(Re)Mixing It Up With Filmmaker Kirby Ferguson
The brilliant series of films created by Kirby Ferguson, focuses on the origin of creativity in music, film and business. Kirby’s videos entertainingly illustrate that the building blocks of creativity, irrespective of the creation, are: copying, combining and transforming.
In my recent interview with Kirby, he discusses the origin of his videos and how he called upon his entrepreneurial muse to bootstrap their creation. His tenacity and persistence are instructive to emerging entrepreneurs.
Kirby espouses that you must suffer through the primitive, copying phase of your creative endeavors in order to eventually create something interesting and unique. The basic ideas upon which startups are founded are worth nothing. It is the dogged pursuit of excellence that turns worthless ideas into worthwhile startups.
You can watch my interview with Kirby below or on YouTube here:
I began our discussion by asking Kirby about the genesis of Everything Is A Remix. “It was a really strange time in copyright law a few years ago. A lot of crazy copyright cases (were filed)…that I thought were a bit loony. I started to wonder, ‘Why do people suddenly now think they can sue over ownership of basic ideas?’… Why do certain people think, ‘This is mine now?’
I thought I could illustrate how it’s hypocritical to think that you own these things and can litigate about it. It can be easily illustrated, in lots of cases, that (of the) things you think are somebody’s, there is a chain that came before. It was a behavior that seemed to becoming prevalent, people wanting to lockdown clamps on things that they think are theirs. I wanted to show that there is no ‘yours’…not completely.”
Do you think these lawsuits were a result of a Napster backlash? “Partially, yea. A lot of these new laws are about technology. They are trying to clamp down on piracy. But there are also trying to put themselves into a better position than they were in to begin with, trying to take more than they ever had (at the) start.”
What is your best guess regarding the total number of views the series has had so far? “I don’t track every little thing. They are all heading to about a million views each. They have three million (views) total, roughly. A friend of mine made a couple supplement videos about particular films. There was one about Kill Bill and one about The Matrix. The first one got about a million and the second one is well on its way to that. So we’re looking at about five million (views) total.”
What is the one lesson you want every viewer to take away from the series? “The idea that creativity isn’t magic. It is not just about having some mystical talent that comes from who knows where. The basics are copying, combining and transforming. The way you do seemingly original stuff is to keep at it. You keep building on those combinations and those transformations and over time it turns into something where it can be difficult for us to tell where it came from. Everything emerges out of…the ideas we already have.