Perfectionsm kills creativity

One of my most favourite websites in the world wide web is The author is writing on how to become successful your very own way. I just love it because I often forget what’s important with creativity. I stumbled upon the gapingvoid article again a few days ago and read it again carefully. It reminds me on something:

When I made “Ein anderer Traum“, I just wanted to do it. It wasn’t important to me what others may think of it. I didn’t expect it to run on any festival. I didn’t think people would love to buy a DVD. I had no reason to do it but me wanting it. Which is an astonishingly good reason. And suddenly people wanted to buy a DVD and the film made its way into a handful of European festivals. And I was – and still am – impressed how successful this “stupid“ idea was. When I started thinking about the Orpheus film project, I decided to do it the more professional way: writing a real script, drawing a real storyboard, all those things the professionals do. They do time tables as well, so I did. Well, I missed the self-set deadlines several times. I hoped that I’d be able to place the film into far more festivals if I’ll do it ways more professionally. I thought I’d sell much more DVD much more expensively if they are done much more professionally. I went to Bristol to improve my puppet making skills because I want to do it much more perfect. I don’t want to use the very cheap cut-out animation puppets again because they’re not… perfect. My very first concrete idea for the Orpheus film I had in summer 2007. Now it’s two years later and I haven’t started filming yet. I have a ready storyboard but don’t like it because it’s not what I want this film to be like. To be honest, I really like the cut-out puppets.

Great so far, hm?

Listen to Me

I did a lot of things during those two years and I regret none of them. I learned so many possible workflows and met so many professionals. I discovered so many wonderful tools and strategies. But I also learned that I have to find my own way, my own solutions. And that my way now is not the professional one. Mainly, I don’t work on animation for money or reputation. I do it because I just love it and for a real aritistic pleasure. And the more I try to make my animation pleasing others, the less I do and the less I enjoy what I’m doing. Paying the bills is one thing but the other is to do my things the way I want.

A good example of gapingvoid’s theory is working is my friend Shelley Noble of Notes from Halfland. She creates the complete world of Halfland because she wants or needs to, but not for anyone else. I’m sure all of you would agree on how intense and wonderful these things are she’s developing. I have to remind myself for whom I’m doing my projects.

24. July 2009 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: | 4 comments

Comments (4)

  1. Oh, I’m so glad you are getting value from Hugh, Jessica! I love his approach too! I’ve learn a huge amount from him and from Kevin Kelly, Clay Shirkey, and Seth Godin too. I read everything they write and am piecing together what the real potential for the web really is.

    Thank you for the kind acknowledgment of what I’m trying to do with Halfland. I feel there is an advantage to the art school exposure you’ve had as it has given you many more tools to work with than I’ll ever get.

    But in the end, I think all of us have to come to terms with what we want to say with our art, however good or poor it is. Is it meaningful for us? I think that’s all that matters really.

    Halfland is just a folktale, cliché in a lot of ways, but it means something to me. And that becomes a protective shield against any critique that may come my way.

    I believe we can all make our meaningful art within our means, without waiting for anyone to give us permission or funding. If I had to, I’d make my art with trash from the dump.

    “Meaningful Within Our Means” would be my book.

  2. Thanks a lot for the link.

    I peronally know quite a few musicians, most of them are attending the conservatory for jazz musicians, and one of the best drummers among them never had a teacher. They all love what they do and there might be a itsy-bitsy-teeny-weenie little chance to get actually paid for palying music and some of them lucky ones might even one day make it that they can actually LIVE from their art. The way to get their diploma is by hard studying – and this is what broke my neck in the music business: I studied and learned and memorized and studied even harder – until I lost all the creativity. Playing with some friends, I just heard the rustling of notation paper and chord sturctures and theory stuff, but no music. Gone.
    I think to know, that you find a very good balance for your own between doing what you really love and talking the professional way. I think that I can describe you as a person who knows, that ‘quantity might become the problem, not the matter’ (hope I translated this one right: Die Menge macht das Gift…).
    And when the opportunity arises, you will be able to do some real high-quality animation for money. And you have enough skills in other fields than animation (grahphics, as far as I know, and I guess that there is even more; nobody makes workshops for kids ‘just like that”) to earn your money and get the bills paid. What I wanted to say: I like your drawing style and the way you animate and everything. There is a whole unique personality recogniceable behind all you works. And a last word about Halfland: did you recognice how many Shelley changed her avatar ? I wished I just had one or two bigger sized copies of her avatars, because they rock. Just little avatars. I don’t find the right words about the whole halfland project…

    So all the best and keep on blogging ! It’s always a very interesting source of information stopping by here. Just the Kachingle article led to something here at Olmenhorst… Until later.


  3. Hey you both,
    thank you so much for your supproting comments.
    Shelley, Halfland now is much more than a folktale… Which makes me think that folktales are not only folktales but something more, like our common consciousness of tradition and tales at all. So it’s very important to keep them alive and create new one. Just think about how many people support your project…
    Micheal, though we’re very different, we struggle for the same problems, don’t we? It’s good to share my thoughts with you… I think this post was the most personal I’ve ever written so far.

  4. Amen and hallelujia!!!!

    Wow Jessica, you’ve really been posting a lot all of a sudden!!! I guess that’s what comes from being done with school now, huh? It’s good to have you back and be able to read your thoughts more frequently again!!

    Well, if Shelley is a good example of someone doing what they love with no thought toward what others might think about it, I guess these days I serve as the opposite.

    I think I’m now in my third year on this damn project I got myself into… and progress is painfully slow and unsatisfying. And I decided July would be the month I go back into production and get this thing done so I can get to work on something OF MY OWN!!!

    I’ve learned a lot along the way…. a few things I never thought I’d attempt because they’re too difficult, require expensive and/or tpxic chemicals, and they’re just not things I have an interest in doing… #1 making a film set in the contemporary, realistic, social world. Check. #2 making lots and lots of little mass-produced consumer products with printed labels on them. Check. #3 making bottles. Check again!! Oh, and #4 making a film that isn’t my own idea but someone else’s. Check.

    I could go on…. and on… but I’ll stop here before this becomes a huge bitchfest!

    I will however say, that I’m glad I’ve learned how to work with clear resins and to tint them, how to animate with clear gel to simulate water, and how to create and print out tiny little labels…. all valuable skills that one day I might actually WANT to use for something. I suppose it’s like facing my fears or something… doing exactly those things I thought I’d never do and never WANTED to do. But I sure would love to get this thong overwith so I can move on to the next one!!

    I don’t get that feeling of excitement when I go to work on this film, I get a feeling like I’m going to the dentist instead. But I am glad that it served as an opportunity to upgrade all my skills and my studio equipment, and that I’ve studied a wide range of storytelling/writing/acting techniques along the way, all of which will be good foundational skills in the future. I also think it’s important that we have now had a taste of the “professional” approach (minus in my case the professional attitude and the professional ability to meet any kind of deadline).

    I’m also glad that you made this post and that we can get together and cry on each other’s shoulders! Thank you, I feel so much better now!!