Creative process can be inspirational, productive

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Column by Robert Villanueva

By Robert Villanueva

A few weekends ago I found myself driving to Louisville on a Friday night. My friend Laura had invited me to help write the script for a short film for the 48-Hour Film Project.

The crux of this competition is that filmmakers meet at a certain time and place on Friday night, randomly draw a genre, receive certain elements required to be in the film and have 48 hours to produce a work.

This was a completely new experience for me and a welcome change from my routine. Truth be told, I was looking forward to being part of a creative spark that ignited the fuse that would ultimately produce a short film.

My role as one of the writers began and ended Friday night, early Saturday morning. Laura, another writer and I spent the evening bouncing ideas off each other and developing the story together.

This column isn’t about that film competition per se. I enjoyed meeting new people and working on the script together, but what I enjoyed most is the creativity involved.

Other than the actual act of writing, engaging in a creative endeavor — no matter what it might be — always inspires me.

While I think any good writing is the result of work, work and more work, the element of inspiration that can spring from an environment of creativity can motivate thought to action. And exposure to so much creativity from different sources can open new avenues of thought.

It also provides specific boundaries for that creativity, so the experience at once is right brain and left brain.

Because of the deadline, decisions had to be made fairly quickly. One of the goals of the team was to have a finished script by the end of the evening.

It’s one thing to come up with a lot of great ideas; it’s another to come up with ideas that are feasible to film on such short notice, taking into account schedules of the actors and actresses and available props and locations.

Just after midnight, maybe 12:30 a.m. or thereabouts, we had completed the script.

Though I wished I had been able to be involved further and see the final results, other commitments kept me from doing so.

Regardless of anything else, the team that allowed me to participate already had won before submitting their entry Sunday.

They challenged themselves creatively and turned thought into action.

Personally, I enjoy new challenges, and I know better than to depend on inspiration to hit when it comes to writing.

After I left that Louisville residence that night, I was met with yet another creative challenge: how to get home when all the southbound Interstate 65 exits in Louisville were closed for road construction. It took a few attempts to realize this was the case and it was a pretty good surprise for me at 1 a.m.

But I had that creative energy running through me. So what if my cell phone had died hours earlier. I was up to another challenge, right?

OK, so there were a few moments of concern. In addition to frequently not knowing where I was, at one point I found myself being followed by an SUV through every turn and even turnarounds for a full 15 minutes. Eventually the vehicle following me pulled up next to me and honked the horn, much to my apprehension.

After the SUV window rolled down I was reassured by the female driver she was looking for a way to get onto I-65 south and not following me.

It might have taken getting lost, maneuvering through neighborhoods I didn’t know existed, backtracking down a street or two, and a few choice words spoken to a dead cell phone, but I found my way after about an hour.

Creativity can truly be productive.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.