Japanese film posters of 10 iconic David Lynch projects
(Credit: Twin Peaks)

David Lynch explains how to catch great ideas

“Ideas are like fish. You don’t make the fish, you catch the fish.”—David Lynch.

From the relatively simple storytelling of The Straight Story to the experimental peculiarities of Inland Empire and more, David Lynch’s pool of ideas and inspirations reach far out to sea. In this interview conducted between the acclaimed director and The Atlantic in 2008, he discusses how he captures his ideas amidst a flow of creativity. 

The filmmaker, typically expressive in his choice of words, describes the creative processes as a case of catching a fish from your existing pool of knowledge and experiences, as opposed to conjuring it out of thin air.

True to his filmography he also explains how he pieces together his stories through individual fragments and ideas. As if “there’s a man in another room with the whole film together but there in puzzle parts and he’s flipping one piece at a time into me”. This process seems especially discernable in Twin Peaks: The Return, often feeling like a large number of carefully woven vignettes allied together to create a narrative.

So, if you’re ever dry on inspiration, remember the musings of Lynch: “Trillions and zillions of ideas and they’re all there bubbling and ready to be caught”.

Time to get fishing…

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