the show: 03-12-07

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[Intro: girl standing at bottom of Eiffel Tower] Bonjour Sports Racers... et bienvenue au Show... avec Ze Frank!

[Ze:] I feel weird today. Bittersweet.

I'm happy... because, in case you haven't noticed, Dewar's has agreed to sponsor the final week of the show. But maybe more importantly has agreed to sponsor the building of a proper archive of this place.

And I very much appreciate having something to work on next week.

But I also feel weird. Probably because it's the last week of The Show. And I so badly want to make something that you'd like.

I'm in Austin, Texas right now, at a festival called South by South West.

It's actually three festivals: film, music and that red-headed step-child, interactive.

That's the one I belong to.

The streets are teeming with people. And the mechanics of their daily lives that have brought them here are vastly different.

Some have sweated their way here in small rock clubs in Wisconsin.

Others have spent bare-foot nights in editing rooms eating Doritos.

And some have been cradling a laptop like a baby for years.

Despite these vast differences in the day-to-day there's some sort of an implied unity here. And that unity seems to be found in that word, 'creativity'.

I'm amazed we have one word that can apply to all these different things.

A word that evokes wonder when I think about what other people have done.

But evokes fear and self-doubt when I think about myself.

Some people think of it as a born-in attribute like big hands and big feet.

Some people think of it as infrequent visitations from an other-wordly muse.

Some people think of muscle that can be built up and trained.

And many people don't think about it at all.

Sometimes I think about confidence, what it takes to get from zero to one.

It seems like what you think about creativity can affect that confidence.

There's a book edited by Robert Sternburg that deals with psychological research into creativity.

One of the articles says that one of the only reliable indicators for increased creativity (however they measure it) is a person's belief that creativity is something that you can work on, and change.

Confidence about gaining confidence.

For me that's the interesting battleground: fighting against things I don't think are possibilities.

Not with the goal of having an inflated sense that you know you can do something.

But instead just to get that glimmer of hope of possibility. To move from zero to one.

Those battles of confidence are what make that word 'creativity' so terrifying for me.

And it's interesting to see how they play out in different professions.

Artists like Twyla Tharp and Anne Lamott seem to have confidence in their ideas, but they battle with habit, with the regularity of their work.

Business people seem to be confident with doing things every day but they battle to stretch out their ideas.

Just finding the battleground seems to be a step in the right direction.

I'm interested in this flip from zero to one, this confidence to start things, because I look at creative projects like they were Sudoku puzzles.

You can stare at them as long as you like but you won't suddenly see all the numbers.

You have to start. You have to find one box to fill in.

And from that, another one reveals itself. [blink]

You might not be able to solve all of them; but as long as you know it's possible, you'll keep trying.

And no matter how many you solve, each new one begins with a bunch of empty spaces.

Zero to one.


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