The Force Behind Star Wars: Turning Design Ideas into Reality
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The Force Behind Star Wars: Turning Design Ideas into Reality

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You’ve got an idea. Maybe it’s a new idea for a web application. Maybe it’s a new product idea you need to push through your organization. The question is: How do you turn an idea into ...

You’ve got an idea. Maybe it’s a new idea for a web application. Maybe it’s a new product idea you need to push through your organization. The question is: How do you turn an idea into reality?

To answer this question, we’ll look at the making of Star Wars. We’ll look behind the scenes at what it took to get George Lucas’s space fantasy from script to screen. From assembling the right team to navigating the Hollywood corporate studio environment to tapping into powerful universal patterns—this presentation suggests more than a dozen lessons UX designers (and developers!) can all learn from this adventure.

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  • nice presentation
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  • Wonderful
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  • Great work Stephen!!
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  • Awesome slides! Did you know 3M UK are running a competition on SlideShare? You could win a 3M PocketProjector MP180! If you want a chance then all you have to do is tag your presentation with ‘3MInform’ and you’ll be entered! Interested? Head over to our page for more details.
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  • Very fun presentation. Indeed, you are among other SW Geeks who are also mindful of quoting anything Lucas too readily for fear of legal entanglements.
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    The Force Behind Star Wars: Turning Design Ideas into Reality The Force Behind Star Wars: Turning Design Ideas into Reality Presentation Transcript

    • The Force Behind Turning Design Ideas into Reality
    • Description: You!ve got an idea. Maybe it!s a new idea for a web application. Maybe it!s a new product idea you need to push through your organization. The question is: How do you turn an idea into reality? ll To answer this question, we!ll look at the making of Star Wars. We! look behind the scenes at what it took to get George Lucas!s space fantasy from script to screen. From assembling the right team to into navigating the Hollywood corporate studio environment to tapping powerful universal patterns—speaker Stephen P. Anderson will n present a dozen lessons UX designers (and developers!) can all lear from this adventure. be Not adventurous enough? In the spirit of the season, Stephen will raiding his garage to give away some great Star Wars prizes!
    • = Dreamer
    • (Video Clip - Intro from ‘Empire of Dreams’)
    • A year ago in a library not too far away....
    • http://markup.thekraemers.com/2006/11/21/the-prototyping-of-star-wars-2/
    • x What other lessons can we learn from the making of Star Wars?
    • x What other lessons can we learn from the making of -I won’t be quoting from SW -there are 15 lessons Star Wars? -I’ll be moving briskly -Expect too many quotes! -not much tactical stuff, just stories and principles -Yes, I am a SW geek -I’m assuming I’m among other SW geeks...
    • You are a dreamer. You have an idea. How do you make this idea reality? -skywalker-scaled-replica-lightsaber.jpg
    • Lesson Two: Lesson I: TAP INTOLORUM IPSUM UNIVERSAL PATTERNS
    • When I started out making the movies, I was working toward making it modern mythology. I had studied anthropology in college, and social sciences was my major before I got into film... I did more research before I wrote the screenplay for Star Wars. I read and reread The Hero With A Thousand Faces. -George Lucas
    • Mythic Patterns? Typically, the hero is the orphaned son or royalty. Unaware of his true identity, he is consigned to a life of drudgery and exile. He is first called to adventure by a herald, signifying that quot;the time for the passing of a threshold is at handquot; (p.51). The threshold represents a rebirth into adulthood; the hero or heroine must overcome the parents, who stand as quot;threshold guardians.quot;
    • Mythic Patterns? (continued) Along the way, the hero often encounters a protective figure, quot;some wizard, hermit, shepherd, or smith, who appears to supply the amulets and advice that the hero will require....The call, in fact, was the first announcement of the approach of this initiatory priestquot; (pp. 72-73).
    • Mythic Patterns? (continued) Once he leaves the safe boundaries of the farm, Luke can never go back. As the attack of the Sandpeople shows him, the world is a desert place filled with danger, but only by abandoning the security he had known, leaving the womb of his childhood, can he enter the adult world. Luke at first refuses the call to adventure, but joins Ben when he discovers that, in his absence, Darth Vader's Stormtroopers have burned the farm and killed his aunt and uncle.
