Being a creative professional is a lot like being a superhero. At least, that’s how I feel when I lie awake wondering how to apply my abilities to make a positive impact on my world.
It’s people like Jason Russell and his colleagues at Invisible Children that show me how it’s done. Invisible Children’s latest project, Kony 2012, is a bold campaign and film that promotes the capture of war criminal Joseph Kony. With 3.7 million views on Vimeo in the past two days alone, I’d say the project is already meeting its goals.
Three Lessons Kony 2012 Teaches Future Creative Superheroes
- Simplify the message. During the video, Russell gives his four-year-old son a G-Rated version of Kony’s crimes. This is brilliant, as it simplifies the message for the film audience. The boy’s genuine reactions also provide a mirror for the viewer’s emotions. Lesson: make sure a child can follow your ideas.
- Give shareable stories. Watch from 4:30 – 7:30 and report back to me if you didn’t fight tears. The film’s story is made even more shareable by the call to action: “watch and share.” At the time of my writing. #josephkony is trending on Twitter, worldwide. Lesson: use strong emotions to build compelling tales that deserve spreading.
- Connect like-minded people. Kony 2012 supporters are easily identified by the links and comments they post online. In the real world, they can tote official t-shirts, buttons and posters. Kony 2012 bracelets are being distributed in pairs along with instructions to give one to a friend. This all serves to create a strong community (which is nearing 1 million on Facebook).
To add to this, Invisible Children has set a date for a worldwide Kony 2012 poster-plastering night. The event provides an organic opportunity for participants to bond over shared memories of guerrilla advocacy. Lesson: use common values and experiences to forge a community. Provide ways for them to recognize and engage each other (membership to a group, bumper stickers, etc).
My primary goal as a creative professional is to inspire and connect those around me. The Kony 2012 campaign reminds me that ideas can literally fly around the world, fight for good and change lives.
Over To You:
- Watch the Kony 2012 film and sign the petition
- Use the buttons below to share this post with would-be creative superheroes
- Sign up to receive my best updates: subscribe here
PS. Jason Russel (and others) made Kony 2012. Jeremy Cowart spearheaded Help Portrait. Do you know any other initiatives that were founded by creative professionals?
Photographs courtesy of Invisible Children.
Update: While I respect the execution of the Kony 2012 campaign, I recommend doing research before donating to Invisible Children or any charity organization.