IN: Inspiration

HANNEKE SCHUTTE ON CREATIVE CONTRADICTIONS

Hanneke Schutte is one of South Africa’s most accomplished young filmmakers, as well as a thought leader for the PPC Imaginarium Awards.

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Hanneke Schutte is one of South Africa’s most accomplished young filmmakers, as well as a thought leader for the PPC Imaginarium Awards. We met with her to discuss the extreme paradoxes of creative people, as well as her views on creativity and its role in greater society.

One of the main contradictions that Schutte personally notices within herself and many young artists is that she can be extremely rebellious and yet highly disciplined. “When I was younger, I thought creativity was about coming up with crazy ideas, so I would brainstorm and fill books with all of these ideas. But I never had the discipline to sit down and execute them,” she explains. “That’s something that Seth Godin talks about a lot. He says that people who can ship their creative work are the people that are ultimately successful. You can be the craziest and most imaginative person, but if you don’t have the discipline and maturity to sit down and do it, then you cannot be creative.”

For Hanneke, creativity is also a process of deep fear and insecurity. A fear that, she suggests, stems from the uncertainty of how the public will receive and respond to your work. On the tension between insecurity and creative narcissism, Schutte says, “Deep insecurity is often the reason creative people are egotistic. They pretend they know much more than they do, because they’re scared people will find out that they don’t.”

She remains optimistic, though. Hanneke believes that the stereotypical definition of creative people is rapidly evolving. “Some of the greatest creatives I know are neither egotistic nor self-absorbed. The people who reach out, empower and help are the ones getting ahead.” Just as the view of creative people is changing, so too is the role of creativity in our world. “Creativity is in everything these days,” Hanneke explains. “It’s important to be a doctor and be creative. You have to start being more than one thing, and that is what’s exciting.”

The life of a creative is rarely straight or without obstacles, and for Hanneke it has been no different. Prior to filmmaking, she studied languages and worked in advertising. Leaving the stability of her job was undoubtedly a tough decision, but an immensely rewarding one nonetheless. “It’s a lot like what [writer] Joseph Campbell said,” Schutte explains. “He says we’re all here to follow our ‘bliss’. I didn’t find my bliss in advertising, but I did find it in storytelling. My aim is to tell stories in everything I do, and find something I can better the world with. That is what I find incredibly satisfying.”

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