Moments of Conception 064 — The Firing Scene from Up In The Air

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 firing scene scene in Up In The Air:



What can we learn?



The
only choice is severance.
Bob took a mediocre job out of college that forced him to
give up on his dreams. To give up on doing what made him happy. But now, thirty
years later, he’s given a second change. A new beginning. A fresh start.
An opportunity to do his rightful work in the world, and finally
become who
he really is. The lucky bastard. I
remember going through a similar transformation in my own career. It was
beautiful. There was a profound sense of peace, stillness, possibility and
liberation. Nothing to fear, nothing to lose, nothing to hide, nothing to
prove. And as I stood on the precipice of transformation, being called to
something different, I made choice to lean into a new future. And my work
hasn’t been the same since. That’s the sign of a successful reinvention. When
you feel like a whole new person, and yet, more like yourself than ever. Have you made peace with the mysterious ways in which you would up
doing the things you were meant to do?

Freedom is the flame
of admiration.
What I love most about this scene is the concept of
admiration. How kids look up to people who follow their dreams. And yet, it’s
not just kids, it’s everybody. Nothing inspires the world more than a
someone who acts from his own center and does work that make him alive in all his parts and powers. Louie, to use an example from the standup world, isn’t a
comedy legend because he’s the funniest, but because he’s the freest. He writes, directs, produces and
edits his own network television show, addressing topics most writers wouldn’t
touch. He circumvents big ticket companies by performing reasonably priced
concerts at alternative venues. And he has a no bullshit website that offers
cheap standup specials direct to his fans. Don’t get me wrong. Louie certainly
makes people laugh with his work, but the foundation of his artistry is the
sovereignty he has over his work. That’s why people admire him. What are you trading your authenticity for?



With buried grievances and
dreams unexpressed.
It’s hard to resist the romance of running after your dreams. Especially in
this country. America is the place where dreams are had, followed and fulfilled.
The prospect of not having to die with your music still in you, the legacy of
going to your grave with your life poured out, man, that’s one hell of promise. Of course, some say those who
think that way need to be beaten with the practicality stick. And maybe they’re
right. But the upside to following your dream is, it doesn’t have to be a binary
construct. It all depends on how you define the word follow. Let’s say your dream matures into an exotic animal that you
can’t afford to feed forever. Your artistic career path, dripping with risk and
instability and blood and toil, becomes too high a price to pay. Does that have
to knock you out of the game completely? Not necessarily.If there’s a
dream in you, one that serves and helps others, one that would cause you deep
regret if you never took the risk to at least try it, it shouldn’t matter how you follow it, only that you follow it. Even if it’s asubsidiary
part of your earning existence. Even if money doesn’t have to go next to you
when you act the way you act. Frankly, your dream will just be glad you showed
up.How far do you have to follow your
dreams to still be okay with yourself?

What did you learn?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Moments of Conception 063 — The Candy Shop Scene from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

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 candy shop scene in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory:





What can we learn?


Expectation unconsciously
influences inspiration.
The
creative process is simultaneously mechanical and metaphysical. It’s a function
of toil and time, but there’s also an equal measure of intention and attention.
Charlie wanders around the street, finds a coin in a sewer grate and digs it
out. That’s attention. By introducing it, he created his own opportunity to
play the game. Then, when he walks into the candy shop, he buys a chocolate bar
for his grandpa. Charlie wasn’t trying to win the contest, he was trying to do
something generous for his family. That intention. By introducing it, he
activated the infinite field of correlation. And the combination of the two
changed everything. The lesson, then, is that focusing on a goal changes the
person doing the focusing. It’s similar to the observer effect of quantum physics, which states that the act of
observing a system inevitably alters its state. And so, if an artist expects to
find ideas in her environment, she will cause an improvement in her ability to
spot opportunities when they materialize. But if that same artist lets her
attention and intention slip and slide all over the place, she’ll miss her
moment of conception. Which of your ideas
arrived as responses to attention and intention?

