It’s a dangerous time to be an artist. A couple times a year, the whole world appears to pick one artist to turn on. Maybe they mixed up some facts. Maybe they misrepresented a subject. But, most often, it seems like artists are lambasted for stealing from each other. There are few things trolls love more than showing why something that seems original…isn’t. But with so much content flooding our world and minds right now, the line between inspiration and derivation has gotten blurrier than ever. How can we be influenced by great work without ripping it off?
Our CEO Daniel McCarthy has been on an NBA kick for about 10 years now. So, when he’s delivering an analogy about creative fear, chances are Lebron James’ name is somehow going to find its way into the conversation. Our recent team meeting was no different. As he was giving us a classic McCarthy pep talk about what (and how) we create as a team, he went right to the 2016 NBA Finals.
Nothing gets wasted more often than inspiration. Sure, it’s the spark to something much larger, but far too often it fizzles, flashes, and ceases to exist. Poof. Gone. So, a word of warning: Don’t let your moment of inspiration go to waste. It may be temporary, there’s so much power behind it — and you can use that energy to bring something beautiful to life.
When we landed in Lexington to make our film about Tony Anderson, we had a pretty good idea how things were going to turn out. We’d written a treatment. We’d picked out a few song options. We had a schedule and a shot list and a bunch of little boxes just waiting for us to put a checkmark in them. Overall, we felt pretty confident. We knew when we got back to our office in Fort Worth that we’d be able to put together something decent.
“Ignorance is bliss,” Isaac Testerman says. “Everything we did was taking the bull by the horns, not knowing if what we were doing was the best way to go about it. We were just doing things the best we could.” After making his first short film with zero filmmaking know-how, Isaac went on to cofound Delve, one of Facebook’s lead creative agencies. Now, seven years later, what Isaac and his team lack in formal training, they make up for with gusto and experience.
We don’t talk about gear very much here on the Musicbed blog, but when we found out our friends Casey Warren and Danielle Warren (a.k.a. MINDCASTLE) had gotten their hands on the first ARRI ALEXA Mini, we wanted to know what they thought of it. As filmmakers, gear is an inextricable part of our creative lives, whether we’re using our iPhones or the latest high-end wonder. So while we don’t like to focus on the equipment of filmmaking too much (plenty of amazing publications are already doing that so well), we can’t help but geek out a little from time to time.
Susi Sie does not like computers, so it’s a little bit ironic that our conversation took place over Skype. When we talked with her, she was sitting in her studio in Berlin, surrounded by the machines and materials she uses to make her kinetic, otherworldly, and yet entirely tangible films. Everything you see in a Susi Sie film is real. No computer trickery. No 3D. “I have a lot of sand,” she told us, “petri dishes, plastic cups, gloves, color, aquariums, tape, pipettes, cable ties, protective goggles, protection masks. It’s like a construction market, actually.”