How to Unleash Your Creativity: For Profit & Gain

A seminar for you to free your inner creativity asnd apply it to the world around you.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Roy Blumenthal's Creativity Mentoring, Coaching, and Workshops -- Pricelist

A client of mine recently asked me to put together a list of some of
the things I could offer his company in terms of creativity workshops
and mentoring for his staff and clients. So I thought I'd share the
menu with you, in case you know of anyone who would like me to tailor
one of my interventions to their needs.

The prices below are valid until the end of February 2008. If you book
now for dates later than that, these prices will still hold! So book

The menu is split into
  1. Creativity workshops and Facilitations.
  2. Individual or small-group, results-oriented mentoring/coaching for selected staff members.
Lemme know if any of this appeals. My number is +27 74 104 6386. My email address is

Blue skies


An Interactive Roleplay Workshop
3.5 hours.

Staff who feel they're stuck, and staff who simply want to 'refresh' the way they see their projects. We'll need 8 to 18 people in this one.

Four facilitators from 'Beyond the Box', the open source industrial theatre company I've founded.

What we'll do:
We'll have the participants in the group interacting with each other to express their blockage. We'll then role-play various blockage scenarios, and have participants actively engage with one another's issues to help solve them. This session will create 'option thinking', helping the participants to find new ways of doing things.

  • Personal responsibility for clearing blocks
  • Relationship building within the produciton teams so that they have internal support for their new ideas
  • Better interpretation of client briefs.
R 15 550 (fixed price, up to approx 18 people)

An Interactive Roleplay Workshop
3.5 hours.

The 'team'. 8 to 18 people in this session.

Four facilitators from 'Beyond the Box', the open source industrial theatre company I've founded.

What we'll do:
This is about the delicate art of being an individual with strong, definite views amongst a bunch of other individuals with similarly strong, definite views. It's about the chaos of being a maverick in a team of mavericks. How the heck does a person BE themselves, and yet still contribute to the myth of 'the team'?

This is also an interactive role-play, where the participants bring out their difficulties, and the group roleplays these through to satisfying conclusions. Repeat after me, 'We are all unique.' Heheheheehe

  • Really getting to know WHY certain people do certain things
  • Demystifying the individualists in the group
  • Giving people better 'handles' on each others' working habits
  • Relationship-building
  • Converting chaos (or even light turmoil) into productivity
R 15 550 (fixed price, up to approx 18 people)

Human Sculptures Reveal All
1 hour.

Management, production teams, decision-making groups. 4 to 18 people in this session.

Two facilitators from 'Beyond the Box', the open source industrial theatre company I've founded.

What we'll do:
This is focussed on finding solutions to particular issues. Whatever the issue is on the day, this workshop helps create a new way of understanding and interacting with the challenge. We make 'human sculptures' out of the issue, and the sculptures find ways through to solutions.

  • Clarify the issue
  • Find ways to the ideal outcome
  • Identify blocks to the ideal outcome
  • Find transitions to achieving the desired outcome
  • Problem solving
  • Option thinking
R 5 850 (fixed price, up to approx 18 people)

A Fullday Creativity Workshop
8 hours. (Can be split over two morning sessions.)

Everyone in business who wants to feel more creative. Up to 26 people in this workshop.
Clients who want to 'embrace the craziness'.

Roy Blumenthal

What we'll do:
This is the workshop I've been running for the past 7 or so years. In it, we look at different takes on creativity, how to mobilise our creativity, tricks and tools to use when we're stuck. We also learn that goalsetting and action are intrinsic to unleashing creativity, and we work on tools to be more effective at setting and realising goals. This is a fun workshop, with lots of interaction and 'playing'.

  • A creativity 'toolkit'
  • Effective goalsetting
  • Effective action planning
  • Unleashed creativity
  • Profit and gain
R 18 850 (fixed price, up to approx 26 people)


I'm happy to work with individuals and small groups of up to 4 people per group. It's much more cost-effective to work with small groups, as I discount the per-head price.

The way I normally do this kind of work is to contract for a minimum of six sessions, in multiples of six sessions. Optimum coaching takes place over 12 to 18 sessions, with six being a 'low hanging fruit' and 'getting to know you' kind of intervention. The longer the number of sessions contracted for, the more cost-effective.

It's best to meet once every two weeks, or once every week, for 60 to 90 minutes. Once a month CAN work, but continuity suffers. Twice a month is optimum, with once a week being good if there are crises to be dealt with.

So, here's the menu...

  • 6 sessions -- R1 900 per session
  • 12 sessions -- R1 600 per session
  • 18 sessions -- R 1 200 per session

Groups of 4:
  • 6 sessions -- R1 200 per person, per session
  • 12 sessions -- R1 100 per person, per session
  • 18 sessions -- R1 000 per person, per session
I'm also happy to negotiate a discount if I'm coaching more than one group.

