Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Get Inspired!

I recently came back from San Diego Comic Con full of pure, unbridled inspiration.  I hadn't gone to the con for years (largely because of the expense of tickets/hotel accommodations/transport), but this year I was speaking on a short film panel and the ticket was free.  I was lucky enough to find a friend I could stay with for a short time who also became my fellow carpooler, and suddenly all my expense concerns were gone and I had no excuses left not to go out and have fun.  I'm glad I went - it was a blast - and the afterglow of inspiration has left me with the ruddy pallor of either the recently sunburned, or the expectant mother. 

It seems to me that there are two kinds of inspiration.  The first kind is the idea generator - either when something that previously exists makes the little synapses in your brain twist with sudden insight, or the semi-magical inexplicable origin of a new idea with no obvious causes.  The second kind is pure encouragement.  You might have had an idea for a song or a story or a painting kicking around in the back of your mind for a while, but it seems like you and fate are apt to let it languish there until suddenly you realize that it's not just O.K. to be creative, in fact it's the best thing out there, and you better get your butt in gear and start making the intangible into the material.

A lot of creative people will occasionally struggle with the first kind of inspiration, but the second kind of inspiration is faced with a wicked, insidious disease - negation.  Negation is insidious because it's composed of a net of self-esteem issues, procrastination, and every kind of doubt the human species can create.  We all get negation no matter how far we've progressed creatively or how much work we put into it, and the virility of the virus is so bad that it can often leave people scared to create for the rest of their lives.  Which is a load of crap.

People are best when they're making things.  When we create, we don't just make the world beautiful and more exciting, we are sharing unique perspectives and inspiring others.  We're building daydreams and shaping the future - and as cheesy as that sounds, these things are critically important.  We're reassuring people that our private problems are a part of the human experience, and that even if we can't fix them, we don't have to be alone with them.  Despite the potency of negation, inspiration can become just as strong, and sometimes stronger, in the face of our doubts and fears.

It's this second kind of inspiration that I came home with, and that's a treasure.  In an effort to share that with you, gentle reader, I've collected a few things around the interwebs that feed me that precious, golden, second form of inspiration.

I hope you get inspired!

Pixar Story Rules.  We often tell stories no matter what our medium is (although sometimes we don't).  They come in two flavors:  illustrated and vanilla.

Neil Gaiman's "Make Good Art" speech.  Funny, poignant, and wonderfully encouraging!  Posted below.

Letters of Note.  A letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald to an aspiring young writer.

Brick by Brick and Be Friends with Failure, both by Stephen at Doodle Alley.  Great insights about creativity and inspiration in comic format.

PBS Remixed videos by PBS Digital Studios.  Yes, there's that vocal distortion you've been hearing a lot these days.  I find these videos fun, catchy, and full of that encouraging gentle sweetness that these PBS giants (Bob Ross, Julia Child, Fred Rogers, etc.) provided during their lifetimes.  I chose the Bob Ross one to post below, but I hope you get to try them all!

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