Mentors Breathe Inspiration into Creativity

Movie_Theatre

My Home Town Movie Theatre

When I mentor young filmmakers in how to develop their style and breathe life into their films, I often watch their eyes close me out from their thoughts. They are adamant about making sure the film is theirs and they don’t want anyone to give them a helping hand. This is problematic for a collaborative art form.

The idea of inspiring someone to a higher level of art can only come from words of encouragement, difficult moments of challenge, and the sharing of conceptual ideas. The word, “inspire,” means to “breathe into” or to “infuse with life by breathing.” That means someone has to do the breathing of new ideas to help the filmmaker get his mind cranking.

The creative process requires an environment of ideas, enthusiasm and energy. These are tools that help us gain experience from others and expose our minds to various styles and artistry. The shared wealth of history creates a powerful form of influence that brings the young filmmaker to a higher level of art than his or her counter parts ever achieve. Yet, Millennials seldom want to collaborate.

Inspiration of Mentors Stir Our Heartfelt Voice

The best thing that happens in a collaborative process is the deep sense that your own ideas demand to be heard. From deep within the gut comes this voice begging to resound. The inspiration of mentors draw out those deep ideas from within us and we suddenly find a way to express them. The inspiration brings our ideas to the surface so we can take action.

Unfortunately some people think that when you share a creative idea with the hopes of inspiring them, they think you want them to use your idea. But that is far from the truth. The mentor only wants to get the filmmaker thinking about something they never finished thinking about—that special something that resides deep within their heart.

I was mentoring one filmmaker who wanted to create a world that lacked water. The scarcity drove many to kill for a single cup of fresh water. The original script had a sign in it that made the idea of water scarce, but I suggested he find a way to demonstrate the rarity of water instead.

His latest cut of the film had the water sewn throughout the entire story as the key driver of all decisions made by every character. It became obvious that the liquid was such a rare commodity that everyone’s life changed in the presence of fresh water. Within that setting his protagonist could then mature and become a person who questioned his selfishness and chose to demonstrate love sacrificially.

While I gave him a handful of ideas that were plausible to demonstrate the scarcity of water, he was inspired enough to come up with his own unique ideas. Not one of my suggestions made it into the film, which was good, because my goal was to inspire his convictions and expressions. His choices worked.

The Journey of Understanding

Film is an emotional medium that comes from the heart. Those who hold to conservative standards make conservative films. Those who understand the liberal first and then make conservative films takes the audience on a journey that ends with a conservative view that makes sense to all, not just those with likeminded ideologies.

By finding inspiration from both sides of the political spectrum, a filmmaker becomes more powerful in the messages he can send to an audience that’s hungry for answers to the latest societal issues. But closed-minded conservatives who only focus on their views can present nothing of value to the liberal.

And what good is a film that only reaches the likeminded?

Film is not necessary when used as a tool of validation. It’s only necessary to help opposing viewpoints be understood. When film demonstrates the potential results of an idea, while touching the emotions of everyone watching, the audience is able to buy into the concepts and consider how they might apply within their own life.

For this reason I hangout with liberals and conservatives. I read both sides of every issue. And, I create paths through story that will take an audience to the life-breathing conclusion that cries out to be heard. These actions breathe creativity into each viewer so he or she is capable of altering their life with healthier choices.

© 2017 by CJ Powers

The Death of Neutrality and the Assertiveness of Wonder

pexels-photo-27802I’ve learned a hard lesson over the past couple of weeks. It started with a memo I wrote filled with facts that executives could ponder for the sake of future consideration and direction. I thought the neutrality of the topic allowed the leadership team to look at the information as raw data without any preconceived filters biasing their vision. Instead they assumed that because it wasn’t slanted toward their predisposed notion, it must be against their directive. I was condemned with a very angry pushback.

A recent blog post on how to filter out facts from feelings received the same negative pushback. Some who saw the post as an opposing view distorted my neutral stance. The result was several personal attacks on me from people who didn’t even acknowledge my point of separating fact from feelings before we make condemning comments on heated issues. They overlooked the entire point for the sake of falsely leveraging the neutral post to their opposition so they could slam their biased statement in retaliation.

Neutrality is no longer neutral, but instead is a tool for the aggressive to use as a launching point of opposition to spread their ideas. They push back off of the neutral to make an exaggerated contrasting statement—making a middle of the road balanced viewpoint look skewed. They disfigure the neutrality until their distorted viewpoint appears to be normal.

Historical writings reveal civil wars rising within similar polarized societies. The volatile aura created by people who push their ideas before understanding the opposition’s perspective fuels that fire. Battles ensue based on the society’s rights to secure their way of life without regard to the rights of others.

Since neutrality is no longer a safe haven, but a tool for everyone to leverage, we are forced to pick sides. Or, are we?

I’m a firm believer that when people focus on the wonders of our world, they are less likely to participate in the destruction of it. Wonder is a healthy and wholesome emotion that cannot live next to the lust for destruction. When we focus on the awesome and humble, there is little room to consider the angry rampages of distorted thinking. We become focused on the inspiring.

Denise Leverton wrote in her statement on poetics, “Insofar as poetry has a social function it is to awaken sleepers by other means than shock.”

The darker films, television and books are filled with story elements that shock audiences to consider new viewpoints, the more we need art to explore wonders within our world that shifts our focus back to balanced views. The only thing that can bring balance back to society is the illumination of the wonders that we’ve overlooked.

When we as a people are faced with the ugly and painful for an extended period of time, we begin to think hope no longer exists. A recent song by Zayn and Taylor Swift for Fifty Shades Darker reveals the distorted perspective in its lyrics, “I don’t wanna live forever, ’cause I know I’ll be living in vain.”

Our society once treasured that living forever was a good thing because it held the hope for a future utopia that was just around the corner. But with the “church” and the arts conforming to our dark society rather than reminding others of the wonders that surround us, people have lost touch of a hope that can unite those with opposing viewpoints.

Therefore, I’m going to look for ways to bring wonder back into society. I want to find new wholesome forms of entertainment that gives a glimpse into what that hope filled life might look like. I want to give people a taste of a future that is fulfilling and fun, taking them away from our dark society for a time of pondering the possibilities.

Copyright © 2017 by CJ Powers

 

Capturing the Surge of Inspiration

If I were to write a formula for innovation it would look something like this:

Creativity * Inspiration = Innovation

There are few who will disagree with my formula, but almost everyone would admit that the tricky part is capturing and maintaining the surge of inspiration. Finding it is never the problem, as inspiration is always associated with life. When you find life, you find inspiration.

To find inspiration all we have to do is seek out the things that are infused with life. The meaning of the word is also associated with life. One definition is about inhaling to bring something to life. Another is about giving life. Still another is about a divine influence that creates life.

When you find a person who is full of life, you find a person that inspires you. If you are able to maintain a relationship with him or her, you have found a source of continuous inspiration. Many artists during the renaissance referred to inspiring people as their muse or a goddess that inspires. Today, we call the person a rare treasure and a joyful find.

CreativeMost artists find different people over time that brings about various levels of inspiration. Seldom do we come upon a person who overloads us with so much inspiration that we go off creating project on top of project—but it does happen.

The key is trying to figure out how to keep someone special like that in our life, especially when they need to receive something in return like any good two-way relationship. But what do you provide a muse?

During days of old, the artist would bring honest heartfelt emotions and words of love to the relationship—driving some into romantic relationships. During the late 1900’s partnerships were formed with each person bringing something to the table that the other needed to keep the business functioning. However, few people developed long term relationships, whether platonic or not, that was based on each person focusing on the needs of the other.

I’m convinced that when you pour some form of inspiration into another person’s life their heart overflows with joy, love and hope. The combination of those three things settles into the heart, which produces inspired words of affirmation and encouragement—life giving things in their own right that inspire the artist in return. This results in the artist being inspired more than they gave out.

In other words, if we sew seeds of inspiration into the lives of those around us, they may in turn inspire us. If my theory is true, then the best way to capture inspiration is by giving it away. To test my theory, I recommend that artists find ways of inspiring others and pay attention to see how much inspiration comes back to them.

But, if you are truly fortunate, you may stumble into a person who matches your synergy for inspiration. You both would fly high with joy overflowing because it takes little effort between you to generate more inspiration than what your humble hearts can hold.

I’ve only had that experience a couple times in life and I can tell you that you feel capable of changing the world because of them, yet you never want to leave their presence for fear that the inspiration might fade. You want to spend every waking hour with them, but instead you’re driven to create and innovate from your overflowing heart. That gift of inspiration gives birth to new ideas and work that changes lives. The inspired creative cannot sit still. He or she must respond to what they receive.

Since those experiences happen ever so seldom, I recommend you put my theory to the test and see if it works or not. Go out and inspire someone and let me know the results.

Copyright © 2016 by CJ Powers