Creative Process

Creative Process

I was flipping through IG this morning as I waited for the last of my kids to get their butt off to school and came across this edit of David Fincher at work. Talking through scenes on a shoot, framing headspace for actors, and shutting down things that don’t meet his vision for the moment. You don’t have to be a fan of Fincher’s work (I am) to appreciate seeing someone’s process, as I think it gives us a glimpse of that person in the raw.

Stumbling across this stuff is one of the few reasons I still keep that app on my phone, the exposure to the creative process of artists. The raw stuff, not the synced to music bullshit so many artists desperate for followers currently use for all their posts/reels/whatever. Those moments of authentic exposure that are so few and far between.

I think, as I evolved my skills, being exposed to that raw creative process was missing. Physical artistic creation can be a lonely gig, particularly if you aren’t working in a studio with others. It can fill you with self-doubt, channel you down paths without feedback, stymie the growth of your skills. The flip side is that it can get you into that free space where outsider art comes from. It’s a pain in ass tightrope to walk, and I find myself constantly waffling between which space I prefer.

For instance, a few months ago I got to spend time with some other creative friends for the first time in years. Not only was it amazing too reconnect with some of my favorite humans on the planet, it sent a surge of creativity into my brain, and I found a new project to consume me for a bit. You can’t buy that energy or find it on social media. It comes from raw, exposed, human connection without the filter of artifice. It’s why artists still move to New York to try and make it.

That reflection, and the Fincher video got me thinking though, about my own process, such as it is. I’ve started to analyze it and came up with a few key elements that make it up:

  • I need to have space to work. Dedicated space, even if it is what I had at our old house, a small spot in the back of a garage.
  • I don’t sketch on paper. I do it in my head. I do it through reading things, and watching things, and making notes. At best I do rough 1 inch comp models to frame it further.
  • I need ideas to marinate in my brain for a while. Walking and listening to music and letting my imagination wander takes me from idea (I want to do a magazine style project) to what it evolves into (a post for another time 😉 ).
  • I don’t have any interest in one offs or small projects anymore. I have no drive to make little things. I want to handle most if not all aspects of the creation of a thing, meaning bind my own book rather than just print one.
  • My work comes in a flurry of activity up front, gets slowed down by life, then finishes in a mad rush because by the time I hit that moment, I am already marinating the next project.
  • I don’t like to talk about my work much when I am doing it, but do like to talk about my process and the choices I made. It is a weird distinction, but there it is.
  • I never go back from a mistake. I don’t start over. I just make the mistake a part of the work in some way. I embrace it. I love how human it is.

I am sure there are things I am missing, but those items are big parts of my process.