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 seminar scene scene in Little Miss Sunshine:
What can we learn?
Anchor what you
create to probability. Every artist works in the dark. Everything we make
is an arrow shot into eternity. And every time we share our work with the
world, there’s no telling which pieces will get heard, paid, recognized or
criticized. It’s just another day of dropping the rose petal down a canyon,
waiting for the echo. The hard part is, sometimes the echo vibrates instantly,
stroking our egos and satisfying our need for immediate gratification. Sometimes the echo sounds completely different than we anticipated, illuminating an
unexpected vision of our creative future. And sometimes the echo never comes
at all, humbly reminding us that so many things in life just go away. That’s
art. We’re making public bets with our imagination. And so, the joy has to come from
the work itself, not the impression it makes on the world. And if something
doesn’t succeed, we keep adding to the collection. We keep increasing our
creative capital. Because while every rose has its thorn, not every petal has
its echo. Sometimes all we hear at the end of our performance are a few chairs
scraping the community college floor. Are you looking within to
validate your work, or letting others define your reality?
What’s the sound of
no hands clapping? Richard is striving to build a career as a motivational
speaker and life coach. He maintains unshakeable confidence in his personal
development program, which preaches mantras like leaving loserhood and rejecting
rejection. But the marketplace views his philosophy as annoyingly
unoriginal. His business partner says that nobody is interested in turning his nine
step program into a book. And yet, he vows to redouble his efforts. He never
gives up. He even takes a moped over to his partner’s hotel and confronts him,
but to no avail. Richard’s character is completely pathetic, and that’s why you
empathize with him. Because every performer has been there before. We’re
convinced our work will evoke an active resonance, only to watch it garner a
dull thud. We’re anticipating watching the crowd reach new heights of hysteria,
only to watch them staring down at their phones the whole time. It’s all part
of the inevitable mindfuckery of the creative process. And the best way to inoculate ourselves against that devastation
is to expect nothing. To release our addiction to outcomes. Are
you still living life perpetually poised in a ballet of expectation?
Will my sweat be sold
as elixir? Richard is living life on spec.Living and dying by every gig
he gets. Butthe ambient pressure of not knowing where his next meal is
coming from is starting to wear on him. And if he doesn’t solve the problem of
livelihood and secure a measure of comfort soon, his family will be in a world
of pain. Sound familiar? Most artists can relate.Because we all live in fear of the work drying up. We all
or famine cycles.We all know how it feelstossing coins in the wishing well, hoping bills will float
to the surface. It’s murder out there.And so,every
creator needs to keep one eye cocked to the commercial possibilities of their
work. Because despite our romantic and altruistic wirings, if we’re not
prepared to pursue any financial avenues that are available to us, we may not
be able to underwrite our creative endeavors. The secret, then, is working out
our own brand of compromise. Reconciling our own commercial efforts. Doing what
it takes to still be okay with ourselves.Eddie Izzard, standup comedian, actor and writer,
recently said during aninterviewthat he was a creativist
as opposed to a capitalist. Capitalists make things to make money, he said, but
creativists make money to make things. Now there’s a brand of compromise I could
get behind.Are you remembering toresolve
the economic problem of livelihood?’
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.
Now booking for 2014-2015.
Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!