Creative People Will Want to Know These 4 Tips from JJ Abrams

If you’re a fan of film, television, or lens flare, you’ve probably heard of JJ Abrams. He’s the Emmy award–winning writer-director-producer who brought us Alias, Felicity, Lost, Super 8, Mission Impossible III, Cloverfield, and 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Oh yeah . . . and he rebooted two of the greatest sci-fi franchises of all time, Star Trek and Star Wars. No big deal, y’all!

If you’re ready to make your own creative mark on the world, listen up—JJ’s got some advice for you. Here are four tips on creativity from the “Spielberg” of this generation.

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1Emotional Connection Is Everything

I love larger than life, kind of spectacle moments. But what’s important to me is that the characters are at the center, that emotionally you know where you are, and you’re tracking characters that are taking you through those spectacular moments. And that to me is the most important thing, that balance of the intimacy with the spectacle and the sort of hyper reality.

JJ knows the bottom line: your audience has to care. If they’re not emotionally invested in what’s going on, it doesn’t matter how shiny or bombastic you make something. That climactic moment you worked so hard to create will feel hollow if it’s lacking an emotional core for your audience to connect with.

2Be Open to the Best Idea

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If you’re not open to the best idea, whether it’s a scene for a movie, an episode or a story arc for a series, you’re closed to the possibilities . . . to look at it like a job or a project that is delineated by the expectations, to me limits the possibilities. Some of the great inventions were not intended.

JJ likens the creative process to “driving in the fog.” You have “the big idea” of where a project is going, but you’re also giving your work the space to organically evolve. The Lost character Ben Linus was originally written for a single episode. When actor Michael Emerson showed up (and was brilliant), the Lost creators realized the character could be far more important to the story, and Ben Linus became a central character. Are you willing to scrap your original idea for the best idea?

3Your Voice Matters

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. . . what I kind of learned early on is that your voice is as important as anyone else’s. You may not always be right and you shouldn’t be cocky about it but I felt that I needed to learn that the ideas that I had were as good as anyone else’s ideas. . . . That thing that you feel, if you really feel it, other people do too.

We all struggle with imposter syndrome and second-guessing ourselves. But if you’ve got an idea that excites you, don’t write it off. It may not always pan out, but if you don’t give yourself a chance, who will?

4The Only Thing Stopping You Is You

You want to write? Make movies? JJ’s advice is to go do it!

I used to say . . . to someone who wants to write, “Go! Write! Do your thing.” It’s free, you don’t need permission. But now I can say, “Go make your movie!” There’s nothing stopping you from going out there and getting the technology. You can lease, rent, buy stuff off the shelf that is . . . just as good, as the stuff that’s being used by the . . . “legit people.”

. . . the technology has been democratized, everyone has access to the ability to be a filmmaker, and if you want to do it, the only thing stopping you is you.

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Earliest Convenience: Is It Awkward to Use This Phrase?

Your out-of-office email message says, “I’m away from my desk right now, but I’ll get back to you at my earliest convenience.” Have you created a grievous business faux pas? Surely, you meant well. How could it possibly be impolite to say that you’ll do something just as soon as it’s convenient for you?

Language has power. Words and phrases are open to interpretation. They can convey a certain tone, depending on the context in which they’re used.

Mark Twain said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” The trick to clear communication lies in choosing words and phrases that are less likely to be misinterpreted—the lightning bugs rather than the lightning.

Is there a problem with “earliest convenience”?

As impolite phrases go, there are certainly worse offenses. Whether this one rubs us the wrong way depends on the context in which it’s used.

At my earliest convenience

Let’s look at our out-of-office message example from above.

I’m away from my desk right now, but I’ll get back to you at my earliest convenience.

Our Verdict: Don’t use

Saying you’ll return someone’s email or call at your earliest convenience sounds impolite. Yes, you mean that you’ll get back to the person who’s contacted you as soon as you can, but what the recipient hears is something more like, “I’ll get back to you when (and maybe if) it’s convenient for me.” The implication is that you’ll do it when you feel like it, or when you’re good and ready, or maybe never. Snooty!

At your earliest convenience

But what if you’re using “at your earliest convenience” to tell someone that you’re okay with them getting around to your request when it’s convenient for them? Let’s look at an email between colleagues, John and Mary.

