Finding creative inspiration after more than a year of pandemic shutdowns can be tough, but Asia Hall, Natalia Chao and Dana Scruggs managed to remain creative throughout the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and at TheWrap’s BE Conference 2021, they explained how they did it.
“We primarily work with lights and fashion, and so with fashion in general there is usually a calendar when collections come out and because its been such a different year and people haven’t been able to go to fashion shows, it’s been on the designer and companies to work on their next sprint,” Hall tells Adobe moderator Stacy Martinet during the BE Conference Creativity From Women Inspires Creativity in the World panel, presented by Adobe. Hall, who is CEO and Fashion Tech Designer at Neon Cowboys added, “Because we work with lights, we are limited in terms of what really sparks that inspiration because there are only that many lights on the market, which are mostly produced in China.”
“The fact that so many festivals now are moving online has been huge for me creatively,” filmmaker and cinematographer Natalie Chao says. “This is the first time they’ve opened it globally almost. So many films that rarely get seen by so many people, now it just a simple click. It’s like watching Netflix. It was nice to carve out windows of time and get together with creative partners and plunder ourselves into watching films again and being able to criticize and draw from and have debates, all of that I missed so much because that’s such a communal feeling. So many people are now embracing that hybrid format. The idea of inclusivity really makes sense in this digital format. so that’s been really inspirational for me.”
“I do tend to shut my brain off when I’m at home, you get tired,” photographer Dana Scruggs said. “One thing that I’m trying to do is have a work life balance and I just started taking opera voice lessons, I sung opera for 10 years when I was growing up. Just to have that creative outlet again and that challenge has been really fun and that’s not work related.”
Each of the panelists had different struggles yet had different breakthrough moments in their respective careers. The common denominator was persistence and not giving up.
“I’ve had a winding road, I made work in a bubble for 6 years, not really having any editorial work, noncommercial work and I think that was very helpful at the time,” Scruggs said.
Scruggs added: “You want to be recognized for your work, be recognized for the efforts you are putting in, I had time to really develop, to aesthetic without outside influences and that was the most important part of my struggle. I think it’s important to make sure your aesthetic is fleshed out. Don’t worry about success or being acknowledged, eventually that will happen but you just have to continue to not give up. I think a lot of people don’t have the stamina for a creative career. It took me 6 and a half years to have a big break.”
“I think definitely getting the fellowship from Sundance and Adobe was big for me, I think this year has been very transformative, I feel very awkward being here, a lot of people here I would look up to them so I’m really honored that I’m even included in this conversation” Chao said. “For me, it was validation from an institutional standpoint, but I went to film school and this was a project that began on the fringe of film school.”
“In 20 years you’ll be an overnight success — it’s my favorite quote ever because it’s just perfecting your craft and staying true to your craft and knowing yourself,” Hall said.
Hall added: “Neil Gaiman, in one of his speeches, he talks about making great art and putting art as priority, if you take jobs and gigs for the money, you will be disappointed in the art you create instead of making things you want to see in the world. These are things I think about when we’re building. I don’t want to water down what we’re trying to create because you are trying to meet a deadline or appease somebody. The success I had hoped for, had been delivered I would probably say when my hat got patented, that was a stamp of ‘we did it.'”
About BE Conference
The BE Conference is comprised of three days of mentorship, education and career-building workshops by the most influential women in media and entertainment, WrapWomen. For more information visit: https://www.thewrap.com/be-conference-2021/
Watch the full panel above.