10 Questions With A Creative: Bill Streeter

At Ideative Creative, we think about creativity a lot. We talk about it. We wonder where it comes from. We thank the gods that be when it shows up and on rare occasion, when we’re tapped out on some bleak, inspiration-less 2 a.m. morning and we’re on a deadline, we curse it. Creativity is tricky.

We decided that we wanted to start a conversation. And we wanted people we admire in the arts, people who create, people who listen to the muses, to weigh in with their thoughts. Each month, we hope to bring you some of their ideas on the creative process, how they work and what makes them tick, in the form of “10 Questions With A Creative.”

Meet Bill Streeter of Lo-Fi Saint Louis and Hydraulic Pictures.

Bill Streeter

Who I Am, What I Do: I’ve produced hundreds of videos (film, editorial, advertising, education, and promotion.) Brick by Chance and Fortune is my first feature film. I’m probably best known for creating the first-of-a-kind music and culture web video series Lo-Fi Saint Louis  (featured in iTunes and has won or been nominated for several awards) or my feature-length documentary about St. Louis, Brick by Chance and Fortune. I’ve also produced videos for brands like MTV, Mountain Dew, and Village Voice Media as well as several music videos for artists including Pokey LaFarge. (Editor’s Note: Click for more information and, most importantly, more  videos!)

1. What is creativity?

Creativity is the ability to combine two (or more) seemingly unrelated things to make something new.

2. What and/or who inspires you, and why?

Steve Jobs, Bob Reuter, Bob Cassilly, musicians of all kinds (because I can’t play music and I think music is the closest thing to real magic there is). People that just don’t seem to give a shit. Courageous people, crazy people.

3. Name a favorite project. What did you love about it? What would you like people to feel when they experience it?

I have a hard time with favorites. I enjoy the experience of making something though. Putting something new into the world is one of the greatest feelings ever. It’s like giving birth to an idea and to have people appreciate it is just the cherry on top of it the experience.

4. What is your creative process? What methods do you use to get into and stay in the zone?

I wish I knew. I get captivated by ideas and feel compelled to make them happen. I love process. I love working out the bugs. I love turning a problem over and figuring out a solution

5. What was the biggest opposing force that you encountered on your creative journey? How did you move past it?

Myself. I’m my own worst enemy. I sabotage myself every chance I get – trying to decide if that’s good or bad for me – probably bad. I realized that nobody really cares about your ideas, unless you make them care. And if you don’t care why bother? That’s my job as a creative person, the very essence of what creative people do if they’re actually creative … they make people care about something they never thought to care about before. People can never see something the way you see it until you make it into reality. I taught myself all the skills to make the stuff I wanted to make — not because I was particularly talented or smart — but because I was driven to make that thing.

6. Do the critiques of others affect your work? Do you ever critique your own work?

Yes, I critique myself all the time. It’s part of the process. It’s part of making something work. I go back and look at old stuff sometimes and try to backwards engineer why it did or didn’t work. Finding out why something didn’t work is more important than finding out why stuff works. Distance from a project lets you look at it more objectively too so going back to stuff you haven’t thought about in a while is always good. I never want to redo anything though. I just want to reflect to see what lessons I can draw from it. Other peoples’ critiques are less important to me but I do consider them. Sometimes they’re valid, and I consider that and make adjustments. But sometimes, I realize that they just aren’t on the same wavelength and they don’t get it, so I just disregard them.

7. If you had the chance to live during the height of any movement relevant to your field, which one would you choose and why?

Now. Seriously this is the best time to be doing what I do. Technology makes it possible to do what I do and have it seen by a lot of people.

8. What is the best advice you have ever been given? What would you tell someone else hoping to enter your field?

Write what you know. Yeah, that old chestnut. Who knows who said it first? It’s totally true even when you can’t write about what you know. You still know something and that’s what you write about.

9. If you could influence public policy on the arts, what would you change and why?

Universal, single-payer healthcare. It’s an arts issue, it’s a bartender issue, it’s a part time independent contractor issue, it’s sales rep issue, it’s a small business issue. Healthcare is one of the biggest parts of supporting yourself as an artist. I’m not sure Obama Care is gonna cut it. Single-payer is the only option that makes sense to me.

10. What kind of art are you consuming right now? What are you reading/eating/listening to/buying?

TV. There are so many great TV shows on now. TV has really grown up and become this great long-form story telling medium. I’m also always watching lots of documentaries, and online video. I often find myself browsing the staff picks on Vimeo for inspiration. It makes me realize that there are so many brilliant, talented people in the world and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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