SKETCHY ADVICE FROM BROAD CITY WRITER ACHILLES STAMATELAKY
Achilles gives some tips about getting motivated about your comedy writing - but really these apply to any creative work you might be doing! Achilles performs weekly at UCB East Village with Airwolf.
- 1.Deadlines MotivateInertia is my nemesis, but The Deadline is my hard, unflinching best friend. You can’t negotiate with a deadline. If I have a Maude show in 2 weeks and I have a bunch of rewrites to work on and props to shop for, I will do it. If I need to get a shooting script completed for a video, it’s gonna happen. Because of The Deadline. The Deadline does not forgive. It motivates.
- 2.Other People MotivateGet into a writing group. Show people your stuff. Surround yourself with artists that you are excited to collaborate with and are energized to compete with. Impress yourself, but impress other people too.
- 3.Seeing and Experiencing Cool Shit MotivatesIf I’m feeling “unmotivated,” I try to light a fire under my ass by experiencing things that are better than whatever I’m doing. Something that makes me think “Man, I could be doing something this cool. Why aren’t I?” Here’s a short list of stuff I go back to for this type of motivation: anything and everything by The Beatles, the Empire Strikes Back, almost any episode of South Park or Breaking Bad, “The Book of Mormon,” museums, Michael Jordan highlights on YouTube… I could go on for ages.
- 4.Fun Tools MotivateAll writers work with tools, so why not make your tools FUN to use? I would hate writing in a cheap marble notebook, but I LOVE writing in my Moleskine notebook. Sure it’s more expensive, but it makes me WANT to write in it. Same thing for my pen, computer, sneakers, etc. Give yourself permission to use tools that you WANT to use to create!
- 5.Life MotivatesSometimes the lack of motivation is really just burnout, so when I sense that in myself, I like to take a step back and do things that are not at all comedy-related. Go to a museum. Exercise. Shop. Talk to someone. Play softball. Just get away from your own brain and experience stuff.
- 6.Working MotivatesI like this Henry Miller quote: “When you can’t create, you can work.” If you don’t feel like writing that sketch right now, maybe you can brainstorm a different sketch. Or go through whatever you have for a list of props you need for it. Or answer an email from an actor asking if they should bring their own make-up for that video you’re shooting. Next thing you know, you want to return to the actual creation of the sketch, but you’ve moved forward in the meantime.
- 7.Keeping Things in Perspective MotivatesIt’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a project and start comparing that unfinished thing to someone else’s awesome completed thing. It’s not motivating. What is motivating is this mind-set: “Don’t compare your blooper reel to someone else’s highlight reel.” If you look at your favorite comedian, remember that they went through the same thing as you.