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.
Based on my books in The Prolific 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 give up scene in School of Rock:
The futility of
everything is fertile ground. The most devious culprit of creative
demoralization is futility. That hopeless feeling that you’re just winking in
the dark, throwing petal after petal down the canyon, waiting to hear the echo.
Good god, it just makes you not even want to try. Because there’s too much noise, too many channels, too much
competition and too little bandwidth for the rest of the world to consume yet
another work of art. Why even waste your time? Ughh. Fortunately, these feelings are perfectly normal. In fact,
it’s our responsibility as artists to identify emotions like these. To observe
them without being overwhelmed by them. And to figure out how to domesticate
them, as opposed to pretending they don’t exist. I read a great article written by an addiction
psychotherapist, who said that emotions come and go like guests who come to
visit. Some are welcome and we’re delighted to see them, others, not so much.
Sometimes they leave sooner than we would like, other times they stay way past
the point when we want them to leave. But eventually they all leave. Love that. And so, anytime you notice
these feelings of futility starting to course through your artistic veins, empty
yourself of expectation. Zero out your emotional board. Choose to make art for
yourself, knowing that you can’t guarantee that anybody else will give a shit. Choose
to make art to make yourself proud, knowing the everybody else is too busy
getting ahead to care about you. Choose to make to make meaning, since most
people probably aren’t even thinking about you enough to judge you anyway. And
remember to keep passion in play. Because when you’re sitting alone in a room
throwing frisbees out the window all day, passion might be the only fuel you
have to keep going. Do you complain about
the wind, hope the wind will stop or adjust your sails?
You have ruined my sense of reality.I just finished reading a novel about a husband who
kidnaps his wife for ransom. In the final chapter, there’s a powerful passage,
in which the woman comes to terms with her new reality. “It’s a big blow,
finding out a person isn’t who you thought they were, that the world isn’t the
way you thought it was. You’re living your life under certain assumptions, and
then you find out they’re all wrong. You thought you were walking on firm
ground, but you’re really walking through a swamp of shit.” I know that
moment. It’s sad and jarring you feel betrayed and you start to think you don’t
understand the world anymore. I’m reminded of when I quit my first job. I spent
an hour writing an earnest, thoughtful letter of resignation to my bosses,
thanking them for believing in me, even requesting a face to face meeting so I
could share my appreciation in person. Pretty professional, don’t you think?
The bosses ignored me for two weeks. Literally, not a word. No acknowledgement.
No exit interview. Just silence. Unbelievable. It really bothered me. I felt
empty and invisible. Not because I was expecting balloons and cake, but a
simple goodbye would have been enough. Jesus. Grant me that much. The point is,
life is full of disappointment. As much as we’d like to remove the teeth from
the cruel bite of reality, we can’t pretend that the world is different than it
is. But that shouldn’t keep us from doing our best to make sense of it all.
Because odds are, in the end, the majority of the tally marks will be in the
win column.Are you shielding yourself
from the sharp edges of reality?
Buffer yourself against disillusionment.There’s a clear relationship between creativity and
addiction. In fact, there are many ways to approach recovery much like art. I
was reading thememoirof a recovering junkie who explained that addicts
often struggle to cope with an external world that will not submit to their
imagined demands. As the old saying goes, an addict is a piece of shit around
which the whole world revolves.Interesting.
Sounds like the creative process to me. That’s why this movie is a perfect
illustration of the gap between our beloved expectations and life’s actual intentions.
Dewey was a natural born rock start who got kicked out of his band because his
onstage antics unnerve his band mates and the crowd. And now he’s been reduced
to a washed up, bitter, angry substitute teacher. But what he didn’t realize is
that in the same way that the solar system is not obligated to provide us with
the sun, the marketplace is under no such obligation to embrace our next
creation. And so, if we are to buffer ourselves against disillusionment, we
have to empty ourselves of expectation. We literally have to expect nothing
except the satisfaction of doing something awesome. It takes a lot of time and
practice and patience get to a point where that’s enough for us. But once we
do, it’s a lot less likely that our dreams will be shattered on the rocks of
disappointment.Are your expectations
serving or frustrating you?
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What did you learn from this movie clip?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.
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