So shines a good deed. In the original candy scene, the crooning shop owner
throws out tons of free candy to all the eager, wealthy children. Meanwhile,
the poorest kid in town can only watch longingly from the window. Now, here’s the
interesting part. Charlie walks into the same candy shop only few weeks later,
hoping to receive the same treatment as the other children. But the moment he
starts stuffing his face with chocolate, the owner clears his throat and holds
out his hand. Almost as if to say, I’m
not running a soup kitchen here.
But he’s happy to pay for the treat. Charlie’s
a good kid. This is a fair transaction. Besides, the candy isn’t even for him,
it’s a gift for his grandpa. Meanwhile, a major scandal
breaks out across the globe. Newspapers report that the multimillionaire
gambler actually falsified his winning ticket. He had the nerve to try to fool
the whole world. Which means, the fifth golden ticket was still out there
somewhere. Waiting to be found by the right person. The honest person. The
deserving person. After all, that was the whole point of the contest, we later find
out. It wasn’t a golden ticket, it was a morality test. Wonka needed an honest
child, worthy to be his heir. So shines a good deed in a weary world. How are you branding your honesty?

Work perpendicular. Charlie is devastated when the news
breaks about the final golden ticket being found. The boy has nothing in the
world to hope for now. Of course, his mother reminds him that he’ll get his
chance. That one day, things will change. Probably
when he least expects it.
For now, he just needs to keep his dream in view, and pretty soon the sky will clear up. Which doesn’t put the delicious
chocolate bar in his mouth, but it’s start. And that’s the spiritual theme embedded
in this scene. It’s a lesson every artist has to learn. Because in the creative process, sometimes the best way to find something
is to stop looking for it. The best way to accomplish something is to try less.
Taoists would call this concept paradoxical
unity
. Which appears vague and esoteric and wholly unsatisfying in its
practical application, but it’s actually a helpful approach in becoming
prolific. As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes the best strategy is to work perpendicular. To intentionally walk away from our current work and engage in
something unrelated to the flow of activity. Charlie did just that. He went out for a
walk and found exactly what he has stopped looking for. Which of your ideas have come when you least expected them?



What did you learn?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Moments of Conception 062 — The Plate Scene from Chocolat

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 plate scene in Chocolat:





What can we learn?



Channeling
personality in the service of creativity.
Vianne is a creative, friendly, nonjudgmental, atheist single
mother with an illegitimate child and a provocative wardrobe. That’s one hell
of a combination. But what’s interesting is, so is her chocolate. Her
confections use cacao, chili powder and other exotic ingredients. Which, in a
town where abstinence is king, her chocolate wins over the closed hearts of the
stuffy petite bourgeoisie. This
movie, then, is a case study ofidentity
based creation
. Vianne integrates the whole of her personality into every
piece of chocolate she makes. She taps into her instincts for matching the
perfect treat to each customer’s need. And ultimately, that’s how she’s able tofind a home for herself
and her daughter in the village. It’s an inspiring tale of social acceptance
and individuality. As onereviewersaid, apparently chocolate can
cure mental illness, restore marital passion, unite feuding relatives, assuage
anger, defeat oppression, inspire art and get you a date. Good enough for me.What if your creative process was a game to
see which part of yourself you could bring to work every day?

Cross my palm with silver.
Artists are notoriously poor
businesspeople. We’d rather be heard than paid. We’d rather make history than
make money. We’d rather change the world than charge a fee. But the reality is,
every product must be sold. Every artist must go out and meet marketplace and
ask customers for money. Even if
we feel guilty about demanding
compensation for our work, even if we experience anxiety when we assign
monetary value to our intellectual property, if we don’t admit that we’re in
business for ourselves, we’re finished. The
secret is to enlist the unique aspects of our personality to enhance our
ability to sell. To make the dreaded commerce component easier to swallow.
Vianne uses the mosaic wheel. It’s essentially an ink blot test for chocolate.
Patrons give the wheel a playful spin, say what they see, and she identifies
the perfect chocolate for them. It’s playful, alluring and unexpected, just
like her. It’s a device that surprises and delights and intrigues customers in
spite of themselves, just like her. Most importantly, it’s an effective tool
for driving sales. Period. Vianne
poured her heart into this chocolate to make it great, and she isn’t afraid put
a price on it and ask people to buy it. How
are you exercising your personality in the selling arena?