    • Different eras. Different heroes. Same mythic qualities.
    • “Last year's action movie is last year's action movie. Most of them are forgotten. Something mythical like Star Wars endures... The stories speak to something inside us that wants to know how our world lives, that wants to make order of it and find some meaning.” Shanti Fader, editor of Parabola magazine, a publication of the Society for the Study of Myth and Tradition.
    • What universal patterns can we tap into?
    • What universal patterns can we tap into? To create a better story, Lucas looked to anthropology.
    • What universal patterns can we tap into? To create a better story, Lucas looked to anthropology. To create a better product, We can look to ____________.
    • To become a better designer, become a better student of human interactions... Focus less on the end design, and more on the effects and results of the design. Tap into universal human patterns.
    • Lesson II: Lesson Two: GAIN CREDIBILITY WITH A LORUM IPSUM ‘COMMERCIAL’ PROJECT
    • e! e! re fz i r p id George Lucas hat 2 movies d W fore Star Wars? make be
    • e! e! re fz i r p id George Lucas hat 2 movies d W fore Star Wars? make be A: THX-1138 & American Graffiti
    • X
    • original short won first prize at the 1967-68 National Student Film Festival When Warner Brothers executives saw the finished product, they demanded Coppola return the $300,000 the studio had advanced for THX 1138 and other projects... full feature film well received by critics failure at the box office
    • Coppola challenged Lucas: ‘I bet you can’t do just a silly comedy’ “Graffiti would be cheap, it was quick, and I thought it was really commercial” - George Lucas
    • !
    • 3rd highest grossing film for that year Nominated for five Academy Awards Won a Golden Globe
    • After Graffiti became a big hit, they couldn’t refuse it... They couldn’t not do it. Just in terms of politics and the political intrigue of Hollywood. That’s what it came down to in the end. George Lucas
    • Got a big idea? Prove your skills with something smaller, first. (this puts you in a much better position, later)
    • Lesson Two: Lesson III: DEVELOP BUSINESS FLUENCY LORUM IPSUM
    • He didn’t care for the studio system. But he needed it, there was no other way of doing what he needed to do. Gareth Wigan
    • To protect the other 2/3rds of the story l “The Star Wars Corporation will own... all sequel rights [to] the screenplay ‘The Star Wars.’” “SWC shall have the sole and exclusive rights to use... the name ‘The Star Wars’ in connection with wholesale or retail outlets for the sale of merchandising items.” l Star Wars To promote (T-Shirts, Posters, etc.)
    • When you think of ‘business fluency’ what comes to mind?
    • Business fluency has two sides— cultural and conceptual—and to successfully attract investment designers need both pieces. Conceptual fluency means understanding the vocabulary of business and what ideas underlie business measures of its health, like profit and loss. Cultural fluency means navigating relationships, politics, power structure, emotional decision making, and organizational thinking. Jess McMullin, “Investing in Design”
    • Lesson Two: Lesson IV: FIND A PATRON LORUM IPSUM
    • ‘Patron’ could be... an outside investor an outside advisor someone high up in the organization
    • We had a meeting, and George said well I’ve been thinking about this thing called Star Wars... The technology part of the whole thing was completely over my head. But, I just believed in him, his genius. Alan Ladd, Jr., VP of Creative Affairs at Fox in 1975
    • (Video Clip - Interviews with Alan Ladd, Jr. )
    • Alan Ladd, Jr invested in me. He did not invest in the movie. And it paid off. George Lucas
    • SOMEONE... ld from the business worcounsel providing financial support or business WHO is influential can defend your efforts against criticism trusts and supports you won’t interfere with the project
    • Lesson V: Lesson Two: ASSEMBLE THEIPSUM TEAM LORUM RIGHT
    • “First, get the right people on the bus...” -Jim Collins
    • If people are on the bus because of who else is on the bus, then it’s much easier to change direction... ...if you have the right people on the bus, the problem of how to motivate and manage people largely goes away. Jim Collins, commenting on patterns of ‘Good to Great’ companies
    • All of us had worked with each other and were pretty good friends... And we talked to each other on a weekly basis just as friends. When John put the crew together, he put it together instantaneously, at least the nucleus of it. Grant McCune, commenting on the origins of ILM
    • In forming ILM, Lucas pulled people who worked on commercials and architectural models – not feature film makers. He also kept this team ‘autonomous’, with artistic decisions coming only from himself and two others.
