Pink Bat Video

The idea for this video struck me one evening after seeing a UPS commercial. Uncertain of the best way to turn my concept into reality, I called my friend Ryan Schiewe to see if he had any ideas. As expected, he had several. Most involved green screens, projectors, special digital effects, large studios… and big budgets.

“What if I stood at a real whiteboard and you actually filmed me drawing?” I suggested. Ryan agreed to give it a try but stressed, “We won’t be able to refine or manipulate your drawings to look perfect… like those in the UPS commercials.” After purchasing a 4’ x 8’ sheet of whiteboard material, we set up a makeshift studio in Ryan’s living room and did a few quick tests. Before long, we concluded while this approach was somewhat problematic—and not real plausible—it was possible. That was all it took.

After writing an outline and creating visuals to support my words, I had another friend, Megan Kearney produce my drawings in Adobe Illustrator for reference… and then I flew to San Antonio to deliver a 90-minute keynote to an audience of educators, followed by a Q&A session with the leadership team. Feeling somewhat exhausted, I arrived back in Chicago late Thursday night only to realize we were scheduled to make this video in the morning.

Running on few hours of sleep and many cups of coffee, I arrived at Ryan’s house Friday morning to find him bright-eyed and ready to go. “I’ve been thinking, I really like the idea of making this video in the spirit of early recording artists,” he said. “What do you mean?” I asked, trying to appear awake. He cited numerous songs, examples and musicians including Robert Johnson, Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan. “They just went into the studio and performed. They didn’t rely on digital manipulation, special effects or post-production tricks to make the work appear ‘perfect’… like most current artists and the UPS commercials do. They’re real, spontaneous, unique, authentic and unrefined… and that’s what makes them great.

I knew Ryan was being sincere… I also knew he was aware of the fact I can be an extreme perfectionist at times. Additionally, not being a professional cartoonist… he didn’t want to spend hours recording me, making refinement after refinement. By connecting words like “real”, “spontaneous”, and “unrefined” to “being great”, he established our paradigm for the shoot.

“Okay, Ryan, your idea resonates with me,” I said, reflecting the “unique” and “unrefined” but “great” garage bands I played in when I was younger. Besides, I didn’t have any extra energy to debate him.

“Great… let’s do it. One camera and one take—you and me—start to finish!” Ryan announced. That’s exactly what we did. While I would have liked a do-over (or two or three), we agreed that “keeping it real” was more important.

After all, “Pink Bat” is about “Turning Problems Into Solutions”… and that sheds much light on the making of this video. I hope you enjoy it. Click here to purchase the book.


6 Responses to “Pink Bat Video”

  1. Tom on September 14th, 2010 3:51 pm

    Miguel, RAW message with INCREDIBLE effectiveness.
    Supports the theory of “thinking outside the circle”.
    Keep them coming. Loved it.

  2. Deborah Khalilifar on October 26th, 2010 7:54 am

    Michael, I got turned on to this video through Simple Truths. I subscribe to numerour forward positive thinking modalitie– I guess is what I will call them. And while I am selective, I find that my choices usually hit the limelit. In fact, if I kept track, I would say most of my predictions come out on top. And That is what you have done here. Your tag cloud says its perfectly….creativity, innovation, imagaination. Michael, on top of that you had a good message, a message America needs to hear right now. Sometimes we have a good message we’re ahead of our time. I don’t know when you developed this, but it is timely, relevant, needed….did I say needed….and yes, innovative, creative….Oh let’s just call it what is it….WOW! Thank you for sharing. Deborah Khalilifar.

  3. Ahmed Mansour on November 20th, 2010 9:30 pm

    I got introduced to this gem through Simple Truth’s newsletter and will definitely get the book!
    As a matter of fact, as a Consutant, I believe this is a must have not only for my team but also for my Clients; “Problem” thinking is a classic trap many clients (and even Consultants!) fall into, and shifting to “Solution” thinking is a challenge we face every day … Pink Bat will deffinitely be an asset in this pursuit.
    Many thanks Michael, and looking forward to more of your creative and inspiring work :)



  4. terrypcarter on January 7th, 2011 4:22 pm

    wow – one take for this video? great job! Quite the artist too – love watching the fast motion drawing as you explain the story.
    (found out about this via simple truths from my friend)

  5. Rich Connor on January 8th, 2011 5:28 am

    What a great story to go with a wonderfully creative video! Talk about having the ability “to illustrate the point”. It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite quotes: “Genius is a perception of the obvious which nobody else sees.” – Louis Tucker. My thanks to Simple Truths for introducing me to your work.

  6. “Pink Bat” Thinking | Michael McMillan-speaker, author, designer, creative consultant on February 2nd, 2011 1:26 pm

    […] see this as a “problem”… but not Quicken Loans. By changing perception and focusing on “Turning Problems Into Solutions,” they now have a 94% referral rating! That’s “Pink Bat” Thinking… making […]

Got something to say?