blog

This is my general blog category.

Most entries, that are not part of the documentaion of my work, are going here. Therefore you find a collection of different topics. You can further refine the shown topics with the use of tags.

#blog

acknowledge your roots

Every great thing that happens has it’s roots somewhere. Hip hop freestyle is based on social dances and breaking took a lot from rocking and martial arts. Even krumping, which is not officially hip hop, can not deny that it has roots inside the hip hop culture. The music we krump to evolved from hip hop music, some of the moves that are used in krumping have been there before in the hip hop dance styles.

And you know what? There is nothing bad about that. Cultural movements can part, despite the fact of having common roots. What’s not ok, is denying your roots. None of us would be doing what we do, without the people who layed down the foundation. And there is a foundation to everything new, because nothing comes from nowhere.

If you have inspiration in other things, don’t deny it, own it.

Featured Image for the "Slow Down in Practise" post

3 reasons for slowing down in your dance practise

Quality of movement is a term that comes up often when you are talking with professional dancers. Depending on who you are talking to, it might have a slightly different meaning, but in general it refers to how good a movement is executed. In my personal point of view this translates directly into how beautiful a move looks. Some people might have a different opinion on this. For the sake of this blog, we will ignore those other opinions. My blog, my rules. 🙂

B-Boy dancing with text overlay about 3 reasons to slow down in dance practise

No matter if we learn a new move or try to polish an old one, doing it slow helps us being more conscious about what we do instead of relying on the autopilot to take over. The more moves we have the higher the chances that we apply techniques of another similar move instead creating the muscle memory for the new or changed one. While the results can be quite as good, we miss the topic of creating or polishing.

An additional benefit of moving slow is that we focus more on details of the movement. Being clear about all the details of a move results in cleaner execution.

Last but not least: moving slower gives us more time to come up with new ways.

If you have different experiences with moving slow while creating or learning, feel free to let us know in the comments.

Bernd Christian Gassner / pixelio.de

Let people do their Work

Photo from: Bernd Christian Gassner / pixelio.de

A lot of artists that are building their reputation are used to do a lot of stuff themselves, even stuff that is not really their core competency. We get so comfortable with doint it all, that there is a risk of thinking we can do everything that is related to our work better than others.

Most of the time this happens due to us not having the money to hire experts for some parts of the production. Later when we might have the money or we find people that can do the job, we think it is needless. We overlook that there is a big difference between a job done because we can do it and a job done by an expert who is really good at it.

I just saw this in the festival distribution of our movie Elsewhere. I have sent the movie to festivals myself and we got some screenings. Now a festival agency is taking care of that and within the first month of the cooperation we had new screening and won an award.

As a reminder to myself and everyone who finds himself in the situation from time to time: if you let people do the work they are good at, it pays off.

A lot of books in the old library of Stangass Asylum

The creative Break

When you are deep in a creative project and force yourself to work on it every day, chances are high that you will encounter some sort of mental block on your way.

For people who write we call it writer’s block. It is a state where you seem to can not proceed any further in the process of creation. While there are many recommended ways how to deal with this kind of issue, there is only one that works well for me. To walk away from the project for some time. This does not mean you have to stop doing your work completely. It just means you should leave this topic alone.

If you write, you can write another story. If you do choreography, you can work on other music. The goal is to give you mind a break from the thing that causes the block. Of course the best thing is to do something completely different, if you can.

When you do this, your subconscious mind keeps working on the issue and more often then not, the solution will come to you in a moment where you are doing something totally unrelated to the topic.

I am out, going to play some video games, to cure my writer’s block.

don’t talk to talk

I am not quite sure if I’ve become intolerant or if our society cultivated a certain kind of behaviour where it seems more important to talk about stuff, than actually doing it.

For every guy out there that is creating something or doing his own thing there are five that talk stupid behind his back or upfront without ever trying to do the same he does.  That is plain stupid.

I think most of us know when they have something valuable to say and when not. If the big NOT is the case, it is a great thing to remain silent or openly state that you have nothing to contribute in the actual matter.

Of course there is nothing wrong about giving feedback to other people. That is one hell of an important tool that helps us grow in whatever we do. But giving somebody shallow or crude feedback that is far beneath the amount of thought that went into creating the thing or idea in the first place, is an affront and a waste of precious time.

If you want to waste some time, waste yours. Don’t get into the way of people who actually do things.

Old Books in a museum in Venice

Reading Matter for the next Year

In my last post for this year 2017 I am doing nothing but recommending 5 books that I enjoyed very much this year. All of them gave me some new insights and helped shaping the work I do.

Without further bla bla, here are my top 5 book recommendations to read, if you haven’t read them yet.

