Moments of Conception 036 — The Surrealist Scene from Midnight in Paris

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today’s clip comes from the surrealist scene in Midnight in Paris:


What can we learn?

People who don’t get the joke are dead
to you.
Bender’s
dilemma is that he inhabits two different worlds simultaneously. To the lay
person, that would sound like a surreal concept. But not to a group of
surrealists. These men long for contradiction, surprise, absurdity and madness.
They welcome the bizarre. Their work, after all, is conceived at the confluence
of genius and insanity. And so, meeting a man trapped between generations is a
great honor for them. That’s the part of the scene that touches me. Bender has
found kindred spirits. He’s discovered his own kind. A community that shares a
common passion. People who aren’t interested in catering to the normal. Sigh. Has that ever happened to you? If
so, you know profound it can feel. But
you also know that the whole thing happens in an instant. Even if it feels like
a lifetime. It’s relativity at its finest. The dangerous part is,
sometimes it happens so fast that you fail to recognize it. That’s why you have
to keep your antennas up. You have to
stick around and continue to be yourself until the correct people find
you. Which tribe is weird enough to make
you feel normal?

Every person helps
unlock a little piece
. This scene illustrates the transformative power of
dialogue. In dialogue, we become observers of our own thinking. In dialogue, we
understand the self in the context of other people. In dialogue, we connect
with others, observe how they respond to us and gain a broader vision of our
ideas and our identities. Unfortunately, too many artists are seduced into taking
the antisocial low road. Locking themselves in their studios. Staying at home
all day. Constantly disappearing into their own work. And as a result,
decimating their ability to relate to others. Myself included. Gruber’s theory of gradualistic
creativity
, however, touts the interpersonal imperative. His
research shows that establishing social environments and peer groups for
nurturing work are essential to creative success. That our art should be
approached interactively, always conducted in relation to the work of others. To
use one of my favorite mantras, it’s hard to play basketball without a
backboard. How would your work change if
you had access to better sounding boards?

Inspiration is the
eye of the beholder.
Each of the characters hears the exact same story.
Bender is confronting the shortcomings of his relationship while falling in
love with a woman from another era. And yet, each of the artists envisages a
different masterpiece inspired by such an unusual romance. One man sees a
photograph. One man sees a film. One man sees a problem. One man sees a rhinoceros.
It’s the perfect illustration of the subjectivity of inspiration. And, if you dig
a little deeper, if you look for the thing behind the thing, there’s also a subtle
message about originality. Artists, after all, are notoriously possessive about
their ideas. And when a good one drops out of the sky, everyone wants to be the
first and only one to snatch it. But the reality is, everyone metabolizes
inspiration differently. Some see what they want to see. Some see what they
need to see. Some see what they expect to see. And some see what they can
afford to see. Nonetheless, by the time that moment is received, registered,
recorded and rendered, everyone’s result will always looks different. Always. What happens when inspiration registers
against your template?


What’s your favorite movie moment of conception?

And I was still making art

Whether we do art part time, full time or in our spare time, it doesn’t make us
any less serious, less talented or less worthy than anyone other creator out
there.

The only thing that matters is that, in lieu of the reality
of our life situation, we always find a way to look back and think, and I was still making art.

I’ve been a part time artist, with another job to pay the bills. Meaning creative work was a partial source of my income. In this
situation, I kept one eye cocked to the commercial possibilities of my ideas. As
a result, my projects often netted a modest, but not insignificant return. And
by focusing on being heard first and paid second, getting my name out there and
finding my voice, I earned just enough money to support my lifestyle,
underwrite my addictions and keep my career alive as an amateur.

One foot in, one foot out. And I was still making art.

I’ve also been a full time artist, with no other job. Meaning
creative work was my primary source
of income. In this situation, the quality, quantity and frequency of my
thoughts determined my livelihood. Creation became the organizing principle of
my life. As a result, I
committed enough to build an iconic brand, a profitable enterprise and a
prolific body of work that did the talking for me. By growing my audience and diversifying
my product and service lines, my annual earnings increased every year.

