the sally sisson blog


February 5, 2013

Creative Inspiration: Finding your bliss (on a bleak February day)

He Was Me: The power of storytelling

A sweet (yet powerful) little ditty on doing what you love. If not for a living, then at least for a while each day.

This FableSnack, a short animated film from the prolific folks at FableVision, is about “the inner child in all of us, and the eternal struggle to retain our sense of self in a busy world.” It reminds us to not “trade joy for a job,” as FableVision’s Paul Reynolds puts it. Not always easy, but always worth remembering.

It was written and drawn by the talented Peter H. Reynolds, author and illustrator of The Dot, Ish and dozens of other delightful children’s books and multimedia products.

I knew Peter, founder of FableVision, and his twin brother Paul, now CEO, back in our college days and had a hunch they’d go on to do great things. Doing such inspired and meaningful work on such a grand scale is a great thing indeed. Being rockstar media producers and such nice, grounded people at the same time is even greater.

Read their story here:

About FableVision
In 1996, FableVision’s founder, Peter H. Reynolds, had a vision: to create a “social change agency” to help move the world to a better place. FableVision is dedicated to helping ALL learners reach their full potential and to telling “stories that matter, stories that move.”

…and get inspired yourself!

The Stellar Cafe
The Dot FableVisionInsights gathered along the journey about creativity, art, teaching, learning, life – Peter H. Reynolds

Peter’s Tips on Creativity
Creative thinking is the fuel for getting things going. Dreaming about the project is a huge part of the process. The actual ‘doing’ requires following through on the dream, but the dream is the rough sketch.

A Film by FableVision Studios: He Was Me
Written and drawn by Peter H. Reynolds, He Was Me is a quiet story about the inner child in all of us, and the eternal struggle to retain our sense of self in a busy world. In the film, as a man waits at a bus stop in the rain, his inner child is brought poignantly to life as he reflects on his past and ponders his future.

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April 22, 2012

Earth Day interactives: Copywriting with a conscience for corporate clients

I’ve worked on a few copywriting and content development projects for SUBWAY® Restaurants and their SUBWAYkids.com group over the past year (via the Boston office of ad agency Jack Morton Worldwide).

My latest project, an interactive game and content for a campaign developed with The Nature Conservancy, the world’s leading conservation organization, is now live on the site. This spring, every SUBWAY Fresh Fit for Kids Meal comes in a reusable meal bag with a special code to unlock the interactive game and bonus eco-facts and video clips.

“With your help, we can work to reduce, recycle and reuse—and clean up the planet.”

Kids play the “Eco-Quest” by picking up pieces of trash along their journey through habitats on three levels: land, air and sea. With each clean-up or successful answer to a question, users are rewarded with an ec0-fact or a downloadable Nature Conservancy feature on an endangered or at-risk animal whose habitat is threatened by pollution. Check it out at www.subwaykids.com.

Pretty basic, as it’s designed for younger users, but kind of fun. And it was definitely fun to work on. Kudos to big corporations like SUBWAY for catching on, cutting down on waste and encouraging the use of reusables.

Speaking of Earth Day and jumping on the green bandwagon…

The Earth Day content I wrote a couple years ago for the Think Green website, developed for Discovery Education in partnership with Waste Management, is still live on their site. Check it out if you’re looking for creative activities for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 or 9-12. The content is evergreen because, as they say, every day is Earth Day.

By the way, Waste Management, the largest recycler in North America, is offering discounts on battery recycling kits for business as a special Earth Day promotion this year. Find out more about this and other features, like recycle-by-mail programs, at www.wm.com.

ThinkGreen.com: Earth Day Ideas

 

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February 1, 2011

Extreme Content: How is web writing like extreme winter weather?

Ready Classroom 2

A: You’ve got to be prepared for both.

When a client needs web content, sometimes it’s just a home page or a few headlines. Sometimes it’s the whole thing – 1st, 2nd and 3rd level pages plus links and special features.

Light to moderate to heavy

For the Ready Classroom website, Discovery Education needed the whole package: research and writing for a dozen categories of extreme weather and natural disasters, customized content for each of the 50 states, copy to cross-reference it all, and creative standards-based lesson plans for different grades ranges for K-12.

On top of that there were different strands for three different audiences. All content had to be run through Discovery Education as well as the Ad Council and FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), their partners for this particular project.

blizzardsatful

Stock up. Hunker down.

Web writing involves a range of skills: research, writing (both copywriting and long-form content), editing, organization, planning, critical thinking. It also takes time, especially a job of this size. It can be enjoyable to dive deep into a topic and stay holed up for a while. The key is to be be prepared (clear your schedule, line up childcare), stock up on supplies (decent snacks, decent coffee, case of coffee filters), and prepare for a couple all-nighters. Note that it’s good to come up for air every once in a while, whatever the weather.

Toolkits, checklists and survival skills.

We’re getting pretty hard hit with winter weather this year, some parts of the country worse than others. Just this morning I consulted Ready Classroom to check my own family’s state of preparedness for this week’s monster storm. According to FEMA, the Red Cross and my own trusty tips, we still have another trip or two to the hardware store before ticking all the boxes on our Disaster Preparedness Checklist.

Check out the site and see how you stack up. Are YOU prepared?

The calm after the storm

Judging by the broken flashlight and half-empty box of kitchen matches by my side, I would not win many Girl Scout badges for preparedness. However, the content I developed did score some points: Ready Classroom won a 2010 BESSIE (Best Educational Software Award), which made those days and nights in my underground bunker all the more worthwhile. Read more here.

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