Monday, August 11, 2014

Moments of Conception 074 -- The Seminar Scene from Little Miss Sunshine

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 seminar scene scene in Little Miss Sunshine:

What can we learn?

Anchor what you create to probability. Every artist works in the dark. Everything we make is an arrow shot into eternity. And every time we share our work with the world, there’s no telling which pieces will get heard, paid, recognized or criticized. It’s just another day of dropping the rose petal down a canyon, waiting for the echo. The hard part is, sometimes the echo vibrates instantly, stroking our egos and satisfying our need for immediate gratification. Sometimes the echo sounds completely different than we anticipated, illuminating an unexpected vision of our creative future. And sometimes the echo never comes at all, humbly reminding us that so many things in life just go away. That’s art. We’re making public bets with our imagination. And so, the joy has to come from the work itself, not the impression it makes on the world. And if something doesn’t succeed, we keep adding to the collection. We keep increasing our creative capital. Because while every rose has its thorn, not every petal has its echo. Sometimes all we hear at the end of our performance are a few chairs scraping the community college floor. Are you looking within to validate your work, or letting others define your reality?

What’s the sound of no hands clapping? Richard is striving to build a career as a motivational speaker and life coach. He maintains unshakeable confidence in his personal development program, which preaches mantras like leaving loserhood and rejecting rejection. But the marketplace views his philosophy as annoyingly unoriginal. His business partner says that nobody is interested in turning his nine step program into a book. And yet, he vows to redouble his efforts. He never gives up. He even takes a moped over to his partner’s hotel and confronts him, but to no avail. Richard’s character is completely pathetic, and that’s why you empathize with him. Because every performer has been there before. We’re convinced our work will evoke an active resonance, only to watch it garner a dull thud. We’re anticipating watching the crowd reach new heights of hysteria, only to watch them staring down at their phones the whole time. It’s all part of the inevitable mindfuckery of the creative process. And the best way to inoculate ourselves against that devastation is to expect nothing. To release our addiction to outcomes. Are you still living life perpetually poised in a ballet of expectation?

Will my sweat be sold as elixir? Richard is living life on spec. Living and dying by every gig he gets. But the ambient pressure of not knowing where his next meal is coming from is starting to wear on him. And if he doesn’t solve the problem of livelihood and secure a measure of comfort soon, his family will be in a world of pain. Sound familiar? Most artists can relate. Because we all live in fear of the work drying up. We all understand feast or famine cycles. We all know how it feels tossing coins in the wishing well, hoping bills will float to the surface. It’s murder out there. And so, every creator needs to keep one eye cocked to the commercial possibilities of their work. Because despite our romantic and altruistic wirings, if we’re not prepared to pursue any financial avenues that are available to us, we may not be able to underwrite our creative endeavors. The secret, then, is working out our own brand of compromise. Reconciling our own commercial efforts. Doing what it takes to still be okay with ourselves. Eddie Izzard, standup comedian, actor and writer, recently said during an interview that he was a creativist as opposed to a capitalist. Capitalists make things to make money, he said, but creativists make money to make things. Now there’s a brand of compromise I could get behind. Are you remembering to resolve the economic problem of livelihood?'

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!