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What Charlie Chaplin Taught Me About Creativity
Charlie Chaplin’s brand of creativity is stunning. His career began when he was only 14. His career lasted for well over seven decades. He became beloved in American theaters for his portrayal of “The Little Tramp.” Chaplin was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1971. Of his award the Academy noted, “the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century”. He was given an unprecedented 12 minute standing ovation. Sir Charles “Charlie” Spencer Chaplin died of a stroke, at the age of 88 in his adopted home in Switzerland on December 25, 1977.
A day without laughter is a day wasted. -Chaplin
Chaplin built his career around making people laugh. To him it was a serious business, indeed. Making boots out of a pair of loaves with forks for legs, is only a scratch on the surface. He made millions laugh with almost all of his work. My lesson learned is to not take myself so seriously.
Nothing is permanent in this wicked world not even our troubles~Chaplin
Chaplin certainly had his fair share of difficulties. One such problem was in the 1940’s he was accused of impregnating Ms. Joan Barry. Under J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI got involved accusing Chaplin of violating federal laws. The FBI involvement would later lead to banning Chaplin from the United States. My lesson learned is to keep going despite indifference, and even when I feel discouraged with my work.
Stand Up For What You Believe In
Man as an individual is a genius. But men in the mass form the headless monster, a great brutish idiot that goes where prodded~Chaplin
The Great Dictator was a 1940’s film that mocked Hitler and his ‘glorious’ Third Reich. It was in this film that fans first heard Chaplin speak. While the movie was commercially successful, it garnered a great deal of negative attention.This was due largely to the fact that Chaplin used six minutes in the film to express his political views. My lesson learned is to be passionate about my work, despite criticism.
Don’t Give Up
Despair is a narcotic. It lulls the mind to indifference.~Chaplin
From his famous portrayal as the “Little Tramp” to his controversial political views; Chaplin’s entire career could be defined by the words to never give up. My lesson learned is to have the same dedication in my creative career.
Work With What You’ve Got
All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.~Chaplin
Chaplin managed to be hilarious in the simplest of ways. He could make millions laugh at almost any predicament, he as the tramp found himself in. The chase sequences are nothing short of brilliant and funny. My lesson learned is to use the skills and talents I already have in my creative career.
Tell Your Truth
I went into the business for the money, and the art grew out of it. If people are disillusioned by that remark, I can’t help it. It’s the truth.~Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin could be, if nothing else, brutally honest. His aim was to make money and that is exactly what he did with his art. However, no one can say or even intimate that Chaplin did not work hard for his fame and fortune. He continued to work on films up to the age of 87, about a year before his death. My lesson learned here is that, creativity can lead to money, but it doesn’t always.
Know What You Want
I don’t believe that the public knows what it wants; this is the conclusion that I have drawn from my career.~Chaplin
In being a creative mastermind, Chaplin did not so much live a charmed existence, in so much as he created the very world he wanted to inhabit. Charlie Chaplin did not only invite criticism about his work, but about his personal life as well. He was married four times and often to women who were half his age. A behavior that was scandalous to say the least especially in the budding of Hollywood, in the early twentieth century. The lesson for me here is to consider what I want from my creative work.
Know Your Passion
What do you want a meaning for? Life is a desire, not a meaning.~Chaplin
Of all the work that Chaplin did, perhaps his work with Jackie Coogan, in The Kid is one of his most memorable works. It combines drama and comedy into a spell-binding account between an orphaned child and Chaplin’s ‘Tramp‘. To me this means to ‘do what you love’, to your fullest ability.
Give Your All
I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the make-up made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked onto the stage he was fully born.~Chaplin
In every performance, whether writer, director, producer, and/or the star of the show, Chaplin gave his all to his work. Simply nothing less would do. To me the lesson learned here is that creativity must be a part of who you are as a person.
Know Your Art
I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician~Chaplin
If nothing else, arrogant perhaps, Charlie Chaplin knew his art very well. For 75 years, Chaplin gave his all to every aspect of the film-making business. To me this means to know my art as well as Sir Chaplin did his own.
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