Creativity is a spring that could run dry when you need it the most and hence needs regular honing.
Taking the stage at TED Talks and TEDx, Hollywood actors Ethan Hawke and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and director Taika Waititihave have shared their perspectives on what it means to be creative and how to harness one’s creativity. Here are our takeaways from the three talks.
In his TED Talk on creativity, actor-writer-director Ethan Hawke, who recently played the villainous Arthur Harrow in the Marvel mini-series Moon Knight, encourages everyone to explore their creativity and stop worrying about “playing the fool” by expressing themselves.
Stressing how creativity can connect people on an emotional plane, Hawke says when people feel profound emotions, they start to look for others who have felt the same.
Citing examples from his own life, Hawke recounts how the 1986 action film Top Gun starring Tom Cruise inspired him and his stepbrother to tap into their creative potential in different ways. It motivated Hawke to become keener on his acting career, while his brother, who recently retired as a decorated officer, decided to become a soldier.
In this straight-from-the-heart 2019 TED Talk, Joseph Gordon-Levitt touches upon the opposing relationship between attention and creativity and goes on to illustrate the pitfalls of social media addiction with examples from his own life. “If your creativity is driven by your desire to get attention, you’re never going to be creatively fulfilled,” he says.
Highlighting the dangers of social media addiction, the 500 Days of Summer star explains how one’s need for attention should be channelled properly to fuel creative pursuits. He prescribes collaborations with other creative minds and total honesty in order to rekindle the creativity spark.
Gordon-Levitt also shares how attention-seeking behaviour on social media had affected his own creativity — he became too conscious about his Twitter presence and looked for movies that could earn him positive response on social media, instead of considering the merits of the script.
Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi at the 2010 TEDx event in Doha details his creative journey and artistic adventures. He talks about how he has incorporated the things he obsesses over in his art over the years. He confesses that he was once obsessed about Adolf Hitler and drew moustaches on everything to make them look like Hitler. He went on to portray Hitler, or at least a version of Hitler in a young boy’s imagination, in Jojo Rabbit (2019).
Referring to his interest in painting and visual arts, the New Zealand filmmaker explains that one should not stay with a single artistic avenue, encouraging everyone to explore new paths without thinking about critical approval.
He recounts the days when he played a stripper in the TV series The Strip (2002-2004) and emphasises the need to embrace bad creative experiences and learn from them.