In my new book (Book No.2 in my HATCH! creativity trilogy) I am creating a chapter on the value of keeping a personal "sketchbook." Not a diary or daily journal, rather a tool for capturing impressions, thoughts, images, movie tickets, and other bits of life that would otherwise be lost if not for ONE place to keep them.
This will be a follow up on the popularity of the "The Doodle Factor" chapter in HATCH!, where I encouraged and taught (whomever was willing) how to add simple, playful images to ANY note taking to increase retention of key information. The number of folks who have shared their new-found love for doodling/drawing has been very rewarding indeed—especially since this chapter and the "book-within-the-book" of "McNair's Fearless Field Guide To Doodling & Visual Thinking" was an eleventh hour addition to HATCH! (It was a request of my good buddy MaxPaul Franklin.)
I have carried a sketchbook everyday, around the world, since I was about 12 years old. In the front page of everyone is the phrase: "Anything Worth Remembering, Is Worth Writing Down."
Francis Coppola was in his early 30's when he read Mario Puzo's novel, The Godfather and begin thinking about and planning to bring that epic story to the big screen. In the video below he shows the notebook he created with notes on every page of the novel. In the tradition of a theatre stage manager's "prompt book" this became what Coppola called his "road map." (I have created just such a book for every play and musical I have directed. I think I've saved most of them.)
His adaption of this epic American tale really exists as much, or more, in this notebook as in the screenplay that Coppola and Puzo eventually wrote. In this fascinating, very personal video, we see the actual massive notebook and many of his copious, hand-written notes and observations that became critical in preparing the screenplay and strategizing the entire production design. This is a rare, intimate peek inside the creative mind of one of our greatest contemporary directors in imagining and creating what is now a classic film. (The Godfather received the OSCAR for Best Motion Picture of 1973. Coppola did not get Best Director. However, The Godfather: Part II did receive 6 Oscars including: Best Motion Picture, and Best Director and Best Screenplay—the later two to Coppola, in 1975.)
Given the rich content that is packed into this little 10 minute video ... it more than makes the case for the power of keeping, using, a personal, or "project-based" notebook.
Well worth watching.
SIDE NOTE :: Mr. Coppola refers to sitting in a little North Beach (San Francisco) eatery, Cafe Trieste, to work on his Godfather notebook. After his success, Coppola purchased the iconic Centennial building in North Beach in which he keeps his "City office" and on the ground floor has his old world Italian restaurant, Cafe Zoetrope. You will recall I like to write in cafes, coffee joints, and wine bars. Funnily enough, I spent many hours working on HATCH! in both Cafe Trieste and Cafe Zoetrope. And, Yes, I met and chatted with Coppola on several occasions. He is an easy person to approach and always curious ..."How's the book coming?" At his request, I drew a cartoon on one of their menus. It is framed and hanging on the wall of the Cafe to this day. (A friend saw it just a couple months ago.)