Language of the Soul Podcast

The Creative Process with Disney Animator and Master Storyteller Dave Zaboski

November 21, 2023 Dominick Domingo Season 2023 Episode 4
The Creative Process with Disney Animator and Master Storyteller Dave Zaboski
Language of the Soul Podcast
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Language of the Soul Podcast
The Creative Process with Disney Animator and Master Storyteller Dave Zaboski
Nov 21, 2023 Season 2023 Episode 4
Dominick Domingo

Meet Dominck's old mate, Dave Zaboski - a mastermind artist, former Disney, Sony, and Warner Brothers animator, and current co-founder of Laetro. We walk down memory lane, revisiting his illustrious career and the lessons learned on What role does luck play in manifestation?  What is intuition?  And how central is love to the creative process? Dave and Dominick bat these questions around and more,  discussing the importance of oscillating between intellectual and intuitive states in the creative process--what's often referred to as 'the zone.' They discuss Dave's startup, Laetro, which connects creatives to companies. Dave shares his insights on the recent shift towards stakeholder capitalism and how creativity, diversity, equity, and inclusion can drive this change. Through the lens of epigenetics, we explore how understanding and rewriting our narratives can liberate us from the past on both the microcosmic and societal level. 

Guest Bio: Dave Zaboski is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Laetro.com, a tech-enabled community of the world’s finest creatives serving enterprise customers with best in class design services. He is a classically trained painter and was an animator at Disney, Sony and Warner Bros. during the Second Golden Age of Animation. He worked on “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” “Pocahontas,” “Aladdin,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Hercules,” “Fantasia 2000,” and others. He has illustrated several acclaimed children’s books, including titles for Dr. Ken Dychtwald, Dr. Deepak Chopra, finance guru Ric Edelman and actor Paul Michael Glaser.

Dave has created concept art for film and television, shown his fine art at galleries internationally, been the expedition artist in search of a lost temple in the Andes and painted for the Dalai Lama. Along with teaching workshops at retreat centers like Esalen Institute, Summit and Rancho La Puerta, Dave also contributed as a faculty member at Singularity University and NextMed Health Conferences. Dave teaches creativity, leadership, innovation and collaboration to entrepreneurs, makers and organizations around the world. He lives with his wife, Robin, and a small menagerie on a ranchette in Southern California.

Learn more about Dave

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Support the Show.

If you would like to make a one-time donation, CLICK HERE, or you can click the support button for other monthly support options.

To learn more and order Language of the Soul: www.dominickdomingo.com/theseeker

Think you would be a great guest for our podcast; please submit a request at LOTS Podcast Guest Pitch Form.

Now more than ever, it’s tempting to throw our hands in the air and surrender to futility in the face of global strife. Storytellers know we must renew hope daily. We are being called upon to embrace our interconnectivity, transform paradigms, and trust the ripple effect will play its part. In the words of Lion King producer Don Hahn (Episode 8), “Telling stories is one of the most important professions out there right now.” We here at Language of the Soul Podcast could not agree more.

This podcast is a labor of love. You can help us spread the word about the power of story to transform. Your donation, however big or small, will help us build our platform and thereby get the word out. Together, we can change the world…one heart at a time!

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Meet Dominck's old mate, Dave Zaboski - a mastermind artist, former Disney, Sony, and Warner Brothers animator, and current co-founder of Laetro. We walk down memory lane, revisiting his illustrious career and the lessons learned on What role does luck play in manifestation?  What is intuition?  And how central is love to the creative process? Dave and Dominick bat these questions around and more,  discussing the importance of oscillating between intellectual and intuitive states in the creative process--what's often referred to as 'the zone.' They discuss Dave's startup, Laetro, which connects creatives to companies. Dave shares his insights on the recent shift towards stakeholder capitalism and how creativity, diversity, equity, and inclusion can drive this change. Through the lens of epigenetics, we explore how understanding and rewriting our narratives can liberate us from the past on both the microcosmic and societal level. 

Guest Bio: Dave Zaboski is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Laetro.com, a tech-enabled community of the world’s finest creatives serving enterprise customers with best in class design services. He is a classically trained painter and was an animator at Disney, Sony and Warner Bros. during the Second Golden Age of Animation. He worked on “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” “Pocahontas,” “Aladdin,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Hercules,” “Fantasia 2000,” and others. He has illustrated several acclaimed children’s books, including titles for Dr. Ken Dychtwald, Dr. Deepak Chopra, finance guru Ric Edelman and actor Paul Michael Glaser.

Dave has created concept art for film and television, shown his fine art at galleries internationally, been the expedition artist in search of a lost temple in the Andes and painted for the Dalai Lama. Along with teaching workshops at retreat centers like Esalen Institute, Summit and Rancho La Puerta, Dave also contributed as a faculty member at Singularity University and NextMed Health Conferences. Dave teaches creativity, leadership, innovation and collaboration to entrepreneurs, makers and organizations around the world. He lives with his wife, Robin, and a small menagerie on a ranchette in Southern California.

Learn more about Dave

We would love to hear from you! Sent US a text message.

Support the Show.

If you would like to make a one-time donation, CLICK HERE, or you can click the support button for other monthly support options.

To learn more and order Language of the Soul: www.dominickdomingo.com/theseeker

Think you would be a great guest for our podcast; please submit a request at LOTS Podcast Guest Pitch Form.

Now more than ever, it’s tempting to throw our hands in the air and surrender to futility in the face of global strife. Storytellers know we must renew hope daily. We are being called upon to embrace our interconnectivity, transform paradigms, and trust the ripple effect will play its part. In the words of Lion King producer Don Hahn (Episode 8), “Telling stories is one of the most important professions out there right now.” We here at Language of the Soul Podcast could not agree more.

This podcast is a labor of love. You can help us spread the word about the power of story to transform. Your donation, however big or small, will help us build our platform and thereby get the word out. Together, we can change the world…one heart at a time!

Speaker 1:

Hi guys, and welcome to Language of the Soul, where life is story. So I do say this almost every week, but I am very excited, earnestly, about today's guests. I'm doing two episodes back to back and in the little pre interview I was just saying to my friend Dave, I couldn't be more nostalgic Our second guest I've known since literally 1984. And today this guest, today's guest, is a master storyteller and an amazing artist who might greatly respect, and we have actually known each other since 1990. Otherwise known as the Cretaceous that internship was 1990. So anyway, he's one of my favorite people on the planet. We've kept in touch all these years, but I can't wait to catch up. We have not talked in a while, so we're using this opportunity to catch up with an audience or a listenership. Of course, I did a little research to see what he's been up to lately, so here's the part where I let you know a little bit about him in advance. And then, dave, feel free to correct me if I butcher your resume or your bio.

Speaker 1:

Dave Zabowski is the co-founder and chief creative officer of Lytrocom, a tech enabled community of the world's finest creatives serving enterprise customers with best in class design services. He's a class we trained painter and was an animator at Disney, sony and Warner Brothers during the second golden age of animation. I call it the Renaissance, the animation Renaissance. He worked on Beauty and the Beast, the Lion King, pocahontas, aladdin, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, hercules, fantasia 2000 and others. We share a lot of those.

Speaker 1:

By the way, he's illustrated several acclaimed children's books, including titles for Ken Dickdwald, dr Deepak Chopra, finance guru Rick Edelman or Edelman, not sure and actor Paul Michael Glazer. We also share that accolade. Dave has created concept art for film and television, shows his fine art at galleries internationally, been the expedition artist in search of a lost temple in the Andes totally going to ask about that in a minute and painted for the Dalai Lama, along with teaching workshops at retreat centers like Esalen Institute summit at Rancho La Puerta. Dave also contributed as a faculty member at St Eulerity University and next Med Health Conferences. Dave teaches creativity, leadership, innovation and collaboration to entrepreneurs making sorry makers and organizations around the world. He lives with his wife Robin and a small menagerie on a ranchette in Southern California. Welcome, dave Zabosky.

Speaker 2:

Woo. Dave Zabosky. All right, thanks so much. Ranchette is something that we made up. I don't know what a ranchette is, dave Zabosky.

Speaker 1:

I got the idea.

Speaker 2:

Well, I've been there, dave Zabosky we have small goats, so we have goat tats in ranchette. Dave Zabosky yeah, exactly, dave Zabosky.

Speaker 1:

It's the same place I've been to in CME Valley, right Dave Zabosky.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's Chatsworth, dave Zabosky.

Speaker 1:

Chatsworth yeah, beautiful, Dave Zabosky, and I wish our listeners could see it, but you've got a beautiful studio behind you which has evolved, I think, since I've been there.

Speaker 2:

Dave Zabosky. Oh yeah, it evolves all the time and you might hear my dog, which is part of my menagerie here, dave.

Speaker 1:

Zabosky, it happens.

Speaker 2:

Dave Zabosky. He's got to participate.

Speaker 1:

Dave Zabosky. Yeah, dave Zabosky. Okay, well, you walked away. Hopefully the dog will step in for you, dave.

Speaker 2:

Zabosky. Yeah, no, I Dave Zabosky. What, since we're not, since it's not, since there's no visual for this interview, I am going to be engaging in interpretive dance for most of it.

Speaker 1:

Dave Zabosky, nice. I would expect to know less, dave.

Speaker 2:

Zabosky. Yeah, dave Zabosky. Hey, it is super great to hear your voice and connect with you, nick. It's been a long time and, yeah, we go back a ways.

Speaker 1:

Dave Zabosky yeah, that's putting it mildly, but on the other hand, it has been a while. Only when I see a familiar face lately I say, well, seems you've survived the ongoing apocalypse or you're surviving the ongoing apocalypse. But you know, I mean, I personally feel like everything's surreal. I have vague memories of the world pre-pandemic, but you know, my world has changed immensely. So I would love to, yeah, hear what you've been up to. Of course, I did a little research on you, as I said in our pre-interview. I went to your website, of course, read one interview with you and watched half of a podcast. Dave Zabosky, all right.

Speaker 2:

Dave Zabosky.

Speaker 1:

I think I know what you're all about, but I also don't like to make any presumptions. So is there anything in the bio that I botched?

Speaker 2:

Dave Zabosky. No, no, it's all good. I mean, you know, reading an interview and half of a podcast, that's how my mom keeps up to date with me. Dave Zabosky Right, Dave Zabosky. So yeah, you know pretty much what you need to know. I mean, I might, you know, I might go back a little bit. After I left Disney, I started at consultancy. You want to hear a little bit about how I'm doing what I'm doing right now. Dave Zabosky.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. I mean, that is, I hate real general questions, but that's a good one, like what brought you to where you are today, dave Zabosky.

Speaker 2:

I mean I think you know as this pertains to listeners as well is it's like your life is a series of connected dots. You can have some mentorship, but especially in the ecosystem that creatives are in right now, it's really hard to really to find a path to follow, like there's no, there's no long-term work at the studios, necessarily. And so how do you, how do you build a career? And you kind of have to connect the dots. And so here are some of my dots, just as a way to to invite y'all to what Louis Pasteur said that fortune favors the prepared mind. So because we're creative, our prepared mind, you know, wants to pay attention to the opportunities, and so that's what my invitation is for your connected dots. Does that make sense? Dave Zabosky?

