Slowly but surely I’ve been adding posts over at my new Tumblr site All Things T, most of them ‘T & Her Brain’ posts, which if you missed, is my attempt to curate and comment on a handful of science, philosophy, future tech and generally inspiring articles that have affected me and influenced my work. In this spirit of the Oscars, my latest list is loosely based around the theme of the ‘Creative Narrative’. Hope you enjoy and please follow my tumblr account(s) so you know when the newest posts are live.
Greetings fellow journeymen. It’s Saturday and I’m at one of my favorite places, in front of my computer. I’m knee deep in a spec pilot script and research for a feature script that I’m about to start outlining, but luckily my research has taken me to many a wondrous site where I have stumbled upon a post or a video that has inspired me, jump started a new idea, or simply filled me with joy. As my life is all about ‘story’, whether writing it or acting in it, I’ve picked four articles and videos that I’ve found this week to touch upon the general theme of THE CREATIVE NARRATIVE… who are we as storytellers in this year 2013, how did we get here, and why is a shared narrative important. With it being Oscar weekend, it is an especially relevant topic. I hope you enjoy.
It was a tweet to a post to another post that lead me to this amazing TED Salon Talk filmed in London. I’ve watch fit three times already. Beeban Kidron is a director known for the 2nd BRIDGET JONES movie but also co-founded FILMCLUB, a now very popular film program for school children in the UK. The genesis of this program was the topic of this video: what is the narrative that we are imparting to our youth? Why are we not using great films to educate and inspire them when parables and stories have been the unifying element of community throughout history? (“we honor reading, why not honor watching”). She argues (with the most sublime of words) that championing the films where story, not sensation, is king, can influence and help this fragmented generation of children… and she has the proof from her program. What this video really did, for me at least, was articulate my deep seeded belief that filmmaking is Important (and yes I mean with a capital I). A great film has the power to rewire your brain, challenge your beliefs, enrich your soul and tie us to our fellow man through a shared experience, both relating to the characters on screen and as an audience member watching it. Every element of this video made me proud to be involved in storytelling and reminded me of those seminal moments when I fell in love with film.
I could get lost for days in the archives of The Paris Review. In pursuing work as a writer but never having had ‘formal training’ (thus a fiery passion to self educate), I consume as much content about writing and writers as my brain will allow. Billy Wilder is an American cinematic icon but I confess to not knowing his background and work as well as I might. His insights as a writer within the studio system, and his frank discussion on the occasions that lead him to directing are fascinating. And I absolutely loved his thoughts on actors and was inspired by his anecdotes of Jack Lemmon; someone who was both naturally gifted and who worked hard… Someone who was a lot like Billy Wilder.
I consider myself an amateur futurist. I am constantly living in the future, at least my imagination is. And for us futurists, Ray Kurzweil is our bold leader. This video articulated my passion for our ability to better ourselves through the information and connections available to us on the web (I’ve discussed this topic before). Mr. Kurzweil takes this a step further and points to the power of our collective brain in the cloud. He points to our smart device not as a handheld phone and internet, but as a gateway. Once that connectivity is fused into our body and access to this cloud of information is immediate, what growth will we see creatively? For many people, it is a scary thought, but for me, I marvel at what a connected future could bring. (Click above for video – wouldn’t embed).
Which leads us to a fascinating article which just came out on the evolution of the creative mind. Current research has now pushed back the date of ‘creative’ Homo Sapiens to around 75000 BC (meaning they constructed weapons, tools and even insect repellant bedding) This date is nearly 35000 years earlier than had been previously reported, where research pointed to the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic period 40000 years ago when there was an apparent ‘creative ‘big bang’ due to an evolutionary mutation. But new digs have suggested otherwise. This article dives into the use of symbols and language, the size of our ancestors brains and how the increased size of the H.S. brain and the development of the pre frontal cortex allowed for free association. Once our ancestors didn’t have to worry so much about survival and staying in an analytical state, they were more free to reside in this nebula of creative ideas called the associative state. A point of research that blew my mind, and tied back to the video above, was how the larger the hunter gather group was, the greater the chance that one member would dream up an idea to advance their technology. Talk about relevance to our explosion of new ideas and technology today, where our hunter/ gather group is the entire connected world.
5. Last but not least, I wanted to give a shoutout to Phil Plait for his new science and technology webseries TWIST, a great recap of the week’s scitech news. And if you haven’t already heard, the new Google Glass is up for beta testing to some lucky people who Tweet or Google+ why they should get this game changing tech (with a $1500 price tag) . The future is here, just jump on board.
Have an inspired weekend and feel free to tweet me questions or thoughts at @tarynoneill!