*notcot in design , 03:54

JJ Abrams + The Mystery Box- 01.10.08

mysterybox.jpgFirst things first ~ i think my favorite thing about running the NOTCOT sites is YOU. Yes, you readers who find and share the most inspiring and incredible things with us whether it is via NOTCOT.org, email, im, etc. I don’t lie when i say that thanks to you, i haven’t had a day that i wasn’t incredibly inspired by something since the sites launched back in 2005. So, thanks for that!

But moving along, this whole little 4am emotional outburst is triggered especially by the latest TED talk with JJ Abrams that Jason Wishnow was kind enough to enlighten me with. I had never really looked into the background and philosophies of producer, director, screenwriter behind things like Lost, Alias, Felicity, etc… who knew the guy was quite the geek, lives right in my neighborhood, and might have a box/packaging obsession to rival mine? In fact ~ he has a laser cutter! (which he apparently uses to make his own boxes as well as turning his kids sketches into 2D renderings) - all this random info is courtesy of a fun NYTimes interview i just found… and his full TED bio is after the jump.

But if you’re wondering why i have an image of this awesome Tannen’s Magic Mystery Box with the incredible typography up there… well, in his TED talk, JJ Abrams will tell you his story of this 15$ mystery box that his grandfather bought him, that he has STILL YET TO OPEN… and he discusses the concepts of infinite possibility and the power of a sense of potential… how mystery is the catalyst for imagination… and that life altering moment where he realized the possibility that mystery is more important than knowledge… the difference between what you think you’re getting versus what you’re actually getting… and how this applies to movies, storytelling, life… and how incredible it is that todays ubiquitous technologies have made it possible for anyone to instantly try their hand at writing/publishing (i.e. blogging) and movie making to a degree that wasn’t even possible a mere 30-40 years ago. Anyhow, this is an inspiring one to kick off your Thursday with… watch the talk after the jump!

Why you should listen to him:

As the Emmy-winning creator of the smart, addictive dramas Lost, Alias and Felicity, J.J. Abrams’ name looms large on the small screen. As the writer/director behind the blockbuster explode-a-thon Mission: Impossible III, the upcoming Cloverfield and the next Star Trek movie, these days Abrams also rules the big screen — porting his eye for telling detail and emotional connection even to larger-than-life stories.

Abrams’ enthusiasm — for the construction of Kleenex boxes, for the quiet moments between shark attacks in Jaws, for today’s filmmaking technologies, and above all for the potent mystery of an unopened package — is incredibly infectious.

“As a boy, JJ Abrams was fascinated with magic. As a television writer, director, and producer, he has beguiled audiences with a masterful use of suspense, plot reversals, and special effects.”
—— Wired

OH, and in case anyone else is wondering, or wants to help me with my nagging curiosity as to what is IN that box… i’ve googled and ebayed with no success to find one of those boxes and what’s inside… but i did track down Tannen’s Magic Shop which has a really cute logo and has been around since 1925. So, let me know if you find out what’s inside! (And i understand the whole point is not knowing… but… yea, well, i couldn’t have survived as many years as he has with that box,… but i suppose its the lifelong suspense that keeps it fun… is that his inspiration for rimbaldi’s box?)


6 Notes

Hi Jean, Great post on JJ Abrams. Lost had me going for quite a while…and the scene in The Graduate he mentions is genius.

----- Jeremy 14.01.08 15:31

Haha ~ thanks conrad ~ that will help me sleep better at night! I did just hear from Josh Spear who was at the talk, that apparently JJ Abrams gave his son one, and he totally opened it! No one has told me what was in that one though.

Anna ~ i *think* conrad was just addressing my nagging curiosity about the box, even after understanding the larger philosophical point.

----- jean 10.01.08 15:53

Conrad, the point is that one does not need to open such a box, as expectation is often greater than reality. Instead, he uses it as a reminder or several things, as said in the video. I’m pretty sure Abrams knows it, too, but he is fine without giving into the impulse of opening it.

----- Anna 10.01.08 14:26

For years, my parents never understood why I always dragged my feet to open my Christmas presents. Now I can have someone else explain it for them. Thanks for posting.

----- r 10.01.08 13:21

I’m sure you would be utterly dissapointed as to what is inside that box. Probably some metal rings, a hankerchief, a rubber ball, some cards, maybe a magic glass of some sort, normal everyday magic stuff. Magic sets are never as cool as the box makes them out to be.

----- Conrad 10.01.08 12:24

Hi, as a Reader, my thanks to you for this great inspirational site.
I, in exchange, invite you to discover the great/weird/bizarre/flabbergasting finds daily posted in my site.

Since this Magic box thing was presented by JJ.. don’t you think it’s some kind of hoax, or trick ala Spielberg’s A. I. promotion?
Besos, Puri

----- Señorita Puri senoritapuri.com 10.01.08 05:20

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