Philosophy TuesdayMay 31, 2016
This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.
I’ve pretty much always have watched movie credits right to the end. I like to see what different groups worked on the movie, where locations were filmed, any surprise actors, all the technical stuff. And, perhaps even more so, it also comes from wanting to take a few moments to let the movie sink in, to reflect on it, and if the movie was a good one, to prolong that great feeling of joy, satisfaction, and amazement.
I’ve also often joked with friends about the rather… complete nature of movie credits. Everyone seems listed there. EVERYONE. “You deliver coffee, you get your names in the credits!” I’d laugh. It’s so unusual, it seems so odd. As the names go on and on, it just gets funnier and funnier. Try to find the most unusual sounding role or title, and be amused that someone got their name listed for it.
And then… I was watching the Zootopia credits.* As they scrolled by I noticed all the people involved in the IT services department. Which made sense – it’s a computer animated movie, there’s going to be a lot of computer support. And I got to thinking: This movie could not have been made without that support. All the tool development, all the server infrastructure, all the data management, all the hardware repair, even the technician going to re-install a patch that made your machine lock up. Without that, without them, the movie was not possible.
Which means that the people in the IT department could, truly, honestly, watch Zootopia and say, “I helped make this. I was essential to the making of this.”
And suddenly, it seemed weird to me that we don’t, more often, have credits on projects or endeavours like they do in movies.
My view about those credits, and moreover, on how I relate to the creative process and to all the people I interact with in my life, shifted.
So much of what we do is touched by, and interconnected with, and supported by, others. Many we probably don’t even recognize are there or had a role. And for those we are aware of, we rate, we judge, and we assign hierarchy to them. This is my creation. This person contributed a lot. This person’s just hired help.
Consider a person whose sole job it was to bring lunch to the team every day. By that simple and single act, that person freed the rest of the team about having to worry about lunch. That person took on a responsibility to clear the mental plate of the rest of the team regarding lunch. It’s handled. No concern.
Leaving the team to focus solely on their creative endeavour.
It may seem trivial and contrived, but having things “be handled” can really make a difference. Considering the way neuroscience says our brain works, decisions and concerns have a rather outsized impact on how expansively our brains can operate.
Compound this by hundreds of other people, hundreds of “taking care ofs”, not to mention the influence of peers to handle tasks, peers to delegate to, the role of those who give feedback, those who make our tools, previous influences, mentors, and so on…
Suddenly I’m getting grateful for a greater gaggle of people I interact with.
One of the things Rosamund and Benjamin Zander express in their book “The Art of Possibility” is that, in the world of contribution, there is no “greater” or “lesser” contribution. Contribution defies grading. Every bit is a contribution, and every bit makes the next contribution possible, and every bit cements the previous contribution. And we have no idea what impact our contribution might have, what it might make possible.
A person plugging in network cables so that an animator can animate an amazing scene that a lighting engineer with light and a tool made by the development team will render and be stored on disks by the storage team so that the editor can splice it together along with music played by some artist off a score written by the composer all to support the dialogue by a voice actor/actress bringing the characters to life using dialogue written by a the script writers to move forward a story developed by the story trust out of a process shepparded by the director(s), who had the inkling of an idea, an idea that has already grown richer and richer by countless hours of dialogue and critique and team writing and storyboarding and concept art from a whole other team… every single person in that chain is 100% making this movie possible. The network cable plugger is fulfilling on an intention that takes a village.
Why shouldn’t they be acknowledged for that?
What would it be like to run those movie credits of our lives and our projects more often? What if we elevated people – and ourselves! – to the roles we and they do play in this web that is our lives and our desires and our creations and our projects and our world?
I’m not going to laugh at the completeness of credits anymore. I’m going to be technically interested, I’m going to reflect, and I’m going to note and recognize all the contributions by all those people.
* For the eighth time…