Staying Creatively Motivated

Being in a creative industry and staying creatively motivated is sometimes very hard. You have your ups and your downs and when you are in the downs, it’s very easy to lose motivation or sight of where you want to be. This is where I find personal projects very important. These projects allow me to press the reset button on my creativity while doing work that I can use to strengthen my portfolio. Being in the world of visual media and working with clients on a full-time basis, it’s sometimes very hard to be creatively fulfilled. You spend so much time bringing your client’s vision to life that it’s easy for you to feel like you aren’t adding to your creative input or doing the types of work which make you creatively fulfilled. For someone who wants to get into the commercial side of the industry, it’s hard to feel creatively fulfilled when the majority of the work you produce are industrial videos, how-to commercials or filming your neighbor’s 6-year old’s soccer game. We all have projects that we would like to create but sometimes we might feel that they are out-of-reach. But at the end of the day, what’s stopping us from creating those projects? Nothing. Absolutely nothing is stopping us.

Excuses are easy to come by.

Saying you are too busy to create personal work is the wrong mindset to have. You have time, you just need to make it. This might involve sacrifices here and there but it’s not going to drastically change your life. I’m someone who benefits greatly when I can go out and have full creative control over a project and I can take the time to produce the images that I want to get without the pressures involved of a paid gig. I have two young kids and a supportive wife who understands that I need a creative outlet outside of the paid work that I do. I don’t create excuses so you shouldn’t either.

Amateurs get inspired, professionals go to work. – Christoph Niemann

It’s been over two years since I completed my last personal project which took over a year and half of shooting to complete. That project followed two luthiers as they built a handmade mandolin that was gifted to me at the end of the project. This project ended up getting accepted into a few festivals which I consider to be a success for any project. I got lucky because this project fell into my lap and is very atypical. You can check out the project here: Birth of a Luthier

 Find people that motivate you.

A friend of mine, Ben Deflorio has been an inspiration due to the fact that he always seems to have a personal project going on. Any downtime or slow periods in work, he creates a personal project which usually involves members of the community. This does a few things. One, it keeps him creatively fulfilled. Two, it keeps him involved in the community so people learn about Ben and his work. Three, his portfolio is constantly growing and changing by the amount work he is producing. He is constantly honing his skills as a photographer and plugs his work on social media further drawing attention to the services he offers. Check out Ben’s work here:

So how can you accomplish your personal project? Call on favors to keep costs low. Involve fellow filmmakers in the creation process. As a creative, you have the tools or you know someone who has the tools to create content. Borrow a camera or use your cell phone. Always remember that the tools and knowledge you have are something that most people don’t have access to so make sure you use them. Make time to be creatively fulfilled.

What is a project that you have always wanted to create? Make time and go and do it.