Please let me know what you feel about these options. And gimme a call on: +27 74 104 6386, or email me on, and we can leap into action whenever you're ready.

Remember, these prices go up at the end of February 2008, so book now, and the early-bird prices will hold regardless of the date you book for!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tutorial: How to Test Your Art Materials for Colour-fastness and Longevity

Your artwork SHOULD be around in one-hundred years time. How certain are you that yours will survive the ravages of exposure to ultra-violet light? Be sure you're using archive-quality materials, and you're well on the way to ensuring your work's longeivty.

This is a quick tutorial on how to test your art materials for colour-fastness.

I recommend that all artists try this. You'll be amazed at how poorly some of your favourite inks and pigments survive.

1. Do two almost identical paintings of something. These are really just scribbles. Not art. Make sure you have some ultra fine lines, some splatters, and some densely coloured areas.

2. Put the date on both pieces.

3. Put one piece in an envelope, and put the envelope in a drawer, away from light.

4. Tape the other on a window that gets the midday and afternoon sun. The pigment should be facing the sun.

5. Go back two months later, and compare the two pieces.

  • If you used ballpoint pen, you'll notice that it takes about a month for ballpoint pen to fade to a very pale yellow line, no matter WHAT the manufacturers claim about colourfastness. One month more, and there is NO evidence that a line existed at all.
  • If you used genuine pigment-based India Ink, you'll notice that those lines haven't changed in the slightest.
  • If you used cheap student paint, oil or acrylic, you'll notice that almost ALL of the colour has degraded badly, especially the reds and blues.
  • If you made digital art, and printed it out on an inkjet printer, you'll be horrified. Totally horrified.
  • If you printed your pics out at a professional photographic studio on actual photo paper, you'll be quite pleased, but not over the moon.
  • If you specified to your digital print expert that you were looking for archive-quality, pigment based, UV-resistant inks on an acid-free paper, you'll be grinning from ear to ear, and understanding why it costs so much more.
The lesson is this: use India Ink for line, and use the very best, most expensive paint that is made out of pigment, not chemical dye. And pay the most you can afford to print digital images.

One other thing... you can add a THIRD page to this test... make one on cheap typing paper, and the other two on acid-free art paper. Put one of the acid-free ones in the envelope, and the other two in the window.

You'll see that the acid-free paper 'helps' the ink stay fresher. Cheap paper degrades the ink.

Jackson Pollock's paintings are at this moment crumbling, and being restored flake by flake by experts. The paint he used was substandard. The materials he painted on were substandard. If he were a lesser artist, it would not be economically viable to actually restore the works.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Creating South Africa's first open source industrial theatre company

I'm in the process of co-creating South Africa's first open source industrial theatre company.

Every Saturday, my compatriots meet at the Hillbrow Commuinity Theatre to workshop two things... the creation of our company, and the stuff we're offering to corporates. (I've previously written up an intervention we did for a group of ex-prostitutes in Berea, near Hillbrow. We're doing another intervention this Wednesday, focussing on improving communication between the ladies and the management of the New Life Centre, the not-for-profit that provides training for them.)

I've drafted a very rough outline of how we want to structure our company. I've posted it to a site devoted to the open-sourcing of business. The site is called Open Business. And my draft is at

I'd really love it if you could visit the article, grapple with it, and offer suggestions.

The idea here is that we want our business model to work for other industrial theatre companies that want to do something similar. And we want to get input from companies and people who've gone the open source route, so that we don't have to make the same mistakes they've made.

Please visit the draft I've written and add your comments. Thanks!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Teaching adult-educators how to bring laughter and creativity to their classrooms

2006-05-18 John Jackson
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
John Jackson is a musician in London, and one of the photographers who makes his work available free of charge on stock.xchange, an amazing online photo archive.

All of the images I use in my creativity seminars come from there.

Tomorrow I'm delivering a pretty challenging workshop to a bunch of teachers in Soweto, a suburb south of Johannesburg. The teachers belong to an organisation that educates adults and youth who are not in school.

They've got a whole bunch of schools situated all around Soweto.

My job tomorrow is to help motivate them, and to teach them how to bring fun and creativity into their classrooms.

In South Africa, this type of adult education comes as a result of apartheid. The educational system in the old South Africa was disgustingly aimed at under-educating black citizens, thereby creating a subservient under-class. The people in these schools have had education plucked away from them. Now they want to learn properly.


The picture of John's I'm using illustrates a concept in the section about how adult learners are different from normal school kids. Learning ability changes with the various age-stages of adulthood. John's pic shows a group of Arabic men spanning all the generations.

I offered John a portrait of himself in return for the fact that he so freely gave his photo to the internet community.

