How many times have you hit play on a favorite movie or album? We’ve all done it, for our favorites, probably a thousand times. But when was the last time to hit play with the intention of really studying what it is you’re watching or listening to?
I’ve long admired and enjoyed film and album reviews. I always thought it would be amazing fun to be able to get paid to watch movies or listen to albums with a critical eye. Spend time breaking down the good, bad, and ugly of a particular piece of cinema or music.
Over the years I’ve read so many movie and album reviews in magazines like Rolling Stone, on websites, and even tons of YouTube and podcast style reviews. Of course, as with any critic, it’s always a bit of a crap shoot on if I agree or not, but that’s not the point.
These reviews are just as much a glimpse into the mind and personality of the reviewer as they are commentary on the music or film itself. As such, I’ve always gravitated towards those reviews that let a little more of that personality bleed into their work.
They just feel more real and relate able to me.
Even if I don’t agree with the arguments being made, if I can see more about the reviewers personality and thought process I can at least understand a little better where they are coming from.
But I digress.
When I asked you at the top of the article when the last time you hit play with the intention of studying your favorite films or albums I feel I need to clarify.
Maybe a more accurate question for you would be:
When was the last time you paid attention to how that film or album makes you feel?
Due to some upcoming projects on digitalSoup, the other podcast I do each week, my co-host Adam and I are needing to give a listen to some music so we can have a deep dive type of discussion about it.
Because of this, I found myself hitting play on an album I thought I knew pretty well. The difference was this time I was really paying close attention to each song. How it made me feel in the moment. The memories little details in the songs brought back to mind. Noticing small details I missed in all the listens over the years.
In short, I’m completely enjoying this process.
As such I’m thinking that not only are we bringing this approach to digitalSoup, but I’m really thinking about how I can incorporate that here into Adventures in Creativity. Maybe written pieces, maybe episodes, maybe both. But we’ll see what the future holds in that regard.
That’s not why I bring it up though.
I ask this question to you, my friends, because I’m always on the lookout for simple ways to bring some added value to your lives and this creative journey we are all on together.
Listening to this album made me realize just how little I pay attention to the things I really enjoy. I get so wrapped up in seeking the next inspiration, watching for the next cool thing I can share with you guys here, that I feel like I almost “rush through” the things I consider my favorites.
I have a hunch that I’m not alone in this behavior.
So I’m turning the question on you, now that I’ve faced it myself.
Think of it as a life hack to happiness.
Next time you put on your favorite music, watch that favorite movie, read that favorite book, or play that favorite game, take some time to really pay attention to it. Let it really soak in. Allow your mind to open up to the memories it triggers, notice the details you love, try to put into words what it is about it that makes you love it.
I guarantee it will bring you a completely new level of appreciation for the film/music that you are enjoying. And it’s such a simple practice to put into play. Just pay close attention to something that you already love.
What’s the old saying, when you do something you love you’ll never work a day in your life? That may or may not be true in practice, but you get my point.
It might be the easiest challenge you’ve ever been given.
So go on.
I dare you.
In fact, I double dog dare you! (see now you have to do it)
Throw on that favorite album, your musical “comfort food”, and take time to really listen to it. Pay attention to the small details, the sound of that guitar, the way the singer enunciates their words at the end of the chorus, the quirky background noises layered in to add a richness to the overall sound.
Not only the technical things you love about it, but just as importantly notice the way the music has you feeling as you hear it now. Think back to the first memories you have of listening to that song. What were you doing? Where were you at, both physically and just in life in general? Do you remember the way the song made you feel the first time you heard it?
You get the point. Let your mind wander through the music. If you’re watching your favorite movie, the process is the same. Allow yourself to spend time really, truly, feeling the music or film you are enjoying. Find a way to explain to yourself exactly WHY you call it one of your favorites.
It’s going to bring a smile to your face and even better, you’ll connect much more with one of the things that has been a big inspiration on your creative pursuits.
Even if you didn’t realize it was an inspiration.
Because trust me, your favorite music or films don’t become your favorites without embedding themselves deep into your thinking. Which means they absolutely impact the way you see the world. And by taking time to really dive into your favorites like this, you’ll have unlocked the best way of connecting with your true artists voice.
David (Usually Dave) Szweduik is a photographer, podcaster, and all around geek from the great state of Minnesota and can be found weekly on his podcast Adventures in Creativity. There you’ll find him having conversations fueled by curiosity around the amazing world of all things creativity.