Hi Mary,

I’m going to need our profit and loss statement from Q1 in order to prepare a report. Would you send it to me at your earliest convenience?

Thanks, John

Our Verdict Okay to use, but . . .

. . . there are better ways to express that a request isn’t urgent. Although it isn’t rude to tell Mary that it’s okay for her to tend to your request when it’s convenient, “at your earliest convenience” still falls short on a few counts.

  • It’s not specific enough. You’ve told Mary you need something, but you didn’t tell her when you absolutely need it by. She could assume you don’t really need it at all. A better option would be “. . . at your earliest convenience, or no later than [date].”
  • It sounds jargony. One of the reasons many people dislike “at your earliest convenience” is that it sounds like business jargon—something we all love to hate. Use plain language instead.
  • It’s easily misinterpreted. What if Mary sees your request as urgent when you meant to say that you were in no hurry? She may take time out of her day to rush through your task, which could turn out to be anything but convenient for her.

Alternatives to “Earliest Convenience”

As phrases go, dropping “earliest convenience” from your repertoire is the safest bet. But what should you use instead?

At my earliest convenience

We’ve already stated that you should drop “at my earliest convenience” from workplace and personal communication tout de suite. It comes across as inconsiderate, if not outright rude.

If you do have time to honor a request, instead of saying you’ll get around to it when it’s convenient, tell the person when they can expect your response. (“I’ll reply when I return to the office on [date].”)

At your earliest convenience

Although there’s nothing wrong with this phrase, it might actually be too polite, or at least too open-ended. Although you could use softer, less jaron-laden language like “whenever you have time” or “as soon as you’re able”, once again, we prefer specificity.

Let’s revisit the John and Mary email example and make it more specific.

Hi Mary,

I’m going to need our profit and loss statement from Q1 to prepare a report I’ll be presenting next Monday. Would you be able to send me the P&L no later than Wednesday of this week?

Thanks, John

Here, instead of telling Mary to get around to sending the P&L statement whenever it’s convenient for her, and leaving her to wonder how soon he needs them, John has used a call-to-action to ask whether she would be able to send them over by Wednesday.

Now, Mary knows what John needs and when he needs it. Plus, having the CTA in the form of a question could prompt her to reply, letting him know whether she’ll be able to accommodate the request.

Bonus: Mary’s reply will document the exchange. If she says that yes, she can have the P&L statement ready by Wednesday and doesn’t deliver, John can follow up. If she still doesn’t respond, he can point to this email trail when he has to explain why the P&L didn’t make it into his report. Way to cover your backside, John!

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Lesson 270 – Parts of the Sentence – Adverb Clauses

Adverb clauses like adjective clauses can give variety to your sentences. Sometimes we find adverb clauses that have left some words out. They are called reduced adverb clauses. Example: While (she was) speaking to the timid student, the teacher spoke slowly.
Instructions: Find the adverb clauses in these sentences and tell what word they modify. If it is a reduced adverb clause or elliptical adverb clause add the missing words.
1. You act as if I enjoy punishing you.
2. The contractor roughened the concrete while it was still wet.
3. My sister is smarter than I.
4. The manager talked with the workers after listening to their suggestions.
5. Before returning to work, he ate his lunch.
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. as if I enjoy punishing you modifies the verb act
2. while it was still wet modifies the verb roughened
3. than I (am smart) modifies the predicate adjective smarter
4. after (he had listened) to their suggestions modifies the verb talked
5. Before (he returned) to work modifies the verb ate

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in eBook and Workbook format.
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http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/09/lesson-270-parts-of-sentence-adverb.html

Lesson 269 – Parts of the Sentence – Adverb Clauses

Adverb clauses like adjective clauses can give variety to your sentences. Sometimes we find adverb clauses that have left some words out. They are called reduced adverb clauses. Example: While (she was) speaking to the timid student, the teacher spoke slowly.
Instructions: Rewrite the following reduced adverb clauses adding the missing words.
1. After hearing the terrible noise, they ran for their lives.
2. The customer paid for his groceries when passing through the check out stand.
3. Allen is only happy while participating in an argument.
4. Before leaving for the hike, the boy scouts were warned about snakes.
5. Until watering the lawn in the morning, he didn’t see the dandelions in it.
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. After they had heard the terrible noise, they ran for their lives.
2. The customer paid for his groceries when he passed through the check out stand.
3. Allen is only happy while he is participating in an argument.
4. Before they left for the hike, the boy scouts were warned about snakes.
5. Until he had watered the lawn in the morning, he didn’t see the dandelions in it.

