Creativity, as I’m sure you’re aware, is a crucial component to creating a cool interp performance. Creativity, however, is not a skill you can perfect or hone—you are either creative, or you’re not. Personally I believe that every single person has the ability to be creative. The trouble is (and this is going to sound strange) most people try to be creative in—what can best be described as—the wrong way.
Too many people isolate a certain part of their piece and go, “Yes, here is a moment where we need to do something creative. Let’s sit quietly and think until we come up with something cool.”
That’s probably the least creative way I’ve ever seen to come up with something creative.
In my opinion, the best way to come up with cool ideas for your piece—and this is going to sound farfetched—is to treat creativity with the least amount of seriousness possible. In my experience, the best, funniest, and coolest ideas all come when someone is just messing around—when they are not trying to come up with something cool or creative.
Chances are you have all at some point already experienced this. Have you ever had a moment in your piece where you didn’t know what to say? And in that moment of desperation, you said the first thing that popped into your head; what you said was hilarious, wasn’t it? That happened to me in humor all the time. More often than not, I would keep what I said and do it in the next round I was in as well!
Let me give you another example—one of the best examples of being creative (unintentionally) that I can.
Ryan and I would, in-between our qualifier and nationals, participate in our school’s musical. We felt that it was a good way to get interp off our mind and relax before hitting it hard for nationals. One day we were standing in the background with some friends when we started talking about duo transitions. We were joking around when we mentioned how funny it would be if one duo partner transitioned himself out of the scene before it was done.
Because how funny would that be?
You and your partner are doing your duo together—everything is going as planned. All of a sudden! Your duo partner makes some strange sound and movement and is no longer in the scene with you. You’re left to cover for them, make something up, or transition away yourself. For some reason we thought that idea was absolutely hilarious. Because we found it so hilarious, like most jokes, we brought it up a lot.
The more we thought about it, the more we started to think about it in a serious manner. The more we thought about it, the more we realized that we had never seen a duo have only one partner transition out of a scene. We started to think… maybe we can use this.
If you’ve seen Ryan and my duo you will notice that there are numerous scenes that Ryan transitions himself out of—I may even do it myself a few times. The best part is—at least I think so—that Ryan and I wanted a way to leave me in the scene (so I could retell the story of the shooting) but get Ryan out so he could play the victims. But we could not for the life of us figure out a serious way to do this… until we came up with a humorous way to do it.
We took this idea we had, an idea that started off as a complete joke, and we adapted it. We made it ours and we made it work for our piece. To this day, I still think it’s one of the cooler ideas we implemented in our duo.
This example only goes to show what I was talking about. Trying to be creative is one of the easiest ways to stifle creativity. Some people can sit down and just think about something and come up with a solution—come up with a creative idea. I have never been one of these people. I find thinking about creative ideas is the best way to both stress you out and come up with lame ideas.
I think there are much better ways to come up with cool or innovative ideas.
For starters, joking around is one of the better ways (I believe) to come up with cool ideas. And the best part is… it’s fun! If you’re trying to come up with a cool or unique way to do something in your piece, don’t be afraid to mess around a little bit. Try something that you don’t think will work, but that you think will be funny. Now I’m not encouraging you to goof off and get no work done—I’m simply trying to suggest a way too loosen up and let ideas flow. To me there is no such thing as a stupid idea—there are only ideas that do not work for your piece. And sometimes… running through those ideas is the best way to find the idea that does work for your piece.
There are even more ways than that to come up with cool ideas though, and many of them would probably be labeled as “goofing off” as well. For instance, I find drawing and diagraming things out to be very helpful. Sometimes I can explain how something should happen better in a picture or diagram than I can when I try to explain it with words. I’ve also found that watching things helps. If you’re trying to come up with a cool fight scene why not watch a bunch of movies where people fight! You just might see something that inspires exactly what your fight scene needs.
Creativity is a strange thing—most of the time we can only be creative when we’re not trying to be creative. So many good ideas just hit us without warning or prior thoughts. I embrace this aspect of creativity and try to use it to my advantage; I think you should too.