Tuesday, October 16, 2018

In tents...

I have talked a lot about creativity. Not only on this journal but in my lectures and to anyone who would ask (and some who didn't really). However I haven't really gone into a lot of detail about a process on it.
I'm getting there calm down you creepy %$#&.

One of the biggest things you can do to be creative is to place restrictions upon yourself. This means doing, or not doing, certain things. More accurately, it's creating within certain parameters. When you have a framework to operate in it's MUCH easier than having an open field of possibility at your disposal.

Having TOO MUCH freedom can lead to Overchoice or choice overload. Whenever someone hires me as a consultant for a TV show or to create something for them I always ask for the details. It can be something as simple as "I want to do X with B". Mind you that's if I create for others. What about creating for yourself? I find it best to start with asking questions. What is the main goal? Why am I doing this? What are the props? What am I trying to say/do? What is the ending? Asking questions is very important to the creative process. This allows us to erect Tent Poles.

Much like a real tent, these ideas give everything else structure. There is a reason you hear certain films from a studio referred to "tentpole movies". It's what gives that studio a structure. It's a different type of structure than trying to create magic, but the concept is still similar.

You need the main ideas that will support everything else that you will be doing. Take this routine for example:

When I decided I wanted to do tricks with duct tape I made a list of the things I could DO with that tape. Once I knew how it started and how it ended it made everything else find it's "natural progression". I also knew I wanted certain visuals. Smiling through the roll and then the tape appearing over my mouth was one of those moments. I almost always think of the effects first and worry about method later.

Sometimes you add more poles as a routine progresses. I didn't plan to split the rolls initially but I felt the act needed "something". When I decided on that happening, up went another structure to support the other parts of the story to make that happen. Having those moments and a story, either obvious or subtle, really helps. You don't HAVE to have a thread pulling you through the act, but people respond better to some sort of structure or theme because we like what we know. Humans are easy that way.

So if you are trying to make something new, or change something you have that already exists, just try to give your routines some framework with certain ideas/moments/effects/etc. It will force you to focus on what's important and cut the wheat from the chaff as it were.

PS: I hope you appreciate how difficult it was for me not to make any dick jokes while talking about tents and poles.


  1. Good stuff, sir. Well said. xo

  2. I have been following you along time. Just wanna let you know people are still reading.
    Thanks for all your insights.


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