« Freakonomics Radio

369. A Good Idea Is Not Good Enough

2019-02-27 | 🔗

Whether you’re building a business or a cathedral, execution is everything. We ask artists, scientists, and inventors how they turned ideas into reality. And we find out why it’s so hard for a group to get things done — and what you can do about it. (Ep. 4 of the “How to Be Creative” series.)

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Fr Economics, radio sponsored by progressive insurance were customers save an average of more than seven hundred fifty dollars when they switch and save visit, progressive dot com to get your car insurance quote, it only takes about seven National annual average auto insurance savings by new customers surveyed in twenty nineteen potential savings will very, if you'd like to listen to for economics, radio without ads the place to do that is sticker premium five dollars and you can get a free month trial by going to stick your premium dot com and use a promo code freak. You also get access to all our bonus. Episodes and you'll be supporting our show to that sticker premium. Dot com promo code, freak thanks So I'm at Harvard undergrad lights things like if my sophomore year, and
taking this course called idea: translation affecting changed to art and science, that's Jessica, O Matthews, and this class was back in two thousand and eight I had heard from people that they give you some money to do. Some cool stuff, and that, unlike my, universities. They wouldn't owned the cool thing that you didn't character and cool stuff. I confronting us, you want, happens like we should say you were not remotely you're, not an engineer earn an engineer. Wanna be I was. I was studying psychology and economic, so I grew up wanting to be inventor. You know my father's business man, my sister, who had been at Harvard for two years before me. She it she actual studying film and but she told my dad majoring dad that economics and of labour. So two years passes. And she graduates and my despair here. Oh visual on environmental studies and my dad has always has a heart attack in like the graduation stadium and so on. There does, like our dead, already dead, all at economics so anyway, I so so who taking this course
and I remembered thinking back to when I was seventeen when I was in nigeria- and I was at I on sweating and as expected, we lost power, as expect we brought in a decent generator and the fumes were. So bad and my car who were in their twenties at the time they were just like. Dont worry, you'll, get used to it and that's what like shook me out. I don't worry I'll get used to it, and so I go K. There's that that's a problem, for you know the people in my like my fears, there's a plan for people in the world. You have one point: three billion people around the world who, still to this day, they don't have, I blacks this electricity when the sun goes down, that's often the end of their day and lets a travesty, so Matthews faced with the classroom, I meant to invent something that would effect change through art and science. She thought about this problem and she thought about creative way to address it, and I observed my cousins
showing passion and showing site meant when they were playing soccer right. So this is where the psychology comes in and you know the same cousins that we're seeing dont worry, get used to it like had all these high Lou in delusional ideas about what they could do under soccer pitch. That date does couldn't do they were not as good as Pele in anything away but like they would tell you they were, and it's like this is how you, to be attacking life, though that you know I want to invent something, not something that would solve the energy problem, but that would dressed in a manner that would inspire people to be part of the movement towards solving it. The end she came up with was ingenious, a soccer ball that captures the kinetic energy, the builds up as its being kicked and turns it into enough electrical energy to power a reading late. She called her electric soccer ball, the socket it one,
some fans in very high places, a sum you saw the socket soccer ball, but we were kicking around the generates electricity as its kicked. I don't want to get through technical, but I thought it was pretty cool after the socket came, jumper that use the same technology. Matthews finished her undergrad degree and got an mba also at Harvard, and she started a company based in Harlem, called uncharted power. The soccer ball and the jump rope didn't turn out to be durable. But Matthews has raised seven million dollars in venture capital and is pushing her need to work on a larger scale. The electrical grid itself aren't platforms, called more sales promotion based Osgood, renewable energy and its platform. That basically leverages are innovations in energy generation, energy, transmission and energy storage. To offer what we like to call convenient energy
one advantage of convenient energy, theoretically least, is that it is decentralized and therefore would not require the massive capital investments that power plants traditionally need. How well will Jessica, Matthews idea actually work target and Matthews, wouldn't get into the details of uncharted powers, technology and implementation. So why by telling the story, because it's a story about the power of a good idea, and I thank you Neither turning kinetic energy that bun degenerate generate into electricity is a good idea. Really, why I'm telling you this story is to point out that a good idea is worth nothing without great execution swear, Jessica. Matthew stands right now, and she knows it. I think These are great, but in a weird way it's almost like they're they're meaningless and they don't actually make a difference in our lives and so, like I
