Being a Creative in this situation isn’t easy. You want to push yourself. Find new ideas. You want to grow. And that requires shoulders to stand on. But if you work on your own, or in a smaller video department, you probably lack a (decent) creative mentor. So where do you turn for inspiration? Where do you find a fresh new look?

Don’t worry. There are a ton of options out there. You just need to know where to look. The explosion of outlets over the past few years provides a mind-blowing number of powibilites. Here are just some of the places you can go for inspiration.

  • Online portfolios – See what the leaders in your particular field are up to. This goes for large creative firms like Digital Kitchen to small boutique shops like…ehem… 522 Productions; to individuals like Philip Bloom.
  • Twitter – No, it’s not just for seeing what your friend had for lunch. If there are Directors, Editors, or Cinematographers that you admire, follow them on Twitter. See what they’re up to. Find out about their side projects. They might post a video that shows you how they approached a certain type of shot, or came up with a creative solution. For example, if you like documentaries, see what Errol Morris is up to (@errolmorris)
  • Video-Sharing Websites – Believe it or not, there are video sites other than YouTube. Sites like Vimeo provide an ever-expanding library of samples from around the world. For example, if you’re trying to update your Demo Reel and want to see what others are up to there, check out Vimeo’s Demo Reel Channel.
  • Contests – Check in on contests like the Addy Awards or the Webbys. These sites offer a collection of the industry’s best work, and allow you to see how you stack up against the competition. And don’t just look inside the U.S. See what’s going on in other countries around the globe.
  • Blog entries – Blogs such as Planet 5Dor even this masterpiece you’re reading let you see what’s on the mind of industry thought leaders. See what they are up to, and what they think of the latest trends in the industry.
  • Video Blogs – Vlogs allow you to both see and hear what leaders are doing to stay on top, and provide a window that allows you to put their practices into context. See first hand how they achieved their goals, and watch what inspires them.
  • Industry websites – Industry websites, such as Studio Daily or Creative Cowkeep you up to date on the latest trends, answer technical questions that might have you stuck, and inform you about upcoming events and clue you into what new tricks and tools are out there.
  • Tutorials – Technical sites like Video Co-pilot and keep you up to date on shortcuts, and emerging techniques on how to create something new.
  • Organization – Sometimes the hardest part about remembering what inspired you, is keeping it all organized. There are a ton of options there as well. Keep a paper journal (wait… paper?), or use an application like Springpad to allow you to save those thoughts and websites that inspire you.

So the next time you’re stuck for that idea; the next time you aren’t really sure what path to take; or are simply uninspired to turn out yet another product with the same look and feel as the last one – open up your browser. Take a few minutes to poke around and see what the world is up to. Better yet, do it before you get stuck.

These are just some of the myriad ways to check out what’s going on out there. Where do you turn for inspiration? Drop me a line and let me know what works for you.