On Practical Creativity: The Wasteland Revisited, yada yada yada

Seinfeld says in a recent Esquire interview that he learned from David Byrne about the algorthim of comedy.  Particularly the business of its economy (how many jokes do you need to tell in a 22 minute sitcom?).  Byrne said musicians don’t actually think in terms of songs that last 3 minutes.  “That’s the application of the mind to a creative challenge,” explains Seinfeld.

We’ve had a lot of “creative” projects in front of us lately.  I put the word in quotes, because “creative” has become an economized commodity, not just an adjective.  It’s about process.  Tagline, logo, event decor, campaign concept.  Those are the boxes, the restrictive dimensions.  Not to mention the bounds of budgets, time, talent, and ego.  In all this work, how do you find the time to be open to inspiration?  And it ain’t like we can just wait for the rain.

At some point I figured out — empirically, I suppose — that faith in the unseen connections can actually help establish the connection.  Maybe this is the essence of inspiration; some inhalation of genius… Talking Head or otherwise.  But neither does it hurt to have a good portfolio of ideas from which to begin sketching the complete picture (Pintrest boards, playlists, torn-out magazine pages, a pocket notebook of scribbled words).  And know what you’re striving for.  Practically: a product that is what the client wants/needs.  Personally: something that breaks out from the clutter.

Lately, I’ve been entranced by this commercial.  Clutter be damned.

And I feel (quite <ahem> literally) that I need to read TS Elliot:

A woman drew her long black hair out tight
And fiddled whisper music on those strings
And bats with baby faces in the violet light
Whistled, and beat their wings
And crawled head downward down a blackened wall
And upside down in air were towers
Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours
And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.
To wit David Byrne: “lost my shape, trying to act casual.”  And now that the intern is entirely freaked out, cue the 3-minute song buster.  Let it play in the background, or watch the improv.

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