In Los Angeles and specifically at Mosaic, I learned so much about artistry and creativity by seeing others work hard to make an impact in their world. Whether they were writers, teachers, actors, dancers, executives, or engineers there was a real beautiful pursuit of the act of creating.
The same can be said of the Third Coast: Austin. I love the entrepreneurial and creative spirit in this town! As the world of interactive, film, comedy, and music converge on South by Southwest this week, this theme continues to come up for me: don’t wait to create (and keep at it)!
Here are a few examples:
Blue Like Jazz, a hilarious, irreverent, and meaningful film based on the book by Donald Miller, had the most people I have ever seen on the credits since they listed all of the people who gave $10 or more via kickstarter.com. After four years of work, the film lost funding and needed the help of thousands of people to finish it.
Ted and Thena Beam, friends of mine in Los Angeles, sent out an email about their kickstarter campaign to make an album (a dream they’ve had for 10 years). By the time I followed the link to their website, they had already raised all the funds they needed! Check out their fantastic music here.
One of the filmmakers (Steven Kessler) started filming a documentary in 2006 with a subject (Paul Williams) who was reluctant to be filmed at first before becoming downright contentious. Kessler kept at it and eventually connected in a new way with Williams only to run out of funding and found himself unsure of how the film should be edited. After putting the project aside for 2 years, Williams was elected the president of ASCAP, so he sought out funding and finished what I felt was a really meaningful film called Paul Williams Still Alive.
Last night I saw an independent film which sounded like the prequel to Inception as the lead character developed a machine which enables him to travel into the mind of a criminal and heroin addict to search his memories for evidence. The theater was packed for Extracted. In the Q&A with a producer and writer, they shared how they saw Inception one week before shooting began on their film. Rather than give up because they had a similar idea with a much smaller budget, they kept going forward.
In 1999, director Richard Linklater who lives in Austin read an article in Texas Monthly about Bernie Tiede, a much-loved funeral director convicted of killing an 81 year old woman who had been his travel companion. Somehow the dark comedy Bernie starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and Matthew McConaughey worked. Consider: how many of us are willing to take an idea we had so long ago and see it to completion and on the big screen 13 years later? (Currently, Linklater is working on a film which started filming in 2002 and won’t be released until 2015. The story follows a child from Kindergarten through 12th grade as he is coping with his parents’ divorce).
- Not sure how your story will end? Start writing and let the process take you there.
- Have an idea burning inside? Start working on it and keep at it.
- Don’t have the funding you think you need? Do all that you can on what you can.
The world may just might need the idea you have, and it will be worth effort and the time it takes to get there.