Why Most Creative People Never Accomplish Anything

I thought of an opening sequence this morning on my way to work.

See, it’ll be interspersed shots of the two main characters, each of them starting their respective days. It all starts with a cold open on an alarm clock. It’s one of those big digital displays and it says “5:59 a.m.” Then it flips to “6:00 a.m.” and the music starts (“Missy” by The Airborne Toxic Event).

One of the guys–the older one–gets out of bed and shuffles off to the bathroom, easy, like it’s just another day. But the other guy–the young guy–he hits the snooze button and just lies there. Then after a beat his girlfriend pokes him in the ribs and he gets up. It’s funny because it could really happen like that, you know?

Anyway, from here on we’ve got all these shots of the guys going through their morning routines. The older guy, he eats Cream of Wheat or English muffins or something. And the younger guy, he eats cereal… no, wait… actually, he doesn’t eat anything. He just has coffee. That would be better, probably. Sets up his character.

The old guy does some more old guy stuff. Like, he reads the newspaper… you know, like a print newspaper? And the young guy, let’s say he’s got an iPad. Or maybe a Kindle. No, definitely an iPad. Eventually they both brush their teeth and head for the door.

The old guy kisses his wife goodbye, like he’s done for 40 years or whatever, and the young guy just kind of waves to his girlfriend, who’s getting ready for work herself. Then once the guys get to the office–the same office it turns out–you, the viewer, are shocked when you find out the young guy is actually the old guy’s boss. You’re like, “Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?”

There’s a lot more, for sure, but it’s still all rattling around in my head. I’m hoping I can get the rest out on my lunch break. Either that or I’ll work on the idea I thought of yesterday.

What was it about? Okay, well, there’s this detective. And he’s got, like, early onset dementia. And as the story goes on, you, the viewer, are kind of wondering if the cases he takes on are real, or if they’re all in his head. For example, this woman he meets–every time he sees her, her hair’s a different color. Is she dying it? Or is it just a figment of his imagination?

That’s pretty cool, right? I might actually use it as my subject for next year’s NaNoWriMo (which I’m totally doing this time). I just need to flesh it out a bit before then… Anyway, first things first, it’s time head back to the stock room. This inventory isn’t going to unpack itself… TC mark

image – Peter Linberg

More From Thought Catalog

  • Sadie R

    Holy crap. This is my life. 

  • Chick A Dee

    meh.

  • Lazyroar

    A for effort.

  • https://twitter.com/iamthepuddles Puddles

    okay this is literally perfect. first, both those film ideas are fucking awesome. second, you’re write = superb. third, um omg the sentences at the end tying to the actual title of this, oh god i love you.

    • Customconcern

      Are you carrying on the satire? Ah wait, never mind. 

  • Customconcern

    This is so good. Every faux-writer I’ve ever met gets drunk and talks this kind of shit to anybody who’ll listen. 

  • http://somuchtocome.blogspot.com/ Aja

    Heh, heh I read this essay because I felt like it would speak to me.  It did.  It said “Go do something with your day, procrastinator.”

    • indi

      cosigned.  i should go work on that painting that needs to be mailed to the gallery in a few days and is currently staring at me from across my studio, not even half finished.  or maybe i’ll just play my guitar for a bit.  actually i think i need coffee before i do anything.  oh wait someone is messaging me on Facebook, never mind

      • http://somuchtocome.blogspot.com/ Aja

        Ditto.  Oooh, let me write that on twitter.  Right after I make a pitcher of iced green tea and glance at my Pinterest.

  • MM

    what do you think i am doing now? haha

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    too creative

  • Evyan

    My life

  • Lauren

    This is exactly how I talk/write. i loved every sentence

  • http://michaelynch.com Michael Lynch

    Sorry to burst your bubble but this isn’t too creative. See:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0385267/

    • Anonymous

      I dont think you understood the point of the article. It wasn’t so much about his idea for a screenplay, it was about many ideas for many screenplays that just disappear into the cosmos instead of coming to fruition. On that note, I would have liked to read more about why creative people never get things done, um, considering that was the title of the article.

      • http://michaelynch.com Michael Lynch

        I understood that and I appreciated the commentary. However, it is inferred that the example was one of those creative ideas that ‘disappear into the cosmos instead of coming to fruition’ but as I pointed out, it wasn’t very creative at all.

      • Idrina

        No, I agree with anon. I’m pretty sure you missed the point. Forest for the trees, all that.

      • hiya

        i agree with you michael.  the author spent the majority of the time writing about the opening part of the young boss/old employee screen play that he may or may not have consciously seen in 2004… and then a smaller amount of time dedicated to “other” ideas.   looked at as a ratio, this article is really mostly about that one plot, not the fact that the author has a million plot ideas. 

        we understand the forest for the trees, its just that the author could have done it a little more effectively.  but this piece could be unfinished (exactly the dilemma the title alludes to!!)  

        keep writing the random ideas down, make this article 5x longer and then he’ll have portrayed the creative mind.

  • mashka

    haha this is me everyday. I have a whole folder of “article ideas” that are just sitting there.

  • http://tbaugh.com Travis Baugh

    “Getting ready for the day” and alarm clocks are the most cliche opening scene elements in existence, especially in film. 

  • http://www.wilfordlauren.tumblr.com Lauren Wilford

    I think of opening sequences for films, complete with soundtrack, ALL THE TIME. I actually make playlists based on film soundtracks for films I’d like to make. The films themselves are composed of cool images the songs bring to mind.

    Creativity, chyuh. 

  • Greg Zaragoza

    THIS RIGHT HERE.

  • Greg Zaragoza

    THIS RIGHT HERE.

  • Yukitsune

    What is this?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WWEC2BM6SYRIYQJQ2LOYFPRGCE Susan Fitzgerald

    I’m the geezer reading the newspaper with the younger boss and I have no idea what this is about.  But I do get great ideas all the time that I never write down or follow up or otherwise execute on in any way.  I thought this piece was going to tell me why or otherwise afford insight…silly me for being so literal.

  • Lis

    You know, I think everyone has the capability to be creative, and if you are coming up with stuff like this then you are just tapping into it a bit more.
    The difference is that a complete work is 10% dreaming up and 90% hard work.
    It’s interesting how so many people think of starting screenplays or stories off with alarm clock sequences. Perhaps it has something to do with our mind easily jumping to mornings as starts, as opening sequences can be hard to accomplish. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing something cliched, as long as you are trying, but I really respect people who finish off these things.

  • http://alexmoschina.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/why-most-creative-people-never-accomplish-anything/ Why Most Creative People Never Accomplish Anything « Alex Moschina

    […] Why Most Creative People Never Accomplish Anything […]

blog comments powered by Disqus