Daily Inspiration: Charlie Kaufman on Getting in Your Own Way
"Getting in my way, is the way."
In this pair of videos, “Being John Malkovich,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and “Adaptation” screenwriter Charlie Kaufman discusses his writing process from the Vancouver Film and Television Forum in December 2009.
During the chat, Kaufman explains how “getting in his own way,” or painting himself into a corner is how he forces himself to forge new creative ground, and enter different realms of weird and challenging.
Kaufman reveals how was completely unprepared to discuss his creative process at the forum. But, as he explains, rather than panic, he realized that being unprepared was exactly what he needed to be in order efficiently create. He stammeringly and brilliantly tells a story about how a taking a walk the morning of the forum, and getting lost, (and meeting a crazy man holding a hubcap) was analogous to his entire creative process.
"I'm not the same person that I was. I did this thing, and now I have other things that I can write about and think about and can include into this work. I did something else by being lost."
"Getting in my way, is the way. Often, I've thought that getting in my way is something that I shouldn't do in order to do the work that I need to do. But I think the process of being lost, and being me, and all that stuff is the thing that is real in my experience in the world, and then if I deny that in order to fit some sort of mold of what I think a better person than I would do, or a better screenwriter...it doesn't really acknowledge what the truth is and I guess that's what I'm looking to do."
Watch both videos to truly appreciate Kaufman’s sentiments here. But the gist of the whole thing is: go get lost.
Go get lost now.