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog
http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/09/lesson-269-parts-of-sentence-adverb.html

Lesson 268 – Parts of the Sentence – Adverb Clauses

Adverb clauses like adjective clauses can give variety to your sentences. Sometimes we find adverb clauses that have left some words out. They are called reduced adverb clauses. Example: While (she was) speaking to the timid student, the teacher spoke slowly.
Instructions: Reduce the adverb clauses in these sentences.
1. While he was watching the geese, he saw the fox.
2. Richard got a thorn in his finger when he was pruning the roses.
3. The cat meowed loudly after it searched for a way into the house.
4. Although the man feared being ostracized, he continued helping everyone.
5. Will measured the board again before he made his final cut.
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
1. While watching the geese, he saw the fox.
2. Richard got a thorn in his finger when pruning the roses.
3. The cat meowed loudly after searching for a way into the house.
4. Although fearing being ostracized, the man continued helping everyone.
5. Will measured the board again before making his final cut.

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog
http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/09/lesson-268-parts-of-sentence-adverb.html

What Is the Best Way to Develop a Writing Style?

Whether or not you realize it, you have a writing style. It’s like fashion: sometimes you don’t notice it at all (jeans and a t-shirt), and other times you can’t take your eyes away (Fashion Week, or Lady Gaga). Whether you’re trying to make it as an author or churning out dozens of business emails a day, your writing style is your signature way of communicating.

Your writing style is uniquely yours, but that doesn’t mean it has to be so unique that it causes confusion. Writers like Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway have such personalized writing styles that you could spot their writing in a lineup, but let’s just say Woolf’s run-on sentences aren’t going to be a hit in a business memo. To get your point across but also stay true to your own writing style, it’s important to identify your quirks, polish your technique, and be willing to adapt.

Identify Your Writing Style

Are you quirky? Casual? Formal? Are there certain words you use all the time? Are parentheses all over your writing? Do you go for diverse punctuation, or prefer short, choppy sentences?

The components that make up the way you communicate are what make your writing style yours—whether you consider yourself a Writer with a capital W or just have to create text for your job from time to time.

If you’re interested in improving your communication, start paying attention to your habits. Notice what favorite words keep popping up, whether you find yourself going for semicolons or em-dashes, and other specifics.

How?

  • Go through old chapters, articles, or emails you’ve written and take notes on recurring traits.
  • As you’re writing something new, reread each sentence or paragraph to find your tics.
  • Ask a friend or colleague what they’ve noticed about your writing. Sometimes an extra pair of eyes can pick up details we’re used to glazing over.

After you’ve identified what characterizes your writing style, you can work to improve it, or if you’re satisfied, keep on writing with that heightened awareness.

Hone Your Writing Style

Having a personal writing style is good, but a writing style that’s too out-there can get in the way of comprehension. Whether you do journalism, business writing, or fiction, make sure your writing style fits the norm, but is still your style.

For example, if you keep a thesaurus handy, great. Big words can help you be more precise and descriptive. Just make sure they’re not weighing down your writing or causing confusion.

Or, if you find yourself using phrases like “I think” or “I believe,” cut them. In general, writing sounds more confident and assertive without self-references.

Is the passive voice frequently used in your writing? Scratch that: do you use the passive voice in your writing? Active voice is stronger and more direct, and it’s often the better choice.

Curb Your Writing Style

Honing means making your style concise and clear. Curbing it means getting rid of bad habits. In general, you should check your grammar and spelling. (Shameless plug: we happen to know a handy writing tool that does just that!)

Other than that, unfortunately, writing has a lot of no-no’s, and they vary depending on the type of writing you do. Try these articles to get specific:

Adapt Your Writing Style

Back to the fashion metaphor. Maybe you have a thing for sweater-vests or mismatched socks, or you wear sweatpants whenever you can get away with it. Fashion is about being yourself, but there are times when you dress a certain way because it’s expected of you. A job interview. A wedding. Prom. You can still be yourself, but you adapt to the occasion.

