Where do you get your inspiration and motivation for the work you do? If you’re like many artists, chances are you are inspired by others in your industry whose work you admire. There’s a certain level of geek-like admiration that comes over you when you see a particular cinematic shot executed in a way you’ve never seen before. Or a photograph that is composed and processed in a way that screams “MAVERICK!” Sometimes these people are colleagues. Sometimes competitors. Other times they’re superstars in the industry who seem to be in a world and class all their own.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with gaining knowledge and inspiration from such people. Especially if you’re committed to putting your own spin on things. But, there’s a dangerous side to this business of external inspiration. You can find yourself in a situation where instead of being inspired, you start comparing yourself to the person(s) whose work you admire. Your self-esteem starts getting tied up in places it has no place going. Or, you get lazy. Instead of coming up with a new widget, you just make the same widget of the guy down the street. I too am often guilty of becoming just a little too over-zealous about admiring the works of my fellow filmmakers. Well, it’s time for all of that to stop now!…At least for a month.
I’ve decided that for one month I will refrain from watching the videos of anyone who I consider a potential competitor. I’m calling it the “Comparison Kills Creativity Campaign.” It’s purpose, to rejuvenate the spirit and get your creative juices flowing as never before.
Here are the rules:
- For at least one month, do not look at the work of anyone who does the same kind of work you do. If you shoot weddings, don’t look at ANY wedding photographers/videographers work. If you shoot commercial, don’t look at anyone’s commercial work. etc. (You can get a pardon if you’re going to seminar like Skip’s Summer School or something where others work will be shown.)
- Proactively seek out NEW sources of inspiration. Television, movies, IFC, and magazines are great places. Here’s a kick, why not get inspiration from nature. God’s created such amazing beauty all around you. Look at it!
- Try something new every week. A shot you’ve never tried. A short film about your daughter. An experimental video. Go crazy!
- Journal about your experience. You can write it in a physical journal. Or share your experience on the Facebook group wall. Or comment here. Blog about your experiences. But keep track so you can go back and see how you’re progressing.
You’re going to be on the honor system, so no cheating. Your month can start whenever you like. But, since tomorrow is August 1, why not start tomorrow. I am. After one month, look back over your own work to see how it’s grown. And, if you’re game, keep it up the “fast” from other watching competitors’ work.
Here’s a link to the Facebook group I created for it. Let’s have fun with this. Get your friends involved.