Dear creative-guru...

Art is everywhere, and there are unlimited restrictions on how to create it. If you have the passion, the vision, and the talent, you can create an art-form on any platforms. For example, films are not just being shot on celluloid anymore, they are being made on high-tech digital cameras and cell phones.

In a tech revolution as the one we are having, everyone around you is an artist. As much as the availability to techniques can be an inspiration, it can also be soul crushing.  With so many creative people presenting their art, how do we stay unique in an over saturated world of art?

No matter where you fall between inspiration and dread, extra creative guidance can be a godsend. That is, if it comes from the right person. Jeff Leisawitz is an artist himself, someone who has experienced the unbelievable highs and the devastating lows a career in art can provide, so who better to help us navigate our trepidatious journey through a sea of artists.

Dear creative-guru Leisawitz, you're our only hope.

Q: How do I find my voice?

JL: The first question might be “What is your voice?” 

I believe our voice is simply our uninhibited expression. Whether that’s in singing or writing a story or editing a film, others know it when they see it. And you do too.

Of course, the world does its best to squash our true voices. As a little kid it’s cute when you think abstractly, ask profound questions, or imagine other universes. But soon enough your folks, teachers, and the other kids at school are likely to put you down for being you. For being weird. So we stop. That sucks. So how do you recover your voice? Find your inner weirdness? You have it. And you know it. Start somewhere safe. Sing in the car. Write a scene that defies convention (that your screenwriting teacher would give you shit about). Sketch in a notebook and burn the page when you’re done.

We learn in school and by observation and experience how to ‘do things right.’ There are reasons to 'do things right'. But there are also ways to do things right that are all wrong. That’s where you’ll find your voice.


Q: How do I push through creative blocks when I feel everyone around me is doing the same thing?

JL: For Goddess sake, do not worry about what everybody else is doing. That’s death. First, it creates a neverending war and judgement within yourself — you’re always better or worse than the next guy. This will not do you any favors.

Your creative blocks are your own. Go inward.

I believe that creative blocks are largely the function of the ‘Inner Critic.’ I call this super villain of the creative self ‘The Ic.’

Learn to ignore the Ic. If you don’t put so much energy and expectation into what you do it will not have as much power. Just let it go and be playful with your creativity. You’ll be much happier. And your work will be much better!


Q: If everyone is doing the same thing, why am I still doing this?

JL:  Humans are herd animals. We want to be accepted. But if we try to emulate exactly what others are doing to gain commercial acceptance, you'll lose your voice and you’ll be competing with the masses. These are two things you don’t want.

You probably want to consider some factors when you create. If you’re making a feature film it really needs to end up between an hour and a half-ish and two hours in length. There needs to be some kind of emotional impact and some kind of story arc. Besides that, there’s tons of flexibility and room for creativity. 

If you can find your own voice, push past the Ic and take real action you'll activate your authentic creative heart and make something unique. Something that actually reflects and expresses you. Isn’t that what creativity is all about?

*For more information on Leisawitz, or to purchase his new book Not F*ing Around, please explore his website.

Images provided by Berardi Media