"All Movies Suck at the Beginning"

February 22, 2016

 

I recently took my daughter to Toddler Story Time at the local public library. She was mildly interested in singing along to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", but veeeeeerrrrry interested in throwing a whole shelf of Spanish-language romance novels to the ground with recklace abandon. As I "patiently" helped her reshelve these steamy little works of literature, my eye caught a book entitled, "Creativity, Inc." Obviously I checked it out.

 

It's exactly what it sounds like; the story of Pixar. I haven't been this excited about a book in a while (and I love reading), so please excuse me while I try to compose my thoughts. Actually, to spare everyone, I'll just say, "It's excellent and you should put down your Candy Crush and read it"! 

 

Today, I read a little section in which Ed Catmull talks about the importance of candor and feedback in the creation of a creative endeavor. As he talked about the refining of an idea, he said something that struck a chord: "All movies suck at the beginning". His point being that it takes a group of passioante, talented people to come around an idea, candidly talk about problems, and make it shine.

 

I feel like I'm going through a mini-process similar to this. I joined the Lady Sketch Lab at The Magnet Theater several weeks ago, and our goal is to create a show with sketches brought in by the ladies in the lab, with the lab serving as a refining and rewriting process.

 

This is both fun and difficult. As an artist, I want my ideas to be brilliant right away. I want my sketch to be read the first time through and have everyone pulling their hair out they loooooved it so much. I was sure this is what was going to happen during my sketches first read through. 

 

As it was, it was liked but not loved. There were things people identified with, and things people had questions about. I would be lying if I didn't say I was just a little bummed on my way home. But now that I've done rewrites, I can only look back and be very thankful that a group of smart funny women were willing to be honest with me about my writing. I'm not sure it's going to win any awards (the oscars takes open submissions, right?), but I do know three things; it's a lot tighter than when I started, I actually had a lot of fun basically scratching the original and rewiring it, and that I've grown as a storyteller through this process.

 

Thanks, Ed, for your candor.

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