Five Questions with Clif Lord

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Clif Lord and I’m a writer and filmmaker.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ideas – and for me this usually means story ideas – are no rare commodity, so my first order of business is to identify what of this profusion merits further development. Unlike many of the interviewees at IdeaMensch, what I produce serves no kind of utilitarian function; it solves no problems, it doesn’t make your life easier, it doesn’t leverage your reach or expand the versatility of your social channels. It’s only goal is to entertain. If, by chance, it also manages to contextualize some aspect of your world view into an easily relatable meme or provide you with an insight into human nature, so much the better. The bottom line is, there is no right answer or best solution in my world, so the key ingredient in bringing ideas to life involves the level of passion I have for whatever idea it is that I’m working on. Usually, if I can’t stop thinking about something, that’s the indicator that I must pursue it. This involves writing a screenplay, which is a solitary undertaking. Many who do what I do claim it to be a painful and terrifying process even after numerous credits and tons of acclaim. I don’t find it such. It can be frustrating to be sure, but that is the case with any creative endeavor. In order to overcome this, I find the best friend I have is discipline. I impose a set time period on myself to write everyday. Usually this is from 11AM-6PM. When I’m working on a script I compel myself to produce five pages a day. They may be great or they may be lousy. That’s not the point. The simple fact of concentrating on something hard will often yield results and lead you in unexpected directions that far exceed your original intentions. Show up. Play ball. That’s all.

What is one book that you recommend we read?

There are so many wonderful books this is an unfair question. If I had to pick one to read, though, I would submit The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. He manages, in ninety or so pages, to distill life down to its essence. It’s not sentimental, it doesn’t offer easy answers, but it manages to be both mythic and truthful and that’s no small order. Additionally, being that I’m a filmmaker, I would also submit the film version of The Wizard of Oz. In this picture, everything you need to know about finding happiness in life is answered in a mere two hours. Also, it’s beautiful to look at.

What is one piece of advice that you’d like to give?

Whatever you endeavor to do, don’t try to force an expected outcome, rather, let it show you what it wants to be. This could be seen as an analogue to Michelangelo’s riff that every stone has a statue inside it and that it falls to the sculptor to discover it.

What is an idea that you’re going to bring to life in 2012?

This new year I’ll be venturing into the world of micro-budget filmmaking by directing a script I wrote called, Doobious Sources. This will be a great opportunity to utilize social networks, on-line distribution models and various other wonders that the world of technology has made possible.