Both
feet in.
And I was still making
art.

I’ve been a full time employee, with art as my side job. Making
creative work was a supplementary source
of income. In this situation, I started to make art independent of my need to
make money and keep the lights on. As a result, that freed my work from the
burden of having to support myself. Creativity wasn’t so claustrophobic anymore,
now that I wasn’t worrying about money. And by removing the acute business
pressure, I had the sovereignty to experiment with new mediums and genres and
ideas.

                                             

Both feet out, some toes in. And I was still making art.

Are you?

Moments of Conception 035 — The Biases Scene from Moneyball

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today’s clip comes from the whiteboard scene in Moneyball:





What can we learn?



The user experience
for creativity.
Pete converted his dark, stale basement office into an
inspiring, personalized and prolific command center. Dry erase boards covered with undecipherable equations, walls
collaged with sports page clippings, sticky notes scribbled with algorithms and
computer screens sprawling with code and spreadsheets.
Forget about the
baseball diamond, this is his home turf. His territory. His war room. His creative nirvana where
utopia truly manifests itself. Billy may feel overwhelmed when he walks in the
door, staring blankly at the surrounding, but not Pete. In this space, he has
the home field advantage. And that’s why his message is received. It’s a
beautiful lesson about the power of context. Pete proves that our primary
creative environment is what becomes the structural asset for creating our
ideas, and the user experience for communicating them ideas. Are you cultivating the
optimal conditions to make your creative process happen?

Seek out unoccupied
channels.
Originality comes from tapping into unexpected venues as rich
areas to mine for inspiration. Viewing everything
around you is a point of connection with crossover usefulness.
As my
mentor once said, the whole world is your
rhetorical toolbox.
Pete’s version of this is discovering a sanctuary of
defective, unwanted, overlooked and undervalued ball players. The island of
misfit toys. The place where no one measures up to conventional expectations.
But rather than ignoring the players that most teams don’t like, he transforms brokenness
into beauty. He sees disturbing or unwanted things as potentially meaningful and
becomes enriched by things people normally treat as garbage. Pete exemplifies
the practice of deep
democracy
, meaning, treating everything you encounter with
fundamental affirmation and radical acceptance. Baseball players may be his
currency, but the larger creative principle still applies: With the right mindset,
anyone can discover a
river that hasn’t been fished. Are you
trying to change nature or follow it?

Objectify your process.
Pete writes a code that builds in all the intelligence he has to project
players and get things down to one number. Namely, on base percentage. This is a brilliant strategy for
baseball, as it allows him to assemble a team of undervalued players with high
potential, despite hamstrung finances. But it’s also a smart approach to being
an artist. Some creators call it their critical number, their prolificacy
equation, their daily mission piece, or their opportunity filter. The name
doesn’t really matter. The point is to boil your work down to one thing. Something clean and simple
and easy to calculate. A shorthand that triggers an entire world. A proxy that does
the heavy lifting for you. That way you can focus on creating. For example, every
time somebody reaches out, requesting my service, participation, resources,
time, talent or money, I always ask the same question. Is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used? That’s my one
thing. It’s a boundary setting technique, and it’s saved me thousands of hours
of frustration, kept me focused and prolific and helped me stay profitable over
the long term. What’s your critical
number?


What’s your favorite movie moment?

Moments of Conception 034 — The Review Scene from Singles

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today’s clip comes from the review scene in Singles:


What can we learn?