to figure execution, because how can I go to my cousins? Viewing? I have this cool idea for, generating soccer ball and then, like two weeks later, ok how's it goin on, like I said, more ideas like what you're Tellin dumbstruck Jessica. So I had to come back and be like used prototype, wouldn't think everyone's. Be motivated by different things, but I'm the kind of inventor that's looking to make whatever time. We have in this world better. And so execution has always been part of it. So far in this house to be creative series, we ve looked at what sort of circumstances produce creative people and how schools affect creativity. We ve looked at where a creative people get their ideas. Today we explore and off from idea to execution and why making something in making it work can be so hard. You can have perfection on a piece of paper in Sudan
a beautifully design, piece of architecture, oral, fantastic recipe or a great script. And it's gonna really go south when you try to execute I am from stature and Gunnar productions. This history economics, radio broadcasts and explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your home Stephen definite. Isaacson has written biographies of seven. The most creative people in history Leon dementia, Benjamin Franklin Albert Einstein and Steve jobs through in a first step at apple, was such a perfection is
holds up shipping the original Mackintosh, because he doesn't think the Circuit Board inside is pretty enough, even though nobody will ever and after a while, he gets fired from apple because such a perfectionists anyway, I will real artist sign their work, meaning they have to wait until the perfect before they ship. When he comes back to Apple the end of the ninety nine ease. They give him a new model, which is real artists. Shep. But how do you ship you work? How do artists science, inventors. Another creative people turn the sparks. Flying around in their heads into something they can share with the world. Well, one of the difficult things, of course, is moving projects forward. There's a big difference between the idea execution. That's the pioneering astrophysicist, Margaret Geller and son.
I miss you know you start to do something and nature just doesn't conform, and you wonder why me, after the fact it's fun, but it's not so much fun. What you're doing it s? Often very slow. It takes a long time. A lot of it is drudgery. It's not as You have an idea to Morrow. You write a paper and use a minute the journal, and it's done, and I think, It's the same with our with writing. Now there are exceptions to prove every rule the writer, Michael Louis, for instance, among his books, are the big short money ball and the undoing project, even when he writes about complicated topics Louis is. Writing is extraordinarily pleasurable an easy to read. So I once asked Louis
can't be so pleasurable uneasy right. Can it? Yes, it is pleasurable uneasy I to ruin your punchline, but actually was hard for me. Is figuring out in the beginning. What I want to say spend a lot of time, gathering material and organizing material before I sit down the right I'd, say: three quarters of the time is that when the actual writing starts its it. For me, fun, it's just fuck em, it's fun in hard, but it in its heart is hard and a fun way and people who like my wife who is walking on me. Why? I'm writing? I right we had design that displays a loop, the same the same playlists that I've built for whenever book. I'm writing and I to hear anything in the world outside my, but when I'm doing an apparent I'm saying: they're laughing, older and so big basic alarmed laughing at my own jokes
but I am well aware that people my kid Emma. I say that, as you say, you have a death laughing all the time. Ok, so, let's set Michael Louis aside his own category, the untoward artist. Let's look at a project that was so difficult to execute, then its creator did not finish it in his lifetime and which is still being worked on today. Nearly assent tree after his death. If you ve ever been to Barcelona Europe, you know what I'm talking about the Sagrada Familia Church design. And by Antonio Di among the world's best known architects today who, during his lifetime was a trap, maker. He was someone who was very loath to to follow the kind of textbooks standard way gas than hens. Bergen is a dutch art historian, who has written a biography of Gouty he's also, interestingly, a certified suckling, pig specialist. Yes,
I trained to write a cookery book. In fact, an using food is aware, of understanding a different culture, so I went to train and Sylvia and the Centre of Spain, just north of Madrid as a sucking picture. I, let's get back to Gouty the man, behind the unfinished masterpiece in Barcelona. He was someone who was prepared not to just go down the orthodox route of what his teaches was hanging. In fact, once somebody asked him who influenced? You may say said why probably learn more from watching my father. Taking boilers than I ever learned at architectural school. He was born in eighteen fifty, to an grew up in a rural area outside of Barcelona as a child He suffered badly from from a kind of a useful version of arthritis. And so ass, a kid he couldn't always go to school and his father, who was a
Will it make a for making the stills for brandy distilling would take amount to the workshop out in the country. He was enthralled by the exam look of buildings around the world, it was also face. Generation, the first generation that could actually just look at photographs and see fit grocer building all over the world and he spent all. His free time in the library just going through magazines and looking at photographs of buildings. He was also enthralled by nature. The little details of shells. The way the wind blew the way the trees grow. The gun. Imagine cool kind of fibonacci sequences Annette appear sunflower heads and all of these things, it is kind of instinctively, but very empirically
noticing and an end would would reappear in his buildings and his building techniques. Late Rome Gaddi studied architecture formally in Barcelona, but was unimpressed by the orthodoxy of his teachers. It bore him when he started getting commissions for houses and apartment building in parks. He was relentlessly experimental. His traditional elements were exotic this modern elements phantasmagoric Howdy was also an oddball hermit celebrate in something of a desperate show up at a building site in the morning in order the contractors to demolish what they built the day before, so that he could redesign it. Meanwhile,
