Creative Mash-up

Have you seen the movie – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? I saw it a few months ago and I enjoyed it. I loved the movie’s CGI gory action effects and its plot. What intrigued me most about the movie was the creative concept behind it. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (ALVH) started out as a novel before it became a movie. I discovered a transcript of an interview with the author, Seth Grahame-Smith, on how he got the creative spark that became ALVH.

Seth Grahame-Smith was in a bookstore a few years ago during the lead-up to the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. This was also the time when the Twilight (vampire) books’ popularity kicked off. He noticed that the front tables of the bookstore were crowded with both Lincoln books and vampire books. He said that “It wasn’t much of a leap to think, wouldn’t these two things be better together?” This insightful question and connection led to the creative decision to mash-up Lincoln and vampires into a novel.

A mash-up is simply when two or more elements are combined to form a new element with a different meaning. Creative individuals take the ideas they stumble across and then jigger them together to produce something new. Creativity is like combinatorial play.

Michael Michalko states in his book ‘Cracking Creativity: The secrets of creative genius’ that

“When looking for original ideas, try combining subjects from unrelated fields. Among combinations, the most fertile will often be those formed of elements drawn from domains that are far apart.”

You have to admit that Lincoln and vampires are as far apart as they come.

Joyce Wycoff defined creativity as the act of “seeing things that everyone around us sees while making connections that no one else has made.”  While Goethe said that “the hardest thing to do is to see what is right in front of your eyes.” This is the reason why creative individuals have primed minds and open eyes. They find ways of staying mindful and attentive. They do this by training their eyes to spot opportunities and their hands to seize them.

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