Sunday, February 28, 2010

Disney Inspirations

I am currently wearing a sweatshirt, winter vest and long pants on our family vacation in Kissimee Florida. It is like a Canadian spring here weather-wise, but there is hope that the heat will appear on Monday. Our frost-bitten fingers and toes are crossed.

My first trip to the Magic Kingdom was when I was 26 with a group of buddies after a week partying in Daytona. Since that first visit I have tried to return as often as possible to gain inspiration, direction and motivation for my own creative projects and schemes. There is something about Walt's world that helps me to re-focus and puts me in the right (childlike?) frame of mind to unlock my creativity. Oh, and the kids seem to be enjoying themselves as well.

I thought I would share two things that inspired me this week in the hope that it might inspire you as well. One thing came from a quote that I saw displayed on a wall in the one of the parks. It's from Walt Disney himself and is ridiculously simple, direct and practical.

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."
-Walt Disney

To be honest there are several things on my mental project 'shelf' that are waiting to be brought to life, realized and frankly exorcised from my brain! I have been talking about them, pre-planning their birth and fantasizing about what they could be without doing anything to make them a reality. Now is the time. No more procrastinating. No more talking. It's time to begin doing.

My other inspiration came from a documentary about the creation of Disney World entitled Magic Kingdom - Imagineering the Magic. It's a DVD I picked up at one of the parks and watched on my laptop in my room last night. It was during one of the interviews with Tony Baxter who is currently the Senior Vice President of Creative Development with Walt Disney Imagineering, that I heard something that struck a chord. He was talking about the numerous ideas, concepts and projects that had never seen the light of day for a variety of reasons. Whether it was a ride, an audio-animatronic, a original song composition, etc. He said that every good idea never dies. Eventually they put every workable thing to work somewhere at sometime.

For the past three years (wow!) Richard Sanders and I have been working together on magic projects and tools for magicians to use. Check it out here:
The thing that hit home about Baxter's interview was that Rich and I have come up with literally dozens and dozens of great ideas. In and of themselves they are not yet worthy of any project, routine or product BUT they will continue to exist in the back of our minds, written in notebooks, on audio files recorded on an iPhone, in email exchanges, etc. What I have learned is that some ideas can only be 'worked' for a limited amount of time before the excitement and motivation behind the idea eventually dies. It's what you do as a creator at this point that can either make or break the creative energy. You can soldier on and continue to hash it out until you have something that may look like something half decent OR you can shelve it (mentally or physically) and come back to it when the time is right. It is the latter action that I have learned in the past year, to be the best way to put ideas to work and to save your sanity (and partnership!). If you beat an idea into submission, after losing your excitement for it, you lose the joy of the creative process and subsequently the idea will not be as great as it could have been. By putting it aside for a time the idea is allowed to distill and grow on it's own. At the right time (something that is felt rather than decided) the idea will come to fruition on it's own and present itself ready. Sounds like a zen thing. And I think it kind of is.

Anyways, I have to get out of the room and get on some rides. I hope something inspires you.

Until next time, think GREAT thoughts.

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