in the rural Catalonia were he'd grown up? There was a massive economic disruption caused by four Luxor, a disease that ruin the great finds that the source of many farmers income once the vines started, attacked and people lost their vines and they lost their livelihoods, came flood, into the cities and it meant that there was massive massive social pressure from a predominantly illiterate working class, which would fill the factories and massive overcrowding and the working classes felt that they were being abused. Particular with the church. They felt that sometimes the church was Miss using its so called charity looking after them, but actually in a sense controlling them. The catholic church was looking to rehabilitate it
patient ship with these newly urban parishioners. So it decided to build a huge church in a working class part of Barcelona. It would be dedicated to the Holy family the Sagrada Familia, because after all Joseph was a carpenter, the Holy family could act as a model that the working man, they're handicraft or whatever should be something that is respected. God, he himself was a very conservative catholic, his feelings for the church and for Jesus Wren, deep and pure right at the heart of his belief system. Was this idea of a crisis. Bring is something that we understand only through our own suffering That is ultimately, generosity, of course, was to die for us when gouty risks If the commission to build the Sagrada Familia after the original architect resigned from the project,
He was only in his early thirties and I think God he felt his duty as an architect and certainly with this rather familiar, was that building should reflect the glory of God and the God was working through him. Caddies concept for the church was massive, extraordinarily detailed mash up of every architectural style under the sun, but like nothing, anyone had ever seen it included lifelike sculptures of bible stories, emphasis on the light. Like say when, on the Sagrada Familia you have the flights to Egypt. He wanted a dog, It had to be life size. He sends one of his workmen over to look around for donkey. That might because if it had walked forty days through the desert and he finds them by man's donkey and he gets it- puts it in the harness chloroform the donkey and then puts it into plaster and makes moulds. He does it with chicken with glee.
Is one of the most dramatic moments. It is actually the slaughter of the innocent swear little babies being Costa, by this giant. Roman centurion total gonna. Brutal scene Spain have his head smashed on the ground and Gouty actually took still born children, cost them, and the use, those models for the sculptures. That would then be on the face of his building the scale. Both Syria and Interior was way larger than life designed to inspire. Ah, the interior, Four pillars resemble a forest of grand trees, trees, a entities, somebody most efficient pieces of architecture, a groan not build and the way that they can put up with wind in the way that they know where they should got a new branch and he creates this laboratory. Forest is extraordinary forest of column,
As you walk in and the soaring space just so dramatic stained glass windows in this amazing light, a mean, even if you weren't religious, that is a very, very powerful kind of explosion of space daddy. Work on the project for the rest of his life, eventually moving into the basement workshop, later on in life. He became very see two key. He made his own clothes. He looked more and more kind of like a like a tramp. He lived. The whole purpose of Sagrada Familia, which was to create this new. Christian Temple on scale, which today's is kind of owning, just were beginning to see what was an extraordinary gun of
fantasy and dream that Gouty had created for this building. I'm also curious because of what Gouty said about creativity. As you write creation works ceaselessly through man, but man does not create. He discovers those who seek out the laws of nature as support for their new work collaborate with the creator, those who copy are not collaborators. For this reason, originality consists in returning to the origin. So to me that is but of a paradox, and I wonder if you can explain that for me as it relates to Gouty, and especially, I guess, as it relates to the Sagrada Familia Well I mean I, I often think back Isaac Newton, saying. Look, I was just like a little boy walking along the beach picking but pebbles- and I noticed one- was shine on the other and
there is a sense of humility about Gautier genius as well, and this idea of going back to the origin, because One of his signature discoveries and something which became right at the core of his building technique was the discovery of the power of the continued research and the continuing arches. Take a chain hold up doing your fingers and let it drop. Its gravity, pulling it down, which of course, for a gouty becomes another can religious metaphor, because who is it that invents gravity? Well, God, of course, but what you get it is this chain formation if its flip over it forms this criterion. Which is the most economical shape in architecture. He uses that as a kind of leitmotif for the last twenty thirty years of his creative life and works on a model As for the half metres high, and all these,
little chains with little bank shot, gun, pellets, representing the different stresses, etc. Almost like an analog computer sitting. There, but tell me, is out in the countryside. People must have thought here who is this madmen and creating a system which is still used today by the architects the working on the Sagrada Familia to try and finish it for twenty twenty six, two thousand, Many six will be the hundred year anniversary of gouty death. He died at each seventy three after getting hit by a street car, as the story goes his ragged clothes. Lead passers by to think he was a tramp, not the city's, most famous architect. In any case, a team of art acts is continuing God. These work on the Sagrada Familia, by necessity they are amending his original plans. To some. This is a betrayal of go
