I had a conversation with students in one of my classes the other day where we talked about the act of creation and getting stuck, something I've been writing a lot about lately. In complete disclosure, the entire class is designed to provide a foundation for creating when things go bad, when we get stuck. It's about focusing on the little steps needed to move, and apparently, I've been channeling the wise philosopher Kris Kringle and his illuminations on making a change, Put One Foot In Front Of The Other.
In the class we explore ways to keep creating and kickstarting our actions, we tackle some new techniques that intentionally don't always produce visually pleasing results, and we find ways to exploit the potential energy sometimes hidden in a given cinematic
image. I enjoy teaching this class, mostly because it is a good personal reminder that being creative is not simply thinking about being creative and certainly not about feeling creative because I watch someone else be creative. This is the trap I was warning students (and myself) about the other day. Sometimes that threshold between research and creation or inspiration and creation may get too big that we can't cross over. How often have I found myself on some social media platform, looking at the art and creations of others under the guise of research? An example that I shared with my students was watching Adam Savage on his YouTube channel Tested. So much of what he shares I identify with. His curiosity and technical knowhow, his problem solving and his willingness to share what he is doing are all wonderful things that I appreciate. I enjoy seeing him tackle problems, whether he's building some film related prop, organizing his shop or explaining a new tool. I've certainly walked away inspired and often receive truly helpful information that I can use. It's easy to watch someone like Mr. Savage and learn something. It's also easy to watch someone like him and be thoroughly entertained but assuming you are someone who is driven to create, the problem is being aware of when you are entertained to the point where you abdicate your role as a creator.
That's what this project is for me. It is a big fat thank you very much, but I think I'll make my own work moment. It is a refocus on those bigger personal projects that yes, do require research and are aided by inspiration but ultimately require my action - a lot of it, to not just think about being creative, but to actively engage in the process. This project is a proof-of-concept or maybe a better way to describe it on a purely personal level is -challenge thrown down and challenge accepted. I just happen to be the one doing the challenging and the one being challenged. Can a project like this be realized in a pandemic? Spoiler: The quick answer is yes, There have been many films and other creative projects already done and completed during the last year. Just not this one being completed by me. How much can I do myself? How dependent am I on others is the challenge and question.
Dependency is tricky because to be dependent is not necessarily a bad thing. As social creatures we thrive on interdependency, and just because one chooses to collaborate with others doesn't make them any less creative. There is no way that collaboration could ever be framed as a less-creative practice. By its very nature it is a more creative process because there are more sources of the creative energy being combined and used for something beyond a single creative source. So I would never denigrate the collaborative process and as I've said before I enjoy that process and would like to be part of it more. This is just not what this particular projects is about.
I've reached some milestones in this slower than expected action sequence, but it's time to share some updates. This past couple of months I've made real strides in the set construction for the film. Wall construction was completed, or nearly so, ceilings are roughed in and I've recently, temporarily added the floor (the first constructed element of the set) to get a sense of where I am and what needs to be done. There is still much to do, but I can take a moment and reflect on the progress. I can see where I've come from, an empty space next to my basement office and now see what will ultimately be a constructed environment for this story to take place.
Finishing the construction on the walls, floors and ceilings, adding the architectural and industrial details, finalizing the lighting inserts and painting are the next steps. I'll be honest and say I'm excited about this project, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the next bit of action takes it.