– by Albert Berkshire
I remember a night, many years ago, when I stood at the bar in a night club, vibrating at a 140 beats per minute. My friends told me that they looked over, no doubt bewildered, and said, “What’s Albert dancing to? The DJ stopped playing twenty minutes ago.”
It was true. I had a song stuck in my head. I had a rave happening between my ears. I had a beat grooving, and somewhere in my world, it was audible to everyone. And while I was the only one rolling braincells into ideas at 140 BPM, it was the birth of a creative realization.
It wasn’t always as bright and sunny as I wanted it to be in my grey matter-infused cell cavern, but it was active and creative and filled with joy and anger. But not he kind of anger that destroys…the kind that fuels determination.
Side bar: I just conferred with my wife as to whether or not it was “grey” matter or “gray” matter. She whipped out one of her medical encyclopedias and showed me a diagram of a penis. Comedy. Cue the violins.
I know people so filled with anger that they can create things most of us only dream about. They listen to the darkest music – by my standards – and they draw a kind of creativity from it that makes my head spin. They are like machines. They pump out the work like someone cranked open a fire hydrant. The flow is amazing. Yet, anger is their muse. Dark, I know. But it is what it is. And we all find our inspiration in deeply personal places.
Still, I am lead to believe that a little more Reznor or Rollins might finish one of my books. Or a even thought, tonight.
I’ve always found music to fill the roll of the absentee muse. But on the brighter side. (not Bette or Yanni – brighter, but brighter in the sense that “no knives were ingested in the making of this album”. See above for names for clarification.)
Music is my muse’s stand-in. The butt-shot model. The white balance back up.
Music pries emotion from its hiding place. Music creates words where none wanted to reveal themselves. Music upsets the balance of sameness, and churns up the waters of thought.
All of these things, I like. <looks around for the “like” button>
Music is the first thing I look for when I start to write. It’s my foundation point for creativity. It, by mere default, impales a campaign with emotion. Love, happiness, excitement, joy, anger, hate. (okay, maybe not hate, because if a client wanted to inject hate into a campaign I’d tell them to put down the crack pipe. Seriously…put it down.)
But is the music always “in” the campaign? Not necessarily. I’ve written some of my favourite campaigns listening to music, while having no intention of ever injecting music into the storyboard of the campaign. It has its place in the film, but not always in the scene. Sometimes it just inspires, without involvement. Sometimes I want the voice actor to hear the music that inspired the campaign, to feel what I felt when I wrote the words. It is a tool I use to inspire a talent to deliver an emotionally charged performance. It’s a tool I use for myself when I’m the talent hired to deliver for another writer.
Music, as a muse, has its limitations, but it can be the catalyst for creativity in any area of your business. Embrace it. Use it. Benefit from it. Music is born out of inspiration and emotion, and all the other things most of us will never understand about musicians…and because pretty much every consumer purchase has an emotional baseline, your target consumer will be positively affected, and hopefully motivated, by the business direction and focus born out of your music-inspired creativity.
And when you get a great song stuck in your head, love it for what it is. Anger…Joy… whatever fuels your moped. You never know when the beat will pay dividends.
Albert Berkshire is a writer, producer and voice actor. He lives, writes, plays, and consults for clients on Canada’s West Coast. In the process of writing this he was listening to Airborne Toxic Event’s “Half Of Something Else” in his head. And he is, in fact, only half of something else. But it’s one more thing that’s made his company, GreatCreative.Com successful. For a much shorter, and less frequent rambling, follow Albert on Twitter @albertberkshire.