Five ways to unlock your creativity

Peter Millynn, Head of Film at AFTT shares his tips on how to improve your creativity.
Five ways to unlock your creativity


For many of us who gravitate towards a career in the arts, we do so because we showed a talent for creativity at a younger age.  Some of us were fortunate enough to go on to nurture that talent through further study and a few even found a new calling and became educators.

‘You can’t teach talent but you can recognise and nurture it,’ said Peter Millynn, Head of Film at the Academy of Film, Theatre and Television (AFTT).

In the first edition of our Essential Skills Series with AFTT, we asked Millynn to share tips on how he cultivates creativity in students who study in the diverse fields of screen, media and film production, and how these techniques can be applied to creatives working in different areas.

‘Creativity is a reflection of our experiences and opportunities. Just as everyone has their own unique personality they will have creative strengths and weaknesses. The key is to discover where your strengths lie and to maximise your readiness to exploit those strengths.’

1. Let yourself fail

In the creative arts, we often learn from our mistakes - and it’s a steep learning curve. But to be truly creative we need to let ourselves fail.

‘Very few ideas are hatched fully fledged. Students can unleash their ideas in a collaborative environment at AFTT and test their techniques and ideas in a place where they can fail safely. These are not simulations – they are making films,’ said Millynn.

2. Collaborate

Collaborating with other artists, filmmakers and creatives can help you unlock your creativity. Afterall, two minds are better than one.

Millynn pointed out that film students become particularly adept at working with others as the process of crewing with fellow students develops an appreciation for collaboration. He has seen firsthand the creative potential working in a team provides to projects.

‘The diversity of a well assembled creative team will bring creative elements to the project that no individual could hope to muster.’

3. Reflect on your own process

Be sure to regularly examine your creative process to enhance how you work in future. Millynn noted that in class, studying theories of creativity often unlocks a student’s own practice.

‘They are encouraged to reflect on and examine their own creative process. Every aspect of filmmaking asks of students a deep reflection of what contribution it is making to the finished film.’

4. Be humble

Often we improve our creativity by working alongside others where we can continue to learn and hone our skills.

In many working environments where you are required to collaborate, ‘Talent isn’t enough. You’ll need talent training and temperament with a healthy dose of ambition tempered with humility,’ said Millynn.

5. Go back to school

As Head of Film at AFTT, Millynn knows the value of education. While it’s not necessary for many to create art, it definitely helps emerging artists to learn their craft and develop their creativity.

‘Students are challenged through the development, production and post-production phases of their projects by working with their peers and with expert industry mentors drawn from their specialist disciplines. Through this process they are stretched to their creative limits in the pursuit of making the best and most innovative film possible.’

The Essential Skills Series is brought to you in partnership with the Academy of Film, Theatre and Television.

Brooke Boland

Tuesday 26 April, 2016

About the author

Brooke Boland is a freelance writer based on the South Coast of NSW. She has a PhD in literature from the University of NSW. You can find her on Instagram @southcoastwriter.