Abstinence is a
worthy artistic detachment.
Our fundamental drive as creators is to be
heard. To extend our sentiments and make our thoughts and feelings and
expressions accessible to the world. That’s why reading reviews of our work is
such a seductive pastime. It appeals to our deepest artistic desires. But when
we get sucked into that ego vortex, it becomes an addiction. A rabbit hole of
defensiveness and deflation. And the worst part is, that addiction becomes a
tail that grows back everyday. Or, in the case of digital media, every few
minutes. Singles is a movie about
aspiring. It’s about the burgeoning phase of a career in which artists try to
find their creative voice. And
so, it represents a crucial choice we have to make. Should we
torture ourselves
listening to voices that don’t matter, or execute work that does matter? Should
we invest time and energy
reading reviews about our creations,
or develop deeper trust in our
creations? Should we expose ourselves to harsh, unsolicited feedback, or drown out the white noise and get
back to work? The answer is, whatever keeps us on the side of the creators. Are you focusing on principal creation or
peripheral masturbation?

Turn feedback into
inspiration.
Feedback can be procrastination
in disguise. Just another excuse not to do the work. On the other hand,
feedback can also be treated as inspiration. An energy source to fuel your
creativity. If you look closely at the newspaper, the music critic says the
band’s lead singer should move to another town where he can disappear into the
masses and not stand out like the relentlessly mediocre talent that he is. Ouch. There isn’t an artist alive,
rookie or veteran, who wouldn’t be devastated by that blow. Cliff appears
legitimately wounded, of course, even despite his band’s best efforts to keep
the painful barbs out of his ears. And yet, in that moment, he
reminds
himself that he can process his feelings later. He dismisses the negative comments before they make him
upset. For now, the negative energy makes him stronger. They will not retreat. This
band is unstoppable. And no matter what happens tonight, they just remember,
they’re still loved in Italy and Belgium.
Are you giving someone’s opinion more weight than it deserves?

You can’t argue with
a ringing register.
Criticism creates a visceral reaction in almost
everyone. Especially artists. We are a thoughtful and romantic and empathetic breed,
easily wounded and frequently derailed by shame and humiliation. Worse yet,
criticism can lodge in our minds and eat away at our core. The solution,
according to one of my favorite
books
, is transforming ourselves into people less willing and less
likely to be criticized. Maisel explains that we can actually orient our personalities
in a direction that uses criticism as an opportunity to effect positive
change. I’m reminded of the time I
was featured on a list of the worst tattoos of all time. How proud my parents were. But of course, the shady underworld of anonymous commenters lashed out at
me. They called me names that would make a rainbow blush.
Meanwhile,
something occurred to me. I was the one who built an iconic brand, a profitable
enterprise and entire career out of wearing a nametag. Not them. So who’s the
joke really on here? Will you let
criticism prevent you from fulfilling your dreams?

What’s your favorite moment of conception?

Moments of Conception 033 — The Gigantificationism Scene from Big Fish

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today’s clip comes from the fishbowl scene in Big Fish:


What can we learn?


Creativity is not
location agnostic.
Artists come from everywhere. But if they want to
reach the higher echelons of creative success, eventually, they have to go
somewhere that’s big enough for them. Big enough in geography, big enough in
mindset, big enough in access and big enough in resource. The challenge is,
it’s not a clean break. Humans are emotionally attached to the flock. And so,
the joy of moving toward something doesn’t stop the melancholy of what you leave behind. Especially for the people closest to you. Edward’s family senses
the gravity of his growth, so they literally tie him down. For years. They were
terrified of his bones settling into their adult configuration. Because they know, once
his body grows big enough to match his ambitions, he’ll blow this popsicle
stand and never look back. What I love about this scene is, exaggerated and
cartoonish as it may be, the boy’s predicament is deeply relatable. The bed
symbolizes the childhoods of a million creators whose families and friends
figuratively tied them down, endangering their talent. What are the limitations of your environment?