We can smell our own. There’s a powerful thematic
undercurrent of community in this movie. As it says in the original screenplay,
if you lived in this village, you understood what was expected of you. You knew
your place in the scheme of things. And if you happened to forget, someone
would remind you. Belonging, after
all, means having people expect something of you, and caring about what that
expectation is. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Especially for creators
who tend to live inside their own heads. Vianne’s journey as an artist, then,
is more than just designing her own kind of chocolate, but also discovering her
own kind of community. At the end of the film, just when she resolves to move
to another village, the townspeople who have come to love her, convince her to
stay. Because her work is needed there. Vivian is
the enchanting rock
people can count on. Her value is desirable to the point of absolute necessity.
And so, she takes up permanent residence in the village. Emerson was right. Make
yourself necessary to the world, and mankind will give you bread. To whom is your art essential?



What did you learn?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Moments of Conception 061 — The Jigiwatt Scene from Back to the Future

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 jigiwatt scene in Back to the Future:



What can we learn?



When in doubt, use
nature.
Back in the fifties, there were only a handful of ways to generate that
much electricity. Doc could tie the car to a hydroelectric dam, build a turbine
on the back of the motor, or race the car off the edge of a massive waterfall. Unfortunately,
he didn’t have the time, resources or clearance to employ those kinds of strategies.
But what hedidhave was a weather
event. Literally, a bolt of lightning. Proving, that every occurrence,
including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Einstein
was right. Also proving, that the imagination of nature is far, far greater
than the imagination of man. Feynman said that. And so, whenever we’re faced
with a creative block, the smart thing to do isdesign systems and structures that invite
nature as our collaborator. To align our work with itsgeometric order
and rhythm of the natural universe. Because once we learn how to
harness that lightning and channel it into the flux capacitor known as our brains,
there’s no limit to what we can do. How
did nature solve this same problem?




Make yourself more
strikeable.
The problem with lightning is, you never know where or when
it’s going to strike. Nature is unpredictable like that. The job of the creator,
then, is to actually become the
lightning rod. To provide an easy path for creativity to find its way to his brain, lest its
electricity dissipates harmlessly to the ground. Because
inspiration,
while helpful when it shows up, most of the time, needs to be yanked out of
hiding. You have to create it, channel it, command it and commit to meeting it
halfway. And if it decides to take the day off, you have to go over to its
house, beat down the door, drag its ass out of bed at put it work. That’s something
all prolific creators have in common. They don’t wait on inspiration, they work
on discipline.
Personally, anytime I find I’m having trouble writing, I
can usually trace to not having read enough. Because sentences are my lightning
rods. What are yours?

Everything is fair
game.
Marty would have been stuck in past without that flyer about the
clock tower. Thank god he never threw it away. But that’s the value of being
entirely open and vulnerable to every shred of stimuli that crosses your path.
Even trash. You never know where you might use it. In fact, my entire career
was born out of a nametag I saw in a trashcan. That was my moment of
conception. Do you remember yours? If
not, perhaps you’re not paying close enough attention. Because if you want the
world to arrange itself for your creative work, you have to become a master of
deep democracy. To allow anything you think, everyone you meet, and everything
you experience become part of your professional life. That’s how artists create
from the inside out. They work as the convergence of everything that’s ever
happened to them. All devouring mental omnivores. How
often you overlook people, places or experiences that might offer meaningful
ideas?



Share your favorite movie moment of conception in the comments section!

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 

scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

Now booking for 2014-2015.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!

Moments of Conception 060 — The Sirius Scene from The Truman Show

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 sirius scene in Truman Show:





What can we learn?


Keep them happy and
ignorant.
Truman literally lives in a constructed reality. His life is
broadcast around the clock to billions of people across the globe. But once he
gains sufficient awareness of his condition, the movie starts to take a
strangely psychological, even political turn. Truman is waking up and stumbling
towards salvation. Hence the falling light and shattered glass. Symbolically, it couldn’t be more appropriate. It’s a reminder of how the powers that be
will always try keep us small, scared and dreamless; dissuading our sense of
exploration, preventing us from discovering our false realities. Because the
last thing they want is for us to activate our imaginations. To become
suspicious of our perceived reality. Fortunately, humans created art to combat
this battle. To embark on a quest to discover the truth about our lives. To
give ourselves a slant on the game that’s being played on us. Truman represents
an awakening that’s possible in every one of us.Whom are you allowing to soften the fibers of your spirit?