He's original genius gay spend hence and is not one of those people. He thinks it's line with what Gouty himself would have done well. Clearly, we can go back to just what was built by Howdy Gouty New equally that future agenda nations would have to work on and you know he talked about shot end of cathedrals, saying that in a god four hundred years to finish charge. It took six hundred years, Barcelona Cathedral in the gothic quarter, ends the garden is, is very patient as a client. He it you know he does don't be hurried. Gouty was constantly tinkering with his design, sometimes changing them from day to day execution by tinkering turns out. This is a common thread. Among many created,
Leonardo Da Vinci work done the Mona LISA for more than fifteen years Walter Isaacson again during that period he was descending. The human face figuring out every nerve and muscle that touches leaped, figuring out how details of sight go right into the centre of retina, but would you say in the course of your eye or shadows in colors, so he uses all that knowledge, for example, to make the deed deals on the Mona LISA Smile goes straight, but the shadows in colors go up. So this I'll flickers on and off, depending on how you are looking at it. He also has it so perfectly anatomically correct that the most amazing and memorable smile ever created all of these things. He does over the course of this very long period. As he's living in MILAN and then in Rome, and then in Florence and then taking it across the Alps, where the money goes to Paris, he s,
later after layer of tiny translucent brush drugs until it can make what is probably the most perfect painting ever done? The most perfect painting ever done pretty hard to quantify. There are people, however, who spent a great deal of time. Try to quantify different trends in painting over the centuries different styles of execution, and there What value I am David, son. I may professor of economics at the University of Chicago, and you would describe your research specialty as what I study creativity and really more specifically, the life cycles of human creativity. What? try to do is find the process. You know one of the mechanisms behind FED discoveries. Most great painters throughout history are considered innovators, at least on some dimension, but balanced and separates these innovators into two camps. What he calls experimental
and conceptual lists divinity and Gouty would fit into the experimental is category Caesar empiricists they're interested in perception. Starvation generalization about the real world. They have very vague, but very ambitious goals because they're vague their uncertain how to achieve them. So but by trial and error, these people who never reach their goal. There never satisfied. Another example would be pulses on. Very near the end of his life. He wrote to a younger artist. He said the progress needed is endless and thats experimental creativity. You never can reach the goal. Seize on wanted to use the realism of the old master paintings he loved with the immediacy of a new style impressionist impression, is unwise, as the name implies it was an ephemeral, momentary art. So Susan was frustrated with impression. Ism with tee
superficiality, there's, no depth and impressionist paintings. These are all just on the surface. He set out to combine the bright colors of impression ISM This, the solidity of the old masters so says, answer to do something that was essentially impossible, but he spent and the next forty years trying to do it. For instance, in his later years he kept painting the view of a mountain near his home, more saint victoire. If you just take all the text books of art history, you can find theirs single painting by say on that appears more than a few times, but he paid in Missouri Talk about fifty times over a period of about thirty years. If, though, we're all a single painting, all those illustrations, rivers, single painting- that would be the single most reproduced pay in the history of modern art, now they're all different he's. Never doing this. Things always changing, but changing so great
so a lot of people don't perceive it at the time, so the experimentalists as gallons, and sees it innovates by tweaking and Tink, by methodically moving the needle and into the time? Meanwhile, the conceptual lists the name- implies these are people who have new ideas. These are theorists downturns. Favorite example: Pablo Picasso, picassos process of creation, as described by David Gallons and basically, processes. You come to a new discipline, you learn the rules and you say I dont, like some very basic rule. Can I get rid of it So's rule breaking masterpiece, lay Demoiselle, Dobbin, yeah yeah, that's a painting, the Pablo Picasso made when he was twenty six years old and it wasn't just sort of casually done when Picasso was Between- Five, you know, is a young sort of struggling in Paris and the the king of the hill was about ten years older, already Matisse matter,
had made a large figure painting call the joy of life. They made a tremendous speed. I should the annual so long and Bokassa was very jealous, so here's a young twenty five year old who starts making for paratore drawings in total, he makes between four and five hundred prepare, Troy drawings for just the largest painting he's ever attempted by far that's the most for Paratore works that have ever in western history for a single paying. As far as we know, here's a twenty five year old, who is not really thriving economically, but he takes essentially a full year to prepare to make this one painting but he's deliberately creating a masterpiece that pay is a ninety five percent of all the text, books of art that cover the early twentieth century, no Other painting is more than half now. Let me ask you this: the wages described that process, however, doesn't sound so do, from the way described. The process of the experimental innovators over and over.
