Film Courage: You left Los Angeles and you’re back in Washington [state]. What was the impetus for this?
Jeff Leisawitz: Moving to Washington?
Film Courage: Yes.
Jeff Leisawitz: I just needed a new scene. I need some more green. I kind of like the rain, I mean I do like rain.
Film Courage: It’s beautiful up there.
Jeff Leisawitz: Rain down on me.
Film Courage: There you go and you’re a [The] Who fan. But at what point? Because everybody talks about going somewhere else. But a lot of people don’t do it. What was it where you just said “It’s time. NFA. I want to change my course in life.”
Jeff Leisawitz: Well, one of the pieces was I was young, I was like 24, 25. So when we’re younger we have more flexibility I think in our choices and in our lifestyles and things like that. On of the things that I try to get across to my college students that I teach song writing and recording to college students which like…that’s a job? Are you kidding me? I love it.
But I try to get them to understand the power and flexibility of their youth because they don’t really know it because they haven’t been 15 years older yet. They haven’t been in the workforce and running around. They are just getting out of school or in school. So that was a piece of it. Being young and I knew sort of where I wanted to go with my life, but it just seemed like a good place.
Film Courage: Another thing that I say a lot in these interviews, but I’m going to say it again is that when you are 20 or 24 people give you pats on the back and they give you “Attagirl! Attaboy! You can do it.” When you are 40, they don’t do that. And I think that part of it is there is part of them that wants to do that and they can’t [mostly from obligations] and it’s all very real thing in the adult world. You have certain roles and obligations and so you don’t get as many Attagirls! [or Attaboys!].
Jeff Leisawitz: That’s true. Maybe you can’t drop everything and move to different city. But you always can do something and that is the key, right? A huge difference is you’ve got to pay the rent and whatever the deal is. Okay, I get that, of course. But if you want to be a screenwriter, spend a half an hour a day or two hours on a Saturday or whatever it is. A little bit and you absolutely can do that. It’s just about prioritizing, right? Are you watching TV or are you writing on your screenplay? I mean…let’s get real.
Film Courage: Going back to the image in the beginning of your book [NFA: The No B Guide For Getting Your Creative Dreams Off The Ground].
Jeff Leisawitz: Are you going to the bar or are you practicing guitar, right? There’s a million ways to go, there’s a million things that you probably don’t need in your life. Do you have to play video games for two hours a day….hhmmm? Probably not, you know. You can do something productive with that if you choose.
Film Courage: What about that being the lonelier way? Because going to the bar there are 20 other people there that can be part of what…and this isn’t my quote ‘The Ain’t it Awful Club.’ It’s from author Peter McWilliams, he wrote a book [You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought – The Life 101 Series]. And he said there is one [The Club] in every workplace, there’s one in every bar. And it’s great. You can commiserate, we know politics is a hot button right now. But you go back home and you write that screenplay, it’s pretty much just you. It’s lonely.
Jeff Leisawitz: It is lonely. Life is lonely, right? But it’s yours to choose. So if you want to be in that club, go ahead. But don’t bitch to me about it or yourself. Because we all have power and perhaps it’s lonely writing by yourself but guess what? There’s a million writing clubs out there, writing Meetups and things like that. So join one of those. And suddenly you’re all writing by yourself, but at least you’re at the same table. I mean I’ve done that a million times.
Film Courage: Is that why you write in coffee shops or maybe you don’t (I’m just assuming).
Jeff Leisawitz: I do sometimes, sometimes not. I mean that’s why half the people go to coffee shops. In Seattle you will see 40 people in a room, four or five of them are talking to each other and everybody else is on the computer doing something. Why do they do that? Because they want to be together even though they are separate. And I mean I’m not saying it’s the greatest thing in the world. If you’re together, you kind of want to be together, but it’s something.
Question for the Viewers: What creative project were you working on when you were 25?
What Got Me Out Of A Creative Funk by Jeff Leisawitz
Jeff Leisawitz burns with a mission— to inspire writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, entrepreneurs (and everyone else) to amp up their creativity, heal their hearts and shine in the world.
Jeff is an award-winning musician/ producer, a critically acclaimed author and internationally distributed filmmaker who has devoted his life to creativity.
As the guy behind Electron Love Theory, Jeff fused interviews with Seattle’s WTO demonstrators into electronic music, garnering more than a quarter million downloads worldwide. Jeff has released five studio albums and has landed thousands of music placements in film, TV and multimedia for clients like HBO, MTV, Discovery, Microsoft, NBC and many others.
As the founding writer for Seattle’s taste-making alternative rock station 107.7 The End, he chronicled the alternative grunge scene in the 90s. After training as a Life Coach and practicing NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Re-Patterning) Jeff landed a gig as an adjunct faculty member at Pacific Lutheran University— teaching college students to rock. (Seriously)
When creative businesses, schools and organizations like Brown Paper Tickets, Tacoma School of the Arts, Gage Academy of Art, Northwest Film Forum and others need to amp up the creativity, Jeff leads workshops and events to fire up the creative spirit and empower people to tap into their true potential.
Jeff is available for workshops and speaking gigs in the Seattle metro area and select cities across the country. Not F*ing Around— the No Bullsh*t Guide for Getting Your Creative Dreams Off the Ground is Jeff’s first book.