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 beast scene in The Sandlot:
What can we learn?
Up your creative ante. When I first stared my career, publishing hadn’t been fully democratized yet. The process was still somewhat difficult, expensive and extensive. The powers that be actually had power. Meaning, without some knowledge, resources and wherewithal, anybody couldn’t just become an author overnight. It took significant time and money and labor to put art into the world. But then the revolution came. And now that creators are wired directly into the ecosystem, now that the need for the middlemen of the world has vanished, and now that there are nonexistent barriers to entry in all forms of the publishing world, it’s anybody’s game. And that’s precisely the problem. When anyone can do anything, they will. When scarcity goes the way of the dodo, value plummets. Which means, being an author of something doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to. Because anybody can do it. And so, if we want to rise to the fore, we have to raise the stakes. We have to raise our voice, be on our toes, working smarter and faster than the pack, always showing them why we’re out in front. We have to raise our artistic level to where we’re never lost in the dust. Benny is an amazing ball player, but if he truly wants to author a mythology around his work, he needs to do something bigger than just stealing bases and hitting homeruns. Are you the hero people remember or the legend that will never dies?
Throw your heart over the fence. Benny’s hero visits him in a dream and offers a simple solution to his pickle. Just hop over the fence and get it. Easier said than done, of course. The last kid who attempted to defeat the beast was eaten. Of course, that’s the whole point. When the voice behind the curtain doesn’t scare us, when the reputation of the beast doesn’t intimidate us, and when the folklore around the enemy doesn’t dissuade us, throwing our hearts over the fence isn’t as hard as it looks. Benny doesn’t realize it, but, the fence is there for a reason. It’s there to test his commitment. To show him how badly he wants something. To give him a surface to push off and move toward his dream. And even if he rips his shirt, scratches his chest and bruises his ass on the way down, his commitment will become the reservoir of momentum that will move his story forward. The point is, we all have a fence in our lives. We all have a beast to face. And we all have a group of devoted followers just aching for us to defeat them both so we can play for-e-ver. But not everyone wants to leave behind a legacy of taking action. Not everybody is prepared to throw their heart over the threshold. Are you willing to hop over the fence that’s only there to stop people who don’t want it badly enough?
A friendship is an exchange of care. Babe was right. Everybody gets one chance to do something great. But not everyone takes that chance, either because they’re too scared, or because they don’t recognize it when it spits on their shoes. Benny is lucky enough to see the signs. Too know that someone’s telling him something. And that’s why he ultimately decides to make the move, grab the ball, outrun the dog, befriend the owner and cement his legacy. This movie fired inspiration into my heart when I was a kid. In fact, over twenty years later, my friends and I still reference The Sandlot to this day. This movie stands the test of time and never loses its touch. Why? Because it reminds us of a time in our lives when a friend was a friend was a friend. Because when we were twelve, a friend was the person we grew up with, played football with, ate chicken wings with, chased girls with, got wasted with, shared heartbreak with and had inside jokes with. And despite geography, despite life situation, despite success or failure, despite whatever type of future we may have together, we can’t help but always be friends with those people. We are inextricably bound by the chains of our shared past. We will always have the one thing nobody can take away from us. Our history. Who can you call from jail at two in the morning?
What did you learn?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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