstone books of the personal development and leadership fields. Stephen Covey wrote a book that will always have some powerful ideas to come back to.

A couple of my favorite ideas from the 7 habits are the simple but not easy ‘Be proactive’ idea, which calls us all to take complete responsibility for ourselves and the results we desire, and ‘Begin with the end in mind’, which reminds me to circle back and really invest in building a clear, solid vision and end result when i set out to accomplish anything substantial. Here is the video for the 7 Habits:

Sincerely,

Nick

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These were Made To Stick

Here are a couple more video book reviews that I made with the team at Wizards of Gyan, Inc. This is one of my favorite books when it comes to presenting ideas. Luckily, I get to present the great ideas inside of Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath as way to bring more value to people who could use the software we make (http://callibrain.com) . This video is in two parts because we wanted to do it justice. Looking back, I think it would have been better if we did it in just one video. But alas-twice the watchin’!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Sincerely,

Nick Navatta

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Video Book Review Central (Part 1)

Working with the Wizards of Gyan, Inc., I have gotten to read some great books. And after reading those great books, I have written a short review, or book summary. And to top off that book summary, there is a nice, hand-drawn video that explains the big ideas in the book. At the end of each video is a call to visit www.callibrain.com . Below are the first 3 videos I made. Enjoy!

The first one we created was The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. This one was the first one, and so far, has been our most popular one.

Next up is a book by an author named Dennis Bakke called The Decision Maker. It’s all about building a ‘decision-maker’ culture in the workplace. A lesser known author, but this guy has done some big things in life.

And the last of the book reviews for this post(more to come) is a book review for the first chapter of Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath. We actually put this one together before the book was released. I received a PDF that they sent out via their mailing list, and liked it so much, we made this review.

Keep reading and watching-more videos to come!

Sincerely,

Nick Navatta

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What I’ve Been Up To The Past Year

For the past year, I have had the privelege to work as the Creative Director for the Wizards of Gyan, Inc. We are right on the verge of launching our first software product, Callibrain (http://www.callibrain.com). We have produced quite a few videos-from a couple infomercials to several book reviews. Just a disclaimer: I do not own the rights to these videos, as I have created them for the uses of Wizards of Gyan, Inc. and Callibrain. I also am not responsible for all aspects of production. I do the visuals mostly (except for the book review videos, which I handle most of the production, from the visuals, to the editing, to the music). I can link to the work that I have created while being the Creative Director, which has involved creating the videos you will see below, as well as design work, marketing, and sales. I do whatever needs to be done.

Okay, here are some of the videos I have created with the help and feedback of my co-workers:

This was the video project that got me a job as Creative Director. It is a ‘version 1’ explanation of the software product, Callibrain.

This one is called ‘Callibrain helps Louie the Leader ‘. This one was fun to do. This one was ‘version 2’ messaging of Callibrain.

My favorite video! This was the Christmas video we sent out at the end of 2012. I know this is a good one, because the daughter of my CEO loves this one;)

This brings us to the end of this post. In my next post, I will share the Book Review Videos we have created. They are fun and full of good info. Looking forward to sharing!

Sincerely,

Nick Navatta

 

 

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Burger Time! Spec Video for Backyard Burgers

Hey there!

This is a spec video I did for Back Yard Burgers. It is done in the style of a whiteboard animation, except using colored pencils.  It is a 15-sec spot, created as a proposal for a commercial. Thank you to Horton Group , located in Nashville, TN, for the opportunity. Hope you like it,

Nick

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Bill Frist Interview(with Snapshot Interactive)

I recently had the honor to work with a local video production company called Snapshot Interactive. This is a great local company in Nashville with a great team of people on board. I really enjoyed working with them. They are headed by business partners Mark Scrivner and Ben Rigsby-two great and generous guys. I highly recommend their services.

They shared an opportunity with me and brought me on board to animate this interview with former senator of Tennessee, Bill Frist. I am not a very political guy myself, but I can appreciate the presence of the Frist family in Nashville, TN, and what they do for the community at large. This was a fun interview for me. I actually really enjoy eating at the Local Taco too Bill!

Please give it a view and leave me a comment. I appreciate any thoughts and feedback! Thank you,

Nick Navatta

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Demo Video: What is Shuttercard?

