Following Transformation in Real-Time

We first met Ryan Hargrove 4 years ago. He taught a creativity class at the University of Kentucky. He asked us to speak to the class about our methodologies for maintaining high levels of creative output. We returned a couple years in a row and became friends. He called with a project with a super tight timeline but was completely open to our creative vision. Of course, we said yes.

It turns out it was also for a great cause. Gear Up is a statewide project that helps identify and support potential first-time college students. We followed a group of 22 students who came to UK to get a feel for what college is like. While we don’t normally take one-off projects like this, we were intrigued by the constraints. The class was three weeks long. We shot and edited a video that told a compelling story in time to show to the families of the students at 6 PM on the Friday of pick-up.

The course taught the students how to discuss a problem and employ creative problem solving techniques. It wasn’t the sort of class with a test at the end, it was the sort of class that taught them a process. The problem they were posed was carefully chosen; the teachers wanted the students to be the experts. The challenge was how to rebuild the Gear Up program. They understand the unique challenges first-time college students face. The video we produced doesn’t focus on their solutions, though. We focused on their process. Because that is the real value they get from the course.

We wanted to show the students as they were and how they transformed. They were really nervous. Many had never been this far away from home. They were all in uncomfortable situations. They went from barely being able to talk to each other to presenting complex ideas to a group of adults. And they learned skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

Big thanks to Ian and James at Kong Productions for all the help bringing this piece together. To learn more about the Gear Up Kentucky program, visit their website at