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Words about words, brands, names and naming, and the creative process.

#sparkchamber 032017 Ryan Allen

Another fun time in the #sparkchamber, today with Ryan Allen, a maker of film and music in Gainesville Florida.

1.] Where do ideas come from?

My ideas seem to come from everywhere and I like that. The trick for me is timing. Sometimes, when I'm paying the least attention, they gurgle up from the tar pits. Other times it's like chasing jet planes with a butterfly net. Go figure. Travel is a great idea trigger. So are business meetings, working on something else, traffic, and hot baths. That moment of returning from sleep too. When my brainstorming is clogged by self-doubt, I'll try old standbys like flipping open a dusty old book to nab a few random words or just plain slowing down (stopping's even better) like movie criminals do when they're cornered by the police- stop/catch my breath/look around, then run like hell.Regardless of their origin, there are always more ideas than I can commit to memory so I use my phone for written notes, sound samples, and photographs.

2.] What is the itch you are scratching?

Lately it's about my artistic voice — how to articulate ideas that others will readily understand. Also, how to not worry about that. How to make a difference by entertaining, inspiring, fostering. Short of that, I'm wondering what's for lunch.

3.] Early bird or night owl, tortoise or hare?

Conception work and writing is better for me as a solitary night owl — my mind is more relaxed and I can work at my own pace. Execution, on the other hand, often requires teaming up with others so I try to be more hare-like and not waste anyone's time.

4.] How do you know when you are done?

As soon as the check hits the bank. If the work has a goal, then meeting that goal makes it finished. And while "done is better than perfect" is often the pragmatic answer, the creative answer is "never" — creative work can be considered complete at multiple stages (some of my favorite drawings are preliminary sketches). Similarly you can ask any kid about their finger painting and they'll tell you why it's finished — "It just is." Lastly, at gunpoint, I'd have to say that a piece is done the moment someone benefits from experiencing it.