Shuttercard  is a cool, free service and e-commerce platform that makes it easier for photographers to get paid well for taking photos-so that photographers can actually focus on taking photos and enjoying it!

Animation created by http://nicknavatta.com

 

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Why the ‘Valentines Day Google Doodle’ is all about engagement

In case you didn’t see it, Google had this great animation (co-animated by Michael Lipman) embedded on its home page this morning. If you didn’t see it , here it is:

I have read the comments section of youtube, and several other blogs posting about this video, commenting on the political nature of the doodle, and the fact that it was a commentary on the failure of material goods to make us happy. Hey, these are great subjects to talk about, but I think the thing to talk about is WHY ITS ENGAGING.

Google knocked it out of the park-and I will tell you why I think they did.

Because the whole thing was about CONNECTION- an animation that tells the story of what we are all seeking in life-LOVE.

Whether you are man, woman, friend,  alien, or cookie, we are all looking for someone to partner up with and share this experience called Life together.

Google, while to most of us, may appear like a thousand headed monster, managed to embrace what is most important to human beings, and create an animation that reflected a little bit of all of us, back to ourselves.

Google was able to tap into all of our SHARED EXPERIENCE.

Not only that, but they were able to show how their search engine was intimately tied up with all of our attempts at expressing love, whether that is  completely true or not. This animation helped Google further ’embed’ itself into our minds, and more importantly, our hearts. This is what engages people.

Now, for me, I use google because the search engine works. The animation isn’t going to make me ‘fall in love’ with Google or anything.

BUT,heres the thing-it made me SMILE.

Even if Google does take over the world ten years from now, today, I got to enjoy what they created and trust them just a little more.

Now here is my quick  breakdown as an artist and an animator on why the video is engaging:

It’s sentimental. First, the song sets the mood of sentimentality. “Cold, Cold Heart” by Tony Bennett captures that feeling of loving and feeling rejected that we have all felt in one way or another. I also think the song was used well, with the lyrical portion of the song ending right before the characters come together, allowing the music to carry the story.

At home feeling. The artist uses a desk setup that most of us probably are familiar with: A computer chord, a juice box(maybe even a plate of food, haha), and a writing pad. This gives you the ‘at home’ feeling.

The characters are children. Childhood is a time when the world doesn’t seem so harsh, and hope seems to rule. The characters go through emotions that help you identify, but somehow, you know that defeat is foreign to the spirit of a child, and stay tuned to see how victory comes to be!

Recognizable symbols.The video begins by tying into the stereotypical ways people show love. A rose and chocolate. Even if you don’t buy them for your loved one, we all know that ever we ran out of ideas, those are the ‘ol trusties’. Using these symbols taps into all of our collective memories.

Repetition and then-surprise! The character approaches the girl several times, then-he resorts to throwing stuff at her! This is where I began to chuckle. Why? It is unexpected. I also think the variety of items the boy character throws adds to the effect, tossing a Jules Verne-looking, diving helmet, a pie, an iPhone looking thing, paper airplane, heart balloon, and rabbit out of a hat. The variety of items interrupts our pattern of what to expect, and it becomes funny!

The characters share an experience. This is the basis of all human connection-having something in common and sharing in it. It makes perfect sense that this is the ‘climax’ of the emotional rejection, ending in victory-just as he ‘gives up’. I also think that we have all experienced that moment when we stop looking for an answer, it seems that is when it shows up! This really helps people identify.

The montage of character couples. This lets us know that “Hey, google is for everyone”, allowing themselves to be viewed as a company run by *gasp* HUMANS! Humans with a heart too! I also thought it was genius how Google chose to humanize milk and cookies:) Just like a good storyteller would do.

The beginning and end shots. I think the play button on the red valentine on the homepage was great. It grabbed my curiosity and made me go “What is that!!?”. And I really enjoyed the final, parting shot of the handmade Google valentine. Very charming, and a great way to end the video and create a memorable goodbye.

All in all, this animated video was great. As for how something like this could work for you in your own business, it really comes down to what kind of image you have created for yourself, and if something like this would be in congruence. Google has done a great job of staying curious and exploring expression, so it makes perfect sense for them to do something like this and have it be a smash.

In your own business, I would offer the challenge to get to the heart of what it is you do and how it helps the world become just a little bit better-and do your best to take small steps from that place. Hey, I’m on the journey with ya!

