There are two bus routes I can take from my house. One is a short, direct trip. The other drives around half of Dublin before getting to the city centre. The ticket for the long route is significantly more expensive than that for the shorter route. Why? Well the bus covers more distance, uses more petrol and takes up more of a driver’s time, I guess.
And yet this is an ass-backwards way to charge for a service.
This is like charging more for a package to reach its destination in six weeks than you charge for it to get there tomorrow. The shorter bus route provides a more efficient service. As a commuter, this is much more desirable and worth paying a premium for. If Dublin Bus actually put some thought into what they do as a service provider rather than people just carrying out an unwanted chore day after day, the long route would be cheaper than the short route.
Provide a service with more value attached, you can charge more for that service.
This is always worth keeping in mind when you are providing a service yourself or indeed hiring someone who is offering a service to you. Consider these questions – How will this service benefit the end product? Will it make creation/production easier? Quicker? Better? Is there relevant, applicable know-how here that few others can bring? Are valuable strengths being applied in the right areas? Is there trust here that carries value in itself? Where can real value be added? And how much is that worth?
It is not just about charging or paying for time. It is what that time brings to any project that counts.
Memento was a great movie, wasn’t it? And who didn’t love Godfather Part 2? But we don’t jump around chronologically like that in preschool. There is a very good reason most of the top preschool shows take place in real time, hardly ever even moving on to tomorrow, never mind shifting backwards to yesterday. If 24 had been a preschool show, nobody would have noticed what was different about it.
Generally in preschool, it’s good to stay in the present. Right now. In real time.
Young children don’t always have a clear sense of time. And the younger they are, the harder it is for them to understand. Children live in the moment. They live now. Yes, some actually have surprisingly great memories (like my eldest daughter) but it can be hard to process any true sense of when something really happened. A child might say “yesterday” and that could mean yesterday, last week, last year or five minutes ago. And without truly understanding how the past works, it’s incredibly difficult to really grasp the idea of time in the future.
Back in the early Fluffy Gardens episodes, I made the mistake of writing in too many ‘next day’ transitions. Rookie mistake. Much later with Planet Cosmo, it all takes in real time except for a single story which revolves around bedtime and so required one night-to-morning switch. Making it work took a lot of thought and, even then, I suspect I only managed to get across what was key to the story (bedtime) rather than fully getting across that passage of time, at least with the younger children.
It is okay to do that. You can tell stories like that as long as you know why it is you’re doing it, understand what elements are important to your story and make it absolutely clear, with the understanding that young children are not going to have that same sense of time passing that you do. But unless you really have to, I would always advise staying in the present. Stick to real time. It’s much easier for a preschool audience to grasp and they will be with your characters every moment of your episode.
But that was before just about every piece of knowledge from the entire planet decided to plonk itself right in front of us as we work. And even without that, think about those times you are buried in your work and someone interrupts to tell you something that, actually, has no real relevance to anything you are doing or are ever going to do. That knowledge is not power. It is distraction.
The truth is, there is more in the world than we could ever learn in a hundred lifetimes. We can amass knowledge. Everyone can. In a way, that has completely levelled many playing fields. Knowledge is not power any more. Not on its own.
Action is power – that comes from having drive rather than lots of knowledge. Relevant knowledge is power when applied – relevance and a sense of what is actually important comes from experience rather than just information-gathering. Above all, focus is power. And focus, by its very nature, means shutting some things out because you just don’t have the time or energy for them. Oh, I’m not anti-learning. Not by a long shot and anyone who reads this little blog would know that very well. I feel we should learn about the world and beyond our world, grow, test and challenge ideas. But when we are working, actually immersed in projects, we need focus.
And as it happens, it seems that focus is much harder to achieve these days than finding knowledge.
So in those situations, consider filtering just what information gets in. My rule of thumb: if the information is something I can’t take any action on, I don’t need it.