    • a new kind of project needs... In forming ILM, Lucas pulled people who worked on commercials and architectural models – not feature film makers. He also kept this team ‘autonomous’, with artistic decisions coming only from himself and two others.
    • a new kind of a different project needs... type of person lLucas pulled In forming ILM, people who worked on commercials and architectural models – not feature film makers. He also kept this team ‘autonomous’, with artistic decisions coming only from himself and two others.
    • a new kind of a different project needs... type of person lLucas pulled In forming ILM, people who worked on commercials and architectural models – not feature film makers. He also kept this team ‘autonomous’, with artistic decisions coming only from himself and two others. led in a manag different way
    • The right people often approach problems a bit differently...
    • Everybody sort of cross-trained and worked in different techniques. That was different than the Hollywood system that had very strict sort of union rules. But there was no way that this work could be done that way, or that the Hollywood unions could understand what we were doing… Dennis Muren
    • “Broad and Deep Generalists” People who are ... Passionate Curious “Synthesizers” VS. Siloed Disciplines Usability/ Information Interaction Visual Front-End Back-End Researchers Human Architects Designers Designers Developers Developers Factors
    • And in front of the camera?
    • I spent 6 or 7 months casting Star Wars… I interviewed 1,000s of people George Lucas
    • Lucas looked for individual screen presence as well as chemistry together
    • He also mixed in a few established actors
    • Lesson Two: Lesson VI: IT’S LORUM IPSUM OKAY TO BORROW
    • Darth Vader Date Masamune
    • e! e! re fz i r p ic film by Akira Name a specif vily influenced rosawa that hea Ku f Star Wars... the plot o
    • Hidden Fortress was an influence on Star Wars right from the very beginning… I was searching around for a story. I had some scenes- the cantina scene and the space battle scene—but I couldn’t think of a basic plot. Originally, the film was a good concept in search of a story. And then I thought of Hidden Fortress, which I’d seen again in 1972 or ’73, and so the first plots were very much like it. George Lucas
    • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope features the exploits of C-3PO and R2- D2, whereas the plot of The Hidden Fortress is told from the point of view of two bickering peasants. The two peasants, Tahei and Matashichi, are first shown escaping a battle, while C-3PO and R2-D2 are first shown fleeing an attack in A New Hope. Additionally, both films feature a battle-tested General -- Rokurota Makabe in The Hidden Fortress and Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope -- who assist a rebellion led by a princess and engage in a duel with a former rival whom they fought years earlier. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_sources_and_analogues
    • “ The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. Albert Einstein
    • Video Clip - Showing how ILM matched frame-for-frame aerial dogfights from old WW2 films that Lucas spliced together)
    • It’s okay to be ‘influenced by...’ ‘intentionally reference, or borrow/modify very specific design elements. It’s not okay to rip off someone else’s work.
    • http://www.cameronmoll.com/archives/000016.html http://www.sitepoint.com/article/copy-great-designers-steal
    • Lesson VII: CONFRONT YOUR WEAKNESSES
    • QUICK MINI-ASSIGNMENT: What is something you are weak at? Challenge yourself. Turn that into an assignment.
    • This is from 1975: In film school, I tended away from storytelling; I just didn’t like it… I thought that maybe I hated it so much because I couldn’t do it. This is one of the reasons why with Star Wars I want to attempt a storytelling film. George Lucas
    • Lesson VIII: EMBRACE CONSTRAINTS
    • constraints force you to see things differently (and often result in more creative solutions)
    • e! e! re fz i r p this have hat does W r Wars? o with Sta to d
    • “Graflex 3-Cell Flashgun” “Luke’s Lightsaber”
    • “Denix C96 Mauser” “Han Solo’s Blaster”
    • (same hallway for many scenes!)
