As a part of the writer’s group I work with, aptly titled “Writer’s Bloc” — the “k” omitted on purpose — I set out to put something down out of a long distant memory. The subject of the assignment was “a piece of mail.” The memory I eventually picked was not entirely accurate or truthful perhaps, but in spirit one of my favorites. The time I chose was WWII. The experiences are still vivid to me and it was a period of history I was curiously fond of, in spite of the “seriousness” of it all.
When it comes to creative software, from my perspective, there are two important factors — the most important factors, really. They are ease of use and power — interdependent in that creative software can be good with one but not the other, yet not nearly as good when both are present. For example, Microsoft Paint is an easy to use program but all but the most skilled artists would find it difficult to make something really beautiful with it. Final Cut is one of the most powerful pieces of software for editing video but I have found it extremely difficult to do even the most simple task.
I am happy to say that I have found iBooks Author to be a perfect combination of ease of use and power. I have only had it since Sunday morning and I am already blown away by what I have been able to make with it. It is quite clear that Apple wants people to start making fun and educational iBooks right out of the box, excuse the antiquated expression.
In the summer of 1991, I attended a camp for artistic expression of all sorts — I had applied and entered for writing and so I took a number of different writing courses of the creative variety. One of the things that we did nearly every day was to work with different writing prompts to inspire our writing. On one morning we were handed photos from magazines (one each) and on another day we were instructed to go outside and just write based on on what we saw out there. There was even one morning when one of the professors simply said, “Thirty seconds — write!” That didn’t seem like so much of a proper writing prompt as much as it was a direct order from our commander!
It is never an easy nor a short path from when a film is first conceived and when that same film is being watched — to a big calorie-rich bucket of popcorn in the lap. The idea for the film can come from many a place — in the case of “The King’s Speech,” it came from something that actually happened in history.
In the fall of 1998, I had the idea for a play — about a woman who got dumped for no reason whatsoever, and must go through a process of healing in order to ultimately get over the relationship ending. I was really excited and I wrote the first scene of the first act as a monologue for the most part — her explaining what had happened and how she was handling the whole situation. This is followed by a phone call that interrupts her and sets up the next scene, in which she meets up with friends.
Not all creativity deserves expression. Editing passionate inspiration with the instinct of a formed aesthetic is a necessary filtering of the creative impulse.
Many artists in the entertainment field who were trained in Master of Fine Arts programs often mistake show business for higher art.
Show business is not art. It is not creative. It has no soul. It is not everlasting.
“It’s show business, not show show” as one middling director instructed me in a correction of my expectation that spectacle must not triumph over plot in a dramatic performance.
“People want to make money, not a show,” he went on to say, “This isn’t about being smart or even interesting. It’s about paying investors.”
That lesson was hard to learn because you always want to do your best and try to win not only the bottom line but the day of the mind as well.
It was made clear to me the mind and soul do not play a role in show business — only profit matters — and that’s why I always prefer to make my own show show so I can fight the want for a bottom line that won’t ruin the greater intentions of humanity while the rescuing of the spirit of the people with the craft of the art and not the want for the dollar.