Moments of Conception 181: The Originality Scene from Garden State

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.

Based on my books in The Prolific 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 original moment scene from Garden State:

I champion any
transformation of the self.
Every time I watch this movie, I cry my
eyes out. The soundtrack is perfect. The acting is amazing. The humor is
clever. And the love story is touching. Not to mention, the movie premiered
when I was in my mid twenties. Everything the characters were going through, I
was going through too. Braff put it best when he said, your body goes through
puberty in its teens, and the mind goes through puberty in your twenties.
Proving, that people love to witness transformation. Nobody likes a story about
continuity, about how someone has always been the same. In fact, that narrative
is biologically impossible. Human cells regenerate every seven years. We
literally can’t be the same as we used to be. McKee famously said that if the value
charged condition of the character’s life stays unchanged from one end of a
scene to the other, nothing meaningful happens. There needs to be an arc to the
story. The great sweep of change that takes life from one condition at the
opening to a changed condition at the end. That’s what I love most about coming
of age films. They explore the transition from youth to adulthood. The hard core
formative years of spiritual exploration, psychological realization and moral
growth that foster dreams and lay the groundwork for years to come. What is still lethal inside of you that
wants to be transformed?

Guardians of
the infinite abyss.
This movie is about reinvention and spontaneity and
discovery. Trying to steal life whenever and wherever you can. And it’s
reminiscent of the
, which reminds us to elevate all attempts at originality,
however daring, however violent, bear bravely and proudly the smear of madness
with which they try to gag all innovators, and sweep the whole field of art
clean of all themes and subjects which have been used in the past. What’s crazy
is, that manifesto was written over one hundred years ago. And yet, the
painters of the day still knew that an artist’s greatest currency in this world
was their originality. Samantha knows this, intuitively. That the experience of
discovering something new, doing something that’s completely unique that’s
never been done before, is the stuff that life is made of. And so, as dopey as
her little exercise is, it still helps her develop the empowering habit of
exercising the part of her brain that is most original. It still keeps her
focused on the present moment, even if that means bearing bravely and proudly
the smear of madness. Even if that giving herself utterly to the unknown.
Whatever it takes replenish the deep wells of the absurd. Where are you currently compromising your originality?

Cynicism is
easier than actually making something
. The world doesn’t need another cynic.
Our planet has enough pessimism to last a lifetime. That’s why it’s so
important to be fundamentally affirmative, relentlessly encouraging and
radically supportive towards one other. Because most people have already been
discouraged, disenchanted and degraded enough. And the last thing they need is
another scoffer to pour salt on their wounds. On the other hand, believing in
people costs nothing. And it has the power to change everything. I remember
when one of my musician friends went in the studio for the first time. After
years of writing songs, she finally summoned the courage to put them on wax. Hallelujah! But once the album was done,
she began to encounter resistance. Record producers, club owners, music critics
and other industry professionals immediately shot her work down. Saying that
the songs were uninspired, grating karaoke tunes at best. She was devastated.
To the point that she went into music hibernation for almost a year. And so,
when I ran into her at my songwriting circle, I asked her to share. And when
she played the song, I remember thinking to myself, wow, this song is awesome. Not because it’s perfect, not because
it’s catchy, and not because it’s radio friendly. But because it’s hers.
Because it’s finished. Because she had the guts to sit down, slice open a vein,
bleed her truth onto the page and share it with the world. That’s enough.
That’s a win. And nobody can take that away from her. Are you trying to become best at what you do, or the best of who you


What did you learn from this movie clip?


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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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