"You might have seen a housefly, maybe even a super fly, but I bet you ain't never seen a donkey fly." - the movie Shrek
In this fantastic interview, Oscar-nominated screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (Shrek, Aladdin, The Pirates of the Caribbean…) share how they work with ideas and it’s brilliant.
Elliott: A lot of the way Terry and I work… is what we call “egoless arguing.” If Terry has an idea, he says, “Here’s the idea,” and from that point on, there’s no ownership of the idea. I’ll make arguments for or against it, Terry will make arguments for or against. The idea has to prove itself as being correct.
Rossio: We put the ideas into an arena and let them battle, and in the end the stronger idea will win out.
I have known for some time that the word “my” can cause an avalanche of problems in the creative process. (Instead of “can you proofread my draft?” try “can you proofread this draft of this idea?” and see if the removal of any self-reference allows you to take constructive feedback more gracefully. It’s amazing how much the ego wants to protect the status quo inside that subconscious maze.)
Now take it one step further.
This wasn’t “my” idea, it’s just an idea that is now here. Where did it come from? Who knows? Can it hold up? Let’s see.
::grabs popcorn to watch::
Ooooh, how this can really up the ante for creative collaboration whether it’s a piece of writing, a business idea, or the most monumental project of all: planning a family vacation.
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Intuition is awesome.