Category Archives: rekindle your creativity

What Made it So Scary – Tales From the Darkside

What Made it So Scary?
The Opening Title Sequence from Tales From the Darkside

Created by George A. Romero, “Tales from the Darkside,” premiered on October 29, 1983, officially ending its 90-episode run on July 24, 1988. The series featured several episodes written and directed by acclaimed horror writers/directors Clive Barker, Tom Savini, Michael Bishop, and Michael McDowell.

Although the series itself had achieved a warm reception, it was the title sequence that appeared to have really “sold the show.” Many viewers who watched it seemed to have a better memory of the first minute than the remaining 29. Now much older, I, through the eyes of a filmmaker, and Jeff Gilotti, through the ears of a musician, revisit the title sequence and determine what made it so scary.

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Rekindle Your Creativity – Inspiration

Inspiration can be a godsend. It is the spark that keeps us going, and the spark that keeps us creating. Often throughout our journey as artists and creators we lose sight, become stagnate, or even worse, bitter and resentful. It is important that we remember what initially drew us to a medium, and what called to us to create.

Creative people are generally curious of the outside word, and often gain inspiration from items outside of their normal daily interactions. That being said, try this exercise when you are at a low point and need inspiration:

Create a folder on the desktop of your computer (or print out images and make them into a book) of items that inspire you. The items don’t have to strictly be your medium of choice, and can fall outside of typical artwork. They can be not only photographs, sculptures, paintings, but also colors, words, poems, patterns, videos, people, quotes, etc. The key is to venture outside of our medium. Refer to your collection when needed to re-spark or reinstate inspiration and continue creating.

Still frames from films that inspire me (The Tree of Life, The Fountain, Blue Velvet, The Holy Mountain, Mario Bava):

As a filmmaker, photographer, poet, and performance artist, I often dabble between mediums, but generally have stuck to one style in each. For example, with photography I have stuck to straight photography (using only photographic images). Recently revisiting poetry as a performance art, I’ve found with several of my pieces (and one particular series of Dada inspired poems)  a way to incorporate them into performances. I’ve also been inspired to do a first with my photography,  merge written words from my poetry into photographs.

Photographs and photographers that inspire me (Pictorialism, Surrealism, Paul Strand, Alexander Rodchenko, Anne Brigman, Elliott Erwitt, Clarence White):

Quotes about inspiration from individuals who have initially inspired me to create, and keep creating:

Kurt Vonnegut – 2006, a group of high school students asked celebrated author Kurt Vonnegut to visit their school. He sent them the absolute perfect response (excerpt):

“What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow. Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.” Read the rest of Vonnegut’s letter

David Lynch – “We think we understand the rules when we become adults but what we really experience is a narrowing of the imagination.”

“This idea comes to you, you can see it, but to accomplish it you need what I call a “setup.” For example, you may need a working shop or a working painting studio. You may need a working music studio. Or a computer room where you can write something. It’s crucial to have a setup, so that, at any given moment, when you get an idea, you have the place and the tools to make it happen. If you don’t have a setup, there are many times when you get the inspiration, the idea, but you have no tools, no place to put it together. And the idea just sits there and festers. Overtime, it will go away. You didn’t fulfill it–and that’s just a heartache.”

Werner Herzog – “Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.”

“What most impressed us was Werner’s passionate mission to cultivate a sense of urgency in lighting a fire under our asses to make films that have big stories and convey a sense of poetry, wonder and awe. He wanted us to write, film and edit as if we were on death row and they were coming to strap us to the gurney. There is no time to waste on fear or self-doubt. You’re about to die. It takes a ridiculous amount of courage and inner fortitude to follow your instincts. It’s not for the faint of heart. Be up to the task.”- Marie Francoise Theodore

Rekindle Your Creativity – Fifteen Minute Photo Walk – Shooting At the Farm

I can’t say this enough, the best way to improve your photography skills is to shoot constantly. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Even if you never use or share the images, the act of thinking, composing, and photographing, enhances your skill set.

One of my favorite exercises for this is what I call “The Fifteen Minute Photo Walk”. The basis is simple, go to a location, take in your surroundings, and shoot anything interesting for fifteen minutes. More parameters can be added to spice things up. Here’s a few categories and items I’ve come up with to pick and choose from for fun.

Only shoot: texture, line, geometric shape, with a single lens, laying down, people, with a single prime lens, at a 1:1 ratio, vertically, from eye level, looking up, looking down, etc.

Find or express: Happiness, sadness, a photo essay, motion, stillness, change, that which is hidden, etc

For this Fifteen Minute Photo Walk I found myself at a small farm that houses a few horses and a goat. The limitation for this exercise was that I would only use one single prime lens, the Canon 100m 2.8 Macro. This lens would have not been my first choice for this type of shoot, but I found ways to use it to my advantage to capture non-traditional portraits of the animals. Here’s a few of my favorites!

This is a great exercise that can be used in any location, even when stuck in the house. I hope it inspires you to keep shooting, or to get out and start up again. Once you’ve done your Fifteen Minute Photo Walk, go ahead and share with me what parameters you set, and a few of your shots!