The Art of Storytelling: Never Burn A Clown

POSTED BY George Curtis - 07.17.14 - Branding, Creative

I wanted to talk a little bit about what it means to be a Creative Producer, but I’ve never written a blog before. I’ve always heard ‘lead with a joke.’ Okay; but this is a true story, so the joke’s on me.

Back in my college days, I’d always have to hike back from the library to my dorm, passing a funky, graffiti-filled alley that looked like a cross between skateboarder paradise and an art school cautionary tale. The most prominent bit of spray paint artwork was a simple phase: “NEVER BURN A CLOWN.” I had no idea what that meant, and I suspected that there was simple reference or cultural context that I wasn’t privy to. But every day – for years – I’d walk past that same funky alley. “NEVER BURN A CLOWN.” An unanswered zen koan.

I’m going to abandon the joke for a bit, because it’s relevant to a Creative Producer ‘s challenges. Actually, a challenge presented to everyone in the Fusionfarm process. Clear storytelling. Because even the most notable and ever-present media can still be a lost cause.

Creative Producer - Behind the Scenes of Shooting a VideoAs a Creative Producer , I coordinate the schedules between videographers and equipment, prep for the editing process, pair talent and locations, and keep a sharp eye on the relationships between budget and scheduling. But that’s oversimplifying it. As much of a plate-spinning routine as that can be, the real task is successfully delivering the message. Telling the story. Whether it’s a broadcast commercial designed to build trust with a viewing audience, or an instructional video designed to inform and educate, there are many layers of artistic and utilitarian concerns. And the message is the compass. Story, story, story. It’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of a good storytelling. A commercial, a brochure, a logo – even a haircut - can tell a story.

Every decision – whether casting or crew, costuming or locations, shooting or editing – every decision hinges on the ultimate goal: effectively delivering the message. Telling the tale in a way that everyone understands, even on the most subtle levels.

As a Creative Producer, I can be called upon to build graphics, find the right music and sound effects, and make sure that the whole team is on the same page with the hallowed message. And, if I need to put on my writing cap, I can always fall back on my screenwriting skills. For example:



With an armload of books, GEORGE passes by the same familiar alley. He suddenly stops in his tracks, and with a look of startled realization on his face, he slaps himself on the forehead.


Of course! Because they smell funny!


TCR's Story

Storytelling is a fundamental strategy in successful advertising and marketing and at the core of everything we do at Fusionfarm.

George Curtis, acting as Producer, was key in telling the refreshed Theatre Cedar Rapids (TCR) story and helped lead the Fusionfarm to the compelling video below.