Readiness to wreck
everything.
Truman is stepping into a more mature and authentic identity.
Every scene becomes a chisel with which he chips away at the sculpture inside
the stone. And by the time he reaches the end of the known world, you can’t
help but cheer him on. It’s a powerful meditation for artists undergoing the
process of reinvention. But it’s also a warning about the slings and arrows
that accompany it. Truman may be waking up to what’s true about himself, but
not everybody wants him to be successful. They’re too invested in keeping him
where he is. They want him to remain frozen in the position they met him in.
That’s why they feel disenfranchised by his awakening. And so, as they feel the
foreign nature of his behavior, they start to attack like white blood cells
fighting an infection. Funny how reinvention elicits that reaction from people.
But it’s human nature. Other people have no incentive to see you change. And once you
do, they almost don’t even know how to relate to you anymore. Who is resisting your journey to explore
new ways of being an artist?



Try thinking your own thoughts. Peter Weir famously said that The Truman Show was a dangerous film to
make because it couldn’t actually happen. Little did he know, his movie was
disturbingly prophetic. It premiered in the late nineties, when reality
television was on the rise. And yet, two decades later, the film doesn’t seem
like science fiction at all. It could just as easily be another reality show we fetishize.
But what bothers me the most is, television is the polar opposite of creativity.
It’s leading someone else’s life for a short period of time. And yet, millions
people live this way. They spend thirty hours a week thinking other
people’s thoughts, walking through someone else’s museum. Meanwhile, recent
research reports that the number of non book readers has nearly tripled since the
late seventies. This isn’t good for our
brains.
My mentor once said that the purpose of books was to trap
your mind into doing its own thinking. But nobody seems to care anymore. Too many shows
in the queue. And my fear is that we’ve literally become zombies. We’ve
forgotten how to think our own thoughts.Are you joining the playing
field of creation or the smorgasbord of consumption?



What’s your favorite moment of conception?

Moments of Conception 059 — The Jump to Conclusions Scene from Office Space

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 jump to conclusions scene in Office Space:



What can we learn?



The
attraction of working, the arrogance of waiting
.
Every creator is looking that one big idea, the one that earns millions and
changes the world and sets them up for the rest of their life. But while it’s fun
to fantasize about, it’s ultimately a waste of time. Most of the crazy ideas
that changed the world actually started out as mistakes, accidents,
coincidences, serendipity, jokes or experiments. The guy who invented the pet
rock wasn’t tinkering at his workbench all day, searching for his ticket to
riches. He was sitting at a bar listening to his friends complain about their
pets, which gave him the idea for the perfect pet that would never need to be
fed, walked, bathed, groomed and would never die, become sick, or be
disobedient. That’s the way creativity works. The more you
tighten your grip, the more it will slip through your fingers. The more you
chase it, the more it will elude you.
It’s more like a zen koan than a
scavenger hunt. And so, if we have any intention of making art that lasts, better
to keep focused hand on the present than a compulsive eye on the future. It’s
all there in front of us, but if we try too hard to see it, we’ll only become
confused. How can you invite
creativity to come and sit softly on your shoulder?

Tone your hot body. Tom
doesn’t realize that creativity is about having one big idea, it’s about
sustaining a steady stream of ideas. Nothing against one hit wonders, one idea
does not a career make. Prolific creators have an entire mountain of gold to mine,
not just nugget to milk for a lifetime. In fact, what most people don’t know
about Gary Dahl, the guy who invented the
pet rock, was that he was also an award winning copywriter, creative director
and advertising agency owner. Meaning, over the course of his career, he
probably had tens of thousands of ideas. Many of which were bad. But he kept
producing, every single day, because he knew that the best way to see a good
idea was to stand on a compost pile of bad ones. Prolificacy then, is the
intentional goal; but innovation is incidental result. Truth is, I may have
made my career as the nametag guy, but only because I left behind a wake of
failed attempts at dozens of other quirky identity experiments. And so, creativity
is often a matter of volume plus time. Building a product that sticks out by
being a person who sticks around. How hot
is your body of work?

