Monday, November 17, 2008

Woody Allen on Creativity

"The problem is, I feel there's so little you can teach, really, and I didn't want to be discouraging to [the students]. Because the truth of the matter is, ou either have it or you don't. If you don't have it, you can study all your life and it won't mean anything. You won't become a better filmmaker for it. And if you do have it, then you will quickly learn to use the few tools you need. Most of what you need, as a director, is psychological help, anyhow. Balance, discipline, things like that. [...] Many talents artists are destroyed by their neuroses, their doubts, and their angst, or they let too many exterior things distract them. That's where the danger lies, and these are the elements that a writer or filmmaker should try to master first.

"[The students asked him how he came up with the ideas in Annie Hall] and all I could asnwer to them was "Well, it was my instinct to do it this way." And that, I think, is the most important lesson I've learned about filmmaking: that for those who can do it, there's no big mystery to it. One should not be intimidated by it or get caught up in thinking it's some kind of mysterious, complex thing to do. Just follow your instinct. And if you have talent, it won't be hard. And if you don't, then it will be impossible."

So what do you all think? Is it this in-born or does creativity come from that 10,000 hour "tipping point" of experience that Gladwell proposes? Nature, in other words, or nurture?

6 comments:

Makayla said...

Hm. I think he's both right and wrong. I think it's obvious that some are born "more talented" in a specific area. If the talent is athletic, sports will come more naturally, and if they continue to work hard and practice and so on, they will probably still be better than someone who has less natural ability but works their guts out. That is not to say that the person with less ability can't improve to the point of competence, just that they may not ever attain the level of talent that someone else has. I think we can definitely "develop" talents, but I also think we come with a few, pre-packaged.

Day said...

I think talents are often developed--sometimes out of weaknesses--but not generally in a classroom.

Marcee said...

It's not a question of nature OR nurture-- nature and nurture feed on each other, continually changing the status quo, a ying and yang, a spiraling gyre, etc. etc. I think there are creative/intuitive types that feel this impulse to keep people out and elevate themselves. They want to ignore the value of hardwork, because anyone can learn hard work. I wonder if it's some kind of reaction coming from their disdain of all things logical methodical. It's the real legacy the Romantics gave us. Or something...

xister said...

I think that your quote says more about Woody Allen's ability to teach and less about everyone elses ability to learn. :)

SAC said...

amen, xsister.

I have felt, for a long time, very strongly, that absolutely everyone has creative urges which, for the health of our souls, need to be expressed.

How skilled that expression is depends on how much time/ effort/ life force the person has put in to developing a particular manner of expression. I do believe that this time and effort can be put in when we are too young to notice, or even before we are born.

I also think that the fact of feeling a yen to do something is a sign that you should consider trying it.

Lobbie said...

A REEEAALLY good book on this is called "The Artist's Way." I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone that needs to use any amount of creativity at all. It argues that we are all creative since we were created by God and our creativity is a gift back to him, and no it's not LDS-themed or anything, it's just plain awesome. You totally should read it!