Speaker 1:

Yes, I love it. Well, again, not to jump in just yet, but here I go. That reminds me a little bit of you know what is it? Luck is preparation, meeting opportunity Somehow. I heard that in there a little bit.

Speaker 2:

Dave Zabosky. Yeah, yeah, I mean, you know luck. Yeah, we can talk a little bit about luck, dave Zabosky.

Speaker 1:

I don't want you. No, no, continue with the dots, because you're a storyteller, and that's what our podcast is largely about. Is life is story right.

Speaker 2:

Dave Zabosky. So so here's a little story on luck and then I'll move into the other stuff. There was an experiment recently where they had people self-identify their luckiness. So some people felt they were lucky and some people felt they were unlucky. And so what they did was they separate these guys into those groups of lucky and unlucky and they gave them a newspaper and in the newspaper they were asked to count how many photographs were in the newspaper. And the people who were lucky finished it really quickly, and the people who were unlucky, it took them you know, some significant amount longer, like minutes longer, to count the number of photographs in the thing.

Speaker 2:

Well, it turns out that on page two there's a headline that says hey, stop counting. There's the images in this newspaper. We promise that's the correct answer, right? So so for me, what that is it kind of goes back to my original point is that luck is you being able to pay attention with your life to the opportunities that occur. And that's kind of what they came to the conclusion with in this little experiment. Is that the lucky people you know they were just, I don't know, maybe less stressed. That allowed them to open their aperture a little bit. You know, maybe they were. They believed in the story of their own luck, and it could just be that it were into matters.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I wonder too, though that's connecting dots is the definition of intuition too. You know, we're quick to say animals have instincts, but oh, we're above that. You know, instinct is the connecting dots. I'm sorry, intuition is the connecting dots, so there might be a correlation between right intuition and luck as well. Well, right.

Speaker 2:

So intuition is just the ability to receive information that you don't know where it's coming from. Right and non-locally.

Speaker 2:

You know, sure? However, frankly, our eyes, for example we I mean, we've got this job with Jet Propulsion Laboratory, we have all these telescopes and we are in the process of doing our work with these guys I came across this information that you know your eyes collect one, 10 trillionth of all of the potential radiating vibrations that are landing around you One, 10 trillionth. We think that we got it all by just knowledge and algorithms and data and intuition is a soft thing. Well, I mean, yeah, we're missing one. We're missing the other 10 trillion.

Speaker 1:

I call it the tip of an iceberg. The empirical that we acknowledge is the tip of a metaphysical iceberg. Yeah, so we're interpreting vibrations and reifying vibrations all day, every day, but, you know, dismissing the ones that science has not yet acknowledged. So I mean, I don't see an ultraviolet.

Speaker 2:

I don't see any information. I don't hear an ultrasonic. You know there's information that's out there. That's that's anyway.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, what I do is when I was looking at the dots as an animator at Disney, I could see the stories that they were telling into the future and I thought, well, you know, I had been in Paris with Disney Studio in Paris and it was really hard to be a cartoonist when I came back from Paris. So I, you know, I was part of artist development in Disney, so I was doing talks on on how the animators look at being an animator not just the principles of animation but the principles of an animator and so it was really in deep with this idea of how to make the maker, how to take an idea and turn that thought into a thing, the way we did it. Disney, we had some really amazing systems and practices there, and so I turned some of those things into a consultancy after I left Disney and that led me to some pretty neat places, a lot of entrepreneurial teams, tech teams and, you know, cutting edge technology stuff, because they they were brilliant, excited and maybe they didn't have the same mentorship practices that we did. As creatives, as artists at Disney and other studios.

Speaker 2:

I'm having a blast sharing the idea of plusing with companies. Like it changes everything. It blows your mind. You know. It's really for us, this idea of to plus someone, to be additive to an idea. It was the water we swam in at Disney, but it was plus and all Well.

Speaker 1:

Something you said in the interview that I read was you know to be part of a legacy and feel not the obligation or the burden of upholding the legacy but to feel honored to be part of that legacy right, and the sort of work ethic that comes with it. I call it a well-oiled machine. You know Disney's been around a while and you feel fortunate to be part of the legacy. But you also feel inspired, right. Work should not be drudgery. If it's inspired work, it's the opposite of drudgery, it's energizing.

Speaker 2:

Right. And so imagine, you know you've got this group of extraordinary creatives who have been tinkering with this idea that your love is part of your creativity, and they create practices to keep love in place. I mean, I know that that sounds, I mean, antithetical to business, that's because they, how dare you?

Speaker 1:

Right, you know, how dare you.

Speaker 2:

But it's a structural piece of both the you know how we made our art and the culture that we were in. It's why I love you. It's like you know we were in a place that really created structures for our creativity to use the power of love as part of the mechanism that let us be excellent, right, like you have to have emotion when you're creating. If you're emotions, if somebody tells you you suck or there's this negativity around the emotional side of your creativity, it's like turning all you know. It's like turning three of the four propellers off on your plane. I mean it could maybe keep going, but you go a lot better when you are operating in that healthy emotional place.

Speaker 1:

Let me ask you if this relates. I'm going to let you continue the story, but of course we're here to explore ideas too. So I am tempted to reminisce with you and I would love to go back to our Disney days and talk about you know, and just go into a little more, because for me, I wasn't. I didn't really recognize how good we had it. I was definitely on cloud nine, trust me. I was in heaven, and I've said many times I didn't take it for granted to be inspired every day, right when you walk in a workplace and you're surrounded by artistic genius and just master storytellers. But it felt like a family to me and, retrospect, I acknowledge and recognize what you're saying. Everybody was inspired all day, every day, and love is just another word for that.

Speaker 1:

But I guess what I wanted to get to is I did a documentary once, or I planned a documentary that never got made, but I interviewed a lot of professional artists at the brewery and other sort of you know loft in the loft district downtown.

Speaker 1:

I interviewed aspiring artists, meaning students, just a whole cross-section of people who identify as creatives. I had a hunch that a lot of artists are internal and it's not safe to express themselves. So they developed this right mode of expression that validates their existence and it's a surrogate. And anyway, I just had a hunch that a lot of people did what I did. They self-expressed when it wasn't safe to do so without the surrogate, and then they were validated as a result and that was kind of that bore out in my interviews and I actually did a survey. But so many of the artists, including my very, very young students, used the words oh, it's my way of loving the simple question. I would say why did you choose the craft and I, you know, worded it that way intentionally the craft of art or story. Oh, it's my way of loving. I found that really beautiful because you think it's unexamined, but they were pretty in touch with it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's beautiful. I would offer that. The underlying mechanism is their. Well, I mean, it's kind of a chicken and egg, but it's their desire for mastery, like you, I mean my friend just popped over so it's the at the heart of it, it's the pursuit of mastery. So it's not just artists who operate from love. The thing that I found is every single master of any discipline and I would argue, the martial disciplines as well, like the master assassin as much as the master flower ranger, gets to their mastery because of love. They have a love for it, because somehow they love, whether it's pulling the trigger or clipping the leaf. There's a you know, in fact, the guy who just won Wimbledon. One of the things that he said was that one of the reasons I'm good is I really love hitting a tennis ball. Right. So like you, you have to be, you have to find some love in it. Nobody gets to mastery with by hating it.

Speaker 1:

All right, well, drudgery, as I said, but I guess I separate the craft right, the craft that you master and to which you apply discipline, and from what's at the root of it all, which is interconnectivity. Right, we're expressing ourselves to connect. So the surrogate that I was talking about is, it's a form of connection. You know, when you show work and you get validated, you move or enlighten or touch or impress. You know, when you're young, it's just validation, it's it. The ego thrives on the fact that you exist and there's evidence you exist.

Speaker 1:

But I'm saying the whole drive, the whole creative drive in my world and yes, like you said, it's not being a sculptor or a painter or even a writer. There's creativity around us all day, every day Rocket scientists, mathematicians, even people, just, you know, making a nice meal to feed their family. There's creativity is innate, but I'm just arguing a little bit that the drive is interconnectivity. You know to contribute through your unique creative efforts. Thank you, there are, yeah, and then craft, yes, you have to love your craft, but craft is a means to an end in my world, you know yeah, yeah, I mean, yeah, you have to have.

Speaker 2:

You have to have the, the craft. I never thought of animation, for example, as drudgery or tedious. You know the craft was Part of the thing. You know, like you knew that it was gonna pass. I mean, I remember just the idea that you could start with some scribbles. By iterating those scribbles up, you can get to a place where you have a stack of paper in your hand. You're holding me, hold it close to your face and you flip it and let all those papers drop so that you can see the animation that you created. Suddenly, those little scribbles are thinking and you're just like what? The power of both the imagination from the inside to be able to turn a scribble into a thinking creature. I mean imagination from the outside to be able to accept that those bunch of scribbles are thinking creature, just a. It's magic trick.

Speaker 2:

It is alchemy, it's yeah yeah, I mean I think about it as slow magic like fast magic. Here's a car trick and I'll make it disappear. Right, that fast magic has a kind of trick to it, but slow magic is the alchemy. Slow magic is low heat over a long time instead of a flash in the pan.

Speaker 1:

I'm gonna quote you. I've quoted you over the years in my teaching. I don't know if you know that, but I think it's related to what you just said a little bit. And I always give you credit and I see my friend dave says I do. Of course I do.

Speaker 1:

I think a lot of artists hit a wall with technique right, if they don't have the technique and they have a concept they want to honor or even an emotion they want to express, but then Lack of technique stands in the way. That's where they hit a wall. So I'm in my teaching such a big fan of just getting to know the creative process, whether it's the walls model or any of the traditionally accepted models of the creative process. Then the fear goes away, like why do I have blank canvas syndrome or blank page syndrome?

Speaker 1:

But the one thing I think it's related to what you were just saying that I quote you on is this idea of you don't go straight for the goal. You stock it, right. So you vacillate between hot and not to put words in your mouth. But the hot and cold is what I retain and to me that's the more intellectual, analytical part of the process and then the more intuitive part. So people that love the concept stage because it's so energizing, but the effing hate rendering because it's more technical. They fear they've lost the initial inspiration when they have to render. But again, not to put words in your mouth, but I kind of teach like, okay, but if you understand the value of the technical execution, the rendering, you have to have faith that the initial inspiration will transpire and you're just simply moving through, like you said, the hot and the cold and the intellectual and the intuitive.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, well, that's exactly it. That thanks. I mean, that's beautiful. I think you've retained it nicely for me. When I think about flow, you know everybody talks about flow and getting in the flow state. And how do you find that flow state? Frankly, think that that whole thing is bullshit overrated. It's spectacular to watch somebody in a flow state, but when you're in one you don't really care about, really know your first name. It doesn't Right right that that and I appreciate that you know the sort of transcendent nature of that state is desirable to get to.

Speaker 1:

But the second well, it's healing to like if you can get those deal waves flowing and Quite the mental chatter. You know that's I feel like personally. Maybe singers don't need to chant because they resonate and all the same chambers like you have that your craft as a means of getting good at life, of nurturing the spiritual journey. So I personally value like when you're playing air painting and you just lose yourself in the mental chatter quiet and You're in theta wave mode. That is your meditation, that is your prayer, that's your church. So it does have value. But in terms of getting shit done and finishing a piece, it requires both right, the intellectual and the intuitive. Holy, let me let me clarify.