If you are only creating for glory, you have already failed. Tom isn’t trying to change the world with his invention, he just doesn’t
want to work ever again. That’s no reason t make art. No wonder his idea is
doomed from the beginning. Not only because the product trite and useless, but
also because there’s no substance behind it. I’m reminded of poet laureate
James Dickey, who said that the most important thing is to be excited about what you are doing. To be
working on something that you think will be the greatest thing that ever was. Because
the difficulty in writing poetry, he said, was to maintain a sense of
excitement and discovery about what you were working on. Tom could have used
some of that juice. We all could. Considering the
inevitable doubts and setbacks
and failures of the creative process, there’s no chemical substitute for
enthusiasm.
If we have enough horsepower under the hood, we can usually get
ourselves out if the mud. How are you
investing your passion and bravery where there previously was none?


What’s your favorite movie moment of conception?

Moments of Conception 058 — The Pigeon Scene from Last Crusade

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 pigeon scene in Indian Jones & The Last Crusade:




What can we learn?

Everything is grist
for the creative mill.
In the problem solving process, our first instinct
is to look for answers externally. But in most cases, the answer lies within.
Something we already know is precisely what we need to find the solution. It’s
simply a matter of trusting our resources. Believing we are well equipped to
handle our creative challenges. Henry, a lifelong scholar of history, suddenly
remembers an inspiring quotation from a famous historical figure. And so, he bridges, seeking
connections and
noticing natural relationships between that
reference and his current situation.
That’s what gives him the idea to take
down the nazi airplane with an umbrella and a flock of pigeons. And as the
propeller shreds the birds into a feathery white puree and clogs the engine, it
all makes sense. Henry’s entire life has prepared him for this very moment. His
expansive landscape of interconnected knowledge and experiences has made him a
powerful recombinant thinker and inventor. All he needed was the right moment
into which he could compress that training. What do you already know that will help you
solve this problem?

Create without a crutch.
Henry is a scholar. A man who fights battles with his mind. Someone who
doesn’t require an automatic weapon or a custom retractable hang gliding spy gadget
to defeat the enemy. Just an ordinary umbrella and a little help from nature.
That’s about as low tech as you can get. It’s a humbling reminder that
creativity isn’t always about having the right equipment. In fact, there’s no
historical relationship between technology and innovation. That’s like the
amateur golfer trying to buy a lower score with a titanium driver. The
reality is, if you really had an
amazing swing and a deep understanding of the game, you could shoot par with a
rusty set of rented clubs. Real artists work the same way. They can create
anytime, anywhere. People who refuse to go to work unless the have the right
tools are unprofessional hack procrastinators. True art is equipment agnostic. Which of your own excuses are you falling in
love with?

Walk with the wise. Indiana
wears a proud expression as he sees his father in a new light. Even he can
admit, that was pretty cool. And as
he watches his father’s cheeky stride on the beach, using the very umbrella he
just saved their lives with to shield the sun, he realizes how inspirational this
moment truly is. In fact, the actual meaning of the word inspiration is to arouse reverence. And one of the ways we do that
is to surround ourselves with people who challenge and inspire us. To play with
those who raise our game. Because there are three kinds of people in the world:
Those who make us less than we are, those who keep us where we are, and those
who push us to what we might become. And so, next time we’re wondering why our
creative output is lagging, it’s often because our human input is lacking. Perhaps
it’s time to prune the hedges. Are you
willing to personally amputate anyone who doesn’t believe in or support you?


What’s your favorite movie moment of conception?

23 Tools to Help You Become More Prolific

In the past several months, I’ve shared various pieces of The Prolific Framework, a new program
that guides people through the art and science of collecting, creating and
communicating their ideas.

A key component to that system is learning and employing a robust
vocabulary of creativity. It’s a
language that permits you to
communicate with yourself and others about the creative process, helps you make sense of the otherwise
ambiguous world of creativity, empowers
you to speak a language that supports your intentions, and allows you to
conceptualize and describe your experience of creating.

Ultimately, I want you to build a lexicon of words and phrases that allow you to converse about creativity. By building a working vocabulary of being prolific, you significantly better your chances of managing the creative process. 

So far, I’ve already shared two extensive lists of useful phrases to
guide yourself through the creative process, which can be found here
and here.
But as I continue to publish my moments of conception case studies, each of
which deconstruct an inspiring scene from a popular movie, the glossary continues to expand.

Here are about twenty new words to add to your creative vocabulary. 

Flash cards ready?



Aggressive pondering.Deliberately creating a
situation or framed experience in order to have an arena in which to work out
an unresolved issue.

Artist debt. Periods when we become disconnected from our primary creative
joy and fail to achieve our quota of artistic usefulness.



