Be Creative, Not Hungry

I often here the idea that people are hungry to make it, and it makes me shake my head. Some would say I”m splitting hairs, but it’s a poor metaphor for your  journey to creative success. It’s far better to be creative, than to be hungry.

OK, what’s the difference? Well let’s think about the words. Hunger suggests you have a physical anxiety that will only be satisfied with sustenance. Your body doesn’t care about the nutritional value of the sustenance – If you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat dirt. You’re just trying to fill a hole. Having been to some countries and seen people in utter despair for lack of  food, on the brink of starvation… I know this is a gross exaggeration for most people of Western nations. And for those that it’s appropriate, none of them are trying to make a movie.

Even if you’re, ‘hungry for success’ and you use hunger as an analogy for the ache you have to be successful, be that getting a job in the industry, making a movie or selling a script, That still feels like a stretch. You may really have the want of such things, but you’ve gotta realize these are middle class problems. Oh, you ended up homeless, sleeping on the street in pursuit of your goals? I have to suggest that it wasn’t your hunger that put you there, it was your misplaced priorities.

Hunger is selfish. I suggests you’ve got to get yours. If you’re hungry, it suggests that there is a lack of the thing you’re hungry for. And it also has the Achilles heel of actual success. If all of your inspiration is bred from desperation and anxiety, what happens when you achieve the thing you need? Is your hunger is satisfied? Is the hole is filled? Out the window goes the inspiration.  We all have a favorite musical act that worked hard for years to produce a brilliant first album, and that becomes the peak of their career. New gear, sponsored studio time and an abundance of food and the pressure to ‘produce’ inspires a lackluster second album. The band that was so tight knit suddenly can’t get along with each other, so they break up and pursue solo careers. Hungry just wants to be fed, inspiration is a by product of that. It’s not sustainable.

Now let’s take ‘creative.’ Creative suggests that you’re constantly inspired. Inspired in the good times, inspired in the bad. Someone else need some help? Sure, there’s plenty where this came from. It can become the way you face adversity, and how you spend your free time.

Creative people are valuable. Every industry, every business, everyone with a job to do, problem to face, mountain to climb appreciates creativity. Talk to a successful gaffer, dolly grip, make-up person or a cinematographer, they’ll all tell you there’s a joy to finding a creative solution to get a film made. And here’s the funny part – even if it’s not their solution. A good idea is a good idea, if it’s a script, a camera move or a great tasting lunch. Everyone appreciates creative people, especially creative people.

Creative people are ethical. Unlike ‘hungry’ people, who see the world in terms of what they need to get for themselves, creative people just want to be creative. They don’t need people to ‘let’ them be creative. They just find outlets to be creative. And creative people do what they gotta to make a living, but they don’t worry about, ‘wasting’ their creativity on people or situations, they just let it flow. It’s almost as simple as, “Hungry people take, creative people share.” (I do
know some creative folks who’ve ended up broke, poor and in a bad way, ‘creatively spending all their money and
time imprudent things.’ Maybe prudence is the greatest trait of all. LOL)

I often hear people talking about being hungry, and I know from growing up when and where I did, hunger is overrated. I have friends who insist you need to have a little desperation or you’ll just stop. I say, if you stop, then you must be finished. No judgement there, but life’s too short to be wasted chasing after stuff. People often quote Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and talk about ‘burning the bridges’ and making sure you CAN’T turn back. I say, have some self control. Don’t spend your last dime and don’t ruin your relationships. Filmmaking is expensive, you’re gonna need some savings, and relationships are your greatest resources  (People you know and like you will be your biggest contributors on Kickstarter, right?)

Creativity is self sustaining. It, like many skills, is like a muscle; the more you use it, the more you can use it. Fostering it and it will always be there for you not just in the film business, but in every aspect of your life.

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