Repeating repeating the differences the following. If you x Ray a says on you'll find there's nothing underneath the paint he just eat repainted. What, with the artist directly just began using a brush on canvas. He made no territory joints were spellings cover. The whole point actually was to be spontaneous. That was the point of impression ISM, whereas if you x rated demo well you'll find very precise under drawing and it's not an accident, I mean, if you go to that Bokassa Museum, where they have these dozens and dozens of sketchbooks, you'll, find every figure that painting was planned extremely carefully so that by the time began painting the painting. He knew what going to look like see. This was the first thing I discovered about the difference between experimental and conceptual artists. It's not just that. They paint differently, but they want to paint differently. The conceptual wars wants to know before he starts by frequent supper. Brushing wants
exactly what the bends gonna look like. Resnick spare mental pedigrees out of his widow avoid that they want to make discoveries in the process of painting so yea. Because of this fundamental question, do you make the discovery you start working were while you workin end in discipline after discipline. That is going to be the key question separating the two types of innovator, experimental innovators gallants in his written work by train. An error and arrive at their major contributions gradually leak in life? In contrast, concern Actual innovators makes sudden breakthroughs by formulating new ideas, usually at an early age Picasso invented Cuba's em and twentys. Bob Dylan wrote like a rolling stone news. Twenty four you can get an idea of any age, but the most radical ideas come not Certainly when you young chronologically, although it you tend to be.
But when you knew too a discipline. Experimental innovators, meanwhile build up to their masterpieces. Virginia Wolfe was forty four. When she wrote to the lighthouse says I was still painting more saint victoire when he died at sixty seven. The novelist Jennifer Egon is now in her mid fifties. Oh my gosh, but it I'm even one, the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critic Circle award for her book. A visit from the goon squad, she'd been rating for couple decades. She'd only completed three novels during that time, and the one that followed Manhattan Beach took another seven years. One reason it takes a long her process the way executes the idea. Once I write that first draft, which, in case of Manhattan Beach, was fourteen hundred pages and type it up. I do Any many. Many revisions usually by hand unheard copies, but we're talking. Ultimately, forty to fifty drafts, perch,
after. So there is a lot of fixing and problem solving and in certain ways that's were alive. The writing happens that it's the big moves that I'm trying to get a hold up in that first draft and then once I have those, then I can sort of work with it and then try to me I'll bring it all up. Many many- charges to be something that's actually readable and entertaining like. My first drafts are full of cliches I loathe cliches, it's not that you can't write them in the first place. They have to be replaced. So ultimately, I have way every word to use a cliche. Ok, so if your style of execution is to produce draft after draft after drafter sketch after sketch a prototype after prototype, how do you judge its working and what not every domain is different. Of course. Writing a novel is different from building a better means to capture kinetic energy, but in every case-
how do you measure the success of your execution when Jennifer then was writing her first novel, the invisible circus she did not have Reliable way to do that, I wrote in a vacuum, and that was just wildly unsuccessful. I spent here- is writing horrible. I just a dread oh I'm end- this isn't even being overheard. So I ever gonna make that mistake again ever since then, in his relied on a writers group, even today, after all the success in all the awards ink a couple of the people. I've been showing work too, since nineteen, eighty nine, we have an as a playwright, a poet and then a couple of things, writers. What the writers group provides Egon, something every creator needs constantly whether working in the arts, science and business, whatever feedback coming up-
The break, I think the biggest danger of being successful creatively is that people don't tell you what they really think anymore. I mean, if that happens to me. I am lost and a creative and where everyone is forced to respond to feed back all the time, even when it is terrible advice she had started with in their seats and monster run out from bathroom break, so you can cut from the movie is coming up right after this. If you want to hear the episodes from the series you can find them on free economics, dot com, how to be creative series, also our entire archives. On the stick. Your app and apple podcast works great. To talk to you a minute. For economics, radio sponsored by capital, one with no fee, is or minimums on checking and savings accounts banking with capital
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Joy, easy curbside, pick up for same day, delivery powered by door dash free through January thirty. First, two thousand twenty one check out: Petsmart dot com for more details, It's not a great ideas are easy, but without good execution and idea doesn't mean much a key component execution key component to getting better anything is feedback, the writer Jennifer Egon, was telling us that she still relies on a writers to workshop recurrent novel in progress even with Manhattan Beach, but through latest book, historical novel published in two thousand. Seventeen I had it idea about a sort of present day narrator who of winking at the reader, because we all know that it's not nineteen, thirty, four anymore, that was
