Craft, Creativity and Constraints

A few favorite films on the topics of craft, creativity, and constraints. All should be available at your favorite online video purveyor (well, iTunes, Google Play or Amazon, Netflix streaming is unlikely for the second two films).

Note by Note 

A documentary about the making of a single Steinway piano, a process that takes a year. A Steinway is probably the most complicated “mass”-produced product still made entirely by hand, and largely by people in Brooklyn. Beautifully told story of how great things can come from humble efforts. What I also find fascinating is that they don’t want to automate the process partly because they don’t really know why it works, or how it would create a different sound, since the people who originated the design and manufacturing process for Steinways are long dead/retired.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

A terrific documentary about the only 3 Michelin star sushi chef, and his restaurant with 10 seats in a subway station in Tokyo. He’s been making sushi since he was 9 years old, and is now 85 and still working. Lessons: Keep the highest standards, never be satisfied, always stay learning, pay attention to the details even if the customers don’t notice them.

It Might Get Loud

This movie features Jack White (of the White Stripes), U2’s Edge, and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Paige. This clip pulls together the various points in the movie Jack talks about how he purposefully makes his life hard as a way of pushing himself to new ideas. “Ease of use [for the creator] is the disease to fight in any creative field”. The White Stripes were purposely a high constrained band: 2 people, 2 instruments, 2 colors (red and white).