Ideas don't always just come to artists out of thin air, contrary to popular belief. A lot of what happens between the mind and the page (or screen) is just pushing through and making things happen even when you're not feeling inspired creatively. While this clip from Jack White speaking in the documentary The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights is about music, it can certainly be applied to filmmaking, and more specifically, screenwriting.
While doing some of the things described in the video are specific to live performing and music, putting yourself in a creative box is still relevant to filmmakers -- and more specifically screenwriters. Having more freedom can actually be a burden, because with unlimited possibilities it can be difficult to narrow down an idea or the starting and ending points. If you're feeling creatively stifled, putting yourself in a creative box may actually be the best thing for you. His thoughts on deadlines are absolutely spot-on. Having all of the time in the world can let you put things off indefinitely, but when you've got deadlines, it forces you to sit down and get work done.
I know personally that there is a creative freedom in constricting myself, even though it seems counter-intuitive. Whether this constriction is related to a deadline or with a specific idea, having a specific obstacle to overcome forces me to be creative, even if I'm not feeling particularly inspired. As far as general filmmaking is concerned, participating in 48-hour or specific time period festivals might seem like the worst idea in the world to some people (and it might very well be), but often these kinds of high-pressure and deadline specific events force us to be creative and search harder for answers to problems.
If you want to watch the whole documentary you can find it from the link below. I had seen a good portion of this a while ago and since most of it was shot on film it has quite an interesting look. It calls to mind all of the great music documentaries from 60s and 70s.
Has this process worked for any of you? What kinds of purposeful creative boxes do you use?
[via Go Into The Story]