The Four Ps of Creativity
An Analyse of a Significant Creative and Innovative Thinker in Terms of the Four Ps A concept labelled as the ‘Four Ps’ has been used to help understand the influential factors around creative beings and how these factors influence their final creative products.According to Mel Rhodes in his book An Analysis of Creativity (1961) these Four Ps; person, place, process and product are the underlying factors of creativity itself.By understanding how the 4 Ps work we are able to venturing into the life of a creative thinker and conduct and analysis of there creativity.
In this case we will look at a German media artist, Tom Tykwer who has constructed a variety of unique films due to his high level of creativity.
This creativity has been shaped by the Four Ps or in other words, his individual characteristics, the environment he is surrounded by and the particular processes he under took in order to create his productions. In this analysis we will begin with the first P, Person. The personal attributes of someone influences ideas and how these ideas are produced into being. Determination, imagination and curiosity are all personal attributes found in a creative artist (Sternberg 1988).
Born in 1965 (The Auteurs 2010), Tom Tykwer always had a strong passion for filmmaking, making his first films at the age of eleven. His friends where unfortunately vaguely interested in his products (Haase 2007) yet this did not stop him from creating. After High School Tykwer failed to receive a place in almost all of the film schools in Europe (Haase 2007) though his determination to make films did not allow this fall back to prevent him from achieve his ambitions. Tykwer merely created his own film studio in which he could create at his own accord.
The act reflects Tykwer’s ability to think of alternative situations which is a highly regarded creative personality trait (Sternberg 1988). When Tykwer was a child the first film he viewed was Peter Pan (Haase 2007). The possibility of a parallel world struck Tykwer as fascinating and became his first inspiration in film making. Peter Pan sparked an imaginative streak in Tykwer which entranced him for almost 30 years. His imagination is what defines his earlier films, such as Lola Rennt and True, two movies which expanded the realms of reality through innovative techniques and unique narrative structure.
In regards to curiosity every single one of Tykwer’s movies, short and long, reflect a high level of experimentation and risks to portray his own personal feelings and willingness to manipulate media to create magnificent effects. Another key feature about Tykwer is that he calls upon varies types of film genres. He claimed, ‘I like everything that speaks to me loudly, and that gives me a vision. I don’t care about the genre’ (Tom Tykwer 2010a). This is reflected in all his productions as he uses a mixture of crime and thrill (_Perfume_) romance (_Truth__)_ and action (_The International) _ to portray his ideas.
His desire to not stick to just one style of film demonstrates a large amount of curiosity and desire to experiment with ideas and cinematic styles. Tykwer demonstrated a high level of curiosity for film at an early age, something along with imagination and determination is an essential aspect to creativity. The second P, place, also has a profound impact on creativity. Place includes the environment which a person is surrounded by and the influence this has upon someone’s creative ability. The German director was brought up surrounded by a modern and artistic culture.
The fall of the Berlin wall in 1990 was a significant cultural movement in Germany (The Guardian 2010), further enhancing modernisation, innovation and artistic products which expressed revolution and a movement to new approaches to life. Berlin was fuming with a large variety of artistic expression inspired by the strong political change. Movement such as feminism became popular, something which is reflected in Tykwer’s film with the constant use of a female main character. For example, Deadly Maria 1993, Winter Sleeper 1997 and Run Lola Run 1999.
Working as a projectionist at a Berlin Art Cinema Movement, allowed him to be continually exposed to a variety of artistic films (Tykwer 2010a). Here Tykwer met the first person that was too help him develop his film career, an independent film maker in the late eighties called Rosa von Praunheim (Cowie 2010a). This man strongly influenced Tykwer’s approach to film making and Tykwer’s first film displayed many of the stylistic and thematic trademarks that his other movies now contain. It was after this that Tykwer created his own film company, X Filme (Tykwer 2010b) and was able to keep his own artistic licence.
Many directors who allow funding from more mainstream production companies tend to lose artistic licence. Artistic licence is simply the amount of say the director has within the creation of their film. Tykwer felt strongly about keeping his films very personal giving him the label of an Auteur (Clarke 2006). The belief that directors should have complete artistic control is what separates him from other directors/filmmakers. Tykwer created what he wanted too, not what others did. This promoted his creativity immensely as his imagination is able to run wild.
