Featured Explorer: David Schroeder, Communications Director
1 - Tell me about what type of creative you are?
While I work mostly in the video/film world, I would describe myself as a writer and conceptual creative. There is nothing I love more than collaborating with other artists to create something new. I come from a background in theatre, so understanding the process of working with multiple creative artists with different skillsets to produce an innovative project seems intuitive to me. The same is true of working in film; the work is focused on a single written vision but requires many people with varying talents. Bringing together technical, design, language and performance into a unified creation is something that is difficult to accomplish, but amazing to see when it is executed well.
2 - What inspires you to be creative?
Sometimes inspiration comes through an input process, a book, a song or a movie, but more often I think creativity is born from a challenge. It comes from banging your head against the wall and trying to find a solution to a creative brief or a communications challenge. Creativity is about taking something specific from your mind and conveying it into the mind of another person or audience. Trying to figure out how to roll that boulder up the hill of conception and down the slope of reception demands a huge amount of effort and thought, which inevitably demands creative solutions. Creativity doesn’t exist on its own within a vacuum, it is the answer to a problem.
3 - What books are you currently reading that you would recommend?
Wow. This could be a long list, but these are some of my favorites: Storytelling on Steroids, Storywars, Contagious, How Brands Become Icons, Convergence Culture, Art & Fear and Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This!
4 - What is one tool you would recommend someone having to make them more creative?
I don’t know of a specific tool, but one technique I use is to think of three creative projects every single day. None of the ideas can be related to anything you are currently working on, but can be any kind of creative idea: a shirt design, a new mode of transportation, a podcast, a short play; anything. If you do that every single day, eventually you will train your mind to think creatively under a deadline.
5 - What is your favorite creative project you have ever worked on?
In my first year of graduate school at NYU, there was a month long process called the Games Project that involved the entire graduate class of that year. Every single day the eighteen members of the class would combine into constantly changing groups to create a dozen or so performance sketches, at the end of the month the best pieces were selected from the several hundred options and performed for an audience. Not being creative was not an option, and when you had your back against the wall, exhausted from concocting new material all day, your mind would somehow find a solution. I imagine the process is something like working at SNL, but when you combine that many creative individuals in a small space for a long period of time, eventually you come up with something good. You also get a lot of shit….but, hey, that’s part of the game. Don’t let failure scare you, just learn to fail better.