4 Creative Lessons from Tim Burton

Tim Burton appeared on Charlie Rose recently to promote his art exhibit (who knew he was also an artist?) that debuted at the MoMA in NYC on November 22, 2009. (You can check out the behind-the-scenes MoMA video below.)

If you're not familiar with Tim Burton, you're probably familiar with his films -- he has directed such classics as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Ed Wood, Charlie and the Charlie Factory, and most recently, Sweeney Todd.

Burton filled the entire hour on Charlie Rose, discussing what inspires him and his passion for creativity. Below are four lessons on creative inspiration that I took away from the show:

  1. Always be creating. Burton doesn't use a Blackberry, phone, or computer, but he keeps a pad of paper with him in which he's constantly doodling or taking notes. His passion is "making things -- whether it's drawing, writing, or making a movie" -- and he is doing it constantly.
  2. Don't let people categorize you. Burton talked about how children, when they reach a certain age, are "boxed" into categories according to test results, skills, etc. This gets his "blood going" because it stifles creativity.
  3. Maintain your childhood spirit. "If you lose this you're really losing a part of your life…All kids at a certain age are brilliant [in art]. Then at a certain age art gets beaten out of them -- they say they can't draw, which doesn't seem right to me."
  4. Practice Mindfulness and meditation. Burton is always trying to be in the present moment, looking at things in new ways and soaking in his surroundings -- sounds, images, and people. The time spent "spacing out, sleeping, dreaming, looking -- is the most valuable time there is."

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