Tuesday, December 23, 2008
A bit more on creative productivity.
If you read books about geniuses you learn that often times they work spasmodically--and in ways that defy, or baffle, or perplex the great timesheet police that now seem to run the world.
One such creative genius was Albert Einstein. When he worked as an obscure clerk in the Swiss Patent Office from out of nowhere wrote in less than a year five papers that went on to become his General Theory of Relativity.
But for the purposes of this post I'll focus on Preston Sturges. Sturges wrote and directed seven hits, seven classics in four years--an output that I can't imagine will ever be matched. Four of the movies listed here made the AFI's roster of top 100 American Comedies. I've double starred those.
Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)
**The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)
**The Palm Beach Story (1942)
**Sullivan's Travels (1941)
**The Lady Eve (1941)
Christmas in July (1940)
The Great McGinty (1940)
Now, finally, I get to my point. Sturges was notorious for working his own way. He rehearsed like mad and didn't start shooting until he loved what he saw. Then he'd shoot one take, maybe two. That's not the way films were shot. So when the studio producers saw that Sturges had been shooting for a week and had less than a minute of film to show for it, they went nuts. Sturges was wildly productive--he just shot when he felt ready to shoot.
I'm no genius--far from it, but personally, I am the same way. My least productive hours are the ones I spend in the office. My best ideas and my tonnage ideas all come when I am walking the dog, or taking a shower or walking the dog in the shower. How do you put that on a timesheet?
We will be bludgeoned this year with the false imprecation to work longer--the unappreciative will equate hours with your arse implanted at your desk with productivity. If this creative browbeating persists hours in the office will rise. Productivity, at least mine, will plummet.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 9:10 AM