Similarly, you can shift your writing style based on the situation you’re writing for. Here are some examples:

  • For a memo or report for work, write in short sentences or bullet points, use the vocabulary favored by your industry, and focus on the goal.
  • For emails, unless it’s a super serious topic, this is usually a place to be more casual. (What about social media? Find out.)
  • For essays or academic papers, formality goes through the roof. Read some examples of similar writing to get a sense of how to adapt.
  • For presentations, the writing on your slides or your speech notes should be casual and concise to suit the spoken format.

When it comes to your writing style, just like with fashion, you can be yourself, but also be appropriate for whatever situation you’re in. If you’re aware of your habits and willing to adapt, your writing style will not only serve you in a wide range of writing scenarios but will also continue to improve with time.

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Why It’s Important to ‘Get It in Writing’

“Get it in writing!” That’s a phrase we hear often. In things like bills of sale, freelance contracts, or employee compensation packages—if you and other parties are making an agreement, there’s value in using written language to document it.

We often relate the phrase “Get it in writing” to fancy legal contracts drafted by lawyers, whose time is expensive. But getting something in writing doesn’t have to entail a contract. It can be as simple as a quick email solidifying a verbal agreement.

An Example of What It Means to ‘Get It in Writing’

I’ve volunteered on the board of directors for several small nonprofits over the years. Groups like these are notorious for . . . well, all the things that happen when you put a bunch volunteers with different talents, abilities, and personalities together. Because their efforts are secondary to their busy lives, it’s common for volunteers to get their wires crossed and for things to slip through the cracks.

On one club’s board of directors, where part of my responsibilities included crafting a newsletter, I learned the value of getting conversations in writing. Although the club’s president told me verbally that a member’s article contributions were filler for when space allowed, my leaving one out and rescheduling it for the next newsletter ended up causing hurt feelings. And all that could have been avoided had I taken a moment to get the conversation in writing. Here’s what I wish I’d written:

Hi Bob,

Thanks for chatting with me about the newsletter at last night’s meeting. I’m excited for next month’s issue!

Things were hectic last night, so I’d like to make sure I have our conversation straight. As I understand it, Ralph’s articles are to appear in the newsletter as space permits, and it’s okay to push one back to the next issue if we have a full four-page newsletter already.

Would you take a moment to reply and confirm whether that’s correct? And, of course, if there’s anything you need to clarify, this would be a great opportunity to do that.

Thanks again for being our fearless leader!

Karen

My email would’ve served a couple of purposes. First, it would have given me the opportunity to reiterate my understanding of the conversation. Bob had said, “Consider Ralph’s articles filler for when we have space.” The second paragraph of my letter clarifies exactly how I interpret what he said.

Second, getting our conversation in writing would have given Bob a chance to follow up with me if it turned out I’d misinterpreted what he’d told me. It would have also given him the chance to present me with an addendum, perhaps something like, “It’s okay to leave Ralph’s article out, but it’s best to email him to tell him why that’s happening so he doesn’t feel slighted.”

When leaving Ralph’s article out of the newsletter resulted in hurt feelings, a record of the conversation would have allowed me to cover myself—I could have referred to the email exchange I’d had with with Bob. Bob wouldn’t have been able to backpedal and claim no knowledge of the conversation. (Which, incidentally, is exactly what he did.) More to the point, he would have been less likely to, knowing that our conversation was recorded in text.

Although we often think of getting it in writing when it comes to legal matters like sales agreements and employment contracts, getting day-to-day conversations (that might result in a misunderstanding) in writing can be incredibly useful. It’s a powerful tool for avoiding confusion and disagreements.

What types of things do require legal contracts?

Although both written agreements and verbal “handshake” agreements are considered legally binding, the “he said/she said” nature of verbal agreements makes them difficult to enforce in a court of law. And some high-stakes contracts should be drafted by a lawyer, or at least templated by one.