Bridging. The art of making connections and noticing natural relationships between seemingly unrelated ideas.

Containment. The balance between safeguarding your artistic vision to
protect intellectual property and passionately sharing your ideas with the
world.

Creative uniform. A wearable identity totem that prompts a work mindset and
sets a tone that says to your brain, work happens now.

Critical number. Objectifying your work by boiling it down to one thing that’s clean, simple and easy to calculate, something that functions as a
proxy to do the heavy lifting for you.

Domain transferring. Bringing ideas from one field of knowledge into
another by asking, what else is like
this?

Eventfulness. The decisive interaction in which a trusted friend compels an
artist to make a key change or take a massive risk in their creative life.

Filter. A small,
repeatable and portable filter that helps you make sense of the people you meet
quickly and accurately.

Good low. When life hands us a pile
of shit, we strategically convert that experience into creative resources of
energy, fertility and
happiness.

Homebase. A place or community where you can commune with your your fellow artists
and lock into the historical, societal and institutional frameworks of your
creative world.

Intrinsic triggers.
A unique set of inputs that stoke your creative fire. Little moments that let
you clothespin a piece of stimuli onto your psyche for further evaluation.



Kindred spirits. Fellow creative people with
resonant identities who maintain a shorthand for a shared culture.

Neighbor. Something that already exists the audience’s head that
becomes a mental hook upon
which you can hang future ideas.

Operational farsightedness. Due to our utter dedication to
wider market demands, we fail to note the needs of our intimate ecosystem.

Outofstepness. A sense of feeling unhoused and not fully at home in the
world, but a desire to make art to make sense of that world.

Paper thinking. Experiencing your ideas kinesthetically by writing down
whatever is rising up from within your depths, saving judgment for later.



Placeholder. A surrogate piece of content
that
helps budget time and keep production going until a better idea
comes along.  

Preliminary trigger.
A simple, easy and incremental tool that activates the creative process and
grows your executional victory bank.

Stalling maneuver.
Buying yourself time in group meetings, interviews and presentations, so that
you can collect your thoughts and build anticipation around your message. 

Timing. When
luck takes the form of a confluence of events, including the right person, the
right place, the right time, the right product, the right audience, the right
context and the right leverage.

Wherewithal. Everything creator need to buttress the
opportunity to make art, including knowledge, resources and courage.

Whitespace. Defining yourself by the work you decline, so as to avoid the erosion
of your time, the decay of your focus and the meaninglessness of your work.

Happy creating!

Moments of Conception 057 — The Running Scene from Forrest Gump

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 running scene in Forrest Gump:



What can we learn?



Necessity carries a whip.This scene reads like a page
out of Woodrow Wilson’s inspiringbook, When a Man Comes to Himself. It’s about wholesome regenerating
change. A full realization of a person’s powers. A man’s discovery of the way
in which his faculties are to be made to fit into the world’s affairs. Forrest,
as the president wrote, learned his own paces and found his footing. He
initiated the process of disillusionment. Clearing his eyes so he could soberly
see the world as it is, and his own true place and function in it. Had the
bullies never thrown dirt clods at his head in the first place, his leg braces never
would have broken apart, and he never would have discovered that he could run like
the wind. And so, in this moment, necessity isn’t so much the mother of
invention as it is the illuminator of identity. Gump’s difficult situation
didn’t prompt an new innovation, it destroyed an old one. His magic shoes, as
he called them, were only magic insofar as they housed and nurtured an immense
spirit that ultimately broke free and helped create a truly charmed life. Is your current life situation going to limit you or liberate you?

Punch windows in the
wall of the self.
First he hobbles. Then he gains speed. But when the braces
shatter, sending steel and plastic flying into the air, the boy looks down at
his legs in surprise. Well I’ll be a squirrel
in a skirt
. Guess he never realized how fast he could run until running was
his only choice. Yet another case of trial by fire. What a potent
illustration for the creators of the world. Artists, after all, have a set of
preexisting beliefs about their talents. But unless they’re tested in the
crucible of everyday life, they never expand to their full capacity. Forrest spontaneously
did something he didn’t realize he could do, and the experience sent him on a
trajectory of fame, success and adventure. In the same way that a virus can lie
dormant in your body for so long that you forget you were ever infected, a
talent can also lie undernurtured in your life for so long that you don’t
realize you have it. That’s when it’s useful to have someone you love
whispering, or in Jenny’s case, shouting,
words of encouragement to keep your legs in motion. Who do you have in
your life to make sure your potential doesn’t go to waste?

