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SamChen
12-15-2004, 09:59 PM
Hi fellow CG filmmakers...

I'm very honored to be moderating the 2 new filmmaking forums along with Jason. This is my first post here.. so let me welcome everyone :buttrock: and share some thoughts and at the same time, start a discussion.
Where does one get INSPIRATION?
To me, before even the concept creation, screenwriting, storyboarding phases, I need to have an inspiration. An idea that is so great that you just can't wait to tell it. Or an idea (even a humble one) but you just can't wait to see if you can pull it off in CG utilizing all the know-how you've taught yourself... or plopped down $70K to learn at one of the modern art schools. :D Sometimes, this comes as a simple question or curiosity that must be satisfied.

This has been the case for every one of my shorts. So back to the original question: Where does one get their inspiration? Obviously, everyone is different but I'll list mine:

MUSIC: i like to listen to music w/ headphones on and with my eyes closed and let the mind wander. You're basically dreaming w/o sleeping. It's amazing what ideas pop into my head during this process. Keep a notepad nearby cuz you're gonna need it.
FILMS: this is obvious, but I like to watch them analytically taking notes along the way focusing on the cause and effect.. meaning what I just felt emotionally, and trying to isolate what filmic element made me feel this way. In a way, it's reverse engineering.
WALKS: i lived right next to the beach for 4 years, and when I'm needing inspirations and ideas, I take solitary walks along the water's edge and the ocean seems to coax the ideas right out.
JACUZZI: for some reason, I've gotten some of my best ideas sitting in a jacuzzi with my eyes closed and letting the steam poach my brain... and other organs :scream: Seems to work everytime.
I can go on, but I wanna leave it open.I think once you have a good source of inspiration that you can go back to consistently, it'll fuel and drive the rest of the creative process from screenwriting to storyboarding and on.

So where do you get YOUR inspirations?

marchermann
12-15-2004, 10:21 PM
I'm so glad that these two forums have been added :D

Thinking of where my inspiration comes from, I have do differ between what kind of inspiration I am looking for (if you can actually look for it, that is).

I get a lot of visual ideas from films, especially short films or experimental video. Not like "yeah, I could use this effect" but more generally trying to sample different styles and combining (currently just in my head) to suit my stories.

But where do those stories come from? Books rather than films. And very often the initial idea is sparked during conversations with other people. So one could say, that speaking with other people inspires me. This is even more true when I try to refine concepts: as I explain my idea to other people more ideas pop up in my head. This works a lot better for me than just sitting down by myself and writing it down.

Music, walks (love the seaside, too, but have none in Berlin), hot baths or just sitting on the subway are all good to get ideas in my head sorted, but to actually get inspired I guess I have to see "things happening". Then again, ideas did hit me out of nowwhere in the past, so maybe I should take a bath more often ;)

Cheers,
Marc

Iced_Eagle
12-16-2004, 12:20 AM
Amazingly enough, I get most of my ideas while I'm laying in bed.... I just sit there, and just think think think (probably why it takes me a while to go to sleep)

I take in anything that really sticks out in the past few days.... There is only one type of music that makes me think of inspiration for art and things that I could do... That is the type of vocals found in the Boondock Saints theme, World of Warcraft intro song, and some Lord of the Rings songs, oh and Halo music

Those types of songs really get me in the mood.

For movies, I always try to mimic the drama and peril... In Lord of the Rings I absolutely love those huge shots, the ammount of CG, and the feeling you get is just amazing.... I wish I could pull off scenes like those one day... I need to find a good crowd simulation program that is very flexible (dear god, why doesn't Massive release some demo to give me a taste??? :P ) and I'm not sure how well 3DSMax7's is yet... I've just messed around with it since I've never done a crowd simulation and it's only been with triangles, no bipeds..... yet ;)

For art, it's always motion that captures drama... Like a warrior swinging down his axe, Isildur in LOTR about to chop off Sauron's hand, etc etc

Oh and these forums provide TONS of inspiration :D :D

Lunatique
12-16-2004, 06:27 AM
Steven Stahlberg and I always get our best ideas while in the shower (no, not together!). We always talk about how weird that is. He thinks it's because the warm water circulates the blood to the brain in a way that makes it work in a different way.

I also get excellent ideas from dreams. I have these very cinematic and adventurous dreams that play out like a movie. I love those dreams and sometimes a certain scene from a dream will become the inspiration for a story.

Of course, everything around me is an inspiration, from real life encounters to other people's creative works.

SamChen
12-16-2004, 08:56 AM
Lunatique..

You and Stahlberg in the shower together... now THAT's a movie right there! :buttrock:
I think you guys might be on to something with your hot water and brain theory.. that would certainly explain why jacuzzis work for me.

I too also get very lucid dreams where the most foreign but intriguing scenarios would play out. When you wake up, you're often amazed that your brain is capable of dreaming up such foreign scenarios that could not have possibly come from within you. Goes to show that the subconscious brain continues working and trying permutations automagically while your consciousness is sawing logs. What's unfortunate is that most of these dreams seem to disappear out of me as my consciousness starts to dominate and take over as I wake up and start my day. Only the recurring ones seem to register permanently with my consciousness. I did keep a dream diary for awhile as a kid.. but gave that up. Now I just enjoy the ride and thank the sleeping fairies whenever there's something good. Kinda like putting away the camera while you're on vacation I guess.

So I hope Steven chimes in. I think we'd all like to know where he gets HIS inspirations? >wink<

kamsvag
12-16-2004, 10:21 AM
I'm ashamed to admit it, but most of the time it's when I see something I find realy well made and inpiering, such as the Rustboy (http://www.rustboy.com/) website, Tim Burtons "Nightmare before Christmas", the Incredibles or any other solid production, I get a feeling of envy, that I didn't get to be involved in that project. I know it's stupid. Basicly, I get most my inspiration from others who created in my opinion wonderfull stuff.

