Creativity is an asset in pretty much any line of work, helping individuals come up with new and innovative solutions to age-old problems. It probably comes as no surprise, however, that creativity is an especially important characteristic in the entertainment industry, where success often depends on surprising and engaging audiences. For that reason, the manner in which Bennett Graebner, a producer behind reality show favorites like The Bachelor, is able to encourage creativity in himself and others can be a learning opportunity for anyone in the broader workforce. We looked to the producer’s professional life to pull some of the key tips that can be helpful in this area.
At its base, creativity is about generating new ideas, and the catalyst for an idea can come from a variety of different areas. For those in the entertainment industry, ideas often lead to new story concepts or new takes on how to present a film or tv episode to an audience. Sources of inspiration for entertainment can come from all over and the manner in which entertainment professionals look for such ideas can be informative for those in other industries seeking their own source of inspiration.
Bennett Graebner often credits media outlets as being places where he can turn in order to find concepts to be developed into episodes or full-blown film and tv pitches. He’s used newspaper articles in the past, which are great for their density of information and the way in which they take a piece of factual information and turn it into a stand-alone piece of narrative content. He’s also an avid listener of NPR and has developed project ideas from stories he’s heard through the organization’s newscasts. Other sources of inspiration to which he’s often turned are stories from friends and family. At its base, entertainment echoes our social interactions in the manner in which it relays information through the use of storytelling. Due to this, the producer’s own social circles can provide interesting places from which to pull ideas.
Importance of wellbeing
It may come as no surprise that creativity is often suppressed when we are in a state of stress or poor health. We’ve all felt the effects of mental fog that accompanies a sleepless night or a prolonged period of worry. We intuitively know that this type of drop in wellbeing makes us feel bad, but in addition it interferes with the generation of new and unique ideas. This is true whether one is talking about physical or mental wellbeing, in part because the two are often linked. It is therefore important to keep in good health if one wants to be in the best frame of mind to engage in creative thought.
For Bennett Graebner, the pursuit and maintenance of physical and mental wellbeing plays a key role in keeping his creative abilities at their peak. One of the ways he does this is through his habit of going on a run first thing in the morning. Though it may seem that such a practice might tire one out and use up valuable energy at the start of the day, in actuality the producer says the routine helps to hone his mind and get him ready for the work ahead. The practice also keeps him in physical shape which helps to contribute to overall wellbeing, beyond the acute beneficial effects of high-intensity exercise.
Maintaining a range of skills
In any line of work, there are professionals who are highly trained in a specific area of expertise. While these individuals may excel in one area, they may also have difficulty bringing a new or nuanced approach to the work in which they engage. This can be, in part, because all of their work is informed by a single line of thought—namely training for the task at hand. In contrast to this, individuals who have developed a variety of skill sets often report that they are able to use each of their disparate skills to tackle a problem in any area. This holds true even if it is not immediately obvious how one skill area might inform another.
This focus on training across a diversity of skill sets is another way in which the producer helps contribute to his ability to work creatively. Rather than a background that consists only in work as a producer, he’s held a number of different jobs on film and tv sets—including positions in the camera and lighting departments. This not only helps him understand the needs of a range of on-set individuals, it also lets him generate ideas from a perspective beyond his own.
Power of story
Of course, some aspects of creativity are more applicable to certain fields than others, and the importance of storytelling may be one that has particular importance in the field of entertainment. Compelling narratives are critical for the success of any film or television project and strong characters are often equally as important. Though these elements of storytelling have particular relevance to entertainment, their use can be applied to other fields as well, such as sales and marketing.
The ability to create strong plots and develop compelling characters has been a hallmark of the producer’s work over the length of his career. Though some may assume that the need for such expertise is lessened in reality television when compared to traditional narrative film and tv, the popularity of the producer’s shows provides a compelling counterexample. The way in which he uses his creative abilities to build out these elements of his productions has gone a long way towards cementing his position in the industry.
While it is not always obvious how it can be applied to a particular task, creativity is a trait that can be transformational when used appropriately. Fostering such a talent, through wellbeing, inspirational sources, and skill diversity, can help individuals in practically every industry make a name for themselves. The manner in which Bennett Graebner uses his creative energy to produce work for film and tv is just one high-profile example of this fact. For those looking to foster creativity in their own work, the producer makes an excellent case study on the habits to build and the actions to undertake.