Managing Creativity : Episode IV


In my Experience, one of the best ways to get the best work out of the best people is to engage early. A journey of a thousand ideas begins with a single conversation. The time to begin to involve one’s Team – even one’s prospective Team – is at the very beginning…IMHO.

I know that my own Muse lives deep within me and works in mysterious ways; sharing inspiration and ideas on her schedule and with her unique styles. (Mine is definitely a She: I don’t know how I know but I just know.) With that, when I have the first meeting with a prospective client or on a possible project; I listen with focus as the vision is expressed.

The idea machine kicks right into gear.

I take that knowledge and virtually hand it off to her. Sometimes, she comes right back – even during that meeting – with concept possibilities; sometimes it takes a few days or even weeks…which can be indulged, given enough time before deadline. Ideas start dropping into my creative inbox, I examine and explore them and a concept begins to come together for me.

Most often, as I’m “looking the other way,” and working on something else; in my subconscious, the Other Thing percolates. Simmering there, it becomes a repository of possibility, a subtle filter through which I see and experience day-to-day without the pressure to apply or do anything with the oblique input. 

Then, one day, boom. There it is!

Concurrent with the coming together of my first senses of the overall experience I will seek to create, I also often recognize just whom among the vast constellation of creative and technical professionals I’ve come to know are likely to be most well-suited or of greatest potential for contribution to and collaboration on this particular project. 

So, I call ‘em and share where I am.

Long before the time comes when we’ll be needing to gather and work, I find that planting the seeds of concept early offers that same, subliminal dynamic for the other professional craft and tech people I’ll be wanting to have join me in making this happen. A brief conversation at this very early outset of a project or show, simply planting seeds of ideas, offers a subtle and profound power to the interim time before the work actually starts. 

The seeds planted each grow in disparate ways; nurtured and affected by the mind in which they’ve been planted. I suppose it’s similar to planting flowers in a row. Each bloom is just that much different; having had a little different light, a little different water, been pollinated differently or having had a chrysalis attached at some point…and it’s not ’til all the blooms have been gathered that the facets and textures of the bouquet are able to be grasped and appreciated as more than the sum total of the parts. 

N’est-çe pas? (Is this metaphor too flowery?)

Just as these planted Seeds of Concept grow differently within the composer, the set and lighting designers, the costumer, the choreographer…any of the concomitant participants…sometimes the concept itself evolves through outside influence; calendar, budget, client relationships, whatever.

The point is that when we gather to flesh out the actual Experience, everyone at the table has differently generated ideas to share; ideas about which each are excited, ideas grown peacefully and under far less pressure than might otherwise exist were I to have waited ’til it was Time to Start to brief and begin.

Knowing where an idea began and seeing where it may have arrived by the time we meet offers myriad new possibilities for where it can be taken. History informs trajectory; and I believe the projects and shows I’ve managed in this way have reflected The Work of the Muses in unforeseeable ways.

Early conversation with each of one’s prospective, principal team members pays way off at showtime. While I am familiar with many a producer who resists taking such time at the outset; in my own experience, it takes less time overall and can yield far more interesting and compelling results when the Muse is treated with due respect.

So, I’m just sayin’, taking the time up front to share my own ideas of where a vision can be taken has, in my experience, come back to me and to the project tenfold. 

Don’t wait til the answers and solutions are defined and needed; spread the inspiration wide and have so much more to work with when it comes back. 

It works for me…IMHO.


There is a political organization by the name of EMILY’s List. “EMILY” stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast. In the currency of creativity and ideas; I would liken this methodology to the philosophy of that group.


Popular throughout the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies,

“IMHO : Creating Compelling Experience” 

remains a free download from the Apple bookstore and iTunes.

Seriously: Free.

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