Ira Glass, host of National Public Radio's This American Life, knows a thing or two about turning the creative process into a polished, finished product—but he also remembers turning out work he didn't necessarily want to put his stamp on. This video, part of an interview series on story telling, features some great advice about working through those first few attempts—or even years—where your product doesn't quite meet your standards, as well as Glass pulling out some honestly awkward examples from his own portfolio.
I LOVED watching this. A four-part interview, this section deals with the plight of a young artist.... having great taste, and knowing that his early efforts are not great. The key, says Glass, is to push on, and substitute quantity for quality, knowing that it is only experience and failure that brings us on to greatness.
This is a common theme in creativity advice. And thus ... a new goal for Tara:
15 Stupid Ideas Before BedI am going to make it my goal, for the next 30 days, to come up with 15 stupid ideas. I am going to try to focus on 15 stupid ideas that relate to directing opera, but I may have to branch out. Ah, the stupid ideas are already flowing, even as I type!!
Here is a beautiful example of a stupid idea leading to greatness:
One of the scenes I was given to direct for Central City was the opening of Magic Flute. I just directed a complete production of Magic Flute with great actors and felt pressure (from myself) to come up with something different. I also knew the scene would take place in a very small space. How would I handle the serpent that is chasing Tamino at the top of the scene??? Such a small space... cripes there is not room for much more than a sock puppet. SOCK PUPPET!!? maybe Tamino is insane. the sock puppet is on his own hand. the 3 ladies are actually orderlies at a psych ward.
Alright, this idea is a little out there. but it lead to this...
So the 3 ladies rip off the sock and begin to unravel it..... unravel.... yarn.... ladies taking care of a handsome young man. maybe they are 3 OLD ladies. VERY old. with knitting in their purses, and canes, and lace hankies...and maybe the serpent is actually a sexy young hussy trying to seduce the youth. ahhhh...
Still silly, but much less so (in my mind!)....and very doable in our space. plus the fact that a summer theatre audience is invariably filled with dozens of sweet little old ladies, often talking loudly to one another, opening their mints, etc. Rife with comedic opportunity.
And thus a scene was born. yay.