Speaker 2:

I'm not saying that the flow state is not real, because it is right. What I am saying is that the pursuit of it is bullshit, and I'll tell you here's how you get there. And it's just what you said. It's oscillating between hot and so when I am oscillating, what happens is I go, all right, you also?

Speaker 1:

wait on your own time days.

Speaker 2:

yeah, I love the light coming off of the side of this building. Look how it's warmer at the bottom, cooler at the top, and you start to just like getting to the all the juice of it and then you go all right, well, it's cooler at the top, what's the Value range? And also you start, you go back to the, to the cold, but both of them are just as exciting. The key is to get an oscillation going such that you go faster and faster between each one, and you know there are. There is a film, siroya painting a great with like three colors on his brush and in a single stroke you go right, and so second nature.

Speaker 1:

Right, the technique is so second nature right.

Speaker 2:

So he's like oscillating so fast that he has all of it in one single stroke. And that's the game to get a little space and a little dedication and a little heart, and so, you know, all those things come into play.

Speaker 1:

When you're drawing from the model, though, that is the best training, like you said, to get it all happening with a single stroke, because you are going between what you see and what you know, right, so you might just be feeling the pose, and every stroke contributes to the feeling of the pose. But then you're like, wait, what's happening with that arm? I need to bring in my foreshortening and my understanding of foreshortening and Use like this to make something pass behind yeah, what's the?

Speaker 2:

shape of the deltoid and how to move into the bicep and how's the pectoralis connected to it and what's happening, like all those little things. I think you know I love this idea of the oscillation. That's where I play about the. Don't worry about the flow, right. What I do think about is not going too far into one, like letting myself have a kind of Bounce, right.

Speaker 2:

So like I go into the, you know, look at the color of the rose on that guy's cheek as it blends into his beard and gets cooler. And then you know that look at how delicious that is. And now here's the, the mandible going into the sternocleidomastoid muscle, into the clavicle right. And then, and then I come back and go, oh, but look at that blue, is that the mandible shape right there? Oh, but look at that blue right. So so you, you know you don't want to go too far into one and too far into the other. That's where the tedium happens, like drudgery is because you have not allowed yourself to find that. That return to the balance, to the oscillation, love it. So that's slow.

Speaker 1:

So the goal is oscillate. It's like the patch up meditate, oscillate this should be a bumper sticker. Totally agree with you. But you know again, in 20 years of teaching it's like I've learned more by watching not just the different relationships with the creative process in my teaching, but the lifelong artistic journey. You know, I keep in touch with students and I see where they land, and it's a journey. But of course in teaching I gently offer that. You know, the goal, I think, is for all the technique to be second nature, so you can feel that you're expressing yourself. But I agree with what you said. There's a lot of romantic notions around Things like the flow right or the zone, and I agree 100% with what you said Because I've seen too many people that again want to express themselves and they over romanticize the angst in the ABC, in the D, but they don't have the technique to back it up.

Speaker 2:

So you know, and I think that the technique is also thin, sliced into the infinite, like technique is always going to be something that you will hone Like there's never even. You know, I'm a pretty good drossman, but I'm gonna study with a master drossman to get better at drossmanship. I think that there's. Let me tell you another little story.

Speaker 1:

That is the spirit of the podcast, right?

Speaker 2:

so let me share why I share these stories is because there's a Sort of lesson at the end that I think applies to the conversation. So neat thing that happened to me and this is how I learned this thing. Let me share this experience with you, to share this learning. It goes like this I'm at this, I'm at this fundraiser. I'm sitting at a big table at a fundraiser, 10 people around the table. I'm sitting next to this older gentleman and we're having a conversation about creativity and we are falling in love, like we just love creativity, we love the process of it. We're just, you know, on fire. Nothing at the table is relevant to us. We're just like going after the ideas of art and consciousness.

Speaker 2:

And the live auction is going on on stage and they're, you know, auctioning off seven days in Puerto Vallarta and a trip to Italy and these things, and I don't really care. And then suddenly they have on stage this auction for a guitar signed by Crosby, stills, nash and young nice. Now for your young folks out there, there was a super group that made some of the most seminal music for my life, like just amazing, amazing music, that that moved my heart and changed my mind about life. I'm sure you all have music does the same for you. Cross with stills, nash and young did that kind of thing for me and so so they go. I saw this catches my attention while I'm having this conversation with my friend, steven here, and they go yeah, signed by Crosby, stills, nash and young. And if you guys don't believe me, says the woman on stage, let me just verify it. And she walks over to our table and she shows the guitar to the guy sitting next to me Steven stills.

Speaker 1:

Oh, man, and she says something you'd seen, neil Young, but OK she says, steven, is this guitar?

Speaker 2:

and he goes, you bet your ass it is. And then did you not recognize him? How does that happen? I don't, that's not a thing for me. I don't really have, like I don't I listen to the music. I don't know. Yeah, I don't know what he says. Are I don't? I just it's not, it doesn't, yeah, it's not in my on my paper route really to kind of follow that stuff. You know, like I like the music, I love the music, but I don't Necessarily go to the concert or if I do, I'm too far away or I don't follow the magazines anyway.

Speaker 2:

The point was I didn't recognize him and I looked at him after the, everybody cheered and she went away and they sold the guitar for you know a ton of money. I was like, oh fuck me, steven stills. Right, he goes. Yes, I am. And I was like all right, steven, listen, we've been having a great time tonight. But I can I have like two minutes to just fanboy for a little bit, just like I'm going to lose my shit here for just a minute and then I'll be cool again after. But like, let me just thank you, being the soundtrack to my awakening right to being the voice of my my, my inner pain and desires to let it come out. I wanted to say thank you for bringing that music to the world. It has made a huge difference in my life. Wow, right. And so so then I was like, all right, cool, is that cool? I mean, I don't want to embarrass you anymore, but you know, are we good? And he's like, yeah, we're good, let's go back to it. So, anyway, we, we struck up a friendship.

Speaker 2:

After that I went to draw him at his doing some recording sessions and things like that, and and and I remember being at a party chatting with him once and he said I said, hey, steven, you know, like you've played teach the children three thousand, three million times in concerts everywhere. Like, are you ever up on stage thinking like, oh yeah, I gotta do my laundry? Oh yeah, here's the, you know, here's the bridge, and shit, did I leave my keys in my car? Like, like, when you're, you know you've got thirty thousand people or a hundred thousand people at a stadium show somewhere. Are you like, where are you with that? You ever kind of like feel like, oh, I got this, or or is there an edge you're always looking for. And he says to me Well, let me tell you what BB King told me. And then I did my best to not just have a brain.

Speaker 1:

So when you met BB King and BB King said here's what God told me yeah, you know so.

Speaker 2:

So so he says, I learned from BB King and you were always, always looking for the edge. It doesn't matter, you're not here for the, just the entertainment, you're here because this is your art and you want to find that edge.

Speaker 1:

Well, some people do phone it in, though. I mean, look at Marlon Brown doing his leader here is like there is that phenomenon.

Speaker 2:

Oh sure, there's that phenomenon. You get to choose. I love it exactly. What do you? What do you choose in a guy like Steven Stills? To he told me, hey, I went to see yo yo Ma last night and this is a world renowned cellist and he was like I was watching what he was doing with his left hand and I was thinking, oh shit, there's some gold in there, right. Like imagine what one of the rocks greatest guitarists is thinking when he's looking at one of the greatest cellists and watching like what's the thin slice of technique that those guys are doing, right? So, anyway, that's the attitude that I think is possible if you would like to adopt it. And for you know, for me, who am I to say Steven Stills is wrong.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I can't really argue with that wisdom. But to bring it back to story, because obviously that's that's the premise of the podcast, you know what's happened between I don't know when you left Disney and how you founded Lytra. Yeah, lytra, lytra. So you initially were consulting you said consulting with artists after having left Disney.

Speaker 2:

I was consulting with companies. I was consulting with companies on the creative process to talk about the technology of creativity.

Speaker 1:

That intrigued me. Sorry, in my little research I actually highlighted, because I think I know what you meant. I think I can ask about it. You know that it's something you can replicate and I thought oh well, the results are something you can replicate because of technique, it seems. That's how I interpreted it.

Speaker 2:

Well, yeah, I mean all of it. Like you know, the short version is there are universal laws of creativity, things that we learned at Disney, maybe codified slightly differently in various places, but it's not. You know, there's sort of five of these universal laws of creativity, the practices around, which allow you to replicate multiple you know multiple paths to a good result, and so I was teaching this at a lot of entrepreneurial places as well as big companies, and I met my co-founder at Google. It's a guy called Brett Wilms who was a senior marketing director at Google and I'd gone there to help teach creativity as a practice in technology to some of their teams, and Brett and I just got along great. We started tinkering on this idea like how do we create a thing for creatives in this day and age? So, right around the beginning of the pandemic, we started Lightro, which stands for Meisters of Light, l-a-e-t-r-o, because we're all painting with pixels now, so I love it, so we're painting with light, and so we started this company.

Speaker 2:

Because we looked at the ecosystem for creatives out in the world and they're either freelancing, where they're working their asses off to try to get a gig, or a company is looking for somebody and hoping they get lucky with somebody. Or there's the agency on the other end, and the agencies are big and slow moving and very expensive and there's kind of nothing in between. You either do it for you at the agencies or do it yourself with the freelancers. So we thought could we be a do it with you space, get a kind of marketplace that we are committed to seeing creatives flourish, to getting them good work in the world. So we have on the supply side all of these elite creatives. They got to go through me, so I'm the bar, and they're amazing, world-class creatives from the entertainment industry and beyond. We have about 500 of those guys, guys and gals and from all over the world. So there's a bar. If you're over it, it doesn't matter where you're from, you're over it and you're in, so and we don't regulate for region either, which is pretty neat.

Speaker 1:

So these Sorry, what do you mean by that exactly?

Speaker 2:

Your day rate is your day rate. It doesn't matter if you live in Bangladesh or New York. If you say this is my day rate, we pay your day rate. And we do work with enterprise companies. So basically, on the supply side we have the creatives and on the demand side we have these enterprise companies and in between we have a product. Basically it's a website. That's a facilitation machine for creative to go into the world. So it facilitates the clients understanding what the statement of work is, what our master services agreement is, how our production management works, all the other agreements, invoicing and payment. And then, on the creative side, there's a dashboard for the creative that shows here's the project you're on, here's how many hours you're working, here's your day rate, here's your agreements and here's your invoicing and your payment. And we pay the creatives the day they turn in their work. Beautiful, there's no net, anything. That's great.

Speaker 1:

And this is a rather new model, right. I mean, are other people doing this? The managing projects start to finish, in other words.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean agencies do something like this. We're not exactly an agency and there are other companies out there, but I think that we have a proprietary product that allows for us to be able to move companies through this pipeline and get great creative by the teams we cast.

Speaker 1:

Sorry for my ignorance, but I want to ask one question. I'm sure you have all kinds of scenarios and all kinds of clients, right. Do they ever come to you with an art director, or do you provide that?