    • Instead of freaking out about these constraints, embrace them. Let them guide you. Constraints drive innovation and force focus. Instead of trying to remove them, use them to your advantage... Constraints are often advantages in disguise. Forget about venture capital, long release cycles, and quick hires. Instead, work with what you have. http://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch03_Embrace_Constraints.php
    • Man built most nobly when limitations were at their greatest. Frank Lloyd Wright:
    • Lesson IX: MAKE THE INVISIBLE, VISIBLE
    • It wasn’t until George acted it out or told you what a Wookie was, and what it was going to look like, that it started to make sense. Because it was really a universe that nobody could understand from the scripts. Willard Huyck (c. 1975)
    • I think they were done as a substitute for arm waving and verbal descriptions, and to start budget talks. Ralph McQuarrie So the studio can get a picture of what I’m talking about. George Lucas
    • Prototypes get people excited. And they clarify.
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/quadmod/523335664/
    • “The tools traditionally used to communicate strategy— spreadsheets and powerpoint decks— are woefully inadequate for the task...” -Tim Brown, IDEO
    • “...because it’s pictorial, Design describes the world in a way that is not open to many interpretations. Designers, by making a film, scenario, or prototype, can help people emotionally experience the thing that the strategy seeks to describe.” -Tim Brown, IDEO
    • e! e! re fz i r p The Falcon's design is inspired by...?
    • e! e! re fz i r p The Falcon's design is inspired by...? a hamburger, with the cockpit being an olive on the side.
    • Lesson X: BE PASSIONATE, BE PREPARED TO GO AT IT ALONE, AND EXPECT THINGS TO GO WRONG
    • Few people believed in the script 2nd day of shooting, the Sahara had the first major rainfall in 50 years! ILM ran behind schedule Many technical problems with robots Lucas had to go to the hospital at one point Film came close to being shelved
    • “ It was very hard for us to wrap our heads around the idea of a golden robot and a little beer can. We just didn’t know what it meant. But George never gave up and he worked and worked and worked. Hal Barwood
    • It was the first two weeks of shooting, we had run into a lot of weather problems, the sets had blown down, I didn’t get everything shot. It was a disaster. At that point, I was pretty depressed. saying ‘Boy, I’ve gotten myself way in over my head. I don’t know what I’m going to do...’ George Lucas
    • ...they [ILM] had pretty much spent half their budget and only produced 4 shots, none of which I would accept. George Lucas
    • Video Clip - footage from ‘Empire of Dreams’ showing various struggles Lucas went through...
    • “ “It is amazing what you can do when you have a vision, when you have an ambition, and when you can bend other people’s will to your desire. And the thing that kept it focused towards the ambitions was George’s vision and his passion for the ideas.” Harisson Ford
    • Lesson XI: Lesson Two: LET THE VISION DRIVE THE LORUM IPSUM TECHNOLOGY
    • Three letters: ILM
    • “ Don’t worry about how we’re going to do it, we just want to see an impression of what these scenes are going to look like on the screen... George Lucas, speaking to Ralph McQuarrie about concept paintings for Star Wars
    • We started out with almost no experience in building models in this quantity or this type... Grant McCune
    • We took the concept of motion control... and we made it production savvy, by tying it into a computer, which at that point was custom built microprocessors. There were no PCs... We built them from scratch. John Dykstra
    • Focus on people and interactions. Not interfaces.
    • Design first. Build later.
    • “How do people think? Technology should map to that. —Rashmi Sinha
    • How applications are traditionally designed: User Interface Logic Data (Visual explanation from Adaptive Path)
    • How applications are traditionally designed: User Interface Logic Data (Visual explanation from Adaptive Path)
    • How customers view an application User Interface Magic! (Visual explanation from Adaptive Path)
    • How modern applications are designed: User Interface Logic Data (Visual explanation from Adaptive Path)
    • How modern applications are designed: User Interface Logic Data (Visual explanation from Adaptive Path)
    • Lesson XII: GET THE DETAILS RIGHT / KNOW WHEN TO LET GO
    • e! e! re fz i r p hese two fonts. ame either of t N
    • e! e! re fz i r p hese two fonts. ame either of t N A: Trade Gothic (top), Franklin Gothic (bottom)
    • “The details are not the details. They make the design.” -Charles Eames
    • Welcome to White Space Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer Welcome to White Space adipiscing elit. Curabitur tristique, sapien id Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer scelerisque euismod, turpis lacus sollicitudin adipiscing elit. Curabitur tristique, sapien id nulla, non iaculis quam nulla ullamcorper erat. scelerisque euismod, turpis lacus sollicitudin nulla, non iaculis quam nulla ullamcorper erat. Nam accumsan laoreet enim. Cras vel lectus. Nam accumsan laoreet enim. Cras vel lectus. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Maecenas malesuada mattis metus. Proin Maecenas malesuada mattis metus. Proin vehicula pretium nunc. Donec est arcu, viverra a, rutrum sit amet, interdum vitae, est. Aenean vehicula pretium nunc. Donec est arcu, viverra a, enim orci, faucibus in, posuere et, congue rutrum sit amet, interdum vitae, est. Aenean pretium, nunc. Vestibulum sagittis turpis vitae pede. Praesent est. Aenean consectetuer ornare enim orci, faucibus in, posuere et, congue arcu. Nulla rhoncus. pretium, nunc. Vestibulum sagittis turpis vitae pede. Praesent est. Aenean consectetuer ornare arcu. Nulla rhoncus. http://www.jasonsantamaria.com/archive/2006/01/05/under_the_loupe_1_white_space.php
    • http://37signals.com/svn/archives2/the_long_road_to_simple_creating_debating_and_iterating_add_an_event.php
    • I’m realistic enough to know you have to make compromises when filmmaking, but if I can avoid them, I will. George Lucas
    • Lesson XIII: FOCUS ON HOW, NOT JUST WHAT
    • What’s the difference?
