Tag Archives: TED

Thoughts on Creativity – a sampler from TEDxRVA

powerplantThe first-ever TEDxRVA event launched my mind, soaring skyward, fueled with inspiration, imagination, ideas, hope, new connections, and exciting possibilities.

It is impossible to capture in one brief blog post the true spirit of the day… the full range of tones and harmonies in that symphony of creative energy. But here are a few gleanings… some of my takeaways. (I’m putting quotes around the phrases even though they are not the exact words used by the speaker.)

From Brian Andreas, artist, writer and entrepreneur behind the internationally known boutique art and book publisher, StoryPeople: “If you are alive, you are creative… If you want to be more creative, do things that make you feel more alive.”

From Sheryl Connelly, futurist with Ford Motor Company: “I love my job, but I don’t always enjoy the work. But if it wasn’t hard you would be a volunteer. That’s why they pay you to do it.”

From designer Deborah Adler, “Don’t create for the world, create for a person.”

2013-03-22 11.50.53From Richmond native Mike Henry, who gives voice to some of the quirky characters on “The Family Guy”: “Stay with your dream. Don’t let go. Don’t give up.”

From Katherine Wintsch, founder of The Mom Complex: “Don’t buy into the image of yourself that others try to project on you. Be honest. Face your fears. Then, and only then, will you discover the truth.”

From Zoe Romano, the young Richmond woman who ran across the United States: “Uncertainty and vulnerability are crucial to the creative process.”

And from Derek Sivers (via a TED video): “The first follower turns a lone nut into a leader.” (You really have to see the video to get the full impact of that truth.)

There was so much more…

2013-03-22 18.00.11– from designer Cheryl Heller, who transformed her TEDxRVA speaking gig into a partnership with Boaz & Ruth, a Richmond non-profit, faith-based initiative that helps people help themselves;

– from author Kevin Carroll, who modeled the truth that work and play are not opposites;

– from philanthropic entrepreneurs Marti Beller, Geoff Weathersby and Brian Marks who convinced me that “they” is “me” and that the first step to make a difference in the world is to make a difference in one, single life;

– and from Fox Elementary School art teacher Julie Crowder who stands as a shining example of the power of passion when she inspired a city-wide outpouring of hometown love with her project, “RVA Valentines: Love Letters to Our City.”

More than 30 speakers/artists/musicians challenged and inspired us during the daylong event. The inaugural TEDxRVA event will no doubt fuel my life and my creativity for the foreseeable future.

Writing leads to mental illness

Hellfire and Brimstone PreacherA young Jewish film student from the Bronx walks into a bar with a Southern Baptist preacher, a Goth 7-Eleven clerk, and a gay vintage clothing storeowner.

Sound like the setup for a corny joke?

Actually, those are some of the characters and one of the locations in the screenplay I’ve been writing for the last three months, along with my writing partner Deborah Hocutt.

When those characters inhabit your brain for that long, you have the makings of a serious mental illness. I’m beginning to understand why so many writers have quirky, borderline schizophrenic personalities.

And for those who’ve lost sleep worrying why I haven’t posted on my blog in the last three months, you have your answer.

The script for “Shooting the Prodigal Son” is getting close.
If all goes well, we will complete this draft by Easter.
Soon afterward, we’ll find out if enough people will consider it screen worthy enough to support it with their money. If so, we’ll move into preproduction. Perhaps we’ll be ready to begin principal photography late this summer.

It has been a long, winding road, starting in January 2010. The writing team got down to serious work in February 2012. This is the third major rewrite.

Man Drinking CoffeeI’m feeling pretty good about this one. Although I must admit, I felt the same way about the previous two. So my optimism is guarded and nervous. But optimistic still.

Even if this project never gets off the ground, I am a richer person for having spent the last three years immersed in Jesus’ parable of the lost son. There are so many spiritual gems to be discovered, we could mine it for another 2,000 years and still find wonder and inspiration in this simple story. It is, I believe, the essence of the Gospel.

We’ve set out to interpret it for our culture in a fresh, relevant and entertaining way. Over the coming weeks and months we’ll find out if we succeeded. Pray for us.

In the meantime, I’ll return to a more frequent blog post schedule. There are so many exciting things going on. Among them are next Friday’s TEDxRVA event, in which I will participate. Can’t wait to tell you about it.

Good Fast Cheap

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Good. Fast. Cheap. Choose any two.”

Recently, I heard a variation on the theme. It was in a commencement speech by Neil Gaiman at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

English writer Neil Gaiman. Taken at the 2007 ...
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Gaiman is a writer known for his graphic novels and comic books. One of his works made it to the big screen in the 2009 animated fantasy thriller, “Coraline” with the voice talents of Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher.

In his speech, Gaiman encouraged the class of 2012 to remain true to their calling, even though it takes time and sacrifice. He said, “When life gets hard, as it inevitably will, make good art. Just make good art.”

The art that endures, he said, is that which reflects the artist’s individuality and personal vision.

Gaiman’s comments resonated with me.

Everyone, at one time or another, is challenged to sacrifice one value to achieve some other. At such times, it helps to have already made up your mind what’s important… what’s non-negotiable.

At those crossroad moments, I stop to recall what started me down the road in the first place. If it takes a little longer, or costs a little more – so be it. But if I sacrifice the “good” – the core value that defines my reason for embarking on any artistic crusade… well, then it really doesn’t matter how fast I get there or how little it costs.

Check out the speech for yourself. It is well worth the 20-minute investment. The Open Culture website has distilled the speech’s 10 main points.