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The Spark File with Susan Blackwell and Laura Camien

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Your one stop shop for creative ideas and inspiration. Each week on The Spark File podcast, Susan Blackwell and Laura Camien reach into their spark files and share stories, ideas and fascinations to ignite your imagination. Obsessed with creativity, Blackwell and Camien also talk with artists and makers, movers and shakers who have taken the spark of inspiration and fanned it into a flame. Hear from inspiring creatives like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sara Bareilles, Eric Stonestreet, Jonathan Groff, Julianne Moore and Bart Freundlich, Zachary Quinto, Leslie Odom Jr, Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Billy Eichner, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Karen Olivo, Sutton Foster, Michael R. Jackson and many more about their passions and their failures, their inspirations and their aspirations. Refill your creative fish pond with new ideas and fresh perspectives. Listen, then take it and make it!

Location:

United States

Description:

Your one stop shop for creative ideas and inspiration. Each week on The Spark File podcast, Susan Blackwell and Laura Camien reach into their spark files and share stories, ideas and fascinations to ignite your imagination. Obsessed with creativity, Blackwell and Camien also talk with artists and makers, movers and shakers who have taken the spark of inspiration and fanned it into a flame. Hear from inspiring creatives like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sara Bareilles, Eric Stonestreet, Jonathan Groff, Julianne Moore and Bart Freundlich, Zachary Quinto, Leslie Odom Jr, Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Billy Eichner, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Karen Olivo, Sutton Foster, Michael R. Jackson and many more about their passions and their failures, their inspirations and their aspirations. Refill your creative fish pond with new ideas and fresh perspectives. Listen, then take it and make it!

Language:

English

Contact:

9176893688


Episodes

Creativity Sparks: Season 4 Finale!

5/3/2023
Holy Moly! Season 4 of The Spark File is coming to an end! In this episode, Susan + Laura reminisce on some of our favorite sparks from this season. . . And with a bonus spark inspired by Milwaukee Bucks player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who left us with this mini ted talk when asked if he believed this season was a failure because they didn’t win the playoffs. Just because you don’t win, do we count that as a fail? . Season 4 of The Spark File is wrapping up, but don’t worry - there are 178 episodes of The Spark File for you to binge!

Duration:00:29:42

Creativity Sparks: From Good to Great

4/26/2023
Ever wonder what's needed to take your creative project to the next level? Or wonder if maybe good is good enough? How do we know when to invest the additional time and energy it's going to take to go from Good to Great? If you're ready or when you're ready to level up your work, Susan and Laura discuss the difference between Good and Great, and some of the factors it takes to get there. Inspired by the book, Good to Great by Jim Collins, but seen through the lens of creativity.

Duration:00:58:11

Creativity Sparks: You Have a (true) Story to Tell

4/19/2023
Is there anything better than a well-crafted personal story told with humor, authenticity and heart? Even better if its a TRUE story, right? Well, the folks at The Moth have boiled the art of storytelling down to a science. In this week's episode, Laura and Susan share how sparked they are by The Moth and their book How To Tell a Story. We all have one - tune in to learn how to tell YOUR story!

Duration:00:56:12

Creativity Sparks: Processing Creative Conclusions and Milestones

4/12/2023
Friends, trust us when we say it is valuable, meaningful, and potentially essential that you take the time to celebrate your creative wins - large and small! Join us this week as Susan and Laura discuss why it's so important that we take the time to acknowledge and reflect on the milestones and the conclusions, the hits and the misses.

Duration:01:06:11

Creativity Sparks: The Imperfect Perfectionist

4/5/2023
Do you have a creative project that has never seen the light of day because you just don't think it's ready to share yet? Despite years of effort even? Do you have a creative project you've dreamt of making but you haven't even started yet? Because the thought of it not turning out great keeps you from even trying? On this week's episode, Laura and Susan dig into the plight of the perfectionist. Thanks to researchers and authors like Brene Brown, we might just have a chance to prevail - IF we can embrace our imperfections and (shocker!) maybe even learn to enjoy them!

