On Creativity

Recently, I’ve been watching a series of documentaries on the making of different blockbuster films. The first set was the collection of “Making Of” addenda to the Indiana Jones DVD trilogy, in which Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas talked about the process of creating special effects without the aid of computer graphic imaging. The second set was the supplementary information accompanying The Lord of the Rings DVDs.

It’s the latter that inspired me most. Lucas and Spielberg, for all their innovative spirits, are Americans working in Hollywood, and as such they are part of the media establishment that dominates the world. But The Lord of the Rings is the product of a relatively unknown film director, Peter Jackson, from a little-known country, New Zealand. In his creative madness, he decided to take on a project that no one believed could be done: turning the seminal fantasy of twentieth-century literature into a live-action movie. And he does it! What’s more, he does it by taking hundreds of impossible things and making them possible: like shooting the trilogy as one long movie, like creating elves and hobbits and uruk-hai and ents who so are believable onscreen we never think of them as anything other than people, like shooting in locations that look the way many people imagine Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.

And I asked myself: why can’t we do that here?


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9 thoughts on “On Creativity

  1. Would it be possible to obtain his address? Everything I read about him seemed to refer to him in past tense, so I am pleased to hear he is still functioning and vital.

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  2. Functioning and vital are subjective things.

    Mr. Farrington is, to say the least, a unique human being. He doesn’t wish to have his address publicized, but you can find him if you travel in the vicinity of the Dunkin’ Donuts by the Bridge. He travels by foot and makes his way from his home in Centreville to a number of specific spots which can vary. I don’t usually find him; he tends to find me.

    You may be able to locate him through the Tribune, whose offices he visits every now and then, I believe.

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  3. Thank you for your information. I actually live in Cleveland, Ohio so shall not be bothering him but I am pleased to know of his well-being.

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  4. Thank you for your information. I actually live in Cleveland, Ohio so shall not be bothering him, but I am pleased to know of his well-being. I do remember that when I knew him—30 years ago— he was a very unique human being.

    on October 17th, 2006 at 10:03 am | #Link Comment

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  5. And age has brought out his uniqueness even more. His mind is as brilliant as ever, making its incredible linguistic connections and mining all sorts of newly-explored possibilities. But he is more of a compulsive talker than ever, perhaps because arthritis has limited his movement (he is very mobile, and walks everywhere, but it is difficult to imagine, for those who do not know, that he was once a beautiful dancer). He is in his eighties, and I had hoped at one time to be able to collect information on his life, as I have not seen a comprehensive biography of him and because we have yet to honour him for his achievements. But any interview with him must take several hours because of how he talks, and I have not yet carved out the time.

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  6. If you would like to speak on his behalf we are holding a celebration of his life and brief service on Friday, the day of his 84th birthday at St. Matthews 10 a.m. I would like to quote a few things you have said, may I.

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