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Pushing the boundaries: creativity and constraint in Australian screen production
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Screen production is risky business. Significant sums of money are invested in a process that is subject to myriad precarious variables. Effective completion of a screen project is achieved through the instigation and monitoring of strict parameters which bound its creative process. However, filmmaker David Lynch states that ‘any restriction is a sadness and can kill creativity’ (Stratton 2015. David Lynch in Conversation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGd6lnYTTY8). The tension between flow and constraint in creative practice negotiates a delicate balance between efficiency and futility. At its most productive, limitations can provide a catalyst for innovation, whereas restrictions that are not sympathetic to the project’s creative intention can cause unproductive conflict and power struggles. Examination of this inherent tension deepens our understanding of the screen production process and offers broader insight into the nature of practice in the creative arts. Anecdotal evidence is drawn from interviews with screen practitioners and the author’s own experience working in various Australian film and television productions between 1994 and 2018. Findings are then examined alongside theories of creative work.