Keeping the Creative Juices Juicy: A Fellow's Perspective

Tien Pasco is one of ten 2018 Docs In Progress Fellows. Like many folks trying to balance independent documentary work with client work, she knows how challenging it can be to find time to focus on being creative. She has found a way which works for her and may for you.

by Tien Pasco

As a "solopreneur" of a production company (Storylab Films), it can be difficult to balance the everyday responsibilities of getting the work done, business development, bookkeeping, marketing efforts, website maintenance, etc. etc. At times, I find myself focusing most of my energy on getting new projects in the hopper. As critical as that is to having a sustainable production business, it’s also important to cultivate and grow one’s creative spirit.

It goes without saying that a video producer needs to keep her creative muscle flexed in order to produce the best work. That means sometimes I need to get off my laptop, put my phone in my pocket, and go out and explore. For me, I enjoy going almost anywhere to see art. The natural places in the DC area are art museums such as the National Gallery of Art and the Hirshhorn. But, I even like seeing local artists’ work on the walls of coffee shops or restaurants in my community.

Seeing, reflecting, and breathing art gives me fresh perspectives on life. Often, I’m refreshed by the way an artist interprets a scene on a canvas. Other times, I like to think about how they shaped and molded different materials to become a sculpture. The main idea is to go somewhere and do something that will give you a fresh perspective. It does not have to be elaborate or take a long time. One can see something with fresh eyes in a simple moment. Maybe it involves having a conversation with a neighbor who you’ve never had a chance to get to know – or talking to a friendly stranger at your office, on the bus, wherever.

I believe it’s important for people to experience new perspectives often – daily, if possible – even if one isn’t a creative professional. Not only does a new perspective typically deliver a lot of satisfaction to the soul, it also helps build community. Carpe diem, or “seize the day”, is a phrase that becomes even more meaningful when oneself or a loved one becomes ill, for example. The idea that we need to take advantage of and savor every moment and every experience – as if we had limited days on earth – is a great way to live.


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