I watch or listen to interviews of filmmakers, musicians, comedians and anyone else who does creative work of any type. This is one manifestation of my own self doubt.
Spending hours consuming these sorts of things is a place for me to hide and not work. I can rationalize and tell myself, “I’m listening to this to get instruction from a master. I’m learning something.” The education part is true but there are limits. Eventually, you have to do the work.
One important lesson, I have learned from these interviews is both heartening and annoying.
A frequent question for these sorts of interviews is, “Where do you start?”
The answer is usually, “It depends.”
It depends on the project.
It depends on the idea.
It depends on what else they had going on at the time.
I look for patterns in these interviews. I try to find patterns that cross boundaries. When a sculptor, screenwriter, and chef all express the same idea or feeling about their work; that’s worth noting.
The pattern for where someone starts seems to be almost identical across creative disciplines.
You start, where ever you start. It’s different for each project. It’s different for each person.
Just because your favorite fiction writer started your favorite novel with the main character doesn’t mean you have to start there too. You can if you have an idea for the protagonist but if you have an idea for a scene, or a line of dialogue, or a theme; start there.
You have to follow some processes and do certain things in a certain order to achieve the results you want.
You can’t make risotto if you don’t make the stock first. But you can decide that what you want to serve is risotto and then figure out the protein, and then the wine and then the soup. Once you have all that in mind, you apply technique and process. Before you hit that point where you have to execute the final result.
Whatever, where ever, how ever…Start.
Happy New Year. Best wishes to you and yours.