Though I find that the best ideas for creating something new, comes when brainstorming wild ideas with friends over a bottle of wine, no limits during the brainstorming, neighter for the ideas or the wine.

Chris Vaughn
12-16-2004, 12:17 PM
I too want to chime in and say that this forum is a great new addition...as far as finding inspiration, I must admit that I get zapped by the idea lighting bolt in the shower as well. I also find that when I'm bike riding along a really scenic trail that I have wonderful moments of creative ideas, I don't always carry a note pad with me but my wife and I usually ride together and when we stop for a breather I'll tell her about my idea and we will talk about it. This really helps me keep the idea fresh and also allows me to add to or solve problems with the idea.

Also, after reading a book I let it, the book, transport me away and I find that the journey the author has taken me on, at times triggers or awakens some creative spark in my mind and then over time it grows and grows until I can harvest a more developed and mature idea. I also find that brainstorming and tossing around ideas with other creative people is a fantastic way to flesh out and shape a fledgling idea.

jussing
12-16-2004, 12:47 PM
Hmmmm, inspiration....

For moods, I use movie scores... for instance, for fantasy, I'll put on LOTR, Conan or Willow. For pirate mood it'll be Muppet Treasure Island or Pirates of the Carribean, etc...

For stories - I read the news. Not kidding. Insane stuff happens out there every day, and it can be applied to any universe: space, pirates, fantasy, present-day suburbian drama...

Cheers,
- Jonas

SirReality
12-16-2004, 08:01 PM
Driving. I spend far too much time in the car and it seems watching what everyone else is doing on the road doesn't take up all of my attention. This has been annoying when I didn't have a means of safely capturing the ideas, but now I have a voice recorder with me so I can capture my thoughts while they are fresh.

In a similar vain... does anyone else feel that they don't get inspirations? Does it seem like the ideas hunt YOU down and hop into your head? Mostly when they cannot immediately be sketched / noted / whatever?

If that warm-brain idea is accurate I wonder how horribly famous inventor's love lives suffered... :shrug:

juniah
12-16-2004, 09:24 PM
Most of my inspiration comes late at night when my Insomnia kicks in. I am also inspired from films and videos that I have seen. the incredibles was awesome. I also agree with the warm water on the brain.

Juniah

kamsvag
12-16-2004, 10:33 PM
Almost forgot to mention another occasion when I get ideas that I wanna put into film...

Those times when you have absolutely nothing to do. Could be sitting on the train or while waiting at the buss. Those times when you're so bored you have to let the thoughts play to amuze yourself.

keithlango
12-16-2004, 10:58 PM
Where does my inspiration come from? Man, I wish I knew. Seriously, stuff just pops into my head, makes me chuckle or feel something. If it sticks with me longer than an hour I try and see if it has legs by wrapping my mind around how to get into or out of that moment in a narrative flow. I can usually tell if it has something to it in a few hours of story work. Lots of stuff just doesn't carry very far past that initial moment. I've had some pretty funny scenarios, images or premises pop into my head, but they don't have any meaning beyond that moment. Fine for a single panel comic strip like "Far Side", not so good for a film. Perhaps boredom is my inspiration? Or maybe just a bowl of Cheerios cereal.

-k

spudk
12-17-2004, 12:48 AM
I get most of my ideas from dreams. Really crazy stuff that is pretty vivid.

Lique
12-17-2004, 12:06 PM
I usually get inspiration just before i sleep. Strangely quite alot of ideas going through my mind when staring at the darkness before completely asleep. That way works quite well for me. :)

richcz3
12-17-2004, 06:36 PM
I get my story ideas before I go to sleep and before I get out of bed. I refine them when I go to the john. :D

I didn't even realize this part of the forum had been created. Its geeting so busy on the front page, its hard to tell whats new. Fantastic idea. I am glad someone has brought it into the fold.

BigJay
12-30-2004, 03:48 AM
I let everything inspire me.

Art is nice to look at and might give me some ideas but it is usually a simple remark someone makes that sticks in my head or something i read in the paper i might explore and come upon a story idea.

For example I was watching a discovery channel special on aligators and as the camera pulled back on some aligator trapped in a dried up lake the commentor said "trapped like a nightmare in the daylight" that got my wheel racing and I came up with a story about a twisted race of aliens that had nothing to do with aligators just that comment.

I keep my story radar on when ever I am out and about. Even people give me ideas for characters I might use in a story. No one to me is an A**H*** they are all interesting characters that are added to that reference file in my head.

I know a gay businessman who has a wife and daughter and is despritely trying to fit into his idea of the forbes, gates and steve jobs of the business world. He is so afraid of discovery that he goes as far as being confrontational about everything at work, showing up and sewing confusions and otherwise makes you so befuddled that he hopes you don't realize who he really is. This makes great material for a story even if it makes for a crazy work environment. Now some of you may have other ideas of why he acts the way he does, and the great thing about looking for story ideas is that they are all correct. Unless you're writing a documentory the ideas are what you are looking for.

After a while I get piles of notes and about once a year i toss out about 30 note books, and 20 reams of assorted papers and notes. Any ideas that are worth keeping I would of developed beyond the initial notes and will survive. This also keeps my ideas fresh instead of trapped in piles of notes i'll never have time to develop or have anything with.

I still like notebooks and paper over my laptops since I can cram a book into my pocket. The other problem with laptops/computers is that it is not as easy to toss all the ideas away since they tend to wind up all over my hard drive.

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