"" bshawise: Tadpole to Frog (part 1)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tadpole to Frog (part 1)

I run into lots of people with great ideas. Most of those ideas never leave their brain or have life outside of conversations that start with, "So I have this idea..." Most book, invention, restaurant, video, prank ideas never become anything more than that-ideas. I have a billion currrently collecting dust in my brain. So I thought I'd write a series of posts about the creative process I try and use that can turn brainstorms into real storms. The kind of storms that soak fools with your awesome geniusness.

(First off you have to read the post before this. I'll reference it a good deal)

Thought #1: Tadpoles need food.

Your brilliant idea = a tadpole. By itself it's fascinating, full of potential and alive. But it's got a long ways to go to become a fly-eating, pad-jumping frog. The tadpole idea we had for the Wind poem was simply, "let's do something with it." I didn't know what we should do. The possibilities were somewhat endless a bunch immediately filled my head. This can be overwhelming. Which is why the first couple steps beyond this idea-conception are extremely important. Generally speaking you can go two different directions.

1. this is impossible, I'll go eat snacks instead.
2. this is possible.

I decided it was possible to do something with the wind poem. The next step was going to a place that fed that idea. I'm no biologist but I bet that's what tadpoles do. So I started in a place where I knew I'd find a concentrated amount of inspiration- image search + music. Images and music inspire me. The images help define, redefine, add onto, morph my initial ideas. The music must cultivate my brain in some way.

What feeds your creative side? A good movie? A trip to the park, museum, root beer stand? What gets your juices flowing? And a key question: what "food source" do you need in that particular moment. Different sources work better for different projects AND different stages of the same project.

When I'm in the brainstorming stage I need energetic input. Lots of different images, upbeat music, videos, IM conversations with friends, drives thru neighborhoods I've never been. But when I'm past that stage I change my food source. I even change the time of day I feed. When I'm writing a script or fine-tuning an idea I turn to the morning hour and make lots of coffee and fill the room with jazz. I wrote every single page of my latest screenplay to classic jazz. Miles and Coltrane plowed the soil of my brain matter. Whereas, Death Cab, Radiohead, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs influenced the Wind video.

So be aware of what kind of food you need in those early stages of idea-conception. It's more important than we realize. The wrong kind or not enough nourishment in those first moments determine if your lil' tadpole will grow legs. That's what we'll talk about next.

Part Two

Part Three


Clarke said...

um, i'm getting the feeling that my phone call today inspired this post. perhaps you're writing this so that in the future when i look to you for advice, you can just say: "please refer to blog post #371". you're smart.

10 Gallon Bucket said...

zip line down to the dock = tadpole

this summer that baby becomes a frog.