After posting up the silly little video of Rainbow Chasers (a spoof film trailer) I was asked by someone how I have the time and imagination to do stuff like that. I’m not sure, but I think the insinuation might be that I have too much time on my hands and need to grow up – these are perhaps valid observations, but I wanted to just share some thoughts on how things like that can come about – hopefully you will find them helpful if you’d like to start churning out some stupid creative bits.
I think there are 4 main aspects.
1. Have the tools ready and an attitude of ‘now or never’
This is pretty much the most important point, and anything that follows kind of hangs off it.
Inspiration can strike at any time and will not wait for us. We have to be ready to catch it or else it’ll disappear.
The day Dan and I filmed ‘Rainbow Chasers’ we didn’t wake up with the intention of doing so. The thought hadn’t even crossed our minds, ever. But as we were driving back to the B&B after our annual trek up Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons we came across a rainbow. Dan got the camera out; we donned “American accents” and the rest apparently unfolded – it wasn’t planned.
The important thing was, we had a camera – without the camera we would have had a moment together with a rainbow (a double rainbow) but little more – no one would have believed us either.
We didn’t just say, ‘ahh that would be funny to one day do a film where some guys go out rainbow chasing in the same way people go chasing storms in the US’, and then just sit back and go about our day for that never to happen. We just did it there and then.
This leads me to my second point.
2. Just run with it and don’t edit or analyse until later
Once you’re in the state of creativity the most important thing to do is just run with it, keep going and get as much down as you possibly can – don’t analyse your own actions, how silly you feel or what others might be thinking of you.
We recorded almost 2 hours of footage, and yes most of it was complete rubbish – but if you think through too much of what you’re doing while you’re doing it then you restrict the editing process and don’t allow for the true genius which is the stuff you never even realised was there.
Things often don’t make sense until you step back and look from outside of the moment.
3. Put constraints on time and resources
Do what you can with what you have and give yourself a deadline. We had an enforced deadline, which was the end of our weekend in Hay on Wye, but if you’re in a position where you could run with your project forever just impose a realistic cut off point and stick to it.
That way you can’t be precious about perfect and get carried away in little details and things that don’t matter. Just do what you can with what you have in the time that you have and then move on.
I spent 2 hours editing it (that’s all I gave myself), then I posted it online and that was that.
4. Hit Publish
This follows on from the previous point, but the most important thing to do after you’ve stepped back from the project and edited/tidied it somewhat is to hit publish, or to just let go of it.
The two hardest parts are starting and finishing, but if you just get on with it, give yourself time constraints and then force yourself to hit publish at the end you will start to become a prolific creator of stupid stuff. And then one day it might lead to the creation of great stuff too…
I’m still waiting for that day, but for the time being I will just try to faithfully show up until it comes. As you can see, it doesn’t take too much time, it takes a mental shift, to seeing circumstances as opportunities and making the most of them – living in the now and just creating stuff out of nothing. It’s fun. It’s what makes me feel alive.
Andy Mort is a UK based musician and writer. He is the founder of Sheep Dressed Like Wolves: a Blog and Podcast helping introverts and highly sensitive people recognise and embrace their creativity; and identify what is holding them back from living with the passion, purpose, and meaning they seek in a sometimes overwhelming world.