Last night I saw Queen Of Earth at MIFF which was followed by a Q and A with director Alex Ross Perry. There was a message in his response to audience questions. It was the same message I got from the Picasso museum in Paris a month ago which, at the time, I summarised with two words in my notebook – ‘be prolific’.
Perry talked about some of the challenges he had to overcome in making Queen Of Earth, one of which was convincing some of the cast and crew from his last feature, Listen Up Phillip (2014), to work with him again so quickly. He wanted Elisabeth Moss, for example, (Peggy from Mad Men) to star in Queen Of Earth but the only way to persuade her was by providing her with a new challenge. So, he followed a comedy/ drama film with a psychological thriller.
It’s an idea that keeps revisiting me; creativity coming out of regularity. It seems counter intuitive but Perry says the more movies he makes, the more risks he takes because the pressure of trying to perfect one ‘career’ film is stifling. When you’re pumping out movies with Woody Allen regularity maybe the risks don’t seem as great.
Picasso’s similar work ethic certainly didn’t make his work monotonous or repetitive either. Look at the stuff in his Paris museum. Endless paintings, installations, even the chair he placed his paints on, re- imagined as a sculpture… Picasso was prolific. There’s no time to sit around worrying your ideas aren’t good enough, when you have so much work to do.
I’m sure self doubt is a professional hazard for all artists but last night was a reminder that it is also a waste of time.
This isn’t an attempt at life coaching, just the meditations of a procrastinator. I’m guilty. I spend lots of time waiting to unlock the true genius of an idea instead of just taking it for a spin. (See my blog post last year about learning piano).
I need to take a leaf out of Alex Ross Perry’s book. He says he often sits at home and just writes for 22 hours a day with his cat. I have a cat so I’m halfway there. I just need to devote less hours to worrying.
(The film was great by the way)
Can producing more art make you more creative? Leave a comment below…