Daily Illuminator

April 9, 2011: Do Tight Deadlines Help Creativity?

Does a deadline looming over your head stimulate creativity? I know from personal experience that, yes, it can, but the tradeoff is the stress-induced zombie stare that sets in shortly afterward.

However, it seems some creative types like doing it to themselves voluntarily. If you've been on Twitter, you've seen the #NaNoWriMo during November -- writers working on completing a novel in 30 days. Comic book readers may have come across 24 Hour Comics . . . which is exactly what it sounds like: write and draw a comic in 24 hours. Heck, even RPG designers get in on the action with 24 Hour RPG. The most recent such project to appear on my radar is the 48 Hour Film. The organizers randomly generate a couple of elements that must be included in the film. Filmmakers then have 48 hours to go from "concept" to "uploaded."

The simple fact that you can write a script, wrangle sets and props, rehearse, shoot, edit, and score a film in a mere 48 hours is amazing in itself. But some of these short films are pretty darned good all on their own. The one that caught my eye from a recent challenge put on by Sci-Fi-London Film Festival was the entry from All the Kings Horses Production (the writer, Mike Sizemore, worked on the Slingers sizzle reel from a couple years ago). This five-minute film features a hard-drinking time operative who describes herself as "a precision instrument." There's a ton of cool -- and gameable! -- ideas in those few minutes.

Love or hate any individual result of these tightly deadlined challenges, you've got to admire the creative fire burning in these makers . . . and their endurance!

-- Paul Chapman

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