10 things creative people can learn from La La Land

I planned to kick off the blogging year by a self affirmative and motivational post how to best achieve your New Year resolutions. Then I went to see an early screening of La La Land… and now I have to re-shuffle my posting schedule!

 Credit:  Dale Robinette
Credit:  Dale Robinette

La La Land blew me away and touched upon a lot of points I wanted to make in that New Years motivational blog post. So I felt compelled to do this write up as a semi prequel… just with less Jar Jar Binks! 

I expected the movie to be a sweet romance with some whimsical music numbers thrown in for good measure. What I didn’t expect was getting a multi layered meditation on creative ambition, dreams, insecurities, doubt, pain, love, happiness and despair on top of it!

It’s the story of how two struggling creatives falling in love in LA: Mia being an aspiring actor, Seb dreaming of playing Jazz and owning his own club. Garnished with amazing cinematography, lush colours, a great soundtrack and fun dance numbers, this movie feels like Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers via Wes Anderson. 

  Credit:   Dale Robinette
Credit:  Dale Robinette

This is really as far as I like to go reviewing it. I urge everybody to watch this movie for him or herself first without listening to any hype or reviews!

Still, I really like to discuss some of the themes that stood out for me.

Like any piece of art, how one will read a movie is deeply personal. Some might see La La Land as just a love story, some might see it as a critique of glitzy LA and some might just enjoy the film for it’s musical numbers and forget it the next day. 

Most reviews I read after touch upon the vintage musical feel the movie successfully recreates but somehow fail to mention how perfectly it discusses what it takes to be successful as a creative person.

Personally I think director Damien Chazelle crafted yet another great film dissecting the dynamics of creative relationships. His last Oscar nominated film “Whiplash” from 2014 was showing a dysfunctional relationship between an aspiring drummer and his tyrannical mentor, asking how far is too far in order to achieve artistic greatness and immortality. 

 Photo by Daniel McFadden, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. .
Photo by Daniel McFadden, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. .

La La Land is far more romantic, subtle and paints a broader picture on how difficult life as a creative person struggling for success and fulfillment can be.

Being a Designer, Artist and DJ myself I loved how the film followed the characters from their humble beginnings to the conclusion of their path, touching on many obstacles designers, artists, actors and musicians face every day.

So without further gushing here are…

10 inspirational things creative people can learn from watching La La Land

1. Have passion

If you don’t care about what you are creating how will you make your client or audience excited about your output? If you are more committed to your Facebook feed than your actual work it might be time to hand in your apron.

2. Don’t be a hermit

Hiding away in your studio is no fun. Go outside and hang out with great people you can bounce ideas around with. Your brain needs fresh air!

3. Endure the pain of creativity

Nobody says it’s gonna be easy. You will be judged, applauded, torn down, insulted, celebrated, hated, mocked, loved, fired and hired. Don’t let this shaky ride discourage you!

4. Respect your fellow artists

Even if you disagree with the work of a fellow creative: Don’t dish out the same vitriol you got served by that horrible client just two hours ago! Try to be respectful and give productive feedback.

5. Just do it

If you don’t start planting seeds nothing can grow. One idea might die, the next might grow into a beautiful flower. You never know until you actually put something out there and see what happens!

6. Don’t be stuck in your ways

Maybe you become exactly the painter you dreamt to become. Or maybe you realise that teaching art is more your forte than standing in a studio in solitude working. Wherever your journey will take you, don’t be afraid to improvise!

7. Stay on target

We all need to pay our bills so you might have to make concessions in your creative endeavours to make ends meet. This is just to give you some stable foundation to build your dream on. Don’t get cushy and forget about your original ambitions! 

8. Never give up

Things can become overwhelmingly tough. Self doubt can be crippling but curling up in the fetal position is not really an option that gets you anywhere. Dust yourself off and keep on walking, who knows where it takes you.

9. Be aware of the price of success

Everybody wants to be successful, but nobody wants to pay the price to get there! Late hours, a crazy work load and pushing your dream alone in the studio whilst your mates have fun down the pub… all this can be the price you have to be willing to pay to get where you want to go. 

10. Never stop dancing!

Don’t forget that life is more than ambition, work and long hours in front of the computer. The ultimate goal of every endeavour should be to become a more happy and healthy person!

Let me know your thoughts about the movie and about my 10 things i picked up on in the comments! I would love to read them!

I wish everybody a HAPPY and CREATIVE 2017!!!

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