Duration:00:58:14

Creativity Sparks: AI + Creativity

3/29/2023
Have you gotten into the AI craze yet? Have you asked Chat GPT to write your next marketing plan or promotional copy? Have you asked it to write lines of dialogue, jokes for a stand up routine or a synopsis for your pitch? Have you asked it to write your resume? This week, Susan and Laura dive into what AI might be great for, where it's limitations are, and where it's headed. Do creatives have anything to worry about? Tune in to sort it all out.

Duration:00:50:49

Creativity Sparks: The Ah-ha Moment

3/22/2023
Ever wonder what exactly is going on in your brain when you have an Ah-ha moment? On this week's episode of The Spark File podcast, Susan + Laura discuss what is transpiring in your head when you get that spark of an idea - and the rush of excitement that goes with it! Wouldn't it be great if we could understand it so that we can create conducive conditions to invite more and more Ah-ha moments to happen?!

Duration:00:57:47

Creativity Sparks: Jesse James and the KGC Gold

3/15/2023
Were there stashes of gold hidden around the country after the Civil War? Did leaders of the confederate south intend this money fund a second Civil War? Was the outlaw Jesse James responsible for hiding some of this treasure? And has it recently been found?⁠ 💥 ⁠ Tune in this week to find out more about the Knights of the Golden Circle, their confederacy gold, and what role Jesse James may or may not have played in it. ⁠ 💥 ⁠ A fantastic article in Popular Mechanics by @davehoward99 has left us with so many questions...⁠

Duration:01:08:19

Creativity Sparks: The New Rules

3/8/2023
This week, Laura and Susan discuss that tremor in the force you felt a few weeks ago when New York Magazine's The Cut handed us all The New Rules. These 194 rules on how to exist in polite society, sparked conversations everywhere. Listen in to get our take on their take on everything from dating apps to work slacks, texting friends and lovers or engaging with stangers and others... Are we all doing it wrong??

Duration:01:06:55

Creativity Sparks: Let's Talk about Death over Dinner

3/1/2023
You know at The Spark File, we are not afraid to contemplate our own mortality, especially if doing so enhances our lives and our creativity. According to the author, Michael Hebb, “Of the many critical conversations we will all have throughout our lifetime, few are as important as the ones discussing death—and not just the practical considerations, such as DNRs and wills, but what we fear, what we hope, and how we want to be remembered.” On this week’s episode of The Spark File podcast, Susan and Laura dig into these critical conversations, aided by Hebb’s book, “Let’s Talk about Death over Dinner.” Pull up a chair and we’ll serve you up a delicious and substantial dialogue that will increase your end-of-life awareness and just might magnify your celebration of LIFE!

Duration:01:03:58

Creativity Sparks: I'm Sorry

2/22/2023
This week, Laura and Susan get sparked by a corporate apology that was so authentic it made the news. Discovering the components necessary for an apology to be sincere, this episode explores the painful blocks that keep good people from being able to apologize, AND the creative ways artists have used apologies (or the absence of apologies) to inspire their creative work. Sites like SorryWatch.com share incredible sparks of apology and introduced us to an artist named Jennifer Dalton and her work titled, "Mistakes Were Made."

Duration:00:59:25

Creativity Sparks: The 7 Day Happiness Challenge

2/15/2023
Ever wonder what you can accomplish in an 8 minute phone call? Turns out... A LOT! In this week's episode of The Spark File podcast, Susan + Laura dig into the The New York Times feature "The 7 Day Happiness Challenge" and explore the little things that can make a BIG difference in our relationships and our lives. Take a listen, then ask yourself, "who you gonna call?"...

Duration:01:05:05

Creativity Sparks: I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

2/8/2023
Do you feel that people value you only for your output, so you put work above all else, even above getting a good night’s sleep? Or have you ever been so busy that you've uttered the dreaded humble brag “I’ll sleep when I’m dead?” In this episode, Laura and Susan discuss what going without sleep can do to your life and your creativity, the normalization of grind culture, some positive steps we all can take to rest and rejuvenate, and what, exactly, Warren Zevon has to do with any of it.