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, no, it's all different kinds of things. Yeah, we can boost the capacity for a company, for example. So they've got their art team, but they need some extra help on it because they've got a big push coming up right. Or we can give them specialists. So, let's say that they need a motion graphics person, that they don't have a 3D modeler or even a video editor. Right, we're doing to work with Google and they've got a lot of this stock photography, but they need an art director, a creative director and an editor. So we bring those guys in. It's Google. They've got plenty of creative teams going on, but they need some specific help, so we can help them there. There's lots of different ways that we serve companies. We're plus, we're here to plus. So if they've got a team already, we can augment it. If they don't have one, we can be it for them. If they need boosting, we can boost them. So we're not an agency looking to take away other agencies' work.

Speaker 1:

Let me ask you this then, because, again, the spirit of the podcast, the spirit of the book, what I hear a little bit is, I think the word creativity does get thrown around a lot. Right, it's now become a cultural value, but it's also now, obviously, google's a great example, right, it's now a great example of creativity in our pipeline, in our workflow. So, in the academic arena, creativity has become a buzzword. In business, creativity is something we strive for. It's become, it's on the cultural radar, but sometimes it's just a box you check. Right, it becomes a little bit of a buzzword or a box one checks.

Speaker 1:

Is there a difference between content, if that makes sense, and then, because a lot of people are creating content and, frankly, especially online, there's a lot of just vapid content out there. So, I know it's in the eye of the beholder, but is there something about artistic integrity, literary value, in the types of stories you know what I mean You're trying to tell to plus these corporate? You know what I mean, this corporate mentality? Do you ever come up against a corporate mentality and you want to push artistry as an end in itself, or creativity as an end in itself, or what I call redemptive content, which is very different than content for the almighty dollar right or persuasion, that sort of thing. Don't want to put words in your mouth. That's what I. That would be my dilemma.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to roll back a little bit and let's talk a little bit about capitalism, because there are some prejudices it sounds like you know, inherent in that the corporations aren't bad or evil, they're made of people. Corporations are made of people. They're not a person, but they're made.

Speaker 1:

I was going off of the idea of plusing and I thought what are the ways in which one would plus? And I know more creativity is something I've heard you. You know what I mean More creativity, more creativity. That's kind of why I went off on that particular review. Well, I'll bring you back around.

Speaker 2:

You stay with me. It's like this. So there's capitalism, which is the best system on earth to allow a good idea to rise to the top. So, while there's a lot of shit that happens with capitalism, it is the best system we have so far to be able to let somebody in Nigeria who comes up with an idea to make plastic into bricks that can fix the potholes and maybe even make houses for the people who are scrambling through the biggest dumps as part of their daily living, she can rise up and create a company that makes a difference in the world.

Speaker 2:

And create self-sufficiency for individuals, but capitalism is the best system for that, and, if you want to check out, there's a documentary coming out called Earthbound, which is exactly that story, so keep your eyes open for it. So the challenge is that capitalism right now, as it stands, is shareholder capitalism, meaning that the only reason for a company to make money is to accrue to the benefit of the shareholders, and that has caused a lot of problems. Now there's another kind of capitalism called stakeholder capitalism, which means that the company's mandate is to operate to the benefit of not just the shareholders, but the benefit of the stakeholders, which could include employees and community and customers.

Speaker 1:

Have you ever listened to Marianne Williamson talk about this exact topic? Yeah, there's a lot of good people. The paradigms are shifting because, she would say, love, which you've mentioned several times, was literally never mentioned in a boardroom right, until companies like Trader Joe's, who talk about keeping their employees happy and coming from a place of love, and I just think there's a whole new vocabulary now.

Speaker 2:

Well, so there is a new vocabulary. I mean, maybe it falls a little short of love in the business world, but affinity is not a terrible replacement for me. So what you have because of this sort of emphasis to move, at least unofficially or spiritually, towards some more stakeholder capitalism, meaning that if you're a bad actor in the world of corporate malfeasance, your people are going to know about it and so you're going to get dinged for it. So what's starting to happen and this is what comes to this point of plussing is that people are more purpose driven now than now. Thank you, yes, right. And companies then have to be more purpose driven because their employees are purpose driven.

Speaker 2:

So E and I, and I would add B right. So diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging A big deal now, and I think it's great because it's about time. So, when creativity is sort of coming up to the ranks of being a cultural thing, dude, you and me we've been in the creative world for our lives, right, it's just like it's a 30 year overnight success, right? And so the idea of creativity being a technology, that is, that it is also something that we can use, practices to keep that affinity in place.

Speaker 1:

It seems like a synthesis, right, the pendulum is. I mean just to jump in what I hear and a lot of that, because I am going back to the 90s, when you and I first met in 1990. And you know, I do think the pendulum swings, but this sounds like a synthesis of two faults, right, seemingly mutually exclusive ideas, but they're really not. So I would argue like, actually, the early 90s wow, that's when and again, I taught college for 20 years, so I kind of saw the difference. With each incoming generation I have 22 nieces and nephews and they want no part of what they would call capitalism, they want no part of the man or the rat race, and so they're all about finding one's unique, authentic voice and then contributing it. All these very romantic ideals, right. But I'm just pointing out that, like I remember for five minutes in the early 90s, writers around the time we met, there was like water for chocolate, il postino, life is beautiful.

Speaker 1:

There were a lot of little independent films and for the first time distributors realized, oh God, there is a public appetite for independent films, foreign films, art house films, and that's when the Miyazaki films started to become, you know, distributed by Disney. So I saw as I was surrounded by people like you several friends that I'm no longer in touch with that were sort of riding the wave of, you know, the age of Aquarius and the reemergence of spirituality, personal spirituality, not institutionalized religion, right. So for five minutes all that 80s airbrushy stuff right disappeared and you saw really earthy if that makes any sense, kind of earthy, more art oriented consumer products. Anyway, then I think it with social media shifted back to consumerism, I mean majorly. So I like the idea that they're not mutually exclusive and we can now begin to integrate technology and self expression and artistic integrity. Does that make any sense at all? Yeah, I mean, I think that's yeah, that's where.

Speaker 2:

That's where the shift to stakeholder capitalism is exciting. Now, I don't think we're going to shift from a structural standpoint, but but we can make a shift from a kind of mentality standpoint or spirituality standpoint. Right, like companies are not suddenly going to go, oh, we're not going to make this $100 million, because it might, you know, impact this pond of ducks. Like, like that's probably not going to happen in the near future. They're going to kill the ducks.

Speaker 1:

But I guess that's what I was hinting at about the early nineties as well. The green movement, they called it, was just becoming that, was just starting to get on people's radar.

Speaker 2:

You know right, but everything is, you know, waves coming up a beach, you know one wave comes up a little bit and then it goes back. You're talking about pendulum, yeah, but I do think like consciousness is continuing to evolve. And so when you think about I'm tied this into a couple of other threads here, because one of the things that I love about stories is triangulating them against each other in the information that they carry, or maybe weaving them into each other to see the greater tapestry that one particular thread of a story only carries one part of. And so, for example, let's look at the industrial revolutions. So we have the first industrial revolution.

Speaker 2:

This is an advent of something in the culture and society that changes everything. So in the late 1800s you have the first industrial revolution and you have steam power. That basically magnifies our capacity to use horses to move things right. So we get we magnified horsepower and in about the 20s or so we get electricity, and that changes everything. And then from electricity we get computational power. Through the 40s, 50s and 50s we can compute things that we were never able to compute before, and that led to the fourth industrial revolution, which we think we're in right now the age of communication, and I'm going to tell you it's an exponential growth, where we've passed the age of communication, we know how to communicate.

Speaker 2:

We're now what I think we're in is the age of interdependence, and that means that we are dependent on each other, but interdependently, so meaning we have a sovereignty, but that sovereignty has to lean on something, and so this age of interdependence means that, like a guy in Wuhan can leave a window open and the whole world has to deal with it. Companies are interdependent. Teams inside of companies are interdependent. I was having this conversation something that I posted on LinkedIn from somebody who was like how's the sales team doing? Because, are they closing the deals? Who's your closer? And I was like God, who's the closer? You know?

Speaker 1:

the closer Sounds like kind of mafia oriented. But what do I know?

Speaker 2:

But I mean, that's the way it looks, like everything's siloed. You've got your sales team going out hunting and they've got a closer on their team. But no man, that guy closes because one of our contractors is super sweet to our community and makes them feel welcome, so that when we have a request they're super responsive. So they're closing because of her. They're closing because of an engineering team that's making an amazing product and slapping down bugs 100 times a day. The engineering team will never meet the customer. The customer doesn't even know the incredible benefits that the engineering team is doing for them.

Speaker 2:

We're so siloed that I think now that if we can start to think about interconnectivity, then we can support the guy who's out there sharing the product or service that we do as a gift for somebody, such that they'll pay for it. So he's not there to be a closer, he's there to be an opener, to offer this opportunity to somebody, to be able to have our whole team back them. That's where the interdependence comes in. That's where plussing comes in as a cultural piece, like we plus each other, not just to make this little thing better, but we plus each other because, fuck, it is so much more fun to live in a culture of plussing Beautiful.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mentioned that it felt like a synthesis of mindsets, but it also sounds like integration. So, without compartmentalizing or farming out skill sets, everybody seems to be not just interdependent but multifaceted.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, because then you get better at stuff. When you plus each other, I mean look at, I'm a pretty fair painter, but I was in a background painter, but I learned some stuff from you, you know you use the term painting with light and I thought how many times in my teaching.

Speaker 1:

I mean, it's a metaphor only, right, but painting with light, that was the name of the game. Like in painting for film, just a map painter or a background painter, everybody knows your whole life is spent making sure your darks don't crunch and your lights don't blow out, because there's this polarization that happens for film. So I call it painting with light. Every color note on your canvas has to represent something, right? So light equals color, equals form. One doesn't exist without the other. So every color note represents an ambient light or a key light or a fill light or a rim light, and so you, literally, you know my whole, with my students, the whole journey is painting with light, kind of understanding how light affects form, right Anyway, but I think it's a metaphor. My underpainting here I do, beautiful, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And that's actually a study next to it, so that one. There is a painting.

Speaker 1:

Wait a minute. So that's the grisee, that's the underpainting and it's going to. This is the study right here.

Speaker 2:

Okay, this is the grisee, this is the underpainting.

Speaker 1:

So you do this little almost color key before you approach the painting.

Speaker 2:

In other words, I wanted to experiment because I love this man who I'm doing the painting of, so I wanted to explore the subject first and kind of loosely figure out what it would feel like. The point of that was that? What was the point of that?

Speaker 1:

Well light, true? Yeah, look, this is kind of mastery.

Speaker 2:

One thing I will say is you know too much, but we're not going to kill you for it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so that never ends. Well, does it Right?

Speaker 2:

I'm going too much, but because what happens when you're in a culture of blessing right, so when you're in a culture of blessing to plus each other is to be additive to the trajectory of the idea, not the ego that brought it. There's a bunch of practices that we teach and use to be able to be in service to that trajectory, so that that idea can come to life, that we can breathe life into the idea, we can animate it Right, and so that I really take to heart, we animate ideas, but in the process of it what's really exciting is a little bit of stuff rubs off on everybody.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly, and one hopes in the workplace you learn and grow every day, right, right?

