All writers, whether they’re students or professionals, have confronted writer’s block at some point. The symptoms are anxiety-producing just to think about: the blank page, an empty outline, assignments that seem too boring for words. But there are ways to knock down those obstacles to creativity, and one of them is animated video.
As a tool for creativity, animated video is inherently flexible, and lends itself well to imaginative scenarios like platypus astronauts, or talking triangles. All of these possible narrative paths help students break free of the idea that their writing must match up with reality.
For instance, if students are attempting to write a scene set in a desert and they happen to live in a city, they can watch some videos of deserts, the people and animals that live there, and get a sense of what it’s like. Another exercise would be for them to write a fictive piece about what they think a desert is like, and also create a video to go along with it — one that doesn’t necessarily tie them to reality.
Another way animated video lends itself to explorative writing is in cases when a student is having trouble describing the way something moves. Video can give them a visual reference to make a scene more vibrant, and after all, there’s nothing like action movies to figure out how to describe knights thundering down a hillside at dawn. From the colors of a sunset, to the way dancers move in step, it can all be captured by video, both animated and film, which is then an invaluable resource for writers.
In fact, video can not only show a writer different parts of the world, it can give her a new perspective of different races, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds. This allows for both education and empathy, and is an essential tool in helping to break down such ideas as gender and racial stereotypes.
Seeing the world from the viewpoint of someone else in a video can be a precursor to a writer realizing that she has something to say about the subject. This new writer will also gain the confidence to share her own experiences and to do it in a way that might involve elves, spaceships, or mystical swords, but which will ultimately resonate with issues people face daily. This is an excellent way for students to enrich both their writing and their own understanding of other people.
There’s literally no limit to what one can do by combining video and writing. For example, history is full of stories which have been retold and adapted into a variety of formats, with the American Revolution being just one example. Showing students the many video variations of a single story is extremely valuable in breaking down barriers to expanding the times and places they consider including in their writing.
In addition, video is a valuable tool for research, as it allows a student to delve more deeply into a nearly limitless range of subjects. They can take these ideas, and then turn them into a story, script, or essay, which can also be turned into a video of its own, which completes the cycle.
Finally, both video and writing are methods through which students are able to express themselves, and by doing so, share their ideas, thoughts, and are an essential component of learning and growth. The best way to foster creativity is to show students what the human mind is really capable of imagining.