As we enter a New Year, I want you to be keenly following your industry and the key players in it, but I caution you to not operate with blinders on. Tunnel vision prevents us from opportunities to cross-pollinate our creative practice by gaining insight and understanding from completely unrelated fields.
If you are an actor and you are following the same directors, theatres and actors as all of your colleagues, then you severely limit your opportunities to stumble across something new and unique. This narrows your pool of inspiration to the same pool as everyone else.
This is a formula for stagnation.
Like the snake who eats his own tail, constantly feeding only from within your immediate area is going to give you diminishing returns. So keep abreast of your field, but also look at other areas – the more random the better. That‘s where you are going to find new ideas, fresh inspirations and new contacts which will energise your creative practice and allow fresh air to enter your professional life.
If everyone in your industry are fishing from the same stream, it‘s soon going to run out of fish. You want to look for different ponds and streams from which to fish.
Be Marco Polo
Think like the great explorers of history who sailed off to discover unchartered lands. When they came back from their adventures they brought treasures, artefacts and stories with them which they shared with their public at home. So too should you bring stories, pictures, and ideas back from your explorations to share with your social network. Explain to them how an idea from sociology gives you insight into your dance. Tell how a Chinese street singer has inspired your latest musical track or how your next theatre piece draws upon the latest breakthroughs in science. This will enliven both your creative practice and your discourse on social networks. It will also make you a far more interesting person.
I hope 2015 brings you many wonderful cross-pollination opportunities. Come tell us about your best ones here.