Speaker 2:

So mentorship is like a two-way street, it's a network, a web work of support. The idea of blessing becomes this cultural piece that raises all boats, like if you want to be great at what you do, you learn how to share and be shared with. I worked on a scene on Pocahontas where John Smith is hanging from a tree and he's saying, well, it's kind of like this and he's sort of using his hand, waving it in a circle and the human hand is the most beautiful, perfect and complicated device in the known universe right, and drawing it 24 times in a second, doing a kind of gesture, is pretty tricky, and so I did a rough pass on it and I showed it at Dailies, which, for y'all out there, dailies, happens weekly. It's where we show the scene that we're working on this week and all the animators get to see all the work of all the animators, so we can plus each other, and so I show my scene and this one animator who I have huge respect and amazing animator. He has his own studio called Duncan Studios.

Speaker 2:

I know, yeah, he comes up to me and he goes hey, dave, I saw that scene. It looks pretty good. Would you mind if I showed you what one of the nine old men showed me about how to draw hands? And I was just like are you kidding me? Oh, my God, right, right, heck, yes, please right. So in five minutes he showed me what Ollie Johnson showed him about how to draw hands. Then you know just when the way, mr Guy won.

Speaker 1:

So is my wife. I said do you mind if I relay what Caravaggio taught me?

Speaker 2:

Right, exactly, you know what BB King told me about that, and so that kind of thing, is you know? Back to our very first topic, is you know, being prepared for the revelations, you know I could have been hey, man, I got this, it's my right off, right. Or I could have been in that plusing state which he was in and I was in and it's like awesome, yeah, man, I love for you to plus me because, again back to what you were talking about before, I'm not competing with Ken, right? He's?

Speaker 1:

on my team. Yeah, receptive, I'm competing Well in my teaching. That's to be honest. You know how Art Center you and I both went there right and it's got a great reputation and I still sing its praises. But the legacy is slipping a little bit in my opinion. It's shifting.

Speaker 2:

You know the whole legacy I've voted top art school in the world. The thing that is coming out is that they teach you to be the one.

Speaker 1:

Well, what I was? Yeah, it's shift, the culture is shifting and we can do that. That's another podcast, we'll do an episode on that, but I guess what I had to really. So you know, the reputation traditionally with Art Center is like oh, they kicked the shit out of you the first week, so your pride goes out the window. That's kind of you know, the myth is that our art, yeah, oh.

Speaker 2:

I don't remember that.

Speaker 1:

No, no, no, neither do I but they. That is the myth that.

Speaker 2:

What's the hurt so bad?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, art Center kicks your ass. And then you're humbled and then you start to learn and so that's. You know, we both had Karmian and Hogarth and all these old school guys. That's the only. And then there's a lot of horror stories like, oh so and so took a piece and threw it on the floor and stomped on it. He threw it off the crit rail. You've heard the horror stories you and I didn't really experience and that was a little overblown.

Speaker 1:

My point is, with my students, I notice resistance and it takes many forms. Some people use humor because it's very vulnerable, right? Until you develop that quote unquote thick skin which is not what people think, right? It's very vulnerable to express yourself and then put it on the crit rail and open yourself to literally criticism. A crit is a critique, not a criticism. But it's very vulnerable until you grow out of that sensitivity. So again, pride takes. Resistance takes many forms. Humor, sometimes it's defensiveness. I taught for 20 years but what I noticed is the whole learning curve there is for everyone in the room to understand. Like you said, we're not competing with one another, we're competing with our own potential, if anything, and we're all here to fucking help each other. So nobody kicks the shit out of anyone. But you relinquish your pride because you realize we're all here to help one another.

Speaker 2:

This is what I say when I go into a classroom. Is I say look around, these are not people you need to assassinate, these are people you need to uplift. You're going to be in the career with these people for the rest of your lives.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and that's not the point Creating sort of a really nurturing safe. You know safe as a word, but real nurturing environment in my classroom got harder and harder because social media kids got kids got clickier than ever. 22 year old kids got clickier than ever. So I'm the old. Now the old guard is like can you guys just say hello to each other when you walk in the room instead of staring at your phones? Like getting them to trust each other and not be clicky got harder and harder. It's fascinating, right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's the one thing is to understand that you are in this career with each other and that your acceleration is going to depend on your gracious generosity.

Speaker 1:

We're so lucky to be raised. I mean, I did my hard labor, I did concrete with my dad, deltoch. I wore a polyester hat, for God's sake, at Del Taco. I was a kid who had plans to change the world. But you know what? I could wear a polyester hat and be the best Del Taco employee that ever was. I worked at Aaron Brothers all through school. When I got to Disney man, it didn't even enter my mind to be competitive with anybody else, because it just was the best thing that had ever happened to me. It felt like a family.

Speaker 2:

Right, it was just so hard to do the things we had to do. You didn't have time to be competitive, you just had to. You were just learning all the time, but so was everybody else, so was Ollie Johnston and all of those older guys. You know, here's the. When we talk about this stuff, we teach practices for keeping these things in place. So, for example, like, how do you live in that critique world? Well, you know, we have a practice called committed but not attached. Craig Nelson talks about how you got to make Craig the amazing painter. You know who that is? Oh yeah, for those of you out there who want to look at Craig's work, it's just the brilliant, brilliant illustrator and painter. He says you make a mark with the full strength of your being believing that it's correct and knowing that it's probably wrong.

Speaker 1:

Right, that's conviction.

Speaker 2:

Right. So there's this kind of commitment, but not attachment.

Speaker 1:

I love it Well in life. Right, that seems to be the goal in life. I mean, look at you. Non-attachment.

Speaker 2:

Go ahead to the micro critique or the macro to your life. To be committed and not attached is the path of the master, exactly Right. That's the one who says, oh, you didn't like this, fine, I'll make something better, and I can always keep doing that, so you get to pick when you want me to stop.

Speaker 1:

Did you happen to read the four agreements?

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, do I have them on my right here, right.

Speaker 1:

Well, let me ask you just as a little tangent. And then we really do need to bring a background to story, because that's the name of the podcast. But I just wonder, see this idea of detachment or non-attachment? I'm a Scorpio dude, so we're all about. You know, we're the best friend you'll ever have, we're fierce, we're courageous, we're very loyal, and then I'm also Italian, so there's passion there. As you know, that's a euphemism, passion. So I just have this feeling.

Speaker 1:

When I read the four agreements, I thought sometimes you do need to spiritually over correct, right? Marianne Williamson talks about. You know, if you're missing the target every time on the left, you might need to over correct to the right a little bit in archery. So I feel like, yes, there are tenets that are very universal and we could all you know there's value for all of us. But sometimes you need to over correct in one area but not another. So when I read the four agreements, it happened to have been given to me by an ex that had some issues, you know, so I kind of saw him all over in it.

Speaker 1:

And every book is written, every guru is also a human being. So when I read the four agreements I thought, yes, don't take anything personally. Of course nonattachment is the goal, right. Of course you. If somebody says, oh, I don't like your shirt, of course it's probably more about them than it is about you. They're having a bad day, they stub their toe, whatever. But I did have the thought. Well, within a relationship and again it might be over-romanticized, but I do feel like even you and I, dave, it's like I actually care what you think about me. I care about my shirt, not think about me. I care how you feel about me. So I am going to consider. It's called consideration, right, what you say to me about my shirt. So they just lost me a little bit and I felt like the writer was a little sort of bitter or disappointed on that front. Do you hear me a little bit? So it's a balance, like everything else Dejection and nonattachment, Totally right.

Speaker 2:

So first of all, let me just throw out the visual that balance is sometimes holding perfectly still and sometimes it's flailing your arms around.

Speaker 1:

So that is on an as-needed basis, on an as-needed basis Right.

Speaker 2:

So you might be flailing at times, but you might not. So the poles are oscillated again between that's the first piece.

Speaker 1:

But no man is an Island is my point. No man is an Island, and that's what interconnectivity is is giving a shit about what your loved ones think about you and how the people are.

Speaker 2:

Let's go back to your shirt. Let's say I show up at your house, you and I are going to, we're about to go out to dinner. I stop at your house, you open the door and I go oh wow, you're going to wear that shirt or whatever, like. I say, like, let me see if I can sit.

Speaker 2:

I might say more passive, aggressive, no no, no, I don't want to be passive, aggressive. I go oh, you're going to wear that shirt, really Right. And then you would go yes, I am Right, because you and I don't have any baggage around, right? Why, yes, I am. So you go, yeah, well, yes, I am. Oh, you're going to wear that shirt, yes, I am Right. So now this is another practice. One of the universal laws of creativity is that creators complete, they finish strong, they leave things complete. When things are left incomplete, then what starts to happen is there's some, you know, corruption that moves into communications when things are incomplete.

Speaker 1:

Like projection or attribution, that sort of thing, right.

Speaker 2:

And I think that we, as humans, the stories that we tell the world about ourselves, about others, are filtered through our completions and our incompletions. Right, I'm good at this, so I'm going to tell this story, or I'm not. I'm not so good with names, right? You hear that all of the time. Right, well, you're not so good with names because that's the story you're telling, right, right, right, I and I think you've seen me do this, I, I'm really good at names, why? Because that's the story I tell, and I've done this in your class, where I meet everybody in the class and then I go and I do all their names, right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and if so, well, I used to write it in the. Sorry to get you off track, but I used to write it in the the role what do you call it? The role role book? Yeah, freckle on left cheek red hair.

Speaker 2:

Well, right, but so what happens is, when you start telling a story that you want to validate, you look for things to help validate that story. So the role confirmation bias.

Speaker 1:

Confirmation bias.

Speaker 2:

Well, right, or just practices to be able to complete things, right? So I have a story that I'm good with names. I stuck by that story. I might say to somebody hey, I'm really good with names, I forgot yours. Can you tell me yours again, cause I don't have anything on it? There's no baggage, right? But like, let's say, you and I, we've got a lot of baggage with each other, right? And so I show up at your place there's a bunch of things that you and I haven't completed. I show up at your place and I go hey, you're going to wear that shirt. And you go fuck you, you never put the top back on the toothpaste.

Speaker 1:

I wish I could have that argument with you. That's like heaven to me.

Speaker 2:

You see what I'm saying, right Right, there's this that there's an incompletion, and so we're not is that is that what I mean.

Speaker 1:

Are you referring to closure? A little bit Like you can't go to bed mad. That sort of thing Don't go to bed mad.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, that's definitely one Like is the conversation complete? I love it, right. And so there are practices for completion that you can use. One of them is acknowledgement, just saying thank you hey, I see you did the dishes. Or hey, I forgot to put my top back on the toothpaste. Thanks for doing that for me, right. And then that's complete. And when I go, hey, you're going to wear that shirt, you're like Hell, yes, I am. I dig my heels in more.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Right, and I'm just like, oh, that's awesome, well, maybe I'll change mine to a flashy shirt so we can be the flash brothers out there, whatever. And so so, because there's no baggage, there's no incompletions, then all creations move forward, right, and then they begin to plus each other more.

Speaker 1:

And in this story, a relationship is a creation Right.

Speaker 2:

Well, yeah, I mean kind of every act right, you know well, thank you. If you're a culture of plussing, then yeah, every act is an act of creation and love.

