The goal was to tell a very familiar story in a very new way.
Over the years I’d been fascinated with the use of multimedia (film, dance, projection, music) in live settings and wanted to see what we could create using all these mediums. But of course a medium is nothing without a message.
The story needed a hook (they all do by the way) and so I set off to my little library and grabbed every book that I thought might have a nugget of something.
Then I turned on Spotify for hours on end, hunting and searching (click here for the actual playlist I made). Then I logged onto Pinterest and typed in random emotive words. Then I poured through my stacks of Field Notebooks, Moleskines and Evernotes.
I call this scratching.
I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for but I know if I don’t do this work, I’ll never find it. I know if I don’t just start, I’ll never get anywhere.
And then out of nowhere, two words, “salvage mission,” from a book I had read in grad school.
And then again, seemingly out of nowhere, a track from the film, Beasts of the Southern Wild, was sent my way.
And then once more, out of thin air, an email from my wife with an image of a woman with wings saying, “I saw this and thought it might work for something.”
Hmm…something was happening. Things were moving. It was becoming more clear.
Then I drew this on my white board.
It was a mood drawing of the whole piece. All I knew is that I wanted our story to feel like this drawing. Two worlds colliding – becoming something new.
This is the creative process.
You’re looking for something, but you don’t know what it is yet. A lot of us stop here. It’s too hard. It’s frustrating. We call it “writers block” or “I just don’t have anything anymore,” or, “I’m not inspired!”
We stop before we really even get started.
Here’s the secret I’ve learned – creativity is not magic, it’s really hard work. [click to Tweet]
The ground has been cursed and we are meant to toil in it. It’s a discipline. And it’s usually not sexy. You have to sit down, face the blank page, be courageous in the face of overwhelming fear and start.
You must start pinning, starting listening, start writing, start shooting. Start realizing that to make truly great things it won’t ever be easy. But the privilege we have to help make the world more beautiful, to inspire others toward goodness, to try and put back together the things that have fallen apart is truly a great one - one we must take seriously.
After we had the hook and after I had pulled the images and sounds together, the hard work didn’t stop there.
We wrote and storyboarded.
Then we shot (images courtesy of my amazing co-director and director of photography, Bjorn Amundsen).
Then we made a trailer saying, “we think it’s gonna be something like this!”
Then we rehearsed.
And last weekend, we put on 12 services. I'm hesitant to say whether or not it "worked," only that I really, really love what we made.
Either way the work, the process, it was all worth it. And I believe that to my core.