Why I Love Project Runway and American Idol

I’m learning a lot from watching Project Runway and American Idol about my own craft of writing. This is triggered by both Sharon and Jim-Boy’s goal commentary this AM.

1) Deadlines. Absolutely necessary to push oneself to achieve. In our desperation, we allow our creative subconcious to come to our rescue, the switch tripped by the adrenaline rush we get when we’re about to fail to meet a deadline.

2) Talent. We’ve got to have some basic inner spark to start with. I’m not sure what the right word is, but somewhere deep inside we must not be able to let go of the dream, no matter what we may think out loud to anyone who will listen. I don’t know if this is talent, passion, desire, fear. It doesn’t matter, but when we watch these shows, we can see who has it and who doesn’t. I’m not really talking about Simon’s X factor. That’s really more about the audience. I’m talking about inner belief that whatever we have to do to get it, no matter how long it takes, we will not give up.

3) Confidence…even if you have to fake it. Don’t give up and be careful who sees you might give up. The minute someone on this show begins to doubt they want it, they lose it. Look at Nick on Project Runway. “I just want to go home. Why did I stay long enough for this damn flower project” or words to that effect. After that, he was never the same. He gave into the idea of NOT doing it. And the same thing almost happened to Chloe. If she hadn’t been so talented and hadn’t won challenges, she would have been “out.” She was lucky that Kara was off her game (if she ever had a game). Same thing for that Stevie girl on AI. She looked nervous and uncomfortable which made me say: AXE the wimp.

4) “Lighten up. It’s only fashion!” Thank you Michael Kors. The people who win on these shows love what they do. They take risks. They risk failure and although they want to win, they aren’t just doing it for the win. They are doing it because they understand that under pressure it is possible to leap to another level. And there is fun in that leap. That’s actually why we do it. We do it because it’s like playing house, or war, or Superman when we were kids. We love the charge of “making things up” and as Tim Gunn reminds us, “making things work.”

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