Thursday, June 26, 2014

Moments of Conception 033 -- The Gigantificationism Scene from Big Fish

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 fishbowl scene in Big Fish:

What can we learn?

Creativity is not location agnostic. Artists come from everywhere. But if they want to reach the higher echelons of creative success, eventually, they have to go somewhere that’s big enough for them. Big enough in geography, big enough in mindset, big enough in access and big enough in resource. The challenge is, it’s not a clean break. Humans are emotionally attached to the flock. And so, the joy of moving toward something doesn’t stop the melancholy of what you leave behind. Especially for the people closest to you. Edward’s family senses the gravity of his growth, so they literally tie him down. For years. They were terrified of his bones settling into their adult configuration. Because they know, once his body grows big enough to match his ambitions, he’ll blow this popsicle stand and never look back. What I love about this scene is, exaggerated and cartoonish as it may be, the boy’s predicament is deeply relatable. The bed symbolizes the childhoods of a million creators whose families and friends figuratively tied them down, endangering their talent. What are the limitations of your environment?

Respect and respond to nature’s agenda. Edward’s encyclopedia isn’t just a book, it’s beautiful reminder of what could be. It’s an invitation to evolve. A mandate to become the big fish he always was. And so, he wisely pays attention to this moment. He allows the epiphany to kickstart his ambition. And before long, he starts to see horizons that most people can’t even tell exist. The goldfish, then, is his spirit animal. His archetype. A totem that represents the traits and skills and potential throttling inside of him. Personally, my spirit animal is a duck. Here’s why. Growing up, I used to fed ducks almost every weekend at the lake by our house. And since then, they’ve always had a presence in my life. Also, all the men in my family waddle. It’s genetic. We walk with duck feet. And lastly, ducks are connected to feminine energy, have a community frame of mind, act very affectionately toward their partners, don’t hold grudges and live in the moment. That’s me. The point is, amazing things are possible when we focus on the natural, not the supernatural. What’s your spirit animal?

No labels, no limits. Parkinson’s law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion. Identity is a similar process. The world will conspire to keep you working small. To live less than you are. To stay in the small fishbowl. And it’s your responsibility to show people who you’re becoming, so they can stop seeing you as everything you’ve been. To let people know, this is who I am now. Edward’s journey is about shedding outdated ways of speaking about his identity. And any artist seeking to step into his own will go through the same process. When I first started my company, I worked nights and weekends parking cars to make ends meet. Not a bad job, actually. Got tons of exercise, met cool people, always had a drug wad of cash in my pocket. Eventually, though, I grew tired of dabbling. I was sick of being an amateur. And if I had any intention of making it as an artist, I knew I had to go all in and play in the big leagues. So I quit parking cars and went full time as a writer. And my business exploded immediately. Funny what happens when we live larger than our labels. What’s the one extra degree that will propel you beyond your threshold level?

What's your favorite movie moment of conception?