Sincerely,

Nick Navatta

 

 

 

 

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Grumofied! Miguel Hernandez of Grumo Media interviews Nick Navatta

Hey There!

Above is a video interview I submitted to Miguel Hernandez of Grumo Media. Miguel is a very cool guy. He has allowed me to showcase two videos on two occasions on his site, and I am happy to talk great about his company and everything he does. Thumbs up from me:)

Below is the text for the interview:

When did you start animating and why?

Actually, about one year ago while working for a company called Alphachimp Studio in Nashville, TN.
I have always loved to draw and paint, and I began to become fascinated with the question of, “What emotionally connects and inspires people?”, or “How do I reach people’s hearts?”.

So now, I want to use my animations to create emotionally valuable experiences for other people. That could mean doing an animation for a music video-it could also mean helping a startup tell a story about it’s new idea. Whoever it is, I want-to help them get the result that makes them, and the people they serve, a little more happy.

What are your favourite tools for animating?

For basic illustrative animations I like Brushes for iPad and iMovie to edit. For me it’s simple, fun, and plays to my strengths as an illustrator. I’m really enjoying learning After Effects, especially after seeing that that seems to be the software of choice for demo videos. And I am very interested in even exploring stuff like sand animation. Honestly, I’m an open book right now.

What is your favorite project you’ve done so far?

My favorite project was doing a black and white charcoal time-lapse photography music video for a musician named Gavin Mikhail. It was a Christmas song named “Evergreen“.
I enjoyed it because I got to use my traditional art skills, concept skills, and the music-well, it has emotion in it! So I felt I was able to connect to my own personal inspiration while doing the project.

Please talk a little about the process of creating the Xmas time-lapse video.

How did you get the job? how long it took? where did you learn that technique? 
I got the Christmas Video gig when I was doing what is called ‘graphic recording’ at a small music workshop in Nashville. One of the speakers was a guy named Gavin Mikhail, who has quite a loyal following on YouTube. We became friends and right before Christmas he contacted me to let me know that he had an opportunity to enter a contest through YouTube-a ‘Song for the Seasons’ contest.

I created the video on short notice, but all in all, it took about 60+ hours-and that is everything, from storyboard to finish. The technique I used was time-lapse photography. Every second equaled ten photos. I actually picked up this ratio from the artist, Jason Mitcham, who created the Avett Brothers video “Head Full of Doubt“.

So, I had to think about what I wanted to happen in one second, and I would make small changes with every shot. I became familiar with the idea of time-lapse through the RSA videos, and had some first hand experience when I worked for Alphachimp Studios.

I got to creating the video and as it turns out, it was selected as one of the 12 YouTube selected , and went on to get 200,000 views in 24 hours!
Which project has been the hardest and why?

One in particular was designing an infographic for a hospital’s operation room process. Though I think it was a great cause, there wasn’t a lot of times where i was like , “This is AWESOME!”. And well, it wasn’t an animation and didn’t have a lot of room for story. I try my best to find projects with a little room for having fun, and I guess this one didn’t strike me as much fun! If I feel connected to the project, it is much easier to give my best work.

Where do you find inspiration for your animations?

Wel, Grumo Media for one :) Really though, your videos are great, and watching these let me know I can have FUN and provide a service at the same time.
I also have a love storytelling artists like Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. I actually really like Childrens books of all kinds for their original art.
I can appreciate a lot of the skill that Graffiti artists have, even though it may offend some people. I like stuff that expands and challenges perception too-I like the art of artists like MC Escher. And then there is music and sound effects-I think it is what inspires imagery for me, and helps me think ‘cinematically’ about animation.

Who are your favourite animators and why?

I am really getting into transitions, so I am digging the sand art of Kseniya Simonova.
I’m a fan of Cognitive Media‘s videos published through the RSA for their concepting and illustrating.
And just found out about this graffiti artist named BLU. His videos are on YouTube and are so much fun to watch-super impressive!

How can companies get in touch with you?
If you want to get in touch with me, the simple way is to email me at nicknavatta@gmail.com. My twitter handle is @nicknavatta. And I have a website atwww.nicknavatta.com

The original post can be viewed here.

Thanks for watching!

Sincerely,

Nick

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