Our Two Brains by Larry Saavedra

If you have an in-house creative department, or you are searching for a freelance creative consultant follow the cues set by Walt Disney before you get started formalizing your ideas. 

What Disney did was to place right-brained people together with their left-brained counterparts as he leaped from project to project building his Magic Kingdom.

Understand that the right hemisphere of our brain "is mainly in charge of spatial abilities, face recognition and processing music." Whereas, the left hemisphere "is dominate with speech, and computation of numbers." 

Disney knew the science intimately. 

While Roger Sperry was the neuropsychologist credited with understanding how right- and left-brained people think, it was Disney, who put Sperry's discovery to practice in business.

Disney knew that for every creative project there had to be a finance officer to keep it on track. So he placed a financial person in the same room as the creative person and together their goal was to make Disney's plans succeed. 

Obviously, the artists would have loved to explore their ideas without any financial barriers, but that would have amounted to chaos. Or, vice-versa. A bean-counter couldn't have propelled Disney to stardom using spreadsheets alone. 

So he brought the two very different mindsets together in the same department to keep the creative ideas flowing, without financial worries. 

What this means to you is that for every creative project there must be a reasonable financial aspect to it, essentially a detailed budget, but much more than that. For the project to work, creative people must keep the costs in the back of their minds, knowing that the financial person is handling the spreadsheets. 

Creative projects under Disney were well-funded, but never out-of-control. Meaning, budgets were set, but they were realistic and flexible. 

So the next time you begin the creative process, keep Disney in mind. You will start to see how he built a theme park in the City of Anaheim into one of the biggest companies in the world by simply understanding the science behind our two-sided brains.

What's in a Name by Larry Saavedra

I'm asked the origin of my surname often. Some say, it's the double vowel (aa) that gives it a Flemish or Dutch sound. Double vowel names are not uncommon in Europe, but they are much less common than Johnson or O'Brien in the U.S., although the automaker Saab with its double vowel (aa) might argue that because Saab is a huge name in America. 

Others insist, Saavedra must be Scandinavian, but its actual origin is in the far warmer climate of north central Spain. I'm telling you this because there's a great website online that helps writers learn the pronunciation of difficult surnames. It's a great site for those in the creative field, who meet people from all sorts of countries in their quests to develop stories. Smith is easy to pronounce, but try pronouncing the surnames Aiyegbeni or Ouaddou, which belong to world-class soccer players. This website makes it simple to get the name right before you use it conversation!

If you wondered, the name Saavedra (hear pronunciation above in video) is a Galician surname from the Northern part of Spain. It means..."hall and old main house" in Latin. Apparently centuries ago a family lived in an old rather large house and the Saavedra surname stuck. It is perhaps best linked to the author Cervantes de Saavedra, who wrote the literary classic Don Quixote. It's a monster of a novel, but I managed to read it a couple of times.

The surname isn't easy to pronounce. I don't roll the "rrrrrS" when I pronounce my surname like in the video, but at least I learned the meaning and origin of my surname, my father's given name.

When writing short fiction stories, I feel that having a clear understanding of one's own origin is another tool when crafting particular characters and scenes, allowing me to extrapolate Prose from real provenance and personal cultural experiences.

It's a writer's ethnic honesty of who she or he is that then connects readers to the saga. Writing with a sense of origin to me is much easier than trying to be something that you are not. I doubt I will ever write a story about a German pastry baker even if her name is easy to pronounce.


Are You an Artist? by Larry Saavedra

An artist at work. Image by LarrySaavedra.com.

Occasionally I hear the question…are you an artist? I mean, it’s been said to me, do you consider yourself an artist? Embarassing kind of. I was simply taking a photograph.  I was metering the light falling on the subject. Then I heard the comment. 

Do you consider yourself an artist? How does one answer that? Why would someone ask? Art…the noun. According to Merriam-Webster, the simple definition of the word “is something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.”  Well then. I have never considered what I create as art. It’s not. It is and always has been…commercial work. It doesn’t hang in a museum, or get voted on by a jury of my peers. It doesn’t mean that I don’t put my soul and being into my projects as any artist would. 

It simply means that no matter how insightful the work may be…the true definition between art and work… is in the intent. 


What Inspires Me by Larry Saavedra

Inspiration isn't something that can be taught, it is learned by experimentation.

While my portfolio is filled with the polished sheetmetal of classic and modern cars and dogs doing their thing, I also get inspired by much simpler elements of life. I don't get stuck or creatively blocked because I open my eyes to the possibilities. To me, even inanimate objects like an old-beaten down bench against a wall of vines inspires an image, and evokes my curiosity of how the light falls on the subject and how the wood's grain runs in contrast to the background.

A still-life of the bench can tell the bigger story of one's surroundings, like that of contemplation. Understanding the technical aspects of your immediate environment leads to making even better images.