"The power of vulnerability is that it allows us to be authentic. This is a key component of real connection, whether it’s through creativity or anything else."
The mega super awesome movie makers & infinitely adaptable human beings Debs & Jamie join the courageous conversation for the V Project...
‘Creativity is not reserved for a select few. It's available for anyone who has the courage to take it.’ Why is leaning towards creative outlets often met with fear?
DEBS: I think everyone is creative, regardless of courage. We are all creative everyday. I think maybe fear comes partly because the very nature of creativity is coming up with our own rules, not following safe paths already laid out for us. Breaking the rules is enticing and pushing boundaries is important, however, the uncertainty of the consequences can induce fear. Our education system doesn’t really teach us how to courageously break the rules, it wouldn’t be convenient for them. Also, our insecurities about our own imperfections are exacerbated and twisted by our society and culture. TV shows like the X-factor are a pretty clear example of this. It’s become ok and even expected that courageous humans put their creative expression in the spotlight, whilst the nation sits in the safety of darkened living rooms, judging. Imperfections are clawed at and put forward as valid reasons why this human should not ‘win’. This repetitive practice of judgement renders us fearful of taking creative risks ourselves.
JAMIE: Maybe it’s also fear of the unknown. We’re not taught ‘art’ as rigorously as we are other concepts, so many people just aren’t sure how to value it, how to talk about it, or how to do it. Unfortunately, art and creativity are synonymous in many people’s minds, so if they don’t do art (well), they don’t consider themselves a creative person. We shouldn’t let these misconceptions go unchallenged, else we’ll continue to miss out on a whole lot of potential for joy, understanding and innovation.
"To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength." Vulnerability is often seen as something we admire in others but detest in ourselves. How do we actively try to close the gap with these concepts?
DEBS: Is it ever a weakness? That thing you have, that you’re keeping a secret, is just an honest truth about you. It’s not a weakness. It’s your story. The more we share our stories, the more we learn about ourselves and understand each other. We can’t connect with other humans unless we tell our truth. We’re here, we’re alive, this is it, right now, so flamboyantly be yourself and delight in it. Your feelings and stories and ideas are as real and equal to any other human that ever lived, ever. Your openness and honesty could change the world. Who cares if someone judges you?
JAMIE: We can do this by making spaces for people to share what they have and who they are, without judgement. Demonstrate this as a possible version of society. Remind people that the voice in their head (or the feeling in the gut) that stops them or makes them hide is not in control of them, that’s it’s really OK if they let it be OK. Sometimes we just need to get out of our own way.
“Creativity is inspiration coupled with initiative. Acting on our creativity is an act of faith.” How much do you rely on ‘divine intervention’ to create? Do you feel you control your creativity or does your creativity control you? DEBS: I don’t think we can control the exact moment all the connections come together to form an idea. Connections come from all over the place; something you overhear, a smell that wafts into your nostrils, something you read, we have no idea what we’re going to stumble upon and how that will connect with our pre-existing perceptions and knowledge and whatever else. However, we are in control of how we react to that, whether or not we’re open to playing with that stuff when it comes. That’s why we walk around with a notebook or phone available to catch hold of the ideas when the connections occur.
I think ultimately we’re in control. We have to make the decision to act, then commit to it enough to see the project through to fruition. Everything we do is a choice. Doing nothing is a choice. Giving in is a choice. Creating something is a choice.
JAMIE: I don’t feel at all detached from what creativity is. I’m certain it’s an inherent part of being a human. It’s how we adapt, solve problems, survive, evolve. I think it’s incredible, like everything else about being alive, but it’s not a force that is outside of ourselves—it is ourselves.
"Only when we're brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." How much of your creative process is a battle with power? Do you always find the end result empowering? JAMIE: My experience of the creative process is not that battle. Exploring the darkness to me has been about self-confidence more than anything, but that hasn’t been a creativity issue, only a personal one. I’m not sure power has ever come into it, either way. I’m not sure if I always find the end result empowering, but maybe that’s because it’s not what I’m looking for. I think at some point along the way, maybe very early on, creating goes from an experience of self-expression to one of giving. Maybe they are very closely related concepts. I usually end up feeling like I want the thing I’ve created to be a gift (of joy, entertainment, challenge, provocation, humour, love) to the next person to experience it.
DEBS: I actually don’t think it’s a battle at all - it’s more like a fun, difficult, intricate puzzle, coupled with discovery. Sometimes it’s typing away and seeing what happens. Sometimes it’s sitting still and blurting out any silly things that come to your brain. Sometimes it’s doing a dance or going for a walk or doing anything but think about what you’re trying to bring into existence. Sometimes it’s disentangling the huge, messy, pile of ideas and possibilities into the beginnings of a story (the organiser in me likes this bit). Sometimes it’s just carrying on with the nuts and bolts of a thing in the hope that something will connect and funtimes will happen. Sometimes it’s sleeping. Also, whilst is definitely flippin’ brilliant to have a finished creation to share with the world, the whole process is empowering. There are plenty of little achievements along the way and knowing that every day we’re trying our best to make something awesome exist in the world, whether that’s challenging ourselves to make the best movie ever or how to make the perfect cup of tea, practice makes perfect; the more you create, the more empowered you feel to keep creating. It’s definitely empowering to know people enjoy what you’re making, or get it, or feel inspired. That’s connection at work. That’s what we’re all looking for.