From HITRECORD & Audacy’s Cadence13 comes “Creative Processing with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.” Have an interest in creativity and the arts? What about films and the business of the entertainment industry? Then this podcast is for you. Each episode, Joseph selects a listener’s question and finds a guest who he thinks will provide the best answers.
Since Joseph has hosted many guests on the show, we’ve rounded up some of his best episodes. He has some great guests of choice! He’s joined with folks ranging from fellow actors to behind-the-scenes players like casting directors.
Jessica Alba joins Joseph to answer the question, “How can I push myself to achieve more than good enough?” She explains her experience growing up as a poor kid and says she works best under pressure. Jessica shares how she’s never comfortable, and uses that as a challenge to push forward. Her advice to others is to ask yourself if you’re happy. And if not, to find where you can make improvements in your life to be more content. Jessica realizes how important it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and overcome the fear of failure. She said a timeframe and boundaries force you to become more creative. The Japanese term wabi-sabi is referenced. It’s the principle of accepting imperfection as perfection. Jessica and Joseph both agree on this idea.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s TED Talk
Joseph’s TED Talk is included as an episode. It centers on the topic, “How craving attention makes you less creative.” He says if you’re placing too much emphasis on the amount of likes you get or engagement you have on social media, you’re taking away from your creative process. Joseph focuses on the concept of attention, especially in our digital age where so many things compete for our eye on a daily basis. He thinks social media is part of a means-to-an-end cycle, and that end goal is to get attention. And we must be mindful of this.
Joseph shares his beginnings in acting. When he attended summer camp as a kid, he realized his focus was only on the attention he was receiving from other campers. Now, Joseph says his emphasis is on feeling most creative when fully-participating in and 100% paying attention to a project. He speaks about how social media is part and parcel of an addiction cycle, one to be aware of, as a tip to unleashing your greatest creative potential.
Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
The comedy duo behind films like Superbad and Pineapple Express joins Joseph to speak about their collaborative work and entrepreneurship. Joseph has worked with Seth and Evan on 50/50 and The Night Before. The guys answer the question, “Have you had people you didn’t get along with personally turn out to be good to work with professionally or vice versa?” They both reply with a resounding yes!
Seth and Evan share the importance of maintaining professional attitudes, while tolerating and balancing the challenging people they’ve encountered. At the same time, they love to work with friends and look forward to collaborating with people they enjoy. They agree it’s not always true that the people you are great friends with will be excellent collaborators. The episode also focuses on how to make a creative partnership sustainable for the long-term. They’ve clearly succeeded since they’ve worked together since childhood. They share secrets about how their creative process jibes and how they work with many of the same people throughout their filmography.
Joseph brought Rian Johnson on the show for its first episode. Rian is a filmmaker, director, and writer behind a scope of work including Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Brothers Bloom, and Looper. Rian and Joseph are great friends who bonded when Joseph starred in Brick. This episode explores the question, “How do you get inspired by other people’s creations, and create something unique that is completely your own without taking too much from the inspiration?” Can anything truly be original? How much does genre play into creative works?
Rian speaks about finding old films he made in high school, and he used to do parodies of old movies. When he was filming, it felt like play instead of work. Rian explains how the pleasure of the process is more important to him than the end result, and thus, should drive the creative process.
Rian sees imitation as an important form of practice to help creatives find their artistic voices. They speak about the value of classifying work into categories in reference to the variety of genres Rian has written in: a detective film, a con-man story, science fiction, and a whodunnit film. These genres appear on the cover art of his screenplays. Rian likes to give each project a constraining box to work with in order to fit all creative ideas on screen. By placing the genre on the movie posters, it enables the audience to have an expectation before watching the film. And genre helps with the concept’s parameters.
The visual artist behind Obama’s iconic Hope poster signage joins Joseph to speak about the ways in which art and politics intersect. You may also have seen Shepard’s work with the André the Giant Obey campaign. For this episode, Shepard answers, “How do you wrestle with the statement that artists are selfish since they’re off worrying about their art and not devoting more energy to political rebellion in troubled times?” Joseph said he personally thinks about this question a lot in our world. He says he was raised by politically-minded parents and considers this often.
Shepard’s work is rather political in nature, and he says he thinks about this a lot as well. He loves how artists have the opportunity to connect with people and how everyone can view work differently. Art provides an opportunity to address important issues and topics in the world, and this method is Shepard’s strategy. Shepard references a list of musical artists who have successfully mixed entertainment and politics, such as Bob Marley, The Clash’s Joe Strummer, Bob Dylan, and Chuck D from Public Enemy. Shepard spotlights pertinent social and political topics on his mind.