Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Moments of Conception 188: The Third Class Scene from Titanic

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.


Based on my books in The Prolific 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 third class scene in Titanic:




Communicate value in three dimensions. Titanic was a vessel that ran on coal energy. Crew members shoveled more than eight hundred tons of coal every day. That’s over a million and a half pounds. Every day. And so, it’s no surprise that the memorial of the crew members that perished in the crash had an inspiring epitaph. The work is vital, the labor is invisible and the work is an endless cycle. What’s interesting is, that sentiment could describe almost anyone’s job. Because most of the world only sees ten percent of the work we do. The final product. The big pay off. The photo finish. The other ninety percent of the work, the sweat and the time and the care and the generosity we invest, remains forever undetected. Unless we visually substantiate it. Unless we find a way to amplify the intangible effort behind the work, making the process as interesting as the product. I always struggled with this disconnect as a writer. The fact that nobody knew what the hell I did all day was not okay with me. And so, I started publishing a series of time lapse videos of my daily writing process. With the help of a simple screen capture application, I was able to compress my typical seven hour blocks of writing into seven minute clips. The result was a highly personal, wildly compelling window into the way I worked. The videos memorialized my creative process, branded my service and helped people understand how my brain worked. That way, I was no longer just shoveling coal in the dark. How could you facilitate a visual understanding of what you do all day?

The work a man does, forms him. I’m a big believer in a bullshit free, blue collar approach to the creative process. Treating art making as more clerical than cosmic, more mechanical than magical. And not because that posture makes us feel noble and humble and working class, but because it emphasizes the unspectacular reality of the process. It reminds us that bringing new ideas into the world is, at its fundamental core, labor. Which is nowhere near as difficult as shoveling coal, but the repetition and dedication and sweat equity is what separates professionals from amateurs. I volunteer at my local food coop. Once a month, I spend a few hours unloading trucks and stocking shelves and stacking boxes and unpacking cases of produce. It’s glorious work. It makes me feel strong and alive and connected and manly. What’s more, since I spend most of my days putting words on paper, this monthly exertion of manual labor becomes a kind of communion, with others and with the future. Because it’s a shift. You punch the clock and do your job. And that reminds you that you’re a real person living in the real world. In an increasingly automated and outsourced world, that’s a priceless experience. Reckoning with the infallible judgment of reality, where your failures or shortcomings can’t be interpreted away, that’s the stuff civilization is built on. What type of work helps you discover the objective reality of your humanity?

And the humbling has begun. Rose dares to break rank, venture out of her luxurious first class quarters and press the flesh with the crew. The peons. The lowly third class. And yet, she drinks and dances and smokes and screams, the kind of behavior her upper crust cronies would never approve of. But that’s just it. Rose doesn’t belong in first class anyway. She and her mother have been lying about their wealth the whole time. And so, showing up to the party is not only an act of humility, but an expression of identity. That’s what makes this scene so pivotal. It’s the beginning of her unmasking. The shedding of a misplaced self. This moment of conception sends her on the trajectory that ultimately transforms her life for the better. It’s a titanic reminder that we all have to give in to the humbling to find where we’re going to go next. That’s the nature of humility. It’s a release valve. It helps create space for something new to enter. A humble heart is a teachable heart. And a teachable heart can change the world. Are you confident enough to be humble?

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


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