Thursday, April 10, 2008

Professional creatives

Well, I was a good boy yesterday and wrote a whole 5 pages on the Une Nuit a Paris script, which made me feel much better, and then I started working on the dialogue of my Monsters script.

So good all round really. And it looks like all the contracts and paperwork are through for my flat and the job. General reduction of stress. So, today I'm off shopping for some new clothes, dress code is relaxed, as it usually is in programming environments, so a couple more pairs of jeans, some big T-shirts (XXXL, oooh-er), and smalls.

What most people don't realise is that programmers are creatives. Sure, there are rules -- what art doesn't have rules? -- but it's a highly creative process. Writing code is about having a goal, knowing the technology (rules) of how to get there and then applying the creative process to build the product.

Of course, usually no one appreciates the art of programming except another programmer. And the fact that it has a highly commercial end product means that programmers get whipped into little cubicles and told to create, to a deadline.

Well, real pros can create to a deadline, but it's still creativity.

Here's a related story. Back in the stone age, when I was a teenager, I studied Maths and Science at school but I wrote stories and poetry at home. And I went to evening classes to study painting, I hated watercolour but I had a bit of a knack with oils.

Our teacher had originally had a job as a paint mixer. Someone would come in with a sample and say "match this" so that's what he'd do: a splash of this, a splash of that. Done. Then he had some sort of accident and had to stop work. So he took up painting.

He was an excellent painter and very fast. He showed us three identical monochrome watercolours he'd thrown together in an hour, identical except one was red, one was blue and one was green. They were individually beautiful.

He was planning to sell them as a set, an hour's work and they'd probably fetch £100 for the lot. And this was when £100 was a lot of money. The guy was a total professional.

Art isn't about suffering, it's about being creative to a solid result, with a deadline (even if it's your own). (That's what I think, anyway.)

What's on the turntable? "The Whale" by the Electric Light Orchestra

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