What motivates you?

In this, the third part of my series on the intersection of art and science, I hit that crossroad. I can cross over into the creative, art side, where this post has been written, or I can stay on this, the science side, where I have maintenance tasks to run.

Both have to be done. Both can be done in any order. So what motivates me to write the words that create what you, dear reader, will be reading in the future?

Over the Easter weekend, I participated in a 48-hour Movie Making challenge. The premise is simple: each team has just two days and nights to throw together a short film from between two and five minutes in length. That means everything from the pitch to editing and everything in between. I was originally invited to direct the film, but we decided that I was not experienced enough to do it.

Instead, I just acted. There was a lot of sitting around waiting for the talented crew to make us actors look amazing. We need that much help to look good.

With all that sitting around, finding your motivation is important to give you a base on which to build the actions (and more importantly, reactions) for the audience to believe you. There are multiple camera angles, and in each one you have to provide the same performance, or it screws up continuity, making the editor’s job incredibly hard.

Many actors are typecast. The Femme Fatale. The Action Hero. The Romantic Lead. The Goofy Sidekick. It becomes understandable when you realise how hard it is to find your character at the end of a very long shoot. If you get bored, you will ruin your performance.

Acting becomes very much about projecting yourself on screen. That projection of yourself becomes your “type”, and so you get typecast. I will forever be the goofy sidekick, because that’s how I play on the screen and on stage. My character’s motivation is easier to find that way.

Motivating myself to perform maintenance tasks on the other hand, is less fun. I believe we have checklists and documentation precisely for this reason: if you’re bored or lose concentration for a second, you’ll break something, or even worse, cause data loss.

I leave you for another week with the question: what motivates you?

Author: randolph

Randolph West is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, and has worked with SQL Server since the late 1990s. When not consulting, he can be seen acting on the stage and screen, or doing voices for independent video games. Connect with Randolph on Google+ or Twitter.