This drawing was made using Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

An amazing retreat in Montagu in the Cape, South Africa, for poets, writers, artists, and people who want to inspire themselves

Phil McCumskey sent me an email letting me know about weekend workshops he and his wife are organising at their retreat centre in the Cape. It looks absolutely awesome. They've still got slots open for their workshops on writing poetry and writing novels.

Here is the info Phil sent me...

Karoo Weekend Poetry Workshop - Friday 5th May - Sunday 7th May 2006

Join us at Studio Karoo for a series of ongoing creative weekend workshops. Writing, art, music, poetry, theatre and crafts. Set in the stunning Langeberg mountains only 15 kilometres from the village of Montagu, Studio Karoo is a converted 1909 Cape cottage adjoining Phil and Moira McCumskey's house built in 1899.

Finuala Dowling, best known for her poetry collection, "I flying," which won her the Ingrid Jonker prize, will host the "Approach to Poetry" weekend workshop. Her second poetry collection, "Doo-wop girls of the universe," has just been published. She taught English at Unisa before becoming a freelance writer. Finuala read at the international poetry festival curated by Antjie Krog at Spier earlier this year and will be reading at the 2006 Aldeburgh International Poetry Festival. Her first novel, "What Poets Need," was published by Penguin in 2005. Finuala lives in a large green house in Kalk Bay daughter, three dogs, mother, no husband and no cat. People sometimes ask about the cat.

The poetry workshop has been inspired by the words of Miroslav Holub: "I prefer to write for people untouched by poetry. ... I would like them to read poems in such a matter-of-fact manner as when they are reading the newspaper or go to football matches. I would like people not to regard poetry as something more difficult, more effeminate or more praiseworthy."

This fun weekend is open to only ten participants and kicks off on Friday evening with a welcoming braai under Karoo stars and finishes lunchtime Sunday. Your hosts Moira and Phil will serve up terrific food and uncork a few bottles of lekker local wine. Accommodation on neighbouring farms is rustic but very comfortable.

Karoo Weekend "Writing a Novel" Workshop - Friday 12th May 2006

Join us at Studio Karoo for a series of ongoing creative weekend workshops. Writing, art, music, poetry, theatre and crafts. Set in the stunning Langeberg mountains only 15 kilometres from the village of Montagu, Studio Karoo is a converted 1909 Cape cottage adjoining Phil and Moira McCumskey's house built in 1899.

Mike Nicol will host the "Writing a Novel" workshop. Mike is the author of four novels, "The Powers That Be," "This Day and Age," "Horseman" and "The Ibis Tapestry," and a crime novel, "Out to Score," co-authored with Joanne Hichens and published in March 2006 by Random House's new imprint, Umuzi. He has also written works of non-fiction and published two volumes of poetry. Mike teaches a course on constructing a novel at UCT's Centre for Creative Writing and recently ran a crime writing course at the university's Summer School. He works as a journalist and lives in Cape Town.

This fun weekend workshop kicks off on Friday evening 12th May with a welcoming braai under Karoo stars and an opening address by Mike Nicol. Moira and Phil - the almost-naked chef - will serve up marinated Karoo lamb chops, tender chicken breasts, herb-caressed green salads, and home-baked bread. They'll also prepare delicious vegetarian dishes for those of you who prefer. A few bottles of superb local wine are bound to go down well… then it's straight to bed! Accommodation on neighbouring farms is rustic but very comfortable and you each have your own room.

On Saturday, after a full English breakfast, the workshop begins. Mike will earn his keep and make better writers of you all. Learn how to improve your dialogue, get to know your characters, write a synopsis, and construct a plot. There will be written exercises and you will all get to read your own work to the group. Of course, during all this, Phil and Moira will be hard at it in the kitchen preparing a terrific lunch and gourmet dinner. Later in the afternoon you can take a walk in the mountains or just chill. Dinner will be a relaxed event where you can enjoy the company of your fellow writers and unwind. Who knows, you may even spot one of the many orbiting satellites or catch sight of a shooting star. Don't forget to make a wish!

Enjoy a leisurely Sunday morning breakfast on the verandah gazing across at our own, "Klein Tafelberg." The workshop continues and Mike will wrap things up at lunchtime when, once again, Phil and Moira present a final, scrumptious meal. You're then free to walk in the vineyards or swing in the hammock under the hundred-year old Karoo acacia before making your way home.

How Much?

The total cost of each of these weekends, which includes two nights accommodation, the very best food through to Sunday lunch, teas and coffees (all other drinks for your own account) and the workshop itself, is ONLY R1 650 per person. 50% deposit payable on date of booking - balance payable 14 days prior to date of workshop.

