On Friday, September 27th, I attended my very first Cre8con! This annual event is a conference that celebrates and explores creative work across all industries. Each year, a selection of keynote speakers gives a presentation on what inspires them in their work, the challenges they’ve faced, and their adventures in the creative field.
There were a lot of amazing speakers at the conference this year. Here my three favorites!
A 2-time Emmy award winner, member of the Screen Actors Guild and successful Production Designer and Graphic Designer, Schuyler captured the audience within seconds of hitting the stage. He walked into the spotlight visibly shaking, reading off notecards that he began to drop. His voice faltering, he looked out into the crowd and whispered: “I’m…I’m sorry. I can’t do this,” and ran off stage. The crowd, hoping to encourage Schuyler to come back, began cheering: “You can do it!” And suddenly, Schuyler came back onto the stage a different person. Laughing, he exclaimed: “And that was improv!” The crowd burst into applause and laughter.
Schuyler has an impressive resume. He’s worked on Portlandia, Shrill, American Vandal and Trinkets as a Production Designer. As a Graphic Designer, he’s worked on Mad Men, Veep, Parks and Recreation, and Glee. For Parks and Rec fans, you can thank Schuyler for the iconic “Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness.” Yeah. He MADE that. It blew my mind, too.
Ruth is an fierce, Academy Award-winning Costume Designer. This year, she won an Academy Award for her work on Black Panther. To make that win even cooler, she’s the first African-American woman to win in that category. She has had two additional Academy Award nominations for Spike Lee’s Malcolm X and Steven Spielberg’s Amistad, plus an Emmy nomination in 2016 for the reboot of Roots.
Ruth shared behind-the-scenes photos of work on the set of Black Panther, explaining the intricate process that comes along with costume design, and the satisfaction of watching it all come together on the big screen. Ruth’s main piece of advice about working in the creative industry was this: lead with your passions. Don’t let anyone treat you less than you deserve, and fight for what you love.
Ken is a 2-time Tony Award-winning Broadway producer who is well-known for his work on the popular Broadway show, Kinky Boots. He is one of the co-founders of TEDxBroadway, has been featured in Vanity Fair, and has even gotten a mention in Jay Leno’s monologue on The Tonight Show.
Ken was so inspiring. In his talk, he emphasized the importance of focusing on the things you do know how to do instead of what you don’t when it comes to creative projects and jobs. You will naturally be able to eliminate the things you don’t like/don’t want to become an expert in if you do this.
He encouraged the crowd to plan to do one thing every day to move a project along, whether you’re working on something personal or for your career. At the end of his talk, he left plenty of time for questions. A common question was simply how to get started, especially when you find yourself in a creative rut. Ken’s answer was to start doing something, anything, even if it’s not perfect or exactly what you hope to do. Often times, this can transform into something amazing.