12 April 2008

Loved ones have disappeared inside

Every once in a while I catch a great heaping dose of writer’s road block. It is just like regular writers block, except exponentially worse. To compare the two would be like comparing the interstates around my hometown of Asheville, NC on a Tuesday morning to Los Angeles’ 405 on a Friday evening. Yeah, it can get that bad. When that happens I have one of three options, I can walk away and find something else to do, attack the project head-on and keep pushing through, or I can take a moment and look at what I am writing from a different perspective. More often than not, the last option, for me, is the best option.

I was reminded of just how much a change of perspective can help when I was re-reading an article by Tony Baxter this morning. For everyone out there who is struggling to find their way, and words, today, I present to you Forward Thinking and Backward Perceptions by Tony Baxter. Not only may it help you find your way, it is full of some fascinating insights into one of the coolest attractions around.

Forward thinking and Backward Perceptions

“For the climactic scene in the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland, we wanted the ride vehicle to suddenly start backing up as the giant boulder comes thundering toward us.

Having a ride vehicle back up in the middle of a ride is something that has never been done, because it’s not possible – with eighteen vehicles traveling down the track at the same time, a vehicle in reverse would collide with the next vehicle coming toward it along the track. But if you’ve ever ridden the Indiana Jones attraction, you know your vehicle does suddenly start backing up. Or at least, that’s your perception.

Your vehicle has actually stopped. It’s the walls and ceiling that are moving, giving you the undeniable feeling that you’re traveling backwards. All through life, your mind has been taught that small things move and big things don’t – therefore, it must be your vehicle that is moving, not the entire cave! Perception is a learned thing, but it can often be wrong.

So where did we come up with this very effective solution? Well, we’ve learned to look for inspiration in the real world, because that’s where the best solutions usually are. And what’s the real-world equivalent of our Indiana Jones scene?

A car wash. One of those self-service machines at the gas station where you pull your car in and park while a series of brushes and spray heads mounted above and beside your car slowly travel back and forth. As I was sitting in my car one time, waiting for the car wash to begin, I found myself suddenly pressing on the brake pedal, thinking my car was rolling backwards. But no, the gearshift was in park. It was the cleaning machine that had begun to move. The perception of my car being in motion was totally convincing, even when I knew the reality.

Sometimes when you see the answer to a perplexing challenge, it doesn’t register in your mind because it’s framed in such a completely different context you can’t recognize the connection. So keep your eyes open, look at everything around you, and, most important, keep flipping your perspective around in other directions, even backwards.

You just might find the answer."

Tony Baxter
Senior Vice President, Creative Development
The Imagineering Way, pp. 160-161

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I love the fact that the sign is from when AT & T sponsored the attraction at the beginning.

When you ride Indy, they blow huge fans on you in that section to give you the sensation of movement as well as making the ride mechanism tip backwards. I still love that ride...