How to Work (and Play) Well With “The Others” to Succeed

I ATTENDED A GRADUATE SCHOOL WHERE ARTS & BUSINESS STUDENTS WERE BROUGHT TOGETHER–on purpose–to propose, create and apply communications technology solutions as a team to problems. As graduate students of the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), we were encouraged to face our distrust of “the others'” approaches to problem-solving (creative arts vs. business) and collaborate in playful and experimental ways to meet the needs of individuals, groups; local, national, and global communities–artistic, nonprofit and commercial–who we were learning to serve as a workforce. Otherwise, we could not succeed in our studies, projects, or current and future employment.

How Can I Trust You?

WE HAD TO FIND WAYS TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND, TRUST, AND SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER (even if one’s primary incentive might only be to get a good grade). Sometimes trusting simply meant investing in the belief that we would do whatever we could to help each other succeed for the sake of that project. Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t commit, who gave up, failed: they either left the program or flunked out. For those of us who did commit, paths always eventually opened, and some of those solutions we accomplished together were simply astounding. Those collaborations and solutions led to our Information Age and what’s coming beyond it.

NOTE: The Interactive Telecommunications Masters Program in Tisch School of the Arts at New York University is going strong. Check out some of the pioneering and innovative courses.

Artwork © Gavin Aung Than 2017

Column Inspiration:
Akira Jurosawa: The Note Taker


How Not To Give Up Before The Miracle Happens

I READ SOME LITERATURE TODAY TO HELP INSPIRE AND MOTIVATE ME NOT TO GIVE UP in areas that I want and need to change in my life (personal and professional). I get tired and discouraged at times. I can’t afford “keeping up appearances” (like Hyacinth, the character in the British BBC program) because I’ve learned the hard way that doing so is incredibly stressful and hurts my health. One quote I read is from an article (AKIRA KUROSAWA: The Note Taker) included in the Creativity & Storytelling ‘Zine, Sunday, February 12, 2017 edition is just the right medicine:

“Kurosawa was determined to become a better screenwriter and set about writing one page a day, despite how busy he was as an AD, ‘There was nothing I could do about the nights I had to work till dawn, but when I had time to sleep, even after crawling into bed I would turn out two or three pages.’ Writing didn’t come easy, but over time the daily struggle became a habit and Kurosawa found that like most creative endeavors, just showing up was the key.At some point in the writing of every script I feel like giving the whole thing up. From my many experiences of writing screenplays however, I have learned something: If I hold fast in the face of this blankness and despair, adopting the tactic of Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect, who glared at the wall that stood in his way until his legs became useless, a path will open up.'”


Column Inspiration:
“Keeping Up Appearances”

SOMETIMES I THINK THAT WE HUMANS SUFFER FROM CHRONIC FORGETFULNESS: we work hard on something, complete it, and then lose our confidence in what we’ve learned and know: we start from the beginning again–over and over–in uncertainty (a creative-specific conflict forgetting like in the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind–though they choose to forget!). We stick to our endeavors, come through again, and hope we will remember in the future.

THE HEALING ARTIST STUDIO PROJECT BLOG, THE CREATIVITY & STORYTELLING ‘ZINE, and all the writing, content curating, posting and tweeting I do is my way of remembering, of continuing the open-mindedness, trust, and collaboration I learned as a high school student at The Team School, and as a graduate student at ITP.

WE ARE NOT IN A PHYSICAL CLASS TOGETHER, AND MAY NEVER MEET, but I choose to believe that I am investing in our creative and business problem-solving success to benefit our world through the practical and miraculous solution we are every day.

MAY YOU DISCOVER MORE CREATIVE ideas and storytelling support now (and in the future).


“Things are only impossible until they’re not.”
“Make it so.”
Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation


Valerie Mich’El Oliver explores the art and architecture of creativity and storytelling in imaginative, innovative, playful and award-winning ways. Tisch School of the Arts (New York University) and The Mystery School (Sacred Center for the Healing Arts) graduate. | Imagine, innovate, create, be generous, love this life, and dare to shine.