My grandma’s favorite advice to give is “think outside of the box.” I’m sure many have heard similar mantras from their friends and family. This assumes that we’re thinking in 3D, though. And I don’t think we are. It’s easy to see life in squares—two-dimensionally, flat. From our homes to our screens to our cars, we’ve got little variation. Things are black or white, easy or hard, real or make-believe. I get it, it’s easy to think that way; there’s no brain strain. Just for fun though, let’s exercise a little bit.
On most of satoriteller’s social media, we use the hashtag #BeyondTheRectangle. It’s meaning is simple: think beyond the screen, beyond the surface, beyond what is deemed possible. We joke at the studio that the quickest way to get a satoriteller to rise to a challenge is to deem something impossible. We laugh about our nature, but it’s true. We don’t like saying no to an obstacle. Afterall, it’s these very obstacles that catalyze opportunities.
Our favorite challenges are those that bridge real and make-believe, that unite possible with impossible, that connect what is to what could be. It’s these that are the bread and butter of a true satoriteller. A few weeks ago, we did a stand-up pitch for a client. At one point during our meeting, one of their eyes lit up with an idea. He talked to us about linking one of our pieces of technology with one of his own. It was amazing to watch how excited he was about it. While he was explaining it to us, he kept saying things like, “I don’t know anything about how we’d make this possible” and “I have no idea what technology would be involved for this” and the clincher: “You guys probably wouldn’t be able to do this, it was just an idea.”
We don’t shoot down ideas, we give them life. We let them breathe. We get excited with our clients and their wild ideas. Side note: Thank goodness we’ve got JP, Kenichi, and Bruce—all of whom seem to be able to pluck things from our imagination and turn them into reality.
On my first day, our Chief Dreamer gave me two things: a journal and a book. The book was called “What Do You Do with an Idea?” by Kobi Yamada. I’ll admit, at first I was confused by the children’s book. I took it home and read it, though, and you should too. It’s a piece of writing that applies to all ages, one that fosters imagination and a belief in one’s self. It embodies the spirit of satoriteller. I wish I would have had it handy at the pitch a couple weeks ago because I would have handed it directly to our client.
Push beyond with me for a while longer. What would #BeyondTheRectangle look like if it was even more than just a work ethic? In an effort to think outside of what we are told is possible, let’s continue to fight for what we believe in—regardless of how insurmountable these things may seem. In this world, it’s easy to feel daunted by the endless acts of racism, sexism, violence against LGBTQIA+ communities, and misogyny. Speaking solely for myself, as a trans person, it’s easy to let the fear take over and paralyze. #BeyondTheRectangle speaks to me in this way: Keep fighting, keep going, stay standing for equality and justice. Perhaps it says different things to each of us. Living #BeyondtheRectangle means not accepting equality as impossible—and often times that looks like a lot of small acts. It starts with the little things—taking a stand against sexist decisions in event production, being vocal about the injustices against POC in our country, being an ally to your LGBTQIA+ colleagues. It’s easy to shed emotions when it comes to business, but try and retain a sense of humanity; relate to one another and empathize.
Honestly, #BeyondTheRectangle is a unique approach to what we do, but life is unique. #BeyondTheRectangle is a work ethic that you take home and cohabitate with. Let it in your personal life and nurture it. It’s daring, imaginative, and admittedly sometimes exhausting. But the end result is always worth it.