Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Moments of Conception 012 -- The Beach Scene from The Doors

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 beach scene in The Doors:

What can we learn from this moment of conception?

Fresh ideas demand fresh fuel. Jim was burned out on making movies. Nobody in the film world understood his artistic vision. And everyone, including himself, knew that he didn’t belong with the squares, he belonged with the hippies. Morrison needed to find his own kind. To connect with kindred spirits through a shared culture. That’s why he quit film school. Because life took him out of himself, and he needed to carve a path back to himself. And that’s why went out into the desert, got lost, got high, got reconnected and got inspired. He took trip to another world, unlocked a creative valve, and the steam came pouring out. And as a result, he crafted new and interesting art through different forms expression, leading to one of the great rock bands of all time. Morrisson fired inspiration into himself through physical displacement, connected to his subconscious through intoxication and created a sense of home and community through a new romance. That’s what’s possible when you recalibrate the soul.

To shove people is to love people. Morrison is new to the world of music. He even admits his shortcomings as songwriter. He’s shy and he can’t sing. But Ray doesn’t care. When did extroversion and talent become prerequisites to artistic success? Dylan sings like he eats sandpaper for breakfast. What matters is writing. What matters is soul. What matters is saying something. That’s how you make history. And so, this moment on the beach becomes the shove. The permission slip. The provocation of a decision. Ray responds to his friend’s art with attention, patience, respect, encouragement and affirmation. He helps him see something he’s too close to himself to see. He even believes in him more than he believes in himself. That response elevates Jim’s hope. It’s enough to send his creative rocket into the sky. And the best part is, that was just one song. He’s got a whole concert in his head. All they have to do is yank it out and put it on wax. As it goes in the original screenplay, “Ray looks at him a long beat. Intense eyes, the manner of a man who knows what he wants and cannot be stopped.”

Timing isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Ray’s sermon about how the world is screaming for change and that it’s their time to take the planet back, reinvent the gods and make new myths, is inspirational. Boy was I was born in the wrong decade. This movie makes me wish I went to college in the sixties. The point is, when you consider the trajectory of the band’s career, time was very much on their side. They weren’t better or more deserving than any of the other bands, they just had the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right product, in front of the right audience, and with the right leverage. Which is a powerful lesson for any artist trying to make it: Success doesn’t have a line. There’s no rational system of advancement and no standard set of rules that determines when it’s your time to shine. You simply have to accept that it might be a long time before what you do catches on. And you have to be ready to hop on the board when your wave comes. It’s like my mentor once asked me, will you still be around when the world is ready for you?

What's your favorite movie moment of conception?