so dead on arrival, and when you get that kind of feedback- and you decide ultimately that its fruitful and that's correct, what does that mean like it feels like a relief, because usually I can feel when something is not working, sometimes aren't working because I just haven't spent enough time, making them better. Did you have to beat up your writing group a little bit after you started? Winning these words and say: listen I still, I urge you to come at me as hard as you did now get out. I would recommend that anyone do this. People are Fraid of hearing criticism, and so I think often when they say. What did you think of something You know that they don't really want to know if you have any thought that isn't positive and I so understand that I mean it's awful to hear that something you think is working, isn't an. I have sat therein many times thought I'm done, I'm never coming back here. It's been great
you guys suck you don't get it other people tell me I'm great, but you know, even by the end of the of the meeting, I'm already I'm on my way, I could feel my brain kind of prickling around whatever it is, I'm already starting to think of solutions, so it hurts. But it's not gonna kill you. I feel like criticism. That's wrong! Headed! Ok! It's just! I don't agree with it. Fine keep going like, there's a fear that somehow, Criticism can break you. I dont believe that you have any advice for people who have that fear, which I would guess his problem ninety five percent of humanity. I would say think very carefully about which is worse, finding out now that this work has problems or, ironing out after everyone's told you it's perfect and you ve published a you're going to find out. I think the best thing we can do is to find work
honest person will, you know, will give you honest feedback Teresa immobility is the psychologist studies, creativity, Ideally you have an artist friend or maybe it's a teacher. Who knows you reasonably well, whom you trust, You can say I really want some feedback on this, but I need you to that damp and my spark here, if you would, I think, that's much better than trying to get feedback from a large number of individuals, one or two people who will be honest with you, but who can give you the feedback in a way? that you'll be able to use it and not be destroyed by it. We can manage our feedback givers, but what, if you aren't enough, mission to manage your feedback givers. What? If your feedback givers? Are your employer, rear, funder or your customer? We test screen
everything we do. We bring in a living room full of people and show in the movie and then sit around afterwards and have a really painful discussion about things they didn't understand. Her story points to the underlying or characters hidden like it's done on an I may come filmmaker enough. I forbid most We are producing animation for Disney, but now do a lot. A documentary work among the films he has worked on, who framed Roger rabbit, beauty beast both the animated and lie versions and numb Lion King Little story about a line of the gets frame for murder. Hollywood calculus, as we all know, can be strange. A team of filming We can work on something for a couple years and then have a quashed by a roomful, little kids who get square me and test. Greening and then you have to go away and decide whether their right or not, and you can also dismiss it to your peril. Dismiss it to your advantage? Oh god, and there's endless stories about that in Pocahontas.
The estimated movie there was a loves that mail Gibson as John Smith sang to Pocahontas and he was tied up in it and ten Pocahontas came in and in the same spirit love song under the moon. Now it's like lovely song, but the audience just checked out an arm started me. Kid studied wigglin in their seats and monster, run out for a bathroom break, so it got cut from the movie, but Firstly, there is a sovereign little mermaid called part of your world and its its aerials. I want sign up where they want. A free site could be and that was a real kind of wiggle or song were in previews, even though it happens early in the movie and even though its crucial areas character are executive, it's too, You said I know, kids are wiggly during this, we have to cut it out, is not working and
he was wrong deed reactors and the animators came back and said you know, kids may wiggle during it it's, the kind of so you need, and these will ease its statement of what she wants, its statement of her goals and passions and without it it's a big. What she wants, stating the moving became, one of the most favorite songs in the movie you see EU producers and studios might be cautious. A big film is a huge investment. The desire for feedback has deep roots in Hollywood, including Walt Disney himself, does needs to famously walk around the studio and he would tell the story of I'll say: Pinocchio too couple guys in the coffee, lounge and then He'd get their reaction to go down the road to a couple of secretaries and tell them the story, and so you, work shopping again and again and again, the story and every time referred in his mind a little bit more until it became very close to what was in the film a document.
