John Cleese on Creativity

What? You’ve got someone who knows more?

4 LESSONS IN CREATIVITY FROM JOHN CLEESE
by Rae Ann Fera

There’s a certain generation (or two) that owes its twisted, awkward, scorchingly black sense humor to John Cleese. Famous for his work with the Monty Python films and television series, the BBC comedy Fawlty Towers, as well as feature films like A Fish Called Wanda, the writer, actor, comedian and film producer knows from funny.

But he also knows a thing or two about wrestling the creative beast, which is the topic Cleese was invited to speak about at last week’s Cannes International Festival of Creativity. Addressing a group of attendees from the Havas Media group, Cleese brought a storytelling flair to the topic of the creative process, something he’s been discussing for decades through his educational video company Video Arts, sharing tales of writing mishaps and lessons learned from leading creative and scientific minds.

Through a series of stories, Cleese spoke of the importance of succumbing to the unconscious mind, two key traits possessed by highly successful creative people, the necessity of allowing for contemplative thinking, and why all of these together result in creative breakthroughs. He touched on the points raised in his much-discussed 1991 lecture, but rounded them out and introduced new ones (plus, this piece won’t take you 36 minutes to read). Here are those stories.

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If you think we’re going to argue with this guy, you’re %$#@! nuts wrong. We have neither the courage nor the creativity for that.