Creative meetings

Teller – he is really called just ‘Teller’ – of magician duo Penn & Teller is working on a production of Macbeth. A Macbeth with stage magic, and Grand Guignol effects, and the intended aim of scaring the audience witless. I haven’t been this excited about a play since I heard about the theater version of His Dark Materials (which I sadly never got to see).

Here Teller talks about the origin and goals of the Macbeth project. But here he talks about the first design meeting. Two things about it struck me:

There is nothing in the world that I love more than creative collaboration. And to be in the presence of these amazing artists, all joyfully planning how to scare the pee out of an audience with a four hundred year old horror story, well, the only word I can think of is ecstasy. Plain and simple. Ecstasy.

To work together with other creative people on planning and designing a great project, on creating an experience for an audience, that is an amazing feeling. When everyone’s goals align and obstacles fall away and there is a chance – even a tiny one – that this project might become reality… that is a wonderful feeling. Moments like that make it all worth it, together with rare moments of praise for something you worked on (like when I met someone recently who happened to be a big fan of a game I worked on).

I bounded back to my hotel in the chilly air and couldn’t fall asleep for the next four hours. I’d been looking forward to this meeting for forty years.

This is kind of depressing. Or isn’t it?

(Via Neil Gaiman.)

Comments 2

  1. Mark Barrett wrote:

    The most gratifying professional experiences I’ve had, across all mediums, have involved creative situations where everyone seems to already be on the same page regarding issues of ego, craft, commerce vs. art, etc. At that point everyone can simply bring their skills to bear — even under budgetary restraints — and produce what I’ll call a functional vision, as against some sort of pie-in-the-sky-wouldn’t-it-be-great-if-we-could-make-a-holodeck dream. I had that experience working with you, Stephane, Lee, Wolfgang and a couple of others, and those are some of the few times in my life where I actually felt like I was where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to be doing, and doing it as well as I could do it. (If not as well as it could be done.)

    I can’t honestly say it made all the other stuff worthwhile, though, because all the other stuff wore me down to the point that I couldn’t engage the process or the industry any more. Then again, I think I have a lower threshold for that kind of frustration — which I don’t see as a good thing.

    Posted 08 Jan 2008 at 12:24
  2. Jurie wrote:

    Yeah well. My threshold is not always as high as it could be either…

    Another kind of good feeling is finishing something and knowing some of the great ideas from the start survived.

    Posted 08 Jan 2008 at 12:51