Four Reasons That Ze Frank’s Invocation For Beginnings Will Inspire You To Make Better Work

No matter what the vocation, all creative people all go through slumps. You know, that feeling that you’re working the same old routine, that nothing’s exciting, nothing you produce is innovative or new or different anymore. You start scanning the job sites for marketing director jobs in London, New York, Paris, anywhere, because God knows a move will make you happy and shake things up, get the juices flowing again….

Stop. Moving jobs won’t change anything. Uprooting your life will just result in the same problems with a different view. You know that. When you feel dried up creatively, the only changes you need to make are internal. However, this can be a difficult process, fraught with intense self-reflection. You need to ask yourself an important question:

What am I afraid of?
As soon as you begin to unpick your resistance to joyfully making good creative work (and I use creative in the most elastic sense – this can apply to being a mother as much as it can to an app developer, illustrator or any number of graduate media jobs) the closer you will get to getting back to actually doing that very thing. There are many ‘inspiration’ videos on the internet. Stick a pin in TEDTalks and you’ll find something thought-provoking and useful. However, there’s one video that I return to again and again as I think it’s a really powerful piece of film on a number of levels, not limited to how much it’s helped me get on with my own work. It’s by an internet artist named Ze Frank and it’s called ‘An Invocation For Beginnings’ You can watch it below:

Creative Problem #1
Nothing I Do Is Original

You know, you spend forever working on something only to look at the fruits of your day’s labours and think: “It’s all been done, it’s all been done, it’s all been done.” The overwhelming feeling of being derivative can stifle the most fledgling of creative ideas.

Why This Video Will Help You 
Because like all good ideas, it’s really simple. And it’s not at all original. It’s just a man sitting in front of a screen talking to the camera accompanied by music and some minimal text animation. It really speaks to that Web 2.0 idea that anyone with access to the internet can construct something wide-reaching and amazing. And that originality is overrated.

Creative Problem #2
I can’t bear to make something that’s sub-par

Why This Video Will Help You  
One of the greatest things about this short is how precisely it strikes a chord in me. When Ze Frank starts talking about the stomach-deep emotional need to get up and make a cheese sandwich rather than continue doing your difficult work, I feel as though he wrote those words for and about me. I also know from the Youtube comments that there are at least 50 other people who feel the exact same way. Fear of rejection be it personal or professional, is utterly endemic of the human condition. It helps to know that there are millions of people hunched over their desks suffering the same way that I am. It also means that if I work truthfully, what I make will speak to any given number of people.

Creative Problem #3
What in the name of merciful Zeus does ‘work truthfully’ even mean?

Why This Video Will Help You 
Because not all of it is is great. The “Cheese Monster” bit is kind of a bit cutesy, a bit knowingly kawaii for a man in his thirties to really pull off. But it works because it’s part of a larger tapestry and although I may dispute the execution, the sentiment speaks to something. Something about avoidance tactics and confusing physical with emotional hunger. Sometimes the truth is a little bit messier or expressed a bit more adorably then you would like. This doesn’t make it not worth saying.

Creative Problem #4
I’ve got something good and I don’t know how to maximise its potential

Why This Video Will Help You 
As inspirational as he is, Ze Frank has also realised something very profound about his work. No matter what the entertainment industry says, if people respond to the work, then they want to lay money down. Check out Ze Frank’s website for countless iterations of the lessons of the video, printed on posters, t-shirts, mugs and any surface that will take ink. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, not at all: Frank is merely working to support himself as an artist. However what it does show is the financial potential of even the smallest idea when it is executed with truth and courage. The fact that the poster exists is almost inspiring as the words upon it. We should all be so brave.

  • An Invocation For Beginnings – Ze Frank

Nikki Fenster writes about awesome things she finds on the internet for Media Week Jobs