Creative inspiration can come from anywhere.
For the past long while, my most creative inspiration has come from watching documentaries. There are six, in particular, that really stick out in my mind, and here they are in alphabetical order…
– Art & Copy. "It reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time – people who’ve profoundly impacted our culture, yet are virtually unknown outside their industry." This movie will inspire you in many ways. The truth is that most advertising sucks for the same reason that most art sucks: it’s hard to make it great. Those that do make it great deserve all of the accolades and prosperity.
– Classic Albums – U2 – The Joshua Tree. I was never a huge U2 fan, but this documentary tuned me into one. This movie peeks behind the scenes to show a band that was truly trying to create something that would both fascinate and captivate. The true beauty (as you’ll see) lies in the subtly of how this record was written, produced, recorded and performed. If you can bring this type of commitment to your work, you’re bound to be famous too.
– Helvetica. "A feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which recently celebrated its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives." It’s a fascinating documentary about people with a passion for something that seems so innocuous, but that is actually a critical part of modern design and how we operate.
– Objectified. "A feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. It’s a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets." Take a second to think about this: everything from the tip of your shoelaces to the house you live in was designed and manufactured by us, people. We’re an amazing species and our fascination with creating things is highlighted in this amazing film.
– Secret Origin – The Story of DC Comics. "Behind the amazing tales of legendary super heroes is the equally amazing story of the company that told them. So many heroes, so many stories to tell–stories of DC Comics‘ 75 years of challenges, creativity and triumph." Whether you like comic books or not, the story of how this art form was created and the struggles it had (and continues to have) will make you look at Superman in a very different light.
– Transcendent Man – The Life And Ideas of Ray Kurzweil. "The compelling feature-length documentary film, by director Barry Ptolemy, chronicles the life and controversial ideas of luminary Ray Kurzweil. For more than three decades, inventor, futures, and New York Times best-selling author Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future." Imagine being able to upload your memories and conscience to a place that allows you to stay alive forever (without the need for your physical body). If that sounds too crazy, how about a moment in the not-to-distant-future where humans and technology become one… and the technology part is smarter than us? Mind-blowing stuff? You have to watch this documentary.
What documentaries have sparked your creative juices?