Free film meanwhile, which is what Don Hahn is mostly making. These days document is a little different cause: you're Tellin ya existing story, but you have to go where the protects you and when you start out, you may not know all the ins and outs of the plot, so it look like putting a jigsaw puzzle together without the picture on the box. Your kind of feeling, your way through the dark and a lot of dangerous discoveries halfway through the making of the movie like we did a movie for destination called chimpanzee about a mother and her little baby chimp and voice through the shooting the mother went out. One night was killed by a panther, so disco, ok, I guess we're done, but suing weeks, the alpha mail in that tribe of chimpanzees adopted that little baby, otherwise it would have died and that something just never happens. Jane Goodall even said she didn't ever see that in the wild so sometimes you have to just open up enough to go kind of right: the horse in a direction that is going to have the movie tell you what it wants. Another document,
that comes to mind is the two thousands I've been film, the king of Kong, directed by set Gordon? It was definitely Let's see what happens mission in the sense that we had no, idea what would transpire go made a lot of big movies and tv shows. Since then. He also worked on a documentary version of free comics. Until I got to know, I'm the king of com is a great stir. About a couple of guys competing for the world record score in the arcade game. Donkey come there is the self important defender, Billy Mitchell fuss. I they viewed on this there hasn't been anybody who played even close and the UN dog challenger Steve we be, I was- is that of achieving that whenever ought have to be a big I had been going to the arcade features at film in New Hampshire, it's called funds bought. Since I was a kid, I was aware that there was a culture of gamers for whom
I was where the battles would be waged at the official scores would be sat because they have all the legitimate. Old machines, then I knew of the Mitchell, but I didn't know if he was gonna, commit to be found by As you know, that was a big question and then The other was how would he and Steve be on camera and because those were very much on knowns we I'd we were simultaneously tracing other rivalries and the video game world, and we thought it was gonna, be a film that was about portraits of these rivalries, but because Billy is such a thing the ordinary person and a masterful retailer himself competitive gaming. He made the movie become about him, when you wanted tat your name to a world record your name written into history. You have to pay the price because of the situations that
created in the actions that he took all the other storylines paled and compare Send it makes sense, you can't foretell how a documentary will unfold, but what about scripted entertainment? How locked in are you there and how flexible do need to be so we started with the script and make it as good as you can don Hon again and then you actually get the production you allow yourself to improvise. Make it better, so animations a real iterative process, you can visit he visited revisit, and sometimes it takes five or six years seven times of putting the movie up on reels to look at it and then have it fall apart and rebuild it and tear it down and rebuild it before it starts to be anything in. The reason is, leap from the written word to a visual storytelling, medium is huge. It's like the leap from a recipe on a page to abuse They prepared dinner, generally you're, actually ingesting here
a page. How do you describe a perfectly? Could steak with just the right seasoning you try your best, but once you get that in the frying pan and start to cook that stake it's a whole other thing, but I that's. Why some people shy away from the making parts, because you can have perfection on a piece of paper and say this is a beautifully designed piece of architecture or a fantastic recipe or a great script. And it's gonna really go south when you try to execute it, no matter what it is and it's just expired. Send em and craft that allows to maintain some sort of order and work that way idea into something it's actually visual upon a scream again as we been hearing from all sorts of creatives, the execution of an yeah requires determination, craft experience, maybe a little luck. It's almost enough to persuade you least in some cases that if there were a competition between idea in execution, the idea
even such a formidable competitor, there's an argument to say film like each. Here, star Wars or Roger Rabbit, was a group good idea, the box and anybody could have made that movie. But I cannot subscribe to the other approach, which is you can take a mediocre idea and put great people on it and come up with a great movie. Take the pics harmony, ratatouille hooker. I think this out is the worst idea for movie ever. You know how to cook, and I know how to appear human. Just me to work out a system like let's put rats in a kitchen and will make an animated film about it, always gonna, be dynamic, dynamic, a horrible idea and there's plenty of really good ideas. We ve all seen movies that had tremendous promise and buzz was great about them. And now you go soon. A theatre in their awful filmmaking is
By its nature, a hugely collaborative projects. Dozens may be hundreds of people all with specific skills and tasks. It is a creative team that is a common construct these days in many realms sometimes think that there's some guy or gal who goes into garage Garrett and they have a light bulb. Nato innovation happened Walter Isaacson again, but that's not the way. It is great scientific research. These days is going to be done in large collaborative unit. When you look and how people are going to do Jean editing, crisper technology or for that matter, fig proud background gravity. You know waves. These of the type of Brazil, gonna have dozens of names on them or hundreds names on them. It is not going to be like
serving under an apple tree, a Galileo peering into a telescope, because this ability to a great mental leaps is now augmented and amplified by our ability to work together, collaboratively most work lives. General in organizations now is done on a project basis by teams that his advice just because you know you're you're, combining the f. Its of many people, you combining the viewpoints of many people, but oh it's hard Teresa modulate again. She is studied creativity in corporate settings by having people Daily work diaries it's really hard to work effectively in a team, it's hard to manage a team effectively, and there are a number of things that the can help. What
is to make sure that you have a nice diversity of skills in the team where people are not completely overlapping and what they know, because That redundancy is not really helpful, but were people do have different perspectives? Indifferent knowledge base to some extent that they can bring to the problem is also helpful to have a different cognitive styles, so doing things better within a paradigm or differently outside paradigms. You are likely to make a lot of progress in object, if you have both kinds of cognitive style on a team, but only if you have people who can effectively translate between the different styles, they have to be able to talk to each other. Very often, you'll find conflict arising. Bad is crazy. How will you possibly think that that would work, and, on the other hand, what do you do?
