Sunday, August 03, 2014

Moments of Conception 067 -- The Parking Lot Scene from Fight Club

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 parking lot scene scene in Fight Club:


What can we learn?

Carve a path back to yourself. Jack initially pretends to be an impostor at support groups as an emotional release to relieve his insomnia. But then he creates fight club. And at first, it feels strange, but it’s a good strange. Flailing and gasping and bleeding and stumbling, his eyes glaze over with endorphins and serenity. And that’s when he realizes, they’ve crossed a threshold. To paraphrase from the original screenplay, at fight club, you weren’t alive anywhere like you were there. After fight club, everything else in your life got the volume turned down. You could deal with anything. The people who had power over you had less and less. We all started seeing things differently. Wherever we went. We should all be so lucky. Not to pick fights with strangers in parking lots. But from a creative standpoint, we all need our own version of fight club. A routine recreational activity makes us feel alive. A venue that inoculates us against the sterility of the world. A platform that offers a swift kick to the solar plexus. It’s an effective tool for recalibrating the soul and keep creativity flowing. Do you have a portable, purposeful and private sanctuary to reconnect with the self, the body and the spirit?

Happiness only real when shared. We’re not only watching two men fighting, we’re witnessing a conceptual beginning. As they sit on the hood of the car, there’s no doubt that something wants to be built here. The experience is simply too meaningful. But the key is the final line of the scene. We should do this again sometime. That’s precisely the right attitude to have in this experience. Because when we find something that has existential resonance for us, the essential next step is sharing that discovery with another person. It makes it more real. Otherwise we’re just living inside our own heads, winking in the dark, playing basketball without a backboard. I remember the first time I played music in the tunnel under the arch by my house. I came back home a changed man. And I told everybody. Because when you finally find the physical conditions that elicit your best work, you want to shout it from the rooftops. How often are you sharing what really matters to you?

Your body will never lie to you. This movie is dark, violent, nihilistic and sinister. But it’s also a beautiful example of the relationship between creativity and physicality. After all, the shortest distance to the brain is through the body. And if there’s something we want to achieve artistically, often times, we can back into that creation by changing our sheer physicality. One medium in which I’ve noticed this relationship play out is songwriting. I’ve been composing music for over twenty years, but only in the past three did I start playing standing up. That one decision changed everything for me. From the experience practicing, my music became more invigorating. To the experience of performing, my music became more effective. To the experience of listening, my music became more enthralling. Even the music itself reflects this new shift in energy and position, as my songs have become dramatically faster, louder and more muscular than any of my previous work. All because I got my ass out of the chair and let my body dictate. Are you creating the physical conditions that elicit your best work?


What did you learn?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter. 
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

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