May 25, 2017

Is Discontentment the Real Driving Force Behind Creativity?

Maybe being a pessimist isn't all bad...

Everyone knows the classic tortured artist trope. Feeling alienated, misunderstood, and weathering the torment of trying to function in a world that isn't all too conducive to creative lifestyles are just a few of the obstacles some artists have to overcome (whether those obstacles are actually real or not), so there's no wonder why so many of them (us) are such pessimists.

But that may not be such a bad thing. In this video from Simon Cade of DSLRguide, he suggests that maybe that feeling of discontentment we get when we're failing to capture our artistic vision is actually the spark that ignites our creativity.

Even if you're not a full-on pessimistic artist (I'm not really one), I think we can all relate to that feeling of discontent. Maybe you feel it when you read the first draft of your screenplay and wonder if you were even present when it was written. Maybe you feel it when the direction you're giving your actors is doing more to confuse them than inspire them. Maybe you feel it when you see your own camera-toting window reflection in a shot.

Now, there is a pretty good reason to be frustrated by these kinds of things, but Cade brings up a great point about perfectionism that I think we should all hear. Perfectionism, while occasionally helpful at bringing forth the best of what we have to offer, more often than not keeps us trapped inside our own dissatisfaction.

While we labor ourselves with trying to purge all imperfections from our work, we often fail to realize that the ideas we're throwing away could've become something great had we given them a chance to grow. Instead of working, we obsess. Instead of growing and learning new skills, we get stuck trying to be perfect at something small and insignificant.

So, maybe take some time today to ask yourself if you're an unhappy/pessimistic/obsessive artist and if you and your work could benefit from easing a bit of the pressure your perfectionism is putting on your creativity.      

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"Perseverance is where the gods dwell" - Werner Herzog

May 26, 2017 at 7:53AM

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Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director
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