Director John Stevenson took the stage at DICE 2011 for his Monsters, Muppets and Movies discussion, and proudly announced to the packed room that it would be, “The simplest and sh*ttiest presentation you’ll see all day.” Funnily enough, it ended up being one of the best speeches I have ever seen.
Stevenson, with a “bunch of crappy notes and handwritten cards,” and “cheap ass powerpoint, with no fancy audio/visual bollocks,” proceeded to recount his passion-filled journey from aspiring, 19-year-old artist who managed to get a job working for Jim Henson on The Muppets Show
by hanging out on the show’s set longer than any other applicant (i.e loving the Muppets more than anyone else), to becoming director of the massively successful animated sensation Kung Fu Panda.
The main thread of his presentation was love. “It’s all about love. Everything else is just details,” Stevenson mused. Passion for your work, no matter what project or assignment you might be given, will always separate you from the pack, and will ultimately lead to the best possible creations.
The entirety of Stevenson’s presentation was worthy of dissection and discussion, and we will have the video up for you soon, but in the meantime, here are some snippets to get your own creative juices bubbling:
“My goal became to do the best I could no matter what I was doing.”
“Nothing is original. Everything has been said before by much smarter people than me. I just stole it and am spewing it back out to you.”
“The job is to fall in love. If there’s no love in your work, no one will touch it, you won’t inspire anybody, and it simply won’t be the best work you are capable of.”
“Good enough isn’t good enough.”
“At the end of the day, it might not be Citizen Kane, but it might be the Citizen Kane of toilet paper ads.”