Some transactions that should have legal contracts include:

  • Real estate sales
  • Agreements to pay someone else’s debts
  • Contracts that take longer than one year to complete
  • Real estate leases for longer than one year
  • Contracts for over a certain amount of money (depending on the state)
  • Contracts that will last longer than the life of the party performing the contract
  • A transfer of property at the death of the party performing the contract

Of course, this article isn’t intended as legal advice. When in doubt, get legal counsel. If you’re wondering whether an agreement should have a lawyer-prepared contract, consider whether conflict over the terms could have significant legal or financial ramifications. If it would, then involving an attorney or using a legal template is a good idea.

Contract templates are often available online, but finding a reputable source can be tricky. Be sure to do your homework before handing over credit card info to sites that require payment for creating and printing contracts.

Here’s a tip: Try searching for the type of contract you need plus your state. For instance, if you’re selling your car and you live in California, enter “auto sale contract California.” State government and law sites often have free contracts available for download. My search turned up a contract from the California DMV. You’ll know you’re dealing with an official site if it’s located at a .gov Internet address.

The Benefits of Getting It in Writing

Whether or not it’s required, a written agreement is proof of the terms you discussed. It prevents people from forgetting what was agreed to, denying what they’ve said, or changing their story (like Bob did.) Written documents can also serve as legal evidence in court, if necessary.

According to the Shake Law blog:

Get everything in writing! Everything. Even if it’s just on a napkin, get it in writing. Samuel Goldwyn said ‘Verbal contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.’ And it’s true — verbal contracts may be legally binding in theory, but try enforcing one!

So, put those writing skills to use! Take time to think through and record the agreements you make. Clearly laying out the verbal covenants in text can save a lot of hassles down the line.

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Improve Your Email Writing with These 9 Helpful Posts

Looking for email writing tips?

You’ve come to the right place.

Grammarly’s blog has featured several recent posts on all things email writing. Our aim is to provide readers with valuable insights on how to craft the perfect email for any occasion. We’ve talked about proper email etiquette. We’ve covered ways to maximize your productivity. And we’ve shown you how to step out of office for vacation and avoid a flood of emails upon your return.

Below you’ll find some of the key takeaways from our email-writing topics. Keep in mind, Grammarly’s editor is a great way to improve your copy and ensure the quality of your email messages. Now let’s get to our top email tips of 2017.

1. Properly starting an email is essential in the writing process.

Pro tip: There are several ways to address your intended recipient. Sometimes simplicity can save the day.

Hi [Name], In all but the most formal settings, this email greeting is the clear winner. It’s simple, friendly, and direct. If you want a slightly more formal tone, consider replacing hi with hello.

Source: How to Start an Email: 6 Never-Fail Introductions and 6 to Avoid

2. Keep your subject line short and clear.

Pro tip: You might never get a response to your perfectly worded email if your subject line is not easy to follow.

Keep your subject line short (under thirty characters) so it’s legible on mobile devices. Be specific and intriguing. Never write in all caps or use a generic line such as “Hi” (this may be mistaken for spam). To create a great subject line you can…

Source: This Is How to Properly Introduce Yourself in an Email

3. That opening line in the email is always tricky. Don’t rely on a shortcut.

Pro tip: We know you hope someone is doing well, but there are other ways to write an icebreaker and get down to the business of your email correspondence.

If you’re writing a high-stakes email that needs to get results, it never hurts to do your homework. You don’t have to stalk someone on social media, but doing a little research can go a long way. Include a sentence or two at the opening of your email to show you’re familiar with the recipient’s work.

Source: 5 Other Ways to Write “I Hope You Are Doing Well” in Your Email

4. Mastering the art of writing emails is essential in today’s business world. You’ll also have to become a pro at crafting out-of-office messages.

Pro tip: You’ve worked long hours and deserve a well-timed vacation. Setting yourself up for success upon return involves extra planning on the email front.

Your out-of-office message can be simple. Just let people know you’re unavailable, when you’ll return, and who they should contact with any urgent needs while you’re gone. If you’d like to have a little more fun with your message, here are some options.

Source: 6 Wonderful Tips on How to Catch Up on Emails After a Vacation

5. Some emails require a delicate balance of personality and professionalism. Knowing the rules of email etiquette will go a long way toward helping you avoid a blunder.

Pro tip: Think of how you’d speak conversationally as you review your written emails.

Lay off the exclamation points I know you’re excited! Seriously!!! But you can convey excitement without exclamation points. (Golly gee! Save those for when you’re really exclaiming.) Exclamation point mania is another spam filter trigger, so use them sparingly and never, ever use two or more at the end of a sentence. Unless you’re a preteen. Then have at it.