Respect and respond
to nature’s agenda.
Edward’s encyclopedia isn’t just a book, it’s beautiful
reminder of what could be. It’s an invitation to evolve. A mandate to become
the big fish he always was. And so, he wisely pays attention to this moment. He
allows the epiphany to kickstart his ambition. And before long, he starts to
see horizons that most people can’t even tell exist. The goldfish, then, is his
spirit animal. His archetype. A totem that represents the traits and skills and
potential throttling inside of him. Personally, my spirit animal is a duck. Here’s
why. Growing up, I used to fed ducks almost every weekend at the lake by
our house. And since then, they’ve always had a presence in my life. Also, all the men in my family waddle. It’s genetic. We walk with duck feet. And lastly,
ducks are connected to feminine energy, have a community frame of mind, act
very affectionately toward their partners, don’t hold grudges and live in the
moment. That’s me. The point is, amazing things are possible when we
focus on the natural, not the supernatural. What’s
your spirit animal?

No labels, no limits.
Parkinson’s law states that work expands to fill the time available for its
completion. Identity is a similar process. The world will conspire to keep you
working small. To live less than you are. To stay in the small fishbowl. And it’s your responsibility to show people who you’re becoming, so they can stop seeing you
as everything you’ve been. To let people know, this is who I am now.
Edward’s journey is about shedding outdated
ways of speaking about his identity. And any artist seeking to step into his
own will go through the same process. When I first started my company, I worked
nights and weekends parking cars to make ends meet. Not a bad job, actually.
Got tons of exercise, met cool people, always had a drug wad of cash in my
pocket. Eventually, though, I grew tired of dabbling. I was sick of being an amateur.
And if I had any intention of making it as an artist, I knew I had to go all in
and play in the big leagues. So I quit parking cars and went full time as a
writer. And my business exploded immediately. Funny what happens when we live
larger than our labels. What’s the one
extra degree that will propel you beyond your threshold level?


What’s your favorite movie moment of conception?

Moments of Conception 032 — The Driving Scene from Happy Gilmour

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today’s clip comes from the backyard scene in Happy Gilmore:


What can we learn?


Develop an appetite
for playful experiences.
Imagine how many significant ideas, inventions,
projects, businesses, even careers, that started out as innocuous little blips.
A bet between competitors. A joke between friends. An experiment between
colleagues. An absurd idea between you and the bedpost. These are the moments
that become fertile playgrounds in which innovation flowers. Our guards
are down and our curiosities are up. And that’s the ideal mindset for
creativity. The tricky part is making the transition from blip to brilliance.
Noticing you’ve stumbled upon something with a high level of movement value, and then taking
immediate and massive action upon that. Gilmore dramatically recognizes his
moment of conception. It’s the unorthodox
swing.
And so, he spends the rest of the movie leveraging it. First, as a
driving range hustle to make a few extra bucks on the side. Second, as a strategy
to pay off his grandmother’s tax debt. Third, as a calling card for his career
as a professional athlete. And finally, as a catalyst for the generation of
golf enthusiasts. All because he made some stupid backyard bet. How do you give the people around you
permission to be playful?

I am an idea, give me
money.
It’s the ultimate entrepreneurial epiphany. You’re doing something
you love, something you’re naturally good at, something you would gladly do for
free, and then out of the blue, somebody offers you money to do it. Like, real
money. They’re going to cross your palm with silver for being yourself. It’s a
pinch me moment. Because you think to
yourself, wait, you can get paid for
this?
I remember the first time an organization asked me what my speaking
fee was. That was the first time I’d ever heard that term. Ironically
enough, I was speechless. Eventually, though, I gathered the courage to charge the
company a whopping hundred dollars. And as soon as I held that first check in
my hot little hands, my world changed forever. Just ask any artist or athlete
or entrepreneur. It’s the strangest sensation. Physically hold real money that
you earned from doing what you love, from being who you are? That’s a
transformative moment. But again, only if we allow it to be one. If we shrug
the money off like it’s no big deal or we didn’t deserve it or the experience
was a fluke, we may never see it again. Besides, you don’t do it for the money,
you do it for what the money stands for––that you’re worth it. Are you still playing for free?

