Why are you so Crazy? Balance, the loss there of, and the Dynamics of Creation.

I was reading Michelle Shyman’s blog, and she was discussing Balancing the creative, and making money – always a good question.

You see, creativity, is born of, well who the hell knows where it comes from anyway. When my wife decided our marriage was over,  a friend of mine, who is a writer, said “Use it, Use it, you’ll write from someplace you’ve never been before.” I cried for a month, and didn’t write anything. A long time ago, while suffering through unrequited love, I was really creative, poems, love songs, all manner of things creative. So where does creativity come from? I’m creative when I make up bedtime stories for my children, they are tough critics. However the creation of screenplays and movies and books? What is the secret?

It’s the edge. That thin line between control and out of control. Razor thin, deadly dangerous.

Franz Klammer – 1976, and I saw the run on TV. Exciting to watch, the guy was on the edge, and almost fell so many times during the run. Now downhill today doesn’t really resemble what it did back then, and the whole thing seems to be about technical precision. But Klammer was on the edge, and that was something to watch.

I used to refer to it as Dynamic Balance – you are falling, but while falling, you are doing something, so in a way you are in balance. X-Gamers do that don’t they, flying in the air, while doing tricks on their motorcycles and Snowboards or skis, or whatever? Even on big jumps, when they do very little, watch the Bikers, the wheel is spinning, or spun hard to one side, and then back for the landing. Snow boarders, always doing tricks in mid air? WHY? BECAUSE it is better to be doing something when flying through the air than just trying to “Keep in balance.” You are falling, or flying, don’t just sit back and fall, DO SOMETHING.

I warp back to college, and my last year in college. I took a photography class. it was easy, and I did “A” level work. That is what the instructor said. I missed a few classes, I was working, and making headway with my networking, and I did the work, I just didn’t put my all into it. I did “A” level work. The instructor gave me a “B.” He said these words, “Look you can do A quality work without even trying, so I’m giving you a “B”. It took me years (maybe a decade or two) to figure out what he meant. I phoned it in and did “A” level work. It was good work, but just imagine had I really worked hard, really pushed myself. How much “better” would my images have been? Forget about the grades, because unless you are getting a job in the education field, NO ONE cares about your degree. They care about the work you do. But if I had really put effort into my photos, and printing, just think. I don’t want to, but how I missed that opportunity, oh the works I could have created. Hey pay attention here, especially if you are going to a “Film School”, or “Acting School” or other creative school. You are paying someone (your teachers) to evaluate your work and give you feedback, and give you guidance to get where YOU want. You are not going to get that kind of attention so cheaply again.

Being creative, it is hard, things can get in the way, and while I don’t think you have to go wringing your hands and ripping the hair out of your head with every film, or screenplay, or photo, or moment of a performance. But if everything is just okay, well, just okay. If you are writing a college paper, what’s the value if you aren’t putting out your thoughts, and then supporting it. Agree or disagree, come up with something interesting, I promise you, your teacher will appreciate your ideas, no matter how far out they are, as long as you can back them up. Or even a blog, what’s the point, if you’ve nothing to say? We get enough of that, and no one has time to waste on the middle.

You have to ride that razor edge, and if you aren’t risking, you’re complacent. Ugghhh. Love me, hate me, care one way or the other. If you don’t care, I’ve failed.

Look, I hate it when actors play it safe. When you ask them to do something they are not comfortable with, and they instead play it safe. It isn’t their fault. In the end, as the director it is my fault, or rather my responsibility. It doesn’t mean I have to hire the wrong actors, and be uncomfortable and work hard just to get what I want. Rather it means I have to be find a way to for my actors to push themselves, that’s my job when working with actors. They have to trust me, and go places (emotionally) they may not want to go. Not with every scene, but if you are just “happy” and not feeling it, not risking, not at the edge? YAWN.

I just hate it when I have to move on without getting the performance I need. I think sometimes it is a game actors play, without even meaning to. I’ve never had an actor say to me after the shoot “gee I hate that you made sure I gave a strong performance, I was happier just reading the lines.”

I have had actors be insistent that they want to do something their way, which is fine, go ahead and I love the collaboration and I want you  because of what you bring to the role. After you get to do what you want, I’ll either love it, or we will work on it. I’ve made a few films, I’ve learned a lot, and that’s my thoughts. Right or wrong, this is what I believe. It is a hard thing to achieve, so much easier to sit back and enjoy. I love it when actors throw themselves over the edge, and yes, I’ll reel them in sometimes, but I love when they are just out there, naked so to speak. Very scary, and very wonderful.

We are story tellers, we are the dreamers, and we bring our audience on a journey into a world we dream up. The audience wants it to be a journey worth taking.


Thanks for reading, feel free to comment, share and enjoy.


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2 Responses to Why are you so Crazy? Balance, the loss there of, and the Dynamics of Creation.

  1. michelle April 30, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Hey, Steven,

    My former writing partner always used to tell me, “Use it.” It was kind of our code word for turning life’s insanity and pain into words on the page. It didn’t always work, though. Sometimes you get into too much of a depression to create anything. I don’t know why sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Perhaps it requires mental discipline to work through the pain…paint through the block…write through the confusion.

  2. sgladstone May 1, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    One of my writer friends responded thusly when I asked him if he drank. He said, “Of course I do, I’m a writer.”

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