Tie a rope around your heart. Gump’s legs were as strong as any
the doctor had ever seen. His spine, on the other hand, was as crooked as
politician. And so, he was forced to wear the orthopedic shoes and metal leg braces
for three years. But despite constant ridicule, name calling, even getting his legs caught in gutter grates, the braces turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
In my book on creativity, One
Smoking Hot Piece of Brain Candy
, I introduced a technique called tourniquetting. This is when an artist
creates a healthy sense of distance from their work by damming up the creative
flow, compressing the circulation and applying enough pressure so there’s an
explosion waiting for them when they’re ready to return. Gump’s braces were the tourniquets. They blocked the flow. The constricted his power. And
after a few years, once the pressure reached its threshold level, there was no
stopping that train. Momma said those magic shoes would take him anywhere, and
she was right. That’s the power of creative
tourniquetting. It requires a significant amount of delayed gratification. And
it requires having enough discipline not
to have discipline. But it’s a hell of a way to get things moving. Are you willing to
tie a rope around your heart just to let the blood build up?



What’s your favorite movie moment of conception?

Moments of Conception 056 — The Construction Scene from Good Will Hunting

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 construction scene in Good Will Hunting:




What can we learn?



Love people enough to
upset them.
Will is has
a genius level intellect, a gift for mathematics and a rare eidetic memory. And
yet, he insists on wasting his time working mindless manual labor jobs and
drinking with his buddies. Chuckie refuses to accept this reality. He might be
boisterous, but he’s not blind. Will’s failure to find a home for any of his
talents is an insult to his friends, his community, his identity and his potential.
And that’s the beauty of this moment. Because every artist needs someone in
their life to initiate the
shove
, meaning, a delightfully
disturbing moment thatcompels you make a massive change in your
creative life. Will doesn’t realize it, but this conversation is his moment of
conception. There may be a brief incubation period to follow, but it’s only a
matter of time before he cashes in that winning lottery ticket and steps into
the light.Do you have a figure in your creative life who’s willing to shake up
your situation and keeps things in proportion?



Creativity exists at
the intersection of belief and alienation.
It’s the strangest thing. On one
hand, you have to trust that there is a place for your gifts in the world. That
you’ve been given your own plot of soil to cultivate, and there’s only so much
available light to grow something meaningful.That’s belief.On the other hand, if someone feels fully at home in
the world, they don’t need to make art.Life has to generate a certain amount discomfort and hunger and ache to
get the pen moving.Without that thick layer of outofstepness, of
feeling unhoused in a sense, what’s the point?That’s alienation. Andrea Barrett, the award winning historical
fiction novelist, famously said that she writes about the world because it doesn’t
make sense to her. That through writing, maybe she can penetrate it, elucidate
it and somehow make it comprehensible. Will has the alienation part down pat,
but he doesn’t realize there’s a missing piece of belief. He’s almosttoosmart. Too proud to realize the
opportunity right in front of him. Chuckie simply holds up the mirror. What will you channel your contradictory
feelings into?



Let the city crumble,
but come home together.
Creative personalities are hypersensitive to
geography. Consider the lyrics ofAngeles, the song playing the background of this scene. “I
could make you satisfied in everything you do, all your secret wishes could
right now be coming true, and be forever with my poison arms around you.” Elliot
Smith wasn’t singing about a beautiful woman making love to him, he was singing
about a big city makingpromisesto him.
That’s a different kind of relationship. One in which the physical landscape
influences the mental landscape. I remember when wife and I first moved to a
big city. Our friend who grew up here said,this citywill feed you
things that make you feel bigger than you are
. She was right. Over the next
few years, we saw firsthand how easy it was to fall into those kinds of identity
traps. It could happen to anybody. Geography is seductive in that way.
But the secret, I suppose, is setting boundaries. Deciding which parts of the
culture are worth participating in, and which parts aren’t.What expectations are you precariously
surrounded by?

What can we learn?

Sign up for daily updates
Connect

Subscribe

Daily updates straight to your inbox.

Copyright ©2020 HELLO, my name is Blog!