John Cleese on Creativity

Back in the 90s (yes Generation X-factor, this decade did exist), John Cleese gave a lecture on the importance of creativity and the best way to cultivate it. It was aimed at creativity from the perspective of running a business, and yet its virtues are no less crucial to those of use battling to find our true creativity in terms of art or music or film.

This is a truly great piece to listen to and you really must give yourself the 35 minutes necessary to take in the whole thing. There are some fantastic lessons for anyone who struggles with their creativity, and even for those who don’t.

As one of the most respected comedians and writers of the past century, Cleese brings a great level of authority to the lecture, and is able to make his message all the more powerful and poignant by peppering it with humour.


Like all the best advice, this lecture cuts to the core by forcing us to observe that about ourselves which we already know to be true:

“It’s easier to do trivial things that are urgent, than it is do important things that are not urgent, like thinking.

“And it’s also easier to do little things we know we can do, than to start on big things that we’re not so sure about.”

These two sentences sum up why so much creativity gets lost in the pressures of modern living. So I’m going to my ‘time-space oasis’ to ponder for at least an hour and a half. I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks to London Screenwriters Festival for the link.

James is a movie obsessive with a particular love for scores and screenplays. He has written for numerous blogs, sites and cinemas and has been involved in several screenwriting projects. He can usually be found in front of a large plasma screen devouring Westerns, 80s pulp, Jimmy Stewart movies or anything by the Coens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *