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 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 recruiting scene from Armageddon:
What can we learn?
Hire people to amplify what you do. When it comes to creative work, there’s nothing wrong with being a control freak. The fiercely independent artist deserves sovereignty over their work. But you can’t do everything yourself forever. There comes a point in every creator’s life when you have to defer. You have to hire people to amplify what you do. Otherwise you impose a ceiling on the level of impact you can have. Over the years, I’ve contracted dozens of designers, illustrators, developers, coders, editors, researchers, programmers, virtual assistants, audio engineers and public relations specialists. Each one of these people filled in the skills gap when I surpassed the perimeter of my competence. And with their support, all of my projects grew light years beyond what could have been possible on my own. That’s a form of creativity too. The resourcefulness to find the people who can help you become what you need to be. Because if you pick the right people, all you have to do as the artist is cast a vision, sit back and watch them do their magic. It’s actually quite liberating. Once you let go of trying do everything, it feels like you can do anything. Who was the last person you paid real money to amplify what you do?
The direct relationship between passion and ownership. I love a good recruiting montage. Any movie where the main character has to assemble his dream team for the final showdown at the end of the third act is entertaining and interesting to me. Then again, it’s also a warning. Because it’s hard to be passionate about somebody else’s dream. No matter how much you pay, how exciting the project or how inspiring the vision, other people will always have a limited capacity to come aboard your ship. There’s only a finite amount of fire available. And so, when you’re sitting across the table from somebody you’ve enlisted, wondering why they aren’t as excited as you are, try not to get too frustrated. Because it’s not their dream. And nobody will ever care as much as you will. But don’t let that scare you away from breathing in help. Success never comes unassisted. Besides, asking for helping doesn’t make you bad, incompetent or in the debt of the helper. It makes you a leader. It makes you resourceful. So let it be okay that you need other people. Admit that you need their help, ask them to give it to you, accept it, and then appreciate it when they’re done. And don’t be afraid to give them enough rope to find something better than what you came up with. Are you afraid to bring people into your dream?
The wall of how is crumbling. My mentor once told me, do everything yourself until you don’t have to. That’s good advice. But what’s interesting is, that timeline is longer than it used to be. Fifty, twenty, even ten years ago, artists had no choice but to find people to fill in the gaps of their capabilities. Of course, that before the sum of all human knowledge was free and available to all. Now, thanks to the magic of web, the wall of how is crumbling. Now, not knowing how to do something has zero bearing on whether or not your creative dreams become realities. Because nothing is a closed silo anymore. If you need to learn a new skill, and you’re lucky enough to have the access to information about it and the diligence to work at, nothing is off limits. When I launched my own online television network, I didn’t know the first thing about lighting, keying, cutting, editing or any of the other skills required to produce a show. But I did know that there were thousands of online tutorials for each of those individual tasks. And they were available for free. So I started teaching myself. Every single day. Within a few months, I had learned the bare minimum I needed to get by. And within a few years, I had become proficient. Interestingly enough, I never ended up hiring anybody else to help with the show. The workflow was so simple and so doable, it just made more economic sense for me to do it all myself. Proving, that before asking for help, you might ask yourself if it’s worthwhile to learn how to do it yourself. Are you depleting yourself learning how to do all fifty steps right away?
What did you learn?
What did you learn?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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