Russell Jenkins
August 4, 2022
7 min read

The Creative Process: A View From The Production Team

Over the past ten years working and playing in the arts industry I have found myself in various roles – from editor and producer in community television, to production assistant at a major visual effects company.

Working on projects from my own short films to major Hollywood motion pictures, my experience in production has taught me that creativity comes in many forms.

A story from Adelaide

I was once the producer and director of a short film project in Adelaide. The crew and I arrived at a location and began setting up. I start unpacking light-stands and attempt to erect one of a type I hadn’t seen before. I was failing at the task, so a camera assistant came over to save me. My casual thanks was in the form of a quip “Sorry, mate. It’s been a while since I put one of these up.” He joked back. “If you can’t do this, what do you do?”. Some may see this as a rude question but we knew each other well enough and would usually rib one another for fun. I quickly responded “I helped get everyone here” gesturing to the room full of people hard at work. Make-up artists, sound techs, caterers, camera people.

How production is creative

The way I create is different. Devising schedules. Determining who needs to be where. Identifying the resources that are required to allow the artists to create… Perhaps a better term for a production worker is a ‘facilitator’. And to be a good facilitator you have to be creative. Creative in the solving of problems.

But creativity is creativity no matter how or where it’s applied. And my experience within an industry of creative people has taught me that four common stages happen in the journey of creating something. It is how an idea is formed. Or at least how I form an idea.

Here’s how I view the process, or cycle, of creativity.

 

Inspiration

The spark that lights the fire
The spark that lights the fire. Drawing on something. Being struck with a great idea (or a bad idea) as inspired by another person or thing. Your inspiration can be triggered at anytime by anything. A walk around your neighbourhood. A dream. Bus ride. You could be reading an article, scrolling through Instagram, listening to music, staring into space or lost in your own head. And then suddenly a thought crosses your mind that’s worth exploring. It’s not uncommon to be inspired by your own work, which could be described as ‘learning on the job’.

 

Motivation

The drive to make it happen.
Motivation, I feel, gets confused with inspiration a lot. If inspiration is the spark, motivation is the wood that keeps the fire going. Once an idea is in my head, if it’s thrilling enough, motivation to execute it comes naturally. I seek it out, either subconsciously or impulsively. Reading about those who have done it before. Planning on how it can be done. Seeking funding. Gathering people who find the idea alluring. Everything that brings me to a point where the idea is becoming reality. Motivation can come from the people we respect and/or follow. It’s the thing that takes what’s inspired you and tells you to get off the couch and get it done.

 

Self-Discipline

Time to really focus on the goal.
The hardest part of the creative process is discipline. Some people like to use the term “self-motivated” when they usually mean “self-disciplined”. At some point in the creation of something you will always find that the work you are doing has become just that, work. You still love your idea. You still want it done. But you’ve been doing long enough that the passion you had has lessened. However, the length of time you’ve worked feeds directly into your discipline. “In for a penny. In for a pound”, and you push forwards.

 

Empowerment

That ‘top-of-the-world’ feeling.
This is the reward. You’ve had inspiration. You’ve been motivated. You’ve stayed disciplined. Next is such a feeling of accomplishment that you become empowered. You can do anything! Beyond this stage the cycle of creativity starts again. Carrying that empowerment with you opens the door for…

 

Inspiration

And so the cycle repeats…

For me, now, it’s Creativa and the amazing talents who work here. From business, to production, to art. Everyone here inspires me. Motivates me. Keeps me able to self-discipline. Empowers me. My work becomes a joy and my passion stays ignited. This is what makes me love doing this work.

 

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