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Strands of Genius: Melt the Crown, Mean Cartoon, The Real Reason
Guest curated by Chelsea Brown, Independent Brand Strategist
Each year we aim to highlight 50 creative thinkers that have inspired us by giving them the opportunity to guest curate this newsletter, Strands of Genius. This edition is guest curated by Chelsea Brown, an independent Brand Strategist.
:: A BIT MORE ABOUT GUEST CURATOR, CHELSEA BROWN ::
LOCATION: San Francisco, CA
Hiya! I'm Chelsea. I do brand strategy, I do a lot of TV and movie watching, I do a lot of book reading, and I do a lot of croissant eating. But I do all of those less now that I have a 6-month old. While I love all things strategy (including Genius Steals, from whom I've stolen many nuggets over the years), I think of my strategy career as a side hustle. I strongly believe this work does not define us and is instead nourished by having MANY other interests.
When I'm not working from my desk (and couch) or lying on the floor with my daughter desperately trying to get her stubborn a$$ to roll over, I run an informal neighborhood library from my driveway in foggy San Francisco.
Editor’s Note (Genius Steals): We loved Chelsea’s resource document on ‘What to do When You're Being Let Go’ so much that we had to invite her to be a part of our guest curator program, and we were not disappointed! We have enjoyed getting to know her through her links, and we are ready to start planning our movie nights after reading her letterboxd reviews!
:: THE LINKS ::
MELT THE CROWN
I'm a big movie fan. I like to think I watch a lot (here's my letterboxd account). And I love reading about film, film theory, and film history. So this Current Affairs article was right up my alley. It digs into the myth of the auteur filmmaker, its sexist history and ripple effects, and its appeal. I'm big into mythology and I think the auteur archetype fits right alongside the Hero archetype...and I'm sick and tired of hearing about them both!! At the end I was left righteously angry at the omission of these women's contributions to film, but optimistic at the actionable steps for the industry towards change. A good takeaway quote: "We need to acknowledge that a film is a product of collective labor and as such, should be an equitable and inclusive experience for all." Also, the Writer's Strike is fascinating and I suggest everyone listen to The Ringer's many podcast episodes on the topic. (Current Affairs)
Liana Finck is a brilliant cartoonist. Her style is direct and ironic, simple enough to make you think "I could draw that", and insightful enough to make you realize "Oh hell no, I couldn't." She's a new-ish mom and has helped me navigate my own recent foray into motherhood. This comic in particular has stuck with me since reading it. In the past, I definitely have needed of a good ol' Eisenhower matrix to help with task prioritization. But since becoming a parent, the prioritization has been forced for me. It's a relief and a restraint. I think, in a time where we feel so time poor, it's important to remember that things only matter as much as the space you give them. (Instagram)
THE REAL REASON
You thought you had escaped GoT discourse. You thought the collective "we" had moved on to House of the Dragon and other medieval IPs across many streaming services. Well, HA! Joke's on you. I have the mic and I want to keep.beating.that.dead.horse.
Well, more like I want you to read this awesome piece from Zeynep Tufekci on the backlash to the last season of GoT. In it, Tufekci proffers sociological stories as an alternative to psychological stories. As a strategist who has to make a brand story work for a consumer in the real world, I appreciated the lateral exploration of how one's behavior adapts to external forces, even influencing their internal beliefs. It's always good to be aware of the institutional factors affecting our audiences. (Scientific American)
Looking for more from Chelsea Brown? Coming Friday, look for an interview from her in your inbox!
:: AND NOW… SOME FAST FAVORITES ::
:: Game :: My partner and I are big board game enthusiasts - we have nearly 200 games. But right now I'm all about that Tears of the Kingdom life.
:: City :: New Orleans
:: Book :: If you know me, then you know that there are too many to choose from. But, for the sake of exposure, I'll say Catherynne M. Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. For any fans of fairy tales and heartbreaking prose.
:: Podcast :: My Dad Wrote a Porno - I've listened to it all the way through a few times and it still makes me laugh out loud. The main appeal is the rapport between the hosts.
:: Album :: The 2005 Pride and Prejudice OST
:: MANIFESTING IS REAL ::
This picture is a photo from my journal 6 days before I was laid off. Manifesting is real, baby!
It feels like everyone is facing a layoff in some way. I was recently in a workshop with a client whose wife had just been laid off that morning. I myself was let go from an agency job back in 2021. It sucked...and it was the best thing that could have happened to me. But that realization came after. In the moment, in that horrible meeting that got added to my calendar all of 15 minutes before it started, I found myself scrambling to Google "what to do when laid off". In a career where I had, at one point or another, Googled all the steps (writing a cover letter, doing an interview, negotiation a raise, etc.), I had never come across or thought to prep for a common enough event in our industry: the lay off.
So I decided to make the thing I was searching for.
Here is my resource doc on What To Do When You're Being Let Go. It's organized temporally, from in the moment to the rest of your life. It's got a mix logistical and emotional steps to do to take care of you and yours. It's not real legal or financial advice, but it's got a bit of those in there.
Bookmark it, share it, read it at least once so that part of your brain will hopefully absorb some of it.
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It's called Genius Steals because we believe ideas are new combinations and that nothing can come from nothing. But copying is lazy. We believe the best way to innovate is to look at the best of that which came before and combine those elements into new solutions.
Co-Founders Faris & Rosie are award-winning strategists and creative directors, writers, consultants and public speakers who have been living on the road/runway since March 2013, working with companies all over the world. Our Director of Operations is nomadic like us, our accounting team is based out of Washington, our company is registered in Tennessee, and our collaborators are all over the world. Being nomadic allows us to go wherever clients need us to be, and to be inspired by the world in between.
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