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The Creative Mind

My humble position in radio and television has afforded me the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most creative minds in the entertainment business. I’ve always been fascinated to learn about their creative process. In other words, where does the inspiration for a song, movie or other project come from and how does it reach the final stage.

For Grammy winning singer and songwriter Lionel Ritchie, the inspiration often comes from a story or personal experience. He might then jot down a few words and sing them into a portable recorder. From there many of his songs “seem to almost write themselves.”

Comedians “tweak” their material much like a songwriter might polish their lyrics. Jerry Seinfeld told me that he doesn’t stop until every word of a joke is just right. What many fans don’t realize is that by the time they might watch a TV special, Jerry’s material has been tested in dozens of clubs. And, it doesn’t hurt to enjoy your craft in the process. As Jerry puts it, “I love what I do.”

Before I set foot on the sound stage at the Buena Vista studios in Burbank to host the Disney’s Channel’s premiere children’s series, “You and Me, Kid!,” I first had to attend Disney University. This is part of what Disney cast members must experience in order to digest the Disney philosophy. It is a crash course in understanding what Walt Disney had in mind when he began his magical empire. Something I will never forget is learning how Walt inspired those who built Disneyland from the ground up. He had workers build the signature castle first. That way, everyone working on the project would be able to see it for miles as they came to work each day and thus, visualize the finish of this magnificent park. Brilliant!

Once, a major motion picture star gave me a glimpse of his secret to success by showing how involved he was in the entire movie production. After all, it was his script.

I received a call from my agent about reading for a part of a reporter for an upcoming film. When I arrived at the MGM studios, I was expecting to meet with the casting director and you can imagine my surprise when the person I read for was the star and creator of the movie. He told me that he cared so much about the success of the picture that he liked to cast every role himself.

I read for him and got the part in Rocky II starring Sylvester Stallone.

Much can be learned from those who have made us laugh, cry and feel better for having experienced their talent. Most enjoy every moment along the way.

As Einstein put it, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”