Thursday, July 24, 2008

Guest Blogger: Charlie Jensen

Today we have our director, Charlie Jensen sharing some jewels about creativity with us.

Here's Charlie:

One of my favorite summer traditions over the past few years has been the launch of the new season of Project Runway, one of Bravo!’s reality show staples. Like many reality shows, it’s a competition, pitting 16 designers of varying experience levels against one another in a series of sartorial challenges that stretch the boundaries of their imaginations—and their hands. The designers draw, shop, measure, cut, steam, and sew their innovative garments from start to finish in each challenge, then finish by dressing and styling their model for each episode’s climactic runway show. Judges include designer Michael Kors, fashion editor Nina Garcia, Klum herself, and a fourth chair occupied by a rotating guest judge.

Last week I advocated for everyone to get away from the television and write, but this week I’ll admit that for me, Project Runway is a big fat exception to all the rules. I think it’s a show smartly done, but I also think, more than most television offerings, it places creativity right at the forefront of the show. Designers are often ridiculed or lambasted for doing “the expected thing” or “the uninspired thing,” while the best-faring among them have taken risks, done something differently, or pushed the boundaries of fashion just a little bit further than expected.

This season’s first challenge repeated the very first episode’s challenge to the designers: they were to construct a complete look using only what could be purchased in a grocery store.

The first time around, the results varied greatly. There was the winner, Austin Scarlett, who constructed a dress entirely from cornhusks, while the losing designer, Daniel, showed up with a model wearing a trash bag. The level of inspiration in between was just as various, with highlights including the nylon stocking dress, the lawnchair dress, and the unfortunate bell-pepper-bikini look.

This time around, the winning dress was made from opened vacuum cleaner bags dyed and bleached, scorched coffee filters, and some intricate detail work with a variety of household objects. One designer made a gorgeous Asian-inspired gown with kale and cherry tomatoes adorning it in a beautiful vibrant cowl-like neck. Another made a dress entirely from pressed Solo plastic cups.
What do I take away from this show that others can’t offer me? The reminder that creativity is, when it works best, an uncomfortable risk. As writers, we should lead ourselves away from the known places, the familiar places—toward ourselves, our own authenticities. Toward the delight of surprise and the unique beauty of taking chances.

You can learn more about this show here

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