Duration:00:57:40

Creativity Sparks: Change

2/1/2023
Why is it so hard for us to break patterns that are keeping us from our goals? In this episode, Susan and Laura discuss and discover the ways in which we as humans and artists can navigate lasting positive change. They dive into the powerful process and book “Immunity to Change,” by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, which unravels the concept of change and specifically how to close the gap between aspiration/good intention and actual behavior shifts. Susan and Laura discover that when experimenting with our own paths to change, remaining open and curious, not jumping to problem solving, and trusting the process can help. And so can a game of canasta every now and then. 💥

Duration:01:05:25

Creativity Sparks: Stealing (a) Home

1/25/2023
What do a 1998 wall calendar, a couple’s disappearance, and a half-burned postcard have to do with one man’s quest to create the perfect home? In this episode, Laura and Susan discuss the true story of a film editor who took his own obsession for acquiring his dream home perhaps a little too far. Petty crime, lost relationships, and a last-minute trip to a remote part of Spain are just a few of the pieces to the puzzle of this incredible story of one man and his quest to own a three-story building in Brooklyn. Sparks and story ideas are everywhere, y’all. Even in the Real Estate section.

Duration:01:13:30

Creativity Sparks: Toni Morrison

1/18/2023
Words and language have real power. In this episode, Susan and Laura explore the amazing works and incredible life of someone who managed to harness that power to the benefit of so many: Toni Morrison, Nobel and Pulitzer prize winning author and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. As they pull back the curtain to look at her work and creative process, Susan and Laura discuss Toni’s ability to center her own world in her writing, the ways in which her philosophies apply directly to their creative work, and exactly how carrot cake fits into it all.

Duration:01:06:11

Creativity Sparks: Artists & Athletes

1/11/2023
Artists and athletes have a lot more in common than one might think, but our culture seems to encourage choosing one over the other. In this episode, Laura and Susan discuss what artists can learn from athletes...including training, incremental progress, the discomfort of having a beginner’s mind, and so much more.

Duration:00:59:51

Creativity Sparks: Creativty + Mental Health

1/4/2023
You know the old trope that one must suffer for their art? That creativity is somehow the byproduct of mental illness or addiction or self-harm? It is time for that idea to go! An examined life can contribute greatly to our enjoyment of life, and to our creative work. In this episode, Susan and Laura discuss the relation of mental health to creativity and the innovative ways in which creators like Neal Brennan, Selena Gomez, Jonah Hill, and many more are infusing their mental health journeys into their creative work, showing that an artist can be brilliant and also prioritize their mental health. And remember, if you are in the United States and need immediate mental health support, you can call 988 and you will be connected to a trained counselor. (Painting: "Self-Portrait in Hell" by Edvard Munch.)

Duration:00:50:19

Creativity Sparks: Making Marketing Part of Your Creative Process: The Blue Man Group Edition

12/28/2022
Susan and Laura have found that when they bring up the idea of promoting one’s own work with their creative clients, the idea is almost always met with a sense of dread. So, how can creators combat this feeling? By making marketing part of the creative process. In this episode, Laura and Susan explore the methodologies and philosophies of the innovative Blue Man Group and how this unique approach to marketing, (which Cams was deeply involved with), helped build their global brand and, more importantly, stay true to themselves in the process.

Duration:01:15:28

Creativity Sparks: Write Like Your Parents Are Dead Again

12/21/2022
Many people have the desire to spin their lived experience into their creative self-expression, Susan and Laura included. This desire can present a conundrum as these creations can feature people other than the creator, or have ideas in them that might make a loved one uncomfortable, or are about a topic that some close to us might consider to be taboo. So how do we create with freedom and without fear? In this episode, Susan and Laura turn to the works of Banksy, Anne Lamott, David Sedaris, David Wellington, and more while discovering one approach to creating without fear: the idea of creating like your loved ones are never going to read it, hear it, or see it. Or, put another way, creating like your parents are dead…again.

Duration:00:57:33