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 busking scene in August Rush:
What can we learn?
Try giving yourself away. My career has flourished on the power of giving myself away. Through reckless generosity and a promiscuous heart, I’ve always treated the bulk of my work as a gift. As an offering to the marketplace. As a loving impulse of emotional labor that signals to the world, there’s plenty more where that came from. This strategy, if you can even call it a strategy, hasn’t failed me yet. Because it comes from a place of abundance and love and connection. In fact, the concept of giving yourself away began as an anonymously written article in a business magazine nearly a hundred years ago. And due to its popularity and volume of reprint requests, the piece was later expanded into a bestselling book, which became an inspiration to millions. Myself included. And so, when it came time to decide on a distribution strategy for my documentary, there was never really any question. Of course I’m going to give the entire movie away. Of course I’m going to stream the whole thing on my website for free. Of course I’m going to adopt the direct to consumer channel. Because anything that’s a barrier to getting my work in people’s hands is a problem. And since most of the independent documentaries that premiere each year never even see the light of day anyway, much less secure theatrical distribution or achieve commercial success, I see no reason to exhaust and expense myself in the process. Middleman, schmiddleman. Are you keeping your giving away machinery in good working order?
Money is flowing into my life from all directions. When I first started busking, I refused to open up my guitar case for donations. My foolish pride and suburban ego simply wouldn’t allow me to accept tips from strangers. But after a few weeks of playing, I realized a few things. First of all, it’s not about making money, it’s about making a connection. Because every interaction is a relationship. Regardless of how long it lasts, I’m still relating to the other person. And so, every time a stranger drops change into my case, it’s like they’re saying, I like you. That makes me feel seen. And whether people give a dollar or a dime, no amount of money is insignificant. I’m learning to find joy from whatever people have to offer. The other thing is, tips are totems of an abundance mentality. They’re reminders than money matters to me, that money is always flowing into my life from all directions and that I should train myself to spot money whenever it presents itself. In fact, since I’m streaming my documentary for free on my website, I decided to recreate the open guitar case online. I created a donation page, almost like a digital tip jar. And if people find joy and value and inspiration in the movie, they can show their appreciation by dropping a dollar. Ultimately, it’s been a transformative experience. A reminder that there is no prosperity without the willingness to receive. Because the answer to every question you don’t ask is no. What is blocking your ability to receive?
Your gift is not fully yours until it is given away. Nietzsche once said those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. What a perfect sentiment to summarize the experience of busking. Because when you perform in public, you learn that not everybody will like your art. In fact, not everybody will even acknowledge the fact that you’re there. Most will just walk by as if you weren’t standing there naked, breaking yourself open and pouring yourself out. And it’s painful. It makes you feel invisible. It insults your soul. But you can’t let it phase you. You can’t allow the uncompromising forces of reality to crush your dream. Because job number one is not to please everybody who walks by, job number one is to create an exhibition of love through your art. To find the best that is within you and let her rip. The ones who don’t get joke and can’t hear the music, they’re not your people. So just keep playing. Whether you’re performing on the streets for change or producing on the internet to create change, just keep playing. Stick around long enough and continue to be yourself until the right people find you. And when the world is finally ready for you, all you have to do is say yes. What’s the one thing, if practiced consistently, would make the biggest impact on your life?
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What did you learn from this movie clip?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a copy of the list called, “10 Ways to Make the Mundane Memorable,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!
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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!