Speaker 1:

Beautiful. Well, exactly every moment. Well, again, one of the premises of the book is thank you, by the way, for tracing it back to the stories we tell ourselves, right? So, culturally, society creates narratives, right, oh, we're the land of opportunity, right we're, we're overcomers. Just ask the westward movement, you know, or you name it. We have a cult. They're all just stories we tell ourselves. And to par français, you speak French. So you know, l'histoire is the story and history it's the same word, right, latin, it's the same word history, story. So, individually, and I would say, on the macro, culturally, we're just the stories we tell ourselves.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and the empowerment is oh, I get to write my own song, I get to write, tell my own story, I get to swap out that lens. But I would go further and say that is in every moment. We get to reframe our narratives. And Marianne, our friend Marianne, would say it's usually a shift from fear to love. Right, and you take that breath within a moment and say I'm going to rewrite this narrative, I'm not going to let those warbly records replay in my head. You take the breath. It's usually a shift from fear to love, and I just share that because I love her quote that a miracle is a shift from fear to love. And that's related to storytelling, right, because screenwriting is fear and love. We're playing on the audience's fear, right? You fear the protagonist may or may not achieve his or her goal, but you hope Sorry, hoping fear is screenwriting. Anyway, I'm clearly trying to bring it back to story, can you tell?

Speaker 2:

Well, I mean, if you think about this, the word, let's look at the word miracle. This is the story of the word. Near is to see, so a miracle is an act of seeing something that you had seen before, that was revealed to you.

Speaker 1:

Mere Wow Is Mere Wow. Mere related Mere Wow. To see, to see Like in Spanish Mere and a Meyer. What is a Meyer related Like a bog. I think a Meyer is a bog.

Speaker 2:

No, not at all, it's not at all, never mind. No, no, completely not. Get it out of your head, boy. So this idea that you know does it come down to love, you know I mean, yeah, eventually, everything does.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think, in every moment, if you're in line at the airport and you're wishing things were other right circumstances were other than what they are Sometimes, you just have to have faith right. But that is the shift, a little bit, from fear to love. When you find your compassion and you stop judging the person in front of you, that is largely a shift from fear to love, which is what we call compassion.

Speaker 2:

Right, right, and I mean I think we there's a bunch of different ways to call it and sometimes people have a challenge with that, and that's why affinity is a word that I like, I love that and the. The idea is just what you're saying is that there's an acceptance of the state, and so when I accept the state, acceptance is on the line towards love, like perfect, unconditional acceptance is what we would call love. So at some level, when you can accept what is so as fucking hard as it is, then because nowadays it's pretty tough then you can actually then find a way forward through that, through completing it.

Speaker 1:

So did you ever read the power? Sorry, sorry to interrupt you Did you ever read the power of now, Eckhart Tolle? Yeah, Eckhart Tolle, yeah, he's. He's really big on most suffering. Most human suffering is really just wish, wishing things were other than what they are. Right, neutral events we like to, especially in Western culture, Western Judeo-Christian culture, I would say. We love to judge, and that's that means putting a right wrong, right, good, bad, right, wrong label on something that's otherwise neutral.

Speaker 2:

Well. I mean, look it, yeah, that's this three pound wet lump in our cranium is receiving all kinds of information all of the time and we are interpreting it based on the stories we have been told and we tell about the world. You know, there's this beautiful phrase that says first the dishes, then enlightenment, then then the dishes.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I love that In the trenches. Yeah, I got it Right Back to the trenches.

Speaker 2:

So the idea that that everything is beautiful all the time. Well, I mean sure you could, if you could receive the world as it is. You know, these are all practices.

Speaker 1:

Well, mother Teresa, it is related, trust me. But she once said you know what? I didn't see evidence of God for 20 years, but I did the work. So you know what I mean. You get glimpses of divinity, but that's what faith is, is? I just love that? She didn't see any evidence of God for 20 years, but she did the work, she did the dishes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you know faith is just a trust in life.

Speaker 1:

It's a trust in yourself. For me, it's like I trust myself to survive ABC or D right, if you, if you think of relationships as a risk or love as a risk, you know what I trust myself to survive, whatever, come what may you know. All right, there's another great quote. I would pray that things come to pass just as they are.

Speaker 2:

Right, right Are the universes unfolding exactly as it should? Yeah, there's some shit out there that's tough. Here's the game, especially this week.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's a tough one.

Speaker 2:

Here's the game. That is the master's path towards enlightenment the committed but not attached. You know, I once had a really terrible heartache. I was actually in France for it just a train wreck of a relationship. It was just like utter, total, heartbreaking disaster. And in this one moment I realized that, holy cow, I created all of this. Of course, this mad disaster, this heartache like I will never be this low again. Well done, dave. Hey, you created something really special here. Congratulations, man. Like it took. Look at the collecting the dots. Look at how hard you worked to make this a total heartbreaking disaster. Look at the thing you put in place two years ago to land in this terrible spot standing in front of Notre Dame Cathedral, watching fireworks explode and color the sides of the cathedral, with them being lit by a full moon, reflecting in the waters of the sun, and watching two headed figures walk everywhere in the most romantic moment in the history of life on earth and being as lonely as you are right now. Holy shit, dave. Well fucking done.

Speaker 1:

That is a story right there, my friend, that is a vivid story. Well, but we talk about taking response. You know, somebody that's a pull yourself up by the bootstraps mentality would say. You know, take responsibility for your choices. It led you where you are.

Speaker 1:

A slightly more quote, unquote spiritual person might say everything's a learning experience. Growth only comes through, you know, transformation only happens through adversity. I wouldn't put it, you know, have it any other way. But the truth is our thoughts and feelings. You know, the lens that we've been talking about determines what we attract from the universe. And instead of having like a laundry list of grievances, what if you just looked at everything like, yes, not only did I invite this or invent it, but it's helpful to act as if you did. You know what I mean Act in every moment, as if you chose this, yeah, yeah, how would that be? I think it would change the world. That's anyway.

Speaker 1:

And again, to trace it back to the podcast, it's like you know, I don't have any answers, but I love contributing to the dialectic and to the conversation and that's my contribution, but I do really, on some level. I mean, again, I around would say well, art, creative efforts, stories are the metaphysical mirror. Right, society takes its temperature at any moment through its art. You said that that's a quote for you as well as a cultural value. Though let's just assume for a moment we learn more in the narrative realm than the didactic, which there's plenty of evidence of.

Speaker 1:

Persuasion only goes so far, because when you're faced with persuasion you tend to dig your heels in and fall back on your confirmation bias and your identity politics, whereas storytelling tends to bypass all that resistance and you kind of change minds by touching hearts. A lot of cliches here, but I do feel that storytelling shifts paradigms, and that extends to policy and social reform way more than persuasion. I wouldn't be doing it otherwise, you know, and everybody has their gifts. So thank God for activists. Amen to everybody's individual gifts. I'm passionate about storytelling and it's my religion and I think you share that religion.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, let me offer this that you know story is a data delivery device, just as much as you know a teaching moment. I think that's what you mean by didactic.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm explaining this to you.

Speaker 1:

Or even persuasion. Even persuasion, sorry Right.

Speaker 2:

You know, one of the things that we found that that is, I think, really exciting. And we found this you know, there's a study called experience design. Experience design is the basically study of transferring information to other people through experience. And one of the things that we found is that you can't just tell somebody some information, but what you can do is you can drive their experience to the present and in that present you infuse it with a story that has to do with the transformation you want them to have. And in that delivery of experience, what happens is they have to incorporate that experience. They have to incorporate that experience into their consideration of how the world is constructed, right where they don't have to do that with a didactic or, you know, a sort of persuasive delivery of something.

Speaker 1:

But they do. Is it like? Is it like there's cognitive dissonance they want to resolve and fit it into their worldview.

Speaker 2:

I mean, there's a bunch of different possibilities. You know it's right in front of you, seeing is believing right, and so so you have it's immediate and it provides a framework.

Speaker 1:

sounds a little bit like it provides a framework.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think there's also multiple touch points physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, instead of just lexicographic, coming in as words. You know there's all of these other touch points that happen. So there's a truth to it because you're experiencing it. There's a truth to it that is only found in experience. Now, this is where story comes in.

Speaker 2:

If I tell you a story, I am describing experience. If I do it well enough, you can actually share some of this experience with me. If I'm doing it through a movie, you actually experience the trauma, the adrenaline, the sympathetic systems that happen in your body, that are real from the inside out. And so, you know, we look at storytelling as a way to you know, somebody said to me hey is, why would we need to hire lightrope for this storytelling? We have data, we don't need story. Yeah, I was like oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You know. He was like yeah, we have data, data's math. There's no math to story. And I was like he's like there's no science to story, oh, my God. And I was like, oh, son, and I wrote a little story on this that, yeah, there is absolutely science to story, but it's not math, it's chemistry.

Speaker 1:

Exactly. Do you know, adam Lipsig? Does that ring a bell?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I see the guy from Pixar who talks about story.

Speaker 1:

I don't think so maybe.

Speaker 2:

I just watched.

Speaker 1:

Anyway, I'm going to give him credit. I watched and I just wrote a 370 page book which the podcast is based on. So I can't remember. You know I did a lot of research but of course it goes in one ear and out the other. I think he's the one that did a series maybe a YouTube video series on exactly what we're talking about, the chemical basis of storytelling, right? So I'll do my best, but I'm just confirming what you just said.

Speaker 1:

So in a tribal, you know, obviously storytelling has been around for a while, since oral tradition around the campfire, through myths and legends, which, if you're Joseph Campbell, extended to religion, right and up through the latest greatest Matrix movie. It's very wired in us. But if you're sitting around that campfire hearing whether it's a cautionary tale or a fable or a parable, there are all kinds of chemicals, right. So the euphoric ones tend to happen the dopamine and the epinephrine and the oxytocin. When you're partaking in story A, it makes you more receptive, right? And it promotes tribal bonding, so you're more impressionable when those brain chemicals are flowing. That's why stories are persuasive. So that's the chemical aspect.

Speaker 1:

But I would add to what you just said like we all walk around with a database of innate you know, arguably innate responses that are lizard brain, that are lizard brain created because of the associated heightened emotion attached to them. So if you leave your house each day and you encounter threats and opportunities all day, every day, your brain maps them right as threats or opportunities, but really only if they're associated with heightened emotion. So everything else falls away, but you map the things that are associated with heightened emotion. So in film it's an emotional medium. Right, you show it. You don't say it because you're always seeking.

Speaker 1:

If you have an agenda as a filmmaker and you're trying to change the world with your agenda, right? Well, the best way to and this does extend to propaganda and advertising, by the way right, you? I'm not talking about capitalism, I'm just saying it's storytelling, is storytelling, it's all the same. But if you want to shift somebody's paradigms or get into their pocketbook, either way, you want that receptivity. So if you create a highly emotional experience for them, then it gets mapped on the worldview or the value system, whatever you want to call it. Does that make sense?

Speaker 2:

It does. I mean, it also depends on how hard you want to go at that. I don't like watching slasher films. They're slasher films. They're not going to work on me, right? So I'm not going to get a message from them.

Speaker 1:

Well, that would be feeding a cultural addiction to cortisol and adrenaline, which is a slightly different set of chemicals.

Speaker 2:

Right, but they all come into play. There's a you know, you don't just start with oxytocin or any of the nice ones. The other point of this is that we have science to be able to manipulate folks and tell stories. Stories are a powerful medium for us to be able to deliver information, and the more adept we are at using all of the tools, including the science, the more we can effectively deliver the information. And so what kind of information do we want to deliver? Fear-based information, love-based information, and science is actually showing that in the short term, you can actually get behavior shifts through fear-based storytelling. But it's not. There's no longevity to it, Right? People get feedback from that sort of thing after a while and it doesn't work.

