Adkins told MTV News he got his creative juices flowing by sampling the work of contemporary photographers Hannah Starkey and Cindy Sherman. "I started flipping through their photography books, and the work I was going through was based on one central figure or maybe a small group. It's composed things, there's a cinematic look to it, there's a scene, but nothing is explained for you," he explained. "So what I would do was take a little bit of time and kind of just free-write about any aspect that came to mind about it. You know, like, who these people are, what decisions they might be making in that moment, who are the people they might be looking at off camera.
The idea wasn't to get material for Jimmy Eat World songs, it was just to get your brain working," he continued. "But then, as we would go on and work on our own material, some of the more interesting ideas from those sessions started creeping in to those songs, and after a while, there was enough of those ideas that became songs that the rest of the band was really liking, and that kind of became the majority of the record."