Lessons from a Stunning Three-Minute Stop Motion Film

Olympus Camera

I recently rediscovered this brilliant—and it is brilliant—three-minute stop motion film commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Olympus PEN camera. I first came across it in 2009, the year in which it was released.

According to the people who made this creative work, they took 60,000 photographs, developed 9,600 prints and reshot 1,800 photos. And there was no post production! If you haven’t seen it yet, you are in for a treat.

As I watched it again, it occurred to me that the film contains a number of useful lessons that we should keep in mind when it comes to public speaking and presentations.

  • The success of your presentation is almost always directly correlated to the amount of your preparation. I can’t even begin to imagine how much work went into this project, but it was a lot longer than the three-minute final product.
  • Images are powerful. (But don’t worry, nobody is expecting you to take 60,000 photographs!)
  • Look for ways to present information in a creative manner. Creativity is appreciated.
  • No matter what your presentation or speech is about, you need to connect with your audiences on an emotional level.
  • A good speech or presentation is circular, in that it ends where it began. In the stop motion film, the story begins with the boy leaving the school after a class photo; it ends with him returning to the same school as a man, many years later, for a class reunion photo.
  • Have a message. And on that note, let’s end this post with the message contained in the lyrics to the song in the film:

Be just who you want to be, my friend,
You just got to trust in faith.
Do the things you want to do ’cause life don’t wait.
Take it easy, keep your head up high,
No need for sorrow and despair,
Just keep on moving, it’s such a wondrous world out there.

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  1. I just found your blog John thru LinkedIn … wonderful stuff. Thanks for sharing.
    I would add that good presentations many times are made better by looking at the topic from a slightly different point of view or perspective. Sort of a mash-up of two seemingly unrelated topics along with everything else you mentioned.

    1. Thanks very much for the comment, Daniel. Glad to you enjoy the blog and hope you come back. Looking at a subject from a unique point of view is a great way to make the message memorable. It reminds me of one of the indicia of a sticky message as per Chip and Dan Heath in Made to StickBe unexpected.

  2. Haven’t talked in awhile, John. Just wanted to say that, for some reason, this wonderful little film that you alerted me to made me incredibly sad. I think that certainly supports the idea of the importance of both image and story. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. And I feel the exact opposite of Maciej. I’m having a very tough day, and this has made me feel happier and more optimistic. Great example of how something can impact people in different ways. I wonder if it is generational – as I would have been alive before the first Olympus Pen was introduced.

    Thanks for sharing – and for making the connection to our own presentations.

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John delivered a keynote address about the importance of public speaking to 80 senior members of Gore’s Medical Device Europe team at an important sales event. He was informative, engaging and inspirational. Everyone was motivated to improve their public speaking skills. Following his keynote, John has led public speaking workshops for Gore in Barcelona and Munich. He is an outstanding speaker who thinks carefully about the needs of his audience well before he steps on stage.

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TA Leader, Gore and Associates

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CEO, Proton Technologies

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Secretary General, World Road Transport Organization

I was expecting a few speaking tips and tricks and a few fun exercises, but you went above and beyond – and sideways. You taught me to stand tall. You taught me to anchor myself. You taught me to breathe. You taught me to open up. You taught me to look people in the eye. You taught me to tell the truth. You taught me to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I got more than I bargained for in the best possible way.

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World Cancer Day Campaign Manager, Union for International Cancer Control

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HR Specialist, World Health Organization

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CFO European Dairy Supply Chain & Operations, Danone

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