Speaker 1:

There's a little more of an eastern right. There's an east-west thing going on there too.

Speaker 2:

There's more shame in storytelling from what I understand there's all kinds of stuff, but here's what my point is is that what we found in science bears this out is that you get better long-term behavior change through love or acts of love or a future that's brighter than you do by scaring people away from a future that's more negative. You get better long-term behavior change Right, and so that is where like it's the difference between a comedy and a tragedy.

Speaker 1:

A tragedy can be a cautionary tale, right, oops, not going to do that. Shakespeare, a lot of his tragedies were cautionary tales Like ooh, the vendetta is a dead-end road, whereas if there's redemptive, thematic content, I call it and it is in the eye of the beholder. But if the want and the need are met in some way right, or if the want is not met but a higher need is met, that's where I think the redemptive content is imparted. So to me it is. You know, and I think it was Adam Lepsey that talked about the angel's cocktail on the devil's. So, without being moralistic about it, in the book I do say, you know, I'm just trying to promote an awareness of what kind of stories you can either absorb like a fish in the boiling water through the status quo, through socialization, and then which ones you want to put out into the universe. So no moralism attached to it.

Speaker 1:

But there are many people who think there is a cultural addiction to cortisol and adrenaline, and then they would take it further. A football player named Dave Megasi, the year of my birth, 1968. He was the first one to come out and write a book about what he saw as the institutionalized not just aggression but violence in team sports, the NFL in particular. In his premise he goes into a lot of detail. In his book he made the case that the war in Vietnam not only were we habituating people to violence, but we were training, through this addiction to cortisol and adrenaline, the populace to accept the war in Vietnam. That's a very distinct example, but anyway.

Speaker 2:

I really don't think Right now, in politics, story matters. The stories are being told, matter and you look at. That's why, for example and I'm going, to go there.

Speaker 2:

It's why the Trump stories are sustained, because he goes and has experiences for people. He does these rallies right. Nobody does these rallies, but the rallies then become an experience. That experience design has technology to it. There's an exit state like an outside state, a threshold state, an internal state, a threshold state and an external state. You can think about.

Speaker 2:

It is I'm going to go to the movie theater and then I get into the line and then I go into the lobby and then I buy some popcorn and then I walk down the hall, then I get in my seat, then I have my experience, but then I have some trailers and some commercials. It's still a threshold on the inside. Then there's the credits at the end and then I walk out, but then I go out through the gift shop. Then that's the exit state, that's the threshold. You look at these things and they're perfect designs for experience. I think what would be really interesting to look is what is the minimum number of experiences for the maximum number of effect out there? Because that's what Trump and his people are doing is ongoingly keeping the fire on that stuff.

Speaker 1:

When you lay it out that way, it's almost a ritual. What comes to mind for me is one of the sociological principles that really stuck with me from literally my general ed way back in the late 80s was you're more loyal to a cause when you suffer for it. That's the Stockholm syndrome. That's the basis of all sorority initiation ceremonies is you suffer for a cause, you're more loyal to it. But it's also you could shift the wording into say you invest in a cause and you're more loyal to it. The more times you do that ritual of smelling the popcorn at the theater, the more primed you are to be receptive, maybe at these. And I said I'd never say his name. I'm sorry I can't do it, but the tea, the guy you just brought up, former guy.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we decided not to bring him up on this podcast because it went south.

Speaker 2:

More quality to that fucker for sure, absolutely. In politics, the stuff that they are doing is wrong.

Speaker 1:

You could look at Putin. You could look at the orange asshole. You could look at Putin. Even Kim Jong-un talk about storytelling. Oh, he wasn't really born, he just sprouted in a flower on a mountaintop. This is in 2023, his father anyway.

Speaker 2:

So that's the power of story, and so there are mechanisms that go into play on that. We talked about some as the thresholds, but reducing education, creating places where those stories are going to stick, because those stories have consequences for the people telling those stories, they give them more power, and so knowing story is one of our antidotes to those things.

Speaker 1:

Right. Well, that's why I'm doing this podcast. I call it an awareness of the stories we absorb unexamined, again, like crabs in the boiling water. So there's no moralism attached to it. In terms of the content you put out, in my world there's no good, bad or wrong stories to tell. Let's just be aware of the devil's cocktail and the angel's cocktail we referred to earlier, but also in the stories you choose to consume as a consumer and that extends to you. Know, we as artists, dave, we quit, I'm guessing you and I questioned the status quo the minute we came out of the womb. We're rebels without a cause. That's not everybody.

Speaker 1:

We're rebels without a cause.

Speaker 2:

Right, thank you. The cause is love and beauty and harmony and interconnectedness and interdependence, and so I am going to. I am. There is a morality to it.

Speaker 1:

I'm, I, I call it ethics, but yeah, I get you Now, whatever you want to call it.

Speaker 2:

Nazism, for example, is bad, Racism is wrong. We adjudicated those earlier in the 19th century to the cost of tens of millions of people. You know, 187 million people died in wars in the last hundred years. Are we going to get to a point where we recognize that? You know, it's not worth the life of somebody to get four meters of extra land out of something. Right, there is a line, and when we tell stories, you know we, we tell stories that are designed to share an experience, which shares information, which helps people expand, evolve, connect, shift their perceptions, wake up to the miracles that they're seeing. I'm going to say that there is a line and there is a morality. Well, what stories do you choose to tell?

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah, basically, I mean the way, the way I put it in the book is and it's so religion. I'm not telling you anything, you don't know, but you experience a catharsis by engaging in the creative process. Then, by extension, one hopes the patron has a similar catharsis and then, by extension, on the macro level, thought, forms and paradigms evolve and transform. So this is no small thing that we're engaged in, right, and you mentioned, or you hinted earlier that the pendulum swings, but yes, we're always evolving. The way I put it is the evolution of our noosphere, meaning the invisibles are codes. We live by principles, morals, ethics, right, all those things. The evolution of that noosphere is as important as that of our biology. So we artists are driven by evolution, by propagation, to contribute to the evolution of that sphere of ideas. We would have been extinct a long time ago if our ideas didn't evolve.

Speaker 2:

Well, I would say it's a story that has allowed us to be here. You know very 100%.

Speaker 1:

So I was being a little facetious when I said there's no moralism in what kind of story to tell. I'm saying an awareness is what I'm promoting. But of course the inference is are you contributing to our evolution or are you? We know pendulum swings and regressions when we see them, the Taliban, for example, and what's happened in Iran. And we know what personal liberty you could say that came in with Sophism and the French Revolution and the American Revolution. That's when the whole idea of personal liberty and individualism came to the forefront. But you know what? We're not going back. So in the book I cite and again, I wish my memory was better, but there was an entire book on how there's supposedly less hand-to-hand violence than ever before in human history.

Speaker 1:

Now people that see the glasses last empty will say no, no, no, it just looks different. Now it's just the slaves trade and the skin trade and oppression and all these things. Then there's another book that argues against that and says okay, but literally hand-to-hand violence were no longer really competing for resources, there's not as much of a scarcity, tribal mentality. So we actually are evolving and that's where our faith lies to give a shit and bother and not throw our hands in the air in futility. I've got to get up every day. I don't want to give up on humanity or the planet.

Speaker 2:

So I know you got to trust life. But so let's look at some evolutions that we can actually track, and I'll share one with you is that when you look at the evolution of story, you can actually see it evolving in our time, and that we have had. You mentioned Joseph Campbell earlier, right. So Joseph Campbell was sort of codified a lot of ways of looking at story, the hero's journey, of course, the idea that you have this hero who gets a calling, and then he meets this old guy. The old guy sends him on a quest. He fights a foe that he vanquishes and from that foe gets an elixir and takes that elixir back to his home and tends his garden. It's a beautiful story and we're seeing an evolution of it right now. There's a philosopher called Joanna Macy who calls this the evolution towards the kindred quest.

Speaker 2:

So we have had our singular heroes. That heroes journey has been in our zeitgeist for 75 years now, right, well, 50 since the power of myth in the 70s, right. And so this idea of the hero's journey has been around for a long time. We've all had our hero's journey. We're all pretty versed on this idea of hero's journey. But if you look at our stories, the stories that we tell they start with these singular heroes Superman, batman, old Ranger, flash and then every time a new one came out, it was a singular hero who had a special, inimitable skill. And so now you look at this evolution and I'm gonna since you love this stuff, I'm gonna weave a really brief little bit of science into this. In 1977, star Wars comes out, the epitome of the hero's journey.

Speaker 1:

Right, right. And Lucas has pretty much come out and said I modeled it after the hero's journey, right Same year 1977, a guy called Ilya Prigajin wins the Nobel Prize for something called dissipative structures.

Speaker 2:

And that is that there are organic structures where, if you add energy to organic systems, they will harmonize in a particular way, and then you keep adding energy, they'll break into chaos. If you keep adding energy, they'll reharmonize at a higher level of organization. Wow, and they have structures when the fuck does that intelligence come from? Like, is that in the fucking water? Holy cow, that's amazing, right? Sorry, my language I get excited about that. It's non-local, non-local. So, yeah, you know, like where? Where is the structure for that? If you can see it in, like what they call simatics, you have sand on a plate, you run a vibration through the plate, it makes a pretty pattern, breaks into chaos and then makes a new pattern, right? So that idea is the hero's journey, kind of personified into the kindred quest. So if you look at now, we have all of these heroes collecting, we have the Avengers.

Speaker 1:

I was going to ask you if that's what you were hinting at. Yes, everybody's unique, everybody's unique gifts come together. It's about interconnectivity, right. It's interdependence, right.

Speaker 2:

And so so you have. I wish they had named it Avengers, like they could have said the piece they called the Avengers. And so they're sitting around going oh yeah, wait, what the hell is that guy doing? Did that guy just fuck us? All right, it's over, dude, right, so even X-Men even X-Men, though it's right.

Speaker 1:

It's a team of people with extraordinary qualities, which it's no mistake that it correlates with diversity and inclusion and embracing diversity and tolerance Right.

Speaker 2:

And you could also see the wave pattern, right. So these things stories kind of came out back in the day, right. These were comic book stories that were now finding a new iteration in a wider audience, because that tide is coming back in again and that story is changing from the hero's journey to the kindred quest I love it To the idea that we all have our origin stories and they're interdependent with other stories, and so that to me, when I look at the micro, really the short view of history, we're in an evolution right now and then- Can I ask?

Speaker 2:

you that way. Let me ask you have some faith?

Speaker 1:

I'm so sorry. Let me ask you a question on that front. I think you would agree Some people are kind of lucid about the spiritual journey and others are kind of on autopilot or bumper cars, I call them but eventually we're all learning similar lessons, just in a different order. Anyway, that's my premise, but it does seem like some people, until they're on their deathbed and they want to make good with God, they kind of ignore spiritual opportunities for growth in some ways.