Environment is known to change throughout someone’s life constantly. A brief overview of artist Brice Marden in Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility by authors Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon (2009) reflects the importance of how specific surroundings affect creativity. Marden was a minimalist painter (Liu and Noppe-Brandon 2009) with a very distinctive technique. This technique was modified greatly when the artist decided to travel through Asia. He picked up specific cultural techniques which he saw to be fascinating and from then on allowed them to define his works of art.
In relation to Tom Tykwer, Germany was his first cultural influence upon his productions allowing his products to reflect the strong cultural movement at the time. In the last few years, Tykwer has developed a more American approach to film making, something which can be reflected in his latest movie The International as he is surrounded by a strong American influence.Tykwer has removed himself from his independent film company, X-Filme, and has allowed more commercial industries to take hold of him.
The International and _Perfume: A Story of a Murderer _separated themselves from Tykwer’s other films as their narratives are linear and contain a more acceptable style of cinematic photograph and realism. This shows that the director has lost a part of his own artistic licence as he has teamed up with Commercial film producers (Internet Date Base 2010a; Internet Data Base 2010b). Here we can see how the surrounding environment of someone can both excel or hinder creative ability. The third P, Process is the particular actions taken in order for a creative product to come to life.
In media this has a very practical sense and is to do with the measures taken to overcome obstacles that restrict a creative thought coming to life. Process consists mostly of the production and post-production phases of media, such as filming and editing. Independent films, due to their lack of popularity are given less money compared to mass-produced films. For example, the limited budget of Run Lola Run influenced its editing, the way in which it was filmed and how it was filmed. Tykwer received a budget of only $2 million (Cowie 2010b).
In comparison the Blockbuster The Dark Knight had an estimated budget of $185 million (Whitaker 2010). Special effects such as CGI are used in the Blockbuster in large quantities as well as High Definition film and hundreds of extras. In Lola the case was different and alternative techniques where required in order to overcome the budget restrictions. The lack of money permitted Tykwer to only 200 extras. This created difficulties particularly during the first two minutes of the movie. The title ‘_Lola Rennt’ _is spelt out by extras, each letter being filmed separately then contrasted together in post-production. ) In Matthew May’s In Pursuit of Elegance (May 2009) he talks about the innovative creation of Ronnie Stuiver , who designed a water pump with a merry-go-round which is ‘powered by play’ (May 2009, 173) in order to entertain the children of South Africa as they watch their mothers retain water from the water hole. May uses Stuiver as an example to explain that we can overcome specific obstacles in our surroundings if we can observe and are determined (May 2009, 174). Like Tykwer, Stuiver expands his ideas and overcomes restrictions (May 2009, 174).
In South Africa, villagers would have to wait for the wind in order for their pumps to work, Stuiver created an alternative which not only overcame the problem, but also entertained. This ability to overcome specific obstacles yet still up hold a level of entertainment for an audience is essential in movie making. Tykwer over looks his budget and manages to create exceptional alternatives in order for his productions to come to life, reflecting his amazing creativity. As stated in Cropley’s Fostering Creativity, ‘Creativity involves systematic and purposeful thinking not blind generation of novelty. (Cropely 2009, 68) Finally the fourth P, product. Product involves the final outcome and result of each creative production (Scritchfield 1999). There are three main characteristics in regards to product, these being ‘novelty, resolution and synthesis’ (Besemer and O’Quin 1987). Novelty being the uniqueness of the product, resolution includes the products response to the challenge it was created for and synthesis includes whether the product is used for something other than what it was created for (Scritchfield 1999).
In regards to novelty (Scritchfield 1999), all of Tykwer’s productions have been made with innovative techniques and styles to reflect both person and place. His films have captured audience around the world due to their originality. When if comes to resolution, Tykwer’s films where created to express his own ideas and thoughts about the surrounding world. The ability to work in his own film studio for the majority of his films has permitted this task to be very successful. Lastly, synthesis applies strongly to all of Tykwer’s products.
Each has an added value of entertainment and an ability to promote curiosity due to their avant-garde feel. The Four P’s are closely intertwined, each influencing each other incredibly, operating simultaneously. Person, place and process all determine the outcome of a creative product in any area of expertise. In regards to media art, as demonstrated by Tom Tykwer’s analysis, it is the personality of a director, their environment and processes which influence their techniques and ideas reflected within their production. In conclusion, creativity is not something that is simply just there.
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