Workflow Weekly: Disney’s superpower, Dispassion, and more (week #32)

In Praise of Dispassion

Everyone loves talking about passion. And yes, passion is a crucial component in your success as a creative professional (and anything else, really). But there’s also something to be said for dispassion.  I’m talking about the ability to take a step back and make your decisions not as a passionate emotional artist, but as a cold and calculated pro.

Here’s Mr. Wolf (Harvey Keitel) demonstrating the value of cold, dispassionate professionalism in Trantino’s Pulp Fiction:

Get used to turning yourself into a ‘Mr. Wolf’every now and again (and by that I mean several times a day). Detach yourself emotionally for a short moment, and ask yourself: how much time do I actually have for this? What level of completion do I need to bring it to at this point in the production? Where can I leave it not perfect, and still deliver good solid work for my client?

In my personal experience with artists, it is dispassion – not passion – that is the greater challenge.


Section VI In ‘Workflow‘ (The Plan: Managing your Workflow – p.159) contains plenty of ideas and techniques on how to actually do this.


Definition to Completion

In this video by artist Xi Ding, the caricature is basically done in the first 6 seconds (=about 5 minutes, since the video is sped up by about x50).

Then for the next 3:23 minutes (=2:45 hours), each pass is entirely about definition. Most passes are focused on adding definition, but sometimes it’s also about removing definition, to tone down less important areas.

Today, give yourself 5 minutes to relax in front of this video (the music helps) and think of how you can apply this in your own work – even if you’re not a painter. Can you begin with a vague suggestion and then gradually define (and un-define) to completion?


Quote of the Week…

This is one of my favorite (although less-known) Walt Disney Quotes:

“Of all the things I've done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them toward a certain goal.” -Walt Disney

When we think of great makers such as Walt Disney or Steve Jobs, we often see them as “creative superheroes” who are (or were) really good at coming up with great ideas. In reality, their greatest superpower was probably their ability to get very large groups of people to work in synergy on a well-defined vision. That’s a skill definitely worth getting good at.

Don’t have a team of creatives working for you? No problem: you can start with learning how to coordinate your own inner dream-team. Here’s an article/video that touches on that issue. 

Author: Doron Mayer

Director, Animator, Writer, Designer. Author of "Workflow: The practical Guide to the Creative Process".

3 thoughts on “Workflow Weekly: Disney’s superpower, Dispassion, and more (week #32)”

  1. Well put, exactly the process when writing. One pass to get it down and the next pass to refine. Great advice as the second pass can be so very time consuming, trying to make the initial concept easier to understand. Sometimes it can take a day to edit just one A4 page so thanks for the tip.

    1. Thanks Geoff! That’s a valuable reminder – we talk so much about how the 1st pass should be quick and rough, but it isn’t often mentioned that the 2nd pass should actually be quick and wrong too. EVERY pass should be quick and wrong… except the amount of “wrongness” diminishes (exponentially!) with every pass. Any pass that takes too much time and/or feels frustrating, is a sign that something’s off. Cheers!

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