experience. She noted while discussing the topic of aging and creativity, “I think younger
people are not afraid to try something new and you can learn from that as well. They have
the courage - and maybe the naiveté - to try something ridiculous.” Laura adds, “I’ll read
about some kids who did ‘such and such’ with a camera and think I’d like to do that. I like
being around those kind of adventurous people.” It occurred to me that Laura exhibited
the courage she was describing in younger filmmakers “the courage to try something
Laura, unknowingly or not, was also “embracing errors as a source of learning” as
described in an article on Creativity and Innovation in Jazz and Organizations (Barrett,
When errors do happen, rather than search for causes and identify responsibility,
musicians treat them impersonally; they make adjustments and continue. In this
vein, Weick (1990) cites critic Ted Gioia who calls for a different standard for
evaluating performance (such as one might find in the evaluation of classical
musical performance), Gioia calls for the need to evaluate courageous efforts.
(Barrett, 1998)
Laura’s heroic journey to try something new requires courage and the ability to use
mistakes as a prescriptive course correction and a source of learning.
Takeaway: Storytelling Revealing The Invisible
The documentary process can be long and tedious. I asked Laura what sustains her and
she replies, “telling stories that normally wouldn’t get told. Showing the world something
they wouldn’t normally see. Exposing a problem. Sharing a character from a different walk
of life. Like meeting Fannie Lewis” (councilwoman from Cleveland).
Our conversation is coming to a close. Laura is going to meet a woman who escaped
Anthony Sowell the infamous Cleveland serial killer who lured women to his home. She
says, “we’re making the film from the perspective of the women he murdered. A lot of
people dehumanize these women and dismiss them. We’re trying to explore that by talking
to their family members as well as the women who escaped. Some of these women feel
guilty for surviving. It’s been a difficult project because we’re also competing with news
media and often people don’t understand our motivations.”
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