Filmmaking advice writ large: Tarantino's advice at ComicCon applies to all creative endeavor

I love these kinds of questions posed towards filmmakers and media creators of all kinds. Like Ira Glass on creativity.

Great auteurs answer these questions about specific industries but they're broadly applicable to everything, including my favorite topic, creating Internet startups.

There's a certain auteur aspect to it that translates precisely. It's a business, no doubt about it. But you have to appeal to people, even change people's lives -- the way they think and act. You have to understand and communicate visually, spatially and emotionally with your audience.

There's a technical element, substitute filmmaking and editing and cinematography for software engineering, scaling, and tech architecture / ops.

How you start is the same. You create. You create until your fingers bleed, and then you create some more. Iterate and don't worry about creating crap, because at the end of it, you'll have made a movie. Or a site. Or a story. Whatever it is.

The final part spoke to me the most. Yes, it's harder than ever to become a filmmaker or an Internet entrepreneur, or an author-- a creator of any kind. There is so much competition. But that competition sucks so fucking bad, that it will be plain as day when you've created something good.

It can be done. Today. Now. Go.

Charles Bukowski on Cadillacs, creation, or immortality

Somebody at one of these places ... asked me: "What do you do? How do you write, create?" You don't, I told them. You don't try. That's very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more.

It's like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it.

--Charles Bukowski

There's space for innovation everywhere, even where you least expect it. Like your vacuum cleaner.

Sir James Dyson has unveiled a new motor. He's got 50 guys working on it in the UK. At first glance, vacuum technology seems like the least sexy thing in the world to be working on. Yet Dyson's team has created the fastest motor in the world, and all so that you can make your house or car cleaner.

I think this is a testament to how much there really is left to be done in the world. No, it's not easy. No shortcuts. But you can create anything, and if it's good, it will sell. The world desperately needs this kind of innovation. And it can happen in almost any market, sexy or not. The Dyson motor is a wakeup call and reminder to those who want to build great things: There is so much to build, and so much to make better.

What will you do?

Merlin Mann talks about getting off your ass and just getting your ish together -- start creating.

Here are my semi-verbatim notes out of this great 27 minute talk (listen, it's good for you!) --

Don't worry too much about the process.

Before you become awesome at something, you've got to do something. And you're going to suck at it for a long time. It's just the rest stop to being awesome, though.

We create mental barriers around ourselves before we get started. E.g. if I just had this one little thing that was a little different, I'd feel so good about starting this project. I can't begin to start on this project before I work out the tagging taxonomy!

There's a part of you that is incredibly afraid of people seeing you sucking at something. You see people who seem to create great things the second they touch the keyboard, but actually they're just used to letting other people see how much they suck.

My fingers have to move for about 20 minutes before anything good comes out. You have to write your way out of a thinkng block but you can't think yourself out of a writing block.

Stop creating barriers for yourself that it has to be awesome your first time around. There's a mean Dad voice in your head shouting you down -- I don't have the right tools, I have to watch this video, I don't know how to do ___.

Trick from 43folders: I'm not allowed to go to the bathroom / go to Reddit / get a drink of water until I ___ -- e.g. write 100 words, etc.

Constraints matter. You can sit in your office for 16 hours and not write a word. But if you say you're only allowed to write for 2 hours, then you'll get a lot more done.

Develop an insane amount of tolerance for having no idea something is turning into. Don't sweat monetizing it. Don't sweat AdSense. You don't know what it's turning into. If you let your brain give you ideas, then you can execute on them.

You have everything you need right now to start. You don't need that crazy space pen or that Tablet PC.

Once you get past starting -- you've got to start polishing. You have to start, then have something, and only then add the judgmental part of it. If you judge before you create, then you'll end up just leaving mean comments on people's blogs. (LOL)

"I gotta go make something now, and I'm not going to take any more input until I make something." Stop reading wikipedia and stop doing research.

"If I only had a little bit more time, this could be really good." We put ourselves in self-defeating scenarios -- that's why we turn papers in late. We have an excuse this way.

Great talk -- reminds me of Ira Glass on storytelling

Simplicity, explained in about ~145 slides. Simple is not simple.

A great addition to this explanation would be some discussion about modes.

A few examples they present include: a) a Microsoft Windows wizard experience, b) date choosers that use two separate month and year combo boxes instead of just one combined combo box.

In both cases, you take away control while introducing additional modes, which are invisible states that the user must divine through context clues around the implementation of the user experience. That's partially why engineers can make such truly awful UI -- but it makes sense to them because it matches their mental model.

Wizards encode modes into the fixed, rigid "choose-your-own-adventure" style of navigating seemingly disconnected questions that don't connect me with what is really happening. (GROSS!)

Ultimately the most telling slide is the one around progressive disclosure -- hide things where people will find them.

As an aside, I've been quite impressed with how Slideshare and Scribd have made Powerpoint docs super accessible. It's simply unprecedented how easy it is to absorb information in bite-sized chunks from such beautiful and well designed presentations.

The most encouraging video I've ever seen about doing creative work. Must watch.

Ira Glass, creator of This American Life (my favorite radio show and TV show ever), drops some serious wisdom on creative work.

He's specifically talking about TV and radio work, but I think this applies to all creative work, including creating massively useful software.

The main message: Fight through the dip.