Lessons in Creativity from Ferris Bueller

One of my all time favourite films is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” It’s cheeky, irreverent, sassy, the epitome of cool, and let’s face it, I want to be Ferris Bueller.

But what can this film teach us about creativity? From the words of Ferris come these words of wisdom.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Don’t miss opportunities to be creative. It is too easy to let life control you. Creativity allows you to control your life. It brings a new focus to your daily activities. It requires you to look around and be an active observer of the world. 

Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you’d have a diamond.

Creativity cannot be forced. Relax. Initial attempts may be failures or you’re too tense to let it flow. Perhaps you’ve had a period of time when ideas feel like you’ve pulled them out of your belly button or other deeper, darker orifices. When practised regularly, creativity becomes a natural extension of your life.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are such a wonderful crowd, we’d like to play a little tune for you. It’s one of my personal favorites and I’d like to dedicate it to a young man who doesn’t think he’s seen anything good today – Cameron Frye, this one’s for you.

Nothing – wha – what do you mean nothing good? We’ve seen everything good. We’ve seen the whole city! We went to a museum, we saw priceless works of art! We ate pancreas!

Creativity is best when you open yourself to new experiences and opportunities. Tell a story using an artist’s painting or photograph. Watch a dancer and write a poem or stream of consciousness based on their movement. Visit an art gallery, the zoo, watch children play, go for a walk, sit in the food court of the shopping centre and watch people, eat something different (which potentially proves my point that all food is based on a dare). Collaborate. Make sure you see something good today.

The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?”

Sometimes it is good to break the rules. Use the negative space to prove 1+1= a dancing elephant fairy.

The place is like a museum. It’s very beautiful and very cold, and you’re not allowed to touch anything.

Museums are for cultural history, an encyclopaedia of learning. Creativity is about creating community. Creativity can be about creating works of art for posterity’s sake, but it is more about giving life to your creative work, from a handmade card to a quilt passed on to the next generation. Creativity is to be lived and engaged with, admired and questioned.

Grace: Oh, he’s very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.

Know your audience and cultivate your brand. But do not limit yourself to who you think is your ideal audience. Be authentic to your audience.

They bought it. One of the worst performances of my career and they never doubted it for a second.

It’s always about your audience. It’s not about how much time and effort you put into something, the audience doesn’t need to know that. The audience doesn’t need to know if you think it has the artistic merit of congealed monkey vomit smeared on glass. It’s about how your audience engages with your creativity.

Cameron: The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than a hundred were made. My father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love, it is his passion.

Know your focus and your passion. Give your creative endeavour life.

Cameron: Ferris, my father loves this car more than life itself.
Ferris: A man with priorities so far out of whack doesn’t deserve such a fine automobile.

That being said, don’t be a pillock. Being creative and artistic requires sacrifice, but not at the expense of your health, family, marriage or relationships. Creativity serves to enhance your life, not consume it.

Cameron: [Whispering to himself after hanging up from a phone call with Ferris] I’m dying.
[Phone rings, and Cameron answers]

Ferris: (over the phone) You’re not dying, you just can’t think of anything good to do.

Life without creativity is being bored to death. Creativity doesn’t mean writing a novel or painting a masterpiece. It can be a simple act of writing a story for your family Christmas letter, cooking a new recipe, planting new bulbs and seedlings, learning an instrument, taking candid photos while you’re out for a walk, writing a quick play for your kids to perform.

You CAN be creative.

Ferris Bueller, you’re my hero.


3 responses to “Lessons in Creativity from Ferris Bueller

  1. great stuff, you can really make something profound out of something…less than profound, proof that beauty (and wisdom) is in the eye of the beholder.

  2. Pingback: Lessons in Creativity from Ferris Bueller | A Fullness in Brevity ... | Creativity For Life | Scoop.it

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