Don’t Be Creative, Be Passionate

Now, don’t take the title too literally but consider this. Don’t come up with ideas because they are different, nurture them because they matter.

Hey Guys,

I hope everyone is having a good Monday, I wanted to write a post today for people who work in creative fields. Followers of this blog will know I’m a student, and so perhaps speak with a certain sense of optimism, but I feel my point here today is applicable to anyone looking to develop any kind of creative work.

This idea came to me yesterday, when after spending the weekend working on a couple of separate projects, I ditched them. I realised that I didn’t really care about these ideas, and I was developing them as a priority above my other work because I thought they were pretty avant guarde. Except they weren’t, they were crap. One I will admit, just needs a lot more development if I’m ever even to consider picking it up again in the future, but the other one is my primary example for this post.

Flying horses. Nay. Flying Toy Horses. My idea was this: I picked up these plastic model horses about 6 months ago because I thought I could use them for a mini-project. What I eventually tried to do, was animate still images of them with the distortion pin tool on AAE; creating a super slo-mo sequence of them jumping off of stuff. I ran a couple of renders, still not 100% but prepared to keep an open mind. Yesterday I finished two test renders, they had immaculate masks and lighting effects so they look relatively believable. My animation was good too, the motion of the legs, head and neck being key to the movement of a horse. But then I watched them back, and yeah, technically they were ok, but I was hit with two thoughts. What does this mean? And Why am I doing this? 

I was doing it because no-one else had; I’d side-tracked projects that mean a lot to me because I was in a rush to stand out. That’s not how you create art, that’s how you create shite. I took a step back, saw what i was doing and abandoned the project. I’m now refocusing my efforts of two of my large projects. In particular, my dissertation project for my final year at university. It’s sometimes hard to work on because it reflects some personal memories and intimate relationships, but so far it’s coming out well and I have no doubt that when I finish it, it will be a triumph. The project is called ‘3 Hours’ and I will add a link here when I have finished rebuilding the promo page.

This post isn’t for self-promotion though, it’s a thought on how sometimes it is so tempting to try and stand out, we breach our own values of quality. Gimmicks aren’t respected and never deemed as classics. So take your time and create the fantastic, powerful work you’re capable of. Impress yourself.

Take it easy,

Matt  :)

Writing and it’s Relationship with Music

As a writer, should your primary source of influence always be from other examples of writing?

As an artist you should be able to admit, that music is amazing. It is a lot more self-contained than creative writing (poetry aside) and obviously film. The best thing about music is that it is a representation of emotion, even those dance songs you play on Saturday night. Personally, as someone trying to expand as a writer, I find myself skipping these Top 40 favorites and engaging significantly with classical music performances, movie soundtracks and acoustic soul-sapping encores. It is this music which I find inspires me, more so, in some cases than my favorite pieces of writing; this is an interesting thought, for if you want to write, you have to read right? Well what happens if you’re a writer who listens?

Needless to say, I’m listening to a medley of fantastic songs when writing this, bopping along at times or just pausing, mulling things over in my mind. My connection to music is probably as far from an ‘objective’ relationship as you can get. I care little for the persuit of new talent, I am literally of the disposition that if I hear something I connect with, I will buy it and listen to it endlessly. I mean, I have my fair share of rubbish on my iTunes, but when a song comes up that really makes you stop, that’s when I feel at my most imbalanced, stimulated and ready to write.

Of course, the problem with this approach is that it is incredibly subjective, not only in form but of course in content. Lyrics, melody and the countless other spectrum’s of musical refinement create such a variety of musical output that everyone is going to react a bit differently and in a lot of cases not at all. For instance, a lot of people I know will write with music playing in the background, I mean, I’m doing that right now, but it’s quiet and more or less lyric-less, this helps create an ambiance, a comfortable writing environment and yet this is still my limit. In truth I find music a distraction to objective writing, but the mood it envokes cloaks me thoroughly for a period of writing. It is this resonance that I feel when listening to music that I feel strengthens me as a writer.

I mean, is this a writing technique we should attempt to coin? Cinematic writing perhaps? Of course not, because if you want to convey something specific in tandem with music (and a stark visual image?) you might as well be a screen-write, right? Wrong. Personally whilst a huge fan of cinema, my connection to it is very similar to music, I don’t go to the cinema all the time but when I see something I enjoy, I will exhaust it until I feel I fully understand it and to some extent, can replicate it. Clearly then, I am someone who is forever buried in books right? Wrong again, because this article isn’t about defining myself as a writer, but defining writing as a process that is subjective to the individual. If I told you I loved watching films more than reading books and I wanted to be a writer, you’d scoff; at least I’d hope you would because I mean come on, that’s just stupid. However, if you can balance these mediums of storytelling (yes, music is a form of storytelling) maybe then you can create something original, maybe not.

Your primary influence in your language of writing will be your literary background, that I feel is somewhat unavoidable; however your writing style and written image can be highly influenced by the content you experience; which is where I draw my most significant distinction in this article. Because cinema and music are ‘experienced’, they help create mood, writing helps more to focus the skill of writing and paint this mood for others to understand. Maybe I’m wrong and I just haven’t read the right stuff, but I think if you want to create a detailed creative fiction, don’t just read books, do it all.

At the moment I am experimenting with non-linear narratives, stories that don’t always go in sequence (Like: 1, 2, 3) because I’m experimenting with form and I feel that by creating imbalance in the narrative timeline, you can create better enigmas and you, as the reader have to work harder to deconstruct the narrative. I read somewhere that the harder you work to understand something, the more you respect it, if I find out where that’s from I will credit it at the bottom of the article.

As for now, I feel I didn’t do too badly channeling my thoughts for a bit. Maybe I’m just one of these new-wave pretentious wannabe-different writers; I hope to god I’m not… but I’ve been wrong before. As for now I’m going to break away from my own introspective narrative and relax, because to drown in self-awareness would be a sorry way to go :)

If you liked this article please leave a comment below, thank you.

Don’t Make Any Resolutions!

Now before you run off to McDonald’s, eat 100 hamburgers and buy a plane, please let me make it clear that in most cases it is best and I urge you to, keep to your resolutions. However I do just want to raise a point about how we as the public use the new year as a key time to change.

First things first: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hope that each and every one of you had a lovely new years evening and a great new years day too. In fact some of you may have had such a good time you were only just peeling yourselves off the floor the other day; but that’s ok. That means that, like me, you may also have not made any new years resolutions yet, in which case STOP. Now, of course if there is something that you have only just realised about yourself or something has happened to you only this week that you insist upon changing the circumstances of, be my guest. I’m not saying don’t change or improve yourself, but equally don’t do it for the sake of it.

I’ll use myself as the example; I’d like to think that I am a generally well-rounded guy, I keep fit, do my work and don’t O.D on nights out. And whilst of course I would never suggest I’m anywhere near perfect, last year I was at a loss as what to do for a new years revolution. So after some thinking I decided that I would not drink alcohol (link takes you to stopdrinkingadvice.org) for 3 months, and unsurprisingly it wasn’t some ‘life changing experience’ and I saw nothing through a ‘new perspective’, in fact all I wanted for 2 months was a pint!

Now you may have noticed ‘2 months’ there, but I do have a reason for breaking my new years resolution; you see, as someone who was never a big drinker to begin with I didn’t need to deny myself a simple pleasure in life, and I’m seeing people make similar mistakes this year. I’m hearing of fit people wanting to get fit, of clever people who want to get better grades and so on; the problem with these resolutions is that we tailor them to something we can achieve. And yeah, that’s great and all but at the end of the day people like us don’t really need to make these kind of resolutions. (Plus did you know that most new years resolutions don’t stick past Febuary?)

I’ll give you another example, myself in the spotlight again. I said to myself at the start of this year ‘Matt, this year is the year you become organised’ and then I thought, wait a minute, that’s ridiculous! I may well prove to never be properly organised in my entire life and that’s the sad truth. I muddle through things most of the time untill the job is done, that’s just who I am-so instead I looked at my resolution more objectively. I though ‘Why do I want to be more organised?’ then I thought ahead to this year, well I have to get a  work placement, pass my exams and do well on my course. Right, well there are three simple tasks that should be simple to achieve: revise=pass exams, apply around and everywhere=get a work placement and if I work hard, that should=a good grade for the year. And hopefully you guys can do this yourself too, don’t blanket your wants for the year under one resolution, instead become objective and focus on the things you really want.

(Click here for the most common New Year’s resolutions)

If you want a sports car, save up enough money by creating a separate savings account and in the meantime make sure you’ve viewed and research every car properly and if you want to go on holiday, book the time off now a clear your schedule for that date. You may think I’m over simplifying things here but I’m really not. So my new years resolutions are these:

  • Pass my exams
  • Get a good work placement
  • Do well on my course

I can achieve all these things as long as I remain objective and stay on course, and hopefully I will let you know in the future whether I actually achieved these goals or not. I sincerely hope you can all do the same this year but there is one last piece of advice:

Don’t forget to let your hair down every once in a while ;)

Don’t forget to leave a comment with your resolutions too!

Peace,

Matt  :)