If You Want To Make Movies, You Might Well Be Insane

The link between madness and creativity is undeniably there.  If you are, or know anyone in the indie film world, you know this is true without needing to see any further proof: it just goes with the territory, right?  And every day I try to get more movies made, seen, and appreciated, I see it clearer and clearer still.

My best advice to get a movie made remains to keep doing the same thing again and again, and expect to get a different result -- which I believe is one of the standard definitions of insanity. I take it a bit further with my metaphor though, because you aren't doing it right unless it really hurts a great deal.  I suggest that if you want to get a movie made you have to do something akin to running full speed towards a brick wall, sans helmet or pads, and expect that wall to open miraculously.  That's how you get a movie made: commit to do something that has no logic and expect your passion and commitment to change the outcome.  It's nuts. But....

And then let's look at what drives a large number of people in the field.  You want your image projected on a huge screen in front of a crowd and to spend millions of money to create and promote that image (verses using that money to somehow otherwise improve the world)?  What is that?  Ego magnified and unleashed?  And what is it that is going to get you there in the first place?  Hundreds of people's labor and money and sacrifice contributed in some way that falls far short of fair trade.  Isn't it crazy to say that is how it should be?

Or how about the creative impulse to make a movie in the first place?  How does that logic work?  You are going to sit down and write a script.  That's like saying you can build a world with worlds.  Okay, so maybe you've seen that done well so it's not totally insane, but think of the labor and time that needs to be invested to get you there.  Most scripts are written on spec, i.e. faith.  Worldbuilding requires you to believe each time you put those fingers to the keyboard that somehow all that money, all that labor, all those relationships and favors and deals, all that incredible generosity, will somehow make the choice to get behind that singular grand vision.  How can anyone expect that to happen?  You have to be nuts.

It's not just the practical on the ground proof or understanding of the process that proves the link between the creative act and the state of being bonkers: science backs it up further.

Psychology Today reported: "People with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (with the effect stronger in schizophrenia) were more likely to have parents and siblings who were in creative professions."  "The reverse sort of "non-creative" correlation was also true - folks with schizophrenia were significantly less likely to have relatives who were accountants and auditors."

Okay, does that mean that all of us in the passion business should stop procreating?  Or are we creating a new race that can chase windmills like no other?

In their article on raising a prodigy, the NY TImes put more icing on the creativity cake by pointing out

"Creativity & psychosis map similarly in the brain, each contingent on a reduced number of dopamine D2 receptors in the thalamus."

They are bedfellows.  And thankfully they get it on pretty regularly.  Shine on you crazy diamonds.  I don't know what I would do if it was not for you.  You make this world such a wonderful place.  Each effort leads to more and we get closer and closer to that glorious sun that warms our face and helps us to go on -- and certainly gets out of bed each morning.