In search of good taste

Every good story starts with an idea. Whether it’s an interesting character, a poignant scene, or an relatable concept, most finished pieces can be traced back to that initial thought.

The question is, how does one cultivate the ability to repeatably generate new ideas?

In his insightful study of color theory, Interaction of Color, Josef Albers says the following:

“Good painting, good coloring, is comparable to good cooking. Even a good cooking recipe demands tasting and repeated tasting while it is being followed. And the best tasting still depends on a cook with taste.”

Developing good ideas starts with having good taste.

During my college years, I developed an attachment to this mantra: stay interested. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the contest of being perceived as interesting or become bored with daily routine. I most intimately know my own tendency towards both of these mindsets. It’s much harder to be genuinely interested, and to maintain that curiosity over the course of time. Yet I believe that great conversations are the result of great questions, just as good ideas stem from a rich storehouse of content.

This is why I read books, watch films, and listen to music. While my lazy tendency is to consume easy media that requires little reflection, I constantly challenge myself to dig deeper. By engaging with well-made content, I am gathering ideas to cultivate my good taste which I’m able to then use to create better stories from more developed ideas.

To summarize, here is a short film about good taste — I hope that one day my creative work will catch up to my taste.