The only way to
belong is on your own terms.
Happy says golf is a stupid sissy game that
requires goofy pants and a fat ass. Even when he discovers his unconscious
competency to drive one hell of a long ball, he still maintains his position
about the sport. Golf, for him, is a means to an end. Money for grandma’s house. That’s it. But after a few months of
playing, he has another epiphany. He can succeed on his own terms. Gilmore can still participate in the
game without marching in lockstep with its historically rigid and pretentious
culture. With his unorthodox swing, overaggressive streak, wild television antics
and rockstar fan interactions, he refuses to be swallowed by
everybody else’s vision. And in the end, he wins the tournament, gets the girl
and saves the house. And as ridiculous as the movie may be, it’s still a story
about what’s possible when you trust your own voice and take responsibility for
the reverberations. Which certainly beats spending your sacred time living in
other people’s worlds and putting your life on hold until somebody stamps your
creative passport. Whose permission are
you still waiting for?

What’s your favorite movie moment of conception?

20 Movie Clips About The Creative Moment of Conception

As a companion piece to The Prolific Framework, I’ve been building and publishing a series of case studies about the moment of conception, which is the single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value.

If you haven’t been following this blog for the past few months, each post contains a short video clip from one of my favorite movies, along with three creativity lessons we can learn from the characters.

Good news. I’m delighted to share that the reviews, comments, social shares and audience feedback for these case studies has been off the charts. I deeply appreciate everyone who reached out to share their thoughts and make suggestions for future clips. Fear not, there are 40 more of these case studies completed and queued up for publication:

In case you missed a few along the way, here is a list and links to the first 20 posts:

Moments of Conception 001 — Coyote
Ugly

Learn to stop resisting
and start creating.

Moments of Conception 002 —
The Social Network

Learn to get the idea to
ground zero.

Moments of Conception 003 —
Jerry Maguire

Learn to memorialize your
process with a product.

Moments
of Conception 004 — Dead Poets Society

Learn
to love what’s good
for you.

Moments
of Conception 005 — The Pirates of Silicon Valley

Learn
to steal
ideas from everybody you meet.

Moments
of Conception 006 — A Beautiful Mind

Learn
to respond with the right organ.

Moments
of Conception 007 — The Rainmaker

Learn
to go fishing for inspiration.

        

Moments
of Conception 008 — Tommy Boy

Learn
to initiate through anger.

Moments
of Conception 009 — As Good As It Gets

Learn
to listen for what wants to be written.

Moments
of Conception 010 — Steve Jobs

Learn
to restructure the system around constraints.

Moments
of Conception 011 — High Fidelity

Learn
to know those in the know.

Moments
of Conception 012 — The Doors

Learn
to get fresh fuel
for your ideas.

Moments
of Conception 013 — Eight Mile

Learn
to create the user interface
for your brain.

Moments
of Conception 014 — What Women Want

Learn
to leave people’s campsites
better.

Moments
of Conception 015 — Patch Adams

Learn
to sniff out resonant identities.

Moments
of Conception 016 — October Sky

Learn to build cognitive richness.

Moments
of Conception 017 — The Hudsucker Proxy

Learn
to capture people’s imaginations.

Moments
of Conception 018 — Moneyball

Learn
to walk in and create a problem.

Moments
of Conception 019 — Throw Mama From The Train

Learn
to establish gentle flow.

Moments
of Conception 020 — Walk The Line

Learn
to make the word flesh.

If you can think of a movie with an inspiring or interesting moment of conception, just email scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll be sure to give you credit when it’s published.

Happy creating.

Moments of Conception 031 — The Cookie Scene from Stranger Than Fiction

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today’s clip comes from the cookie scene in Stranger Than Fiction:

What can we learn?



Scratch your own
itch.
Most law students spend seven hours a dayjuststudying. That requires a tremendous amount of energy and
focus and endurance. And of course, cookies. Ana’s necessity, then, literally became the mother of invention. But in
addition to solving the immediate problem, two other outcomes rippled out from
the center. First, she discovered an unconscious competency.Baking.It had become second nature for
her. Second, she added a new meaningful facet to her identity.Treats. That’s what people knew her for.
And so, this new combination of skill and reputation is what gave her the
courage to quit law school and pursue baking as a full time career. All because
a bunch of her friends were hungry. Funny what we learn about ourselves when we
get thrown into necessity.What will
happen when you become more than what you’re known for?