I) Tribes from Seth Godin. The book is about global community building and how the concept of the tribe has evolved through the internet age.

II) Rework from David Hansson & Jason Fried. Rework introduces ideas that change the way one can approach work. A lot of these are completely the opposite of the status quo. The authors explain why they do things different, so you can decide for yourself if you stick to the old ways or the suggested ones.

III) Steal like an Artist from Austin Kleon. This really small gem is an introduction into doing your work as an artist. It installs methods and rituals that help you do your daily work.

IV) Die große Hitze from Jörg Mauthe. This one is fiction in german language. I don’t think it is translated to other languages and it’s relevance to readers from outside Austria might be small. For everyone living in Austria or having friends there, get this book and have an excellent satiric novell about austrian officialdom and dwarves. (No joke)

V) The Prophet from Khalil Gibran. Philosophic stories and metaphors about dozens of timeless topics.

If you have any books that you recommend, let me know in the comments. If you already read some of those above, share your thoughts.

Balancing Inspiration

Most forms of enternainment can serve as inspiration for getting your own creative juices going. But the abundance of options and the volume of material that can be consumed might become a source of further procrastination.

If you are diving into movies, books, videogames or music for inspiration you should know that these different types of input effect you thinking in different ways.

Television or cinema (everything that is moving image) give you a very clear image of what is happening. There is very little left to imagination. You might be engaged emotionally but most of the time your brain is not really motivated to work because it is getting everything served. It is dumbing you down, especially when you apply the repeated patterns that are imprinted deep into television productions.

Video games are very similar with the difference that they require you to actively engage.

Music and reading are not as clear about the things they say and you make up a good portion of what might be happening on your own. When two people read a character description in a book, they still envision the character differently. The same goes with music. While we hear the same sound, it triggers different emotional responses in everyone of us.

There is nothing bad in turning on the tv or going to the cinema. But in order to keep your mind active I highly recommend that you grab a book or listen to music more often than you switch on tv.

Have a good night everyone.

The Sacred Space

The Sacred Place

At the moment I am reading “die empty” from author Todd Henry. It is a book about doing your work as good and as commited as possible, so that you “empty yourself from everything you can give”. This idea of not saving anything for later cultivates an urgency to look for new stuff every day, thus challenging you to reach for stuff outside the status quo often.

The author mentions the concept of the sacred place. He advocates that everyone needs to find that place where he can do the work that he really cares about. Not the work that is urgent because it brings the food to the table, but the one that is important because it feeds the souls and follows the path that you envision for yourself. The sacred place shall be a place that is not to be used for stuff that is not important, otherwise is loses it’s inspirational impact.

As a lot of us can’t have an extra room in their flat or rent something for that purpose I suggest using the sacred place as a metaphor. Create a sacred space within your possibilities. You can always install a real one later. For a dancer this might be the practise room of his crew or a writer might have his favorite table in the cafe around the corner. Be creative as this must suite you and nobody else.

My personal “sacred place” at the moment of this writing is the 90 minutes at the end of the day from 22:30 to 00:00. My wife and my daughter are already asleep and I find the time to write. It does not matter if I write for one of my blogs, a screenplay or a poem. The thing is I have time to create without having to think about anything else.

That is the purpose of your sacred space. Whenever you are there, it is about creating. Try it. Here are the rules:

I) find a place or a time frame that gives you the possibility to disconnect from everything that might distract you from doing your creative work

II) use this to do your important work every day

III) focus only on doing the work

IV) don’t bring anything else to the sacred place

I am doing this sacred place practise for only 37 days now. But I did not miss one. It is like medidation. Helps you calming down an focusing your awareness on the things you want to accomplish. It might not be for everyone, but it works for me. And it might work for you. There is no loss in trying.

In Search of Incredible

Marketing vs. Good Work

If you do good work, they will come.

A lot of good people live by that belief. But in my own experience and within of the range of research I did for an upcoming project, it looks like this is not true.

I guess most of us have that friend that is creating either great music, having awesome business concepts or doing some other part of great work for the sole purpose of creating. We have been told, that putting out good work will make the audience come and find you. This might have been true back in the days. Today good work is everywhere because technology helps people creating and so many people can do great work now that was not possible without computers and stuff.

But due to this fact there is a total overload of information and there is a very small chance that people who are looking for what you do, find you without you putting in the work into the marketing side of things too.

Promoting your art and selling it is not bad. There is no selling out if you stay true to your craft and vision. Selling out is doing whatever works in order to get the money.

So the question is not if you should focus on doing good work or marketing. In order to be successfull with your art, you need both.

In order for our work to have an impact, it must first have an audience.