I have a theory.
This theory started when I was in college. Back before DVDs and online streaming, it was nearly impossible to watch a movie that was no longer in the theaters and movie classics could rarely be seen outside of film festivals. So, it was a special treat to see Hitchcock’s classic Rear Window in college as part of a film class I was taking .
They got the film from Universal Studios and showed it at the student union in the middle of campus. The theater was packed with film class students and those who heard about the screening. After the lights dimmed and Grace Kelly’s magical entrance onto the screen, the suspense started in earnest. As the plot unfolded and the tension mounted, you could sense the crowd growing anxious. When a major event occurred on screen it was the first time I heard an audience scream out loud in the theater.
It was awesome.
That film experience was so memorable and inspirational for me that I wanted to try and recreate that for others. Even though I was drawn to film as a child, that showing of Rear Window changed my direction and my focus.
And that’s where my theory comes in.
I think that creative people have all had that one moment that redefined their path. And they spend the rest of their lives trying to recreate that feeling for others. For me that path has evolved from film to novels, but the goal is still the same.
I don’t know if my theory is true. I haven’t collected enough stories as to what inspired stand-ups to stand-up, or Stephen King to scare the crap out of us, or why Scorcese creates films about the mob, but I figure there’s got to be something tangible, definitive and tied to the creative collective.
I could be wrong. Maybe stand-ups stand-up because their childhoods were so miserable, or Stephen King writes scary stories because it helped him pick up chicks or Scorcese makes mob movies because he likes the way they dress. I don’t know.
But I hope it’s more than that. I hope it’s part of an on-going cycle of inspiration/reaction/recreation/inspiration. That would be cool.
I may be proven otherwise, but, until then, that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.
If you’d care to share your moment of creative inspiration, I’d love to hear it. Let us know in the comments section.