When we started a week ago we assumed there would be about a post a week, tackling a new work of culture or an artist each time. We’d research it, work through their influences and who they influenced, publish it, and move on to the next artist. Of course we knew there would be ongoing revisions to any given artist page (need a better name for these. Nodes?) but plowing through the interviews, citations, photos and videos takes a long time, and we’re not yet sure how to turn the data into something visualized, how to lay out the text, incorporate media, etc. This is going to be hard, and it started quickly to feel overwhelming, and kinda stressful, and not fun.
Then we were listening to this episode of the Scriptnotes podcast (by screenwriters for screenwriters) and they discussed how critical it is to see the process and the output as equally important, and that it takes the pressure off when you know going in that the first 20 pages of your script will likely be thrown away as you figure out the voice of each character, the overall tone and arc, etc. As an aside, the Scriptnotes podcast is fascinating for any film geek. It’s VERY targeted to screenwriters and can get too insidery at times, but is highly illuminating about the experience of writers in general, and writers in hollywood specifically. In a future post we’ll discuss how weirdly unsung screenwriters are.
Anyway, the message from that podcast was an elixir for our troubled minds, and leads us to a new premises for the blog: we will have (at least) two kinds of posts here: Process and Output. Process posts will be about the journey, the trial and error, and what we are learning about influence along the way. Output posts will be evergreen, ongoing, living documents about the works of culture themselves. The What Influenced Bruce Springsteen post may have started a few days ago, but it will see many more revisions in the coming weeks/months/years, as we gather input from artists, scholars, and the community of fans. In this respect, the Output posts are a little like Wikipedia, except constrained only to influence. The first published version of an Output post will invariably be incomplete. And that’s okay.
Also, Process and Output are perhaps the unsexiest names one could posture. How about Journeys and Destinations? Explorations and Maps? Travel and Leisure? As always, your thoughts are welcome – <our domain> *at* gmail.com.