Creative Constraint

We, the attendees* of the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop, talked a lot about how constraints can really foster creativity at the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop. In that case, it focused on the traditional style of a news article, something I have been encouraged to try at least once in my life. So, this discussion has been at the forefront of my mind – or, whichever wrinkle of my brain contains recent memories**.

Marc Maron’s interview with Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons, reminded me of this relationship between creativity and constraint. The Simpsons has been incredibly successful and creative (at least for several seasons, depending on who you ask). Maron and Simon talked about how animation could allow The Simpsons creators to do whatever they wanted.

This got me wondering: what were the technical constraints on The Simpsons that might have fostered their creativity? Maybe time. Thirty minutes isn’t much time to tell a convoluted story. Other thoughts? Am I thinking about this wrong (ie, I know good animation is really hard)?

*Not you. You did not attend the 2013 Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop. Unless you did. Either way, you should be talking about the importance of constraints to the creative process. You should also go to the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop.

**Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop inside joke FOR THE WIN!

Author: Josh Witten

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