    • Video Clip - Showing the radical difference between the first and final edits of Star Wars footage
    • Before: After: (No change in logic or data)
    • Obsess about customer needs Experience Solution: “Experience-Based Differentiation” Based Differentiation Treat UX as Reinforce brand a competence with every interaction
    • Obsess about customer needs, not product features. Rather than racing to bring new product features to market, companies need to refocus on the needs of their customers — who might even want fewer features. -Forrester Research
    • Lesson XIV: Lesson Two: DONT GET ATTACHED TO LORUM IPSUM YOUR FIRST IDEA
    • Iterate! Iterate! Iterate!
    • e! g the script for e! Prior to writin re George Lucas fz Star Wars, to make a film i iginally wanted r or lar sci-fi series? p of what popu
    • e! g the script for e! Prior to writin re George Lucas fz Star Wars, to make a film i iginally wanted r or lar sci-fi series? p of what popu
    • I wrote four entirely different screenplays for Star Wars, searching for just the right ingredients, characters and storyline. George Lucas
    • Darth Vader originally wore a mask to allow him to breath while space walking! Star Wars was originally set in the 33rd century Original script starts with Annikin Starkiller spotting a spacecraft orbiting the fourth moon of Utapau, where he is hiding with Kane, his father, and Deak, his ten-year-old brother. In the second draft, it is a Deak Starkiller-- not princess Leia-- that is captured and help captive by Lord Vader
    • In the rough and first drafts, General Luke Skywalker is described as a large man “apparently in his early sixties but actually much older” It was during filming that Lucas decided to kill off the Obi Wan Kenobi character...! At one one point, Han Solo had green skin and gills In the 2nd draft, Luke was a girl In early concepts, Stormtroopers carried lightsabers!
    • I remember thinking that the first script he showed me was really good and I was sort of curious as to why he was, you know, dumping that. Francis Ford Coppola
    • http://garrettdimon.com/archives/2007/9/23/webmaster_jam_session_2007_again/
    • The iPhone developed the way a lot of cool things do: with a false start. A few years ago Jobs noticed how many development dollars were being spent... on tablet PCs. ...so he had Apple engineers noodle around with a tablet PC. When they showed him the touchscreen they came up with, he got excited. So excited he forgot all about tablet computers. “The Apple Of Your Ear,” TIME Magazine, January 12, 2007
    • Lesson XV: EMBRACE YOUR COMMUNITY
    • Friends: Francis Ford Coppola Brian De Palma Steven Spielberg John Milius Hal Barwood Haskell Wexler Francis Ford Coppola Phil Kaufman etc.
    • I usually help them with their editing and they help me in my scriptwriting. They give me all their ideas and comments and whatnot, then I go back and try to deal with it. All of us have crossover relationships, and we are constantly showing each other what we are doing and trying to help each other. George Lucas
    • Dallas Ruby Brigade
    • Thanks!
    • ME MY PERSONAL SITE THE BEST WAY TO REACH ME Stephen P. Anderson / www.poetpainter.com