Source: 17 Email Etiquette Rules to Know and Practice

6. If your goal for writing an email is to get a response, you have to compose your message with that goal in mind.

Pro tip: You want a response? Don’t be generic.

Add a personal touch to your emails whenever you can. If you met the recipient at a conference, say so. If you read an article they’ve written, mention your favorite takeaway. If you’ve interviewed with them for a job, reference a highlight from the interview.

Source: How to Write a Follow-up Email That Gets a Response: 7 Action Tips

7. Email writing can get trickier when you factor in cultural norms and protocols.

Pro tip: Do your research when crafting a professional message to a specific audience. For example, if you’re a non-native English speaker, there are ways to make the email-writing experience less daunting.

Professional emails shouldn’t be epic in length. Be respectful of your readers’ time, because if they feel your message is unduly long, they’ll likely start to skim.

If a weighty subject requires lengthy discussion, look for better ways to communicate about it than email. Use your message as a way to set up a meeting or discussion, rather than a venue for a dense treatise on the subject.

Source: 7 Useful Tips on How to Write a Perfect Professional Email in English

8. More and more emails include emojis these days. There’s a good explanation for how and when to use them if you’re so inclined.

Pro tip: There’s a time and place to engage in a conversational email thread. If you’re looking to use shorthand language, slang or emojis, consider the audience and topic at hand.

If there’s controversy around emojis in business communication, then why do we feel compelled to use them? Why not forego them altogether? The simple answer: we want to be better understood. Email communication is notoriously problematic in that it lacks the emotional cues we rely on with face-to-face or phone conversations. Without tone of voice or facial expressions to guide us, there’s a lot of room for misunderstanding when we read an email. Messages meant to be positive are often interpreted as neutral, and neutral messages are interpreted as negative.

Source: Can You Actually Use Emojis in Work Emails?

9. Finish crafting your email with a memorable sign-off and not a generic throwaway line.

Pro tip: If you’ve successfully addressed your email recipient, kept them engaged with actionable text, and avoided unnecessary distractions, finish your copy with a well-placed conclusion. Don’t overlook the value in signing off your emails. Leaving the letter blank could be a major pitfall.

We live in a world where people frequently email from mobile devices, so excluding a signature certainly isn’t a no-no as an email chain progresses, particularly if your recipient also drops the more formal sign-off. But not signing an initial email or using only the formal signature you’ve created to append to your outgoing emails comes off as impersonal.

Source: How to End an Email: 9 Never-Fail Sign-Offs and 9 to Avoid

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8 New Movies and Shows That Creatives Must Watch

Creative work can be especially fun and rewarding, but after a long day of writing, designing, composing, crafting, coding, building, imagining . . . it’s good to relax and recharge.

And what better way to kick back than with a movie or show that refuels your creative energy?

We’ve entered a golden age in US television, where creators are forging into new territory and bringing diverse ideas and voices to the forefront. Novel storytelling, daring visuals, and innovative formats are breathing new life into film and TV—and providing plenty of inspiration for us fellow creatives to tap into our own creative genius.

So take a break, and dive in with these eight exceptional movies and TV shows that will entertain, engage, and spark your creativity!

1Master of None

You can try your best to not fall in love with Master of None, Aziz Ansari’s brilliantly subversive Netflix rom-com, but be warned—you will probably want to binge-watch it in one sitting. This show is heartbreakingly poignant, hilarious, and insightful, and it relentlessly pushes the envelope.

Some of the most powerful and surprising episodes turn the camera’s focus away from the lead character altogether, rocketing to the forefront the viewpoints of characters rarely seen or celebrated in pop culture.

Oh, and did we mention the editing and aesthetics are on-point? (Season 2 is basically a love letter to classic Italian films.) Explore some innovative storytelling by watching Seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix.

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2Sense8

Need to feed your imagination? Try soaking in the sumptuous, stunning visuals of Sense8.

This sprawling and ambitious work of art from the Wachowskis follows eight strangers around the globe as their senses become mysteriously linked, allowing them to share experiences, knowledge, and emotions—all while keeping one step ahead of the evil corporation that’s hunting them.