Once you’ve got some,
you can get some.
On one hand, nobody wants to wait for the rest of the
world to tell them their work is okay. As I learned in the book Art & Fear, courting approval puts a
dangerous amount of power in the hands of the audience. On the other hand, if
you never share your work with people, you’re just winking in the dark. As my
mentor once said, eventually you have to get out of the garage and go out and
play for people. Ana is in the ideal situation to make this transition. Her
study group affords her a built in platform of people she likes, trusts and sees
weekly who are overworked and underfed. So she gives it a shot. Which can
be a terrifying prospect. But as an artist, you can never fully anticipate how
your audience is going to react to your creation until it’s out of your head
and into their hands. The exciting part is, once your work passes through the
crucible of real usage, with real people who offer real feedback, you just
might hear the door to your future opening. What
audience can help your work get counted as the real thing?

Live in, and produce
for, a specific audience.
Idealists prioritize values over vehicles. Their message
of making the world a better place is more important than the medium through
which that goal is accomplished. Meaning, they’re going to leave this cosmic campsite better than they found it,
regardless of the type of work they do. Ana is the type of person who
undoubtedly would have made the world a better place as an attorney. Harvard
would have given her the tools and she would have delivered justice. And that would
have been a rewarding, successful journey. But it turns out, her highest
idealistic vehicle, the territory where her creativity felt at home, wasn’t
standing up for the public, it was baking for them. It’s not as glamorous. It
doesn’t pay as well. And the platform is significantly smaller. But changing
the world doesn’t always have to happen on a massive scale. Sometimes it can be
as simple as baking cookies for your hungry, overworked friends. Idealism isn’t
about passing legislation, it’s about finding the small corner of the world
that you can touch, making it perfect, and setting it free. Whose life is better because you love them?


What’s your favorite movie moment of conception?

Moments of Conception 030 — The Club Scene from The Social Network

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today’s clip comes from the club scene in The Social Network:



What can we learn?


Failure is what makes life a story. Every entrepreneur leaves behind a trail of fail. If you’re
not failing, you’re not trying. If you’re not failing, you’re not innovating.
And if you’re not failing, you’re not learning. Failure is the fertilizer of
growth and the prerequisite of creative success. But keep in mind, just because
something ends, doesn’t mean it’s a failure. Napster ended, yes, but it also
pissed the right people off, created a new way for people to connect through
music, went down as the fastest growing business of all time, changed the
industry for better and for always, and built a platform that enabled Parker to
ultimately become a billionaire. Who’s the joke on, here? The point is,
everyone’s first hello world doesn’t work. The difference maker is how the
creator responds to the experience. Those who can’t cope, jump off a bridge.
Those who reframe failure as something else, jump into the pantheon of
entrepreneurial greatness. Are you
training yourself to be failure free?

Commit to fighting a
cosmic injustice.
Raymond started Victoria’s Secret because he wanted a
place where a man could buy lingerie for his wife without feeling like a
pervert. Proving, that a great way to build something is to start out by
solving your own problems. By scratching your own itch. This assures you
understand the target market. Parker started Napster because the girl he loved
in high school was dating the captain of the varsity lacrosse team and he
wanted to take her from him. Proving, if you stick around and continue to be
yourself and create something truly great, the correct people will find you. Zuckerberg
started Facebook because he was pissed off about being dumped by his
girlfriend. Proving, that the best way to complain is to make things. To
convert the precipitation from life’s inevitable shit storms into delicious
water. Noticing a pattern here? Creativity is about channeling your emotions into something productive. Have you taken inventory of your creative
motivation?

