If you aren’t careful, creativity can get really narcissistic real fast. In some ways, a bit of narcissism isn’t such a bad thing. You need that drop of ego to fuel your creative drive. But left unchecked, our creative lives can easily become rampant with self-aggrandizement and self-promotion as we become more brand than aperson. Most of us are aware of this slippery slope. That’s why we cringe a little bit every time we post a link to a new project or ask people to watch our latest film. Of all the hard things about a creative life, one of the hardest is knowing how to talk about yourself and not sound like a total jerk.
Since launching the Musicbed Community, we have interviewed dozens and dozens of filmmakers and artists from all around the world. We’ve flown to Paris. We’ve Skyped to South Africa. We’ve G-Chatted to Spain. And during all that time, we’d like to think we’ve not only gotten better at interviewing people, but that we’ve learned a few practical lessons along the way. We’ve written them down here.
It’s that time of year again. From Sundance to the Oscars, the Globes to SXSW and Tribeca, nominees and winners are everywhere in the trades right now. But if you’re sitting at home stockpiling a slew of rejection notices from festivals, labs, or contests and still grinding away at your work, seeing others bask in their achievements can become disheartening.
Creativity and loneliness seem to go hand in hand. Some even believe loneliness is essential to creativity — not only as a by-product, but also a catalyst. A study from Johns Hopkins University found that people who were socially rejected early in their life tend to be the most creative. Rejection becomes their “fuel.” This explains why creative people are usually pretty weird. They are literally “out there.” On the fringe. Refusing to conform. Which can (a) make their work meaningful, and (b) make their work impossible.
A film can be perfectly executed and beautifully shot, yet still ultimately waste the viewers’ time. As high-end tools become more accessible to entry-level filmmakers, the scales have tipped heavily toward slick, dazzling, albeit somewhat boring films. Maybe that’s why so many of them are only three minutes long. They’re a sprint of flash and wow factor. But you can only sprint so far.