Speaker 1:

A moment ago you hinted, I believe, that there is the idea of origin stories, right, and then, by extension, there are stories more to do with our interconnectivity. So it sounds a little bit like historical baggage that we inherit. So I have this I don't know view. It vacillates, but in my 20s I thought some people were lucid about the spiritual opportunities thrown in their path and other people were more on autopilot, right, and I grew out of that and I thought, no, everybody's learning the same lessons, just on a different schedule. And anyway, I go back and forth.

Speaker 1:

But what I would say is there are a lot of people that are living unexamined lives, right, and it's been said, the unexamined life is not worth living. So those that are kind of walking around like bumper cars or on autopilot, or sleep walkers or zombies or whatever you want to call it. Isn't it possible? They're sort of acting out the historical baggage, or even, in terms of epigenetics, the idea that we inherit our inclination toward depression, for example. There's a lot of cultural or historical baggage. Epigenetics proves more and more that if you don't get your hands in the clay and recraft those methyl groups you know what I mean that are in your DNA and then pass on the newly crafted ones to your children, you are perpetuating a lot of tropes.

Speaker 2:

First of all, no fees say you don't know thyself. That is the one kind of mandate to life know thyself, Not just to know yourself, but know the thy in thou.

Speaker 1:

But know your past, know the baggage you inherited from your parents was my point. Yeah, a lot of people are acting out their pipe dreams of their parents. Unknowingly, they're acting out again what they were born with, that they didn't see any capacity beyond that.

Speaker 2:

Everybody is fighting a great battle. Everybody's doing the best that they can. Everybody has been told stories and they're operating their lives through the filters of the stories that they believe. So belief is one of the universal laws of creativity. We craft belief through the stories that we tell. We craft the world through our beliefs. Our beliefs are our magic. We talked about magic, slow magic, earlier. You know abracadabra, this phrase, abracadabra, it means I create as I speak, and so there is magic in the stories that we tell, for good and for less, good or bad. I mean, you know those guys who just attacked Israel, and Israel tells a story about them and they tell a story about Israel.

Speaker 1:

Man.

Speaker 2:

I don't know how to unplug from those stories?

Speaker 1:

Are those real? That's kind of what I was hinting at. You know, there are all kinds of cultural narratives that we inherit and the onus is on us, if we understand epigenetics, to shift those paradigms Right, I mean we?

Speaker 2:

yeah, epigenetics is the stories you carry from your past and from your parents' past. But you know, I also think we can create powerful stories going forward. There's ways to complete your past. You don't have to do psychotherapy all the time for it, but you could, if that was your sneeze, the idea of telling a powerful story going forward that doesn't bring incompletions with it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, telling a new story. Yeah, I mean. Unfortunately, epigenetics focuses on environmental like chemical environmental factors. You know, and it's been proven, we can change the methyl groups. I wish they would focus more on not so much the chemical factors but what I call non-local energetic communication, otherwise known as thoughts and feelings. Right, not just your lifestyle choices, but the thoughts and feelings that become the mantras and become the stories that we tell ourselves.

Speaker 1:

You know, everyone comes into it in their own time is what I would say. You might be like you and I again, I'm assuming didn't buy socialization to begin with or the status quo. But a lot of people find their peeps in their 20s when they go away to college, right, and they start rethinking the matrix a little bit. And, who knows, other people do it on their deathbed. But I just was saying, if there is room for growth, sometimes it's kind of realizing, oh, I am operating on society's expectations or oh, I did inherit men. I mean, I'm a rebel, so I rebelled against the Republicans in my family. But some people actually adopt the mindset of their parents and it takes a long time to think for themselves you know?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, I think everybody thinks they're thinking for themselves.

Speaker 1:

Who's your daddy? Really, though, everybody does.

Speaker 2:

Everybody thinks they're thinking for themselves, and for some people you know that's Mark Twain like better to stay silent. How does that go? And say something and prove it. Say that again. Sorry, it's better to say nothing and hide your ignorance than to say something and prove it.

Speaker 1:

Right, improve your ignorance. Yeah, I get it Right.

Speaker 2:

But it's the idea that we all, we all, are crafted by the stories that we even don't believe. The stories of our completions and incompletions are in the world as a function of the stories we hold, in whatever way we hold them.

Speaker 1:

The completion, and you've given me a lot of new things to think about. Truly, I'm going to listen back to this when I edit it, but it never would have put it that way. I love that, and then the idea of plusing is huge. That was a theme that came around, but I really love everything you shared with us and I hope we can do a part two. I kind of want to reminisce about Disney too.

Speaker 2:

Next, time, Though you got stories, but I got stories. You know, what's really exciting I'll tell you right now is that we're speaking with Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. I did a presentation to one of their executives and I had a nice little conversation with them, because Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom sent Jim Fowler to Disney for a week on Lion King.

Speaker 1:

Well, I do remember when they brought the lions into the growing workshops.

Speaker 1:

I did not realize it was him back then. Wow, he was famous. Let me tell you my memories about that day real quick. I want to see if he's shared these. I want to hear yours. But the anecdote it's become is like then they brought lions in for us to draw. It's impossible to make eye contact with a lion in a room. It's really powerful. So I had this instinct to look away. You don't lock eyes with a lion and that was profound. But also the monkeys I joke like do you remember when they took the diaper off at the very end and the monkey was engorged? Oh yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah so it was like oh, how good of you to take the diaper off in the last five minutes. Would you like some monkey with your genitals? That's what I remember. I'll never unsee it, yeah. Well all right. What do you remember about that day? And I did not know it was Jim, oh yeah.

Speaker 2:

And so Jim, jim's six feet four inches tall, just the strapping dude, big baritone voice, he's passed, hasn't he Passed way? Yeah, but he was an ornithologist to start with, so he was a bird guy. It was where he got his PhD and then he was doing all these, using all these animals, sharing stories of all these animals. First of all, when we talk about story, jim told a ton of stories that week, but there were, like of the best beginnings of stories that I've ever heard in my life, 10 of them happened that week. Right Like there we were crawling on our bellies, khalahari, tracking a bird of wildebeest, when, right, right, the whole room just turns over and goes when what? So there we were. Right, so there we were.

Speaker 2:

So one of the things that I remember is he came out. He said all right, let's look at the African eagle. The African eagle is this like 40 pound bird. It stands four feet high, it has this beak that's like a side from the devil. It's got these giant claws as big as my hands and it's just this massive bird. And so his assistant comes out with the bird and he's got a leather arm that ties around his shoulder and his chest right. So he's got this leather bird holder that basically runs all the way up his arm and across his shoulder and his pecs and ties around on the other side and he's wearing a welding mask because the bird is so big, right A welding mask.

Speaker 1:

You're sure it was a welding mask. It was a welding mask.

Speaker 2:

It was a welding mask that he was wearing as he brought the bird in. And Jim is there and he's got the glove that kind of just goes up to the middle of his forearm right, and Jim's this big guy. And the guy comes in with this thing holding it up with two hands, one arm outstretched, the other one supporting by the elbow the other arm, and his head leaned way back with this welding mask on, and he hands the bird to Jim and Jim puts the bird on his wrist and the guy goes do you want the mask? And Jim looks at him and he goes don't you worry about it. We all just like we are not worthy. Oh my God.

Speaker 1:

I don't need no stinking mask. I don't need your mask. You're fired. That's awesome.

Speaker 2:

All right, it was just an incredible moment. And then he proceeded to show us this giant bird and walk it through the aisles.

Speaker 1:

You know I have pictures from. I didn't realize it was a full week of was it drawing workshops for the full week with the animals.

Speaker 2:

We had a few drawing workshops, but he had lectures and talked about the animals.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I've got pictures. I did not see the hawk, or it escapes my memory, anyway. So we've been going quite a while here. Would you do a part two, dave? Oh, I love it. Yeah, I feel like there's so much we touched on that we could expound on if you want.

Speaker 2:

No, I love talking about creativity, and I'm here to help.

Speaker 1:

For the moment, in case you get hit by a truck or just. We don't do the part two for whatever reason. Is there anything you want to add? Would you like to? I know your links are going to be in the bio that we published with the episode. Do you want to invite artists to apply or corporations to check out Lytra?

Speaker 2:

What's your? Absolutely both of these. So you're saying these are my famous last words.

Speaker 1:

Kind of. I mean, I have to pee. I don't know if you're vaping or smoking, but you know you can find us at Lytracom.

Speaker 2:

We service enterprise clients with super great creative from the best creatives in any industry. And if you're one of those, then yeah, come to lytracom, l-a-e-t-r-ocom and apply. And you know our mission is to be able to get work for creatives.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I'm going to do that. By the way, yeah, I will be throwing my hat in the ring and begging you to.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, you're definitely in. You know, Sam Mishlap has done some work for us. He's awesome.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, in what capacity as our directors or in what capacity?

Speaker 2:

He did an illustration for a project for Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Speaker 1:

Well, you got some good talent there. Literally both of those guys are just amazing yeah.

Speaker 2:

Christophe Asche yeah, it's freaking incredible creative. Yeah, super strong. You're with them so.

Speaker 1:

Well, thank you for saying that. I'm honored. Yeah, I would love to be in that company. So the link will be clickable in our metadata in the Because we're doing all the different platforms when we finally launch. But in YouTube, you know, there will be a full description with the link. Anything else you'd like to share with the peeps? Any parting words?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you know, keep the faith. Faith is just a trust in life and creativity is in your blood.

Speaker 1:

I really do think it's a tricky moment to stay on the planet, right, and not feel the weight of the world and to feel futile. Right, the world is a smaller place and when you watch the news it does take a lot to get up in the morning. So thank you for saying that Faith, I love it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, look at feel the news, you gotta feel it. We, the shift is on us, we're the storytellers. Here's where I might hand this. We're the storytellers. My question to you is what story are you gonna tell with this unwild and precious life, to borrow from Mary Oliver, like wild and precious.

Speaker 2:

What if it went well? Right, what if the world went well? What stories can you know? Listen, there have been a hundred million species on planet Earth. In the four billion years that we've been here, 90% of those species have gone extinct. They'll never return. There's 10 million species on Earth right now. One of all of those hundred million species tells stories, has an experience that it codifies into knowledge. That knowledge becomes wisdom. That wisdom analyzes the culture. It creates beliefs. We have this incredible talent, this one in a hundred million species gift, to tell stories. What are you gonna do with it?

Speaker 1:

That's a call to action right there, man, to embrace your humanity and do what we're good at. Anyway, dave, I'm gonna leave it. Those were beautiful words. I'm gonna leave it at that.

Speaker 2:

My mic. I dropped it around here. Hang on, let me grab it.

Speaker 1:

I just you dropped your mic, exactly. I'm gonna leave it at that. That was beautiful. Thank you, dave. All right, it's a pleasure, nick, have a great rest of the day. Amen, you too. All right, take care Bye, and I'm gonna end with our little sign off by saying remember, life is story and we can get our hands in the clay, individually and collectively, we can tell our own story. See you next time, ree.

Connecting Dots
Luck, Intuition, and Creativity Connection
Flow and Technique in Art Creation
Creativity and Artistic Integrity in Business
The Shift Towards Stakeholder Capitalism
The Importance of Collaboration and Mentorship
The Power of Completion and Stories
Reframe Narratives, Shift From Fear to Love
The Power of Storytelling for Persuasion
The Power of Story in Politics
Exploring Spiritual Growth and Personal Stories
Leaving on a Positive Note