By Trent Rentsch
It’s been awhile since my Muse and I had a chat. So long, in fact, that I figured I must be on the right Creative path… surely he would have some comment if I strayed while writing, voicing, and/or producing… he’s not that polite, nor that easy to ignore. Yes, I really must have this Creative thing down; all that lazy Muse had to do was put his feet up and watch me roll! I actually started getting a little mad about it… how dare he lay around when there’s work to be done? Why should I slave while HE’S on an extended vacation? Isn’t a Muse supposed to be where all the Creative ideas come from anyway? And what about all that haze up there? What, did he start smoking cigars…
Oww!! You know, you’ve gotta work on that entrance…
You can’t say it doesn’t get your attention.
But how am I supposed to hear a word you say over the ringing for the next hour?
Not funny. And where have you been, anyway? SOME of us had work to do…
And SOME of you really put out some crap, I might point out.
Ah HA!! So you have been around, what, spying on me?
Let’s just call it an anti-social experiment…
Fine. Great! So you’ve been spooking around, letting me do all the work. So what have you discovered during your “research,” Mr. Wizard?
Without me there, encouraging you, you become one lazy Creative.
ME lazy? That’s a good one! So who exactly do you think has been cranking out the work, if I’m so lazy?
Well… ok, right. Thank you.
It wasn’t a compliment.
So now you’re saying that all the Creative I’ve done since you’ve been goofing off was bad?
Oh, it had its moments. But most of those moments came years ago… and don’t give me that, “What the hell are you talking about” look! You know what you’ve been doing… and it has nothing to do with serving up fresh Creative!
What, so recycling ideas is a crime? I mean, who said there ARE no new ideas?
Audre Lorde. Poet. Born 1934, died 1992. And the ENTIRE quote is, “There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.” And I must say, I haven’t been feeling anything new from you lately.
Gee, thanks for the compliment, oh Wikipedia Master…
The truth hurts. But, “the truth will set you free!”
I know that one. James Garfield, President. And that entire quote goes, “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.”
As I said, the truth hurts.
Then why does it feel like you’re the one making me miserable?
Me, the truth… whatever it takes to get you out of this Creative rut.
Fine, fine. So how exactly did you come to the conclusion that I’ve been in a rut?
Well, let me give you the top ten signs…
Stealing from Letterman. And I’M the one in a rut…
10. Going to Cliché World for script ideas. Open 24 hours, for all your cliché needs…
9. Grabbing the same production music CD’s over and over.
8. Saying to yourself, “This piece of music would’ve been PERFECT! Too bad I used it for that other client last week.”
7. Using that piece of music anyway.
6. Playing the same game with sound effects.
5. Using the same styles, phrases, scenarios over and over.
4. Redundant use of the same elements…
Ah, some of THOSE are redundant…
Quiet, I’m making a point.
3. Telling yourself that you don’t have time to be Creative.
2. Telling yourself that nobody will notice that you aren’t coming up with new ideas anyway.
And the number one sign that you’re in a Creative rut…
TALKING TO YOURSELF ABOUT HOW UNCREATIVE YOU’VE BEEN!
But I haven’t been talking to myself… wait. I guess you are a part of me…
BINGO! He wins, pass the cigars!
I knew you were smoking!
That haze up there isn’t my fault, Kiddo. You’re just in a fog, going through the motions, not letting any Creative brilliance in.
So what am I supposed to do? I am busy, and everybody wants their commercials and promos yesterday. There aren’t enough hours in the day to come up with a hundred ideas for every client! Hell, I don’t have time for lunch most days!
Take it, then.
Well, it’s not like I couldn’t afford to miss a few lunches…
You’re wrong. Lunch is a good first step. You need to get out of the studio, spend some time living instead of hiding and pretending you know how your listeners live. Go to some random restaurant, feed your face… and feed me. Listen to what’s going on around you, absorb it all… the conversations, the sounds, the smells. Even better, hit the Food Court at the mall down the street. Talk about a slice of life!!
So you want me to turn into some creepy eavesdropper?
Eavesdropper, Creative… a rose is a rose. The point is to absorb what people are doing, what they’re feeling, how they’re acting. What your work is missing is new feelings, and Lord knows you aren’t going to experience new feelings hidden in your studio! Oh, and take a notepad along… I’ve been spending time with your memory. What the hell did you do to him in college, anyway?
Too many beers. Yeah, ok, I get the point. Anything else?
Listen to how people talk, how they express themselves. You’re bound to find some fresh ways to say things… use them in your copy. Oh, and when you get back to the studio? Lock up those music and sound effect CD’s you keep going to, ignore them, forget they exist for awhile. I promise you that you’ll find new tunes and noises that are perfect for your Creations… most probably better than “the same old things.”
It sounds like I’m back to doing all the work myself.
At least you’ll be back on track Creatively. Besides, if you start going on about actually having conversations with “your Muse,” people are going to think you’re nuts.”