Set boundaries, lest
people set them for you.
Mark has the one thing everybody wants: A billion dollar, once in a generation, holy
shit idea.
But he doesn’t have eyes to see that yet. Shawn does. According
to the hero’s journey archetypes, he’s the
mentor, the seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives the hero support and advice
that will help him along the journey. That’s why this scene is a turning
point in the movie. Shawn’s jedi like approach to helping his young apprentice
understand the implications his coveted position is unforgettable. His words
are equal parts cautionary tale, sales pitch and motivational speech. But
despite Parker’s intelligence, charm and generosity, we’re still not sure about
him. The big question is, and it’s the question every creator must constantly
ask himself, is this an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used? Mark has no
idea that this new investment deal, profitable as it may be, will also dilute
the shares of the company, destroy his relationship with his best friend and
lead to a major legal battle between the founders. Tough call. What person in your life doesn’t respect your boundaries?


What’s your favorite movie moment of conception?

Moments of Conception 029 — The Sobbing Scene from Something’s Gotta Give

All creativity begins with the moment of conception.

That little piece of kindling that gets the fire going. That initial source of inspiration that takes on a life of its own. That single note from which the entire symphony grows. That single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to us, something wants to be built here.

And so, in this new blog series, I’m going to be deconstructing my favorite moments of conception from popular movies. Each post will contain a video clip from a different film, along with a series of lessons we can learn from the characters.

Today’s clip comes from the crying scene in Something’s Gotta Give:



What can we learn?



Metabolize fallen
tears into written words.
Art allows us to deal with whatever interferes
with our intention to make meaning. Erica may be a heartbroken, blubbering
mess, but that doesn’t stop her from doing her work. In fact, it’s quite the
opposite. Her devastating love affair actually fuels her creative fire. And so, we watch her grant meaning to her
failures, power through the experience––not over it––and spin the straw of life
into a masterpiece. She even kills off the man who broke her heart at the end
of the play. Like the old saying goes, hell hath no fury than a writer scorned.
That’s the best part about being an artist. Nothing bad ever happens to a us, it’s
all just material. Grist for the mill. Coal for the factory. All experiences
are justified, processed, rendered and reconciled. And as long as we vow never
to let pain leave without picking its pocket, we can float on a tsunami of acceptance for anything life throws at us. How are you using everything as a basis for growth?

Every artist needs a
good low.
Our species spends a lot of money trying to buy happiness. But
sometimes what we really need is for life to hand us a pile of shit. Literally.
Consider it from an agricultural perspective. Manure contributes to the
fertility of soil, assists in the growth of life, even functions as an energy
efficient fuel source in some mountain cultures. Shit may have a foul smell and
a filthy reputation, but it’s still been an essential resource human
civilization. Why should artists be any different? Erica is a true
professional. She’s vulnerable enough to open herself to the low, humble enough
to give thanks when it comes, and creative enough to leverage it until it’s
gone. She’s a woman with an exquisite understanding of her own artistic timing.
It’s the season of creation, of exhaling. And as the air goes swirling out, she
honors the flow and works until the vein is dry. How good are you at recognizing when life is
giving you a gift?

Art is subordinate
to life.
Keaton won multiple awards for her role in this movie. And when you read
the reviews, most people agree that the crying scene was one of the most
touching, priceless, hilarious performances of her career. What artist can’t
relate? The conflicting emotions that come and go like thunderclouds. The
sudden creative momentum that pulls you out of bed in the middle of the night.
The series of verbal epiphanies that make you feel like an literary superhero.
And of course, the musical triggers that transport you to another time. That’s
my favorite part of this scene­, the song playing in the background. If you
translate the lyrics, the chorus says, “My list of needs is really quite brief,
I need a man who can bring my relief, from all the stress and strains of the
day.” And therein lies the irony. Erica doesn’t need a date with her ex, she
needs a date with the page. She needs to take all that bitterness and sadness
and jealousy and tenderness and vomit it out in the form of art. Because men
will always be around, but inspiration comes unannounced. Are your creative priorities in order?


What’s your favorite movie moment of conception?

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