The Power of Movies


Click the image to enlarge.


The above image sums up how I feel when watching movies.

“Movies carry some sort of psychic charge that no other art form – perhaps no other spectacle – can quite match.”

I love that line.

It’s fromThe Power of Movies: How Screen and Mind Interact by Colin Mcginn.

I’m sitting in Pacific Beach at Cabo Cantina, outside San Diego, with my old high school buddy Mike Walgrave, drinking Sol.

To help with this blog post, we’re talking about the power of movies, and imagination.

His mom, like many of our mothers, used to tell us to use our imaginations when we were bored…

It’s no secret that much of my creative inspiration comes from movies.

I have a 55″ TV on my desk, with movies playing while I work.

Branding ideas come to me constantly from watching movies.

If you ever want a quick education on branding, take a few nights, and watch the first scene of dozens of movies.

You’ll find that the first scene, designed to setup a character, or several characters, is a study in branding.

Watch the first scene of, “The Godfather”.

It’s immediately clear who gets the respect and power.

Now, that wouldn’t be a scene that an independent entrepreneur, or almost any Hollywood film director could replicate, but it can be used as inspiration.

As an entrepreneur, living within a small creative budget, we need to learn what we can do that will still allow us to create a cinematic atmosphere.

With the low cost of DSLR’s, we can shoot great video.

My footage (photo, and video) comes from my Canon EOS 7D.

I’ve found that narrated video is the best way to achieve a cinematic effect.

It’s not feasible to act out a scene and think that it’ll be cinematic.

A-list actors get paid tens of millions of dollars for a reason.

They are great actors.

Entrepreneurs (unless doing a spoof) are better off narrating, and then shooting great footage to match the narration.

You’ll notice that reflected in the first 3 minutes (the branding portion) of my, ‘Style’ video.

It perfectly captures the brand I’m trying to portray.

All with no acting, and with me appearing live only at the end in a creative transition from narration to live video.

Think of a Ken Burns documentary. Completely cinematic, no acting, and much of the documentary is a pan of old images.

The great script, narrated with images being panned throughout, creates a feel that captures the viewers imagination.

It’s all about imagination.

For an exercise in branding, take some time, and watch the opening scene of your favorite movies.

See how they setup the main characters, and think of how you could modify that technique for your own branding.

This also works well with the pilot episodes (first episode) of TV shows.

The first minute of the pilot episode of Sons of Anarchy sets up Jax well.

Can you replicate that sort of shot?

Probably not.

But am I the sort of guy who gets inspiration from shots like that?

Yes I am.



I’m completely immersed in the characters, and the emotions of the film.  (The lovely Katerina Morjanoff is my date to this film.)

I nearly always include symbology in my images.

For instance, the ‘V’ between Katerina, and I is an ode to Leonardo Da Vinci’s, “The Last Supper” with the ‘V’ between Jesus, and what is said to be Mary Magdalene, and not John.

There are many other symbolic gestures I included.

See if you can pick out the various meanings (religious, interesting, superficial, and some personal that only close friends would understand) that I have placed in this image.