If You Want to be Creative, Go F.I.S.H.

by Ron Dawson8 Comments

This short film was part of a film series I created for a CEO's Keynote address. He would be speaking to a room full of professional photographers from around the country about the creative process (as well as other topics). We purposefully chose artists in this piece that were NOT photographers because 1) we didn't want any preconceived notions or prejudices associated with known photographers to get in the way of the story; and 2) we knew that creatives across a spectrum of disciplines would have similar experiences or feelings about their creative process, which in turn would be a more powerful message.

The Creative Process

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When I listen to and watch the messages conveyed by these four, there is a clear pattern I see that is applicable to all artists. I love to work with acronyms, and after watching this video, there is a perfect one that comes into play. F.I.S.H.

It's very easy for creatives to be all over the place when it comes to making their ideas a reality. But, as the popular website The 99 Percent is all about, being a professional creative is 1% inspiration, and 99% implementation. One of the best ways to implement an idea is to be focused. The late great CEO of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs, is famous for saying that Apple is as proud of the things it says “no” to as the ones that get the “yes.”

Creatives must be passionate about the art they create. You must be willing to invest your heart, soul, time and in some cases, money, to make your art. Whenever you feel like the creativity just isn't flowing, ask yourself, “How invested am in in this project?”

I see a lot of cases where filmmakers find it necessary to over-complicate a project. They feel a need to add cool effects or over the top production values. These things are great…if they truly serve the story. But a good story does not need any of that. When you get down to brass tacks, creativity is simple. In fact, I would argue that it takes far more creativity to make an engaging, thought-provoking film when you have no budget for all the bells and whistles.

How often do you take your camera out and just shoot? Shoot for the sake of improving your craft. I know this is an area I need to work on. Creating habits that refine your skills as a filmmaker is key to being a success at one. I love Blake's comment in the film where he says most people treat creativity like chap stick to apply to dry lips; when really the problem is that they're dehydrated and haven't developed a habit of drinking enough water.

Whether you make a living shooting DSLR films, or do it just for the love of it, it would behoove you to take a lesson from these four artists. Be creative. Go F.I.S.H.

Ron's cliche director image.Ron Dawson is an accomplished writer, director, award-winning video producer, speaker and author. He is the founder and president of Dare Dreamer Media, a boutique new media marketing agency and production company specializing in commercial video production and branded content. Although he's done work for the likes of Apple, Adobe, Kodak and international brands, his passion is inspirational and cause-driven films for small and large non-profits and worthy causes. He writes about the art & business of filmmaking & photography on his blog DareDreamerMag.com.

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. Great film Ron! I haven’t seen that many films on the subject of creativity. This film was full of gold nuggets. As creatives, we sometimes need to be reminded of the specifics of our own individual process. How do we tap into the magic and then sustain the inspiration through hard and sometimes painful work. Watching and listening to other successful creatives, helps to inspire us and enable us to fight through fear, doubt, whatever is hindering us and keeping us detached from our core.

    1. Author

      I wish there were more films on the topic. I love being inspired by other creatives and making this film was very inspiring for me. The audience we showed it too was equally moved.

      Thanks for sharing your feelings.

  2. What a delight! Thank you Ron, well done. I was quite moved by everyone’s message, too. Being a creative for over three decades, I have often wondered why we (mostly me) seem to get bogged down, and more importantly how to break out of it. This beautifully crafted film seems to be just the talisman to wake one up out of a rutted slumber.
    I think I may just have to play it again!

    1. Author

      Thanks for your kind words Stan. Making the film was very transformational for me. The process of making it (and the accompanying videos in the series we shot) literally defined the direction I took my work. I’m glad it moved you as well.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Ron. Great film, inspired. remind me why I chose photography as my career 30 years ago. Thanks for sharing, Ron.

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