Down in the jungle where nobody goes. – By @eudaimonicr
Down in the jungle where nobody goes.
One of my many to-dos in life is to write an abstract children’s cartoon. The ones that are PG enough to go on Cartoon Network, but that are really made for adults. As a typical self-proclaimed screenwriter, with one short film to my name, I rarely write at all. This fact often triggers the question “why haven’t I written a creative masterpiece yet?”. It was only when I played with toys with my niece, however, and until the 1000 Scamps task, that I realised my vast potential to do so.
At the age of 15, I moved out of my mum’s house into my sister’s house, where she and my (at the time, 5-year-old) niece, Kayla, lived. Being the crappy teenager I was, I rarely played toys with my niece because I felt she left me to do all the work when coming up with a story for her collection of barbie horses. It took me until the age of 18 to realise the joy of entertaining my niece by giving voices and whacky personalities to her toy animals. Now, any chance I get to visit her we crack those bad boys out of the draw and get the party started.
It occurred to me during a creativity crash-course, delivered by Marc, why this dynamic with my niece was actually great; why it was so enjoyable for both of us. According to a scientific study which Marc referenced and that I can no longer remember, one has to be in a state of a ‘playful child’ to be effectively creative and/or creating. These playtimes with my now 10-year-old niece allow me, and require me, to be a child again.
This feeling is focused but joyfully relaxed. Focused, because it’s live storytelling- I need to hold Kayla’s attention. Joyfully relaxed, because I know she’ll most likely find anything I come up with entertaining. This knowing and flexibility is an advantage- I know what my niece will find funny or absurd. However there’s a huge vulnerability when coming up with ideas for a passion project such as my cartoons, or ideas for a brief. This is where I learned that I work well with the anarchy that is the 1000 Scamp method.
The 1000 Scamp task was a two-hour-long task to continually come up with ideas for a brief. We were told to get through a pack of paper. Although I knew I wasn’t physically capable of doing this, I still carried the pressure. For the first hour and a half, this pressure made me physically tense, critical of every scamp I drew, and generally slower with coming up with ideas. Around the hour and a half point, I hit blank. My reaction was to blow off the brief and purposely come up with bad ideas, ideas that would never work, and ideas that didn’t make sense. Quite luckily, some of my best and favourite ideas came from the last half hour of rejecting the brief. I actually had fun, akin to that of when I play with my niece.
In conclusion, I learned that it’s down in the jungle of my mind where I rarely would think to go, where it’s possible that a monkey with the same name as me is washing their clothes, is where my great ideas lie. I’m grateful to have learnt how to get there by myself now and look forward to being creative even more now.