Sunday, August 10, 2014

Moments of Conception 073 -- The Cups Scene from Pitch Perfect

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 cups scene scene in Pitch Perfect:

What can we learn?

Create a holy shit moment. Beca, like any good artist, is going find a way to be herself. Competitive acappella may not be her ideal creative activity, but she’s determined to exist in a manner that makes sense to her. To belong on her own terms. And her audition does just that. Her song defies convention, opting out of the traditional audition number. Her song leverages her immediate surroundings, transforming a mundane item into a memorable instrument. Her song creates a surprise, breaking the patterns and expectations of the judges. And her performance sets off a chemical reaction in the audience, one that that triggers alertness, snaps their brains to attention and sears the moment into their memories. It’s a holy shit moment. An intentional point of over delivery. An interaction undeniably soaked in wow, that people can’t help pick her. The captain doesn’t even approve, but she yields nonetheless due to the team desperate need for new talent. It’s a pitch perfect example of stopping power versus staying power. Because the effectiveness of a performance isn’t dependent on its longevity, rather, its ability to evoke emotion in the moment. What could you do that would be a welcome surprise?

Adversity exercises the creative muscle. Beca is an introverted, introspective and independent soul. Her dream is to pursue a career in music making, not music performing. That’s why she works the overnight shift the school radio station and spends her spare time making mashup mixes of popular songs. That’s her creative territory. But when necessity comes knocking at her door, she has no choice but to get out from behind the computer, get up in front of complete strangers, and crack herself wide open. This scene is a deeply vulnerable moment. But most auditions are like that. They're cold, unfamiliar and intimate. And that’s a good thing. Because no artist will ever come to discover themselves except as a outcome of disclosing themselves to others. Creativity is a series of long, meandering journeys of discovery. And the more detours we take, the better. It shapes our work. Carlin once said that if you don’t get up in front of people every day of your life, you’ll never learn who you are. He’s right. Without a collision between our work and the outside world, we’re the tree in the forest that nobody hears. Are you avoiding the emotional risk associated with live encounters?

It costs nothing to encourage. Every artist needs that first person to take them seriously. Someone who believes in them more than they believe in themselves. Someone to make their creative experience immediately available to them. Even if that person only comes into their life for a brief moment. I remember the first presentation I ever gave about wearing nametags. After my talk, a retired ninety year old surgeon from the audience approached the stage, pulled me aside, looked me straight in the eye and said, you need to quit your job and become a public speaker. Talk about market feedback. Truth is, I wasn’t expecting to hit a homerun on that day. I was just grateful for the chance to play. Fortunately, the good doctor helped show me what I couldn’t see for myself. And it change the trajectory of my career forever. That single decisive interaction compelled me to take a massive risk in my creative life, the dividends of which I’m still collecting today. Who was the first stand for your greatness?

What did you learn?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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

Now booking for 2014-2015.

Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!