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 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 arcade scene in Last Starfighter:
What can we learn?
The byproduct of creating value. Raising your fee is moot point. A more strategic approach is to wonder, what could I create, that would enhance my offering and diversify my identity and upgrade my context and grow my skillset and raise my credibility and strengthen my leverage, that would earn me the right to command a higher fee for my work? That’s how value is created. You keep adding to the collection. You continually engage in new projects worth pointing to. You seek opportunities that make yourself more attractive, regardless of the outcome. And your fee changes as a natural byproduct. Alex is doing just that. He’s an ordinary teenager living in a trailer park, cherishing the arcade game as his sole leisure activity. And he knows that if he wants to get the heck out of this town, he’s going to have to raise his value. Little does he know, becoming the highest scoring player of all time is exactly what summons the game’s inventor. Centauri shows up to offer an opportunity to travel to a faraway planet and defend a small planet from alien invasion. Alex, of course, jumps at the chance, using the tactics he mastered playing the video game to defeat the armada and become the savior of the galaxy. Proving, that if you want to get to the next level, you have to raise your game. Literally. If you were arrested and charged with creating value for people, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Success never comes unassisted. Every creator needs a secure base. A reliable source of emotional renewal, nourishment, safety and security in the face of everyday challenges. People who can serve as the stabilizing influence in your life. Individuals who can help take up the cross you thought you were going to have to bear alone. That’s why this scene always touched me. Alex didn’t have any money. No career prospects. He was just a kid from a some flea speck trailer park in the middle of tumbleweeds and tarantulas. But what he did have was a community. Family and friends and a girlfriend and a mentor. His support flowed from many fountains. What more can you ask for you? And so, when he finally gets the chance to do something meaningful with his life, and he grabs with both hands and holds on tight, his secure base was there to lift him up. Yes, they were sad to see him go off into outer space as a permanent star fighter and flight instructor. But they knew his time had come. And they were proud to have had a hand in his virtuosity. Alex’s story reminds us that if we’re going to follow our dreams, we have to surround them with support structures. That way, we can to live our dreams as a thank you in perpetuity to those who shaped us. If your family supported anything you chose to do, what would you do?
The fertile soil where instinct and intuition flourish. Alex is not a creator in the traditional artistic sense. He doesn’t design video games, he just plays them. But consider how many thousands of hours he’s logged at that arcade console. That’s the kind of hardcore formative time that fosters dreams, informs what he does and lays groundwork for the years to follow. Alex’s art, then, is his useful combination of focus, patience, strategy, resilience, pattern recognition and problem solving. And nobody can do it better. That’s why he gets recruited into the fighter training program, so he can finally take the training he already has and apply it for the greater good. It’s accidental preparation at its finest. The experience of investing thousands of hours and gallons of sweat doing something small, that later proves to be the training ground for something big. What have you been accidentally preparing for?
What did you learn?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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