How to Optimize Your Environment for Creativity with The Perfect Temperature, Lighting and Noise levels

Now here’s a project we can sink our teeth into. We mean, hell, it sure beats actually, you know, creating, no?


by Belle Beth Cooper

I’ve written about how creativity works in the brain before, and I found it really useful to understand this process. Or, I should say, multiple processes.

There’s so much going on in the brain during creativity that science is still trying to pin down exactly how it all works.

What we do know is which three parts of the brain work together to help us create and come up with new ideas:

The Attentional Control Network helps us with laser focus on a particular task. It’s the one that we activate when we need to concentrate on complicated problems or pay attention to a task like reading or listening to a talk.

The Imagination Network as you might have guessed, is used for things like imagining future scenarios and remembering things that happened in the past. This network helps us to construct mental images when we’re engaged in these activities.

The Attentional Flexibility Network has the important role of monitoring what’s going on around us, as well as inside our brains, and switching between the Imagination Network and Attentional Control for us.


Understanding how important connections are to creativity has also made a difference to how I try to generate new ideas. Once we have a lot of knowledge, we need to spend time making connections between it all—this is where creativity comes in.

I’ve shared some ideas in my previous post about creativity to help you come up with new ideas, such as putting yourself in challenging situations, criticizing your own ideas and being open to having lots of (bad) ideas in order to find just a few great ones—something Seth Godin is a fan of:

Someone asked me where I get all my good ideas, explaining that it takes him a month or two to come up with one and I seem to have more than that. I asked him how many bad ideas he has every month. He paused and said, “none.”

These tips are handy, but I’ve found that my environment makes a big difference to how productive I am, and how easily I can brainstorm new, creative ideas.

It turns out, environmental factors like noise levels, temperature and lighting can make a big difference to how creative we are. Here’s what the research says about setting up your environment for optimal levels of creativity.

Read it all

Will FIREFLY Reboot as a Limited Series?

Here’s a consumation devoutly to be wished by, well, it should be wished by everybody who loves well-written/acted/mounted TV and not just fanatical Whedonites:

firefly-river-tamby James Hibbard

There’s not a TV show cancellation in the whole ‘verse that causes more online howling than Fox’s Firefly. So forEntertainment Weekly‘s package on TV shows that deserve a second life in this week’s issue (buy), we just had to explore the idea of rebooting the sci-fi cult favorite that was axed after just half a season aired in 2002. To be clear: There’s no revival currently planned and there are many obstacles to this happening (perhaps first and foremost is that star Nathan Fillion is exclusive to Fox’s rival network ABC for his role on Castle, which is currently in its most-watched season). And last year, the show’s ultra-busy creator Joss Whedon told EW he preferred to focus on building new worlds rather than revisiting old ones. So to get a fresh take, we went to the show’s former writer-producer Tim Minear, who is under contract with Firefly rights owner 20th Century Fox TV. Minear is working on FX’s American Horror Story, but gamely agreed to explore the odds of bringing the show back.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So what are the chances of this ever happening?
Minear: I would never foreclose the possibility. The fact that it was even a feature film after it spectacularly failed on Fox was a miracle. And of course it lives on in other forms. In terms of getting the band back together to make a new adventure, who knows? I would love it. It would be great. But first everybody has their respective projects that limits them from crossing over into other things. It’s just trying to coordinate everybody’s obligations so they could somehow participate.

If it were to happen, what is the most likely form that it would take?
Minear: I’m completely talking off the top of my head, but there’s a show that’s been on for the last couple years that’s reinvented the form in terms of the limited series. I’m trying to think of the name of that show — Oh yes!American Horror Story! It doesn’t have to be 13 episodes. Look how Sherlock does it.

Oh, that is a good idea. They’re all the rage now that networks are into doing event TV.
Minear: I think a limited series of some kind would work best. Something like that could also work if, say, 20th could partner with Netflix, or another distributor. It would have its home on Fox, of course [then a second window on streaming]. A limited series would do very well, I bet.

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Cartoon: The 12th Doctor…for Continuity Freaks

This is kinda a Whovian in-joke, but we loves us the art:

12th DoctorFrom the ever-delightful (except when it isn’t) Doctor Puppet blog.

Herbie J Pilato: Why Johnny Carson was the best “Tonight Show” host

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carsonby Herbie J Pilato

As a page for NBC in Burbank from May 1984 to December 1985, I worked on several shows that became classics, including The Golden Girls, Family Ties, and more.

No show was more exciting to be involved with – sometimes on a daily basis, than The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.

Mr. Carson has been called the “King of Late Night TV” – and there’s a reason for that.

It’s because that’s what he was – and remains.

No TV talk show host, past, present or future of The Tonight Show, or any “chat” program, of late night or daytime – possessed the style, grace, elegance, humor and sophistication of Johnny Carson.

But the main reason why he was the ultimate talk show host is because he actually allowed his guests to talk.

Go figure, right?  A talk show granting his guest time to speak.

Mr. Carson opened the show with his monologue, maybe did a few skits here and there (i.e. “Carnac, the Magnificent”), and then his line-up of guests would commence their time on the sofa, one by one…sometimes all remaining together on that sofa until the show’s closing credits.

There was comedy, but nothing obnoxious.  There was a gracious audience (that the NBC pages kept in check); and there was no loud screaming or fist-pumping.

The audience was never allowed to touch Mr. Carson or shake his hand in any which way.  His desk on stage was positioned somewhat distantly from the studio audience, and everyone was okay with that – because he was the “star”…when being a “star” meant having class.  Not arrogance, but class.

He’d joke with his guests; and laugh with them, but never at them.  He never insulted his guests, and he always made sure they’d shine, specifically young comedians who were just starting out; or who he thought was an amazing talent.

Suffice it to say, he showed respect for his guests, and ultimately his TV audience – and his studio audience (his “Stump the Band” segment, which I was honored enough to “co-host” with him one night, remains a classic “skit history”).

In short, Johnny Carson was not only the ultimate talk show host, but was the ultimate host, period.

And there will never be another one like him anytime soon – or ever.

Cheers to you, Johnny – for all the entertainment, laughs, and again – just plain class that you brought to the world of late night television – and beyond.


Read more about Herbie J Pilato’s adventures as an NBC Page.

Why the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Not Only Sucks, It Blows


All over the interweb, folks are reacting to the idea of Comcast and Time Warner Cable becoming, um, one. And nobody here at TVWriter™ – not one of us – has read anything positive about it so far. Here’s a short list of articles about the Impending Interweb Disaster

Here’s a reading list to get your flood blowing blood flowing:

WGA West & WGA East Slam Merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable

Why the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Is Even Worse Than You Think

PTC Blasts Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger As “Anti-Consumer & Anti-Family”

Comcast & Time Warner Cable: A Wedding That Should Be Called Off Before It’s Too Late

Comcast: No promise that prices “will go down or even increase less rapidly”

Will TV Programmers Have To Consolidate If Comcast Buys Time Warner Cable?

Can The Government Stop The Comcast/TWC Monstrosity? ?

What A Merger Of Comcast And Time Warner Cable Could Mean For Hollywood

How Comcast-TWC Will End Your All-You-Can Internet Buffet

Oh, wait. What’s this? Aha – a pro-merger statement at last from…oh, right, yeah, of course…Comcast:

Comcast lists all the ways a merger with Time Warner is “pro-consumer”


This has been a public service presentation.