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 children scene from The Royal Tannenbaums:
What can we learn?
When in doubt, create. What I enjoyed most about this movie was seeing the kids tucked into a shell of their own obsessions and ambitions. Their collective creativity, initiative and resourcefulness was inspiring. Interestingly, this movie premiered when I was writing my first book, which ended up going viral before viral was viral. And so, as I started my career, I had two things going for me. A heap of attention and a heck of a brand. What I didn’t have, however, was credibility. What I lacked was leverage. And that’s why I didn’t make any money my first three years in business. Fortunately, moving back in with my parents and working a part time job as a valet parker motivated me to start building assets. Lots of them. I began writing and writing and writing. All day, everyday. That was my life. I was ruthless. I lived and breathed and ate and shit writing. Because I knew that if I just kept contributing to my body of work, kept adding to the collection, kept adding energy to the system, kept building momentum, kept putting more things up on the shelf, after a few years, it would eventually pay off. And it did. Writing became the basis of all wealth. Volume became the ultimate catchall. Production became the linchpin that activated everything else. What will you channel your intentions and ambitions into?
Compete with yourself. Years ago, a colleague of mine advised against writing too many books. He said they would cannibalize each other. That I would saturate the marketplace. Then again, he hadn’t written anything new in over a decade. Perhaps he was just projecting his own jealousy and procrastination onto me. Either way, I found the opposite to be true. Turns out, writing more books didn’t cannibalize my brand, it only catapulted it. Maintaining continuity over the long haul is separated me from the pack. Proving, that the best way to beat the odds is with massive output. Margot follows the same philosophy. She’s already an accomplished playwright at the age of fourteen. That’s my favorite part of this scene. The wall filled with bookshelves. That image captured my imagination for two reasons. First, because I’m a collector. Books are literally part of my diet. And I never allow myself to be talked out of buying another one. Second, because I’m a creator. Books are part of my legacy. And I can’t think of a more satisfying feeling than looking at a shelf filled with books that I wrote. If that makes me a cannibal, than so be it. At what point do you no longer need other people to support the decisions you’ve made about your own reality?
The formula for success is repeated failure. A few years ago, I released eight digital books in one day. The goal was to flip the digital bird to the mainstream publishing industry. Unfortunately, nobody paid any attention. Or money. Which really upset me. Interestingly, on the walk over to the chicken wing bar to eat my feelings on the day of their release, I bumped into one of my readers. She thanked me and said she had just downloaded every one of my new books. That encounter deleted the memory of the failure. It was like amnesia for the creative soul. It also taught me that failure is forgivable when you’ve already built a solid foundation of goodwill with an audience who loves you. Because odds are, when the shit hits the fan, the people who matter most will respond from place of curiosity, not judgment. Instead of complaining, they’ll reach out to make sure everything is okay and find out how they can help. That’s the cool part about failure. When you do it publicly, people will gladly hold out their hands to help you get back on your feet. Have you changed your mind about what constitutes failure?
What can we learn?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
Now booking for 2014-2015.
Email to inquire about fees and availability. Watch clips of The Nametag Guy in action here!