Your Hosts

Phil and Moira escaped from Johannesburg in 1996 and spent the next seven years in the midlands of Natal. In 2003, they discovered Montagu and a lovely smallholding tucked in the mountains. Moira "knits' copper wire bags and dabbles in fabric painting and beading. Phil has been a professional actor and director and before leaving Jo'burg ran his own video production company. He now freelances as a writer of video scripts, corporate communications, radio ads and website copy. He also writes travel articles - many of which have been published... and he's working on a novel. Phil recently co-wrote the script and was the on-camera presenter for an exciting DVD promoting Route 62.

To book phone Phil on +27 23 614 2901 or e-mail at

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Yesterday's creativity seminar to teachers seems to have been enjoyed by most!

"This was a thoroughly enjoyable workshop."
"Everybody can be creative, and with the necessary tools, it can be achieved."
"Different -- thought-provoking -- stimulating. Thank you for an enjoyable day!"
"It made me certain that I am creative."

A few of the comments from my feedback forms from yesterday's creativity seminar to teachers.

Phshew. Woke up really early yesterday morning, and schlepped tons of stuff down to S's car. (My car is a two-seater sportscar, with no space, so I HAD to use her car.) Made three trips down. Then got stuck in traffic on the way to the War Museum, where the seminar was being held. A bus had crushed a Merc. There were five ambulances and a fire engine on the scene.

So I was a bit harried when I got there. But Robert helped me carry stuff. Single-handedly carted a massive box of magazines up to the venue.

I breathed a tad. Did some tai chi. And was ready to begin at 9am, the agreed time. But at least half of the 54 delegates were stuck on Jan Smuts Avenue behind the crushed Merc, and we started at 9:15am instead.

Thanks to Robert, Carmen, Nicole, Sarah, Mirzer, Nigel, and Wan for organising everything so brilliantly. And thanks to the delegates for being so lively and responsive.

It's really amazing teaching creativity, cos most people really don't believe that they're creative. And they're a bit sceptical of people like me who claim that creativity can be taught. But I've been teaching it for almost a decade now, and people CERTAINLY do become creative!

My approach is that creativity is a set of learned skills. If you embrace the tools, you become creative. Simple as that.

I'm running a half-day version of my seminar for the Wits University "World of Work" Post Graduate Internship Programme on Wednesday next week. And looking forward to that one. I normally invite friends of mine who are living, breathing, earning creatives to come along as examples that creativity isn't an esoteric thing. Got a couple of lovely people lined up.

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Viva Hecate Productions joins forces with Beacon in war on waste

Here is an article that appeared on BizCommunity about a production I wrote and conceived on behalf of Hecate, for Beacon Sweets. David James directed the show, and made a brilliant success of it.

Tiger Brands' Beacon Sweets factories in Durban enlisted Viva Hecate Productions to assist with an industrial theatre intervention in their War on waste campaign.

Greg Bates, Unit Manager - Beacon Candy, said, "The industrial theatre medium is an awesome experience and one that truly facilitates a way of translating and explaining concepts in a very practical and humorous way. Our challenge going forward is to nurture and grow this seed that has been planted to secure our futures."

The brief from Beacon was to demonstrate to their employees the need to eradicate any kind of waste - wasting time, wasting materials, wasting product - and how this would affect the share price and benefit the shareholders - the employees themselves.

Viva Hecate Productions elected the medium of Forum Theatre to fully involve the audiences in the content of the theatre and its outcome. The performance started with a scenario depicting the main character making doubtful choices in his work and personal life. The actors then re-ran the performance but with members of the audience taking the part of the lead character and making their own decisions. The same scenario was then again performed with the audience's changes resulting in a happy ending for all!

Di Kershaw, MD of Viva Hecate Productions, says, "Forum theatre was the perfect medium for this intervention as it places accountability firmly in the hands of the audience. The audiences' warmed immediately to the production which included a great deal of humour and was message specific - and it was wonderful to especially see even Shop Stewards display their acting skills!"

The roadshow consisted of 22 shows performed over two weeks to the employees of four Beacon Sweet factories in Durban with the times of the shows staggered to fit with the factory shifts.

[06 Mar 09:20]

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Intense preparation for my creativity seminar for school teachers tomorrow

I'm in intense preparation for a full-day creativity seminar I'm delivering tomorrow. I'll be doing loads of interactive stuff with around sixty school teachers from around Gauteng, all aimed at helping them (1) be more creative in the classroom, and (2) liberate the creativity of their learners.

Something I'm doing differently this time is that I'll be using a set of Powerpoint presentations to illustrate some of my concepts. Thanks to inspiration from Missing Link and Presentation Zen, I'm confident that my slides will add value to my seminars, rather than cluttering things up and detracting. And I've spent at least 20 hours over the last month browsing through stock.xchng, an online repository of free photos. And I've found some amazing stuff.

Now it's back to work wrapping a mystery prize for one of the activities.

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