With rich storytelling, exotic locations, and a talented and diverse cast, it’s the perfect sci-fi adventure to get your creative wheels spinning again. Watch Seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix.

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3Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is the dark rom-com musical you didn’t know you needed until it twirled into your life belting “West Covinaaa!” on full blast. Relentlessly subversive, unbelievably zany, and at times painfully relatable, this show digs deep into the neuroses of obsession. Also, it has fantastical song and dance numbers that would make Flight of the Conchords proud. Watch Seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix.

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4Kubo and the Two Strings

This exquisite stop-motion fantasy has astounding visuals at every turn. The story is built around a hero’s journey as our protagonist searches for identity, while also dealing with heavier themes of loss, grief, and healing. Stream it on Netflix.

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5Insecure

Game of Thrones takes the prize for most popular HBO show this summer, but Season 2 of Insecure wins “Best in Show.” Issa Rae’s binge-worthy comedy-drama boasts razor sharp writing, a brilliant cast, and a bumping soundtrack that will have you clicking over to Spotify for more.

The show engages us with complicated (and deeply human) characters exploring love, relationships, infidelity, and the messy aftermath that ensues. But what’s truly radical is how it portrays the Black experience in down-to-earth ways seldom seen on television. Insecure reveals the power that comes from staying true to your viewpoint and experiences. Stream Seasons 1 and 2 through HBO.

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6BoJack Horseman

What if we told you one of the most realistic and honest explorations of mental health in the media today is an animated show starring an anthropomorphic horse?

At first glance, Bojack Horseman may register as a silly sitcom satire, but as you travel down the rabbit hole, things gradually go from wacky to profound, to reveal a deeply existential show that stays with you even when you stop watching.

Designed by genius illustrator Lisa Hanawalt, the world of BoJack is a riot of pastel colors and hilarious background details—a deceptively cheerful setting for a hauntingly sad and sometimes dark story. Seasons 1-4 are on Netflix.

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7Moonrise Kingdom

Set on a quaint New England island, Moonrise Kingdom tells the tale of two twelve-year-old runaways and the all-star cast of adults searching to find them before an oncoming storm. It’s a poignant depiction of young love, and though possibly the most stylized of Wes Anderson’s films, it somehow turns out to be one of the most relatable and emotionally touching. The fairytale aesthetic—complete with breathtaking set pieces—perfectly complements the story itself. Stream it on Netflix.

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8Abstract: The Art of Design

No matter what type of creative work you engage in, this Netflix docu-series is guaranteed to nourish your inner muse. Abstract profiles a diverse set of eight world-renowned designers, including Es Devlin (stage designer for the likes of Beyonce and U2), Ralph Gilles (head of design for Fiat Chrysler), and shoe designer Tinker Hatfield (of Air Jordan fame).

The series takes an intimate look at the life and career ascent of these creatives who are masters in their field. The insights and perspectives shared on the creative process are pure gold. Watch Season 1 on Netflix.

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The post 8 New Movies and Shows That Creatives Must Watch appeared first on Grammarly Blog.

from Grammarly Blog
https://www.grammarly.com/blog/movies-and-shows-for-creatives/

Lesson 266 – Parts of the Sentence – Adverb Clauses

Adverb clauses like adjective clauses can give variety to your sentences.
Instructions: Combine the following sentences using adverb clauses at the end of the sentence.
1. We watched the robins. They raised their young in our apple tree.
2. Becky read the book. It was recommended by a friend.
3. Dad donates his suits to charity. He has worn them a year.
4. The policemen delayed the drivers. The wrecks were cleared.
5. Ann ate an apple. She studied her vocabulary.
–For answers scroll down.

Answers:
Several different subordinate conjunctions can be used to combine adverb clauses with independent clauses, but I will only show one possibility.
1. We watched the robins while they raised their young in our apple tree.
2. Becky read the book since it was recommended by a friend.
3. Dad donates his suits to charity after he has worn them a year.
4. The policemen delayed the drivers until the wrecks were cleared.
5. Ann ate an apple as she studied her vocabulary.

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
from Daily Grammar Lessons Blog
http://dailygrammarlessons.blogspot.com/2017/09/lesson-266-parts-of-sentence-adverb.html