I’ve spent a good portion of my life trying to be creative in what I do as it is one of the attributes of humanity that I value quite highly. It makes sense too—since we were made in the Imago Dei (the image of God)—because we know God to be the creator of the universe. Therefore, it only goes to reason that we also would value creativity and whatnot.
But with creativity, is risk, and with risk, possible rejection. I especially learned this with my band The Newfangled Sequence. Together, we wrote music that was either ahead of its time, or somehow existed out of time. We wrote tons of music, handed it out for free (shameful plug), and altogether didn’t get very far.
One summer we even attempted an idea called Project: 111. During this time we attempted to write a song every day for 111 days, and upload it to the internet for streaming.
Creative? I would think so.
Time consuming? Oh yeah.
Ever since that project some two years ago, I have not been in much of a recording mood. So many times I have sat down to attempt recording something, but I could hardly get started. And while I have made progressions here and there and done a few albums since then, it has been rather difficult. My creativity wasn’t gone, but more or less suffered by a lack of response. It was risk. And while it wasn’t total rejection, it was enough to hurt.
I don’t bring this up to throw a pity party for myself, but rather to encourage you in your creativity. It’s true, it was stressful and difficult to put all the time and effort into pursuing what I hope to be considered creative music, but I wouldn’t go back and do it differently. I pushed myself and did something I valued as important. Any form of failure can’t take that away and I know that God valued what I did throughout that time.
My story isn’t that unfamiliar to most who have spent time trying out creative things.
There are so many ideas in the world that were failed or overlooked.
Video games that only a handful of people played.
Amazing albums that few listened to.
TV shows that were canned.
Useful technology that was never purchased.
You know their stories. And if you’ve read my blog, you’ve probably heard me talk about this importance before.
But when things succeed in the creative realm, they change things. For example, I doubt advertising will ever be the same since those Old Spice commercials started to surface. Check out what Mashable.com had to say about the Emmy awarded to Old Spice’s recent advertising campaign:
Ad agency Wieden + Kennedy’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” TV spot for Old Spice has won the Emmy for Outstanding Commercial.
The Old Spice Guy solicited questions from fans on Twitter, Yahoo Answers and other websites, then answered them in short, humorous YouTube videos. Total upload views for the Old Spice YouTube videos (including both the TV and the social media campaigns) currently stand at almost 135 million. “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” has more than 18 million.
Mustafa joked in one of the final videos that he was a struggling actor, but the ads seem to have stripped away the “struggling” bit. He’s been signed to two movie roles, and will also appear in the NBC TV series Chuck.
Though Mustafa’s performance was a hit, the Emmy actually went to the creative minds behind the ad campaign, Wieden + Kennedy’s Portland office. The team won an Emmy last year for the Coca-Cola Super Bowl spot “Heist.”
Anyways, I could go on forever about this like I have before, but the whole reason I brought it up was because I was really inspired to write it after watching the movie Accepted tonight.
Now just to get this clear, as a fellow Christian I am not recommending you go watch this movie. It does have many moments to deserve a PG-13 rating. However, the end of this movie really hits something for me, and if you’re cool with me now ruining the ending, I will tell you the shortened version.
A kid starts a school so he can be accepted to a college.
The school gets tons of students by accident.
Nobody knows it’s fake except a few people.
Students make their own classes and rule school creatively.
Everyone finds out later.
The kid who starts the school has to explain to an accreditation board.
INSERT EPIC SPEECH ON CREATIVITY HERE.
School granted a probation period to use it’s experimental methods of teaching.
If you want to be oddly inspired by a movie when you weren’t expecting to be, Accepted is probably a good choice. I think the first time I watched it the ending even made me tear up a bit. After all, it’s not too often you see school of all things being done creatively.
In conclusion, I bring all of this up to tell you to be bold. Be strong. Everyone is being creative except we Christians. It even occurred to me recently that my dorm room is super dull looking. “Oh, I could put some posters up relating to my faith, that would jazz up the walls a bit.” But then I realized that I have rarely ever seen a Christian poster that wasn’t cheesy.
It’s time that we think outside the box a bit.
Or you know… a ton.