Don Hertzfeldt in 2021

From a few years back, some excerpts from a Q+A with Don Hertzfeldt:

“i don’t think creativity is a finite substance. it’s in everybody all the time but a lot of people don’t know how to hear it or they don’t want to or they don’t realize they are constantly blocking it out. your brain, behind the scenes, does most of the work and it is totally inexplicable to me. most of creativity is waiting and listening for it”

“i actually think the one thing i don’t do is get “prepared for writing.” any sort of internal pressure can be very poisonous and intimidating to being creative. for me, the best way to get around writer’s block has been to not treat writing as something special that you need to be very calculating about. think about what writing in your diary is like… you probably don’t prepare or think very much before anything goes on paper, you just sort of vomit it all out in a stream of consciousness because it’s “just” your diary, for yourself. it’s easy! that same feeling should apply to your bigger, more “important” writing. i don’t have a different method for writing a film or writing a shopping list or my diary… it’s all the same sort of freedom and dumb openness and that’s been very helpful”

“i don’t find myself in a lot of ruts because there’s always so many things to do. if i don’t know how to design this one shot yet, or i don’t know what this character says yet, i can work on some other aspect of the movie until i’m ready. there should never be a rut that brings a project to a screeching halt. if one scene isn’t mentally ready for me to work on yet there’s plenty of other things to choose from… i can animate this other bit that’s basically a technical slog that doesn’t require a lot of thought or i can go work on sound design, etc. for me, most of creativity is waiting for the idea to peacefully appear in your head while in the supermarket, rather than dredging it out of you with force and frustration and desperation. animators are solitary creatures and you need to keep things fluid and be nice to yourself and be READY for when the ideas come. some days you can get 8 hours of work done and others you can only manage 2 and would rather stay in bed. remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint and the most important thing is finishing, not finishing first”

“i will never have the technical talent of the disney wizards of the 1940s, few people have or ever will, so deciding not to bash your head into a wall over and over from that one angle can be very liberating. maybe what seems like limitations can be used as strengths. there is more than one way to tell a story. it’s like expecting a rock band to sound like opera. it’s not the kind of music i’m making. great animation is not about how well you can draw – it’s about how well you can make things move, and tell a story through that movement… chuck jones said that. (probably using fewer words)”

“maybe ignorance, but we need it”