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?
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?
* * * *
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.
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Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!