My creative turnover has roughly tripled in the last month and I’ve been unable to sleep most nights. Here is where my mind is at:
It is my experience that trying to specify your creative voice is often like trying to think about thinking harder. The more you try, the more you are just distracting yourself from actually achieving the mission. I’ve relented to the notion (perhaps wrongly) that the best route to defining your creative voice is to constantly be creating things and to constantly treat those projects with the utmost importance. In the same way that a runner’s true form emerges when they are the most tired, I believe your creative voice naturally surfaces every time you are pushed to your limit. This could be bullshit, but I’m going with it.
I’ve been thinking about this recently as a byproduct of watching the [the films of] series created by Kees van Dijkhuizen. What Kees has created is essentially a series of directors’ reels for some of the most prominent modern filmmakers. In less than three minutes you are shown a relatively complete overview of a director’s oeuvre and as a result a pretty sizable swatch of their particular style. For any normal person who isn’t always thinking about themselves, these are just a cool exercise editing and a way to honor great filmmakers, but when I watch them I immediately feel a kick in my creative ass and punch in my contemplative stomach. I’ve been trying to articulate the kick and punch into human words. Here’s the best way I can describe what keeps me up at night:
Whether you like it or not you are known for the things you do. You are not known for your ideas, your intentions, or your dreams. No one knows how low of a budget you were working with or how much of an asshole the actor was. No one knows that your camera broke half-way through the shoot or that you only had an hour in your location. No one cares what you WOULD do if you had the budget or what you COULD do if if you were given the chance. People see your work and that’s what they will remember whether they have the full story or not.
That said, I feel sick every minute I’m not finishing a past project or cultivating some new one. In an admittedly insane way I sort of feel like I’m in a race to get as much stuff out there before I get hit by a bus or find out I have a brain tumor. I understand logically that this is not a stable mindset, but unfortunately I can’t convince the inside part of my brain to understand it.
The question it all boils down to is this: If someone were to make a montage of your work right now, how would you feel?
The similar question that seems equally as important and sometimes in direct opposition of the first: If someone were to make a montage of your life right now, how would you feel?
That’s where I’m at right now. Below are links to the videos by Kees van Dijkhuizen. Check them out and feel free to enjoy them sans the weighty subtext mentioned above:
[The films of] Tim Burton
[The films of] Wes Anderson
[The films of] Michel Gondry
[The films of] Danny Boyle