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Five ways for entrepreneurial journalists to make their ideas happen

Five ways for entrepreneurial journalists to make their ideas happen

Nicole Martinelli | October 31, 2012

Generating ideas may not be a problem. While stuck in traffic or walking down a crowded street, they just pop into your head.

And often, that's where they stay: in your head.

Enter George Zisiadis, founder of the Imperfect Film Festival, who wants more people to work on what they love.

Zisiadis spoke recently in San Francisco at coworking space Parisoma for Creative Mornings, a free talk series held monthly around the world.

He offered these tips, which are helpful for entrepreneurial journalists who have trouble thinking outside immediate assignments and deadlines:

Write things down.

"This is non-negotiable," he said, showing a slide of his own notebook crowded with random ideas. Paper is great, he added, because it's "distraction free." Blue index cards were handed out to the 200-or so participants, who included startup jockeys, designers, ad execs and bloggers.

His suggestion? Write down every idea you have for a week. One might be the next big thing -- or it could provoke a laugh when you see it later and can't remember why "social media restrooms" seemed worth jotting down.

Share, share, share.

When you meet with friends, talk about your ideas. It'll give life to them -- and might seduce that coder friend to build a prototype with you. Answering a question from the crowd about idea-stealers, Zisiadis said not to worry. You'll do it differently, faster or maybe they'll run with something you weren't that into anyway.

Harness the "idea hangover."

You get a buzz when you have that initial idea, then research it too much and discover it's nothing new.

There's always a new approach you can take, he said. For example, one of his recent projects Ballonacy isn't entirely original, he said, flipping through slides of similar art installations. But no one had done it with LEDs and motion sensors, so it was billed as "quite possibly the first-ever interactive immersion into a world of balloons."

"Even if it's been done before -- you've never done it before," he said.

"Projectify it."

Zisiadis curates a blog called On the Side that offers a few examples of how to do this. One is from a friend of his who is into home brewing -- nothing particularly new there -- who founded Brewlab SF, a collective for home brewers.

Seamstress Leslie Channel designed four convertible garments from the basic shape of a Confederate flag and is wearing them different ways every day for a year and documenting it on her Confederate Articles blog.

Set a date.

Later? Someday? Soon? Not good enough. It's not about premiering when it's ready. Your project will be "ready" when you have to debut.

Zisiadis and friends were not finished when the first kids showed up for Ballonacy, but they still pulled off the event. "Creation is perfection," he said. Another one of his projects is the Imperfect Film Festival, a monthly movie fest that favors finishing above agonizing over finishing touches.

What's your next project? What will it take for you to get started? Let us know in the comments.

Image: Round and Round at the Vatican via Flickr with a CC license. Thanks to Andrew E. Larsen.