The Creative

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The Creative – “it has to flow”

Bob: um and I think when you’re editing, the decision you make, if you look back it has to like flow with the rest of the film, it has to flow with how the characters are, what their personalities are like, how do they act …

It is pleasing to hear Bob use the same conceit selected for my account in his description of flowing material. The boys are copying the conventions of continuity editing, which for some is an all-absorbing process, and for which the conditions for Csikszentmihalyi’s “flow” are perfectly pitched. Bob implies that through a process of revision, the organic whole will coalesce, not just visually but also conceptually. This is despite his initial reluctance to get on with the technical task of editing his cut. See: @ 2:00 mins

… You gotta have it like mixed up with lots, you gotta vary it up, cos if you don’t in editing then it’s just going to be boring to watch with nothing to catch your eye… I think the most difficult thing in editing are the tiny decisions you make, not the decision to put this shot in, it’s like where to cut it, how long do you have the scene for,  I mean those little ones that we don’t think about as much are really difficult for me to decide cos I don’t know what’s perceived to be right, it’s like unknown.

Interviewer: So what have you got to rely on?

Bob: I think your gut helps a lot …

Here Bob seems to perfectly encapsulate Sennett’s notion of the “intuitive leap” (2008:209) outlined earlier in this account. It is the creative process of sequencing “twined presence(s)” (ibid) of at least two elements and making a series of tiny decisions based on gut feeling. His sticking point seems to be his capacity for risk-taking – to allow himself to feel the “surprise” (ibid) of a unique juxtaposition and the “gravity” (ibid), in the sense of ‘fall’, of a constraint. His potential for spontaneity possibly suffers from his desire to be thorough, as evidenced in the transcript and in the clip of him editing, see @ 2:30 mins. This is the facilitator’s cue to steer him through that unknown territory and encourage faith in improvisation.

Lyall’s clip was the most revealing in terms of learning progression and Csikszentmihalyi’s “flow”. An apathetic, seemingly under-confident, resigned attitude changed over the course of a few minutes to one of engagement and pride in his work, to the extent that he offered his edit as the one to be viewed by the class at the end of the session. See Csikszentmihalyi’s model of suggested levels of progression towards a ‘flowing’ state of productivity.

Coaxing Lyall into action could also demonstrate the Vygotskian principle of the externalisation of higher abstract thinking through guided experimental play. It may also be the case that talking and performing to camera facilitated Lyall’s passage from half-hearted, defensive group member (at this particular stage in the film making process at any rate, as elsewhere he made positive contributions and enjoyed the role of spokesperson) to assertive, creative and participative editor. See @ 22:10 mins.

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