For inspiration on how to show your work , or to just get fired-up about the creative process in general, check out these five documentaries that take a look at the journey, the sweat, and the drama behind the finished product.
Supersonic chronicles the hard work and brilliant musicianship that would catapult Oasis to superstardom and the clash of egos and sibling rivalry that would be their undoing.
Depending on how you look at it, this is either a cautionary tale or a study in what you can get away with if your work is absolutely fucking brilliant.
For more studio craft and less tabloid buffoonery, check out the hour long Oasis: Definitely Maybe, a generic but interesting rock doc on the making of their debut album.
If there ever was a treatise on the power of deadlines to unleash creative productivity, this is it. Each episode of South Park is written, recorded, and animated in just 6 days. Far from a sweatshop, the South Park Studio is full of laughter, and the sort of goofing off that’s vital to creativity no matter how tight a deadline you’re on.
South Park’s co-creator, Trey Parker, relates the self-imposed crunch his team finds themselves in every week, “There’s a show on this Wednesday, and we don’t even know what it is.” They put out episodes not in spite of this ambiguity, but because of it. You get the impression that it would be a very different–and probably less special–show if they gave themselves more time. The void is part of the process. Something to keep in mind if you’ve committed to share something every day.
This one will make you feel lazy and, hopefully light a fire under your ass.
Available in full on YouTube (below,) Funky Monks is a black-and-white fly-on-the-wall view of the making of the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik: the one with “Under the Bridge” and “Give it Away” on it, the one that would make the Chili Peppers a band your grandma has heard of.
The band was living in their producer, Rick Rubin’s, mansion/studio at the time. Things get pretty fratty, but you can see the value of living in the same space as your work in progress.
Use of this video is for “Fair Use” for Educational purposes showing different recording techniques, the creative process and is for comments on Artistic Content. There is a bit of an issue at the beginning of the Video at 0:00:10 – 0:00:36 as it was eaten by my VCR during transfer.
Each episode features a designer talking through and demonstrating their craft. It’s filmed in a way that gets inside the voice of its subjects and feels like a creative product all its own, not just a documentary about creatives.
While her husband was shooting Apocalypse Now, Eleanor Coppola kept home videos and audio recordings of his work. This started as a way to keep herself occupied while adjusting to life in the Philippine countryside, where the family had relocated for the duration of the project.
Everything that can go wrong goes wrong: a hurricane wipes out the set, people get malaria, Coppola burns through all his Godfather money and everything he can borrow, Brando throws tantrums over his body image issues, and the Philippine Army Helicopters–hired for the film–fly away in the middle of a shot on orders to go fight actual rebels.
Copolla’s private rants, which Eleanore recorded without his knowledge, are cringeworthy yet familiar to anyone who’s ever felt over their head on a creative project.