you're stuck in the status quo, you're not doing anything at all, exciting your boring and, and we surely, in our research, saw a team that had to just call a halt to its project, because we had these very different cognitive styles and there was no one who mediate between them, and there can be some one else on the team. It could be a and a manager, but you have to watch out for that. There's one more thing: a successful creed of team needs in need a high level of trust. You need people to be to be willing to give each other well slack, to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Under those circumstances, if you ve got that diversity Elsa styles, you could do great things team. Some creative endeavours tend to be solitary, even if You routinely submit your work for feedback and
I'm creative people just prefer to work on their own self added those artists ship had a day execute ideas without a team without the boss source, were publisher watching over them. There are some people who I am their only creative in the morning, do other get up early, the right so much, and then that set for the rest, the day, dean, Simon, is a psychologist who, for years, have studied the productivity habits of creative, giants, there's others that I can only work late at night ever by everybody is gone to bed, there's others that make their own time. They they have a cue I think, was Schiller who had to have the smell of rotten apples, and so he had put winning like being created. We pull out a rotten apple and that would cure him to be created What about you when you're working
generally a morning person and you need to queue or herself in any way or do sit down and you put away the distractions and get to work. I first of all I pick the morning is this a few s distractions an and the smell of black coffee really helps as well pretty ordinary giving if you smell Britain didn't actually consume. The caffeine would have the same effect. I have to have it. I have I need it, so it's not just the smell. It's! The smell is the cue to the physiological reaction. Now I needed a caffeine in my system, but then usually, I am a few hours, I'm kind of book tat. Sometimes I get rejuvenated before but a bad but damages lay a glass of wine? It does it so go figure. So but let's say the pattern that you
describe happens to be the one that I subscribe to a morning person I get up early. I like those hours cos alone, etc, etc. So, if that person and let's see of four or five hours of really hard core productivity and creativity and then of the rest of the day. Let's say you're lucky enough to have a life like an academic like you'd or a writer like I do and you can actually choose what to do. You know I'm telling you what to do. What do you do there with your now kind of diminished capacity, for creativity are Productivity fortunately guess what you know. This is the case. There's so much else. That's involved with being creative, like when the proofs arrive, you know, I can't do proofreading in the morning. I don't want to waste. My creativity do improve reading in the morning. Your things on your reading was that you have to catch up on ok, when you're doing I'm doing your scientific research to find out what other people are doing
review, Alatas omitted manuscripts and grab proposals. You don't want to waste your best brain cells on all that stuff out of door. I mean tell them you say my I'm! Only working at half mast haven't you. Is there, but I took out giving up. Lillian we drinking coffee or sting of late and drinking wine working low or with collaborators plainly. There is no single route for getting good work done every has their own strategies for executing ideas too many people want a one size fits all. What do I need to do to be cured? and I am afraid there is no one size- fits all there's a few things that everybody acid here too You know you have to know what you're doing, and you have to be willing to fail. You have to be committed
to achieving that domain. You have to be reasonably bright and so forth, beyond that, some people have red Sox some people have purpose ox that willingness to fail. Simon too mentioned, is at the heart of every creative endeavour. We ve heard all the Martians fail, fast, fail, well, etc, etc. How do you actually do that we'll find out, next time on economics, radio begin and end each day with. The litany of things that I consider that are failures and shortcomings, and what, if the face, the earth? Is you I was really an abusive boss. I was a boss who was telling her please, namely me that I was worthless.
And it's really hard to work in those conditions. But next time on four comes radio for economics radios produced by Sticker W productions. This episode was produced by Matt Frass occur with help from Stephanie Tam Harry Huggins. Our staff also includes Allison Craig Low Gregg Ribbon in secular kinsky. Our theme song is MR fortune by the hitchhike the rest of our music was composed by we scared you can subscribe to for economics, radio and apple podcast or wherever you get your pike ass. The entire archive is available on the strap or at for economics that come where we also publish transcripts and show notes if you'd like to hear the entire archive without ads plus lots of bonus episodes go to stick your premium. Come flash for economics. We are also on twitter and Facebook and linked in can reach us by email at radio at for com. You can also, us on many NPR stations check your local station for details, as always, thank you for listening
Transcript generated on 2021-01-19.