By Nolan Goff
NOLAN GOFF IS THE CONTENT MANAGER AT MATTE BLACK. HE MOONLIGHTS AS A FILM MAKER AND CAN'T BRING HIMSELF TO TAKE OFF HIS DENIM JACKET. WWW.NOLANWGOFF.COM
"THIS IS THE WORST VERSION OF THIS IDEA…”
That’s how I introduce a lot of things that enter my head from some unknown place. Whether it be for social media content for a new client at Matte Black or while I’m writing a music video treatment for Atlantic or Warner Bros or even a friend.
Let me back up.
The creative process is delicate, not because we lack creativity, but because we lack the space in which to create. Without this space, we are incapable of taking the “worst version of this idea” and transforming it into the post-puberty, fully-grown version.
The people who have great success at this seem to have three things in common:
-They surround themselves with people who can do things that they can’t.
-They cast a clear vision to these people.
-They create a sacred space in which these people and this vision can grow.
When I found my way into the director’s chair during my second year of film school, my previous beliefs about my role swiftly came crumbling down. I was not there to give marching orders or just to determine where to place the camera or even to establish the emotional context of the scene.
This trickles down into all mediums of creativity. It’s establishing the outline for your team, and allowing them to use their diversity of experiences to fill in the chapters. It also trickles down into the day-to-day: if you’re filling your team’s day with meetings, conference calls, and petty tasks, “the worst version of this idea” will become “the version you will be using”. Your team will witness the walls of the sandbox close in around them, and their best and most creative work will not emerge.
You are not great at everything – admitting that is the first step – let others inform the work you are doing. By allowing others to thrive creatively, the greatest filmmakers, creative directors, and content creators are able to step away from the micro and step towards the macro, seeing the project from a mile away, and thus seeing the entire picture of your best idea.
It’s time you build a sandbox.
ODDS AND ENDS: TWO WORDS YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY TO A CREATIVE PERSON
“artistic” –Do you mean “artistic” in the Huntington Beach street fair kind of way or the quirky Zooey Deschanel kind of way? This is the least specific way in which you can possibly describe something that is “artistic”.
“creative” – The word “creative” is the least “creative” way to describe something that is “creative”.
The moral of the story: find it inside yourself to be specific. The work will ultimately benefit from it. //